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The Conservative Big Lie about Corporate Taxes

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Whenever a BC liberal has brought up the matter of corporate taxes, the BC conservatives almost always point out that corporate taxes do no good at all because the corporations will only pass the cost on to the consumer. Now if taken at face value, that is surely a sensible statement. After all, don’t all goods and services have costs that comprise part of the retail price to the consumer? Of course they do! It is for this reason that I didn’t argue more strongly for corporate taxes.

But it dawned on me the other day that the conservatives’ claim may well be a false argument. Why? Because all well-run businesses charge what the market will bear, and any business that charges more than what the market will bear will soon face significant losses and, if the prices are not soon lowered to the market price acceptable to the consumer, will go out of business. When a business has difficulty pricing its goods or services at the acceptable market value, that business will make cuts in other areas. The first cuts will almost always be in personnel: those employees who are less essential will be laid off or fired, but the business will not cut off its nose to spite its face, as the saying goes, by making personnel cuts so deeply that it will damage its ability to do business. Furthermore, even in the best of times well-run businesses strive to cut fat, as it were, from the company rolls, so mass layoffs due to higher corporate taxes is not a great concern. After all, if high corporate tax rates were indeed a path to economic meltdown, we would have seen this happen across the first-world democracies long before now! If history is any guide, then moderately-higher taxes would not adversely affect America’s economy as a whole. Nor can it be honestly stated that American businesses face the sixth-highest business tax rate in the world (as this Bloomberg.com article claims. Why? Because as Professor Linda Beale, a tax law expert, states:

[T]he US is actually a corporate tax haven, with the lowest effective corporate tax rates of almost all the countries that participate in the OECD. That’s a little fact that the Tax Foundation apparently doesn’t want the American public to understand, since all its hype is in terms of statutory rates and not in terms of effective tax rates.

The article makes clear that while America’s statutory tax rate is indeed among the highest in the world, our effective tax rate, after deductions and tax breaks are taken into account ,is, as Professor Beale states, among the lowest in the OECD.

And this brings us back to the conservative Big Lie about the evils of corporate taxation. A well-run business will not charge more than what the market will bear, nor will that business cut its payrolls to such a point that it will harm that business’ ability to operate profitably. When corporations are making record profits year after year, it should be expected that those businesses should be sufficiently taxed in order to pay for the taxpayer-funded infrastructure that they use including roads, regulatory enforcement, crime and fire prevention, and public education. If a corporation cannot operate profitably while paying such taxes, then instead of simply wanting to avoid paying the taxes that businesses are expected to pay in any other developed nation in the world, the major shareholders need to take a hard look at how that company is being run. There is nothing wrong with charging corporations a moderate tax rate, and there’s everything wrong with forcing the middle-class taxpayer to shoulder an ever-increasing share of the tax burden.

A corporation that pays taxes may not reap profits as obscenely high as some are doing now, but if that corporation is already charging what the market will bear, which is what corporations aim to do anyway, then the cost of those taxes will NOT be “passed on to the consumer” but will instead force the corporation to operate more efficiently. The side benefit is that as time goes on, because of those taxes they hate so much, the corporations will be able to do so with the support of a better physical and societal infrastructure.

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About Glenn Contrarian

White. Male. Raised in the deepest of the Deep South. Retired Navy. Strong Christian. Proud Liberal. Thus, Contrarian!
  • Nailman

    The flaw in your premise is that you ignore the fact that when corporate taxes are raised, they’re raised for all corporations, so all will raise their prices accordingly. Your thesis assumes one, or only a few, corporations will be more heavily taxed, and thus would be at a competitive disadvantage if they pass on the tax increase.

    You say that conservatives consider taxation of corporations to be evil. That’s not so; the point I make is that higher taxes will be passed on to the consumer. The current price of a loaf of bread is about 22% taxes imposed on everyone from the farmer growing the wheat, to the bakery making the bread, and the grocery store selling it.

    Some economists disagree with my premise, but their news is hardly better: they say that while a portion of corporate taxes are passed on to the end user, the majority of corporate taxes come out of after-tax profits and employee wages.

    So, your point about how low US corporate taxes are is to the good of the consumer and worker (who are the same). However, raise taxes enough, on either corporations or consumers, and they’ll find ways of getting out of paying them, up to and including leaving for greener pastures, which many computer manufacturers are and have been doing for years.

    The point is, the ultimate source of all taxes is we, the people, so wherever in the production process you raise them, ultimately it is we who will pay them.

    One final point: we are currently in a severe slump caused chiefly by overwhelming debt as a result of profligate government spending, whether by Republicans or Democrats or both, is immaterial; as a percentage of national income, government debt is at a near record and growing at an alarming rate. Raise taxes now, and you’ll be handing even more money to the government to spend, which will inevitably exceed the increase in revenue (it always does), resulting in still more debt.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Nailman –

    So…did you know that when our national debt after WWII was higher in relation to our GDP than our national debt-to-GDP ratio is now?

    And that begs the question – why is it that during the 1950’s we had capital gains taxes (25%), corporate taxes (52%), and top marginal tax rates (91%) – ALL significantly higher than they are now – yet the national debt was nearly paid off completely during the Truman and Eisenhower years? If your logic held true, then we should have gone into a deep depression due to the high taxation.

    But we didn’t, did we? Instead, we nearly paid off the ENTIRE national debt in less than a decade! And while we were at it, there was this little thing called the Interstate that was built with taxpayer dollars, too. And there was the Korean War and the Cold War, too.

    So please answer, Nailman – if higher taxes are so bad, then how were we able to nearly pay off in less than a decade a national debt that was even WORSE than the one we have now?

    And btw – if government spending ALWAYS exceeds the increase in revenue, then explain what happened in the 1950’s which CLEARLY refutes your claim.

    Nailman – don’t get me wrong – I’d love to see spending cuts that do NOT hurt the poor and disadvantaged…and especially cuts in the military. If I had my choice, I’d get rid of all our aircraft carriers (though I loved serving on them).

    Raising taxes alone won’t solve the problem – but if we were to show the courage that the Greatest Generation had with paying taxes to erase the national debt AND if we cut the military budget by even a third, we’d likely be able to repeat what our nation ALREADY did by raising taxes in the 1950’s.

    Study the chart that I referenced very carefully, Nailman. See when the taxes were lowest, and think about the economic turmoil we faced every time we had very low taxes. And then look at the times when our economy was strong…and look what the tax rates were then. And here’s the overall lesson to take from our tax history, Nailman – the government plays a very strong role in the economic health of the nation…and if you tear down the government’s ability to support and regulate our economy, our economy WILL find its way into a ditch.

  • Sue

    Do you watch CNBC or look at profits for corporations? Many of them are tenuous. The stock market is being driven by the influx of fed money not profits. Do you think it’s a good idea to raise taxes on corporation during unstable economic times? Many, many economists don’t. So, who did you think knows better? Our President or a group of economists who are experts? I’ll go with the economists.

  • http://tmackorg.com/ Tommy Mack

    The False Analogy that business and government are the same is crap.

    Government is government. Business is business. They are not the same things. Google employees do not elect their employers. Nor did Google take over a company by force to establish itself and install a chief executive officer.

    I am sorry that the opposition party [conservative] indulges in wrong thinking. They are out of power. They will remain out of power until 2016. How else could Donald Trump even appear in the polls?

    Trump bankruptcies are hardly the way to manage, either. Bring in Andy Card to run as a VP candidate for the Trump-Card ticket and you get another False Analogy.

    Please refrain from putting an otherwise valid opinion in the toilet.

    Tommy Mack
    San Francisco

  • Clavos


    – why is it that during the 1950’s we had capital gains taxes (25%), corporate taxes (52%), and top marginal tax rates (91%) – ALL significantly higher than they are now – yet the national debt was nearly paid off completely during the Truman and Eisenhower years?

    I’m surprised you don’t know why:

    No entitlement programs; no Medicare, no Medicaid, minimal Social Security, no welfare, food stamps, etc. etc.

    In short, the government was a lot smaller back then, and spent less — especially in proportion to GDP.

  • Clavos

    And why stop at carriers? Get rid of the whole surface navy, it’s anachronistic and obsolete — keep only the nuke subs.

  • tro ll

    …if as Glenn’s links indicate the US taxes corporations at an effective rate close to the weighted OECD average of 27.something (2008) what could we expect the impact of a significant unilateral US effective rate hike to be internationally?

  • Nailman

    The outsourcing of yet more US jobs and revenue?

