Guest Commentary – Paying for Government

So I have returned to the fold this evening. I was out of town for the last two days driving up to Maryland and bringing the Weapon Teenager from Maryland for the summer. While there I visited the oldest of my two younger sisters and was accosted by the two 100+ pound beasts that she has the audacity to claim are mere canines (Beasts I tell you!). But it was great seeing her, I never get to see enough of her. I was really torn on the guest commentary for tonight. I have several that have been submitted. I was originally going to go with one from Kent this evening. But I really want to write a good intro for his and haven’t had the time to do so. Therefore, I am going to save Kent’s for next week and instead present one from Jon Smith which doesn’t require nearly as much input from me to go along with it. As you all know, Jon has a blog as well, which I always encourage everyone to visit. His excellent writing and analysis deserves a gigantic readership.

This week Jon presents us with an idea for funding the activities of government. One of the largest points of contention in political discourse comes when we discuss how we are going to pay for the things that government deems themselves worthy of providing for us. While there is plenty of discussion to be had over the proper role of government (which is a 75% written post that is coming soon, this is not that discussion. Instead, Jon has offered up some ideas for what we can do to fund some aspects of government activity.

What cannot be debated at this point is that government simply cannot afford to do all that they are doing in the ways that they are doing it. Taxes have gotten out of control, and have become the dominating force in our financial lives. If there was one area of government that I would want to hit the reset button on immediately, it is government fiscal policy and taxation. We simply cannot spend our way to prosperity, and further, the government seems to have gotten to the point where nothing that they do is done in nearly an efficient enough manner. Paying for the essential roles of government is a problem right now. Jon has come up with a solution that he would like to put through its paces with the SUFA readership….

Paying for Government
by Jon Smith

So I have been talking a big game about being able to fund government without using forced taxation. I truly think it is theoretically possible. It is not something that could be implemented easily. This is an idea that could only work after a long period of moving toward freedom, or a new country, “starting fresh”, if you will. It also involves a redefinition of citizenship, and what qualifies one for it.

Of course this whole thing would hinge on an incredible reduction of government expenditure. This particular post is not a “how to get there from here” sort of post. This is more of a “If I started a country, what I would do is” sort of post. So throw out everything you think of when you think about government costs. This would be a government based on a very strict diet and limitation. It would also be based on a lack of government monopoly on a great many things.

Essentially, most government “services” would be paid for by transaction, direct taxes and fees for services rendered. Roads and other infrastructure paid for by usage taxes or, when possible, related usage taxes (like fuel taxes for roads, etc.). Basic courts, representatives, police, and defense (military) would be paid for by citizens. This particular tax could be administered in a variety of ways, preferably it would be a flat tax, although there are arguments for a combination of property and flat tax. The logic for this would be that some persons would have more to protect than others. On the other hand, the protection of the rights of individuals would be universal, thus you could not solely do it based on property.

The key, of course, is that one does not have to be a citizen to live in the country. This means they can own property, they can choose to pay no taxes for courts, Police, Representatives, or military. They would only pay usage taxes for things they used. If they request the use of courts or police, they must pay for the priviledge, full costs covered. If they violate the laws of the land, or violate contracts held by citizens, they would be subject to the courts of this nation unless they had otherwise agreed not to be as part of a contract. The “law of the land” would be a set of laws, and would not include laws that involved anything other than the protection of people’s freedoms and lives. In other words, even if you are on your own property, outside of the jurisdiction of the police, etc. you would still not be able to murder, steal, or hold persons on your property against their will. I recognize the philosophical necessity of allowing people to govern themselves. I also, however, recognize the need to keep certain things illegal, even on private property. Property rights do not override all other rights.

The disadvantage, of course, for non-citizens include: a premium for government services, and, more importantly, no access to said services without payment. Any defense against crime, emergencies, foreign action, fraud, etc. would have to be carried out by private vendors or volunteers, since those provided by government would not be available. Immigrants, too, would have the right to be here and work, etc., but they would be in a similar position financially, and in reference to access to government services. They could, if they wanted, pay taxes like a citizen for access to standard government actions, but they would have to go through an education process and sign on as a citizen to gain a vote/representation.

The key factor is that all adults would have to sign on as a citizen. There would be no naturalization by birth. Citizen rights would pass to children of citizens based on the actions and payments of the parents, but they would have to be naturalized upon adulthood. The constitution would only have to be followed by persons who actually agreed to live under it. However, again, there would remain a law of the land. If persons wanted to create their own societal organizations, that would also be fine, but they could not use coercion or force to make adults be a part of those societal structures, just as our primary government could not force citizenship.

I think a whole host of government services could be available for citizens, as long as fees for those services are only paid for by those who benefit and/or those who choose to pay in. The caveat here is that no government services would be a monopoly, with the possible exception of national defense and certain divisions of police, I am still working on the logistics of allowing competition in those. Private courts would be acceptable where both parties agreed or contracts allowed/required them. Protective services would be certainly available, but would have limited ability to enforce laws outside of defense. Contracted police forces, on the other hand, would be fine, as they would still be operating within governmental/legal parameters as a part of their contract.

I know there are horror stories of competing fire brigades, etc. I think it might, however, be worth trying again. If there were a government option, but private options were available, I think we might see a much better result. Furthermore, a free press and the level of information available to consumers. Overall, I would say that the free market, no matter how bumpy, will end in the best result. It will also help keep government services from growing out of control. If no one takes the government option, it is because there is a better option, and no one pays for the service.

In the end, I think the remaining costs of government would not be difficult to support voluntarily. The worst that would happen would be an abandonment of citizenship and the collapse of the government structure. This would show this experiment to be a failure, but a much less harmful one than a government that grows to behemoth size and collapses under its own weight.

So bring on the questions and criticisms, this is how I love to test my theories.

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Comments

  1. Having a little trouble understanding the police and court situation you are laying out-seems that if one was poor they would have no legal rights or protections because of lack of money. Could you expand of this a little? 🙂

    • meaning if you were unable to pay your taxes you would no longer be protected? I would imagine, if there was a hybrid of flat and property taxes, a poor person would only have the flat tax to meet, meaning a technically lower rate. You do not lose citizenship immediately upon non-payment, and there could be charitable organizations for helping with tax burden. Keep in mind we are talking about a rather small figure, and, more importantly, citizens would have the rights and protections of the courts. IF there was no way to pay your dues as a citizen, it would be an extensive process to actually remove basic benefits. If, on the other hand, you had chosen to be outside of the system (non-citizen) and were poor, then yes, you are SOL.

      • Okay, to help me understand- a person who doesn’t pay the fees for whatever reason-would have to pay court cost-so this person is raped,shot, whatever-they cannot afford to pay the court cost-they are out of luck? I guess my real question is how do we prosecute criminals whether violent or just thieves if going to court depends on the injured party paying for it-it would seem that this system would leave all people especially those who pay in a position where they aren’t getting all they are paying for.

        • Mathius says:

          I imagine that liability for court costs would fall to the to the loser of the case. So if I claim you injured me and you win, I would have to pay, but if the court agrees, you would pay.

          • Okay, so who pays for the investigation to determine if someone is guilty or to find the guilty party. I just don’t find it easy to have pay for services and still do all that is necessary without the non payers getting free services.

            • Mathius says:

              See, I’m with you. The problem is that either the expense is shared or you field the expense for your defense and I field the expense for my prosecution.

              If the former, then you are forced to pay for services you didn’t want – a direct violation of the principles of this society.

              If the later, the wealthy will be vastly more difficult to prosecute. They could harm the poor with near impunity as they can afford a strong and well put-together defense whereas the poor cannot. This creates, in effect, a class of landed aristocracy for whom the “law” does not apply. “Liberty and justice for all”?

              Jon, your thoughts?

              • Again, I am proposing a shared cost for certain things, I mentioned police, courts, representatives
                (basic government and lawmakers) and military. I could also pretty easily be swayd to include emergency services like fire and resuce. These things would be paid for by taxes levied on all citizens. All citizens would have access. IF you choose to not be a citizen to avoid those taxes, you take the risk and consequences associated. A person like Flag would welcome this. A person like you or V.H. or myself would not even consider it because you see the need for those things, even if you never actually used those things yourself.

                If you choose citizenship but cannot afford the taxes, there is a seperate process to handle that, but the basic coverage is there unless it can be determined that you are intentionally freeloading, i.e. you make plenty of money and are just avoiding the taxes and spending the money on your 12th tv set, etc.

