‘Death elasticity’ and more scenes from the class war

CNBC’s John Carney discusses “death elasticity” in response to changes in the estate tax.

“Death elasticity,” Carney writes, “does not necessarily mean that greedy relatives are pulling the plug on the dying or forcing the sickly to extend their lives into a lower taxed period.”

“Not necessarily,” but apparently this happens. The rich really are different.

Carney says “death elasticity” in response to estate-tax changes is measurable:

Economists Wojciech Kopczuk of Columbia University and Joel Slemrod of the University of Michigan studied how mortality rates in the United States were changed by falling estate taxes. They note that while the evidence of “death elasticity” is “not overwhelming,” every $10,000 in available tax savings increases the chance of dying in the low-tax period by 1.6 percent. This is true both when taxes are falling, so that people are surviving longer to achieve the tax savings, and when they are rising, so that people are dying earlier, according to Kopczuk and Slemrod.

If I understand that correctly, “every $10,000 in available tax savings increases the chance of dying in the low-tax period by 1.6 percent” and thus every $10,000 in additional tax costs decreases the change of dying in the high-tax period by 1.6 percent.

So all we need to do is raise the estate tax by $625,000, and rich people will never die.

* * * * * * * * *

I only know what I hear on Fox News and what I hear on radio.”

“For Santorum and the conservative media, however, the question was not who would win or lose, but rather, how might they generate the most revenue.”

“I think when you define people who look differently than you as illegal aliens, and use that term over and over again, and talk about self-deporting them, that’s a tolerance issue.”

“Pardon me, madam, but I have been in your country of Australia for ten days and the only Aborigines I’ve seen have been drunk on the street, and at least if we were in my country they would be serving the drinks at this conference!”

“I’d still be leeching resources from a healthy body if I’d behaved myself.”

“The senators of the Mid-Atlantic did not vote against disaster relief for the Gulf Coast or for the people of Joplin, Missouri or for dealing with the Colorado wildfires or for flood victims along the Mississippi River.”

“If there are things we can do with the cheap money the world is flinging at us that would make the U.S. economy more competitive in the longer run, we should take advantage.”

The best plan for reducing the debt is full employment.”

“Come Dec. 31, Washington’s inaction could push the country’s milk prices to as much as $6 to $8 per gallon unless Congress passes a farm bill renewing federal support for agriculture programs.”

“The Senate version of the farm bill passed with relative ease over the summer, but House Republicans haven’t even brought a competing proposal to the floor for a vote.”

“As the defined benefit pension paradigm fades away, the natural and proper thing would be to rely more on Social Security as a vehicle for ensuring adequate living standards for senior citizens.”

“For 200 years the existence of the union movement has been wedded to the rise of democracy.”

“GiveDirectly remains an outlier in the development arena, perhaps the only organization that distributes private donations, made online, directly to the poor with no strings attached.”

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  • Guest

    “A survey released by Fairleigh Dickinson University earlier this year determined that Fox News viewers were actually less informed that Americans who watched no news at all.”

    So Fox News really does make people dumber? I know people have said that before, but I assumed it was a joke.

  • DorothyD

    “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” 

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    I am pretty much convinced that Fox News is Milgram’s Experiment put into practice as psychology applied to branding.  By setting themselves up as authority figures that the audience can trust (simultaneously undermining trust in other potential authority figures) they can get people to believe things which are untrue, simply by continuing to assert the truth of these fabrications (which like any fiction work best if they contain at least a kernel of truth albeit one grossly and inaccurately extrapolated from.)  Once they have someone buying that, even a little, cognitive dissonance does the rest, getting the person to rationalize that untruth themselves until they believe nothing else.  

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ann-Unemori/100001112760232 Ann Unemori

    Sooner or later even the richest folk will get around to dying, it’s not the kind of thing you can put off forever.
    100% of all smokers die.
    So do 100% of all non-smokers.

  • Null_void

    So far, humanity has a 93% mortality rate, assuming 100 billion people throughout history.

  • DorothyD

    Sooner or later even the richest folk will get around to dying, it’s not the kind of thing you can put off forever.

    Oh, Fred’s just being silly. 

    If I understand that article, “death elasticity” means that certain events can have an effect on whether someone who perhaps is already on death’s door will “decide” to die a day or two sooner or later. The researchers were looking specifically at historic instances of changes in the estate tax laws and linking that with death rates before and after the changes took effect. The effect they found may have something to do with misreporting of time of death, but apparently there is some precedent:

    It’s well-known that people can delay death, for example, in order to live through significant dates—birthdays, holidays, anniversaries. In the first week of 2000, local New York City hospitals recorded an astonishing 50.8 percent more deaths than in the last week of 1999, according to the New York Times. Apparently, a significant
    number of people delayed their deaths in order to see the new millennium.

    Fascinating.

  • Lori

    The death rate for elderly observant Jews is apparently higher after Yom Kippur. They hang on to do the high holy days one more time and then they’re ready to go.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    What’s your point?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ann-Unemori/100001112760232 Ann Unemori

    Only that pretty much everyone dies eventually. I do understand about estate tax and all that, but just musing on the idea of rich people refusing to die. It’s not like they get an option not to.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Your smoking example set off my hair trigger alert for bullshit anti-tobacco control propaganda. As you were.

  • Tricksterson

    Tell that to Walt Disney ;D

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    “So all we need to do is raise the estate tax by $625,000, and rich people will never die.”

    eliminate it completely and they will die when they want and not have to suffer from greedy kin or their own sense of duty to their non greedy kin. The estate tax is insane. How can you tax dying? People already pay taxes. 

    ““Come Dec. 31, Washington’s inaction could push the country’s milk prices to as much as $6 to $8 per gallon unless Congress passes a farm bill renewing federal support for agriculture programs.””

    we’ll all go vegan then. I’m willing to eat that gross ice cream to spite the horrible farm lobby.

    gtg I’m knee deep in this Hagel thing

  • EllieMurasaki

    The problem that the estate tax is meant to solve is the thing where Jack Sr works hard and gets rich and accumulates a pile of money, because Jack Sr is a good conservative or at least a person approved of by good conservatives, and Jack Jr’s life consists of spending Jack Sr’s money, because Jack Jr has no personal familiarity with the need to work in order to acquire money and is therefore the kind of person good conservatives are supposed to disapprove of.

    Also the thing where Jack Sr’s money is what gets Jack III, Jack IV, and Jack V into the Senate.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    It’s more than Jack Sr pisses and moans about his hard work being taxed, so we keep relatively low rates of taxation on the wealth he acquires while he’s still around to sit on it. Jack Jr didn’t work for that money so he has less sympathy when he complains about taxes being taken from his inheritance.

    Estate tax is a sop to people who want to minimise the taxes they have to pay when they could be otherwise spending (or accumulating) the money. If Chris wants to eliminate the estate tax, that’s fine as long as there’s an equivalent rise in capital gains taxes.

  • EllieMurasaki

    I was actually trying to frame it in a way Chris Hadrick might see the point of, but yeah.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Good luck with that!

  • EllieMurasaki

    I’m an optimist.

  • Lori

     

    gtg I’m knee deep in this Hagel thing   

    WTH does this even mean? Is there some particular reason that you’re getting yourself all worked up about this?

  • stardreamer42

     The Federal estate tax doesn’t even begin to apply until your estate is more than $5,000,000. Just so you know.

  • DorothyD

    The current tax is 35% on estates of greater than $5,000,000. Barring congressional action it will revert to 55% on estates of greater than $1,000,000. Hence speculation of hastened deaths. 

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    The estate tax is insane. How can you tax dying? People already pay taxes.

    I believe that the intent of the tax is to discourage people hording their wealth until they die.  The idea being, “You can’t take it with you, you might as well put it back into economic circulation.”  

    To keep the wealth concentrated in one spot, even if it is an individual family, encourages dynastic aspirations.  As a nation that refuses to recognize formal nobility, I can see why such a thing is in place in the U.S.

  • cminus

    The estate tax is insane. How can you tax dying?

    With reference to the fundamental philosophic underpinning of capitalism, Adam Smith’s “The Wealth of Nations”.

    It may, however, sometimes be otherwise with those children, who, in the language of the Roman law, are said to be emancipated; in that of the Scotch law, to be foris-familiated; that is, who have received their portion, have got families of their own, and are supported by funds separate and independent of those of their father. Whatever part of his succession might come to such children, would be a real addition to their fortune, and might, therefore, perhaps, without more inconveniency than what attends all duties of this kind, be liable to some tax.