  • Clavos

    “Outsourcing” should have been “Offshoring”

  • troll

    how ’bout –

    the 2005 AEI based CBO report describing the distortions associated with corporate taxation is based on the axiom that:

    Taxes—including corporate income taxes—distort
    incentives, primarily by taxing endeavors unevenly. When
    two kinds of economic activity are taxed at different rates,
    the more highly taxed activity tends to diminish and the
    less heavily taxed activity expands.

    …is this a verified truism (empirically speaking that is?)

  • Boeke

    Societies must collect taxes somewhere, or devolve into anarchy. The benefit of corporate taxes is that you have fewer places from which to collect taxes, and you have regular reporting mechanisms.

    US Corps have been very successful at shifting tax burden to wage earners. 50 years ago 75% of fed taxes were paid by corps and about 25% by wage earners; today the percentages are reversed.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    No entitlement programs; no Medicare, no Medicaid, minimal Social Security, no welfare, food stamps, etc. etc.

    In short, the government was a lot smaller back then, and spent less — especially in proportion to GDP.

    True…and FALSE.

    Yes, we do have much more in the way of entitlements than we had then…but our government does NOT spend particularly more in proportion to the GDP as this historical total-revenue-to-GDP table clearly shows.

    Clavos, businesses generate money…but they do NOT provide their own basic infrastructure. They do NOT provide the roads, the schools, the crime- and fire-protection, the national security, the diplomatic contacts and procedures, the legal and regulatory frameworks that allow them to compete on equal footing.

    And when it comes to entitlements, whether you realize it or not, those entitlements are PART of the infrastructure that supports business. Look back at our national life expectancy during the 1950’s and compare it to now, despite the fact that our national diet is worse than it was then! Do you really think that the overall health and life expectancy of a nation doesn’t have any effect on the profitability of that nation’s business sector? When it comes to welfare and food stamps, what happens when those who cannot afford to feed themselves or their children? Do they simply allow their kids to starve? Or do they find away to feed their kids…even if that way is quite illegal? FYI, welfare and food stamps not only help feed and shelter the poor and destitute, but they also keep them from being forced into lives of crime. Sure, a lot of them still engage in lives of crime…but many of them don’t, who otherwise would do so and would be an even greater burden upon the taxpayer.

    You’re working with the wrong paradigm, Clavos. The purpose of government – economically speaking – is to provide the basic infrastructure that allows businesses to prosper…and the better the infrastructure the government is able to provide, the better that businesses are able to prosper! BUT if you slice-and-dice the government’s ability to provide that infrastructure, that also has a deleterious effect on business.

    The last paragraph, Clavos, is the paradigm that has worked throughout the ages. It was true in the times of the Roman Republic and the great Chinese dynasties (roads, schools, legal framework, military protection), and it’s true today.

  • Clavos

    …businesses generate money…but they do NOT provide their own basic infrastructure. They do NOT provide the roads, the schools, the crime- and fire-protection, the national security, the diplomatic contacts and procedures, the legal and regulatory frameworks that allow them to compete on equal footing.

    Correct, but none of those services, all of which I agree are proper functions of government, involve entitlement programs that encourage non-productive attitudes and behavior in the populace.

    …and when it comes to entitlements, whether you realize it or not, those entitlements are PART of the infrastructure that supports business.

    I disagree, they are a burden to all taxpaying entities, costing more than their benefit to the society as a WHOLE, although they do provide a specific benefit to individuals — but, they are a burden on society as a whole.

    Do you really think that the overall health and life expectancy of a nation doesn’t have any effect on the profitability of that nation’s business sector?

    It most certainly does: longer life spans result in far more government expenditure of funds to programs like Medicare and Medicaid. Harsh? Perhaps, but I’ve never claimed to be a humanitarian.

    FYI, welfare and food stamps not only help feed and shelter the poor and destitute, but they also keep them from being forced into lives of crime.

    Wrong. They are the breeding ground for crime — second only to drugs, which should be legalized for just that reason.

    …the purpose of government – economically speaking – is to provide the basic infrastructure that allows businesses to prosper…and the better the infrastructure the government is able to provide, the better that businesses are able to prosper!

    Agreed, but government overspending to the unprecedented degree currently occurring is enormously DELETERIOUS — to the nation, to business, to individuals like you and me, as jobs disappear — or move away, the fiat money we use continues to lose value, and individual (and corporate) bankruptcies continue to proliferate.

    Obie’s administration has already thrown trillions at the economy, and we’re little better off than we were back in 2008; throwing trillions more is only going to exacerbate, not improve, the condition of the economy — ours, and the world’s.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Sue –

    So, who did you think knows better? Our President or a group of economists who are experts? I’ll go with the economists.

    Actually, most economists agree with our president, and agree that the stimulus certainly prevented a deeper recession. Look it up sometime.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    I’m about to head out for the day, so I won’t be able to address your points until probably Monday AM…but address them I will.

    And while you’re waiting for me to reply, if a family is flat broke, the parent(s) can’t get a job, and there’s no welfare or food stamps, exactly how do you think they’re going to feed themselves, and especially the kids? For example, it’s actually pretty common for single mothers to become prostitutes so they can feed their kids.

    That’s why I say that that welfare and food stamps (and I’ve been on food stamps before) actually prevent a substantial amount of crime. The fact that a lot of crime still occurs in poor areas that draw a lot of welfare and food stamps does NOT mean that crime is a RESULT of welfare or food stamps – that’s your correlation/causation factor, I believe. It simply means that more crime happens in places of greater poverty. This is true everywhere…and welfare and food stamps do NOT increase the crime.

    BUT if you do that which decreases the poverty, then crime is decreased as well. Do you not agree with that?

  • Boeke

    The biggest source of “…entitlement programs that encourage non-productive attitudes and behavior in the populace.” appears to be large accumulations of private fortune in our privileged families.

  • Clavos

    The biggest source of “…entitlement programs that encourage non-productive attitudes and behavior in the populace.” appears to be large accumulations of private fortune in our privileged families.

    So let me see if I have this right. You’re saying that the well-to-do are directly funding welfare programs? Then where does the government get the chutzpah to steal our money from the rest of us every April?

    For stealing it is, since it’s effectively taken at gunpoint.

  • Clavos

    Glenn,

    No problem, I’ll wait until Monday, but meanwhile remember you still haven’t responded to my point in #1 about the error of your basic premise in the article, not to mention my point in #13 about longer life spans actually being more, not less costly to society and my questioning of your assertion regarding entitlement programs being somehow beneficial to business.

    And this one. You say:

    The fact that a lot of crime still occurs in poor areas that draw a lot of welfare and food stamps does NOT mean that crime is a RESULT of welfare or food stamps – that’s your correlation/causation factor,…”

    Not what I said, Glenn. I said that poverty areas are breeding grounds for crime. Welfare, food stamps and all the other entitlement programs prevent people from starving and provide minimal rent dwellings (If you can glorify them to that extent) but little else, except to make the recipients perennially dependent on the government handouts in a never-ending cycle of subsistence poverty with no exit, or even the hope of one. So the people, in their despair, become drug dealers, prostitutes, petty criminals and the like, often turning on each other, killing and maiming each other for petty, unimportant reasons.

    No, the entitlement programs merely keep the poor barely alive, which, given the circumstances in which they live, is probably far more cruel and unusual punishment than death.

  • Boeke

    Don’t stupidly pose rhetorical questions such as “You’re saying that …”

  • Clavos

    Don’t write stupidly and us stupid people would understand what you’re trying to say.

    On the other hand, who cares?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    Welfare, food stamps and all the other entitlement programs prevent people from starving and provide minimal rent dwellings (If you can glorify them to that extent) but little else, except to make the recipients perennially dependent on the government handouts in a never-ending cycle of subsistence poverty with no exit, or even the hope of one.

    You really think people LIKE staying poor? You really think people WANT to stay in projects and slums?

    Your premise that welfare and food stamps and “all entitlement programs” MAKE recipients perennially dependent is completely unsupported by statistical fact. Why can I say that? Look at Obama – like myself and my mother, he and his mother were once on food stamps. Look at Tim Pawlenty – he used Social Security benefits (such as I was also drawing until age 18) to pay for his college (though he now rails against Social Security, having flip-flopped just as he did with climate change). Look at Oprah! Look at Chris Rock! Look at Bill Cosby! In fact, I think you’ll find that nearly every single successful non-Asian minority celebrity was one time or another a recipient of the same entitlement aid that you say makes them dependent on said aid.

    You’ve got this paradigm that helping people actually only hurts those people by “making them dependent” on said help…but you’re completely wrong. People WANT to succeed…but – sometimes due to their own fault, and sometimes due to problems BEYOND their control – they don’t always succeed. But many do.