            • This is why not everything is transactional. Police (including investigation divisions), military, the courts themselves (for trying criminal cases) and the cost of representatives, etc. are part of what is paid for by citizen taxes. As I said, taxes are not due constantly, someone would have to be a citizen and unable to pay for a fair amount of time before they would fall outside of police protection. For non-citizens, things are tougher, but that is what would encourage them to be citizens if they are going to live here.

              As for rapists and murderers, when someone violates basic laws of the land, the accuser can be the state, not just the victims. This is paid by taxes, it is the basic protections afforded citizens. If everyone chose to be non-citizens, then it might be an issue, but I rather doubt that would happen, most people would realize the need for these services and put in for it, and the tax rate would still be very low. Also, self-defense and private defense would be a lot more affordable and would not be so legally difficult, so the cases that courts and police would have to deal with would also decrease.

          • Should have finished that thought 🙂 Or the criminals getting away with their crimes.

      • Could you not make it where all citizens are represented the same, regardless of staus? My example would be like, say, O. J., or Micheal Jackson. Where regardless of social stature or money you would have no way to but expensive lawyers to get you out of something you were clearly guilty of.

        Don’t know exactly HOW you could manage it, but I see problems any other way through this system. Justice is only blind if you have enough money.

        • I dunno. Simplifying law would help enormously. Removing all the frivolous junk and precedent, etc. This is a discussion for a whole other topic, but there are a lot of things about legal technicalities I would like to see changed. Removal of evidence because of paperwork thus blinding the jury to reality comes to mind as one of the things that needs to go….

          • That’s exactly what I mean Jon. Simplfying the Law where it applies equally in ALL cases. Regardless of social staus or money concerns.

            RIGHT NOW we don’t have that. Is there anyone who thinks OJ’s money didn’t get him out? Plus the application of the race card also of course.

            And the same with Micheal Jackson.

            We would need incorporated into the system a way to stop that.

  2. Court System for non citizens…. I see this like being a court like any other country. Non citizens get sued all the time in the USA and simply leave the country to avoid action. How would you enforce court orders on a non citizen…unless it is a seizure of assets….if you could find them.

    • seizure of assets may work in some cases. Criminal acts such as murder would be pursuable offenses, you would have to escape and evade and get to a country with whom we did not have cooperation with to avoid extradition. I would think it would be more difficult than now becuase we would have a much more effective police force, since they would not be distracted with petty stuff. Seizure of assets would also work, particuarly with offenses like theft, again, it would be a matter of effective enforcement. Also, bear in mind that policing and protection would be competitive, meaning that an individual or group could also hire a contractor to retrieve a criminal. This would be outside of jurisdictional restrictions, and thus a criminal might find themselves unable to evade capture without direct cooperation from the country they are hiding in.

      • Mathius says:

        Do you propose to have some system of nation identification, ie SS# or driver’s license? If not, what prevents a criminal from simply moving to another town?

        • The average criminal is not tracked down by their drivers license now, why would a SS# be required to find a person? Is the SS# how we get DNA and fingerprints at birth?

          • Mathius says:

            somewhat unrelated. But I am curious what stops me from evading my obligations / debt by simply moving to another town and using a new name.

            • Same thing, creditors are often better at finding people than the police in our current world. I think private investigation would be pretty popular in this experiment of mine. Also, that sort of risk is factored in by the lenders. I do not like that I had to resort to bankruptcy, but the lender took a risk on me and lost. If I ever have the means, whether I still owe the money or not, I will repay them, but I do not feel in violation of contract based on how things went down, I just feel bad that they did.

      • Hi Jon…..was not actually thinking criminal activity but that of civil. A short research revealed that there are several countries where we have extradition treaties for criminal activity….however, I have not found any mechanism for out of country collection of debts and or awards from a civil court.

        There is no provision for a civil court in Germany, for example, to be able to collect a civil remedy in the United States because of the differing laws and interpretation of laws. World Courts have no jurisdiction in collection activity. They can give all the awards they want but collection is another matter. We do not have debtors prisons or jail time here for non payment of civil awards or bad debts as some countries do.

        I know that I certainly would not honor a jury award in another country served upon me here. I do not recognize the courts of other countries nor their jurisdictions as far as the United States is concerned.

        I would not support an international collection police at all.

        • I might add that in Mexico, where I have significant experience, there is no honoring of the jury awards unless the it is filed in Mexico and awarded in Mexico. They cannot come to the United States and collect under Mexican Civil Law. And a Mexican Court cannot attach and seize assets in the United States….Likewise, we cannot do so in Mexico. Mexico is extremely bad about seizing American assets in while they are in Mexico….such as cars and property within the confines of the country. There is no hardship in Mexico. In other words, they can take your house, car, bank accounts…etc that are in Mexico. That is why we do not use Mexican banks regardless of the interest rates that are paid and you must hire a Mexican Attorney to protect your interests…..American attorneys are not recognize nor can practice in Mexico without special license.

        • That makes sense, I would not support that either, but then, I would not be as supportive of civil action to start with. If property or value or life was taken or damaged, that is a criminal offense. If it is a civil case only, well, I dont lose but so much sleep over those, at least not the ones left after criminal cases are removed from the equation.

  3. I’m also curious why you feel it is better not to give citizenship from birth and what one would have to do at adulthood to become a citizen.

    • Mathius says:

      I actually really like that concept – the fortuitousness of your birth should not confer special rights and privileges. What makes you so special because you were born here and he was born there? You are both humans, so why do you get added benefits though no fault of his own? This equalizes things so that everyone has to “opt in” at the age of consent.

      Though…
      1. Who defines the age at which you can give consent? I would think it is different for different people
      2a. Why should you require immigrants to “go through an education process”
      2b. Who determines the curriculum of this “education process”
      2c. Does this require the learning of English?
      3. Are there any additional criteria?

      • Not sure how I feel about the concept yet- a lot depends on the details-I just figure in our world it would be bad not to have a home country. So what must one do to become a citizen if one so desires is an important question.

      • Age of consent is a huge issue, a discussion I would like to have that probably needs its own debate. I like the idea of an arbitrary age with exceptions. Like maybe 18 but you can make it sooner if you can meet certain criteria or you can delay it if cause can be shown (usually by your guardian, but with your consent or your physical/mental inability to dissent).

        The education process would simply be one that made sure the immigrant understood what they were getting into. If you come here seeking opportunity, but really do not understand the constitution, etc., then you should not be able to be a citizen until you do.

        Learning english should not be a legal requirement. However, the costs of teaching you would be higher if you also required translation, and you would bear these costs yourself. If you cannot afford to pay for basic naturalization, even tho you are free to work here without it, then you are not likely to be able to afford the costs of citizenship.

        The curriculum would be determined by citizen representatives (government). Significant changes or additions would have to be justified, they could not be added for the purpose of making naturalization more difficult in general or for specific persons, nationalities, etc. For example, passing an advance math test or being a certain height or weight or color would not be acceptable criteria for a curriculum. No additional criteria other than knowing what you are getting into and agreeing to it would be required.

        V.H., upon adulthood, you will be asked if you wish to be a citizen. If you do, you will be asked if you know what that entails. If you do, then you are a citizen, with all the rights and priviledges afforded, as well as the basic tax rates that come with it. (The ones that cover the cost of police, military, government, and courts).

  4. Mathius says:

    I’m having trouble understanding what happens to an individual who, for whatever reason, can’t find work for a few weeks. Does he go bankrupt?

    I’m also having trouble understanding what happens to large companies that pollute.

    I’m also having trouble understanding what, if any, intellectual property guarantees may exist.

    I’m also having trouble understanding who ensures that food and drugs are safe to use.

    I’m also having trouble understanding who regulates the airwaves (that is, people can’t just take over whatever frequency the want to use or signals would jam each other).

    I’m also having trouble understanding what happens if an uninsured non-citizen needs to go to the emergency room but cannot afford to pay.

    I’m also having trouble understanding the effect this would have on education in this country (note, the price of public schools would rise to that of private schools, not the other way around, so many people would not be able to afford educations).

    I’m also having trouble who stops gangs from selling drugs to children near schools (I have no problem with them selling drugs to adults).

    I’m also having trouble with the concept of warrants. What standard would need to be met to violate someone’s property rights in order to execute a search, and who have the power to authorize such a thing?

    I’m also having trouble understanding who pays for criminals to be locked away.

    I’m also having trouble understanding a number of other things, but it’s an interesting article and I will mull it over some more while you mull over my questions.

    • I’m having trouble understanding what happens to an individual who, for whatever reason, can’t find work for a few weeks. Does he go bankrupt?

      I doubt it, unless he is so in debt and his creditors so strict that he is taken to court that fast. I fail to see how not having a big government would create an immediate bankruptcy. Can you explain your concern a little more? What would make one go bankrupt faster than they do now in such a situation?

