The demonic flinging of chocolates! »« The right wing’s new/old strategy for dealing with an uncomfortable reality

Exactly.

People who dismiss the unemployed and dependent as "parasites" fail to understand economics and parasitism. A successful parasite is one that is not recognized by its host, one that can make its host work for it without appearing as a burden. Such is the ruling class in a capitalist society.—Jason Read

People who dismiss the unemployed and dependent as “parasites” fail to understand economics and parasitism. A successful parasite is one that is not recognized by its host, one that can make its host work for it without appearing as a burden. Such is the ruling class in a capitalist society.

—Jason Read

Comments

  1. Randomfactor says

    If they’re going to use scientific metaphors…well, it’s not like the general American public will catch them out on errors of biology.

  2. twas brillig (stevem) says

    When THEY talk about the poor being “parasites”, they’re just using the slang version, meaning “taker”; “dependent on nourishment from the life of the host”. It is good to call them out for misusing the word, by noting the literal meaning of the word. But I’m sure my first sentence will be their first defense for calling the poor, “parasites”.

  3. says

    Shortened version of a conversation I had with a wingnut:
    W: “I don’t think I should have to pay taxes; I want to keep what I earn.”
    M: “Why?”
    W: “So I can leave it for my kids so they’ll get a good start in life.”
    M: “OK, they’ll get that anyway. Any other objection?”
    W: “I just don’t want my money going to some lazy blankblank with 10 kids who isn’t working to earn anything.”
    M: “If you leave your money to your kids, how are your kids earning it?”
    W: (blink) (blink) (crickets)

  4. says

    Very well said. I’m sure it won’t be long before someone shows up to insist that those who are poor, unemployed, or dependent are leeches, successful ones at that!

  5. mikeyb says

    All this could be fixed so easily. Just combine steep progressive taxes on income and capital gains as well as estates above a certain level and within a short period of time, regardless of anything else we might do, inequality would drastically decrease, and the money could go back to the commons to fund education and heath care. We basically did this between FDR and Reagan and it worked for 40 years, there were still millionaires but the middle class were far more prosperous, and it didn’t hurt business productivity. These are variations of the same sorts of ideas recommended in Piketty’s book Capital in the 21 Century, and recommended by economists like Stiglitz and Krugman as well as others. It’s simple, it is non Marxist – it doesn’t direct the state to run industries, and it has worked in the past. I know it won’t happen but I don’t know why it shouldn’t happen. It also has nothing to do with resentment either, if you work hard you will still be very successful financially, even with a high taxation scheme like this just like in the past. I know libertarians would complain that this is a form of violent theft, but fuck them, it is the superrich and the economic policies which underlie this which contribute to the actual theft – witness the generous corporate welfare buyout in 2008. The guys who actually destroyed the economy and wealth of most Americans were the ones who were bailed out and basically profited from organized theft, not all the little guys.

  6. samihawkins says

    I know it won’t happen but I don’t know why it shouldn’t happen.

    Because the uberrich who own our politicians wouldn’t benefit from it. What do they care if their policies only benefit them in the short run while screwing over the rest of us at every point in the run? When this country crashes and burns, an event the exact date of which they’ll probably know long before the rest of us since they’re responsible for it, they can just bribe their way into another superpower and start the long con over again there.

  7. unclefrogy says

    because of the years and years of fighting the Godless Marxist threat to our civilization with irrational propaganda (and death and destruction) the conservative reactionary believers seem unable to think in anything but black and white there is nothing between government owning everything of Leninism and pure libertarianism all government is bad and should be abolished.
    Jason Read’s statement while true will be seen as inflammatory and as advocating the worst possible action.
    One of the most interesting events recently is the reaction to Piketty’s book
    makes me have hope which I distrust I do not want to be let down again.
    uncle frogy

  8. Suido says

    The big question is how to restructure taxation of multinational corporations so they pay their fair share. It’s bad in most places, but I’m pretty sure the US has it the worst. Companies making billions and paying pennies, while real people make thousands and pay thousands.

  9. Pascal's Pager says

    @ Suido # 8,

    Therein lies the issue, because they are “multinational” they just move their headquarters to a nation that does not tax them as high.

  10. brett says

    @MikeyB

    I know it won’t happen but I don’t know why it shouldn’t happen.

    Not enough popular support for confiscatory-level tax brackets. The early 20th century had its share of ultra-rich plutocrats who hated progressive income taxation, but the population was far more supportive of high tax levels and progressive economic policies. Now, though . . . Obama won in 2008 with one of his campaign promises being to raise taxes on the top 5% of Americans while cutting them for everyone else, but they were thinking more along the lines of Clinton Era tax brackets.

    We’re not alone in that, either. The top tax rates in other rich countries – particularly northern and western Europe – are in the 40-50% range as well. France recently put in a 75% tax bracket on incomes over 1 million Euros, but they’re the exception.

  11. says

    The notion of the poor as parasites is especially repugnant in a country where billion-dollar corporations have so many exploitable loopholes that they can wind up paying no taxes period, while families struggling on less than $20K a year can face thousands in bills from the IRS.

    We’re a nation run by pure sociopaths.

