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Guest Post: In The Land Of Self-Interested Pygmies, No One Advocates For The Nation

Tyler Durden's picture





 

Submitted by Charles Hugh Smith from Of Two Minds

In the Land of Self-Interested Pygmies, No One Advocates for the Nation

Does slavishly pursuing narrow self-interest benefit the nation? Clearly, the answer is no; a nation of self-interested pygmies leaves no one to advocate for the national interest.

The great cold lie at the heart of present-day America is that the nation will magically benefit if we each single-mindedly pursue our self-interest to the exclusion of all else. The idea has a sleek quasi-free-market sheen, as it borrows the market's "invisible hand" and applies it to social, fiscal and environmental policies.

That is a magical-thinking fantasy. If I pursued only my own self-interest, I would dump the toxic effluent from my factory right into the river ( a la China's very laissez faire economy) while I lived far away in an exclusive community far from the stench and poisons. Why pay for costly remediation when the "free" river beckons? After all, it all works out wonderfully if we each pursue our own self-interest with methodical, nay maniacal, single-mindedness. (Recall that rivers in America caught fire in the 1960s, before environmental regulations limited corporate self-interest.)

"The good of the nation" is now a code-phrase for "good for me, and to heck with the country at large." Every self-serving fiefdom, every self-serving cartel and every self-serving constituency (a.k.a. special interest) claims that its pathetically obvious self-serving lobbying "serves the national interest." It's all lies, blatant emotional manipulation of the vilest, crassest sort. Yet we as a nation have sunk so low that the entire notion of a national interest which doesn't benefit a powerful lobby or constituency has been lost.

We are now a nation of self-interested pygmies, blind to any national interest that isn't devoted to enriching us personally. If we ask cui bono-- to whose benefit? (the first question in the Survival+ critique), then the answer is always self-evident: some lobby, cartel, corporation, special interest or class of citizens who hope to stripmine the assets of the less-protected citizenry to line their own pockets with swag.

We are a nation slavishly devoted to feeding our herd of fattened sacred cows by any means necessary. The National Security State, a profit machine of Federal contractors stretching all the way back to LBJ contributors Brown & Root, who built bases in Vietnam for hefty profits? Untouchable: "we're fighting the global war on Terror." I guess that's why it's always an average citizen onboard who actually stops the bad guy.

The military industrial complex, which takes ten years to start building anything, by which time it's so costly we can't afford it? Untouchable: "we're keeping our military strong." More like weakening it to the breaking point by stripmining all the resources in bloated weapons programs.

Social Security, a.k.a. generational wealth transfer? Untouchable: "I paid in, there's this lockbox with my money in it...." It was always "pay as you go," not a "lockbox." Demographically, it's broken. It worked when there were 10 workers for every retiree, and even with 5 workers for every retiree; now with millions drawing disability benefits from the SSA (and hiring specialists to help them qualify for it--good ole self-interest at its best) and only 2.5 workers for every retiree--soon to be 2-to-1--the system is unsustainable.

Medicare, the Savior State arm of the sickcare cartel complex? Untouchable: "we have the best healthcare in the world." Yeah, if you're one of the select few who have gold-plated coverage. How is it in the national interest that we devote 17% of our vast GDP to sickcare and yet 40 million people aren't even covered, millions more have simulacra coverage (nothing is covered except 80% of catastrophic care, and the remaining 20% will bankrupt all but the wealthy), and other developed nations provide better care for all their citizens for half the cost per capita?

And of course there's the "too big to fail" banks and Wall Street: Untouchable: "if you mess with us we'll bring the country to its knees!" What a nice bunch of pygmies. They have nothing but self-interest, so they must be serving the national interest.

The core problem with President Obama and the political class in Washington is that they think governance boils down to placating the most powerful self-interested pygmies. To the Demopublicans, politics is not about the national interest-- whatever that is, since the concept has lost all meaning--it's about carving up the swag so all the powerful self-interests don't upset the Status Quo apple cart.

This explains Obama's blindness to the opportunity to break the grip of the "too big to fail" banks and Wall Street, and the current inability to actually cut any sacred-cow budgets. There literally is no national interest left in the land of self-interested pygmies; all those think tanks are just dumping out agitprop to serve one bloated, entrenched self-serving fiefdom or another behind a facile claim of "national interest." Oh, really? Cui Bono?

When politics has been debased to the point that it is all about placating self-serving monopolies and "interest groups," then there is no mind or heart left in the nation; it is a money-burning robot, blindly borrowing however much cash is needed to placate the piranhas and parasites.

I think the most apt metaphor for present-day America is the leaky lifeboat. All the single-mindedly self-interested pygmies are swimming over to the one lifeboat, pursuing their wondrously golden self-interest as the highest good. They all try to save themselves--it's only self-interest, and that will magically serve us all--and as a result of their frantic thrashing to preserve themselves, the lifeboat sinks and they all drown.

A nation of self-interested pygmies leaves no one to advocate for the national interest. The lifeboat is already taking on water, but everyone climbing on board is loudly announcing that they're "serving the national interest." The irony is rather rich: by sinking the entire Status Quo, then they truly will be serving the nation.

There is another shore nearby; it's called self-reliance and a personally disinterested national interest.

 


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Wed, 07/27/2011 - 16:40 | Link to Comment Ahmeexnal
Ahmeexnal's picture

sacrifice your own self, to the needs of others.

well, that's what brought the world to where it's at now: the welfare state

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 16:53 | Link to Comment njdoo7
njdoo7's picture

I submit that most people paying for the welfare state don't want to be paying for the welfare state (as a whole: war, bailouts, etc.). 

Therefore, it is not them sacrificing for the needs of others, but others using state coercion to benefit themselves.

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 16:57 | Link to Comment mynhair
mynhair's picture

'paying' being the key word.

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 17:15 | Link to Comment AldousHuxley
AldousHuxley's picture
Governing Dynamics: Ignore the Blond Scene - A Beautiful Mind Movie

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CemLiSI5ox8

 

Nash : Adam Smith needs revision.

Hansen : What are you talking about?

Nash : If we all go for the blonde...we block each other. Not a single one of us is gonna get her. So then we go for her friends, but they will all give us the cold shoulder because nobody likes to be second choice. Well, what if no one goes for the blonde?
We don't get in each other's way, and we don't insult the other girls.
That's the only way we win.
(Laughs)
Adam Smith said the best result comes from everyone in the group doing what's best for himself, right? That's what he said, right?

Others : Right.

Nash : Incomplete.
Incomplete, okay?
Because the best result will come...from everyone in the group doing what's best for himself...and the group.

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 18:04 | Link to Comment GoinFawr
GoinFawr's picture

This is for Cara Leaf below:

REFORMAT!!!!! You've effed the thread's Chi.

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 18:33 | Link to Comment AldousHuxley
AldousHuxley's picture

perfect example of selfish American ruining for the rest

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 19:20 | Link to Comment JW n FL
JW n FL's picture

http://www.youtube.com/user/RussiaToday#p/u/19/tgzpQ10Y8go

SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Worth the 5 - 10 minutes! This guy is FANTASTIC!!

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 19:45 | Link to Comment t0mmyBerg
t0mmyBerg's picture

not sure which thing you are referring to, although max keiser is always interesting. 

as for this article by charles hughes smith, while it lists a few areas where large numbers of people fail to be reasonable, i think the idea that there is something wrong with self-interest as an organizing principle for economics is wide of the mark.   your example of pollution resulting from following self-interest is a bad one.  the real principle guiding our society is do what the hell you want as long as it does not negatively affect others in a way that is unreasonable.  clearly dumping toxic sludge in common waterways is unreasonable.  i realize it happened, but as a polity we took care of it.  better late than never.  so maybe come up with a better example.

what else will motivate people if not self-interest? some societies have tried other ways.  you may have heard of them; the soviet union, peoples republic of china, north korea?  the article, which is more in the vein of a bitch session, does not offer any solutions, but it implies that something other than self-interest should guide us.  history has shown this doesnt work out very well.  see the list above.

finally, why did the format of the comments section change here at ZH?  I liked it better before.

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 20:50 | Link to Comment i-dog
i-dog's picture

"example of pollution resulting from following self-interest is a bad one"

Thank you for beating me to it! It is indeed a very bad example.

Prior to the growth of big government, in the 19th Century, all local issues were settled locally. A polluter would be sued for compensation by those around him who were affected.

Then, big government stepped in and started making decisions along the lines of the polluting factory being allowed to continue "otherwise jobs would be lost". Instead of a system of private contract, personal responsibility and natural justice, we arrived at the 'New Age' of government-mandated laws, regulations, bureaucrats and "he who pays the biggest bribes to the legislator wins"!

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 00:17 | Link to Comment TDoS
TDoS's picture

We didn't fix anything.  The clean water act was gutted by the Bush administration, and for the most part ALL OF OUR INDUSTRY WAS MOVED OVERSEAS!  With the jobs went a lot of the toxic sludge.  Corporations said, "Fuck it, we'll build in China and dump all the shit we want."

Funny thing about the planet though.  Pollution doesn't stay local for long.  The dioxin in the breast milk of every mammal on the planet should be evidence enough.