      I’m also having trouble understanding what happens to large companies that pollute.

      Those companies would be damaging the property of others, as well as shared property such as water and air. Large and small companies and individuals would all be liable for said damages. Either agreements can be made with the other property owners, or the police/courts can enforce payment of damages, restitution, and/or cleanup/repair of damage. It is no different than me running into your house with my car. I have to fix what I did or pay an otherwise agreed upon sum for the damage. The likely result would be that companies would avoid polluting due to the potentially massive costs. They would, in fact, be much higher than they are currently. Currently, they can pollute and damage other property as long as they are within legal standards of polluting.

      I’m also having trouble understanding what, if any, intellectual property guarantees may exist.

      I would like to see copywrite and patent laws still exist. A basic default contract would exist that covers this stuff unless overridden by individual contract or agreement of the creator.

      I’m also having trouble understanding who ensures that food and drugs are safe to use.

      The companies who make them will ensure this to avoid charges of manslaughter and massive lawsuits. Also, private organizations that test for quality control would do well. If they do a good job, that is. If they take bribes, they lose trust, and then their rating is worthless, and they go out of business. The current government regulations are crap, they have a horrible reputation due to taking bribes, being incompetent, etc. They restrict things like natural medicine for no good reason, etc. I will take a buyer beware world over that bullcrap any day.

      I’m also having trouble understanding who regulates the airwaves (that is, people can’t just take over whatever frequency the want to use or signals would jam each other).

      That is a good question, there may have to be a national registry for frequencies that operates sort of like domain names. Whoever gets it first has dibs for a period of time, and has first right of refusal. It could be government or private. I understand it would not be a simple fix, I will have to work on that one a bit. 🙂

      I’m also having trouble understanding what happens if an uninsured non-citizen needs to go to the emergency room but cannot afford to pay.

      They would be at the mercy of the emergency room. I imagine many if not all hospitals would handle at least some such cases. At a certain point, however, I cannot garauntee your safety and security. If you take the risk, you take the reward, be it good or bad. Sound heartless? Maybe, but remember that people have no need to be heartless as long as their government is. If the government tries to have a heart, then, for survival, the people become heartless. Society is made of individuals with hearts. If society wants it heart, it has to take it from the individuals. I would rather keep my heart, thanks.

      I’m also having trouble understanding the effect this would have on education in this country (note, the price of public schools would rise to that of private schools, not the other way around, so many people would not be able to afford educations).

      Please explain your contention that prices would rise rather than fall? There are private options now that cost far less than the public option in terms of a per child basis. Also, if “save the children” and “teach the next generation” types of appeals were not being stolen by the government to justify laws and taxes, charities would be able to use them to help disadvantaged children get the education they need. The overall effect would be that education would not be taken for granted, the quality and diversity would improve massively, and the costs would go down due to massive competition.

      I’m also having trouble who stops gangs from selling drugs to children near schools (I have no problem with them selling drugs to adults).

      Well, schools would be all over the place potentially. 🙂 Seriously, if schools want parents to come there, they will see to it that their grounds are policed, and they will have options for that policing. As to whether there would be laws making certain substances illegal to sell to minors, I would not have a problem with that, and it does not seem like it would be a major addition to enforcement. However, even if that were not the case, I would not foresee it being nearly as bad as now. Also, since there would not be as much profit in the black market because drugs would be legal, there would be far less reason for someone to sell drugs to kids and take the risk of violating a private school zone. What would they gain?

      I’m also having trouble with the concept of warrants. What standard would need to be met to violate someone’s property rights in order to execute a search, and who have the power to authorize such a thing?

      I would like to see hearings be in play for warrants. The courts would have the authority for search warrants if a case was made. I would like to see the accused be present for these as well. If a warrant was granted, of course, it would be carried out immediately so that the accused did not have time to go destroy evidence. I dunno, another good question, I need to work on it, I am a little fuzzy on the standard needed. I do not like searches, and I certainly would rather see a few guilty go free than see life and property regularly violated, but I understand the need for it. There will be less to look for tho, murder weapons and stolen goods are about it….

      I’m also having trouble understanding who pays for criminals to be locked away.

      The criminals do. They work. A lot. More importantly tho, there is a lot less people would be jailed for, and I would want to investigate the need/effectiveness for jail. In many cases it is a lousy option. It allows no restitution, it is only usable in cases where the person must be imprisoned to stop them from harming others. In such cases it may be part of the police budget.

      I’m also having trouble understanding a number of other things, but it’s an interesting article and I will mull it over some more while you mull over my questions.

      Good questions so far, keep them coming. This is the first time I have floated this theory, it is pretty rough, I don’t even know if it is a diamond in the rough, it might just be a chunk of soapstone. I love the trial by fire tho, that is why I submitted this one to USW. 🙂

      • Mathius says:

        M: I’m having trouble understanding what happens to an individual who, for whatever reason, can’t find work for a few weeks. Does he go bankrupt?

        JS: I doubt it, unless he is so in debt and his creditors so strict that he is taken to court that fast. I fail to see how not having a big government would create an immediate bankruptcy. Can you explain your concern a little more? What would make one go bankrupt faster than they do now in such a situation?

        M: No unemployment benefits. Also, since you raised the topic, if a creditor need to drag a bankrupt man to court, who pays for the court, and what powers does the court have to garnish future salaries, etc?

        • Unemployment “insurance” would still be available. There could be a government option or private options. This would not be a mandatory tax, but could still be paid for and granted. It is simply not FORCED on anyone.

          Also, I take it that you do not mean a few weeks, but months and months, since that is what would likely be required for one to go bankrupt. I have little pity for this, I have gone bankrupt myself, it took having very little work for a couple of years, combined with poor spending habits before that time. Also, I did not qualify for unemployment, as I was working for myself for a while before things got bad. This, despite having paid into unemployment “insurance” at previous jobs, and having no benefit from those monies. Had they been voluntary and I had paid them, knowing I would lose the effect of those premiums when I left my employment there, I would have no beef. As it stands, I was forced to pay in, got no benefit, etc. I have since scaled back and built up my business. I am still in a hole, but its getting better.

          Courts, once again, are paid for by citizen taxes (citizen taxes are not voluntary, but being a citizen is, making those taxes, in a sense, voluntary). As far as collection of future earnings, etc., I would imagine current bankruptcy laws would not be too bad to use (with some exceptions), but they could be overridden by individual contracts. In other words, I can enter into a non-standard debtor contract with specific clauses addressing repayment. These would be more secure for a lender, but more scary for a borrower. They could not include things that would levy additional costs on the state, such a prison time or debtors prison. They might, however, be able to reintroduce indentured servitude. My guess, however, is that most people would avoid such contracts.

          • “I would imagine current bankruptcy laws would not be too bad to use (with some exceptions), but they could be overridden by individual contracts.” If these laws could be overridden by contract wouldn’t that guarantee that they would be overridden-so in affect there would be no bankruptcy laws.

            • No, because, like any other transaction, it is not one-sided. Borrowers would not just give up their rights via contract that easily. Lenders would not insist on it so much that they could not lend, that would destroy their business.

              • I don’t know Jon-I think there would be a large percentage of folks who would sign away their bankruptcy rights in order to buy a house or get a loan. I suspect it would be very hard to find a creditor who wouldn’t automatically put this clause into their terms. Those with more money and power might be able to refuse and the creditor might agree but in general I think these laws would be moot.

              • You may be right. I just would like to see fewer restrictions on lending contracts. At a certain point, people need to grow up. I have little pity on fools.

              • I suspect having a discussion about bankruptcy laws would produce a lively conversation-lots of pros and cons when one looks at this practice. But perhaps a little to specific for what you are trying to achieve with this discussion. Good article, by the way-I like the idea of actually trying to apply the principals in order to work out the problems and perhaps to see the limits when applied to society. I’m just not sure it is possible to ever work out a system that doesn’t endanger freedom-Perhaps compromise is just necessary when talking about man and his complicated nature. The only thing I know for sure is that we must find some way to make man more focused on the danger so that if we must compromise than we do it well aware of the very real danger of losing what we value most in our attempt to be compassionate.

        • Matt,

          May I pick on you a little?

          It’s 2012, Obama has won a sweeping re-election. Pelosi & Reed continue to hold a super majority in both houses, their first act is the sugar ban, for our own good. You are caught drinking RedBull at work and fired for cause, so no un-employment benefits.

          The point here is what would you do, could YOU survive? I think you will answer yes. Now what if everyone was held to the level of personal responsibility you hold yourself too?

          I think Jon’s brave new world, like Flagland, requires a person to be self sufficient.