  12. jaybee says

    I swear that a lot of conservatives and libertarians have never played Monopoly. If the actually got everything they wanted, eventually there would be one person with everything. I guess they all just think that they are going to be that person. That also apparently didn’t learn that the “winner” wasn’t necessarily the most skilled — play Monopoly a hundred times with your siblings growing up and notice that it isn’t the same person who wins every time.

  13. coldthinker says

    I believe the problem in the US is that you don’t have anything resembling a strong left wing, no solidarity among the lower income people and no history of a proletariat rebellion.

    Most European countries have experienced bitter turmoil between the rich and the poor, even civil wars. So even the rich realize that too much inequality and social injustice will lead to an explosion. Squeeze the poor too hard, and they will strike back. It won’t be called communism anymore, but the basic idea would be the same, redistribution of wealth. Either through democratic channels, or if there’s too much desperation, violently.

    It’s strange that there’s no fear of this in the US, where the income inequality reaches astronomical proportions. Elsewhere it’s in the interest of the wealthier classes to keep the society peaceful. Is it perhaps intentional, that the US is in constant war with some foreign enemy, so that any critique against the ruling class can be dismissed as unpatriotic? It worked well for the European monarchies too, up to the 20th century. What came then, the first half of the last century, was not pretty.

  14. unclefrogy says

    as I remember playing monopoly when one player wins all the money the game is over.
    what happens when one player wins the economy is it over then? can we just start a new game?
    uncle frogy

  15. alexanderz says

    left0ver1under #9:
    Technically that’s not entirely true. While demand is essential to maintaining jobs and the desire to create new jobs, often the initial cost of creating a job, even with very high demand, is too high. This means you need to have a party with enough money. Theoretically you don’t have to have the super rich people/corporations (for this example they’re the same) and can get by with banks only. But practically that demands such a well functioning banking system that rich investors become crucial.

  16. Maureen Brian says

    Not necessarily true, alexanderz @ 17.

    In the community in which I live (and it will be true for others) the first several hundred new jobs would involve taking on again or replacing the people laid off when the locals could no longer afford to shop locally, go to the gym or the pub and buy the modestly priced tickets at a local theatre. Job creation cost close to zero.

    Of course it costs money to set up a new manufacturing facility on a greenfield site but that’s stage 3 or 4 of an economic recovery and certainly not where recovery starts. People start shopping again at the local delicatessen long before they buy a new car!

  17. Infophile says

    @15 coldthinker:

    I believe the biggest reason behind the difference in the US comes down to the Cold War. Recall that for ~40 years, the US was the primary opposition to the communist Soviet Union. Now, for much of this time, the two imperatives of “We can’t be like the commies” and “We have to prevent a communist uprising here” were reasonably balanced out, and the US proceeded roughly on its previous average trajectory policy-wise, but with commie paranoia steadily growing. Then, around the 1980s, when it became obvious the US was winning out and the paranoia was enough that a communist uprising would never take hold, the incentive to do a little for the underclasses to prevent them from rebelling went away – they could simply be tarred as communists and cut off at the knees. This then began affecting organized labor throughout the country, slowing weakening them until the Democratic Party no longer had the big pull to the left.

    At the same time, the realization the US was winning contributed to Reagan’s “castle on a hill” view of America. This led to the subtle but critical shift in the American ethos from “We’re good enough to be the best” to “We’re the best, so we’re good.” This let the Republicans slam the breaks on progress toward economic equality (and slow down the march toward social progress), under the unspoken justification that “If we’re the best, any change would make us worse.”

    Of course, this isn’t the whole story. There’s also the independent rise of the religious right in the US, the right people in the Republican Party being willing to take up Rove-style dirty politics and the “two Santas” theory of governance (cut taxes and ramp up spending in office, then make the Democrats clean up the mess).

    At this point, the US really needs a strong labor movement to help pull things back toward the left. Unfortunately, that’s not likely for another couple decades, when the slur of “Commie!” loses its sting. The Republican Party is getting far enough right that it’s starting to implode, but that just means the Democrats have even less incentive to go liberal.

  18. HolyPinkUnicorn says

    @coldthinker #15

    Unfortunately there’s currently no truly represented left wing in the U.S. It’s certainly not in the Democratic party, which helped to support Bush II’s and Obama’s wars, greater privatized healthcare, and a massively bailed out but lightly prosecuted Wall Street. True left wingers at the national level are discounted as weird or radical and disposed of fairly early in presidential primaries. Compare this to the GOP where candidates tend to shift farther to the right for their primaries.

    Lower and working class Americans have at times responded violently but were met with even more violence from either privately hired thugs or temperamental law enforcement. Just look at the 20th century’s bloody legacy of union busting and strike breaking to see how far corporate interests are willing to go preserve the status quo.

    And in the last thirty years we’ve taken things a step further and just simply started locked up enormous numbers of citizens under the guise of a “war on drugs” and a bloodthirsty desire to get “tough on crime.” In the process we beat out all other countries in both per capita and total number of prisoners. But it turns out locking up so many people for so long is tremendously expensive, so in some cases we’ve even introduced private prisons. Because what’s the fun in mass incarceration if you can’t also turn a profit?

    What I find so troubling though is that so few of my fellow Americans seem to find any this troubling. And there is the catch; if people don’t perceive it as the incredibly immoral and unjust system that it is then there really isn’t much worry in anybody trying to overthrow it.