    Clavos, if it were true that America would become stronger if we got rid of all welfare and other entitlements, then there’s a whole lot of third-world countries that SHOULD be first-world countries because they have NO such entitlements or federal aid…whereas in the real world that you seem determined to deny, every single one of the first-world democracies DO provide entitlements and federal aid.

    You can show me NO modern example of a nation (outside certain oil-rich nations in the Middle East) that is successful that provides no federal aid or entitlements to help the poor…yet I somehow suspect that you’ll still stick to your determination that despite all historical and modern-day evidence to the contrary, you’re only hurting the poor by helping them.

  • Clavos


    You really think people LIKE staying poor? You really think people WANT to stay in projects and slums?

    Doggone it, Glenn you HAVE to stop misreading my posts!!! I meant exactly the opposite of what you think you read. Of course I don’t think people like to live in poverty their entire lives (and let me interject here that your anecdotal evidence about your and Obie’s personal experiences are statistically meaningless and no, not at all typical of the overwhelming majority of welfare recipients who not only never get out of the ghetto, they too often die much too young (A substantial percentage are mere children).

    My point is similar to the old adage about giving a man a fish vs teaching him to fish. Our poverty “fighting,” government-run system is woefully focused wrong. Sure, we prevent people from starving (barely), and Section 8 and other programs house them (in slums, basically), but we give them nothing — no tools, no education or training, to get work and escape that treadmill they’re on. And you’re wrong: most NEVER get away.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    So Clavos – what specifically would YOU do to ‘teach them to fish’…and keep them and their kids from starving and living on the street in the meantime?

  • zingzing

    “My point is similar to the old adage about giving a man a fish vs teaching him to fish.”

    ok, clavos. i can see you’re saying that the welfare state gives a man a fish.

    but who is teaching him to fish? where’s that piece of the equation? does that not bother you?

  • zingzing

    damn it, glenn. well, i’ve yet to see a conservative answer that part of the adage. they bring it up like so much wisdom, but it’s a fucking mirage.

  • zingzing

    seriously, clavos, if you’ve got a fishing pole and the time and patience to teach a man to fish, DO IT.

    if not, pay someone else to do it.

    which do you choose?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    And Clavos – exactly what is it about “welfare and food stamps and entitlements [that MAKES] people dependent” on such aid? What did I supposedly misread about that statement? Especially when you yourself agree that people do NOT want to live in poverty?

    Can you tell me how such aid prevents those in poverty from trying to improve their lives? And how YOUR plan would help them to improve their lot while staying true to your particular values?

    And most importantly, if your particular plan would work, exactly how are you going to make this happen? My point being, if your better plan can’t be made to happen, then what good is it? Are the few alternative plans being offered by the conservatives really better than the help that is being given through these entitlement and aid programs? And if the conservatives’ plans are NOT better, then which is better – to insist on your personal way which will never happen, or to support the system that works better than any of the other plans that are (in conservative eyes) politically possible?

    It’s not a choice between what you or I think is best – it’s a choice between what can and cannot be made to happen given our political system. There’s nothing wrong with agitating for what you personally believe…but if what you believe is for all practical purposes politically impossible, then you need to find something that is possible. Support the possible, not the impossible.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Maybe someone already mentioned it, but the obvious logical flaw here is that the effective tax rate is low because so many companies are offshoring operations to get our of the burden of the high US corporate tax rate and our artificially inflated wages.

    The problem is that we are already paying the devastating cost of our high corporate tax rate in lost jobs and economic decline.

    Dave

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Dave –

    Gimme some of what you’re smokin’! Companies offshoring this or that does NOT affect or determine the tax rate in any way whatsoever, whether statutory or effective! Talk about a non sequitur! Maybe you’re up too late and aren’t thinking straight, because your comment makes no sense whatsoever.

    And if you’ll recall, our manufacturing base started being outsourced overseas once Reaganomics took hold…but of course that just couldn’t have anything to do with it, huh?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos (a.k.a. Nailman?) –

    The flaw in your premise is that you ignore the fact that when corporate taxes are raised, they’re raised for all corporations, so all will raise their prices accordingly. Your thesis assumes one, or only a few, corporations will be more heavily taxed, and thus would be at a competitive disadvantage if they pass on the tax increase.

    1. To your first point, that is false. Why? Again, no corporation – with or without the collusion of other corporations – will charge more than the market will bear…and this is even true to some extent with something as essential as oil. Why? Because when faced with prices that are high, they start behaving more efficiently, more economically…and you’ll find – as with the last time gas prices were this high – that all of a sudden public transportation ridership goes way up. Most will bite the bullet and pay for the gas…but oil is, again, essential. You do get my point.

    And when it comes to items that are NOT as essential as oil – say, cars or computers or steaks or furniture or whatever – if the price is above what the market will bear, consumption of those items plummet.

    Corporations do NOT charge more than what the market will bear…and so moderately higher taxes will at most be partially passed on to the consumer. Otherwise, those corporations will act just as they did in the 1950’s – either pay the tax without passing on the higher prices to the consumer, or they will use those profits to further build their company and so be able to deduct such improvement costs from their taxes.

    You’re not entitled to your own facts, Clavos – corporations (or at least the ones who want to stay in business) do NOT charge more than what the market will bear.

    2. Concerning the second half of your paragraph, I made no such assumptions, nor can you find any hint of such an assumption in my article. Now, what is it you keep telling me about being careful about how I read what you say?

  • tr oll

    Glenn – how does the US’s 1959 12 billion Dollar deficit (largest ever in peacetime) fit into your history of corporate/government responsibility?

    also – what leads you to believe that ‘what the market will bear’…a catch phrase that you’ve endowed with undeserved specificity imo…is independent of the behavior of the corporation seeking to set prices?

  • troll

    Dave #28 – how does offshoring lower the overall US effective corporate tax rate?

  • troll

    (re #31 should read – largest ever in peacetime to that point…Eisenhower was a piker)

  • Nailman

    ok, clavos. i can see you’re saying that the welfare state gives a man a fish.

    but who is teaching him to fish? where’s that piece of the equation? does that not bother you?

    Duh, zing. That’s exactly my point: the government feeds and houses ‘em, but does nothing to get them out of there, which perpetuates the problem.

    I’m cynical. So I believe one of the reasons why nothing is done to CHANGE the situation is: as long as there are poor in need of assistance, an entire (very large) branch of the government (at all levels: fed, state, and municipal) has a raison d’etre.

  • Clavos

    exactly what is it about “welfare and food stamps and entitlements [that MAKES] people dependent” on such aid?

    Dammit, Glenn, for the last time, I didn’t SAY THAT!!! Read zing’s #24 and my response to it (#34) for what I DID say.

  • Clavos

    zing #26:

    The latter. I’m not a humanitarian and not interested in doing anything about it personally, but I am getting tired of their condition being perpetuated by the lack of anyone doing anything about changing it and paying for it with money stolen from me (taxes).

  • Clavos

    Glenn # 27.

    You make the assumption that correcting the situation is an impossibility. How do you know? No one’s ever tried, which is what I’m bitching about…

  • Glenn Contrarian

    tr oll –

    Where, exactly, did you get the idea that the US’s $12B deficit in 1959 was the largest in peacetime?

    I ask because our deficit that year was $8.07B (in 1959 dollars), and was certainly not the largest in peacetime. In fact, if you’ll look at this chart of info going back to 1930 that adjusts all amounts in 2005 dollars, you’ll see that even adjusted for inflation, our deficit in 1959 was quite low.

    Have fun with that site – it’s quite useful. And here’s another I found that has a lot of charts that will help clarify America’s fiscal history.

  • Clavos

    You’re not entitled to your own facts, Clavos – corporations (or at least the ones who want to stay in business) do NOT charge more than what the market will bear.

    That holds true only in terms of what their competition is charging, Glenn. I f the entire market in a product or commodity rises, especially the necessities such as food, clothing, and shelter, the price is paid, regardless.

    You have heard of the concept of elasticity, have you not?

    Great example: when I got my first car, gasoline was $0.25 a gallon. I’m still driving.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    You posted:

    “exactly what is it about “welfare and food stamps and entitlements [that MAKES] people dependent” on such aid?”

    Dammit, Glenn, for the last time, I didn’t SAY THAT!!! Read zing’s #24 and my response to it (#34) for what I DID say.

    Here’s a paste of what you said:

    Welfare, food stamps and all the other entitlement programs prevent people from starving and provide minimal rent dwellings (If you can glorify them to that extent) but little else, except to make the recipients perennially dependent on the government handouts in a never-ending cycle of subsistence poverty with no exit, or even the hope of one.

