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Always "Charitable" with other people’s money
Posted by: McQ on Friday, October 31, 2008

Barack the Wealth Redistributionist (I'm beginning to warm to that name) says Palin and McCain don't know what they're talking about when they call him a socialist. He's not a socialist, he's just planning on giving everyone a "fair" shot - with other people's money of course:
"The point is, though, that — and it’s not just charity, it’s not just that I want to help the middle class and working people who are trying to get in the middle class — it’s that when we actually make sure that everybody’s got a shot – when young people can all go to college, when everybody’s got decent health care, when everybody’s got a little more money at the end of the month – then guess what? Everybody starts spending that money, they decide maybe I can afford a new car, maybe I can afford a computer for my child. They can buy the products and services that businesses are selling and everybody is better off. All boats rise. That’s what happened in the 1990s, that’s what we need to restore. And that’s what I’m gonna do as president of the United States of America.

"John McCain and Sarah Palin they call this socialistic," Obama continued. "You know I don’t know when, when they decided they wanted to make a virtue out of selfishness."
Jake Tapper points out that this is most likely a shot at Ayn Rand and "all that implies" as Tapper suggests.

Of course it also speaks to a probable misunderstanding of what it actually does imply. The virtue, of what some call "selfishness", but others describe as rational self-interest, is that it helps everyone, not just the person who is driven by that self-interest. You see, those "selfish" ones are the people who create companies. And those companies create jobs, and, well you know the rest.

Rand had a bit of fun using a word positively that most people associate with a negative. And besides, are you more likely to pick up a book entitled "The Virtue of Rational Self-Interest" or "The Virtue of Selfishness?"

So that is the virtue Rand talks about when she uses "selfishness" - but you have to have actually read the book to understand that. Otherwise you end up mischaracterizing its message as Obama has.

Obviously the Obama message here has nothing to do with any virtue and certainly nothing to do with rational self-interest.

Unless you pay what he thinks is necessary to put his grand scheme into place, you're simply selfish, using the word in its most negative connotation.

One more time, and graphically, for those who still don't understand who is presently paying the freight around here, a picture:


Note that the top 1% pay 40% of the tax while the bottom 40% may pay 1% of the tax. In Obamaland, that's still not fair enough for him. Under the Obama plan, that top 1%+ will pay a larger portion of the tax while the bottom 40% will become net recipients of taxes collected.

And there's absolutely no incentive to move out of the bottom bracket because as soon as you do, the loss of revenue the government is paying you as a recipient of those taxes collected would be as high as a 40% tax on your new income. So all this malarkey about getting people to the middle class is just that - given the structure of his "tax cuts", there's just no incentive, monetarily, to do so.

It is the usual political smoke and mirrors to induce uninformed dupes to vote for him on the vague promise that there's something in it for them and someone else is going to pay for it. You don't have to have been around very long or be particularly smart to figure out that's how most scams are sold.

And yet ...
 
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Comments
I agree that Obama’s wealth redistribution ideas are wrong headed but I also believe the way the term ’socialist’ is being thrown around as an insult is going to hurt conservatives in the long run.

It’s going to hurt us because, in Obama’s case, it is pretty clearly incorrect and thus just seen as mean and because we’re losing clarity on what socialism really is because of partisanship. After all, McCain supported a bail out package that has a Republican administration buying banks: that’s what socialism is, the government owning businesses.
 
Written By: Robert L. www.neolibertarian.com
URL: http://www.iamacandokid.com
McQ - And there’s absolutely no incentive to move out of the bottom bracket because as soon as you do, the loss of revenue the government is paying you as a recipient of those taxes collected would be as high as a 40% tax on your new income. So all this malarkey about getting people to the middle class is just that - given the structure of his "tax cuts", there’s just no incentive, monetarily, to do so.

The sad thing is that we’ve been through all this before, and in the recent past at that. The welfare system got "reformed" under Slick Willie precisely because taxpaying Americans had gotten a bellyfull of turning over part of their hard-earned money only to see it go to welfare layabouts and deadbeats who refused to get a job. But why should a deadbeat get a job when the dems (spit) are in charge? It’s "selfish" not to give him money for doing nothing.

Oh! Silly me! Instead of writing, "give him money for doing nothing", I SHOULD have written, "Spread the wealth around."

Obama is always right.