  19. Kevin Kehres says

    Parasites: AKA, “people”.

    Takers: AKA, “people”.

    And on and on.

  20. twas brillig (stevem) says

    The Amurrican (ie. GOP) image of “communism” is simplistic: “take from the rich and give to the poor; until everyone has exactly the same.” ANY attempt to make people pay (taxes) proportional to what they have, for public services, get labelled as “communism”, focusing simply on the taking/giving part of the proposal. Their “answer” to this “communism” stuff is equally simplistic image of “capitalism/individualism”. Thus the “job creators” mantra we keep hearing from the Tea-Party (ummm, Right-Wing) these days.
    I could go on and on about Rand concepts being mis/over/interpreted but, since this ain’t my blog, I’ll just stop right here. [of course, *only_I* understand what Rand was REALLY saying, everybody else totally doesn't understand what she was saying ;-P ]

  21. says

    alexanderz

    Technically that’s not entirely true. While demand is essential to maintaining jobs and the desire to create new jobs, often the initial cost of creating a job, even with very high demand, is too high.

    Too high for what? Too high for a random person in the current economic system to muster? Of course it is, but that’s why people are saying that we need to change it.

    This means you need to have a party with enough money. Theoretically you don’t have to have the super rich people/corporations (for this example they’re the same) and can get by with banks only.

    Or you could use credit unions, government-supplied capital (along the lines of the right to capital proposed by Muhammed Yunus, or the fund paid into by the co-ops of Emilia-Romagna which is used to provide capital for start-up cooperatives), crowdfunding, etc. There are many options theoretically available.

    But practically that demands such a well functioning banking system that rich investors become crucial.

    How in the fuck does this logically follow? Is your premise that a functioning banking system is fundamentally impossible?

  22. caesar says

    The biggest problem with taxes isn’t so much that everyone has to pay them. Instead it’s 2 things. 1st, the country is based on the idea of free enterprise and personal responsibility, and taxation acts counter to that by taking some control away from the individual. 2nd, people aren’t affected equally by the tax code. Nobody likes it when one group is able to benefit from the tax code at someone else’s expense. For example, the gay marriage issue is partly due to the inability of gay couples to get the same benefits that straight couples do when they marry.

  23. says

    caesar:

    1st, the country is based on the idea of free enterprise and personal responsibility, and taxation acts counter to that by taking some control away from the individual

    Do you have any facts to back up this assertion?

    For example, the gay marriage issue is partly due to the inability of gay couples to get the same benefits that straight couples do when they marry.

    AHEM.
    *Marriage Equality* is an issue bc queers have been denied basic human rights.

  24. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    1st, the country is based on the idea of free enterprise and personal responsibility, and taxation acts counter to that by taking some control away from the individual.

    Assertion without evidence, typical of liberturdian fuckwittery.

    Nobody likes it when one group is able to benefit from the tax code at someone else’s expense.

    Gee, all you have to do is to get your ass fired and you are allowed the same benefits to keep some food on the table, and a roof over your head while you search for work. Nevermind there is 6.2 million unemployed willing to work, and maybe 200,000 new jobs per month, so that may take a while. Why do you wish to deny them to other people? Oh, that’s right, they are brown/black. Some moral bankruptcy you have there with your idiotology.

  25. says

    Eh. While I appreciate the message, a successful parasite is one that can reproduce as fast or faster than its host dies. Certainly ecologically speaking rabies is considered a parasite, and is hardly unobtrusive.

  26. dahduh says

    By definition a taker is someone who consumes more than they produce, each as measured by the counter-factual of that person not existing. Therefore a poor person is much less likely to be a taker than a rich person, no matter how talented. Guaranteed, if you drive a fancy car and live in a big house and fly off on vacation twice a year, you are a taker; even if you founded a new industry, if it hadn’t been you it would have been someone else.

  27. caesar says

    @25:

    Do you have any facts to back up this assertion?

    Apparently this is obvious to everyone but me. As an example, everyone pays sales taxes on the goods and services they buy, but the exact way in which the tax money is used is not fully under our control, hence the loss of personal responsibility over our income which I mentioned in my post.

    AHEM.
    *Marriage Equality* is an issue bc queers have been denied basic human rights.

    That’s why I said “partly”.

  28. says

    caesar:

    Apparently this is obvious to everyone but me. As an example, everyone pays sales taxes on the goods and services they buy, but the exact way in which the tax money is used is not fully under our control, hence the loss of personal responsibility over our income which I mentioned in my post.

    The statement I’m asking you to provide evidence for is:

    1st, the country is based on the idea of free enterprise and personal responsibility, and taxation acts counter to that by taking some control away from the individual.

    *IS* the United States a country based on the idea of free enterprise?
    *Is* the United States a country based on personal responsibility?

    You have made the assertion that the answer to both questions is “yes”. I’m asking you to provide evidence that “yes” is the correct answer.
    Nothing in your comment @25 provides evidence. That doesn’t surprise me, as I cannot recall you ever providing citations to back up any of your libertarian beliefs (and I don’t mean citations to a libertarian source).