          • Mathius says:

            I assume Obama beat Palin-Paul?

            If they outlaw sugar, I guess I’d have to make due with sugar-free red bull, but it’s just not the same thing…

            I feel, though, that I have been very clear that I do not support laws like that. I am militantly against laws that do little good for society at the expense of the individual’s freedoms. So I should be able to build the fence I want, and eat the bacon I want, and so on and so forth. They pass that law, I will personally join the ranks to vote them out.

            I agree that SmithVille and FlagLand requires total self-sufficience, and communism would be on the opposite side of the spectrum. I just happen to think there’s a happy middle ground somewhere – and it’s far closer to where we are than either of the extremes.

            Adding, Brave New Word is one of my favorite books of all time.

            • Matt,

              I also think there is a happy middle ground. If SUFA were in control of the budget, I think we would be on the path to Smithville, with you, Ray & company keeping us from getting to crazy. Sadly, I think Pelosi & Obama are pushing us much closer to fascism.

              Damn, where is that grogg?

              • agreed. And also, I reiterate, this is not a realistic concept for the US to do in less than 2 generations unless there was a total collapse. This is an ideal world/start from scratch concept of societal organization. The infrastructure, self-sufficiency, skillset, and even care for each other required to make this work well would have to be developed, we certainly do not have it now. If SUFA was in charge of the budget, we would have a shot at marching towards this over the next 30-40 years with Matt, Ray, Buck, et al keeping the pace realistic.

      • Mathius says:

        M: I would like to see copywrite and patent laws still exist.

        JS: A basic default contract would exist that covers this stuff unless overridden by individual contract or agreement of the creator.

        M: Sorry, can you clarify? I write a novel, what stops Black Flag from buying or acquiring a copy and then going out to print and sell copies at a lower price?

        • Basic copywrite law would make that an act of theft.

          • Mathius says:

            So, I assume, to copyright something, you pay a fee to the copyright office (note, government monopoly, yes?). After which, infringement is a crime. Did I get that correct?

            • Or it could be handled by a publisher, or even yourself, by explicitly retaining rights of ownership in your transaction contract (receipts) or on the copy you sell. If all copies sold by the owner (you and/or the publisher) had this information on them (even if it was ommitted from the copies the theif made), then it is still a theft and punishable by the courts as a breach of contract. This does not require a government sanctioned or monopolized copywrite office.

      • Mathius says:

        M: I’m also having trouble understanding the effect this would have on education in this country (note, the price of public schools would rise to that of private schools, not the other way around, so many people would not be able to afford educations).

        JS: Please explain your contention that prices would rise rather than fall? There are private options now that cost far less than the public option in terms of a per child basis. Also, if “save the children” and “teach the next generation” types of appeals were not being stolen by the government to justify laws and taxes, charities would be able to use them to help disadvantaged children get the education they need. The overall effect would be that education would not be taken for granted, the quality and diversity would improve massively, and the costs would go down due to massive competition.

        M: Agree about the hijacked and over-used “save the children” meme. However, public schools function off of property taxes distributed across a wide base. That is, everyone pays a little bit for the schools, but only a smaller percentage uses the schools. If, say 1,000 residents pay for 100 students, then in this simplified example, the cost being borne by the parents of the students is 1/10th of the actual cost. If you narrow the base of payers to just those who have children in the school, the costs of the education will be the same, but now it will be borne by 1/10th as many people and will thus be 10x higher. Factor in some efficiency gains and maybe you can make this, generously, 5x higher – this is prohibitive for many households.

        And the problem extends past there. If the children are not educated, they will not get good jobs. If they do not get good jobs, they will not be able to afford education for their own children. If they don’t get educated, they will not be able to get good jobs either. And round and round she goes.

        You will have created landed aristocracy and an impoverished class. This is not good.

        • Once again, keep in mind that taxes are voluntary for things outside of the basic four taxes of military, police, representative bodies, and courts. There is ample opportunity for persons to pay into a public option education system even if they do not have children. I think you may underestimate the charity of people, be it charities raising money for students to get private education or a public option that people volunteered taxes for.

          However, the negative effects of no education you also over-estimate. A great many people in this country, especially when it was more of a free market, and education was more of a cost, got great jobs and did very well. We currently have an over-educated work force (not that they know too much, they just have too much formal education). If not everyone has a masters in something, then more places will hire a bachelors, and so on down the line. Additionally, an increase in education quality will greatly offset the fewer years of education. The best education is not formal, and we would do well to remember that. We hang our hat too much on academia. Education is good, but lack of formal education is not a death sentence as you claim. There was more class mobility before we were so focussed on education than we have now that we throw billions at it and also give away higher education at the cost of the taxpayer. Obviously, more education is not the only factor to getting a better job or avoiding a poorer class. We have a huge impoverished class now, and all our public education is not helping at best, and it might even be part of the cause.

          • Jon:The best education is not formal, and we would do well to remember that. We hang our hat too much on academia. Education is good, but lack of formal education is not a death sentence as you claim

            I totally agree. Education is important but in the end you still have to learn each job from day one. There are plenty of exceptons. Medicical jobs obviously need medical training but why should a master’s degree be needed to become a bank manager for example. Start as a teller and learn the industry from that point on.

      • Mathius says:

        M: I’m also having trouble who stops gangs from selling drugs to children near schools (I have no problem with them selling drugs to adults).

        JS: Well, schools would be all over the place potentially. 🙂 Seriously, if schools want parents to come there, they will see to it that their grounds are policed, and they will have options for that policing. As to whether there would be laws making certain substances illegal to sell to minors, I would not have a problem with that, and it does not seem like it would be a major addition to enforcement. However, even if that were not the case, I would not foresee it being nearly as bad as now. Also, since there would not be as much profit in the black market because drugs would be legal, there would be far less reason for someone to sell drugs to kids and take the risk of violating a private school zone. What would they gain?

        M: I am actually very satisfied with this answer as it pertains to drugs. However, the concept of making something illegal to sell to minors interests me. Who decides what can and cannot be sold to minors? Specifically, cigarettes and alcohol. What if a parent is ok with their child buying such things – should the government tell them that they are not allowed to anyway. Further, if something is deemed harmful to a child, like drinking vodka at age 8 and the parent is ok with it, does the government get involved (in other words, how does Child Protective Services work, and who pays for it).

        • Yea, this one, like the age of adulthood, needs a lot of work. I did a post on my site recently asking some of the questions like this for which I do not have answers of my own that I am satisfied with, at least not yet.

          • Displaced Okie says:

            What about a range like 16-22 years old or something–or just make it that you can’t become a citizen while you are still a dependant?

            • maybe, tho I prefer that people have representation at a certain point. You may be 25 and still in school and qualify as a dependent because you are still living on your parents, but to not have a vote at that point? I dunno. I do sort of like the no dependents are real citizens thing tho.

      • Mathius says:

        M: I’m also having trouble with the concept of warrants. What standard would need to be met to violate someone’s property rights in order to execute a search, and who have the power to authorize such a thing?

        JS: I would like to see hearings be in play for warrants. The courts would have the authority for search warrants if a case was made. I would like to see the accused be present for these as well. If a warrant was granted, of course, it would be carried out immediately so that the accused did not have time to go destroy evidence. I dunno, another good question, I need to work on it, I am a little fuzzy on the standard needed. I do not like searches, and I certainly would rather see a few guilty go free than see life and property regularly violated, but I understand the need for it. There will be less to look for tho, murder weapons and stolen goods are about it….

        M: The problem with your idea is that they know in advance they might be searched, so they’ll get rid of the evidence anyway. Saw you have a murder weapon in your White Bronco. I want to execute a warrant to search for it. So I file the paperwork, you are notified of my request for a hearing to search your car, so you move it out of your car and then let me search. This doesn’t work. But keep mulling it over, we’ll come back to it.

        • No, I was more thinking you get brought in to court for the hearing, not just notified. If it is just notification then yea, that would be stupid. Still working on this one, lots of mulling to do. 😀

      • Mathius says:

        M: I’m also having trouble understanding who pays for criminals to be locked away.

        JS: The criminals do. They work. A lot. More importantly tho, there is a lot less people would be jailed for, and I would want to investigate the need/effectiveness for jail. In many cases it is a lousy option. It allows no restitution, it is only usable in cases where the person must be imprisoned to stop them from harming others. In such cases it may be part of the police budget.

        M: A violent convicted rapist has given ever indication that he is not interested in becoming a good member of society – if released, he will rape again. So he is locked up and put to work on a chain gang to pay for the expense of locking him up. Did I get that right?

        How well do you remember Shawshank Redemption?