I will work harder.
 
Written By: docjim505
URL: http://
The numbers are correct, but miss something - namely that these allegedly poor, tax-hounded top-1% of the income ladder also mostly are the ones who are exactly that because of government favors, connection and state privilege.

Patents, broadcastign rights, land ownership, mining and drilling concessions, government enterprise, corporations (a chapter of its own!), government subsidized positions (remember the currently government-inflated mortgage biz?), and so on.

Sure, the lower 3 quintiles of the income spectum also get a fair share of the cake in forms of Social Security and health "benefits", and that just adds to the impression that this whole game is a huge, twisted way of playing pass-the-buck. Endlessly.

Do you know where your tax dollars go? Do you know who pays for the stuff you one way or the other enjpy (if you’re not on welfare, stuff like roads come to mind, and no this is NOT a defense of government-controlled public goods production.)
 
Written By: Peter Bjrn Perls
URL: http://titancity.com
Who is more selfish, the person who works,saves, and takes risks to obtain their income and wealth and wishes to keep and control it, or the person who votes to use the governments gun barrel to take it away for themselves?
 
Written By: Rick
URL: http://
In the meantime, while wanting to give everyone a shot, his own brother and aunt live in slums.

Obamarx sure isn’t spreading HIS wealth around.
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Who is more selfish, the person who works,saves, and takes risks to obtain their income and wealth and wishes to keep and control it, or the person who votes to use the governments gun barrel to take it away for themselves?
Oh comon on Rick! Those poor Obamarx supporters aren’t greedy, they only want Obama to pay their mortages and gas bills for them!
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
McQ - "And there’s absolutely no incentive to move out of the bottom bracket because as soon as you do, the loss of revenue the government is paying you as a recipient of those taxes collected would be as high as a 40% tax on your new income. So all this malarkey about getting people to the middle class is just that - given the structure of his "tax cuts", there’s just no incentive, monetarily, to do so."


Right, because living in rented rooms and eating in soup kitchens is so much better than earning an income and living wit hope and a sense of satisfaction.

Perhaps someday you’ll realize that life isn’t entirely about money.
 
Written By: TheDude
URL: http://
Perhaps someday you’ll realize that life isn’t entirely about money.
You’re right - it’s about property and those trying to steal it.

Don’t want people living in rented rooms and eating in soup kitchens? Then take your money and put it to use solving this problem that bothers you.

In a free country, no one will stop you. But the other side of that is that in a free country, no one will coercively decide what priorities your property will be used for except yourself.

That’s the part you can’t seem to understand, or if you do, apparently can’t live with.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.QandO.net
"Do you know where your tax dollars go? Do you know who pays for the stuff you one way or the other enjpy (if you’re not on welfare, stuff like roads come to mind, and no this is NOT a defense of government-controlled public goods production."

I hear that a lot, and I don’t believe those are fair comparisons.

Roads are not welfare, and people are not infrastructure. I don’t mind paying taxes for roads because everyone can use them. Rich, Poor, Middle Class, Black, White, Male, Female, it doesn’t matter. They’re for everyone’s use, and they’ve proved their worth. Being middle class, I cannot go and collect a welfare check, but I’m expected to pay for it. And to be honest, I don’t think welfare has proved it’s worth.

"The numbers are correct, but miss something - namely that these allegedly poor, tax-hounded top-1% of the income ladder also mostly are the ones who are exactly that because of government favors, connection and state privilege."


So these top 1% are only successful because they got a lucky break from the government? Hard work, creativity, ability and smarts had nothing to do with their success? That’s like saying a football team is great only because the government built them a great stadium.

The government can give you favors, connections and privileges all day long, but if you’re a low watt bulb, or about as creative as a can of Alpo, you’re not going to get very far. Man, we are definitely going to have to agree to disagree on this one.


 
Written By: autot
URL: http://
"Who is more selfish, the person who works,saves, and takes risks to obtain their income and wealth and wishes to keep and control it, or the person who votes to use the governments gun barrel to take it away for themselves?"