    Clavos, I’ll grant that you’re better at English than I am…but in the above sentence I see “Welfare, food stamps, and all the other entitlement programs prevent starving…but little else, except to make the recipients perennially dependent on the government handouts.

    So how, exactly, did you not say what I said that you said? And, given that you DID say what I said that you said, will you now answer the questions I posed, as in what, exactly, would you do instead…and how you’re going to make that happen?

    And how can you expect me to accept your point of view that no one’s ever tried what your suggesting since you haven’t told me exactly what it is that you’re suggesting other than then pointing out that welfare et al doesn’t do what you expect it should do?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    I looked at your #34 – and please let me know if I’m misreading you, but are you claiming that government is purposefully perpetuating the state of our poorest just so that particular segment of our government can continue its operational existence? I really hope I misread that, because such a theory is frankly less grounded in reality than are birtherism and 9/11 trutherism.

    And you said:

    That holds true only in terms of what their competition is charging, Glenn. I f the entire market in a product or commodity rises, especially the necessities such as food, clothing, and shelter, the price is paid, regardless.

    That is NOT AT ALL true for non-essential goods and services, and is only partially true for essential goods and services.

    Do you understand what I mean by “what the market will bear”? That phrase, as I understand it, refers to that economic “sweet spot” that all businesses strive to reach. It is the pricing level that is low enough that a maximum level of consumers will buy it, but high enough that the company is maximizing its profit.

    And every company – including yours – knows that once you raise prices out of that sweet spot, your product or service will still sell…but to fewer people, and as a result, while you may make greater profit per unit sold, you will make LESS profit (or even a loss) because your overall REVENUE would fall due to the fewer units sold.

    You know this, Clavos. You’re a businessman, and you must know that every business tries to hit this economic sweet spot…irrespective of all other outside factors such as business climate or taxes.

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com Andy Marsh

    Glenn – comment 30. The last time gas prices were this high was when people started defaulting on their home loans. People seem to forget this…

  • Clavos

    I looked at your #34 – and please let me know if I’m misreading you, but are you claiming that government is purposefully perpetuating the state of our poorest just so that particular segment of our government can continue its operational existence?

    Glenn, As I’ve stated numerous times in the past, I despise the US government and I am a cynic. That is my opinion, yes.

    Do I think that the government responsible for experimenting medically on its own soldiers without their knowledge, the world’s only government to have employed nuclear weapons against other humans is capable of that?

    You bet I do.

  • troll

    Glenn – I used this site for historical comparison of the deficit size and 1959 does hold the record for peacetime from this perspective doesn’t it? …but I certainly should have qualified my earlier comment to reflect that the 1959 deficit was the largest as a % of GDP in peacetime up ’til then

    as for the total – your right and my memory failed me when I typed the comment – thanks for the correction – I got that figure from a site that I suspected having seen the 8% figure before

    that said I think you’ve avoided my questions

    you say the US paid off its war debt by the end of the 50s via responsible government and high taxes…I point to Eisenhower’s use of deficit spending at the end of the 50s and wonder how this fits with your picture

    (…I didn’t even bring up the inflation and unemployment problems of the 50s)

    and I’m still interested in your take on the pricing mechanism

  • Clavos

    Glenn 41:

    Again, As troll pointed out, “what the market will bear,” as you’re using it is essentially meaningless. What you’re really talking about here is elasticity/inelasticity as it relates to pricing and demand. My contention is that, barring a complete collapse in the US economy, demand in our economy has historically shown a large capacity for inelasticity, i.e. it is relatively unaffected by price elasticity, particularly where goods/services Americans consider to be essential are concerned. An example, of course is the historically inelastic demand for fuel in this country; although there is some drop in demand when prices run up, it isn’t sufficient, in and of itself, to bring down prices, perhaps because it never yet has reached a high enough price for that to occur. This time, we may well see such a point.

  • Clavos

    Glenn 40:

    OK, Guilty as charged; I did not edit my comment well, although I still insist it did’nt explicitly say that the welfare programs keep the poor where they are. My point is that, because the ONLY thing the government does for them is PAY them — It doesn’t train them, or offer any way out of poverty, however motivated they may be to get out, the majority are obverburdened with their condition and not knowledgeable enough to do anything about it.

    And that is a disgrace — which is the government’s shame.

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    I am reluctant to step in between two people who obviously have such a great time arguing with each other but, Clavos, your #46 is definitely not the case.

    Anybody who is motivated enough to get out of poverty can easily do so by learning how to make money online.

    There are literally dozens, if not hundreds, of free courses that show loads of different ways to make money, most of which either just take time or relatively small investments to get going…

  • Clavos

    Chris,

    For the most part, those in the ghetto existing on welfare and food stamps lack the sophistication and knowledge (and probably the hardware) to do what you say. That’s my point: if the US is truly interested in helping them improve their lot, it should be offering them the means to do so.

    But it isn’t.

    One wonders why not.

  • zingzing

    clavos: “The latter [that being pay someone else to look after the poor]. I’m not a humanitarian and not interested in doing anything about it personally.”

    well then. that’s just about how all conservatives would answer, i’d bet. they have no answer for how they would “teach a man to fish.” it’s all bluster. and callous as fuck.

    “but I am getting tired of their condition being perpetuated by the lack of anyone doing anything about changing it and paying for it with money stolen from me (taxes).”

    it’s your own laziness that’s at fault then. you keep yourself in this condition. and the money is not stolen from you, you’re (again) just too lazy to move somewhere else where you won’t have to pay for such things. you could change your condition, but you don’t. why not?

  • troll

    …because it’s their job to be poor and unemployed

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Pretty much all it takes is an internet connection, Clavos, and not much sophistication at all, so all they need is the desire.

    Are you saying it is the role of government to create infrastructure to train people and, if so, how do you reconcile that with your views that government should be minimalist and is also incompetent?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Chris –

    I strongly agree with Clavos that many – or most – of the poor lack the education or the sophistication to use the internet to make money. Some do have such ability…but the vast majority do not.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    troll –

    that’s the same site to which I referred you, and I still don’t see what you’re talking about – in order to show me what you’re talking about, you’re going to have to arrange the chart and then paste the link here, just as I did in my reply to you.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    Glenn, As I’ve stated numerous times in the past, I despise the US government and I am a cynic. That is my opinion, yes.

    Do I think that the government responsible for experimenting medically on its own soldiers without their knowledge, the world’s only government to have employed nuclear weapons against other humans is capable of that?

    On your first sentence, no, there’s no way that I would agree that our government is purposefully keeping people in poverty just so government workers can keep a job. No, Clavos, the size and complexity and number of people involved would make such a conspiracy frankly impossible.

    That said, when it comes to our government experimenting on our soldiers, I agree with you that our government almost certainly has. Why? Because such would require FAR fewer people to be involved, and would therefore be much easier to keep secret.

    But a secret conspiracy that involves hundreds of thousands of government workers? No.

    Lastly, on cynicism:

    What is a cynic? A man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.

    Oscar Wilde

  • Glenn Contrarian

    And Clavos –

    I’m still waiting to hear what you personally would want the government to do to help people rise out of poverty.

    See you tomorrow.

  • zingzing

    clavos: “My point is that, because the ONLY thing the government does for them is PAY them — It doesn’t train them, or offer any way out of poverty, however motivated they may be to get out, the majority are obverburdened with their condition and not knowledgeable enough to do anything about it.”

    yay! clavos, you’re totally wrong. one of the many, many jobs i hold is as an editor for an organization that tests people without high school diplomas or geds to see if they have “the ability to benefit” (which is why its called an ATB test,) from vocational education. vocational schools use these tests to prove to the government that the student has the ability and is eligible for government grants.

    at one school i looked at, the government gave each student $15,000 in grants for 16 months of schooling. not a bad little number there. at another, which had applied for both state and fed funds, they were getting $14,000 per year.

    a majority of the students that benefit from these programs (at least in nyc) were minorities and on some sort of social assistance.

    so, yes, the government does help them in other ways. it doesn’t necessarily train them, but it gives them grants to be used for training purposes (and the gov’t gives the money to the schools, not to the trainee, with strict usage rules applied).

    i’m sure this is just the tip of the iceberg and there are many, many other ways in which the government seeks to get people out of poverty.

    but don’t let your conservative condition overburden you, and use this knowledge to get out of it. i know you have a low opinion of people in general, but that last sentence that i quoted was a new level or arrogance for you.

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Glenn, although it is nice to see you and Clavos in rare agreement, you are united in error; it doesn’t take education or sophistication to do it, just persistence and the ability to do what you are being trained to do.