        • Great movie. Yes, there could be an opportunity for corruption. A LOT OF IT. And there is the question of what happens with innocents that are guilty according to the court. I am not sure, but I know that the alternative is using Flag’s system of enforcement, which I just dont think is effective enough.

          • Mathius says:

            There’s another alternative that I think you’re overlooking (See: America, current)

            • Massive taxation? As I mentioned, I would not mind it being a part of the police budget since the number of incarcerated persons would drop drastically. I would like to look into some alternatives to prison in general as well, but for now, we put it in the police budget, and it is covered by citizen taxes. IF you are a non-citizen in prison, it comes out of your estate.

              • Mathius says:

                You keep saying that.. I, too, would like to see some alternatives to jail, and I have some though that I’ll hold onto for now. What are you thinking?

              • Not sure what I am thinking, I just know that maybe punishment is not the answer. Could be that we need to just put people in supervised programs, etc. for most offenses. There will still be a place for cages for the real beasts among humanity, but it should be few enough to not be so costly…

  5. Citizenship is an important decision. It involves choosing to abide by the parameters of the country’s constitution and government. This is not something you can do be default. It is a violation of freedom to say that you must abide by a constitution you did not write or sign on to. It is a lie to say you have agreed to live by the rules of a country and pay taxes unless you moved here voluntarily. If you were born here, you did not make a decision, you parents did. Once you are no longer under your parent’s authority, you must decide for yourself whether you choose to be a part of this country or not. It is too important to just give away, as evidenced by all those who take it for granted currently and don’t know what it means, and let it all go to waste, not bothering to even vote to help ensure it continues to be what it is supposed to be.

    • sorry, that was for VH, meant to hit reply…

    • Mathius says:

      It is a lie to say you have agreed to live by the rules of a country and pay taxes unless you moved here voluntarily. I disagree. Though there are certainly some rules I disagree with, I agree with enough that I agree to live by all of them or suffer the specified consequences. Like any important agreement, there are going to be compromises. One such is that I cannot drive as fast as I like without running the risk of inconvenience and fines. Another is that I cannot build my 8′ fence without a massive hassle. On the flip side, I get social services, defense, domestic tranquility, etc. It is a good deal.

      • OK, it may not ALWAYS be a lie, but to say to someone who was born here: “you agreed to the constitution, love it or get out” is not NECESSARILY true. It might be true in your case that you were born here and agree with enough of the rules to be a happy citizen. If you say that same statement to BF, for instance, his response will be that he did not agree to our constitution, much less most of the laws we currently have. IF you moved here tho, you chose to do so. If you were born here, you did not choose it, thus you should be able to decide if you wish to be a citizen or not.

  6. Displaced Okie says:

    Hey Jon,

    I have a question for for you. Could a city, for the sake of discussion we will call it Mathiusville 🙂 , be able to set its own rules and regulations for local government? -or could there exist such a place as a CharlieStellaTown that could attempt a localized version of socialism?

    • Mathius says:

      I suppose the way it would have to work is that I, the wealthy industrialist, buy a large plot of land several miles across. I then rent land to individuals who wish to live there – they effectively own the land, except that they agree to be bound by my “laws” so long as they live on my property.

      It’s a variation on the “if you live under my roof, you will do what I say” theme.

      • Displaced Okie says:

        I was thinking more of a sort of home owner’s association type of thing. Where the owner’s can set their rules–if they want a more social services and higher taxes they can have it, but it’s limited to people who agree to it before hand.

        • Both of those are fine. Basically, as long as force is not used to ensure participation, a sort of “subgovernment” would be acceptable. This would still fall under the same limitation as the non-citizens, you are still subject to the law of the land (no murder, no force to keep another on your property, no theft, etc. even if it is on your property). But yes, a community that chose to be a socialist subset would be fine. It has worked before, at least for a generation, then it tends to fall apart, but that would be fine.

          • Mathius says:

            Hmm… wondering.. wondering..

            Let’s say my private land is somewhat larger, say the size of the King Range in Texas. That is, larger than Rhode Island. Any individual who does not wish to comply with my rules is free to do, but if they were born there and lived there, is it fare to make them move hundreds of miles away? I know it’s private land but isn’t this eerily similar to the “love it or leave it” mentality in America?

            Maybe we’re just looking things wrong. Maybe we don’t own our land – maybe we’re just renters and The Government owns the land. Don’t like the rule, feel free to leave..

            • Displaced Okie says:

              I see your point, but to be fair you and I both are examples of people who have relocated hundreds of miles to places that better fit our situations. The way I see it more variety and choices = Better.

              –C’mon, you know you secretly want to found Mathiusville complete with Marijuana bars, high taxes, business regulations, Raptor-free zones, etc… 🙂

            • If it is private land, then no one was displaced. If they agreed to it and then discovered it sucked, well then lesson learned, they gotta move out. If you bought the house they were renting, well, I would say they still have a say in what rules they follow as long as their rent is up to date if they did not agree to a change in their rental terms. If your zone surrounds them and they just can’t get anywhere without crossing your land and being subjected to your rules, then maybe that is a case for the courts, or maybe stuff happens.

              Currently, that is the way it is, the government owns the land. Buying private land does not REALLY make it yours. That needs to change.

    • Good question, made me think, what about states? What if there is a superstar athlete that travels to many different states. Lets call him James Bron. James wants protection everywhere he travels, since he makes a lot of money. Does he then have to pay taxes to every city/state he travels in? Or is police “national”?

      • Mathius says:

        I don’t know, but from I’m hearing around here, James Bron is going to need a lot of protection..

        • Displaced Okie says:

          OT, but did you see the Cav’s owner’s statement? That guy doesn’t hold back!

      • He would have the option of private protection, of course. As a citizen, however, he would be paying taxes wherever he resided, in our current system, you pay taxes to the state you live in for state police, and you still have protection in other states. I think these cases would be rare enough and would occur from all states in some cases, meaning that on balance the police in states other than the home state would not see a major increase in costs, and those they did would be offset by those abroad in other states the continued to pay in their home state. Also, a national police force would also exist, for jurisdictional reasons, but it would not need to be extensive.

  7. 8)

  8. Small hijack to update a yesterday post:

    Kathy and Birdman and others;

    A pundit I pay for his information happened to published his possible timetable. Given your question, I’m reposting it here.

    Since I pay this guy a far bit of money, you can easily assume I think what he says carries a lot of validity for me.

    You get to read it for free.


    A Timetable for Federal Default

    I am enormously cynical about people’s motives.

    I also know that most people regard how-to books the way dieters regard diet books: guilt-reducing, not weight-reducing. “I bought another book. I’m serious.”

    Then they refuse to change his diet or his exercise program. So, about 5% of all those who lose weight keep it off for five years. That’s close to Pareto’s 20% of 20%.

    Marketers can always sell diet/exercise plans. They also know that the buyers will not read them. Those who do will not implement them.

    If I say, “You have one year,” most readers will think, “It’s too late. I can’t do anything to help.”

    If I say three years, most readers will say, “No problem. I’ve got time. I’ll begin next year.”

    If I say ten years, they will say, “The government will find a way out.” Yes, even hard-core readers.

    My view is that the default will come in the form of hiking the eligibility age for Social Security. Then, if that works politically, they will cut Medicare benefits. They will impose a means test.

    This stiffs the rich.

    I think this means test technique will come within four or five years.

    As for hiking Medicare’s eligibility age limit, I think that is at least two Presidential elections away. That is the third rail. The AARP will go on the warpath at any hint of this alteration.

    Inflation at double-digit rates? By the end of 2014.

    Inflation at 20% or above: by the end of 2017.

    Why do I think they can kick the can that long? Because banks are not lending, and they won’t lend for at least two years. They hold the hammer.

    If the banks start lending next week, cut three years off this timetable. In short, any sign of a real recovery will involve bank lending. This will be the key factor.

    Do I think there is time to build the basis of a real estate retirement program? Yes. One or two houses a year will do it.

    Do I think you have enough time to start a small business and hedge against a career-disrupting bankruptcy of your employer? Yes.

    Do I think you have enough time to find a safe place in a rural area an hour from a city and build up its soil? Yes. Build up rapport with neighbors? Yes. But you must start this year.

    It will take commitment to hedge: time and money.

    I don’t think you have time to build a retirement program based on your purchase of passive assets: gold, silver, or stocks.

    I don’t think you have time to build up your position in your company to guarantee you a slot in senior management, which will profit from these changes even if employees don’t . . . if the firm survives.

    Everything hinges on commercial bank lending. The longer this is delayed, the longer the government and the FED can delay.