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 19:46 | Link to Comment t0mmyBerg
t0mmyBerg's picture

not sure which thing you are referring to, although max keiser is always interesting. 

as for this article by charles hughes smith, while it lists a few areas where large numbers of people fail to be reasonable, i think the idea that there is something wrong with self-interest as an organizing principle for economics is wide of the mark.   your example of pollution resulting from following self-interest is a bad one.  the real principle guiding our society is do what the hell you want as long as it does not negatively affect others in a way that is unreasonable.  clearly dumping toxic sludge in common waterways is unreasonable.  i realize it happened, but as a polity we took care of it.  better late than never.  so maybe come up with a better example.

what else will motivate people if not self-interest? some societies have tried other ways.  you may have heard of them; the soviet union, peoples republic of china, north korea?  the article, which is more in the vein of a bitch session, does not offer any solutions, but it implies that something other than self-interest should guide us.  history has shown this doesnt work out very well.  see the list above.

finally, why did the format of the comments section change here at ZH?  I liked it better before.

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 23:08 | Link to Comment snowball777
snowball777's picture

Well, what if no one goes for the blonde?

And what if Nash was just trying to hustle them to get the blond for himself?


Thu, 07/28/2011 - 05:31 | Link to Comment AldousHuxley
AldousHuxley's picture

that is the trust necessary to make the system work...social contract.

However, captalism favors winner-takes-all economies.

and we have a global economy. It is not just Nash and his American friends anymore, but many other groups of guys(Russian, China, India) also looking to get laid with still only enough girls for one group. If Americans practice winner-takes-all, then one American will get the blond and 4 guys from another group will play in team to get the other girls. 3 other Americans will not get laid.

 

American superelites have a starting advantage so they may be able get the blond. But it is highly unlikely that American middle class will get laid when competing against Chinese, Russian, Indian elite-middle class team.

 

 

 

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 17:56 | Link to Comment cara leaf
cara leaf's picture

The Center for Responsive Politics lists all donations.

Republocrats receive similar donations in similar magnitude from similar sources. 

 Goldman and AIG were among Obama’s largest supporters.  Health insurance, hospitals, nursing homes & drug companies dumped $9M on Baucus while he headed the Committee to Overhaul Healthcare. 

 

This plunder, to Mr. Populist himself

Univ. of CA       $1,591,395

Goldman           $994,795

Harvard            $854,747

Microsoft           $833,617

Google              $803,436

Citigroup           $701,290

JPMorgan           $695,132

Time Warner       $590,084

Sidley Austin       $588,598

Stanford            $586,557

Nat’l Amusements  $551,683

UBS                   $543,219

Wilmerhale LLP    $542,618

Skadden Arps     $530,839

IBM                  $528,822

Columbia           $528,302

Morgan Stanley    $514,881

GE                   $499,130

US Gov’t           $494,820 ???

Latham Watkins  $493,835

 

Top of Form

Bottom of Form

Bottom of Form

Top Donors 1989-2010

Top of Form

 

Top of Form

Rank

Outfit

1989-2009

Dem

Rep

Tilt

1

ATT

$45,650,984

46%

52%

2

American Municipal Employees

$42,963,511

99%

0%

  

3

Act Blue

$42,601,344

99%

0%

  

4

National Realtors

$36,848,743

57%

41%

5

Goldman

$32,750,702

44%

55%

6

American Assn for Justice

$32,602,779

96%

2%

  

7

Intl Brotherhood Electrical Workers

$32,573,445

98%

1%

  

8

National Education

$30,891,230

92%

7%

  

9

Laborers Union

$29,767,300

95%

3%

  

10

Teamsters

$28,764,784

97%

2%

  

11

Service Employees

$28,738,432

100%

0%

  

12

Carpenters & Joiners

$28,645,308

85%

14%

 

13

American Federation of Teachers

$28,042,891

99%

0%

  

14

Communication Workers of America

$27,800,156

96%

1%

  

15

Citigroup

$27,576,042

49%

49%

16

American Medical

$26,839,420

51%

48%

17

United Auto Workers

$26,509,902

99%

0%

  

18

Machinists & Aerospace Union

$25,924,777

98%

1%

  

19

National Auto Dealers

$25,310,758

50%

49%

20

UPS

$24,908,388

44%

54%

21

United Food/Commercial Workers Union

$24,841,083

99%

0%

  

22

Altria

$24,342,266

35%

63%

23

American Bankers

$23,386,446

37%

61%

24

National Home Builders

$22,799,905

40%

59%

25

EMILY's List

$22,397,454

100%

0%

  

26

National Beer Wholesalers

$22,248,295

56%

43%

27

Microsoft

$21,036,363

58%

40%

28

JPMorgan

$20,370,613

51%

48%

29

National Letter Carriers

$20,253,434

96%

3%

  

30

Time Warner

$20,029,888

84%

15%

 

31

Morgan Stanley

$19,888,968

42%

55%

32

Lockheed

$19,362,865

55%

44%

33

Verizon

$19,320,192

55%

43%

34

General Electric (they don’t just sell light bulbs)

$19,102,517

60%

38%

35

Pfizer

$18,816,803

56%

42%

36

FedEx

$18,431,040

45%

52%

37

AFL-CIO

$18,418,996

90%

9%

  

38

Credit Union National

$18,254,729

55%

43%

39

Bank of America

$17,920,978

38%

60%

40

Ernst & Young

$17,695,174

52%

47%

41

NRA

$17,661,946

28%

71%

 

42

Blue Cross

$17,494,283

41%

58%

43

Sheet Metal Union

$17,443,563

98%

0%

  

44

Plumbers & Pipefitters

$17,208,076

94%

3%

  

45

American Dental

$17,174,379

50%

48%

46

American Hospital

$17,159,429

70%

29%

 

47

Fire Fighters

$17,147,743

81%

18%

 

48

Deloitte Touche

$16,926,261

43%

55%

49

Operating Engineers

$16,460,265

89%

10%

 

50

Pricewaterhouse Coopers

$16,237,227

43%

56%

51

Air Line Pilots

$16,143,447

87%

12%

 

52

UBS

$16,132,574

38%

61%

53

AFLAC

$15,635,319

46%

53%

54

Nat’l Ins & Fin. Advisors

$15,464,854

50%

48%

55

Boeing

$15,101,349

58%

40%

56

Union Pacific

$14,711,598

51%

47%

57

Merrill Lynch

$14,286,110

0%

0%

58

United Steelworkers

$14,176,151

100%

0%

  

59

United Transportation Union

$14,122,960

89%

11%

 

60

Ironworkers

$14,002,675

97%

2%

  

61

Reynolds

$13,588,078

7%

92%

  

62

Northrop Grumman

$13,300,564

53%

44%

63

American CPAs

$13,244,347

45%

52%

64

BellSouth

$12,993,782

0%

0%

65

Credit Suisse

$12,858,973

49%

50%

66

Anheuser-Busch

$12,775,021

61%

38%

67

Nat’l Rural Electric Cooperative

$12,715,821

51%

48%

68

Postal Union

$12,627,473

98%

1%

  

69

General Dynamics

$12,262,457

62%

37%

70

Disney

$11,614,912

60%

37%

71

American Financial Group

$11,524,337

10%

89%

 

72

GlaxoSmithKline

$11,448,990

45%

53%

73

KPMG

$11,225,845

46%

52%

74

Chevron

$11,223,599

18%

80%

 

75

Air Traffic Controllers

$11,210,838

83%

15%

 

76

Comcast

$11,185,687

62%

36%

77

DLA Piper

$11,129,757

69%

28%

78

Exxon Mobil

$11,103,878

16%

81%

 

79

News Corp

$10,998,353

60%

37%

80

Raytheon

$10,982,771

54%

44%

81

Active & Retired Fed Employees

$10,645,000

60%

40%

82

Club for Growth

$10,429,413

0%

89%

 

83

Human Rights

$10,363,479

97%

2%

  

84

Honeywell

$10,286,130

52%

47%

85

Saban

$10,140,585

100%

0%

  

86

MBNA

$10,029,256

0%

0%

87

National Restaurant

$10,009,295

36%

63%

88

Southern Co

$10,008,830

46%

52%

89

Koch

$9,991,672

12%

86%

 

90

New York Life

$9,980,923

58%

41%

91

UST

$9,950,761

0%

0%

92

Wal-Mart

$9,886,854

47%

51%

93

Prudential

$9,860,156

78%

20%

 

94

Freddie Mac

  $9,815,240

61%

38%

95

Builders & Contractors

$9,777,058

1%

96%

  

96

Academy Ophthalmology

$9,774,208

56%

43%

97

AIG

$9,761,084

41%

57%

98

American Health

$9,760,879

62%

36%

99

MetLife

$9,748,477

54%

45%

100

News Web Corp

$9,674,850

100%

0%

  

101

Anesthesiologists

$9,583,037

43%

55%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lehman Brothers: 1990-2010 Individual Contributions

$50,000+ Federal Candidates/ Parties during time at Lehman.