    He was even more direct in his lectures, arguing “there is no point more difficult to account for than the right we conceive men to have to dispose of their goods after death”, and “the most absurd of all suppositions [is] that every successive generation of men have not an equal right to the earth”.  Which makes sense, if like Adam Smith you understand that the concept of inheritance is actually quite antithetical to capitalism.  Capitalism works when capital is free to flow to its most productive uses; distributing capital based on familial ties is inefficient in itself, and the error tends to compound over generations.  I can’t find the reference with a quick Google-fu, but I seem to recall that one of Smith’s students suggested that, in theory, the ideal capitalist society would have a 100% inheritance tax as its only tax.

  • The_L1985

     Er, you do realize that vegetables come from farming just as much as dairy, right?  “Agriculture” = FARMING of all kinds, not just dairy.

  • P J Evans

     Wheat for the bread he eats, too. And all the food for the cattle and sheep and chickens and turkeys. Grain to go into beers and hard liquors; grapes for wine and brandy.

  • The_L1985

    Baby steps.  If he doesn’t realize that veggies are farmed, then the fact that all the rest of what he eats and drinks (except water, unless he hunts for food) is farmed as well is going to go right over his head.

  • P J Evans

     True. But I figure even someone who doesn’t eat veggies will eat bread. Or some kind of meat or poultry.

    Home gardens come under ‘environmental horticulture’.

  • Lliira

    The number of commenters saying “we should not let Florida or Alabama or Texas or etc. have any disaster relief!” on that Booman post is sickening. You wanna punish me for some dumbass senator I didn’t vote for? How about the children in my apartment building? Or, since you apparently hate us all passionately and believe we have a hivemind and should all (especially poor people, as they are hit worst by disasters) be punished for the political sins of others, what about the environment? If you can’t give a damn about human beings, maybe you can give a damn about manatees.

  • AnonymousSam

    Only the huge ones.

  • Nirrti

     “They are still grieving, The grieving process should only be six months. If it goes on
    for more than six months, it could go into a major depression.”

    Oh boo effin’ hoo.

    I came down with an honest to god depression several years ago and had to go to the only hospital in my area who’d take the uninsured, a state-run facility the state repubs have tried their dardest to shut down.

    They initially put me on the state’s behavioral health plan to pay for my meds and oupatient treatment. That is..until the repubs cut the state’s behavioral health insurance program. So I was left to pay $250 a month for meds plus doctor’s fees. If you ain’t got the money, no mental health care for you. Of course these clueless shit birds wouldn’t know nor care about that anyway.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Re the first part of the post and economic timing of life…

    In mid-2004 the Australian government introduced the Baby Bonus, a $3000 lump sum payment to parents of babies born on or after 1 July 2004. A couple of economists (one now an MP) did some interesting research on what happened: http://andrewleigh.org/pdf/BabyBonus.pdf

    More babies were born on 1 July 2004 than any other day in Australian history. There were many fewer births in late June than expected. It looks like about 1000 planned births (inductions and elective cesareans) had their date shifted so that the baby would be born into the eligibility period. A similar thing happened 2 years later when it was announced the payment would be higher from 1 July 2006. More of the babies born in early July were high birthweight than those born in late June.
    Here’s the thing: delayed birth beyond full-term and high birthweight are both health risks for newborns (as is elective cesarean in the absence of complicating factors, but that’s another story). So the data suggested that parents were changing their plans in response to an economic incentive, even though it created extra risk for their child’s health, and that medical staff went along with it en-masse.

    When this research was pointed out to politicians they blustered about how dare anyone suggest that mothers make decisions based on anything other than their baby’s health outrage outrage to which the bewildered response was…but, data.

    I expect the same thing happens with the data about the other end of life.

  • EllieMurasaki

    If the risk of getting a medical complication from delaying birth long enough to get the three thousand dollars is exactly ten percent and the expense of treating that complication is less than thirty thousand dollars, then the reward is worth the risk on numbers alone. Numbers out ass obviously, but plug in the right numbers and the point holds.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    It’s Australia. If there are complications due to a delayed birth that cost $30,000, the parents don’t get a $30,000 bill.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Oh. Duh. Sorry. It makes even better sense that way.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Isn’t it possible the birth records were simply forward-dated?

  • DorothyD

    The article says the “late” babies had a higher birth weight, so it seems the births actually were delayed.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Possible but, given that the July babies apparently had a higher average birth weight than the June babies, unlikely.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Isn’t it possible the birth records were simply forward-dated?

    You mean a coordinated effort on behalf of the medical establishment nationally, overlooked by the statistical auditors, to defraud the Commonwealth? Not very likely.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    It can look like a conspiracy when there are hundreds of independent ad-hoc efforts by parents to get medical professionals to “adjust” birth records due to a certain incentive.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    I hope the poor guy who wrote the piece about the Republican cruise was well paid because God, what an assignment.

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    Ellie= I get the argument for the estate tax, that junior should make his own fortune, but  I think the money belongs to the person who earned it and simply transferring it to another person is not a logical thing to tax. I’m a bit biased though as I am opposed to all taxes. 

    Lori- Hagel’s foreign policy views are about as good as it gets in the DC metro area so I am pulling for the nomination. The Israel Lobby is up in arms over it. Sorry to be so blunt but that is what’s happening. There are other opponents of the nomination but it’s a drop in the bucket compared to those guys. I’ll name names later. 

  • EllieMurasaki

    Every transaction is taxed, Chris. The taxes are waived in certain cases, such as for gifts of under thirteen thousand dollars in a year, or any merchandise sold in the state of Delaware, but every transaction is taxed. Why should transactions between a parent’s eight-figure estate and the inheriting child be tax-free? What benefit is there to society by waiving the tax in those instances?

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Ellie= I get the argument for the estate tax, that junior should make his own fortune, but I think the money belongs to the person who earned it and simply transferring it to another person is not a logical thing to tax.

    So we should burn all a person’s assets when they die?

  • Consumer Unit 5012

     So we should burn all a person’s assets when they die?

    Of course not.  That would be silly. 

    Rich people need to be buried in a pyramid with all their worldly wealth and slaves, so they can continue to reign in the afterlife.  The rest of us will continue to be their serfs, in accordance with the Divine Plan.  :-P

  • Tricksterson

    Or their family could throw a massive http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potlatch Potlatch

  • Mark Z.

     You bastard, you beat me to it.

  • Mark Z.

    So we should burn all a person’s assets when they die?

    Build a pyramid!

  • EllieMurasaki

    According to the hawk god Horus, our most regal invalid is not that much longer for us–build another pyramid! He must have a vault that’s grand by any standards, floor to lid–put five thousand slaves on standby! Build another pyramid!

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     

    Ellie= I get the argument for the estate tax, that junior should make
    his own fortune, but  I think the money belongs to the person who earned
    it and simply transferring it to another person is not a logical thing
    to tax.

    I am not entirely unsympathetic to this argument. That said, “simply transferring [money] to another person” is how all taxes work.

  • Lori

     

    That said, “simply transferring [money] to another person” is how all taxes work.   

    This is a fact which a surprising number of estate tax haters fail to grasp. There’s no “onesie” rule on taxation and the estate tax is not “doubling dipping”. I have known more than one otherwise intelligent person who was totally unable to wrap their head around this, so it’s not really a surprise that someone whose thinking is a generally muddled as Chris Hadrick’s is can’t get it.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Like I said above, I think it really is pot-of-gold fantasyland thinking and harshing their buzz.

  • Lori

    Yes, I guess so. I knew one otherwise intelligent person who actually
    believed that people were losing family businesses and farms because of
    the estate tax. She was sure that her family was going to have to sell
    her grandmother’s house to pay the taxes when she died.

    First I pointed out that even with the real estate boom it was highly unlikely that her grandmother’s house was worth enough to create an onerous tax burden. I then pointed out that very few actual family businesses or farms are effected by the estate tax at all and that for those that are the proximate cause of any losses is not the estate tax but a criminally stupid failure to do basic estate planning. She just looked at me like I was speaking Urdu or something.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    I’ve also heard the IRS is very accommodative of payment plans on estate taxes, as well.

  • Lori

    The IRS, for all that people loath them, is actually pretty accommodative on payment plans for most people who don’t owe because they were actively trying to cheat on their taxes. (The problem with the IRS isn’t that they treat most people badly, it’s that they treat some innocent people unbelievably badly and once they turn on you it’s really hard to escape.)

  • The_L1985

     You are opposed to ALL taxes?

    Then I guess you’re opposed to all roads, postage, schools, city electrical grids, city sewage and plumbing systems, firefighters, police officers, libraries, telephone lines, and all forms of safety regulation and enforcement that ensure that your food isn’t full of rats and their droppings, your daily vitamin isn’t actually poison or cocaine, your car doesn’t randomly explode, and your computer isn’t made of components that will kill you?