  • zingzing

    hrm. phrase, not sentence. and of, not or.

    “if the US is truly interested in helping them improve their lot, it should be offering them the means to do so.”

    it does.

    “But it isn’t.”

    yes it is.

    “One wonders why not.”

    just because you’re ignorant of it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

  • Clavos

    it’s all bluster. and callous as fuck.

    Callous (on my part), yes. Bluster, How?

    As to my moving elsewhere: I’ve thought and thought about it, but in the end, I have too much vested in this economy (not the “country”) to move away.

    So I bitch about it, in the hope it will change.

    But it probably won’t.

    and the money is not stolen from you…

    I disagree. It (taxes) is taken from me against my will and by force.

    That’s the definition of armed robbery.

  • Clavos

    I’m still waiting to hear what you personally would want the government to do to help people rise out of poverty.

    Glenn, if I had a solution, I’d sell it to the government for a couple of billion of your tax dollars.

    I don’t. That doesn’t preclude my asking for a solution to be developed; it’s my constitutional right to petition the government to redress my grievances, I believe?

  • zingzing

    clavos: “Bluster, How?”

    standing upon a mountaintop the conservatives of the world decree, as if it had never been so decreed before, that “if you give a man a fish and you feed him for a day…” and here they trail off to see if we are paying attention as we sigh, and with a wink in their eye, the conservatives continue: “teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” FROM THE MOUNTAINTOP, THEY DECREE!

    that bluster.

    “So I bitch about it, in the hope it will change.”

    you’re just as low as your ignorant welfare mom then.

    “That’s the definition of armed robbery.”

    no, not really. if you don’t want to pay at the grocery store, is standing in line waiting to pay for your food like being in the middle of a bank stickup? come on, clavos. more bluster.

  • zingzing

    and read #56 clavos.

  • Clavos

    i’m sure this is just the tip of the iceberg and there are many, many other ways in which the government seeks to get people out of poverty.

    OK. Conceded. So why do so many not get out? Why do we have a permanent underclass? Why are so many born, raised, and die in poverty?

  • Clavos

    no, not really. if you don’t want to pay at the grocery store, is standing in line waiting to pay for your food like being in the middle of a bank stickup? come on, clavos. more bluster.

    zing, come on. That is nothing short of a totally irrelevant and stupid analogy. In fact, it’s NOT an analogy — there’s no common element in those two things. You’re smarter than that.

  • troll

    yes Glenn – I know it’s the same sane site…we’ve been round this block before

    here’s the chart you asked for

    1959 stands out like a sore thumb as the gateway to perpetual deficits – why did this happen in the age of high taxes?

  • zingzing

    “So why do so many not get out? Why do we have a permanent underclass? Why are so many born, raised, and die in poverty?”

    i, for one, don’t think there’s a simple, conspiratory answer to that question. the answers are pretty either. there’s drugs and guns and dropouts and single motherhood and a general lack of opportunity that creates poverty. it is a bit of a black hole, but people escape every day. maybe it’s not fast enough to stop poverty from perpetuating itself, but people aren’t going to escape poverty if we decrease the amount of opportunities they have to do so.

  • zingzing

    clavos: “zing, come on. That is nothing short of a totally irrelevant and stupid analogy. In fact, it’s NOT an analogy — there’s no common element in those two things. You’re smarter than that.”

    eh? you don’t want to pay your taxes. you benefit from all sorts of things your taxes pays for. just because you don’t agree with everything you’re paying for doesn’t mean you have a gun to your head. it means you live with other people in a democracy. oh dearie me. did you really not see it coming? is it a surprise that others would have different needs?

    and yes, you are smart enough to see the fucking parallels, but you just don’t want to. don’t take me for a fool.

  • zingzing

    66… the answers AREN’T pretty…

  • Clavos

    On your first sentence, no, there’s no way that I would agree that our government is purposefully keeping people in poverty just so government workers can keep a job. No, Clavos, the size and complexity and number of people involved would make such a conspiracy frankly impossible.

    Glenn, there’s no conspiracy, per se. Those large numbers of people aren’t consciously keeping people in poverty, no, but they aren’t policy makers, just drones — worker ants — they do what they’re told and hang on to their jobs. But the historical fact is, Glenn, that government never shrinks — it only grows, perpetually.

    And there’s no getting around the fact that we have a permanent underclass, which, interestingly, doesn’t seem to change much in size.

    Why do you think that is?

  • Clavos

    just because you don’t agree with everything you’re paying for doesn’t mean you have a gun to your head.

    Nu? So I’m not forced to pay them? I can just say to the government, “Not this time, I don’t want to pay?” Ever try that, zing?

    Sure, I get some benefits from them (I drive on the roads, etc.), but a lot of what I pay goes to pay for what I don’t want to support. Are you glad to pay your taxes to wage war in Afghanistan, zing?

  • Clavos

    but people aren’t going to escape poverty if we decrease the amount of opportunities they have to do so.

    I don’t think anyone is doing that in this discussion, zing. Certainly not I — I’m arguing for doing more and doing it more effectively.

  • troll

    economists tell us the there is ‘natural’ unemployment – at a rate of somewhere between 4 and 6%

    …sounds like a conspiracy to me

    like I said…it’s the poor’s job to be poor

  • Clavos

    troll,

    Yeah, I remember that “natural unemployment” thing, but if I recall, it was explained as comprising those between jobs, those who were in the process of moving, etc. I don’t recall the poor underclass being mentioned in that context, and in fact, since people who have been out of work long enough aren’t counted, I doubt that the poor are counted in the unemployment figures, either.

  • zingzing

    ” *

    Nu? So I’m not forced to pay them? I can just say to the government, “Not this time, I don’t want to pay?” Ever try that, zing?”

    they aren’t going to shoot you, clavos. so don’t go overstating your case.

    “Sure, I get some benefits from them (I drive on the roads, etc.), but a lot of what I pay goes to pay for what I don’t want to support. Are you glad to pay your taxes to wage war in Afghanistan, zing?”

    nope. but i live in a democracy. it’s unfortunate, but i realize that a lot of people think differently than i. (less and less every day on this particular count, but we can’t take the money back after a decade of useless war.)

    i really, really don’t like that our “defense” department, which seems to do nothing but go on the offense, sucks so much money out of our collective pocket. so yeah, that’d be the first thing i’d cut.

    but when there’s that elephant in the room, why do you concentrate on the least fortunate amongst us, rather than the war machine?

    and if the “welfare state” exists only to perpetuate itself, how not the “defense department,” which seems to do nothing but create more people that hate us and want to kill us?

    which problem (u.s. poverty or u.s. aggression) is easier to solve?

  • zingzing

    “I’m arguing for doing more and doing it more effectively.”

    well, not really. you say that, but you don’t say how. that’s the problem. where are your solutions?

    you say “dismantle the welfare state!” but you leave a giant, gaping hole for the poor to fall into. you have to have a workable solution before you can do that, and that’s the part you’re forgetting or can’t supply.

    when you have the solution, no doubt we’ll all be able to agree that that solution is for the better. but until that solution appears, it’s all bluster.

  • Clavos

    that’s the problem. where are your solutions?

    What a phony argument!!

    “Don’t complain unless you know how to fix the problem; unless you have a solution.”

    Incredible…

    As I said upthread, if I had the solution, I’d be selling it to the government as we speak; but my not having it doesn’t preclude me from complaining about the problem, that’s stupid.

  • troll

    Clavos – the structural requirement for conspiratorial poverty can be easily hypothesized:

    The natural rate is determined by the rate at which jobs are simultaneously created and destroyed, the rate of turnover in particular jobs, and how quickly unemployed workers are matched with vacant positions. Those factors in turn depend on the characteristics of jobs and of workers and on the efficiency of the labor market’s matching process. (pdf)

    …the existence of the truly poor impacts the character of the workers with the reality and motivation of the ever present abyss – it’s their job

  • zingzing

    “What a phony argument!!”

    what a cop-out!!

    “but my not having it doesn’t preclude me from complaining about the problem, that’s stupid.”

    you can complain, sure. but you have nothing positive to contribute to a solution.

    at least you realize that.

    your complaints are meaningless and futile until there is some other, more worthy option. you can continue to waste your time bitching and whining, or you can go about trying to find the solution to the problem. otherwise, you’re just another non-productive member of society. if only you’d try…

    but, as we’ve discovered upthread, you complain that the gov’t does nothing but give the poor money, that it doesn’t provide them with the opportunities to better their lot. but that’s just ignorance. if you honestly looked at gov’t programs for the poor, maybe you could begin to look at ways to better those programs. but you don’t even know what’s out there. so why complain from a position of ignorance?