Donor

Total

Soft

Dem

Rep

 Dem

  Reps

Chancellor 

$297,000

$211,750

$10,250

$286,750

     4%

   97%

Collerton

$242,140

$0

$242,140

$0

   100%

   0%

DeMuro 

$174,350

$0

$174,350

$0

   100%

   0%

Fuld, Dick

$297,900

$1,000

$259,600

$29,300

   87%

   10%

Goldfarb

$94,400

$0

$88,400

$4,000

   94%

   4%

Krueger

$336,480

$0

$331,230

$4,000

   98%

  1%

Lessing

$357,075

$0

$17,300

$337,775

    5%

95%

Schwartz

$313,713

$0

$4,500

$308,013

    1%

98%

FEC 9/13/10

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Now HERE’S SOMEONE you won’t meet everyday:

James A. Johnson (Partial CV)

Faculty, Princeton

Senate staffer 

Director, Public Affairs,  Dayton-Hudson (Target)

Carter Admin, asst. Walt Mondale

Founder, Public Strategies (has to be some kind of lobbyist)

1985-90 Managing Director, LEHMAN (Think maybe Hank didn’t like him?)

1991-8 Chair, CEO, Fannie Mae 

2001- Vice-Chair, Perseus  (hmmm…wonder does he know Norm Selby?)

2004- OFHEO finds Johnson improperly defers $200m of Fannie expenses (he’s not the one who committed suicide, is he?)

2006- OFHEO (Oops! Guess not!)  finds Fannie has significantly underreported Jim’s income.  Not a paltry $6 million---$21 million (who said you can trust an accountant?)

June 4, 2008- Obama anoints Jim “Head Chimeara” of a three-headed formation that will vet his V-P; Jim suddenly attracts a little too much controversy when it’s discovered blood bro’ Angie Mozilla gave sweetheart Jumbos to Jimbo. May 22, 2008- Party lets it slip that Mr. Populist himself  still wanted Jim to select his VP.  (So now we know.  Our president is a masochist.)

June 11, 2008- Jim steps down (but hey, it’s not exactly jail!)  and once again, Democracy triumphs!

Jim’s is also a really good Eagle Scout.  Just have a look at all of those badges!  

Board Member:  Goldman, Gannett, KB, Target, Temple-Inland Director (past,) United Health

1996-2004- Chair, Kennedy Center     1994-2003- Chair, Brookings

Member in good standing: (anybody else think these clubs are connected?)

American Friends of Bilderberg  Trilateral Commission   Council on Foreign Relations

My goodness! Such an industrious fellow!  Who wouldn’t want someone like him on their team? 

 

 

 

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 19:16 | Link to Comment Henry Chinaski
Henry Chinaski's picture

Get a blog.

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 21:31 | Link to Comment fuu
fuu's picture

wtf are you JW in FL's wife?

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 04:44 | Link to Comment Escapeclaws
Escapeclaws's picture

You could have made a bar graph of a lot of this data and saved space. However, I don't disagree with what you say.

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 20:30 | Link to Comment oldman
oldman's picture

njdoo,

'Therefore, it is not them sacrificing for the needs of others, but others using state coercion to benefit themselves.'

 

And just think of how seldom we hear in conversation or read any objection to the fact that that the coercers pay so little of the tab for anything. Slave wages, no social support for those they cast aside as our technology increases production, writing the law that places corporatism and statism above we trolls, wars, wars, and wars without end in our history----------------sorry, I cannot go on with this without becoming enraged by the terrorized humans i see everywhere I go in the US.

Enough to say that we cannot even tax these bastards.

This is going to be the long war. Unless we give up and accept ourselves as the trolls we are and then, get to work and clean this up. If each of us would understand that each is both 'part of the problem' as well as 'part of the solution', then by 'doing-nothing' more than, individually, reducing our being 'part of the problem', the war would be over.

I used the word 'individually' with great intention, so that all of you 'red-blooded cold-hearted 'individuals' at ZH might be able to join the rest of us trolls----and not just mock the reality with your childish labeling and name-calling.

it will take every phucking one of us coming together in collaboration--------------unless we are simply whining as I suspect we are.

Ignore this      just an oldman

 

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 17:15 | Link to Comment Oh regional Indian
Oh regional Indian's picture

Someone said the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
I say it's lit up by a thousand points of light.
ORI

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 17:20 | Link to Comment GoinFawr
GoinFawr's picture

Jesse's perspective:

 "The corporatist strategy has been to give generous tax cuts to the wealthy, spend money like drunken sailors on things that benefit the monied interests, and then declare a budget crisis and take the difference out of the hides of the middle class, the weak, and the elderly. So far Obama is following the same playbook, with a little dusting of compassionate sounding hoo-hah."

From: http://jessescrossroadscafe.blogspot.com/2011/07/time-to-take-nuclear-option-in-deficit.html

Sounds spot on to me.

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 17:55 | Link to Comment gwiss
gwiss's picture

Charles usually has good viewpoints, but he missed the boat bigtime on this one.  He forgets, the market works great WHEN TRANSACTIONS ARE VOLUNTARY.  The "voluntary" is what keeps the service providers honest.  You get junk service?  You stop paying, and the service provider gets recycled.  Without this feedback loop, the whole concept of the market can't function.  Thus, public servants must be seen as providing a service.  And, if the service they provide is worth the cost, people use the service.  If it is not, they don't.  In this case, the "service" that public servants are supposedly providing is some type of adult level administration of public goods.

 

But, they aren't providing that service.  Instead, they make poor choices that essentially loot the company they work for, but they don't care because by the time the consequences come around, they will be long gone. It's as if you turned your car into the valet, and come back to find roaches in the ashtray, cigarette burns in the leather, and ass marks and a used condom on the back seat. 

 

The problem isn't some lack of selfless public interest.  That way of running a company or a society or a nation is a black hole, because history tells us that regardless of how enlightened the motives will be going in, in remarkably short order the cream of the shit will rise to the top if allowed.  Thus, you need a system that is capable of correcting problems through bulletproof feedback loops, which is what the market is when allowed to function.  You can't depend on altruism -- it's way to fragile.  That's like entering a Formula 1 car in the Paris-Dakar -- it's broke inside of a mile. 

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 23:05 | Link to Comment prole
prole's picture

gwiss very astute comment re "voluntary transactions."
Everything you said after the word "thus" is total BS.

"Public servants" should always be in quotes, unless you can call these "public servants" as such after watching this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kassP7zI0qc If you can, then I know what type of "job" you have.

Any relationship where one party is pointing a gun at the head of the other party, can in no way be considered voluntary, or related in any way to Capitalism or free market.

Instead of "public servant" you should be required to replace that prevarication with the term "people who point guns at us and tell us what to do against our will."  This should cure you of your folly

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 10:13 | Link to Comment BigJim
BigJim's picture

I suggest you re-read gwiss' post. You appear to have missed his point completely.

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 10:14 | Link to Comment gwiss
gwiss's picture

Your response is puzzling to me.  My whole point is that interactions between people only stay healthy if the interaction is mutually voluntary.  When you institute a government answer to something, it is no longer a voluntary interaction.  Instead, it is a monopoly situation.  A monopoly situation will always lead the party providing the service to give poor quality at a high price, while the party receiving the service will always be angry because they don't have the option of withdrawing from an unsatisfactory relationship.

Thus our unhappyness with our current government -- they aren't providing the service we contracted them to provide, and instead are using their monopoly power to enrich themselves and maintain their position at our expense.

And your response is to post a video showing police abusing their power, as if this is some sort of rebuttal to what I'm saying?  Seems like we're on the same side, no?

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 18:02 | Link to Comment cara leaf
cara leaf's picture

The Center for Responsive Politics lists all donations.

Republocrats receive similar donations in similar magnitude from similar sources. 

Goldman and AIG were two of Obama’s largest contributors. 

The insurance industry gave Baucus $9 million while he headed the committee to overhaul health insurance. 

THIS PLUNDER, TO MR. POPULIST HIMSELF.

Univ. of CA       $1,591,395

Goldman           $994,795

Harvard            $854,747

Microsoft           $833,617

Google              $803,436

Citigroup           $701,290

JPMorgan           $695,132

Time Warner       $590,084

Sidley Austin       $588,598

Stanford            $586,557

Nat’l Amusements  $551,683

UBS                   $543,219

Wilmerhale LLP    $542,618

Skadden Arps     $530,839

IBM                  $528,822

Columbia           $528,302

Morgan Stanley    $514,881

GE                   $499,130

US Gov’t           $494,820 ???