Well Rick, in the case of the person who incorporates his investment vehicle, the risks are spread to the rest of society through the limitation of liability. Thus it only seems fair that we share in the rewards. Further, no one today lives in isolation. The vast majority of public ifrastructure - from roads to national defense - benefit the wealthy more than the poor since they have the cars to drive and the assets to protect. And let’s not forget, it is in the interest of the wealthy industrialist that the rest of us have some money to spend. We cannot buy the goods they profit from if we have no money. There is only so much to be made selling yatchs to each other. Of course, I suppose we could let them have all the cash and still buy stuff with credit; There couldn’t be a downside to that...
 
Written By: TheDude
URL: http://
"in a free country, no one will coercively decide what priorities your property will be used for except yourself."

But what is "your property?"

The land you sit on that you bought from someone who bought it from someone who... either stole it from someone or luckily happened on it in the first place? By what right is that really "yours?" Moreover, how do you protect it? Personally financed armed guards and fire protection? Or do you rely on publicly financed armed forces, fire fighters, police, and courts to enforce publicly sanctioned laws that mandate such protection? Seems to me that someone has coercively decided that those are priorities for which chunks of your and my property can unilaterally be taken to support.

By choosing to live in a society or a community you admit that you have no property that does not owe some part of it’s creation to others. So it’s not really "yours" in the sense that you state. It’s an approximate portion of "ours" that the community’s principles of equity have bestowed upon you. If those principles of equity change then the distribution changes. No one is trying to strip you of your real freedoms; we’re just trying to find principles of equity that work better for more people.
 
Written By: TheDude
URL: http://
But what is "your property?"
If you have to ask, the concept is obviously foreign to you.
Seems to me that someone has coercively decided that those are priorities for which chunks of your and my property can unilaterally be taken to support.
And that has what to do with the concept of property in a free society? Or are you saying this isn’t a free society and we ought to just get used to that and the arbitrary whims of our political leaders, suck it up and fulfill their priorities?

Is that your argument?

The fact that "someone has coercively decided" what my "priorities" should be is something you’re proud of?
By choosing to live in a society or a community you admit that you have no property that does not owe some part of it’s creation to others.
Really? Um, so I guess that soft tissue computer I own that has given me the ability to earn my property all these years - in reality someone else has a prior claim to part of it, is that your argument?

So, let me see if I have this straight - slavery isn’t so much a state of being but a state of "community".

I.e. by "choosing" to be born here, I’ve automatically given up all right to claim any property in my own efforts or earnings? I simply am left to live with the leavings after my betters have decided their priorities have been fulfilled?

I’m just trying to get a line on your argument here, and given what you’ve said that’s how I see it.

I have to admit to seeing a bit of confusion however. You see I thought government, as conceived here, had something to do with it being the servant of the people.

Instead, it seems, based on your concept of government and "community", that slavery wasn’t ever really abolished, it simply changed form and has come to include us all.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.QandO.net
Oh comon on Rick! Those poor Obamarx supporters aren’t greedy, they only want Obama to pay their mortages and gas bills for them!
Evidently some poor sap thought ol Barry would also take care of his family so he offed himself and left a note to obama to do just that.
 
Written By: mac
URL: http://
autot, your football team analogy is incorrect. The football team isn’t great because the government built them a stadium, but the team sure makes a lot more money because of it. Those stadiums funded by taxpayer dollars...welfare for the rich.

I don’t buy that argument that there is no incentive to move out of the bottom bracket. Look at the founders of Google, Youtube, etc.., people who have recently made billions of dollars. If the tax rate was higher would they have stopped all their work and never created the technology?

Money is not the sole thing that drives people to invent things and start businesses. I know, it’s a hard concept to grasp.

If you don’t like the American tax system, then renounce your citizenship and move to another country. See how much wealth you can create and keep, in places with either: A) A higher tax rate the then U.S. or B) A country that has some sort of broken government.


 
Written By: mj
URL: http://
MJ,

That wasn’t the point of my post. It was stated in an earlier post that the top-1% of the income ladder also mostly are the ones who are exactly that because of government favors, connection and state privilege.

To me, that is the same as saying that someone is successful because of what government did for them, not because of what they did for themselves.

A road or for that matter, a football stadium, is just an inanimate object. If you don’t have the smarts or creativity to use or take advantage of these objects, then it doesn’t matter what the government does. You create no wealth at all.

The government can hand you a pie pan, but if you don’t know how to make a pie, what goods the pan going to do you?

As for the football team making a lot more money because of the stadium, what if the football team sucks? Not many fans in the seats, not much money coming in. Not much success there.