  • Clavos

    you say “dismantle the welfare state!”

    No, I didn’t. Not that, or anything remotely like it. I merely said that paying them isn’t accomplishing much in terms of liberating them from their poverty. On the contrary, even paid, they still live in abject conditions, so stopping their payments without providing for them to be able to make their own way will just create more problems.

  • Clavos

    Sorry, zing, but you haven’t the power to muzzle me. I will continue to complain until something is done; my right to do so is enshrined in the bill of rights.

    If that makes me, in your eyes, a “non-productive member of society,” OK. Your opinion of me is not germane to my complaint.

  • Clavos

    troll #77,

    That is VERY interesting, especially the pdf quote. Would like to read some more of that. Steer me?

    How’s life under the bridge?

  • Clavos

    Sorry, troll, didn’t see the link until just now…

  • zingzing

    “Sorry, zing, but you haven’t the power to muzzle me.”

    i didn’t. i said you can complain. i just said it was ineffectual. don’t go overstating your case again.

    “my right to do so is enshrined in the bill of rights.”

    oh, please, clavos. get off the high horse. if you read what i actually wrote instead of something completely different, you’d not have gotten to the point where you thought you needed to say that. i know we’re all guilty of such things, but you really don’t need to tell me about the bill of rights.

    “I merely said that paying them isn’t accomplishing much in terms of liberating them from their poverty. On the contrary, even paid, they still live in abject conditions, so stopping their payments without providing for them to be able to make their own way will just create more problems.”

    what’s the problem here then? the gov’t is trying to provide them the opportunity to “make their own way.” there’s a safety net and a leg up. yes, these things could be improved, we can all agree on that. if they were perfect, they wouldn’t be necessary at all. but they’re not, because this isn’t a perfect world. sounds to me like we’re more in agreement than not. where’s the disconnect?

  • Clavos

    what’s the problem here then?

    One more time:

    The continued and never-ending existence of a permanent underclass in the midst of history’s richest empire (well, not richest any more, but it once was), that’s the problem.

  • Clavos

    Oh, and zing:

    Take a closer look at troll’s #77…

  • troll

    here in New Mexico (it’s like a whole other country) when I trained to become a farrier the State provided poor trainees with the tools of the trade enabling them to take their certificates and actually make a living

    pending the total dismemberment of the welfare state programs like that seem to be a good idea to me

  • Clavos

    pending the total dismemberment of the welfare state programs like that seem to be a good idea to me

    Bears repeating.

  • zingzing

    “Take a closer look at troll’s #77…”

    any part in particular? the pdf is 16 pages long, so maybe you could point to something specific…

    as for troll’s 86, there are many programs just like that everywhere.

    “[the problem is] The continued and never-ending existence of a permanent underclass in the midst of history’s richest empire (well, not richest any more, but it once was), that’s the problem.”

    as in anywhere else, there will always be a top, middle and bottom. but our bottom doesn’t include all that many with flies on their eyes and bellies distended by malnutrition. i’m not saying our poor are well-off, but look outside of the united states and see what the possibilities are where there is no social safety net.

  • Clavos

    I know what those possibilities are, I’m from Mexico, remember? But this is the USA it resonates far more here than in places like Mexico, which, corruption aside, hasn’t the wherewithal to do much about their poverty..

    BTW, in that last post you’re starting to sound like a blindly patriotic conservative.

  • zingzing

    by employing relativism and saying that our social programs are doing some amount of good?

    anyway, this makes you start to sound like a good old progressive: “stopping their payments without providing for them to be able to make their own way will just create more problems.”

    one day, clavos, when all is right in the world, we will agree on everything.

  • troll

    as for troll’s 86, there are many programs just like that everywhere.

    not enough apparently…and obviously so internationally

    zingzing – you accuse Clavos of having no solutions despite his already having proposed the only positive one – getting training and the means of production into the hands of the poor – way back when in the conversation

  • zingzing

    “not enough apparently…and obviously so internationally”

    well, that would take money. and money would mean taxes.

    “you accuse Clavos of having no solutions despite his already having proposed the only positive one – getting training and the means of production into the hands of the poor – way back when in the conversation”

    he also contested that we aren’t doing that at all. but we are, as you and i have pointed out, and to which he conceded. so does he like the status quo? he’ll say he wants better and more efficient training programs. ok, so how do you do that? what exactly needs to change in the programs we have now? which ones should be cut and why? are you willing to fund new initiatives?

    also, the way you put that–“getting training and the means of production into the hands of the poor”–sounds really, really socialist if you view it in a certain light. and since everything is socialist these day, that’s any sort of light.

    either way, “getting training… into the hands of the poor” is happening right now, if not in sufficient numbers to lessen poverty. but we can keep trying. if clavos’ suggested solution is exactly what is happening, even though we aren’t spending enough on the programs, how is that a new solution? and, damn it, where’s the money coming from?

  • troll

    and, damn it, where’s the money coming from?

    …well I suggest a massive decentralized expropriation – but that’s just me

  • zingzing

    feudalism? (or some variant thereof, i guess…)

    what exactly does that phrase mean?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    (while waiting for the ferry) Do you know what’s wrong with not offering a solution of your own? If we get rid of welfare, etc. and have nothing to replace it with, then you’re likely to wind up with something worse than what you just got rid of. That’s why I don’t believe in condemning a thing unless I can think of a better way – IMO to do aught else is intellectual neglect.

  • troll

    …feudalism? ah the good old medieval days when control of a bridge meant something – but alas we can never go home again

    on expropriation – see Kropotkin’s chapter IV entitled ‘expropriation’ in linked work

  • zingzing

    i am kindless. or whatever word that would be. (that’s pretty cool that it’s free though… maybe there’s a copy at project gutenberg… nope…)

    maybe you could just explain it?

  • troll

    zingzing – get the free pc kindle application

    much easier from my perspective for you to review the now ancient traditional anarchist explication – then we can argue practicality and specifics

  • zingzing

    i am pc-less.

  • zingzing

    and before you get there, my mac operating system is too old (need 10.5 or above, i’m sitting on 10.4… had the opportunity to upgrade for free, but i didn’t… stupidly…).

  • troll

    …you’re a mac person?

    no wonder we disagree about everything

    there’s a ‘full view’ copy in google books

  • zingzing

    “no wonder we disagree about everything”

    mac’s music programs are cheaper and more intuitive. also, when i did have a pc, i couldn’t for the life of me find a crack for protools. besides, i’ve got a firm handle on the parts of logic (the music software, before you get started) i need, and i can figure my way around just about any problem within logic (please don’t start) that i come across.

    so that’s why i’m a mac person. it’s all about logic… (please, no…)

    also, the amount of music downloading that i do would be incredibly dangerous on a pc. long live mac!

    (and i looked up the version on google books… it looks like the left side of the page is cut off. very annoying. the first word of each line is gone. if you change it to view two pages at a time, there’s still the same problem. it’s a bad transfer.)

  • zingzing

    but i did find a copy at pitzer college’s website. i’ll bookmark it.

  • troll

    zingzing – 101 was meant as a stale joke

    I’ve heard of mac’s strengths – but have never appreciated them for myself

    I’ll get back to you in the indefinite internet future with something on expropriation

  • Clavos

    Glenn, I never suggested we get rid of welfare, just that we improve it to where it does some good for the millions mired in lifelong poverty. Both zing and troll pointed out that there are some training programs in some areas such as NYC and NM (likely not in MS, AR, AL and other enlightened states — probably not FL, either, we make sex offenders live under bridges, like trolls), but obviously, they aren’t enough.

  • zingzing

    actually, clavos, look in your arts weekly or other relatively cheap spaces for classified advertising (maybe even the main daily newspaper, given the state of print advertising today). there will be a section for “job training” or something like that. all those vocational schools will have something that says something like “financial aid available to those who qualify,” which may refer to a lot of things, but will also refer to the ATB grants i referenced earlier. check to see if there are any such ads in the miami papers. it’s a federal program, so it doesn’t matter where you are, and i’d bet such training programs are available with those grants to those that qualify (as in, pass the test). several of the schools i’ve looked at make money hand over fist (what a strange phrase…) getting students who never graduated or got their ged.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos – I’d love to improve welfare et al – but are you willing to pay the extra taxes to pay for it? I am, of course, but then i’m a liberal.

  • Clavos

    but are you willing to pay the extra taxes to pay for it?

    No, but I’m willing to cut many government departments substantially – we could do away with the surface navy totally — there’ll be more than enough money to pay for it and still cut taxes.