    After all, every single one of those things is paid for with our taxes.

  • Donalbain

    Inheritance tax (not death tax, as once someone is dead, they cannot pay taxes) is, in my opinion one of the best forms of taxation. We tax income, that is just how the system works, (and if you oppose all taxes, then get the fuck out of our society, you whining fuck) and it just seems fairer to me to tax unearned income as opposed to greater taxation on earned income.

  • http://loosviews.livejournal.com BringTheNoise

     Nailed it. If I’m paying tax on the money I actually did something to earn, then why would I possibly get upset at paying it on money I get literally by accident of birth?

  • wendy

    The estate tax was originally thought up, and heavily lobbied for, by Andrew Carnegie. 

    His point was 

    1) A hereditary aristocracy would be a bad thing for America.

    2) Letting money accumulate in too few places keeps it from flowing through the economy. Also bad for America.

    3) People who’ve amassed great fortunes in their lifetimes probably know better than most of us how best to spend a great fortune. They absolutely know better than their children and grandchildren who contributed nothing to the amassing of that fortune. Putting a great big whopping tax on that pile once the person who amassed it is no longer there to personally direct it provides an incentive for the earner to DO SOMETHING USEFUL WITH IT before he dies. 

    Carnegie’s personal choice was libraries… but I suspect he’d be just as pleased about Bill Gates trying to eradicate polio and malaria and bring family planning to every woman in the world. 

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    Ellie- I don’t see something being “good for society” as a reason to force someone to do it.  Respecting peoples private property is better for society. Carnegie was wrong so was Adam Smith. It’s not the end of the world though.

    Chuck Hagel for president.

  • Carstonio

    Respecting peoples private property is better for society.

     

    That’s almost an argument against all taxes, not just inheritance taxes. Government is somewhat like a giant cooperative where responsibilities are shared for the common good. It’s reasonable to require people to pay more taxes when they can afford to pay more. 

  • Donalbain

     Chris has already said he opposes all taxes.

  • Carstonio

    That’s a recipe for no roads, schools, libraries or defense. Or else all these would be funded by user fees. A society only for those who can afford it.

  • Donalbain

     No.. if we only had enough faith in the Holy Free Market, then all of those things would be provided by It’s beneficence.

  • BaseDeltaZero

    Exactly.

  • Beroli

     

    Respecting peoples private property is better for society.

    You have no basis for believing you have any clue what is better for society. Everything you post is knee-jerk and circular: Taxes are bad because they are taxes, starvation is mildly regrettable but unless it’s caused by taxes it’s not really bad.

  • EllieMurasaki

    So no one should be forced to pay for the goods they acquire, on the grounds that it being good for society to pay your way isn’t a good enough reason to insist that people pay their way?

  • wendy

    Carnegie was wrong? Do you really think he amassed that fortune with no help from society (through government?)

    The railroads that were the single biggest customer for his steel were heavily subsidized by government. His second biggest customer was pipes for city water mains, also a government purchase. When his steelworkers tried to unionize, when the miners who dug up the raw materials for steel tried to unionize, it was government troops who protected Carnegie’s interests. 

    How is society collectively, through government, not entitled to take back half of what’s left after he’s spent all he can spend in his entire life? 

  • cminus

     Carnegie was wrong so was Adam Smith.

    As a matter of logic, Adam Smith was not wrong.  His elucidation of how capitalism, properly understood and with all necessary preconditions met, provides for the most efficient distribution of resources has survived every challenge thrown at it for well over two centuries.  His identification of the necessary preconditions, and the grounds for their necessity, has proven similarly ironclad.

    Now, you may be of the opinion that Adam Smith’s failure is in the realm of ethics, not of logic — “even if inheritance taxes are the most appropriate form of tax for a capitalist society, they are inherently immoral and should not be levied”.  But once you make that argument, you have descended into the realm of subjective value judgments, and your assertions have no more inherent value than mine or Fred’s or anyone else’s.  And, frankly, in the court of public opinion your plan for a society without taxation — or, as it also known, “anarchy” — is certain to finish well behind Adam Smith’s, or even Karl Marx’s.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    See, I tend to think of all my money as already belonging to the government.  They printed it, and they are the ones backing up its value.  To the extent that the money is “mine” it is because they trust me to shuffle it around to other actors in the systems, occasionally removing a percentage (while trusting me with the rest) to shuffle it around on orders of scale I could never manage as an individual.  I am more like someone who rent’s the government’s service.  The accommodations are “mine” but only at the sufferance of the party from which I am receiving service.  

    “All the worlds’ an MMO, and all the men and women merely players.”  

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    Nah. MMORPGSs actually work on largely objectivist terms. The more you put in, the more you get out. No one is disabled or sick or too old or too young to get rich. Everyone has the natural ability to smack around dragons so long as they’ve practiced enough. Heck, no one even dies permanently. Everyone pays you what they promised to pay you. No one needs money to pay the rent — well, in EQ2 you do (last I knew), but it’s a tiny amount of your income. If you lose your home, it’s because you didn’t bother to play the game, and you can get it back merely by playing the game a bit.

    I never give any money to (player character) beggars in MMORPGSs, ever. I always charge the most I possibly can and still sell the items at auction houses, and get annoyed with people who do not. It’s fun to play in a fantasy where what I get really does equal what I put in. I don’t think anything in the real world works that way.

  • Carstonio

    I might be showing my age (mid-40s) when I say that my usual comparison of that ideology is not to RPGs but to Monopoly. 

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    But in Monopoly, the banker always cheats (in my experience), and you are dependent on luck for getting good die rolls. Skill and guile also have something to do with it.

    MMORPGs reward time expended. And that is IT. While if you have a certain skill set, you may be able to get certain shinies before others can, those others can get the exact same shinies eventually too.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Funny you mention time spent… at one point ISTR the Canadian or US militaries would promote on a very strict X number of years schedule. So you put in your 20 years and you pretty much automatically got your retirement and military pension at the rank of Colonel or summat.

    (Talk about being socialist! :P )

  • PatBannon

    Not exactly. Some MMORPGs reward effort expended at a certain time. In World of WarCraft, many expansions ago, there was an event called the Opening of the Gates of Ahn’Qiraj, and people who were there at that specific time were able to get a special item. If you were not there at that specific time, no amount of time expended would ever get you that item. You couldn’t even get it from someone else who had it, items like this are “soulbound” (cannot be traded). That’s just one example of many.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    Yes, sometimes you have to be in the right place at the right time. And sometimes the psuedo-random number generator seems to hate you. But nothing like that makes the game easier to play in the long run; and “in the long run” means a couple months in this kind of game.

    I played WoW from pre-Burning Crusade until early-mid Cataclysm, with a break during the lull of WotLK. Before and during the lull, I played EQ2. I’ve played Rift and Lord of the Rings online (both good), and am now playing Star Wars: ToR (Bioware, I hate you as much as I love you). So… yeah. Lots of experience with this stuff. Lots of experience with purples I expended tons of time getting being worthless once an expansion pack came out. Lots of experience with “HOW much time did I just spend to get this shiny/help others get the shiny/listening to other people being yelled at in order to get shinies?” Enough that I’ve decided not to ever join a raiding guild again.

    And the great thing about it is, I don’t have to. I won’t starve if I don’t join a raiding guild in-game. No one will be hurt. I can just keep bopping along, making money my own way, roleplaying with my husband (I also will not join another roleplaying guild as the way 95% of people in these games roleplay makes my teeth hurt), doing quests, having fun with the story, writing my own headcanon fanfic, working for stuff that looks neat rather than worrying about its stats, etc. No drudgery necessary. Such wonderful escapism.

  • PatBannon

    There we are in agreement. I made the same decision to stop joining raiding guilds about a year before I finally quit MMOs proper, both for lack of time and, well, for this.

    http://penny-arcade.com/comic/2012/12/05

    The ability to just do whatever the hell you want and do as well for yourself as the people who treat it like a job is a signature feature of MMOs’ escapism, I think you hit the nail on the head there. I remember, for a period of three weeks or so, I had the market on Mithril Bars cornered on an entire World of Warcraft server. I would stalk the AH, and I even had two minions helping me, buying up all the Mithril as fast as people would put it on and relisting it at my vastly higher prices. There was a ton of complaint, and people personally trading it back and forth in front of me to spite me, but I successfully screwed the market for the most part and made an enormous profit.

    But…I didn’t cause anyone to lose their job.* I didn’t take money out of starving people’s pockets. I didn’t cause sick people  not to get medicine. Sure, I crashed an economy and laughed at the wreckage from atop of the huge pile of money I made from it, but, y’know, it was virtual. I wasn’t actually hurting anyone. It’s a great way to get out those kinds of urges.