Latham Watkins  $493,835

 

Top of Form

Bottom of Form

Bottom of Form

Top Donors 1989-2010

Top of Form

 

Top of Form

Rank

Outfit

1989-2009

Dem

Rep

Tilt

1

ATT

$45,650,984

46%

52%

2

American Municipal Employees

$42,963,511

99%

0%

  

3

Act Blue

$42,601,344

99%

0%

  

4

National Realtors

$36,848,743

57%

41%

5

Goldman

$32,750,702

44%

55%

6

American Assn for Justice

$32,602,779

96%

2%

  

7

Intl Brotherhood Electrical Workers

$32,573,445

98%

1%

  

8

National Education

$30,891,230

92%

7%

  

9

Laborers Union

$29,767,300

95%

3%

  

10

Teamsters

$28,764,784

97%

2%

  

11

Service Employees

$28,738,432

100%

0%

  

12

Carpenters & Joiners

$28,645,308

85%

14%

 

13

American Federation of Teachers

$28,042,891

99%

0%

  

14

Communication Workers of America

$27,800,156

96%

1%

  

15

Citigroup

$27,576,042

49%

49%

16

American Medical

$26,839,420

51%

48%

17

United Auto Workers

$26,509,902

99%

0%

  

18

Machinists & Aerospace Union

$25,924,777

98%

1%

  

19

National Auto Dealers

$25,310,758

50%

49%

20

UPS

$24,908,388

44%

54%

21

United Food/Commercial Workers Union

$24,841,083

99%

0%

  

22

Altria

$24,342,266

35%

63%

23

American Bankers

$23,386,446

37%

61%

24

National Home Builders

$22,799,905

40%

59%

25

EMILY's List

$22,397,454

100%

0%

  

26

National Beer Wholesalers

$22,248,295

56%

43%

27

Microsoft

$21,036,363

58%

40%

28

JPMorgan

$20,370,613

51%

48%

29

National Letter Carriers

$20,253,434

96%

3%

  

30

Time Warner

$20,029,888

84%

15%

 

31

Morgan Stanley

$19,888,968

42%

55%

32

Lockheed

$19,362,865

55%

44%

33

Verizon

$19,320,192

55%

43%

34

General Electric (they don’t just sell light bulbs)

$19,102,517

60%

38%

35

Pfizer

$18,816,803

56%

42%

36

FedEx

$18,431,040

45%

52%

37

AFL-CIO

$18,418,996

90%

9%

  

38

Credit Union National

$18,254,729

55%

43%

39

Bank of America

$17,920,978

38%

60%

40

Ernst & Young

$17,695,174

52%

47%

41

NRA

$17,661,946

28%

71%

 

42

Blue Cross

$17,494,283

41%

58%

43

Sheet Metal Union

$17,443,563

98%

0%

  

44

Plumbers & Pipefitters

$17,208,076

94%

3%

  

45

American Dental

$17,174,379

50%

48%

46

American Hospital

$17,159,429

70%

29%

 

47

Fire Fighters

$17,147,743

81%

18%

 

48

Deloitte Touche

$16,926,261

43%

55%

49

Operating Engineers

$16,460,265

89%

10%

 

50

Pricewaterhouse Coopers

$16,237,227

43%

56%

51

Air Line Pilots

$16,143,447

87%

12%

 

52

UBS

$16,132,574

38%

61%

53

AFLAC

$15,635,319

46%

53%

54

Nat’l Ins & Fin. Advisors

$15,464,854

50%

48%

55

Boeing

$15,101,349

58%

40%

56

Union Pacific

$14,711,598

51%

47%

57

Merrill Lynch

$14,286,110

0%

0%

58

United Steelworkers

$14,176,151

100%

0%

  

59

United Transportation Union

$14,122,960

89%

11%

 

60

Ironworkers

$14,002,675

97%

2%

  

61

Reynolds

$13,588,078

7%

92%

  

62

Northrop Grumman

$13,300,564

53%

44%

63

American CPAs

$13,244,347

45%

52%

64

BellSouth

$12,993,782

0%

0%

65

Credit Suisse

$12,858,973

49%

50%

66

Anheuser-Busch

$12,775,021

61%

38%

67

Nat’l Rural Electric Cooperative

$12,715,821

51%

48%

68

Postal Union

$12,627,473

98%

1%

  

69

General Dynamics

$12,262,457

62%

37%

70

Disney

$11,614,912

60%

37%

71

American Financial Group

$11,524,337

10%

89%

 

72

GlaxoSmithKline

$11,448,990

45%

53%

73

KPMG

$11,225,845

46%

52%

74

Chevron

$11,223,599

18%

80%

 

75

Air Traffic Controllers

$11,210,838

83%

15%

 

76

Comcast

$11,185,687

62%

36%

77

DLA Piper

$11,129,757

69%

28%

78

Exxon Mobil

$11,103,878

16%

81%

 

79

News Corp

$10,998,353

60%

37%

80

Raytheon

$10,982,771

54%

44%

81

Active & Retired Fed Employees

$10,645,000

60%

40%

82

Club for Growth

$10,429,413

0%

89%

 

83

Human Rights

$10,363,479

97%

2%

  

84

Honeywell

$10,286,130

52%

47%

85

Saban

$10,140,585

100%

0%

  

86

MBNA

$10,029,256

0%

0%

87

National Restaurant

$10,009,295

36%

63%

88

Southern Co

$10,008,830

46%

52%

89

Koch

$9,991,672

12%

86%

 

90

New York Life

$9,980,923

58%

41%

91

UST

$9,950,761

0%

0%

92

Wal-Mart

$9,886,854

47%

51%

93

Prudential

$9,860,156

78%

20%

 

94

Freddie Mac

  $9,815,240

61%

38%

95

Builders & Contractors

$9,777,058

1%

96%

  

96

Academy Ophthalmology

$9,774,208

56%

43%

97

AIG

$9,761,084

41%

57%

98

American Health

$9,760,879

62%

36%

99

MetLife

$9,748,477

54%

45%

100

News Web Corp

$9,674,850

100%

0%

  

101

Anesthesiologists

$9,583,037

43%

55%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lehman Brothers: 1990-2010 Individual Contributions

$50,000+ Federal Candidates/ Parties during time at Lehman.

Donor

Total

Soft

Dem

Rep

 Dem

  Reps

Chancellor, Steve 

$297,000

$211,750

$10,250

$286,750

     4%

   97%

Collerton, Tony

$242,140

$0

$242,140

$0

   100%

   0%

DeMuro, Dave 

$174,350

$0

$174,350

$0

   100%

   0%

Fuld, Dick

$297,900

$1,000

$259,600

$29,300

   87%

   10%

Goldfarb, Dave

$94,400

$0

$88,400

$4,000

   94%

   4%

Krueger, Harry 

$336,480

$0

$331,230

$4,000

   98%

  1%

Lessing, Steve

$357,075

$0

$17,300

$337,775

    5%

95%

Schwartz, Marv

$313,713

$0

$4,500

$308,013

    1%

98%

FEC 9/13/10

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Now HERE’S SOMEONE you won’t meet everyday:

James A. Johnson (Partial CV)

Faculty, Princeton

Senate staffer 

Director, Public Affairs,  Dayton-Hudson (Target)

Carter Admin, asst. Walt Mondale

Founder, Public Strategies (has to be some kind of lobbyist)

1985-90 Managing Director, LEHMAN (Think maybe Hank didn’t like him?)

1991-8 Chair, CEO, Fannie Mae 

2001- Vice-Chair, Perseus  (hmmm…wonder does he know Norm Selby?)

2004- OFHEO finds Johnson improperly defers $200m of Fannie expenses (he’s not the one who committed suicide, is he?)

2006- OFHEO (Oops! Guess not!)  finds Fannie has significantly underreported Jim’s income. 

Not a paltry $6 million---$21 million (who said you can trust an accountant?)

June 4, 2008- Obama anoints Jim “Head Chimeara” of a three-headed formation that will vet his V-P;

Jim suddenly attracts a little too much controversy when it’s discovered blood bro’ Angie Mozilla gave sweetheart Jumbos to Jimbo.

May 22, 2008- Party lets it slip that Mr. Populist himself  still wanted Jim to select his VP.  (So now we know.  Our president is a masochist.)

June 11, 2008- Jim steps down (but hey, it’s not exactly jail!)  and once again, Democracy triumphs!

Jim’s is also a really good Eagle Scout.  Just have a look at all of those badges! 

Board Member:  Goldman, Gannett, KB, Target, Temple-Inland Director (past,) United Health

1996-2004- Chair, Kennedy Center     1994-2003- Chair, Brookings

Member in good standing: (anybody but me think these guys are connected?)

American Friends of Bilderberg  Trilateral Commission   Council on Foreign Relations

My goodness! Such an industrious fellow!  Who wouldn’t want someone like him on their team? 

 

 

 

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 19:32 | Link to Comment Fukushima Sam
Fukushima Sam's picture

Thanks a lot for screwing up the comments section with your craptastically long and off-topic post... twice!

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 05:49 | Link to Comment V in PA
V in PA's picture

FAIL!!!

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 19:56 | Link to Comment sqz
sqz's picture

Why are (more than) page long individual comments allowed on this site?

Is there any way to ignore spam posters, e.g. "cara leaf", or at least completely hide individual posts so that a comment thread can be followed, please?

Thanks.

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 20:38 | Link to Comment GoinFawr
GoinFawr's picture

Yes, set the 'comment viewing options threshold' dropdown at the bottom of the article to '+5', that should work (for now)

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 16:40 | Link to Comment mynhair
mynhair's picture

No one?  Hughsie, have you heard of the TEA party yet?

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 17:17 | Link to Comment V in PA
V in PA's picture

I am all for the TEA party that Rick Santelli started, but I fear the current TEA party is being taken over by the religious right.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wcvSjKCU_Zo

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 19:24 | Link to Comment skunzie
skunzie's picture

I think I'd be willing to have the Tea party being run by the religious right rather than the lunatic left that runs the current regime.  Just sayin'

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 21:28 | Link to Comment Cathartes Aura
Cathartes Aura's picture

I'm guessing you're a guy, just sayin'.

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 16:41 | Link to Comment Mercury
Mercury's picture

If I pursued only my own self-interest, I would dump the toxic effluent from my factory right into the river ( a la China's very laissez faire economy) while I lived far away in an exclusive community far from the stench and poisons. Why pay for costly remediation when the "free" river beckons? After all, it all works out wonderfully if we each pursue our own self-interest with methodical, nay maniacal, single-mindedness.

Actually, this is a better example of "Tragedy of the Commons" than pure play knock on the collective benefits of self interested individuals.

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 16:43 | Link to Comment mynhair
mynhair's picture

Apt description of GE.