    I think commercial real estate is in such bad shape that the banks will not lend. I see this extending through 2013. In 2014, banks will start lending.

    So, there is time. But if banks start lending, the timetable speeds up rapidly.

    Note: you will be tempted to spend time analyzing the scenario and all of its permutations. Do not let this become a substitute for personal planning.

    • Awesome post. Thanks! I am a little surprised by his “positive” estimates at timing. It feels like it’s coming much sooner.

      • I agree Kathy. So many states are so close to bancruptcy. That trickles down to the cities. My city for example has had to lay off police and firemen, summer programs have been cut, school budgets have been cut by millions. Somehow some jobs need to be created. What about when unemployment benefits run out? People will get angry then– then what? I don’t see how this can go on for several more years.

        • Thanks Flag!

          Myself, I don’t know. There are so many straws in the wind right now.

          The oil drilling moratorium has been rejected a second time, but the federal government can keep trying until the printing presses break. This will have a massive impact on the economy.

          Can they pull a fast one and pass Cap & Trade before January?

          Do the Democrats continue to hold both houses?

          A split house makes Obama a lame duck, so no major spending bills will be passed and Bush’s tax cuts expire.

          A Repug or Tea Party take over of the house would mean
          little until 2012, when Obama is ousted. There has been some talk about the houses power to subpoena, not that Obama or any of his lackeys have anything to hide…

          If the Dem’s hold power in 2010 or 2012, I expect things to get very bad in a hurry. If they are defeated, there could be a quick recovery.

          I have already been following some of Flag’s advice, have a lead on some hunting land.

    • Kathy, Anita, LOI;

      Remember, he is NOT saying the economic situation is or will be good until 2014 – indeed, he is saying it will be horrific.

      It will be a continuation of bankruptcies, layoffs, housing crisis, business failures – etc. it will continue to be a Recessionary and Depressionary as the Big Banks are not lending their reserves – thus no capital for businesses.

      What he is saying is that this situation will continue for a bit longer until it becomes nearly completely politically unpalatable – the unemployed numbers are getting large and soon will hit a tipping point – where the government will demand banks release a flood of money into the economy in an attempt to spur business investment and growth.

      This explosion of cash – another stimulus – will not work, just like the last one did not work. However, this stimulus will come FROM the banks and not INTO the banks like last time.

      The monetary increase into the economy will start to trigger inflation and it is inflation that is the destructive force on an economy.

      Thus, he is offering his timeline to that particular destruction – the one of high inflation – which, possibly (but not likely) could lead to the destruction of Western culture.

      • Ok, You frame it up better BF. Not that it makes it any easier to take but your explanation makes more sense. Thanks. Keep preparing!

      • Anita,

        Also remember that this Recession/Depression is the correct medicine for correcting and repairing the economy.

        The “Boom” – an artificial expansion based on easy credit which leads to mal-investment and mis-allocations of resources (like labor) needs to be corrected.

        It is corrected by these mal-investments going bankrupt, and the reallocation of resources -like labor- which means people need to be fired “over here” and move “over there” and find a productive job. This is known as the “Bust”.

        The real answer is to let the Bust bust.

        But there is human suffering.

        People lose their jobs, their homes, etc. There is a human cost that is unavoidable and many people are hurt. But there is no other way to correct the mis-allocation of their labor except by losing the “bad” job and moving into a “good” job, whatever it is where ever it is.

        But there are those that refuse to witness this necessary movement (and its pain) and demand that government intervene again into the economy to stop the process.

        So the Depression and Contraction is thwarted by government inflation and artificial expansion – halting the correction and re-establishing the mal-investments and the mis-allocations of resources and labor.

        Thus, the “Boom/Bust” cycle.

        However, each loop does not repeat – it tightens – like water circling the drain. It takes more intervention to stop the correction, causing a harsher correction (bust) which requires even more intervention – causing even more correction, etc. until the intervention cannot stop the corrections and the system crashes.

        This current run-up just maybe that last loop – or… maybe the next one after this one or the one after that…..

        …that is what is hard to see; how many more times can the government intervene until the system crashes.

  9. USWeapon said “…accosted by the two 100+ pound beasts…

    I read that as “breasts” at first. It became less interesting when I re-read it.

  10. Mathius says:

    Down with DOMA!

    WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • ?????

    • Have I missed something here or is this your opinion…. eh?

      Tip o’ th’ Red Bull to ya….

      and a hearty Dublin DP to the Pirate.

    • Mathius

      I just love this judges reasoning. But alas, poor District Judge, how do you think your decision will fare against the precedent of prior Court decisions?

      Federal imposed drinking age, federal imposed speed limits, federal imposed air quality, federal imposed water, you name it,

      ALL are enforced by Federal Freaking Blackmail through use of Federal Funding and are done in contradiction to any “rights” the citizens of various states might have under state Constitutions.

      Yet for some reason this Judge finds DOMA unconstitutional, because the Federal Govt has no authority over marriage?

      I actually hope this is upheld as it would blow the lid off many other infringements. But because of that I am not confident that it will stand. After all, marriage is nothing more that “interstate commerce” and we all know the Federal Govt has complete authority in that realm.

  11. Whitewater911 says:

    What about the mentally retarded, disabled and such? Will these people be cared for? There are MANY people and children who have no family or friends to care for them. I would think many readers on this site know of someone like this. They may be unable to work or earn a living. Am I to assume that they will be at the mercy of the good will of others for all of their needs? Or is this more of a Spartan society where all deformities and deficiencies are culled?

    • Mathius says:

      A good question. I think that people here overestimate the generosity of the American people. They feel that, somehow, without taxes, people will donate enough to charity to provide such services. I think the mentally retarded, disabled and such would simply die.

      • Wrong. I have a cousin who is severly retarded. He has just turned 51. His family has cared for him his whole life. That’s what family is for.

        • Mathius says:

          His question was about individuals without family support. Or what about your cousin after his parents can no longer care for him if he had no other family?

          Could he provide for himself in Jon Smith’s world?

          • People don’t just pop up. They come from parents. It’s parent’s responsibility to care for their children. It’s not difficult to understand. You can go to the area of deadbeat fathers and such but really it’s on the parents.

            My cousin? His sister will and does care for him also even though she has her own family also, but there is also the rest of us..ya know.. extended family. THAT’S WHAT FAMILY IS FOR. For the few who fall through the cracks- charities will help out. The problem is people use “free money” or services to replace what really they should be providing for themselves.

            • Buck the Wala says:

              And what about those whose families choose not to care for them? Or those whose families are willing to but simply do not have the funds?

              • Buck,

                I personally know of about 100 private charities that are well organized to help.

              • Not getting smart with you guys but geez! It’s not rocket science. Someone will care for them. It does not take layers of beuracracy or billion dollar budgets to do this. Perosnal responsibilty is key. There are far fewer who NEED help than you think. There are plenty who TAKE it because of its availability. LOSE THE TAKERS

                My aunt and uncle could have TAKEN plenty but have not.

              • Anita,

                Don’t judge Mathius or Buck.

                They cannot fathom the indescribable force of human nature.

                Of course, humans have always cared for their young – the ultimate definition of helpless and weak – or we as a species would not have survived.

                But here we are – and it amazes Buck and Mathius that we are here.

                I do not understand their inability to reason the consequence of our existence – but I also know that there is no amount of “proof” that will convince them of it – including proof that they are alive because of it!!

              • 😉

            • Mathius says:

              The problem is that you think it is just “a few” – it is not. There are hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people who have no family support and who are mentally or physically disabled to some extent or another. Drive through any urban area – take a 20 minute drive through the heart of any major city and count the number of homeless people you see. What percentage of them do you think are lazy bums and what percentage do you think are mentally disabled. I know the man I used to pass ever day on the way to school who screamed at the fire hydrant and danced in traffic probably had some issues.

              Your cousin is one of the lucky ones.

              • I see it much differently. My brother in law is a perfect example. He was in prison for years. He comes out says he hears voices in his head..immediately gets SSI. He is totally capable of working. His own brother had heart trouble..tried to get on SSI for years..worked until eventually died at 47. Tell me what is fair?

              • HeeHee

                Glenn Beck is currently speaking of Rockefeller. He donated 550 million to charity alone!

              • Buck the Wala says:

                Thank you for pointing that out.

                I don’t doubt that there are dozens upon dozens of charities that will continue to provide help and assistance absent government. But I do doubt that they will be able to provide enough for all those that actually do need it.

                BF speaks of providing and caring for our young. In most cases this holds true. But what about those young who are not cared for by their own parents? What about those older, mentally or physically disabled that have no one? This is what concerns me.

              • Buck,

                If it really concerns you, create a charity of your own or donate to one to the degree that this is really your concern.