  29. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    As an example, everyone pays sales taxes on the goods and services they buy, but the exact way in which the tax money is used is not fully under our control, hence the loss of personal responsibility over our income which I mentioned in my post.

    Translation from liberturdian to regular American: “I don’t control it”, whereas it is under the control of those elected by the voters. More selfishness, showing your moral bankruptcy.

  30. caesar says

    @26:

    there is 6.2 million unemployed willing to work, and maybe 200,000 new jobs per month, so that may take a while. Why do you wish to deny them to other people?

    I never said anything about taking anyone’s benefits away. I’m just sharing a possible reason why some people have so much animosity towards welfare programs. There’s a perception that some people are able to live off of the tax revenues of other people, while getting to sit on their asses all day and never work or do anything to improve their lot in life. I don’t think that most people are taking advantage of the system, but if it’s possible to decrease the amount wasted on people who don’t need help, then that should be done.

    ? Oh, that’s right, they are brown/black. Some moral bankruptcy you have there with your idiotology.

    Strange, I dont remember saying that. Maybe someone should point out to me where that notion came from.

  31. says

    caesar:

    I never said anything about taking anyone’s benefits away.

    So you don’t advocate eliminating taxes then? Because if we do so, that would take away the benefits that millions of people-children, women, the elderly, and men-rely on for simple survival.
    Make up your mind. Are you a libertarian (or libertarian-leaning) who wants to eliminate taxes thereby depriving millions of people of the financial support they need to simply survive, or are you an individual who recognizes that the benefits (of which there are a great many) of taxation for himself and everyone in society far outstrips any whining about not being in control of every dollar on your paycheck?

    Based on your posting history I’m pretty sure I know the answer.

    I’m just sharing a possible reason why some people have so much animosity towards welfare programs. There’s a perception that some people are able to live off of the tax revenues of other people, while getting to sit on their asses all day and never work or do anything to improve their lot in life.

    And that perception comes from where? It’s not one backed by *facts*. It is one touted by the GOP, the Tea Party…and libertarians.
    Seriously, *who* are the people sucking at the teat of the government and “never working or doing anything to improve their lot in life”?

    I don’t think that most people are taking advantage of the system, but if it’s possible to decrease the amount wasted on people who don’t need help, then that should be done

    Who are these people who don’t need help? How have you determined who should get help and who shouldn’t?
    And most important: are you ever going to stop talking out of your goddamned ass and back up your opinions with evidence?

  32. says

    caesar:

    Strange, I dont remember saying that. Maybe someone should point out to me where that notion came from.

    You adhere to many other right wing/tea party/libertarian talking points, so it’s no great leap to think that you also believe that the people who receive government assistance are predominately people of color.

  33. says

    Shit, I just realized this:

    I don’t think that most people are taking advantage of the system, but if it’s possible to decrease the amount wasted on people who don’t need help, then that should be done.

    is a great argument for eliminating income inequality. After all, the tax breaks given to the wealthy are being wasted on people who really, really don’t need help. Somehow I don’t think caesar is talking about the wealthiest members of society.

  34. caesar says

    @30:

    *IS* the United States a country based on the idea of free enterprise?
    *Is* the United States a country based on personal responsibility?

    You have made the assertion that the answer to both questions is “yes”. I’m asking you to provide evidence that “yes” is the correct answer.

    Again, I dont know why this is apparently not common knowledge. Lets see, our constitution and Declaration of Independence both contain ideas inspired by notions of liberalism and republicanism based on people like John Locke who laid down the modern ideas of individual rights in his book Two Treatises of Government, which Thomas Jefferson was influenced by.

  35. says

    caesar #24

    Instead it’s 2 things. 1st, the country is based on the idea of free enterprise and personal responsibility,

    Um, no, it really, really wasn’t. The people who originally organized the U.S. government were, in the main, slaveholding aristocrats, and they organized things for the benefit of people like them, and at the expense of nonwhites, poor whites, white smallholders, etc. Look up the Whiskey Rebellion sometime, or Shay’s Rebellion.

    and taxation acts counter to that by taking some control away from the individual.

    Yawn. Ahriman on an airplane, libertarians have a tedious obsession with total selfishness and a complete inability to comprehend the idea of infrastructure. Why is that, caesar? Are you so unspeakably selfish that you won’t let yourself understand the idea, creating the effect of mind-hurting stupidity? Or are you too damn stupid to understand the idea of systemic effects, and use that to justify the selfishness? Or maybe it’s a combination of the two? Inquiring minds want to know.

    2nd, people aren’t affected equally by the tax code.

    You really are unspeakably stupid, old bean. This is a fundamental aspect of a functioning tax code; tax things that create externalities in order to pay for them, for instance.
    #29

    Apparently this is obvious to everyone but me. As an example, everyone pays sales taxes on the goods and services they buy,

    I don’t. There’s no sales tax where I live. Which is a good thing, as those are actually a pretty crap method of raising revenue, as a rule.

    but the exact way in which the tax money is used is not fully under our control,

    Neither is the way you spend the money in your bank account, unless you set your own rent/mortgage rates, have perfect control over the price of transportation and utilities, and never incur unexpected expenses of any kind whatsoever. Indeed, you have direct control over a lot fewer aspects of your life than you believe.

    hence the loss of personal responsibility over our income which I mentioned in my post.