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 16:59 | Link to Comment Mercury
Mercury's picture

Obviously the whole purpose of government is to prohibit some actions while encouraging others even if they are counter to someone's self interest but Adam Smith's nonintuitive connection between selfish and collective interest and Hayek's emphasis of the importance of decentralized incentives are essentially correct.

I think what this guy is groping towards is a realization that without overarching common values in place, things start to fall apart.  "Multi-culturalism" and the politics of group identity (and yes, over-powering corporate lobbying)  are actually more divisive to the social fabric of a country/culture than the machinations of hundreds of millions of self-interested individuals are.

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 16:59 | Link to Comment njdoo7
njdoo7's picture

How's that working out? 

People can collectively deter certain actions while encouraging others without coercion.

Creating a monopolized coercive central command system, that the self interested can take over to exploit society, has failed.

 

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 17:12 | Link to Comment Mercury
Mercury's picture

Optimally you don't want too powerful of a central government (I think we're well into the danger zone already).  That's why the Bill of Rights are all rights the individual has against the government (Obama is on record wanting to change that by the way - he wants rights to things from government).

 

But too-powerful, self-interested groups are more dangerous and less beneficial to the larger society than too-powerful, self-interested individuals.

 

Beware of those who want to unduly restrict individual liberty in the name of collective fairness and the common good.

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 18:56 | Link to Comment njdoo7
njdoo7's picture

The life-cycle of a a restrained government:

- society is more productive

- higher productivity attracts exploiters

- exploitation goes through a long-term uptrend

- exploitation consumes productivity

- society becomes destabilized

The outcoumes can vary: societal collapse, restructuring, revolution,  and/or war

 

The morally accepted coercion is the catalyst for big government.

 

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 18:56 | Link to Comment njdoo7
njdoo7's picture

The life-cycle of a a restrained government:

- society is more productive

- higher productivity attracts exploiters

- exploitation goes through a long-term uptrend

- exploitation consumes productivity

- society becomes destabilized

The outcoumes can vary: societal collapse, restructuring, revolution,  and/or war

 

The morally accepted coercion is the catalyst for big government.

 

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 18:57 | Link to Comment njdoo7
njdoo7's picture

The life-cycle of a a restrained government:

- society is more productive

- higher productivity attracts exploiters

- exploitation goes through a long-term uptrend

- exploitation consumes productivity

- society becomes destabilized

The outcoumes can vary: societal collapse, restructuring, revolution,  and/or war

 

The morally accepted coercion is the catalyst for big government.

 

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 18:57 | Link to Comment njdoo7
njdoo7's picture

The life-cycle of a a restrained government:

- society is more productive

- higher productivity attracts exploiters

- exploitation goes through a long-term uptrend

- exploitation consumes productivity

- society becomes destabilized

The outcoumes can vary: societal collapse, restructuring, revolution,  and/or war

 

The morally accepted coercion is the catalyst for big government.

 

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 17:04 | Link to Comment pan-the-ist
pan-the-ist's picture

So... a subculture working in it's self-intersest can "wag the dog"?  I don't believe it.  Next you will be telling me that the foreign policy of a large country can effectively be controlled by the powerful lobby (and therefor national interests) of a small country... 

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 17:16 | Link to Comment Mercury
Mercury's picture

...by a powerful lobby(s) within that large country, for sure.  I shouldn't need to draw a picture of that one.

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 21:33 | Link to Comment Nonconformist
Nonconformist's picture

Common values is the key that allows individuals to pursue their own self interest while still maintaining a strong, vibrant society.  It puts a brake on excessive behavior and allows society to come together for the common good.  

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 19:09 | Link to Comment r101958
r101958's picture

..a realization that without overarching common values in place, things start to fall apart.

-How about integrity as one of those values? Nuff said.

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 17:11 | Link to Comment narnia
narnia's picture

laissez faire does not & has never meant to do whatever you want with your property irrespective of everyone else.  it means your property rights (to use your property) are no more valuable than my property rights as your neighbor (to use my adjacent property).  it's an illusion that you need the EPA or some law making bureaucracy between you and I, so that you don't poison me.  most likely, if your intent is to poison, you want some politician you greased to appoint someone in some government office to certify pollution so that I can't sue you or your damages are limited if I do.  the outcomes of this supposedly necessary agency are (1) expenses that require my taxation and (2) an infringement upon what would otherwise be unlimited property rights in a civil action should that be necessary.  

the biggest polluters in the history of the planet are governments (just in weapons testing & use alone), not individual business owners.  the best examples of exploitation & squandering of resources are governments, not individual property owners (like privately owned timber property owners who do not cut down trees unless the market price justifies doing so).

you may want to check out this presentation on Conservation & Property Rights by M. Rothbard:  http://youtu.be/kPy9j3vtKCs

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 18:27 | Link to Comment LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

"the biggest polluters in the history of the planet are governments...."

That may be true, but generally speaking it is because of the influence of the privately run but publicly funded military industrial complex.   It is insanely naive to believe that private corporations will behave responsibly due to the "invisible hand" that has never worked in the history of mankind.  If left to their own devices, corporations such as Standard Oil monopolize and destroy competition to feed the greed (power and money) of their selfish owners.   Government suffers from the same corrupt influences as the private sector, but at least we elect government leaders.  Our biggest current problem is that corporations have taken over our media and essentially pick who we get to chose from as national candidates.   The idea that we must select between corrupt corporations and corrupt government is a Hobson's choice.  It fails to account for the possibiity that balance is the real answer.  There will never be perfection in anything run by human beings, but we can do better than giving the keys to Dick Cheney and his ilk.

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 18:32 | Link to Comment GoinFawr
GoinFawr's picture

Well said, and needed to be.

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 20:43 | Link to Comment narnia
narnia's picture

three quick points:

a monopoly is impossible in a free market.  it requires the force of government.  it's interesting you cite the standard oil myth (great piece by lawrence reed:  http://youtu.be/LW-GM5EPfWQ)

the personhood of the corporation & intellectual property laws as we know them are devices of government, not a device of the constitution or the free market.

a dick cheney will eventually be czar of the EPA or the FDA or insert agency here: _______.  time is the only variable. 

 

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 23:12 | Link to Comment GoinFawr
GoinFawr's picture

Privatize breathable air already!

a monopoly is totally possible in a mixed economy. Access to clean drinking water shouldn't be a privilege, unless you're planning on killing off whatever portion of your population you're denying it.

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 10:27 | Link to Comment BigJim
BigJim's picture

Water 'clean' enough to drink is a scarce resource, at least in the sense that there is simply not enough of it 'in nature' to go round. Unlike breathable air.

Therefore... unclean water needs to be treated to become clean, and this takes resources.

Access to clean drinking water isn't a privilege... but that doesn't mean it should be free.

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 03:24 | Link to Comment Kobe Beef
Kobe Beef's picture

I value your discussion on this thread, but I have to disagree.

Our biggest current problem is people don't realize that corporations & government are the same thing. It's called fascism. When Dick Cheney orders the invasion of Iraq, is he acting as the Vice-President of the the US, or the CEO of Halliburton? The answer is BOTH.

Cheers,

Beef

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 16:41 | Link to Comment Talleyrand
Talleyrand's picture

Collectivist drivel.

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 16:42 | Link to Comment Buzz Fuzzel
Buzz Fuzzel's picture

Marxist drivel!

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 16:51 | Link to Comment baby_BLYTHE
baby_BLYTHE's picture

I think the author was going for a populist message but came across sound collectivist.

Marxist is a bit of a stretch

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 17:03 | Link to Comment ZakuKommander
ZakuKommander's picture

Collectivist indeed!  I myself blame those early Christians for such nonsense.  Thank God later generations turned THAT religion around.

Fri, 07/29/2011 - 20:26 | Link to Comment JW n FL
JW n FL's picture

that was funny!

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 16:42 | Link to Comment Aductor
Aductor's picture

Worse yet, we are continously turning everything in our lives into commodities, ready to be optimized.

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 19:06 | Link to Comment Mach1513
Mach1513's picture

"Optimization" leads to misallocation.

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 23:21 | Link to Comment GoinFawr
GoinFawr's picture

I simply can't wait until they find a way to privatize breathable air!

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 16:43 | Link to Comment Buzz Fuzzel
Buzz Fuzzel's picture

From each, To each and all that.

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 16:43 | Link to Comment Misean
Misean's picture

Nice straw men there. You really set em up and knocked them down! Wh00T!

Just a quick question, but is feeding your child in one's self interest? How about holding the door for others?

Oh, yes, and, if you would be so kind, but can you tell me what entity gets to decide what acts are "for the nation as a whole" please? What being gets to be the arbiter for any disagreement? Clearly, not mere mortals...

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 17:05 | Link to Comment njdoo7
njdoo7's picture

This is not black or white.  Did the author claim nobody every acts against their own self interest?  No, so you are the one with a straw man. 

I don't recall him proposing a solution; moreso outlining the root problem. 

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 23:14 | Link to Comment prole
prole's picture

He outlined nothing. He is merely sowing the seeds of collectivism. In his pathetic attempt to debunk Adam Smith and reality.

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 16:45 | Link to Comment mynhair
mynhair's picture

Actually, this article is a good description of Liberals.

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 16:45 | Link to Comment Buckaroo Banzai
Buckaroo Banzai's picture

Where's Andrew Jackson when you need him?