"Look at the founders of Google, Youtube, etc.., people who have recently made billions of dollars. If the tax rate was higher would they have stopped all their work and never created the technology?"

That sounds like you’re assuming that the people who created Google and Youtube would have kept working on the technology out of the goodness of their hearts. Sorry, but I don’t buy that. I believe they wanted to create a unique and popular product, but they also weren’t thinking they would be working at a convenience store for the rest of their lives either. In other words, if there was no added financial incentive to create these (aka I’ll be rich), then no, I don’t believe they would have put forth the effort. I don’t believe being altruistic was their main goal.




 
Written By: autot
URL: http://
autot, teams make more money in a new stadium no matter how the team on the field performs.

These government handouts for the rich would be like if there was a race up a hill, but the rich people started halfway up. Sure, you still have to climb half way up the hill but there is no denying that your path is easier than someone who hasn’t received such government assistance.

Maybe the people of Google, Youtube, etc.. had an interest in technology. Maybe they were researching these things to satisfy their own curiosity. Maybe they were trying to advance the knowledge in that field of work.

Like I said, it’s a hard concept to grasp for some people but money isn’t the driving force for everything.
 
Written By: mj
URL: http://
If you want to confuse propertarians, just ask why trafficking in stolen property (aka land ownership) is okay with them.
 
Written By: TomD
URL: http://
These government handouts for the rich would be like if there was a race up a hill, but the rich people started halfway up. Sure, you still have to climb half way up the hill but there is no denying that your path is easier than someone who hasn’t received such government assistance.
Who here said they were for "government handouts for the rich" anymore than they’re for government handouts for those who didn’t earn it?

The point is the government ought not to be in the "handout" business to anyone.
If you want to confuse propertarians, just ask why trafficking in stolen property (aka land ownership) is okay with them.
Yeah, that’s the ticket. Try that out and see how well it works.

 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.QandO.net
"If you want to confuse propertarians, just ask why trafficking in stolen property (aka land ownership) is okay with them."

I don’t think we need to drop the discourse to that level. I’m sure it won’t confuse people, but answers to these sorts of things are necessary for framing the debate. I’m just disapointed that McQ won’t disclose what he considers to be his property. If someone is going to claim an inalienable right to certain things, he should be forthcoming about what they are.

So McQ, the question remains open; What is your property?
 
Written By: TheDude
URL: http://
I’m just disapointed that McQ won’t disclose what he considers to be his property.
Is the concept something with which you’re unfamiliar?
So McQ, the question remains open; What is your property?
The same as it has been since John Locke defined it - what I’ve earned (or mixed) with my labor.

And, of course, much more fundamentally - self ownership.

Now it is your turn: Who should decide what you should do with your life, your body and your property?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.QandO.net
A local municipality has a vested interest in building a stadium. If a national team can be attracted, and generate revenue, the municipality makes their money back, plus.

In Los Angeles, where apparently no one gives a fig about football, notice that LA has not built a new football stadium. It’s not a wise investment. The development currently going on around the Staples Center is a wise investment, considering the undying loyalty of Lakers fans.

It’s not welfare for the rich, it’s an investment that will pay off in future tax revenues. You people always act as if a city government is just forking over hundreds of thousands of dollars because the mayor golfs with a team owner. As if there’s absolutely no quid pro quo.

Do you also think state lotteries exist because the state loves handing out million dollar checks?

BTW - "vested interest" is a fancy way of saying "selfish interest." The government has a vested interest in a solid infrastructure. Good roads means more interstate commerce means more tax revenue.

More welfare means ... more welfare. A healthy government has no vested interest in less productive people. It is to his credit that Clinton signed welfare reform into law. That’s how you actually "spread wealth around" — you get people working and producing, making goods and performing services. An honest day’s work for an honest buck. Most industries in this country promote based on merit. Not even a nepotism-heavy industry like the entertainment industry can prevent a borderline homeless person like Jim Carrey or Tom Cruise from rising to the top.

And as for property rights ... this is like arguing "what is reality?" in a frosh philosophy class. Yes, it’s a false construct that depends upon the agreement of society to exist. Nothing is really owned. Congratulations.

The thing is, someone will claim ownership. At least until a general state of "Utopia" is declared. Until then, we can be chattel, living off the larder of our plantation owners — some sort of ruling class that oversees our day to day consumption and production — or we can call our own shots and take our lumps.