  • zingzing

    clavos: “I’m willing to cut many government departments substantially – we could do away with the surface navy totally…”

    why can’t this kind of shit come up in congress? a reasonable senator or congressman could present this idea to both his colleagues and the public in such a manner that the receive the general wisdom of it. and it would save so much goddamn money. (and it’s the fucking military, so the gov’t could do what it wants without worrying about the private sector, to a degree.)

    but will it happen? nah. prolly not…

    that would make too much sense.

    normal people: “but, when we can fly, why do we need boats?”

    navy admiral: “sailers sail. what else can they do? to war!”

  • zingzing

    “that the receive”

    fuck. “that they would receive”

    i dunno.

  • Clavos

    I’d keep the nuke subs, because each of them has more firepower than the entire WW II USN, and they’re a good deterrent force, but warfare has bypassed surface ship operations for the most part, and what little remains (Somali pirates, etc.) could be covered by the Coast Guard — I’d transfer the most modern USN ships (the missile frigates, e.g.) to the CG and scrap the rest.

    All those laid off sailors would add to the unemployment problem, at least temporarily, however.

  • Boeke

    The republicans have controlled the House for over 100 days and not introduced a single jobs bill. I conclude that they are anti-worker. That being the case, I expect nothing but more deprivations from American working people by the Republican party, the Tea party, and various rightist mouthpieces.

    As near as I can see those rightists would just as soon American workers lose their homes and die of illness and starvation by millions in American streets. They are utterly selfish.

    So why would any serious person take them seriously? Especially reflexive liars like Nalle and Clavos?

    The only way to solve our unemployment problems with a longterm solution is to cut the workweek. The only way to get this solution considered, even put on any political table is with a strong union.

    We need strong union presence to push forward decreases in the workweek and create balance in the corporate power structure.

    In fact, we have been doing the opposite, so the situation is getting worse. Hard-pressed workers, with weak or non-existent collective bargaining power (in contrast to corporate management and ownership , who have almost limitless bargaining power) are driven to compete with each other by putting in unpaid hours, so the workweek has crept up over 46 hours.

    Every year that goes by the productivity of US workers goes up, partly due to new technology and partly due to voluntary (and usually self-paid) up-training by workers. This increase in productivity is inexorable, apparently. We used to be able to absorb excess productivity with increased consumption, but several factors are cutting that.

    Corporate management is generally against cutting the workweek because their huge unearned incomes come from the large margin between cost and price. Wage pressure will affect them disproportionately, in the same way that excess margin benefited them disproportionately.

    Other plans for increasing employment are proven failures. Giving money to capital is hopeless: we have a huge capital oversupply, not the least of which is $2trillion in business retained earnings and $2trillion in banked savings, so that it’s like pushing a rope. Re-training and industrial education are hopeless because there is no shortage of trained people. Besides, with their huge loan failure rates it’s becoming obvious that the commercial education operations are basically scams to defraud the taxpayer.

    Cutting deficits, Tea Party style, is counter productive because it cuts total cash flow and cash velocity in the economy, starving markets even further, discouraging investment, etc., the whole Death Spiral.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    (my question) but are you willing to pay the extra taxes to pay for it?

    (your answer) No, but I’m willing to cut many government departments substantially – we could do away with the surface navy totally — there’ll be more than enough money to pay for it and still cut taxes.

    And I point you back to Oscar Wilde’s quip that cynics know the price of everything and the VALUE of nothing.

    Do you not know, Clavos, that taxes are lower now than they’ve been in many a year? And while we’re watching our national infrastructure – and the businesses that directly benefit from said infrastructure – go down the toilet due to lack of funding, your people are crying for still more tax cuts? By cutting taxes too low, you’re not starving the beast – you’re starving the business community by the gradual deterioration of the infrastructure that supports them.

    And btw – when it comes to the Navy, there’s an old saying – “amateurs talk firepower, while professionals discuss logistics”. Have you ever tried to land a battalion of Marines by submarine? It doesn’t work too well. And submarines by themselves cannot control and safeguard sea lanes and choke points, much less conduct rescue operations of more than a few people at a time.

    So no, it would be a grave mistake to get rid of the surface fleet as a whole. The carrier fleet gives America a flexibility enjoyed by no other nation – each one comprising 4.5 acres of sovereign American territory, mobile air bases able to project power for a thousand miles in any direction – but IMO the cost is too great. But to get rid of the entire surface fleet would be tantamount to resigning America’s single greatest visible claim to primacy in wartime and peacetime. Check out Alfred Thayer Mahan’s landmark “The Influence of Sea Power Upon History, 1660 – 1783″. Times have changed, but the principles described therein have not.

  • Clavos

    Landing marines (and other troops — I landed in Vietnam from an Army LST) is already being handled by the other services and has been for decades.

    And submarines by themselves cannot control and safeguard sea lanes and choke points, much less conduct rescue operations of more than a few people at a time

    The Coast Guard is more than adequate for both jobs; rescue is their primary mission (or was, until they were given the Augean task of drug interdiction).

    Times have changed, but the principles described therein have not.

    Yes, indeed, the times (and warfare) have changed — substantially. From Vietnam forward, the surface Navy’s role (and usefulness in fighting the wars) has steadily declined, not because the Navy is any less prepared than it historically has been, but because the nature of warfare (particularly as waged by America) has changed substantially, with much of modern wars being fought at a distance and with missiles and drones, which is why I said upthread that we should keep the missile frigates active.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    Landing marines (and other troops — I landed in Vietnam from an Army LST) is already being handled by the other services and has been for decades.

    And who protected the LST on its way there? And can submarines conduct defense against anti-ship cruise missiles? Can submarines conduct anti-air operations? And you flatly ignored what I posted about control of sea lanes and choke points and conduct of rescue ops. What would happen to Big Oil’s supertankers proceeding through the Strait of Hormuz if we didn’t have Aegis-equipped destroyers on station to protect them from cruise missiles if, say, Iran decided to close down the Strait to all surface traffic? And what would happen to the worldwide economy as a result? Look at what happened to our gas prices right now because of the Libyan civil war…and then think about what would happen if Iran closed down the most valuable naval choke point on the planet?

    A retired Marine once rightly told me that ground can’t be controlled without boots on the ground…but outside of North America, American boots cannot be brought there in sufficient strength safely and (more importantly) supported reliably without a strong surface Navy. You might point out Afghanistan…but were we opposing an organized nation that could field a significant standing army? No…and that’s why the Navy was crucial in our (quite illegal) invasion of Iraq.

    Clavos, despite my lifetime of (admittedly amateur) study of military history, I would be somewhat hesitant to be an armchair general in a discussion with you due to your real-world experience…and by the same token, I would suggest that being an armchair admiral is not your forte.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    And Clavos –

    Don’t feel bad – it’s pretty common for those who served in one service to underestimate the importance of the other services.

    But in my experience, such underestimations are made much more often by those who did not decide to make it a full career in the military.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    And Clavos – the Coast Guard doesn’t operate in choke points like the Strait of Hormuz. The also don’t operate in the Malacca Strait (through which passes more cargo ships than any other sea lane in the world), or one either end of the Suez Canal, or in the strait between Taiwan and China (thereby providing a visible barrier whenever China gets a little too belligerent).

  • Clavos

    And who protected the LST on its way there?

    We were alone — all the way around the horizon.

    And you flatly ignored what I posted about control of sea lanes and choke points and conduct of rescue ops.

    No, I didn’t. You don’t read well.

    What would happen to Big Oil’s supertankers proceeding through the Strait of Hormuz if we didn’t have Aegis-equipped destroyers on station to protect them from cruise missiles if, say, Iran decided to close down the Strait to all surface traffic?

    One of the reasons I exempted the missile frigates and nuke boats.

    American boots cannot be brought there in sufficient strength safely…

    Bull. In Vietnam, and ever since the, we have moved our troops by air, which is way faster and infinitely more efficient. When LBJ escalated American presence in VN to unit level (as opposed to the advisers only up to that point, we sent three or four troopship loads over (I was on the first), but then sent (and returned) ALL our troops by air. Why? Because, for one thing, The USNS General R.M. Blatchford (on which I had the misfortune of being an involuntary passenger) took 28 days to get from Oakland to Cam Ranh Bay — 28 days in the South Pacific in the summer (August) in am overcrowded (designed for 2500, carried 3500 troops) un-air conditioned rust bucket. Thankfully, I flew home a year later — 29 hours, Saigon to Oakland with fuel stops at Clark and Hickam on a chartered civilian airliner (anyone remember the long-defunct Northeast Airlines?).

    the Coast Guard doesn’t operate in choke points like the Strait of Hormuz. The also don’t operate in the Malacca Strait (through which passes more cargo ships than any other sea lane in the world), or one either end of the Suez Canal, or in the strait between Taiwan and China…

    The Coast Guard operates anywhere in the world the government orders it to, including Vietnam , back in the day. It can go to Hormuz or Malacca — or anywhere.