    See above, re: infrastructure. If you don’t want to pay the dues, fuck off out of the club. Indeed, since you like to talk about the principles the country was founded on, I give you Benjamin Franklin:

    All the property that is necessary to a Man, for the Conservation of the Individual and the Propagation of the Species, is his natural Right, which none can justly deprive him of: But all Property superfluous to such purposes is the Property of the Publick, who, by their Laws, have created it, and who may therefore by other laws dispose of it, whenever the Welfare of the Publick shall demand such Disposition. He that does not like civil Society on these Terms, let him retire and live among Savages. He can have no right to the benefits of Society, who will not pay his Club towards the Support of it.

    – Benjamin Franklin, letter to Robert Morris, December 25, 1783

    32

    I never said anything about taking anyone’s benefits away.

    We are perfectly capable of reading between the lines.

    I’m just sharing a possible reason why some people have so much animosity towards welfare programs. There’s a perception that some people are able to live off of the tax revenues of other people, while getting to sit on their asses all day and never work or do anything to improve their lot in life.

    A perception which is demonstrably false, but still encouraged endlessly by shitheads like you, which is why we keep telling you off for pushing bullshit.

    I don’t think that most people are taking advantage of the system, but if it’s possible to decrease the amount wasted on people who don’t need help, then that should be done.

    Why? You assume that the cost of trying to root out the supposed cheaters is less than the cost of allowing them to keep on with what they’re doing. The states that have gone all in to root out welfare fraud have found the opposite to be the case, having spent far, far more on the investigation than could possibly be justified by the miniscule amount of fraud found. Meanwhile, millions of people who do need help aren’t getting it, because of assholes like you.

    Strange, I dont remember saying that. Maybe someone should point out to me where that notion came from.

    We can also hear the dogwhistles, shit-for-brains.

  36. caesar says

    @33

    So you don’t advocate eliminating taxes then? Because if we do so, that would take away the benefits that millions of people-children, women, the elderly, and men-rely on for simple survival.

    Ive never said I was against paying taxes. I view taxes as as simply something we all have to deal with in order to ensure some basic level of survival. It’s like having the mow the lawn. It’s not the most pleasurable activity, but if you don’t do it, the grass grows iut of control.

    Who are these people who don’t need help? How have you determined who should get help and who shouldn’t?

    I don’t have any particular way to determine that. I’m just saying that it’s an ideal to aspire to.

  37. Alexander says

    While for the large part I think Professor Read is on the right page, I find that I disagree in one very subtle and nuanced point: the motivation behind calling people “parasites”.

    When people are described as “parasites”, it is usually meant to say they are acting against the public good, or otherwise in an untrustworthy manner. Modern society requires we place a large amount of trust in people, technology, or organizations. In general, this means that we hold an expectation that they will do their job properly, even against promise of easily gained advantage. We trust banks to be good stewards of our money. We trust cell phones and cell phone companies not to eavesdrop on us. We trust cops to protect against crime, even when it puts their life at risk.

    Viewed this way, Prof. Read’s criticism takes on entirely new colors. First, what are those who criticize the poor “trust” them to do–hold a job, earn a living wage, “contribute” to society? Are those factors entirely in their control, or have other people stymied the achievement of these ends? (If so, the distrust should be placed on those culprits instead; this is essentially the same conclusion, albeit reached by a different logic.) Furthermore, if the poor are unable to “hold up their end of the bargain” in the way conservatives would claim because of the wealthy, this also casts doubt on the trustworthiness of the corporations acting against their fellow men, and the government agencies which claim to level the playing field for all.

    As a result, I would take one step further. If we respond to the criticisms of “parasitism” by examining the proper placement of trust, it becomes clear that the current system is not working in a trustworthy fashion. Furthermore, even if we only agree the wealthy cannot be trusted due to their actions against the poor and working class, because they are disproportionately represented in Congress, we cannot trust Congress as a result. (To do so would be to place trust in a group which we have already established as untrustworthy.) Therefore the question becomes: if the current system of government and corporate power is unworthy of the social trust, how can changes be made to the system of social organization (“government”) to render it less susceptible to such corruption?

  38. caesar says

    @36:

    . After all, the tax breaks given to the wealthy are being wasted on people who really, really don’t need help. Somehow I don’t think caesar is talking about the wealthiest members of society.

    I’m talking about anyone getting benefits who doesn’t need them, regardless of whether they’re rich or poor.

    You adhere to many other right wing/tea party/libertarian talking points, so it’s no great leap to think that you also believe that the people who receive government assistance are predominately people of color

    I barely adhere to any right wing talking points. In fact, i’ve never labeled any particular group as being more or less deserving of government aid.

  39. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I’m just sharing a possible reason why some people have so much animosity towards welfare programs. T

    No, you are trying to justify the removal of those programs. Otherwise, you would just shut the fuck up and pay your taxes without complaint. Only liberturds think taxes are extortion….

  40. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I barely adhere to any right wing talking points. In fact, i’ve never labeled any particular group as being more or less deserving of government aid.

    Either you believe what you say, or you are merely trolling and should be banhammered. Which is it?

  41. says

    caesar:

    I don’t have any particular way to determine that. I’m just saying that it’s an ideal to aspire to.