Dude, better to rule in Hell than serve in Heaven.
 
Written By: Ronnie Gipper
URL: http://socalconservative.blogspot.com
"It’s not welfare for the rich, it’s an investment that will pay off in future tax revenues."

As do the alternate uses for that money. Economists who study the benefits of publicly financed stadiums disagree that there is a net benefit to the municipalities.

“Our conclusion, and that of nearly all academic economists studying this issue, is that professional sports generally have little, if any, positive effect on a city’s economy,”
http://news.illinois.edu/news/04/1117stadiums.html
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
With respect, you’ve misunderstood Rand’s notion of "selfishness" when you the following:

"The virtue, of what some call "selfishness", but others describe as rational self-interest, is that it helps everyone, not just the person who is driven by that self-interest."

This conception is from people like Adam Smith (his "invisible hand"), down to Milton Friedman, etc. However, it is not what Rand spoke about.

Yes, it is true that Rand’s used a concept of rational selfishness that respects the rights of others (as opposed to the notion of some "selfish" thief). However, she did not claim that this is virtuous because others get helped too.

Rather, Rand revisits the whole notion of what virtue means. In her 40-page lead essay in "The Virtue of Selfishness", she does not accept the standard idea of virtue as somehow being linked either to societal norms or to altruism. Instead, she takes a step back and begins by asking "why does man need ethics?", "why does he need to make choices?" and so on.

She concludes that Rationality, Productiveness and Self-Esteem are the major requirements for a fulfilled life, and claims that such personal fulfillment is the essence of morality. In other words, Rand justifies morality and explaining why it is an essential to personal happiness; she does not link it to societal benefit.

When people link it to altruism, they open the field to every wanna-be king like Obama; but, virtually every religion agrees with Obama, and even McCain says "Country First".

The way I see it, everyone in the mainstream, whether GOP or Democrat, think that people must live for others. The differences between the main parties tend to be about: in what areas must people give of themselves, and to what degree.

The country needs to put aside the creed of altruism if it is to succeed.
 
Written By: ObjectivistGuy
URL: http://
I think it would nice to see what percentage of the income earned comes from each of those groups. If the top 1% earn 39.89% of the income, then that’s "fair." But I’m sure that’s not the right figure.

If I earn $100,000, then I think it’s fair that I pay twice as much in taxes than the guy that earns $50,000. Is there anyone here that thinks that is not fair?
 
Written By: Nuclear
URL: http://
(e.g the top 1% pay 39.89% of total federal personal income taxes.):


Federal personal income taxes /= taxes.

The chart is misleading. Your argument is misleading. It’s lying without bothering to explicitly put in the lies.

You know, is it so da*n hard to make this argument without being a dishonest hack about it? I’m sure the chart of the combined federal tax burden paid by the top 1% is still more than 1 percent! You could spout on and on about how unfair it is that the top 1% have to pay 15% of all taxes, or whatever it is.

But you have to pick a particular kind of tax that the top 1% pay a lot of, and spray it around here as if it represented tax burden overall. And it doesn’t. And you do it over and over again.

Of course, the bottom 50% don’t actually have enough money to pay for 50% of government revenues, but feel free to default on the national debt, or end retirement as we know it, or let sick old people die in gutters by the million, or dissolve the army, or whatever you would do once you tried to distribute the tax burden evenly among all Americans - you know, have everyone give an even 20K per year - and found out that, hey surprise! It doesn’t work.
 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
or whatever you would do once you tried to distribute the tax burden evenly among all Americans - you know, have everyone give an even 20K per year - and found out that, hey surprise! It doesn’t work.
If that is what you think, then just stop wasting my time by posting.

 
Written By: meagain
URL: http://
If that is what you think, then just stop wasting my time by posting.
It’s nothing to do with what I "think", and everything to do with the cold truth that such a system would involve massive tax hikes on poor and middle class people, and tax cuts on rich ones that dwarf the wildest gleams in Phil Gramm’s eye. It’s also not a question of opinion that such events would immediately bankrupt many tens of millions of individuals. I feel no obligation not to offend you with reality, especially when you haven’t done much of a job of articulating exactly what is so offensive about running the numbers on this.
 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://

 
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