    * Maybe some Chinese gold farmers, now that I think about it. But I doubt it, it wasn’t a major server.

  • depizan

    and am now playing Star Wars: ToR (Bioware, I hate you as much as I love you)

    I’d hate to derail this thread, so… is there anywhere we could burble about SW:TOR that wouldn’t be a derail.  I’d love to know what you love and hate.  *loves, and frequently headdesks/rants about, SW:TOR*

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    Heh. I’m probably going to post about SW:TOR on my blog pretty soon. Though I have been severely lacking in spoons lately (translation: in tons of pain), so “soon” may be relative.

  • Vermic

    And the great thing about it is, I don’t have to. I won’t starve if I don’t join a raiding guild in-game. No one will be hurt. I can just keep bopping along, making money my own way, roleplaying with my husband (I also will not join another roleplaying guild as the way 95% of people in these games roleplay makes my teeth hurt), doing quests, having fun with the story, writing my own headcanon fanfic, working for stuff that looks neat rather than worrying about its stats, etc. No drudgery necessary. Such wonderful escapism.

    I wish I could like this twice.

  • Carstonio

    I mean that the Just World folks imagine that real life operates like Monopoly, conveniently leaving out the role of luck. 

  • EllieMurasaki

    Or the ‘if you give/sell me Park Place to go with my Boardwalk and my green trio, you’ll never have to pay rent on a green or blue property’ factor. Good for the person who thereby escapes rent on the most expensive side of the board. Better for the person who owns that side of the board. Sucks ass for all the other players.

  • Turcano

    Feh, going for the blue properties is a sucker’s game.  The ones you really want are the orange and red properties.  And buy as many houses as you can, but don’t buy hotels, which prevents the houses from going back into circulation and allowing other players to develop.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Though the economy does seem, in one crucial respect, to be like playing Monopoly with my kid brother (until several years ago when he finally grew out of this). If it started looking like there wasn’t any way he could win, he’d overturn the board. Which is exactly what the whole debt-ceiling fiscal-cliff crisis is: certain players aren’t winning (for given values of ‘winning’), so they don’t want anyone to be able to play.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

     Which is exactly what the whole debt-ceiling fiscal-cliff crisis is:
    certain players aren’t winning (for given values of ‘winning’), so they
    don’t want anyone to be able to play.

    More like the other way around:  They ARE winning,  so they’ll burn the game before they let anyone else change that.

  • EllieMurasaki

    They’re not winning. We know this because there’s some money that’s not in their pockets and they don’t own everything on the board.

  • http://twitter.com/Didaktylos Paul Hantusch

    My proposal on reform of taxation of inherited wealth: don’t tax estates at all. Instead, the value of any BEQUEST in excess of what that person would have received had the decedent died intestate should be treated as part of that year’s taxable income.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Which, if the decedent has a spouse, two kids, and thirty million dollars, means each of the beneficiaries gets ten million dollars tax-free, unless the decedent decides one kid is getting five million and the other fifteen, in which case the only tax is on five million of the kid with fifteen.
    No.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Adam Smith had things to say about people being selective in condemning the evils of labor unions as a form of monopoly while failing to condem business monopolies or oligopolies.

    He also had good things to say about progressive income taxes.

    In short, he said a lot of things people like Chris Hadrick love to ignore in their simplistic belief that if things were set up just so then the world would be perfect.

    I find it unbelievable that the USA, which had a functioning inheritance tax regime for decades prior to 2001, and high marginal income tax rates on the wealthy at times in the past, is having such trouble conceptualizing that these things are possible today.

    The blame for that can be laid squarely at the feet of Ronald Reagan and people like Chris Hadrick who swallow uncritically fatuous loads of crap like: “I’m from the government and I’m here to solve your problem.”

    Reagan should have stuck with acting.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

     Reagan should have stuck with acting.

    He did.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    Y’all? Why are you bothering to argue with a rah rah capitalist who claims “Carnegie was wrong and so was Adam Smith”?

    I’m not saying you shouldn’t do it. But I don’t really understand the point. This is how every thread Chris Hadrick posts in goes: they all become entirely about the extremely weird stuff Chris Hadrick says. 

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    For Chris Hadrick:

    Some taxes and fees are going up in BC and in Canada.

    Newsflash: We are not seeing a totally dysfunctional government full of jerks who can’t countenance the possibility lest they hold a mass faint-a-thon in the legislature.

    Some provincial marginal tax rates are going up for the richest.

    SHOCK OMG….er, no. The sky hasn’t fallen in.

    Chris Hadrick, I mean it in all seriousness when I say that you and your ilk are  like fucking five-year-old kids having a squalling temper tantrum because you’re not getting your way on taxes. Why someone hasn’t taken the collective you across the knee and given you a smack on the ass is beyond me.

  • hidden_urchin

    SHOCK OMG….er, no. The sky hasn’t fallen in.

    Really?  Really? 

    If that’s true then what is this, eh?  We’re onto you, Invisible Neutrino.  Look at the video: the sky is all over the ground.

    (I’m just teasing you a bit.  The last time we had snow down here I completely forgot what to call it and settled on “that white stuff falling from the sky.”  I hope all y’all stay safe up there now that winter’s really kicking in.)

  • EdinburghEye

    Chris: I get the argument for the estate tax, that junior should make his own
    fortune, but  I think the money belongs to the person who earned it and
    simply transferring it to another person is not a logical thing to tax.

    It is perfectly logical: it avoids setting up a permanent oligarchical aristocracy.

    I don’t see something being “good for society” as a reason to force
    someone to do it.  Respecting peoples private property is better for
    society.

    Estate tax is not in any way intrusive on “private property”. A dead person owns no property. The estate is taxed before it becomes someone else’s private property.

    I am, however, fairly convinced that the kind of person who objects to all taxes is the kind of libertarian who would only really be happy in a medieval state where he could be king of it: and a king generally has no objection to setting up an aristocracy to be his support in his monarchy.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    I think it was Asimov who quipped that all the people who moon over the pastoral era of the Middle Ages forget the fact that there is a 90% chance they’d wind up as a serf or a lowly guild apprentice rather than as some kind of manorial lord.

    I think he was particularly sensitized to that because his ancestry goes back to Eastern European Jews, who were not exactly welcomed in that era.

    Libertarians seem to have a similar blind spot.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Pretty sure Asimov was one of the people who said that. Dunno if he was the first. And I wish I could remember where to find the study to the effect of, ask people to design an ideal society, the results track the designers’ political views, but ask the same people to design an ideal society where their place in it is assigned at random, the results are much more equitable.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    I know Rawls is famous for his “Veil of Ignorance” construct which leads to people naturally proposing a welfare state and other such protections because they have no prior knowledge of what their station in life will be.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    I think the people involved would reject Asimov’s observation — they believe that there is some skill involved in being the lord rather than a serf, and that it is the very qualities which make them moon over the middle ages that would have made them rise to the top in the feudal system.

    They don’t believe that there’s a 90% chance of “anyone” being a serf –they believe that 90% of people are fit only to be serfs, and that they are in the remaining 10%

  • EllieMurasaki

    Which boils down to patting themselves on the back for having the wisdom to choose the right parents.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    I did have a libertarian friend years back who claimed that all people were poor because of laziness, but that “sometimes it’s the inherited laziness of their ancestors.” He went on to explain that if, as he believed, it was normal and proper for a child to inherit the benefits of their parents’ hard work, it was also fitting and proper for them to inherit the disadvantages of their parents’ laziness.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Did he read too much Lamarck, or something?

  • EllieMurasaki

    *headdesk*

  • Lori

    Gawd, some people are such assholes.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

     He went on to explain that if, as he believed, it was normal and
    proper for a child to inherit the benefits of their parents’ hard work,
    it was also fitting and proper for them to inherit the disadvantages of
    their parents’ laziness.

    “Is there anything more American than punishing children for an unwise choice of parents?  I don’t think so.”

    (Can’t remember who said this, but it’s worth repeating.)

  • Lori

    There was skill involved in being a good lord, but skill had very little to do with becoming a lord or remaining one. People didn’t do much “rising to the top” in a feudal system. People weren’t serfs because they were unfit for anything else, they were serfs because their parents were serfs.

    This is a libertarian blind spot.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

     They don’t believe that there’s a 90% chance of “anyone” being a serf –they believe that 90% of people are fit only to be serfs, and that they are in the remaining 10%

    So how come most of them ain’t rich NOW?

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     Because of taxes and regulations. Duh.

  • Lori

     

    So how come most of them ain’t rich NOW?   

    Government interference in the market.