              • SK Trynosky Sr says:

                They did in the past Buck, they did in the past.

                This is probably not the place to start it but when the government steps in and replaces private charities at 10 times the cost, then folks stop contributing to charity.

                I was always surprised that no one made a big deal about what Al Gore gave to charity right up until the time he became VP. If I remember correctly it was $ 3,000 per year or less. How about Bill Clinton. His major contributions before becoming president were his old clothes (including underwear). Obama himself gave nothing, until he started raking in the big bucks and decided to run for president. Here’s Mrs Obama, making $ 300,000 in a hospital PR job soo important that she was never replaced and they gave less than a thou a year to charity. Why be generous? Why have some civic virtue when the government will do it?

                See, its the “I gave at the office ” mentality.

              • That is a really good point SK. The “I gave at the office” mentality is one that has been driven into the brains of it’s citizens by our effervesent Feds.

                Notice how, as you said, all these politicians gave almost nothing UNTIL they decided to run for political office! And

                I have NO doubt you would fine the same sort of fine examples on the other side of the aisle as well.

                And now they want to tell us that WE should want to spread the wealth! That is so much bullhockey it makes me sick to hear!

                Unfortunately, to begin with, I do believe charity would fall short. The reason is simple enough. There has already been too many freebie government programs put in place that most see no need to donate to charity.

                To change this would take a drastic change of mental thought and basic human morals.

                Now do I personally contribute to charity? Yes. Although not much.
                But you must take into account the fact that my wife and I COMBINED only make about 38K per year.

                But I have 3 retarded children just in one of may Aunt’s families alone. And in my Church and Community, we have a lot of poor and needy. So we give of what little we have when we can. My wife and I try to always keep in mind that as poor as we are, there are others around us even worse off. Some much worse.

    • Whitewater,

      They are always at the mercy of others – this does not change whether they are at the mercy of friends and family or the mercy of government whim.

      The natural human psyche almost always seeks to protect the weak but only after the individual and his immediate responsibility (family) is secure. Charity exists with no requirement of force, coercion and violence.

      Undermining the security of the individual always undermines the ability of charity.

      As government actively pushes out charity in the provisioning of such services – it does so by at least two -simultaneous- tactics both of which use violence.

      (1) makes it illegal to help those in need.
      Example: a woman arrested and fined for serving food to the homeless because she did not have a “Food Service License”.

      (2) increases the legal theft of property (taxes) to pay for government ‘charity’ invoking the response “my taxes are already paying for the poor, why should I do any more than that!?”

      To properly evaluate a strategy, you must also evaluate the unseen consequences, not just the obvious.

      Acting in one manner that appears to favor one group does not define the “good” – you must also evaluate the damage to the other groups that have been forced to pay for that favor but gain nothing for themselves.

  12. For one to evaluate how to pay for something we should start with what is the cost of providing something.

    Think about this example:

    I build a wall to protect me and my family and you come to visit.

    How much more did the wall cost me so it could protect you?

    Nothing, of course.

    The incremental cost of defense is nearly zero for each additional person under its cloak.

    Thus, the incremental price of defense should substantially decrease for each additional person.

    The rich have the most to lose, thus are probably the most willing to buy defense services.

    Each person additionally would face an significant discount – which would attract an every increasing number of people in lower income brackets until finally it is essentially zero and available for those will middle to low income.

    Such a scheme would be easily administered by insurance companies who already have the heuristics and the experience of provisioning escalating and deescalating premiums for coverage.

    This also works essentially for roads. The expense of the road is all upfront and sunk – every person using it after its built costs nothing to the costs of the building. Again, me building the road to my house and you use it to drive one costs me nothing extra for you to use (minor wear notwithstanding).

    Again, insurance schemes could easily fund the building and the costs of roads and highways.

    You can apply this strategy to nearly all general infrastructure applications.

    • Right on BF. I think Matt, etc. see things like roads costing millions every day. It’s a one time expense, there are 300 million of us. Further, much infrastructure is already in place..its not like we are starting from amber waves of grain anymore.

  13. Tom has a few words in this matter:


    The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.

    It is incumbent on every generation to pay its own debts as it goes.
    A principle which if acted on would save one-half the wars of the world.

    I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government
    from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.

    My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government.

    To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he
    disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.

    I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around the banks will deprive the people
    of all property – until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.’

  14. To those that hold gold coin, etc.:

    Do not concern yourself with the daily “saw-tooth” of the ups and downs of the price – the fundamentals (government inflation risk) have not changed.

    Watch the price for a signal to BUY.

    BUY whenever the price goes down (regardless the price) and HOLD when the price goes up.

    You will gently build your reserves at the best average price up until you have allocated a percentage of your financial reserves to its protection (about 10%/20% of your net worth for most – more for others).

  15. Matt and Buck,
    you are falling prey to the zero sum game. The fact that many people are not generous now does not mean they would not be in a world where the government did not take care of people.
    Reasoning:
    1) There was a lot more charity and care for one’s neighbor before all these programs existed. Certainly there were problems, but many of them were more based on lack of understanding or logistics for care reaching people or resources and communication, etc. than they were on a lack of charitable will.

    2) There is a lot of money being taken from people for the purpose of social safety nets and help programs. This money, if not taken, might not all be used charitably, but certainly SOME would, particuarly since the demand for such philanthropy would increase.

    3) Many people have become dependent on the government. Not just the needy, but those who would otherwise care for their neighbors. They have passed the buck. That buck, or dollar, should be returned to them, as well as the responsibility that goes with it.

    4) Many people lean on government when they could find another way simply because it is easier to let yourself fall into the safety net than to hang on to the tightwire and climb back on.

    People will not act the same if their resources are not taken from them and no promises of care are made. It will change.

    Also, the number of persons being cared for NOW does not reach the levels you speak of in terms of retarded persons, so why would you think that there would be millions uncared for? Even if all those on government care were dumped on society directly, the money saved is far more than would be required to take care of those people, because the government system is grossly wasteful.

    • Hear, hear, Jon Smith! Look at Katrina and Haiti for instance. A call for help went out and hundreds of millions were raised in a matter of days. All out of the goodness of people’s hearts.

    • Murphy's Law says:

      I totally agree with what Jon says above- “Even if all those on government care were dumped on society directly, the money saved is far more than would be required to take care of those people, because the government system is grossly wasteful.” Absolutely true!

      Something else to take into consideration. The numbers of those who are mentally and/or physically handicapped and must have some level of care their whole lives is on the rise and will continue to rise because of medical technology that allows premature infants to survive. Although there are plenty of premature infants who develop normally, obviously the smaller the birth weight the greater the incidence of developmental problems, both intellectual and physical, and the greater level of support they will need. I got this info from babylinq.com, a website for parents of premature infants:

      “To an NICU medical professional, a micropreemie or micro preemie is defined as a baby that is under 1 3/4 pounds (between 700-800 grams) and is generally born before 26 weeks gestation, but most people prefer to loosen this term up to include any baby under 3 pounds (1500 grams) or under 29 weeks gestation. Micropreemies require a lot of medical attention in order to survive, and many more micropreemies are surviving than ever before in history. The statistics for the survival of a micropreemie can range from 10-80%…….Some of the many difficulties that a micropreemie experiences are immature lungs, an underdeveloped digestive system, cerebral hemorrhaging, high risk of infection, incomplete feeding reflexes, severe anemia, neurological delays, physical handicaps, and long term health issues. Because of so many problems associated with being a micropreemie, medical intervention to keep micropreemies alive include biliblankets, blood pressure monitors, cardiac monitors, endotracheal tubes, isolettes, intravenous pumps & tubes, nasal CPAPs, nasal gastric tubes, nasal prongs, oxyhoods, oxygen saturation monitors, phototherapy lights, pulse oximeters, respiratory monitors, synthetic surfactant, temperature probes, UACs, ultrasounds, UVCs, and ventilators.”

      That is just what is required to get them to survive long enough to go home. And most moms and dads just want their baby to come home and live a normal life. If a “normal life” is not in the cards…….next is the continuing care at home and then in school.

      That’s where I and other special educational professionals come in. In my job, I work with many children who were micropreemies, but are now school age. I also work with students who were born with a genetic syndrome, or through illness or accident acquired their disability or disabilities. By law we are required to educate all children, even those who are wheelchair bound, tube fed, nonverbal, and have very little voluntary movement. I certainly don’t advocate abandoning those children to die, but it is clear that the system that has been built around educating them is very costly, but not cost effective at all.