    1. You’ve provided no evidence that there even *is* a problem. This:

    There’s a perception that some people are able to live off of the tax revenues of other people, while getting to sit on their asses all day and never work or do anything to improve their lot in life.

    is a favorite talking point of people with political views similar to yours, but is it true?

    2. If it is true, what is the extent of this “problem”?
    3. You don’t know how to determine which people “don’t need help” and which do, yet you think it eliminating this “problem” is a worthwhile goal.

    You’re talking about a subject which you do not appear to have much information on. Why?

  42. says

    caesar:

    In fact, i’ve never labeled any particular group as being more or less deserving of government aid.

    Is this your way of saying:
    “I don’t believe that the people receiving government assistance are predominately people of color” ?

  43. caesar says

    @38:

    The people who originally organized the U.S. government were, in the main, slaveholding aristocrats, and they organized things for the benefit of people like them, and at the expense of nonwhites, poor whites, white smallholders, etc

    Yeah I know, but I was talking about the ideals that the country was based on, not the actual execution of those ideals.

    libertarians have a tedious obsession with total selfishness and a complete inability to comprehend the idea of infrastructure. Why is that, caesar?

    I don’t know. I’m not a libertarian. As far as my statement, it was just a factual statement about the nature of taxation, not a statement about whether taxes should be outlawed or not.

    You really are unspeakably stupid, old bean. This is a fundamental aspect of a functioning tax code; tax things that create externalities in order to pay for them, for instance

    No shot Sherlock. The point is that some externalities are more acceptable than others, especially when one is prevented from taking advantage of them, like in my gay marriage example earlier.

    Indeed, you have direct control over a lot fewer aspects of your life than you believe.

    But when that loss of control is caused by a powerful institution like government, I think it’s only fair to question whether we should accept that or not.

    We are perfectly capable of reading between the lines

    Fine line between reading between the lines and making shit up.

    but still encouraged endlessly by shitheads like you, which is why we keep telling you off for pushing bullshit.

    I haven’t been proposing anything like that. Sorry, wrong again.

    Why?

    Why not? If the government is going to use public resources to provide charity in the form of food stamps and other similar programs, then efforts should be made to ensure thst most if not all taxpayer money gets targeted towards the people who legitimately need it. If that can be done at low expense, then all the better.

    Meanwhile, millions of people who do need help aren’t getting it, because of assholes like you.

    People like me have nothing to do people not getting help. I think you should just quit yer whinin’.

  44. anteprepro says

    Well looks like caesar is still being caesar. I can’t even muster the energy to bother with him anymore. Fuckwit with a severe deficit of perspective and empathy, incapable of listening, yet more than capable of saying the asinine shit over and over again. Terminally gibbertarian.

  45. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Yeah I know, but I was talking about the ideals that the country was based on, not the actual execution of those ideals.

    No, you are talking about the ideal you imaginably believe the country was founded upon unless you provide third party evidence for your claim. Which you won’t, of course, as it is nothing but sloganeering.

    I don’t know. I’m not a libertarian. As far as my statement, it was just a factual statement about the nature of taxation, not a statement about whether taxes should be outlawed or not.

    If you sound like a liberturd, you are a liberturd.

    The point is that some externalities are more acceptable than others, especially when one is prevented from taking advantage of them, like in my gay marriage example earlier.

    This whole bullshit was a non-sequitur and proves nothing. Certainly not your point.

    But when that loss of control is caused by a powerful institution like government, I think it’s only fair to question whether we should accept that or not.

    What is really your loss? Who gets your money, or that you are too selfish and morally bankrupt to share your wealth with others, without complaining….

    Why not? If the government is going to use public resources to provide charity in the form of food stamps and other similar programs, then efforts should be made to ensure thst most if not all taxpayer money gets targeted towards the people who legitimately need it. If that can be done at low expense, then all the better.

    Evidently you are too stupid to read realilty. What is the fastest way to raise costs for any program? Be afraid anybody undeserving get some benefits. Funny how the costs of looking for abuses costs more than the abuses themselves, except for those cheating the poor….

    People like me have nothing to do people not getting help. I think you should just quit yer whinin’.

    No, if you shut the fuck up, the rethugs might actually listen….

  46. says

    caesar:

    I don’t know. I’m not a libertarian. As far as my statement, it was just a factual statement about the nature of taxation, not a statement about whether taxes should be outlawed or not.

    You’re not a libertarian, you’re just a selfish asshole with views eerily similar to libertarians. Gotcha.

  47. alexanderz says

    Maureen Brian #18:

    You’re right about the current depressed economy, but I was responding to the general idea of how are jobs created.

    Dalillama #23:

    Or you could use credit unions, government-supplied capital (along the lines of the right to capital proposed by Muhammed Yunus, or the fund paid into by the co-ops of Emilia-Romagna which is used to provide capital for start-up cooperatives), crowdfunding, etc. There are many options theoretically available.

    From the economic perspective they’re still “banks” – a way to funnel excess wealth into an investment. All of these methods are just variations on the theme, and while they do solve some problems that the current banking system is incapable of dealing with, there is a reason why no economist wants to apply those practices to the entire economy – because it will ruin it.