    Just trying saying that with a straight face. I know I can’t.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    a king generally has no objection to setting up an aristocracy to be his support in his monarchy

    Historically speaking, monarchies and their aristocracies, in Europe at least, do not get along very well. The smart monarchs make common cause with the people against the aristocracy, while treating the aristocracy with a certain amount of respect because that’s the way society works. But the monarchy and the aristocracy are natural enemies. 

    The people expected monarchs to protect them against their local aristocrats. The crown’s law being above the local aristocrat’s law was a hard-fought battle. When the monarchs instead were seen by the people as taking the aristocracy’s side, it often ended in said monarchs losing their thrones and, in a certain memorable case, their heads.

  • EdinburghEye

     That is a very romantic and unrealistic view of monarchy and aristocracy. …  but I guess that’s what you have in a country where you have an aristocracy without a monarch.

  • http://www.aqualgidus.org/ Michael Chui

    The correct analogy isn’t kingship, as Lliira pointed out. It’s a cult with a leader and an inner circle. The main reason they haven’t formed cults is largely a lack of ideas and a lack of charisma.

    …and apparently logging in means that the Reply link doesn’t hook up. Bah.

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    Wendy- the railroads were massively overbuilt as a result of subsidies. People loved being able to travel there was no reason for Washington to get involved at all.  they sold themselves, like crack

    cminus -I meant he was wrong on that issue. Obviously I believe he was correct in the general. i’m fine for taxing people for what they use. gas tax i have no problem with it pays for roads. income tax is wrong.  1913 : begining of income tax and federal reserve system. dumb year. 

    I’m not an objectivist just fyi.  I ‘ve never read Ayn Rand. I watch CNBC and read “Defending the Undefendable” and Mises and stuff like that.  

    “The blame for that can be laid squarely at the feet of Ronald Reagan and people like Chris Hadrick”

    I accept the blame  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qGwp-9mCKC0

    The Estate tax is morbid. “We’re very sorry for your loss, can we have our share of the money now?” .  Is it so important to squeeze every last drop out of the population?

  • EllieMurasaki

    Do you want to levy individual taxes for education, police protection, military, anti-poverty programs, national parks, inspecting your goddamn fucking chicken to ensure it contains no goddamn fucking chicken shit–
    Wait, I’m talking to Chris Hadrick. There’s got to be more productive ways to spend New Year’s.

  • EdinburghEye

    Smartest thing I’ve read in 2013.

    Anyone who thinks taxes are bad and everything should be private enterprise should get the hell off the Internet.

  • Lori

     

    The Estate tax is morbid. “We’re very sorry for your loss, can we have
    our share of the money now?” .  Is it so important to squeeze every last
    drop out of the population?   

    This is quite possibly the most ridiculous statement that I’ve ever seen about the estate tax, and that’s saying something.

    You’re touching concern for the poor delicate feelings of the deceased wealthy is terribly touching, especially couple with your total lack of concern for the living non-wealthy.

  • P J Evans

    Do you have actual sources for your assertions, or are you pulling them off some Libertarian/Randian site somewhere?

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    The Estate tax is morbid. “We’re very sorry for your loss, can we have
    our share of the money now?” .  Is it so important to squeeze every last
    drop out of the population?

    You…. do know that the estate transfer tax doesn’t even touch the majority of people?

    What part of “the first $5,000,000 (5 million) of an estate is not taxed” do you not understand?

  • wendy

     the railroads were massively overbuilt as a result of subsidies. People loved being able to travel there was no reason for Washington to get involved at all.  they sold themselves, like crack

    That has to be the stupidest thing you’ve said all year, just ahead of the deadline.

    Decades before the invention of the automobile, vast swathes of continent with nothing even vaguely resembling pavement, a railroad was the only way to travel faster or farther than your horse could run, or with more luggage than your horse could pull. So many determined armed “protesters” it took a whole Army to hold them back. More construction supplies than were needed to build the largest city in the hemisphere. Years of work by tens of thousands of laborers. And even when it was done, it was a full day of travel (via horse) to get to the train station. Because, again… it’s a really big piece of territory they were making transversable. 

    Nobody but a government has that kind of capital. And there’s not that many people wanting to travel, it was farmers and ranchers who eventually needed to move their goods to market that eventually made railroads a profitable ongoing endeavor. Eventually.

  • P J Evans

    A measure of the importance of railroads is the description my mother had of Radical, Kansas: ‘it died because the railroad missed it’.

    In a lot of places, there was inter-urban rail; you could ‘take the cars’ to the nearest city or larger town to shop, or work. People traveled by rail a lot, before 1950.

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    Ellie- It would be a good way to insure the money is actually spent on those things instead of diverted to military and weird subsidies.  

    PJ- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pi1UbezqYII 

  • EllieMurasaki

    No, actually, what it would be is a really good way to ensure that only kids of rich parents get educated and nobody at all gets national parks.

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    edinborough – the internet would be useless and or an elitist tool  if private enterprise hadn’t brought the price of PC’s down. You could probably get into a chicken/ egg argument with that one though. The prices came down in no small part because of the popularity of the internet.

    I reject the argument anyway though. Having computers interact with each other is a good idea for dozens of reasons. The government was using it for military purposes but that only accounts for a fraction of it’s current uses.  

    Wendy – You could build a railroad going from one location to another. You wouldn’t have to build a massive interstate railroad all at once.  

    recent example: The federal government wanted to to build a high speed rail in Florida between Jacksonville and Orlando.  Locals knew there was no demand for such a project but it was being sold largely as a New Deal type make work thing. So politics got in the way of logic and having a high speed rail between two random cities has no value in and of itself. 

    if there’s money to be made people will want to make it. if not, it is probably for some nefarious purpose like vote buying.

    Ellie- we didn’t build the national parks! I live an hour from Purgatory chasm http://activerain.com/image_store/uploads/2/3/0/4/9/ar125150536194032.jpg

    Other than a couple of signs that say “don’t be drunk here” and so forth it is just what was there hundreds of years ago. They’ve commercialized it a bit with a playground and some picnic grills and they have a donation box, but it’s all free and easy. Somehow the world hasn’t spun off it’s axis.

    Also, former Romney advisor Dan Senor is Brainy Smurf in human form

  • EllieMurasaki

    You honestly gonna tell me that the wonders of private enterprise want the Grand Canyon as is, rather than with a thousand little businesses along both edges where their main selling point is the view of the canyon?

  • P J Evans

    He’s wrong about computers and the internet, too. But what else is new….

  • EllieMurasaki

    I figured, but I didn’t feel like looking it up.

  • wendy

    You could build a railroad going from one location to another. You wouldn’t have to build a massive interstate railroad all at once…. (snip) if there’s money to be made people will want to make it. if not, it is probably for some nefarious purpose like vote buying. 

    In 1853, the Northern Light set a world speed record sailing from San Francisco to Boson in only 76 days and some hours. On the transcontinental railroad in the 1870’s, the journey was less than 4 days, and less than 1/10 the cost per ton of freight. Obviously, the benefits to businesses at both ends (not to mention the farmers and ranchers in the less populated zones between) was enormous. Even so, it took fifty years for railroad profits to cover initial construction costs. If the railroads had had to also pay market rates for the land they were built on and the Army that kept the land’s previous residents out of the way, it would have taken 150 years to get any return on investment. 

    Nobody would have invested in that. Nobody. No person, no group of persons, no consortium of banks and industrialists, nobody. Only a government can afford to plan that far ahead. And BTW, the above-mentioned farmers and ranchers… they also didn’t pay money for their land, nor for the Army that made their farms and ranches possible. Government handouts to the citizenry, of territory acquired by government action. 

    This is how we came to be a rich and powerful nation. It didn’t happen by the unregulated magic of the free market or by God’s divine decree. It happened because lots and lots of people combined efforts and resources to create a central government that meddled pretty regularly in combining those efforts and resources. 

    on National Parks… okay, sure, we didn’t “build” them. We built the legal system that could declare and enforce a boundary within which the land would be mostly preserved as it had been before we got there. Where we could all go see it and it wouldn’t be broken up into a series of condo developments. 

  • Münchner Kindl

    And BTW, the above-mentioned farmers and ranchers… they also didn’t pay money for their land, nor for the Army that made their farms and ranches possible. Government handouts to the citizenry, of territory acquired by government action.
    This is how we came to be a rich and powerful nation. It didn’t happen by the unregulated magic of the free market or by God’s divine decree. It happened because lots and lots of people combined efforts and resources to create a central government that meddled pretty regularly in combining those efforts and resources.

    You forgot to say it explictly: STEALING the land from the original owners – the Native Americans. That’s why the Army was needed to “protect” the farmers. Calling it “acquired by government action” is a rather mild euphemism for stealing land and then killing the people who fought back.