      Let me say here- I am not the person who will say, cut all programs except mine. I would love to see the educational system overhauled even if it means I no longer have this job. I will find another, and I’ll deliver pizza or flip burgers (not to degrade those jobs, just examples of businesses that are almost always hiring) instead of taking unemployment.

      I personally believe that the pendulum went way too far with “inclusion”- the idea that all students regardless of disability should be in regular ed classrooms. It works with many students who receive special education, but by NO MEANS all of them. Many special ed personnel were afraid that “inclusion” would mean fewer spec ed teacher jobs- but just the opposite has resulted. Also, the present public school system (in a passive way) discourages many parents from being involved or informed.

      Bottom line- knowing the system from the inside, I believe that in Jon’s world the private sector and charities would meet the needs of those with disabilities far better and at a fraction of the cost of the current government-run public education system. Families could choose to keep their children at home or place them in a private facility of their choice. Of course I know that in the past the institutions that “cared for” those with disabilities were rampant with abuses, but it seems to me that even without government intervention it would not be difficult for parents who have placed their children (who need a higher level of care than they feel able to provide) in a care facility to agree among themselves to monitor the facility regularly (unannounced visits, of course) to ensure proper care.

      I could say more, but for now that’s my two cents.

      Murf

  16. Neat video emphasizing nuclear testing.

  17. CabotAR says:

    Gold is fine to purchase, but kind of high in price now. My recommendation is for everyone to buy canned food. Think about it!

    A can of beans cost $1 today. An expiration date of 2013 you can eat it then when the same can is $1.30. That’s a great profit & no capital gains tax. If you want to survive inflation and depression then buy canned food. It’s an item that can be traded for other things you may need.

    • I second CabotAR recommendation.

      First Food, Guns, then Gold.

      • I concur, food (including seeds if you have means to use them) then guns, tools, equipment/gear, low tech weapons, etc., then gold and a select few other hard assets. So far, unfortunately, I got nothin, lol. Workin on it tho, and I have my wits and me health. 😀

  18. Re: Harry Reid’s reelection

    Remember last week I said I thought Reid may have dodged a bullet.

    And for those that think voting Republican is going to save us, just read real close the comments from the Republican leadership in Nevada.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/07/09/sharron-angle-faces-tough_n_629327.html

    • Yep..I am afraid that you are correct. Ilove the Spark’s Mayor, though…..he is backing Reid….after all, Sparks got several hundred million dollars to buy the Mayor’s vote….from Reid.

      • And the hits keep on coming….

      • D13

        Yep. And that was the response I heard from many.

        “I am not stupid. Reid is the majority leader and can bring big money to our state”.

        Sparks got huge federal funds to convert a gravel pit into a lake and build a super mall.

        I have met the enemy and he is US.

    • I think the fact that “The Party” is concerned about her probably means she’s on the right track. I only have to think back to NY and Dede Scosozozoo whatever her name was, and how “off” the party was in their candidate.

      There is so much crap being reported out of NV, including Reid setting up false websites, etc. etc. it’s hard to really get a feel for what is going on. I think it was good for The One to show up there and ‘help’ Reid this week. He’s had so much success with it so far!

      • Kathy

        I don’t think Mr. Obama’s appearance will hurt Reid. Notice they stayed in Vegas. Heavy Democrat vote with all the hotel workers and other service labor (SEIU).

        Problem is that Angle has a record in the State legislature that many know about. I think she will pull in the “libertarians” and some of the “conservative”. But I think she loses with the Moderate Republicans and all the Democrats going to Reid.

        The national Democratic Party and Reid himself are playing for keeps in Nevada. Watch and you will see hard ball politics played out in all its inglorius obnoxious splendor.

        • JAC…make no question about it….hard ball is about to be played…Reid is calling in his markers.

    • OK, this interview with Reid may have done him in completely. If the good people of NV won’t get rid of him after this……..

      http://hotair.com/archives/2010/07/12/reid-ya-sure-i-support-the-lawsuit-against-arizona/

      What a dolt! Come on Judy! The country needs him OUTTA THERE!

  19. A little hijacking and change of pace….for humor!!!

    A beautiful fairy appeared one day to a destitute Mexican refugee outside an Arizona immigration office.

    “Good man,” the fairy said, “I’ve been sent here by President Obama and told to grant you three wishes, since you just arrived in the United States with your wife and eight children.”

    The man told the fairy, “Well, where I come from we don’t have good teeth, so I want new teeth, maybe a lot of gold in them.”

    The fairy looked at the man’s almost toothless grin and — PING !– he had a brand new shining set of gold teeth in his mouth!

    “What else?” asked the fairy, “Two more to go.”

    The refugee claimant now got bolder. “I need a big house with a three-car garage in Annapolis, on the water with eight bedrooms for my family and the rest of my relatives who still live in my country… I want to bring them all over here…” — and — PING !– In the distance there could be seen a beautiful mansion, with a three-car garage, a long driveway, and a walkout patio, with a BBQ, in an upscale neighborhood, overlooking the bay.

    “One more wish,” said the fairy, waving her wand.

    “Yes, one more wish… I want to be like an American with American clothes instead of these torn clothes, and a baseball cap instead of this sombrero. And I want to have white skin like Americans…” —and — PING ! — The man was transformed – wearing worn-out jeans, a Baltimore Orioles T-shirt, and a baseball cap. He had his bad teeth back and the mansion had disappeared from the horizon.

    “What happened to my new teeth?” he wailed. “Where is my new house?”

    The fairy said: “Tough —-, Amigo. Now that you are a white American — no more handouts!!! You have to fend for yourself.”

    And, yes, it does appear to be a racist joke, doesn’t it? Or is it really?

    • Racist? We are now in 1984 language in this country.

      When the New Black Panthers are not racist but those opposing Obama’s policies are, something is horribly wrong.

      • Actually, I was trying to be sarcastic and facetious and funny all in the same breath…..but that was pre-DP…..

        I will not quit my day job to be a comedian….

        It is tough enough keeping the Pirate in Grog and Dublin DP….not to mention the pirate wenches for Thor’s Hammer.

  20. This from Fox Business News….

    Are you ready…for higher taxes?

    I know, it’s never good news, but the Bush tax cuts are set to expire at the end of the year and when they do — whammo!

    We are all going to get hit -no matter how much money you make.

    Here’s why: The current six tax-rate brackets of 10%, 15%, 25%, 28%, 33% and 35% will be replaced by five new brackets with the higher rates of 15%, 28%, 31%, 36% and 39.6%.

    For a while, it looked like Congress might opt to stick with the current brackets — as a way to help low income folks. But the reality now, with massive deficits, is that that fix might not happen.

    Tthat’s not the only thing to worry about: Investors and savers are about to get stung, too.

    The maximum tax rate on long-term capital gains is set to go to 20% from 15%.

    Maximum rates on dividends skyrockets to 39.6%; so much for saving for the future.

    Then the marriage- penalty tax returns — for high earners, low earners and everybody in between.

    And, of course, as we’ve been saying on the Willis Report, the death tax jumps to 55% unless no action is taken.

    Bottom line, your bottom line is about to get hammered — if Congress takes no action.

    If you have an accountant or financial advisor, it’s probably time to call them and start talking about what you need to do to get prepared… because it’s going to be an expensive 2011.

    So much for the middle income not being taxed and the marriage penalty is baraaaaack….oops….back. Let us take it a step further….lower the poverty rate back to $7,000 per year and no tax exemptions….Fortunately, I have high powered tax specialists but those that do not are going to get hammered hard. Protect yourselves….even the dividend tax is coming back unless you have yourself protected.

    Jon..how does this fit in to your scenario?

    • “If you make under 250K a year, your taxes will not go up a dime.” Barack Obama-2007

      Uh-Huh. 😉

    • Might accelerate the opportunity for my experiment to be tried. As I said, its only viable in a start from scratch world or a world where we all moved along an enkightened path for 40 years. If there is a collapse or a revolt, we get a start from scratch opportunity.

    • If we can get John Oxendine in here in GA, and IF, I say IF, he does what he promises, we will have another Christie here in Georgia.

      I’m going to vote for him. Remains to be seen after that.

  21. Just came across this anti-MSM website. Some funny (and other) stuff – you have been warned!

    http://www.ihatethemedia.com/al-gore-montecito-journal-newspaper-ad

  22. RAPTOR ALERT IN MICHIGAN !!!! 🙂

    Tucked between Lake Michigan and Little Black Lake, P. J. Hoffmaster State Park has many natural attractions. Over a thousand acres of lakeside property feature rolling sandy dunes and woodland settings. The park is inhabited by a variety of upland, shoreline and aquatic birds. Raptors can be seen soaring on the air currents of the dunes when winds are from the…

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