    For example, if we look how microfinances will function as a main funding source for an economy, we’ll see that very costly industries will require financing from most, if not all, the country’s population. Since those industries need time before they begin to pay off the investment you’ll have an extended period with reduced demand (since all payed, but the construction and the initial stages will benefit only local residents), which may undermine the very reason for building said industry in the first place.
    Now imagine the same system, but with several costly enterprises being invested in simultaneously. Every person will give something to finance those enterprises and thus will carry a fraction of the total risk. However, since almost all people have neither the time nor the knowledge to properly deal with said risk, and since they are directly invested they’d have no buffers when one of those projects collapses. Therefore any failure of any sufficiently large enterprise will cause a depression identical, if not worse than that’s going on right now.

    Is your premise that a functioning banking system is fundamentally impossible

    My premise is that a flawlessly functioning banking system is fundamentally impossible. The current system does function, it just so happens that part of its function is to fall over once every decade and collapse once every century.
    Can the system be improved? Of course! There are many suggestions for that and both history and analysis show their validity . However, the system can also be made worse and there is no reason to assume that an elimination of financial disparities will somehow fix everything. A reduction of wealth inequality? Sure, that’s a much needed move. But as with everything, moderation is key.

  48. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Now imagine the same system, but with several costly enterprises being invested in simultaneously. Every person will give something to finance those enterprises and thus will carry a fraction of the total risk. However, since almost all people have neither the time nor the knowledge to properly deal with said risk, and since they are directly invested they’d have no buffers when one of those projects collapses. Therefore any failure of any sufficiently large enterprise will cause a depression identical, if not worse than that’s going on right now.

    and what you isn’t a non-sequitur how? Nothing you say makes sense unless they share your delusional non-evideced non-thinking.

  49. consciousness razor says

    caesar:

    The biggest problem with taxes isn’t so much that everyone has to pay them. Instead it’s 2 things. 1st, the country is based on the idea of free enterprise and personal responsibility, and taxation acts counter to that by taking some control away from the individual.

    As an example, everyone pays sales taxes on the goods and services they buy, but the exact way in which the tax money is used is not fully under our control, hence the loss of personal responsibility over our income which I mentioned in my post.

    I don’t know. I’m not a libertarian. As far as my statement, it was just a factual statement about the nature of taxation, not a statement about whether taxes should be outlawed or not.

    No, that is not a factual statement about the nature of taxation (or responsibility). It is at best a load of confused bullshit. I guess it’s just some weird coincidence that it just so happens to sound exactly like the confused bullshit a libertarian would say.

    You are responsible, in a moral sense, to other human beings, not to property. You are responsible when you do whatever you do, given what you’re capable of doing. There are quite a few things you’re not capable of doing. You are not competent to gather all of the necessary information about the entire society and make every decision necessary for the proper functioning of the society you live in. We don’t have a world with just you in it, making some single “responsible” decision, abstracted away from everything else. We have a world with lots of people, who are responsible to each other.

    Being responsible means, among other things, that we should be informed voters, assuming we have a representative government. And will you look at that? We do have a representative government. We vote for people to represent our interests, who are given the task of doing stuff that we cannot do (see above, regarding your incompetence). That’s because we have other work to do, and it’s because we do not live in a dictatorship, since governments don’t all amount to dictatorships, your stupid fucking assumptions about what “the country is based on” notwithstanding. The representatives may fail at their task, so we will be personally responsible to inform ourselves of their failures and to ensure they correct their failures. If they don’t correct their mistakes, we can elect new candidates or even revolt to overthrow the entire government. Really, we have lots of options here, but that’s a quick summary of some of the important ones.

    I just mentioned interests and what representatives ought to do with them. There is no valid “interest” a society needs to recognize which amounts rejecting our shared responsibility to each other (including our responsibilities toward people in other “societies,” however you may want to draw those boundaries). That is why taxation and representation do not amount to a “loss of responsibility,” but exactly the opposite. To say that you have an interest in keeping your own money, in being a selfish and clueless asshole about it, in pretending you know best what to do in every circumstance that the money will be spent, in pretending that you aren’t responsible toward others unless you personally believe you are, is not something any representative in a society ought to take seriously. Responsibility is not just about yourself, isolated from all other facts, doing one thing or another. Even if this is not assuming libertarian contra-causal free will (although it probably is), this concept is the moral equivalent of a spherical cow on a frictionless surface in a vacuum. Responsibility, in the important real-world sense of the word, is directed toward others. You are responsible for other people, whether or not you believe it. So once you recognize the difference between a representative government which taxes you and a dictatorship simply taking your stuff away, and you recognize why society needs to be this way in order to function in everyone’s interests, it makes no sense whatsoever to whine about how you “lack responsibility.” It’s just plain incoherent. Not a fact.

  50. Alexander says

    Caesar @41:

    I’m talking about anyone getting benefits who doesn’t need them, regardless of whether they’re rich or poor.

    This statement has piqued my curiosity something fierce. If the criteria you determine “who doesn’t need [benefits]” isn’t wealth, and doesn’t correlate with wealth, what does it look at? Wait, that may not be an entirely fair question — given the name-calling of other posts in this thread, I imagine you may consider this requesting further ammunition for these attacks. If I am wrong and you are comfortable answering the above question, feel free; otherwise, let me instead ask a somewhat indirect question instead.