  • Clavos

    The point is, Glenn, that, given the ways modern wars are fought and are evolving, the surface navies (all of them, not just ours) are becoming increasingly irrelevant and superfluous. Already we could eliminate more than half our surface ships without affecting our security at all.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    You know, I suspect that you and are not as far apart as you might think, since after carriers, all that’s left (other than supply ships and ‘gator freighters’) are missile ships.

  • OG

    First, hello everybody, long time no see …

    Just a quick interjection – as a marine hitting the beach – #119: thanks Clavos, you’re making progress.

    Have a nice day.

    OG

  • Boeke

    Shouldn’t Big Oil pay their own security costs so that the cost is properly allocated to their customers, oil users?

    “What would happen to Big Oil’s supertankers proceeding through the Strait of Hormuz if we didn’t have Aegis-equipped destroyers on station to protect them from cruise missiles if, say, Iran decided to close down the Strait to all surface traffic?”

  • troll

    What would happen…

    we at Acme Bicycles have a proposal in place for just such an occurrence

    here is a rather long advertising piece put together at the behest of our pr team showing the possible benefits that municipal governments could realize through contracting with us…Cuba was only a small test market of course

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Boeke –

    Now, now – you know that if we didn’t provide our Navy ships to protect them and also pay them billion in taxpayer subsidies, Big Oil would go flat broke!

    Or at least the campaign funds of the Republicans would take a major hit….

  • Clavos

    Shouldn’t Big Oil pay their own security costs so that the cost is properly allocated to their customers, oil users?

    Yes. And while we’re at it, let’s withdraw ALL gummint subsidies from ALL industries, most especially agriculture.

    And let’s stop bailing out badly run corporations — it only perpetuates bad business practices.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    Yes…and no. Support those industries that NEED support that are crucial for America’s future – like alternative energy. Did you happen to notice that during the State of the Union address, when Obama proposed cutting subsidies to Big Oil and giving them instead to alternative energy companies (like solar panel manufacturers), neither Boehner nor any of the Republicans clapped?

    And when it comes to bailing out GM – which is what I suspect you’re referring to – they’re making a profit now for the first time since 2004, thanks to the LOAN (not subsidy, but LOAN) that our government made to them…which literally saved at least two million jobs.

    But I’m sure you disagree since you’re of the opinion that government can’t do anything right. I guess it’s only the governments of OTHER nations that can do things right….

  • Clavos

    Yes…and no. Support those industries that NEED support that are crucial for America’s future – like alternative energy.

    No. And no. Subsidized alternative energy sources will never be competitive and will only be viable at the taxpayers’ expense.

    The Wright brothers didn’t need subsidies, neither did the early car guys, Michael Dell, Bill Gates, Thomas Edison, Alex Bell, — the list goes on forever.

    Emphatically no — you make exceptions and pretty soon you have a system resembling the tax code.

    And I was thinking of the banks.

    As you point out, the GM thing was a loan that’s not the same as a subsidy, but you also say, they’re making a profit now for the first time since 2004, which is true, but they still make crappy cars (can you say Volt?) so it won’t last — then what?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    Subsidized alternative energy sources will never be competitive and will only be viable at the taxpayers’ expense.

    Earlier this year I read something on sciencedaily.com – or maybe it was discovery.com – about how they’ve finally developed a solar cell that produces electricity more economically than does nuclear power.

    And China disagrees with you, too – they’re subsidizing solar panel factories big time.

    And GM is making crappy cars? Are they? Ford is now making better cars than Toyota…and is GM really that far behind Ford? And do we really want GM to go Tango Uniform when they sell more cars in China than in America? And some of that profit DOES come back to America, you know.

    Just some more food for thought.

  • Clavos

    Ford is now making better cars than Toyota…

    Ford, of course, is not GM. Their cars are the best American brand, I own one, but as good as Toyota? No. I’ve had several of those, and Ford gets close, but not “as good as.”

    And yes, GM is really that far behind Ford, which is why GM needed to be bailed out and Ford didn’t.

    BTW, the Ford I now own (2010 model) is the first American car I’ve bought in 30 years. It’s also the last, precisely because I’ve now confirmed for myself once again that the Asian and German cars are better engineered and put together — even the ones made in the USA.

    I don’t want GM to go TU unless it deserves to do so and the only way to save it is with taxpayers’ money.

    Saving commercial enterprises should not be the function of government in any but socialist countries.

  • Boeke

    The US government has been openly subsidizing businesses since the republic was founded, starting with the deep water tall sailing ships that soon came to dominate world trade, cross country railroads, interstate highways, etc., and even including various computer companies whose massive government subsidies and contracts supplied the capital for their massive buildups. Even now the coal industry receives $4billion/yr in US subsidies for “Clean coal”, a myth, which money is easily diverted to ordinary uses, while PV gets about $200million.

    The US government has ALWAYS been in the business of financing industry, regardless of the boastful claims of “self made men”.

    What we should do is finance NEW industries, just as those Clipper Ships were in their day, and NOT sunset industries.

  • Clavos

    What we should do is finance NEW industries, just as those Clipper Ships were in their day, and NOT sunset industries.

    If the government is to continue its subsidies, then I agree with you, but I would still rather see the government get the hell out of business other than in a regulatory capacity.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/realist Realist

    I make more than 74% of Americans according to Census Bureau statistics. I paid the federal government 4.9% of my GROSS income, and I paid the State of California 2.02% of my GROSS income.

    BUT I STILL PAID MORE THAN GE DID!

    Turn off the crocodile. It’s an endangered species, for cripes sake!

  • D White

    I think, generally, you can never get rid of corruption or under the table benefits and companies will control the world, and politicians are just their lackeys. Just like how 5 a day was brought in by Dole which the labour party took up recently afterwards, funny that.

  • Boeke

    131-Clavos: that’ll never happen because the capitalists won’t let it happen. Capitalists see the government as a proper instrument of capital, useful for raising taxes from the peasantry, and for enforcing property laws against the mob.

    “…I would still rather see the government get the hell out of business other than in a regulatory capacity.”

  • http://eagleviews.org Allen Scott

    if it were true that America would become stronger if we got rid of all welfare and other entitlements, then there’s a lot of third-world countries that SHOULD be first-world countries because they have NO such entitlements or federal aid..

    THEY HAVE NO ECONOMIES EITHER.. The best way to end poverty is by creating jobs, the best way to create jobs is to have an ever-expanding economy, the best way to have an ever-expanding economy is to be business friendly and not by slapping onerous regulations (which is a tax) and taxation upon companies making it increasingly harder for these companies to stay in business.

    As an example take CALIFORNIA which at one time had a vibrant economy, now they are bankrupt. WHY? Ever increasing taxation and regulation making the business climate unfavorable, businesses moved across state lines into more business friendly states like Texas. The ever expanding public sector also added to the burdens placed on the economy.

    Detroit another example of a once vibrant economy turned to crap by socialist progressivism. The list is endless of the damages caused by over taxation and regulation. Of course there are many who refuse to see the obvious and simply think they have not charged enough yet and continue to push for more taxation.

    The solution Who is John Galt?

  • Leroy

    135-Allen is wrong. It is NOT business that creates jobs, it is markets. Without market demand not one businessman would hire one employee. Business just gets a free ride by providing a bridge between markets and people.

    Our economy in a Demand Drought because consumers don’t have enough money and credit. NOT because business is short of money. In fact, USA business is sitting on $2trillion of CASH which they are unwilling to capitalize BECAUSE THEY DON’T HAVE MARKETS. It is utterly stupid to direct more money at business when it is already unable to implement cash reserves. Utterly stupid. It would just freeze more assets.

    That’s just cash in business savings. The banks are sitting on another $2trillion.

    Sending money to banks or businesses is just like burning up the money.

    The way to stimulate the economy is to direct money at the Consumers. Even if that means business and finance taxes.

    Even if banks and businesses didn’t have all that dormant slack set aside, 80 years of economic measurements indicates that the Economic Multiplier of consumers is several times higher than that of businesses and banks. That is, a dollar to poor consumers results in about $2.5 increase in actual cash flow, whereas a dollar to business is about $0.60 increase in net cash flow.