  • Tricksterson

    If the government didn’t protect the national parks (except for the parts they don’t, I’ll admit there are big chunks of government land that are “protected” only in the sense that they’re rented out for grazing or logging) Any or all of the following would happen:

    A:  They would be a lot smaller

    B:  They would be logged and stripmined to the ground (which to a certain limited extent the government does anyway as admitted above

    C:  They would be the private preserves of the rich

    D:  They would be commercialized and Disneyfied to within an inch of their lives

    I’ve been where you are and when I saw enough of life I realized that the opposite of some government intervention isn’t an idealistic anarchist paradise it’s either MADMAXland (which depending on my mood I often root for, IMHGO Escape From LA had a happy ending) or feudalism, which I know enough about history to realize sucks.

  • depizan

    I just really wish people who don’t like taxes/government/civilization would go off and try living somewhere without them before attempting to bring about their paradise here.  Maybe they’d find that it’s as awesome as they think.  Somehow I really doubt it.

  • wendy

    Somalia! Libertarian paradise!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7QDv4sYwjO0

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    And if that isn’t sufficient there are also many weakly governed areas of Africa that could qualify as a close approximation. Guess what? Warlords usually rule the roost in such areas.

    Or take the former Yugoslavia. A man named Fikret Abdić carved out a little chunk of Bosnia for himself in the early 1990s.He was only able to do that precisely because the national government no longer functioned.

  • Lori

    I’m back to thinking that Chris Hadrick is a Poe. No single person can be so consistently ridiculous on so many issues. Right?

  • Rhubarbarian82

    Anyone remember the time when Chris said we should lay off all of our firefighters, because we’re in a recession and besides, he’s only seen like two fires his whole life?

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    And he said that while the fires in Colorado were still raging and while knowing people close to other posters had lost everything they had because of said fires.

    I don’t know why he does it, but I do know the effect Chris Hadrick has. He invariably derails the conversation and gets lots and lots and lots of attention for his wacky and offensive ideas. What I’m saying is, Chris Hadrick lives under a bridge and eats billy goats.

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    Ellie- God made the Grand Canyon not the government.

    l1985- I got carried away there. I’m not opposed to all forms of taxation, just the income tax.

    rhubarb- people were using cheap tactics to try and justify the state not having to experience the downturn it caused. Everyone is broke but cops and teachers can get pay raises because they’re “vital”. as if none of us are.

    trickerston- bah.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/coleen-rowley/only-one-good-way-to-brak_b_2384964.html

    ^ something all of us can get behind? except Ellie “wars are jobs” can’t spell her last name

  • EllieMurasaki

    No, that was seventeen million years of the Colorado River. And Theodore Roosevelt made the Grand Canyon National Park. Which is why we still have a Grand Canyon with a phenomenal view, not a Grand Canyon where one side is all winter homes of the sufficiently wealthy and the other side is all tourist attractions and nobody at all has the view of the canyon that the developers and businessowners are advertising.

  • Turcano

    people were using cheap tactics to try and justify the state not having to experience the downturn it caused.

    Wait a cottonpicking minute.  You honestly believe that the government caused the latest recession and not the banking industry that drove two simultaneous market bubbles (real estate and credit default swaps), lobbied for the removal of regulations that prevented them from doing so, and then lobbied for massive bailouts when they burst so it wouldn’t have to “experience the downturn it caused?” And not only the government, but the collective state government, who has no control over the financial sector and actually hires police and firefighters?

    Oh, who am I kidding.  Of course you do.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Is there another Ellie that Chris would expect us to know? Because given the bit he attributes to Ellie with the unspellable last name (even though he certainly has c&p capability), he can’t possibly mean me.

  • Lori

    Everyone is broke but cops and teachers can get pay raises because they’re “vital”. as if none of us are.   

    Are you a state or federal employee Chris? Because if you’re not then your raise or lack thereof is in the hands of the Almighty Market. By your own lights the amount of money you make is what you’re worth. No raise means not worth any more than you’re currently making, right?

  • Lori

    Everyone is broke but cops and teachers can get pay raises because they’re “vital”. as if none of us are.   

    Are you a state or federal employee Chris? Because if you’re not then your raise or lack thereof is in the hands of the Almighty Market. By your own lights the amount of money you make is what you’re worth. No raise means not worth any more than you’re currently making, right?

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    In a recession, cops and teachers are even more vital than in economic expansions:

    1. Crime tends to go up as people resort to petty theft, fraud, etc to keep their wallets full and this means law enforcement needs to be on the ball.
    2. People tend to spend longer in school when there’s an economic downturn. This means teachers need to be kept on and trained. (Even for K-12 this is true; parents who can’t afford daycare can try putting their kids in early kindergarten, or even encouraging their kids to participate in school-sponsored after-school activities.)

    You’re such a fucking five-year-old, Chris Hadrick. It’s all about YOU and YOUR squalling little tantrum over taxes and the government.

    If you really were five, it’d be your chores and your parents.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    In a recession, cops and teachers are even more vital than in economic expansions:

    1. Crime tends to go up as people resort to petty theft, fraud, etc to keep their wallets full and this means law enforcement needs to be on the ball.
    2. People tend to spend longer in school when there’s an economic downturn. This means teachers need to be kept on and trained. (Even for K-12 this is true; parents who can’t afford daycare can try putting their kids in early kindergarten, or even encouraging their kids to participate in school-sponsored after-school activities.)

    You’re such a fucking five-year-old, Chris Hadrick. It’s all about YOU and YOUR squalling little tantrum over taxes and the government.

    If you really were five, it’d be your chores and your parents.

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    My grandfather told me about seeing TR out these digging what had been flat marginal land “one day this will be a canyon, a grand one”.

     I’m not advocating people building on beautiful national parks or selling them off. I’m saying they are there now, they don’t need to be created. 

  • EllieMurasaki

    So you’re willing to reap the benefits of government spending but you don’t want the government to have the money to continue that spending?

  • Daughter

     Oh come on, Chris. Of course the land formations are natural. It’s both keeping them that way (rather than being turned into developments) and keeping them accessible to the public and not just the wealthy, where government is involved.

  • P J Evans

     Or keeping them from being strip-mined or turned into oilfields. Because of course profits are more important than preservation. If you’re a fool.

  • P J Evans

     Or keeping them from being strip-mined or turned into oilfields. Because of course profits are more important than preservation. If you’re a fool.

  • Daughter

     Oh come on, Chris. Of course the land formations are natural. It’s both keeping them that way (rather than being turned into developments) and keeping them accessible to the public and not just the wealthy, where government is involved.

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    Ellie- It was on the other page sorry. 

    PJ- you could have private ownership of those lands and laws against using them for those purposes. 

    Turcano- It was a combination of Wall Street and Washington and when you get down to it, really in the area in between those two entities in the form of people like Alan Greenspan. The real estate bubble was like a religion for them, it was all their illusions rolled into one big thing. Thus it must have made perfect sense for Greenspan to essentially create the bubble by keeping interest rates so low for so long. 

    The dark pools and whatnot did have alot to do with the escalation of it but at it’s root it was something Washington encouraged and Wall Street carried out. 

    That said police and firefighters are not better than other people. They aren’t worse either but if the country is in a recession the WHOLE country should be in one including military contractors, presidents etc . DC has been totally insulated from the recession. Jonathan Chait wrote as much a while back. 

    What we saw in Wisconsin was that blue collar sort of government jobs aren’t DC bigwigs but they aren’t really “us” either. It’s a gray area.  

    neutrino- So if I’m a teacher who cares about a recession you’re benefits and salary will stay the same, enjoy your three month vacation.  If you run a pizza shop you’re expendable go die.  Obviously there is a difference between a cop and a cupcake shop, but you are in danger of a monarchy like situation with the mobs dying in the street while the King has feasts. DC is the King. 

    Lori – That’s right . I can’t vote myself a pay raise.  federal employees aren’t subject to market forces. The Pentagon is an obvious example. They have Rolls Royce budget which made no sense even in the best of times but we can’t not buy Pentagon hamburgers or unsubscribe to their newspaper. 

    daughter- At Purgatory Chasm they have a porta potty which is fine though I wouldn’t use it if you paid me, a decent playground and some picnic tables. I have no problem with any of that and we even left a donation in the thing. 

    So I was willing to pay for what was provided by the entity that provided it who happened to be the local government. Point is, people will pay for things they want including parks. 

  • EllieMurasaki

    you could have private ownership of those lands and laws against using them for those purposes.

    And from whence the paychecks of the people making and enforcing those laws?
    So I was willing to pay for what was provided by the entity that provided it who happened to be the local government. Point is, people will pay for things they want including parks.