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 17:04 | Link to Comment baby_BLYTHE
baby_BLYTHE's picture

Amen. My all time favorite president.

I remember in third grade we had to do a project on any President. I picked Jackson because I thought has name sounded cool, lol. 

http://os8thsoth.wikispaces.com/file/view/jackson_bank.jpg/32979895/jackson_bank.jpg 

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 17:47 | Link to Comment GoinFawr
GoinFawr's picture

I'm guessing you didn't make it past all the great things his speech writers (teleprompters of the day) had him saying...

“Andrew Jackson, founder of the modern Democratic Party and greatest(sic) Indian(sic) killer of all American Presidents, urged United States troops “…to root out from their ‘dens’ and kill Indian women and their ‘whelps’” (Stannard, p. 240). Jackson was so effective at rooting women and “whelps” from their “dens,” he adopted the habit of cutting off his victims’ noses as trophies to commemorate his exploits. He earned the name “Sharp Knife” from Creek Indians for his penchant for skinning victims and using the cured and braided tissue as reins for his ponies (Takaki, 1994).” -David P. Rider, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Psychology Xavier University of Louisiana

PS. Is that a 'dreamcatcher' tatoo?

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 18:13 | Link to Comment Vic Vinegar
Vic Vinegar's picture

BB is hardcore.  She is down with all of A-Jack's doings.

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 22:52 | Link to Comment New World Chaos
New World Chaos's picture

I used to think Andrew Jackson was the worst president ever, thanks to his brutal genocide of the Cherokee.  Now that I know more about his bank-busting I would still put him in the bottom 10.

New bottom 10 (worst first):

Wilson, Obama, Buchanan, FDR, Bush II, LBJ, Lincoln, Jackson, Nixon, Bush I

My top 10 would be Harrison, Washington, Jefferson, Kennedy, Eisenhower, Hoover, and a handful of nobodies and drunk buffoons from the 1800s.  Harrison was the best president ever because he gave the record longest inaugural address on a cold day and died of pneumonia shortly thereafter.  I wish they would all do so little damage.

 p.s. I didn't junk you.

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 01:49 | Link to Comment Escapeclaws
Escapeclaws's picture

Oh, you're just so adorable, Mr. BB, telling us about third grade. You really got that cute chick thing down to a T.

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 17:31 | Link to Comment notaFerengi
notaFerengi's picture

Busy working on the "Trail of Tears."

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 17:32 | Link to Comment notaFerengi
notaFerengi's picture

Busy working on the "Trail of Tears."

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 16:46 | Link to Comment drink or die
drink or die's picture

I could tell by the title that this was going to be a horrible article.  It didn't disappoint.

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 16:47 | Link to Comment Misean
Misean's picture

ROFL! Couldn't agree more.

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 16:48 | Link to Comment AldousHuxley
AldousHuxley's picture

MUST SEE: Flaws of globalization: A prophetic interview with Sir James Goldsmith in 1994 Pt1

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4PQrz8F0dBI

 

Billion Chinese and Indians are willing to work as slaves for the benefit of top 0.1% corporate executives and shareholders. American and European middle class has no chance unless a revolution happens.

Fri, 07/29/2011 - 20:34 | Link to Comment JW n FL
JW n FL's picture

AldousHuxley,

You find the Best Info!!

Thanks!! Home! Run!! Again!!!

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 16:48 | Link to Comment wombats
wombats's picture

Geez.  I thought I was cynical, but I've got nothing on this author.  I tip my hat to you, sir.

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 16:59 | Link to Comment mynhair
mynhair's picture

.

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 17:33 | Link to Comment MsCreant
MsCreant's picture

I would never take advantage of a blank post with a cat avatar and write something like: "Hit mynhair's counter if you like pussy. Up yes, down no."

No, I wouldn't do that...

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 18:09 | Link to Comment ZakuKommander
ZakuKommander's picture

My cat resembles your remark.

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 16:49 | Link to Comment midtowng
midtowng's picture

You talked bad about a core belief of libertarianism. You will get flamed now. It doesn't matter if you are correct, that the natural state of mankind is in a community, not just a bunch of individuals. You are dealing with dogma, libertarian dogma. And dogma, like any religion, cannot be disproven no matter how many facts you have.

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 16:58 | Link to Comment Misean
Misean's picture

The religion is in the authors nonsence. Any half wit knows that "no man is an island". Thus, your dogmatic response that the rubbish up top talks bad about "core belief of libertarianism" misses the mark by several light years. But such straw man argumentation is the type of twaddle religious zealots spew on a regular basis.

But I rather suspect that I would have a better discussion of such things with a cock roach, not that I'm trying to insult cock roaches...

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 16:59 | Link to Comment Misean
Misean's picture

The religion is in the authors nonsence. Any half wit knows that "no man is an island". Thus, your dogmatic response that the rubbish up top talks bad about "core belief of libertarianism" misses the mark by several light years. But such straw man argumentation is the type of twaddle religious zealots spew on a regular basis.

But I rather suspect that I would have a better discussion of such things with a cock roach, not that I'm trying to insult cock roaches...

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 17:57 | Link to Comment GoinFawr
GoinFawr's picture

"Strawman here, strawman there, here a straw, there a man, everywhere a manstrawman. Old Misean had a fail, eee I eee I oooooooo(bama)"

"You keep using that word..."

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 22:35 | Link to Comment njdoo7
njdoo7's picture

Let's not focus on the fact that it was a strawman.

Libertarianism has nothing to do with individual or collective.   It is about the morality of using force to solve problems.  It's unfortunate that people like the original poster don't grasp that simple concept; that or they intentionally use this strawman.

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 22:29 | Link to Comment njdoo7
njdoo7's picture

Libertarianism is not about individual versus community, its about the structure of the community.  Coercive or voluntary?  Centralized power or freedom? 

The author highlights the basic human instinct of self-interested greed and exploitation of surrounding resources.  Libertarianism is not about solving this problem, it is about basic moral axioms.  Libertarians, like myself, acknowledge this would be a problem in ANY society. 

Coercive solutions have been attempted and reformed over the course of 5000 years.  It hasn't solved this issue, plus it's immoral.

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 02:32 | Link to Comment Escapeclaws
Escapeclaws's picture

You know that philosopy is just window-dressing for the fundamental dispostion of the individual. If you are basically a selfish person, you'll have a selfish philosophy. But people like to fool themselves into thinking this balderdash actually says something, rather than just reflects their own craven desires. The "invisible hand" has all the earmarks of the inventor of the phrase laughing to himself at all the fools who were going to take it seriously. At the same time, he knew which side his bread was buttered on and how he was greasing the rails for predatory industrialism. The good little petite bourgeoisie is so afraid of being thrown into a FEMA camp that they toe the line on conservatism and anti-communism (by that I mean the kind of sharing of goods that those despicable early Christians engaged in, not that of Joe Stalin) because in their heart of hearts they know this is a Joe McCarthy nation. Can't blame them really, but they should stop pretending its more than protective coloration because something is aiming to bite their ass.

Fri, 07/29/2011 - 20:38 | Link to Comment JW n FL
JW n FL's picture

The Empathic Civilisation

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l7AWnfFRc7g

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 16:49 | Link to Comment Oh regional Indian
Oh regional Indian's picture

The logical folly begins in the headline itself.

The very notion of nation is flawed. A border, implying control, implies a cut of what crosses it. A nation is simply an octroi bordered land.

ORI

http://aadivaahan.wordpress.com/2011/07/27/pre-cursor/

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 17:06 | Link to Comment JohnG
Wed, 07/27/2011 - 23:45 | Link to Comment Quixote
Quixote's picture

Nice pitch. George Soros is going to give you a prime job when he takes over. You're in.

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 16:50 | Link to Comment ItsEvolutionBaby
ItsEvolutionBaby's picture

Socialist drivel.

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 17:15 | Link to Comment Bob
Bob's picture

He said you would say that. 

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 16:50 | Link to Comment Seer
Seer's picture

Why pay for costly remediation when the "free" river beckons?

Bad analogy.  I understand the intent, but it's a bad analogy.  It assumes that I fucked up the river in the first place (for there to be remediation).

I could make the opposite argument that large-scale tragedies can only happen when lots of people get together (and conspire).

I do things without the permission of the govt: such as one person posted above- like holding doors open for people... I've helped neighbors, I've helped strangers.  Yet, I'm forced to pay for the empire's military machine and preferential teatment of the wealthy... (i.e. banksters)

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 17:29 | Link to Comment takinthehighway
takinthehighway's picture

I believe that the point of the analogy was, "why should I clean up my mess when I can foist it off on others to clean up?".

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 16:51 | Link to Comment ZakuKommander
ZakuKommander's picture

But, but, but . . . what would Ayn Rand say??????

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 17:01 | Link to Comment Oh regional Indian
Oh regional Indian's picture

She'd say something like "It's enlightened selfishness that is the way".

ORI

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 17:05 | Link to Comment ZakuKommander
ZakuKommander's picture

Now THERE'S an oxymoron.

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 04:26 | Link to Comment Tsukato
Tsukato's picture

Hi Ori,

You always come up with the greatest stuff!

enlightened selfishness

How can anyone bitch about that? We must all get to the point of enlightened selfishness, if ever we are to escape this theatre of form. Anyone who junks this idea is a dolt.