    Considering the set of all possible criteria, we can split them into two broad categories: “hard” criteria are things that someone cannot change, or will generally only change in one direction (such as birth nation, age, education, or convicted felon status). “Soft” criteria are things that can change “on a whim” in both directions (such as marriage status, state of residence, employment, or political affiliation)– and yes, I’m aware that some of those may take significant effort or money to alter in one manner or other.

    Using these examples, would you call your criteria for determining a person’s need for benefits “hard” or “soft”?

  51. says

    Alexander:
    You may have missed caesar’s response to the questions I posed to him:

    Me @36: Who are these people who don’t need help? How have you determined who should get help and who shouldn’t?

    caesar @41: I don’t have any particular way to determine that. I’m just saying that it’s an ideal to aspire to.

  52. says

    caesar #41

    I’m talking about anyone getting benefits who doesn’t need them, regardless of whether they’re rich or poor.

    That’s funny, because you only ever mention poor people on welfare when you’re whining.

    Yeah I know, but I was talking about the ideals that the country was based on, not the actual execution of those ideals.

    Those were the actual ideals the country was based on. Everything that’s changed since then has been the result of hard struggle to implement a different set of ideals.

    I don’t know. I’m not a libertarian.

    Just someone who says all the same things that libertarians say. If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck…

    As far as my statement, it was just a factual statement about the nature of taxation, not a statement about whether taxes should be outlawed or not.

    No, it was piece of libertarian cant with no relationship to reality. If you don’t want people to think you’re a libertarian, stop using libertarian talking points.

    The point is that some externalities are more acceptable than others, especially when one is prevented from taking advantage of them, like in my gay marriage example earlier.

    So we can add externalities to the list of things you don’t understand, then? (I’ll give you a hint: there are no actual externalities in the economic sense involved in marriage equality).

    But when that loss of control is caused by a powerful institution like government, I think it’s only fair to question whether we should accept that or not.

    But when it’s caused by a powerful institution like a major corporation, or a powerful individual, like the superrich, you’re fine with it. This kind of attitude is one of the things that gets you called a libertarian a whole lot.

    Why not? If the government is going to use public resources to provide charity in the form of food stamps and other similar programs, then efforts should be made to ensure thst most if not all taxpayer money gets targeted towards the people who legitimately need it. If that can be done at low expense, then all the better..

    Except, as has been pointed out, it costs more to try to root out welfare fraud than it does to ignore it. It can’t be done at a low cost, and the process of trying to do it prevents people who need help from getting it. Hence,

    People like me have nothing to do people not getting help.

    this statement is a total lie, since the kind of bullshit you keep spouting does, in fact, lead to people in need not getting help.

    alexanderz55

    From the economic perspective they’re still “banks” –

    ‘Serves the same economic purpose as ‘≠ ‘is synonymous with’.

    a way to funnel excess wealth into an investment.

    Annnd that’s not the definition of a bank. Try again,

    All of these methods are just variations on the theme, and while they do solve some problems that the current banking system is incapable of dealing with, there is a reason why no economist wants to apply those practices to the entire economy – because it will ruin it.

    Except, you know, economists like Muhammed Yunus, who I mentioned in my earlier post, who proposed the government provided capital one, and the actual, working economy I mentioned in Emilia-Romagna, which is actually applying another one of the possibilities I noted. You’re not very good at this, are you?

    For example, if we look how microfinances will function as a main funding source for an economy,

    Way to move the goalposts, me old china. None of the things I mentioned are actually microfinance, which has a specific meaning.

    we’ll see that very costly industries will require financing from most, if not all, the country’s population.

    Citation badly needed.

    Since those industries need time before they begin to pay off the investment you’ll have an extended period with reduced demand (since all payed, but the construction and the initial stages will benefit only local residents),

    Yeah, once again, citation needed. Also, see previous remarks re: taxation and infrastructure and ask yourself why that doesn’t have the dire effects you’re blithering about.

    which may undermine the very reason for building said industry in the first place.
    Now imagine the same system, but with several costly enterprises being invested in simultaneously.

    Say what? You do realize, don’t you, that we’re not discussing the creation of ecnomies ex nihilo and that there are, in fact, considerable resources that could be devoted to such things right now, today, with no harm and great benefit to the economy, if we could only wrest control of them from the ultrawealthy, who are not, contra your assertions, using them to allow the formation of new enterprises.

    Therefore any failure of any sufficiently large enterprise will cause a depression identical, if not worse than that’s going on right now.

    Umm, only if you’re supposing that most/all industries require a significant fraction of the GDP to start up, which is an absurd premise when you’re talking about an industrialized nation.

    My premise is that a flawlessly functioning banking system is fundamentally impossible. The current system does function, it just so happens that part of its function is to fall over once every decade and collapse once every century.

    Yeah, no. The U.S. banking system used to collapse about once every decade and change, but then after a really, really bad collapse in the 1920s, you may have heard of it, some laws were passed and then the banking industry didn’t fail for most of a century, until dipshits started removing the regulations, and what do you know, it fucking collapsed again.

  53. PDX_Greg says

    What a brilliant point with a fantastic and unexpected pay-off. Makes me wish I had a blog just so I could post it.