    Precisely. Which is WHY the Grand Canyon would, were it not a national park, have one side all winter homes for the sufficiently wealthy and the other side all tourist attractions for the people who can scrape up enough money for a vacation every other year.

  • P J Evans

    Not much for brains in that sub-pontine resident. Hse can hold two contradictory thoughts at the same time, and never notice that they are contradictory.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     Fuck off until you know a damned thing about what you’re saying. I’m not a government employee, but I work with them. And over the past three years, I have watched some of the most talented, intelligent individuals I have ever know, who work long hours doing work essential for keeping this country running — for keeping private business running — get passed over for raises and promotions over and over again because the budget is only going to cover promoting one person this year.

  • Turcano

    Blaming Greenspan for the financial crisis does nothing to help your case; if there were ever a believer in the Invisible Handjob, it would be Alan “I Was A Randroid Before It Was Cool” Greenspan.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    And Greenspan has had no shame in adjusting his political views to conform to the ideology of the present rulers in society.

    When Wall Street wanted easy money to keep the stock market going, Alan Greenspan happily began talking up the “new economy” and all but ignoring the NAIRU as he kept interest rates low enough (with the occasional “warning shot across the bow” rate increase just to keep people believing he was being tough on inflation) to push easy money into the hands of stock market speculators who were willing to believe any old story a dot-com flimflam artist could come up with if it meant rocketing the Dow up another 100 points.

    Then when Shrub came into power, all Alan Greenspan’s careful pronouncements about the need to keep eliminating the national debt to allow him to keep interest rates down went out the window when it was obvious that stamping his imprimatur on Shrub’s ginormous tax cut program would ease the road to an uneventful renomination if he wanted to stay on as Fed Chairman. So Greenspan happily talked up the importance of tax cuts and came up with ridiculous scenarios of what would happen if the national debt were to vanish, such as the idea that the US government would have to start buying stocks in companies to keep government spending going and that would be omgsocialism.

    (The notion that maybe all that extra cash could go into increasing Social Security payments doesn’t seem to have even blipped on Greenspan’s radar)

    So Greenspan, for all his Objectivist credentials, had no problem conforming to the ideology of the day to keep his job.

  • Daughter

    you could have private ownership of those lands and laws against using them for those purposes.

    Doesn’t that violate the libertarian principle that you can use your privte property however you wish?

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    Ross= Why don’t they quit? Oh yeah they can’t because there are no jobs! passed over for a promotion? I heard some of them are have even struggled to make a payment on their beach house. 

    Ellie- They have stuff like that at grand Canyon. There’s a thing where you can walk over the canyon on this invisible porch thing.  All sorts of touristy stuff there. and getting you out there on buses and whatnot. It’s not some pure thing that’s being saved from voracious capitalists.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Clearly I need to break out the diagrams.

    (what the fuck photobucket I do not WANT the new version especially if it does not come with the pop-up-on-hover link provider)
    http://i243.photobucket.com/albums/ff111/chibicallisto/grandcanyon_zps8f91de6b.png
    The top half is Grand Canyon National Park. The black lines are the canyon edges, the red dots are park buildings.

    The bottom half is Libertopian Grand Canyon. The green dots are the winter homes of anyone who wants and can afford a canyon view, the blue dots are restaurants and such where the main selling point is the canyon view.

  • Rhubarbarian82

    I guess if people here will argue with the likes of Winston Blake, then arguing with Chris Hadrick isn’t so terrible in comparison.

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    Daughter- I haven’t a given a ton of thought to it honestly.  National Parks are not as bad an idea as prohibition, I’ll admit that. 

     I don’t think anyone would do any of the stuff people are talking about to the grand Canyon anyway because it’s a cash cow.  Why would you build a waterslide park there when you could just rent a couple of buses and count your money? Plus, it would be bad publicity if you did some really tacky crap.

    I really doubt anyone would buy Purgatory Chasm http://www.mass.gov/dcr/parks/central/purg.htm  and destroy it because there is plenty of local land that is cheaper and you wouldn’t have to do anything to it to build on it and it wouldn’t piss anybody off. If they bought it and tried to charge admission no one would pay it. 

    Turcano- The entire notion of a Federal Reserve is un libertarian. earlier in his career when he was in Rand’s weird cult he had championed the gold standard but moderated his views for personal advancement as Neutrino points out very well.

    Libertarians hate Alan Greenspan. “End the Fed” and all that. 

    Ellie- you are all about doing this and that for “society” yet you block me on twitter. unbelieveable!

  • DorothyD

     I don’t think anyone would do any of the stuff people are talking about to the grand Canyon anyway because it’s a cash cow.

    Ever been to Niagara Falls? 

  • Turcano

    The point of the Federal Reserve, like any other central bank, is to exercise control over your own currency.  If you don’t, economic cycles are much more volatile and much nastier, liquidity falls through the floor in times of crisis, and interest rates, exchange rates, prices and wages all fluctuate rapidly.  There is a reason every country, or at least every country open to the rest of the world, has a central bank.  We’ve been over this several times, but it apparently went in one ear and out the other, just like it probably will this time around as well.

  • Ross Thompson

    Ellie- you are all about doing this and that for “society” yet you block me on twitter. unbelieveable!

    Blocking people on Twitter is incompatible with believing in society? How so? What does that say about people who don’t even use Twitter?

  • Lori

    If anything, blocking Chris Hadrick on Twitter would actually seem to be a move in favor of society. Reducing the level of both stupidity and anger generally a good thing for society.

  • EllieMurasaki

    I am retconning that reasoning into place. My reasoning at the time was it felt stalkery and cross-the-streams-y. (I am perfectly happy to argue with libertrolls here. Twitter is for fannish pursuits. Or it will be whenever I get around to cutting my follow list back to a size that I can keep up with Twitter while employed.)

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    It’s perfectly acceptable to block someone on Twitter simply because they mildly annoy you. Or because you don’t like their picture or handle or… anything. No one has the right to be listened to on the internet.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Thank god I don’t have a  twitter account.

  • AnonaMiss

    How can an estate tax be stealing your money? You’re dead, it’s not yours anymore. There’s no logical or ethical reason it should go where you want it to after you’re dead. You’ve had your shot, and if you really wanted it to go wherever you should have put it there while you were alive.

    Estate taxes are the most libertarian tax of all, because they’re not even really a tax. Mr. X has died, here is his money, what should we do with it? His relatives have no claim on it, they didn’t create that wealth*. It’s not even properly a tax! It’s what happens naturally when a person dies – no one owns that wealth anymore, the wealth goes back to the community. Inheritance was an invention of patriarchs and aristocrats who wanted to hold power by right of birth, and as such should be absolutely anathema to Libertarians.

    Libertarians who object to estate taxes more than to other forms of taxation are hypocrites, liars, or stupid. Yes, I’m looking at you, Hadrick. If they object to it because the government gets money, they’re really anarchists. If they object to it because the children should get the money, they’re really feudalists.

    There’s little more depressing to me as a left-Libertarian than some feudalist idiot claiming to be on my side.

  • Münchner Kindl

    That article on the Atlantic about how wonderful the “GiveDirectly” charity approach is is written by somebody very biased. The author mainly makes GiveDirectly look good by bashing all other NGOs and aid charities. This shows very bad research, by lumping govt. aid with NGOs, and given the wide scope of approaches existing NGOs use.

    For example, talking about red tape and bureaucratic problems in programs for the poor might be the experience that rich Americans have with (govt) programs for poors in the US, but it’s absolutely not true for many NGOs in Africa.

    Second, slurring micro-credits and claiming that receipents in Africa will not buy vice goods, ignores the teaching that responsible micro-credits do. Of course somebody in rural Africa will not buy drugs since there are none available. But the people are not simply poor because they have the bad luck to be born in Africa. They are also poor because of a lack of jobs with living wage (connected to education – which Give Directly claims is the work of govt., but many NGOs tackle education as very important long-term goal on small-scale). They are poor because they lack knowledge about sustainable farming – so Brot für die Welt and others teach them how to grow diverse food to eat* instead of ill-suited cash crops. But that requires enough land – and ownership is not only a monetary problem, but also lack of documentation with govt. (and there corruption comes in again) – as well as the global problem that speculators are buying up land (since the western govt. failed to make laws forbidding that).

    And so on. Besides, it strongly reminds me of the study of the homeless western people – they were given 10 000 dollars, the equivalent of 1 mill. in their situation. In less than one year, they had blown it and were living back on the street. This correlates with studies of people in the West who do win the lottery – the majority wastes the money. Why? Because they never learned the skills to handle sums like these responsible. They are not able from their previous experience to adequatly judge these sums, so they spend like it’s a billion instead of investing.