Best wishes :-)

 

 

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 16:36 | Link to Comment Oh regional Indian
Oh regional Indian's picture

Domo Tsukato san.

otsukare sama desu!

ORI

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 16:51 | Link to Comment AldousHuxley
AldousHuxley's picture

Western Individualism

 

ruggedness served well in the wild wild west

doesn't do so well in a complex overpopulated civil society at large especially when top 0.1% is unified in exploiting the rest

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 04:29 | Link to Comment Tsukato
Tsukato's picture

There is no more ruggedness in the American people. This is nothing but a fairytale americans tell themselves to feel they are not worthless human penguins. Wanna see rugged individualism? Come to China.

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 05:14 | Link to Comment AldousHuxley
AldousHuxley's picture

I've been to China. Too many people to have individualism. Different scale over there. Sea of people. Like schools of fish acting like one giant fish versus a shark.

 

competition:

http://laowaiblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/A-job-fair-in-Beijing.jpg

 

 

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 16:53 | Link to Comment OldTrooper
OldTrooper's picture

Hmm, maybe if the 'nation' did what it was founded to do (secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity) they would have some claim on my loyalties.  Until they start doing that, though, the 'nation' can fuck off.  I'll do it myself.  Thanks for not stealing everything 'nation', now go away.

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 17:03 | Link to Comment Rodent Freikorps
Rodent Freikorps's picture

The Supreme Court ok'd the empire with just the commerce clause.

Don't give them any ideas.

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 16:53 | Link to Comment Segestan
Segestan's picture

Cheer up--- when the Reds come for you,  I'm sure they will all , as they were told , think of what is best for the nation, that is the communist nation. Getting rid of the foreign nationals would be a great start.

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 16:54 | Link to Comment Rodent Freikorps
Rodent Freikorps's picture

Then add in the watermelon commies.

Did you ever wonder if there is some environazi with a purple footed ferret that takes it for a walk anywhere in the country that wants to build something truly beneficial to the state?

Kind of an efficient way to keep the states poorer by imperial fiat. It only costs some gas money and ferret chow.

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 16:54 | Link to Comment hannah
hannah's picture

at least charles hughes smith signs the freakin article. half the idiots they have doing the guest stuff are 'unknown'....now i didnt call old smith an idiot. smith is trying but i quit reading his stuff like 4 years ago (could it be that long ago)...old smithie was too damn politically correct and still thought we could get out of this mess if we just all held hands.

 

smith...you are right but about a day later and a dollar (devalued of course) short....

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 16:55 | Link to Comment Sophist Economicus
Sophist Economicus's picture

"If I pursued only my own self-interest, I would dump the toxic effluent from my factory right into the river" ....

Chuck, you are a true schmuck.   First, read Adam Smith, Hobbes, Locke, etc - they've been down this philosophical road before.   Next, try thinking without the keyboard up your ass.  Ignoring the absolutely unfounded and ridiculous China reference, if you polluted effluent in a steam that is TRUELY harmful to people that lived around it, do you believe that you would be able to operate that factory for long?    Really?    There will always be the dishonest - but almost everything you see around you that is considered progress is due to people and businesses acting in thier self interest.   EPA rules lagged industry self policing, gas milage gains lead EPA mandates, electric cars were on the drawing boards over a decade ago, etc, etc, etc.     It is only when asswipes like you get into 'political power', wanting to 'help others' that the shit hits the fan - or - synonymously, your writing hits the digital page

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 17:04 | Link to Comment Daphneisfedup
Daphneisfedup's picture

Lots of factories have been dumping all kinds of pollutants in the local environment for years.  It's pretty unusual when local people manage to stop it legally.  I'm really surprised more people don't resort to sabotage or worse in some cases.

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 17:19 | Link to Comment Steelerpop
Steelerpop's picture

if you polluted effluent in a steam that is TRUELY harmful to people that lived around it, do you believe that you would be able to operate that factory for long?

Absolutely. Because to shut down the factory would be to eliminate JOBS and incomes and think of the community that this factory supports; and then the multinational owner of the factory could create an astroturf organization that takes to the airwaves with commercials reminding us that pollution is the byproduct of prosperity.

The Cuyahoga (allegedly) caught fire and environmental regulation general came into being specifically because those self-interested organizations weren't doing too good a job policing themselves.

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 00:43 | Link to Comment RockyRacoon
RockyRacoon's picture

Actually, the Cuyahoga River did catch fire.  More than once.

http://ech.case.edu/ech-cgi/article.pl?id=CRF1

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 17:18 | Link to Comment ZakuKommander
ZakuKommander's picture

Yes, everyone around its shores was enthusiastically contributing to pollution so that Lake Erie could burn.

The problem, SE, is that there are the powerful, and the less powerful.  Ever heard of child labor?  Ever read the The Jungle?  Was it industry self-policing that changed these situations?

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 17:38 | Link to Comment granolageek
granolageek's picture

You live a fantasy world. Factories did it for centuries. Ever hear of Love Canal? Ever heard about the Cuyahoga river catching fire? Ever see pictures of Pittsburgh 100 years ago?

Industry self policing is a fantasy. Just like Alan Greenspan was sure Goldman Sachs would never get away with fraud.

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 17:40 | Link to Comment Liquid Courage
Liquid Courage's picture

Let's not forget Alexis de Tocqueville’s interpetation of “self-interest rightly understood.” Had he done a bit of reading along those lines, I think Chuck would've written a different article.

When entrepreneurs - and even people in general - stop behaving as symbiots and start behaving as parasites, it's safe to say that something fundamental has changed in economic conditions. People have lost faith in the long-term survivability of the system and are simply grabbing all they can get NOW.

Tao: the wise leader says, "I leave the people alone, and copious goods appear in the marketplace."

The un-wise leader thinks she can improve Human Nature and creates misery attempting to do so.

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 22:28 | Link to Comment Cathartes Aura
Cathartes Aura's picture

The un-wise leader thinks she can improve Human Nature and creates misery attempting to do so.

 

lol "she"

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 19:29 | Link to Comment r101958
r101958's picture

"if you polluted effluent in a steam that is TRUELY harmful to people that lived around it, do you believe that you would be able to operate that factory for long?"

ummmmm, yes. Coal mining. Gas fracking.

"There will always be the dishonest - but almost everything you see around you that is considered progress is due to people and businesses acting in thier self interest."

- I believe the self interest he is talking about it the type that produces nothing

"EPA rules lagged industry self policing, gas milage gains lead EPA mandates, electric cars were on the drawing boards over a decade ago, etc, etc, etc."

- I am pretty sure he is against more gov't regulation

"It is only when asswipes like you get into 'political power', wanting to 'help others' that the shit hits the fan"

-Unless I totally missed something, it seems to me he is against people leaching off of government programs.

 

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 02:53 | Link to Comment Escapeclaws
Escapeclaws's picture

You almost have a point (about people who want to do good concealing their actual greed for power, possibly from themselves, definitely from others). However, if you have read CHS, you will discover that he means what he says and would be the last person to seek political power. Thus, you are just a blowhard and a discredit to your avatar who was a genuinely humane person. Now start cussin'.

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 16:58 | Link to Comment Daphneisfedup
Daphneisfedup's picture

I think the article is absolutely true.  The question is: how do we get past this?  I think the current system will crash to be sure, there are too many special interests that are too powerful to pry loose. 

What do we do after the system crashes, when we sit down at a new constitutional convention?  (I am switching into hyper-optimistic mode relative to normal - I am actually a hunker-down-in-your-compund person at heart).

 

We will have to think long and hard about keeping representatives from needing a lot of money to be reelected.  My favorite idea is to select people at random, subject to a literacy and critical thinking test and a basic background check, and not allow repeat terms.  Maybe 5 year terms, and cycle 20% of the group each year.  Thoughts?

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 17:11 | Link to Comment Seer
Seer's picture

The system will crash because it's totally unsustainable.  No rocket science needed to figure this one out...

Oh, and NO "solution" can be figured to be such as long as it operates under the banner of "growth is good."

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 03:37 | Link to Comment Escapeclaws
Escapeclaws's picture

Being able to think and put the people's interest first is not something you can test for. Term limits sound like a good idea and, most important, reform campaign finance, but of course these ideas have zero chance of success. Somehow, we've got to get beyond thinking of politicians as leaders rather than servants. They used to be called "public servants". I really believe that the country is too large, too complex, to ossified, for any reforms to really help. Everything that works against the interests of the owners will be shot down, end of story.

Until the whole system crashes to the point of obliteration, and the country splits up into smaller regions that can start to be self-governing--following the Constitution hopefully--we can only make the best of what we have, which means supporting one another.

I like some of the movements that are getting afoot, such as states creating their own currencies or scrip, such as in Utah allowing payment in gold and silver. Basically, the states need to distance themselves from the federal government and go in the direction of eventual secession. At some point they will want to work with other states in the same region; as they gain more power, they can begin to muscle aside the federal government. One place to start would be to enact legislation against the big banks, the rating agencies, (setting up their own rating agencies that are not beholden to the companies they rate, for example), etc. They could disallow the big banks from setting up shop in their jurisdiction, and generally enact legislation that their citizens vainly seek from the federal government. They could claw back ill-gotten gains, etc. Most importantly, they could disavow the federal debt. Just a thought, not fleshed out, but hope seems to lie in anti-federalism at this point.