    That’s why responsible NGOs are interested in “income creation” – either a business or farming or education – so that when the money is gone, the person doesn’t fall back to the previous poverty level. (The old Chinese proverb about teaching fishing). Yet the GiveDirectly approach is lauded because it doesn’t require anything.

    It also continues the slur that people in the aid business – experts who evaluate approaches – are condescending by telling people how to improve their lives by changing things, which ignores how many of these people are local, native experts (like Yunus, founder of Grameen). The push-pull Agriculture method was developed in Africa by a research institute there (founded originally by EU money, but run with local experts) because it depends on local grass and beetles to work.

    * They use organic method instead of agritechnic business because in Africa, the change from conventional to organic means an increase of up 80%, not a decrease of 50% like in the highly industrialized west. Several reasons, but most important that it saves a lot of money to not buy fertilizer and seeds every year.

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    rich people don’t want to buy national parks. What they like to do is buy land near national parks. 

  • EllieMurasaki

    And if there was nothing forbidding them from buying land that is currently protected by a national park, they would buy that land too. THAT IS WHY WE MADE THE NATIONAL PARKS IN THE FIRST PLACE.

    In related news: look up Idle No More. Canada recently redid its regulations pertaining to waterways. There used to be a great many Canadian waterways protected by Canadian law. Now there’s not. Most of the ones no longer protected are on First Nations land, and some of the ones no longer protected are now no longer a barrier to things such as a bigass oil pipeline.

    Do you honestly think that people, particularly those who stand to financially benefit from that pipeline, are going to keep those waterways pristine out of the goodness of their hearts?

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Speaking of pipelines, there’s been ongoing protests and complaints to the provincial government over the fact that Enbridge really really wants a pipeline through northern B.C. and local Aboriginal groups are not happy.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Yeah, that’s the one mentioned on the Idle No More Wikipedia page.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    They’re not winning. We know this because there’s some money that’s not
    in their pockets and they don’t own everything on the board.

    _Yet_.

    I’ve often likened RL Economics to Monopoly – the difference is, a game of Monopoly ENDS when one person has all the properties and money.  In the real world, the ‘winner’ just opens a company store and keeps right on grinding wealth out of the proles.

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    Ellie- super rich people like to own land near national parks because they like having no one as a neighbor.

  • EllieMurasaki

    I’m watching my point fly in circles above your head.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Chris Hadrick unintentionally struck a good point. In Edge of Apocalypse, the main character Joshua Jordan owns properties and travels in a way that secludes him from the outside world at large except for a close cabal of friends and acquaintances.

    Wealthy people would probably parcel themselves out a huge estate all along the walls of the Grand Canyon and then complain bitterly about the fact that a highway connects across it when the occasional car accident happens that means sirens actually get heard ‘n stuff.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Okay, fair.

    People with household income somewhere around mine or Chris Hadrick’s would still be shit outta luck when it comes to getting a decent canyon view.

  • Lori

    super rich people like to own land near national parks because they like having no one as a neighbor. 

    So Chris, what exactly do you get out of having everyone here think that you’re a complete simpleton? You must be getting something out of it. Are you just that desperate for attention, or what?

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    Turcano- that is the point in the same way the point of my time machine I made with Roti Naan at Masala Art the other night (Indian restaurant) was to go back in time. Similarly it doesn’t work. 

    WHy does every conversation about liberty turn to ridiculous hypotheticals like rich people buying the grand canyon and destorying it/ keeping every body out? I want to stop war and end banksters control of the money supply so we can go back to being normal America. Is that so wrong?

  • Beroli

     

    WHy does every conversation about liberty turn to ridiculous
    hypotheticals like rich people buying the grand canyon and destroying
    it/ keeping every body out?

    Fellow, are you genuinely so utterly stupid that you’re unable to grasp what the common denominator is in all the arguments you’re in?

  • Lori

     

    WHy does every conversation about liberty turn to ridiculous
    hypotheticals like rich people buying the grand canyon and destroying
    it/ keeping every body out? 

    Because history demonstrates that when people have the kind of ‘freedom” you advocate it results in rich people buying up everything and either destroying it or keeping it for their  exclusive use while the poor suffering and die in horrible ways.

    The problem with these conversations is that you either flunked every history class you ever took or you had very poor teachers and you refuse to learn anything that will correct your knowledge deficiencies.

     

    I want to stop war and end banksters control
    of the money supply so we can go back to being normal America. Is that
    so wrong?   

    Yes. Yes it is so wrong.

    Your idea of “normal America” is an appalling fantasy.

    As we’ve discussed several times, your reasons for wanting to end the war are less than admirable, so none of use are going to give you a cookie for that.

    Your ideas about ending bankster control of the money are as ill-informed as all your other ideas. The things you propose would make things worse, not better.

  • Carstonio

    I seem to remember Chris blaming the war on the “Israeli lobby.” Together with his comment about bankers, I wonder if the libertarian writers he’s been reading had subscribed to the myths about Jews, or had been influenced by those myths. Fred has pointed out that LB depicts “international bankers” as having far more power than they have in real life. Not surprising since Bircher ideology is deeply anti-Semitic.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    To be fair to Chris, AIPAC has a sizable influence on the US Congress, and being seen as being pro-Israeli is one of the few bipartisan litmus tests that can cause a kerfluffle if a Presidential or Vice-Presidential candidate or officeholder is seen as insufficiently pro-. Even Congresscritters are not necessarily immune.

    However the root causes of war and military spending go beyond the Middle East conflicts and indeed a great deal of the blame for driving the weapons factories of the world can be laid at the feet of the USA; as Obama pointed out (which is probably the first time any US Government official has ever done in public) the USA spends as much as the next nine countries down the line combined.

  • Carstonio

    No disagreement there. Pointing out the influence of AIPAC is not anti-Semitic if one’s language doesn’t implicitly equate such groups with the sinister cabals so common in the hateful myths. It’s the difference between saying that Jews predominate in the movie industry and bringing this up when bashing Hollywood as anti-Christian. (That’s one of my beefs with Michael Medved, who is Jewish but allies himself with culture warriors who subscribe to the myths.)

  • Consumer Unit 5012

     I liked Medved better back when he was writing the Golden Turkey Awards.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Incidentally, it’s apparently a dead letter now, but if you read Fletcher Knebel’s Dark Horse book, which was printed in the 1970s, the Presidential candidate of the book slams wealthy people for buying up choice land along the coasts of the USA, effectively fencing off access that by rights should belong to the entire nation.

    I suspect if you were to dig into some newspaper archives you’d find articles relating to this.

    So that is a IRL counterpoint to Chris’s dismissal of all this as a hypothetical.

  • EllieMurasaki

    I would like to strongly recommend Chris Hadrick read David Graeber’s Debt: The First 5,000 Years.

    Everyone else too, it’s very much worth the time, but Chris is in particular need of the education.

  • Turcano

    that is the point in the same way the point of my time machine I made with Roti Naan at Masala Art the other night (Indian restaurant) was to go back in time. Similarly it doesn’t work.

    Um, was there a point in here?  Anybody?

  • Ross Thompson

    Um, was there a point in here?  Anybody?

    From the context, his point seems to be that he doesn’t believe that the Federal Reserve (or perhaps central banks in general) really do exert a stabilising effect on the economy.

    It would be an ad hominem for me to point out that someone who thinks that you could build a time machine out of bread might not have the best grasp on reality, so I’ll limit myself to wondering what he thinks did cause the US economy to stop suffering regular depressions at about the same time the Federal Reserve was set up…

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    In point of fact, The Fed alone didn’t actually halt Depressions; it was a combination of The Fed and the seminal work of John Maynard Keynes that fleshed out the basis of countercyclical economic policy.

  • Ross Thompson

    Well, true. But as I understand it (and I don’t, really), having a central bank is a major plank of Keynsian theory, and Libertarians hate Keynes as much as they hate the Fed, so I conflated the two.

  • Turcano

    The thing is that the Federal Reserve isn’t the first central bank we’ve had.  The First Bank of the United States ran things without a hitch, and while the Second Bank of the United States did do more harm than good in the first seven years of its existence, that was due entirely to incompetent management and once Nicholas Biddle took the helm, it ran wonderfully until Jackson was elected.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    True. Also, there were often ad hoc public works projects that would be enacted during the depths of economic troubles in the 18th and 19th centuries as politicians of the time recognized that even paying people a pittance and putting them to work was better than getting riots all over the place.

    That said, they were nowhere as comprehensive or as far-reaching as the modern unemployment insurance system or things like the New Deal, so they didn’t do very much by comparison.


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