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 16:56 | Link to Comment I am a Man I am...
I am a Man I am Forty's picture

the problem is not self interest, the problem is that people can legally take from you through taxation with threat of throwing you in jail, or our government can take from the tax payer and give to those who lobby them to bail them out, nobody would give a fuck about GS, GM, or JPM if you allowed them to fail and go into bankruptcy, we wouldn't be in this mess if these DC fucks would have to balance their fucking budget every year or listened to the american fucking people on one fucking issue, such as war, not bailing banks out, etc.

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 16:59 | Link to Comment Nate H
Nate H's picture

In studying these issues for a decade, I've come to conclusion that in order to save yourself, you have to save everybody. Not gonna be easy, but it's not like we're 'really' broke (i.e. even after peak oil we have abundant natural resources/energy - just not enough for 7 billion to grow population or (pecuniary) aspiration

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 17:01 | Link to Comment mynhair
mynhair's picture

I wouldn't save Reid, Schmucky, or Pelousy even if you paid me.

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 17:00 | Link to Comment Encroaching Darkness
Encroaching Darkness's picture

But, but, but...Mr. Smith?

Didn't we create all these entitlement programs to help others? The same ones that are dragging EVERYONE down to financial ruin?

Will ObamaCare enrich anyone except the financial elites, the insurance companies, the FOO (Friends of Obama) and the "sickcare system"? Will it be free of "unintended consequences"?

You argue for the "personally disinterested national interest". We will see live unicorns, dragons and pixies first. Who gets to decide what the PSNI is, if it even exists?

Dream on , your call for fantasyland is entertaining if self-contradictory. We cannot build this Utopia of selfless statesmen any more than Hitler, Stalin, Mao or Pol Pot could - but we will get the same results.

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 17:08 | Link to Comment Bob
Bob's picture

You think "entitlement programs . . . are dragging EVERYONE down to financial ruin"? 

Seriously.  JHC.

Get a fucking clue. 

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 17:08 | Link to Comment Encroaching Darkness
Encroaching Darkness's picture

PDNI, not PSNI, as an acronym. Why won't the new system let me edit my own comment, before someone else has commented?

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 17:01 | Link to Comment Bob
Bob's picture

You're right, Charles.  But, I suspect, we're going to find that it can't be stopped.  Corporate media, liberty and all. 

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 17:09 | Link to Comment linrom
linrom's picture

More distortions about debt and government deficit spending. Teach a man how to fish and he won't go hungry for the rest of his life; teach a man how to write, and he won't stop writing drivel that Wall Street think tanks like Pete G Peterson support.

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 17:10 | Link to Comment mynhair
mynhair's picture

So, I'll put you down as in favor of deleting the Dept. of Edication?  (sp int)

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 17:17 | Link to Comment Rodent Freikorps
Rodent Freikorps's picture

You could spend the entire budget on Education and the average prole would still parrot we need to spend more, and for no better reason than it sounds good.

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 17:21 | Link to Comment mynhair
mynhair's picture

Hey, I would enjoy spending your money as much as I would anyone else's.

But I don't get the chance.

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 18:18 | Link to Comment GoinFawr
GoinFawr's picture

@RF

All 53 billion, or 1/20th of the 'defense' budget, of it! Over 8 years that would add up to slightly over 400 billion! Wooo hooo!  That oughta buy you some time!

Though I must admit, even with a cut like that it is hard to imagine how the likes of you could end up even more ignorant.

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 18:34 | Link to Comment Rodent Freikorps
Rodent Freikorps's picture

Spending more does not increase test scores, but the solution is always to spend more.

Typical Lib lies. The money will get soaked up by unions and admin.

Are you championing your own self-interest here, or are you the typical prole?

 

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 18:49 | Link to Comment GoinFawr
GoinFawr's picture

I stand by my last sentence. Decent education provides a Net benefit. Just look at the education systems of the leading countries on the following table, then cross reference your findings with standards of living (hint: it's called supporting evidence).

Uh oh, it's that time again: http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2010/may/27/debt-deficit-oecd-countries-data

Plays the Debt Card! Wham!

"Spending does not increase test scores, but the solution is always to spend more." That must be a reference to 'Defense' spending, I guess. In which case I totally agree. Not sure what you meant by 'Lib' though (See what I did there?)

Are we learning yet RF?

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 18:56 | Link to Comment Rodent Freikorps
Rodent Freikorps's picture

Yeah. You like straw men. We spend enough for decent education if we'd knock off all the time spent on social engineering, and money wasted on unions, and bloated administrations.

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 19:21 | Link to Comment GoinFawr
GoinFawr's picture

Ah yes, the good ol' 'Unless I agree with you America can't be compared to any other system due to its exceptional exceptionalism' non sequitur. 

That may be handy when you've been cornered by a weak argument, but it's completely useless against me Mr. Petitio Principii.

RE: "Are you championing your own self-interest here, or are you the typical prole?" 

Ans. Well, I'm not sure what you mean by 'prole' (or 'Lib' or any of your other ill-conceived stereotypes for that matter), but if you are asking if I am an educator: not really.  I do contract work in the private sector training people how not to blow themselves up; so I hardly think my support for decent public education can be considered 'self interested'. OTOH, for my own safety I would rather have trainees on site who have some decent study habits and come to me at least marginally prepared, so I guess that could be considered 'self interest'.

Here's a simple word test for you:

Match the word in the first set with the corresponding word in the second set

{Liability, Asset} and {Educated, Ignorant}

 

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 19:31 | Link to Comment Rodent Freikorps
Rodent Freikorps's picture

Why do you continue with the false choices?

We already spend enough for quality education. It would be even better if we didn't waste so much, but that is the government way. What can you do?

If you cared about the students, instead of the system, you'd be for ending the waste, not throwing more money at it.

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 20:25 | Link to Comment GoinFawr
GoinFawr's picture

I'm not offering false choices, I'm putting up real world, functioning successes that have been proven to provide a NET benefit, which means they pay for themselves in the long run (a point of constant denial for you it seems).

 Think, just for a second: TARP alone could have funded education at it's current level of gov't expenditure for around the next 15 to 20 years. Do you really think you received a net benefit from that program? Of course not.

Prioritize

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 21:20 | Link to Comment mayhem_korner
mayhem_korner's picture

My homeschooled kids got a benefit of avoiding the public (sinkhole) school system.

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 21:30 | Link to Comment mayhem_korner
mayhem_korner's picture

Rember, TARP is an outgrowth of the same "collective" mindset.  The underlying troubled (toxic) assets grew largely from a centralized effort to create a condition of equalized housing.  The folks that claim inequality from the banker bailout fail to recognize the source of the "opportunity" from which those bankers benefitted.  It's a tidy circle if you look at it correctly.

I'm interested in the quantification of the net benefit you claim.  School expenditures are easy to tabulate, so if there is a clear net benefit, you should be able to articulate the benefits.  I think the evidence over the past several decades would suggest a negative return on marginal dollars invested in government-run education.

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 22:54 | Link to Comment GoinFawr
GoinFawr's picture

I was only using TARP as an eg of the (IMO) warped value set of America: what USians will accept and what they will rally vehemently against when it comes to gov't spending. I am a bit incredulous of your defense of it to be honest; holding that the motivation behind creating the 'toxic assets' and employing them to the end of heavily indebting an entire nation (indeud, the whole planet) and its populace is somehow altruistic on the part of the banksters seems naive at best, or disingenous at worst. Makes me wonder about your perspective..."Remember" indeed.

See the 'word association' game above for a simple but intuitively 'quantifiable' example of a good education's 'net' benefit. If you need something more than that go the route of the only slightly more complex study I outlined. I think you'll find in short order that it illustrates a self reinforcing 'tidy circle' too, a positive feedback loop in the long run rather than a revenue drain, especially in reference to elementary and secondary education.

"I think the evidence over the past several decades would suggest a negative return on marginal dollars invested in government-run education."  In the US that is entirely possible. But then again in the US any publicly funded program, regardless of its merits, that benefits every family is constantly under attack and subject to sabotage by private interests (again, IMO).  While I think it's absolutely fantastic that you have/take/make the time and money necessary to homeschool your kids, imagine how much more abysmal national literacy rates would be if all public schools were closed in these days when so many households require two breadwinners just to keep a roof over their heads. Careful not to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Now I know we're talking about very subjective terms when we discuss 'quality' of education,  but if we can agree on the three R's the positive EROI conclusion is not at all difficult to arrive at statistically.

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 08:41 | Link to Comment mayhem_korner
mayhem_korner's picture

Where'd you get the idea that I'm defending TARP?  Not from my comments.  I was simply linking it back to its origins.

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 11:02 | Link to Comment GoinFawr
GoinFawr's picture

"...effort to create a condition of equalized housing" is an odd way to describe entrapment, but all right.
Otherwise ok then?

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 19:41 | Link to Comment mayhem_korner
mayhem_korner's picture

Not agreeing with you at all, just wanted to clear up an inference that you were making that wasn't there.

Fri, 07/29/2011 - 11:55 | Link to Comment GoinFawr
GoinFawr's picture

Riiiight. Well, glad we could clear that up. Now that we've dealt with your little diversion, care to get back to the matter at hand?

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 17:34 | Link to Comment Lednbrass
Lednbrass's picture

Yes, teach a man to fish and he will never go hungry.

But if you give him a fish every day he'll be a dedicated leftist for life.

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