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Ethanol is making a point that Big Oil is receiving subsidies and ethanol isn't

Ethanol is holding one huge, sarcastic birthday party for Big Oil in celebration of its oldest subsidy enacted 100 years ago.

The 100th birthday for oil's oldest subsidy -- which began in 1913 -- will be prepared by the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA), which promotes Iowa ethanol and biodiesel growth, and the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE), which encourages the production and use of ethanol.

“And it dawned on us a few months ago that this is in fact the 100th birthday for oil subsidies and this calls for a party, and I think people can assume our tongues are firmly planted in our cheeks when we say we’re going to celebrate that fact,” said Monte Shaw, executive director of IRFA.

Why is the ethanol industry doing this? According to Shaw, the ethanol blenders tax credit expired in 2011, and ethanol has been forced to continue on without any help. However, Big Oil, which is already the most profitable industry in the world, still receives subsidies. The oldest, continuous subsidy was enacted in 1913, which is the topic of the birthday party.

“What we’re saying is, they’re there," said Shaw. "And we’re sick and tired of members of Congress who don’t know any better or don’t want to know any better, saying, oh, why do you need the RFS?  Why do you this, why do you need that? Can’t you just compete on a level playing field? When the fact of the matter is, our competition has had 100 years of subsidization. They’ve had nearly 40 years of a petroleum mandate written into federal law that says unless you drive a flex-fuel vehicle, you will purchase gasoline with a minimum amount of petroleum (85% percent of petroleum). The playing field is overwhelmingly tilted to the oil industry and that has got to be a part of all discussions around the RFS."

The RFS is the Renewable Fuel Standard, which is a U.S. federal program that requires transportation fuel to have a certain amount of renewable fuels when sold in the U.S.

The birthday party, called "Century of Subsidies," will be held on Thursday, March 14, 2013 from 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at 430 Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington DC.

There will be cake.

Source: Domesticfuel.com



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RE: :p
By ebakke on 3/13/2013 1:53:06 PM , Rating: 3
So, subsidies can work to encourage some outcome, and that's good. Unless a different country does it first, and then it's bad. Right?

Ugh. Seriously people. If a tool or technology will provide a "significant benefit or advantage to society" people will pay for it. If people will pay for it, there's now a profit motive for someone to produce it. Said more plainly: it will happen on its own.

"Intelligently implemented" subsidies is an oxymoron.


RE: :p
By 3DoubleD on 3/13/2013 2:34:58 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
So, subsidies can work to encourage some outcome, and that's good. Unless a different country does it first, and then it's bad. Right?


It's only bad in the way that your country wasn't the one to do it first. No different than in any other strategic situation. Not sure why you are trying to inject morals into this. Do you want your government to encourage growth in a new and highly important industry... YES!

quote:
Ugh. Seriously people. If a tool or technology will provide a "significant benefit or advantage to society" people will pay for it.


You must be pretty a near-sighted person. Let's think of a hugely beneficial technology... let's pick nuclear fusion as a power source. Great we all want it, but we can't just pay for it. It must be researched. When a design that produces a net output is finally realized a large scale facility would need to be built, but no company would want to take the risk, spending probably $10B+ to build it. Enter government loans. Even after the prototype is built, subsequent reactors will still be expensive and the energy produced might not still reach grid parity, so now government subsidies on fusion energy encourage fusion power production (a politically stable, clean source).

However, the subsidies have to be gradually reduced. This is the difficult part. Reduce it too fast, and the fledgling industry may collapse (waste of taxpayer money). Reduce it too slowly (or not at all) and overpay (waste taxpayer money). Many of you say government is full of stupid morons. In reality, many smart people work for the government. But powerful lobby groups, politicking, ect. is what makes government act stupid.

Subsidies and government loans are investments. I don't doubt that many of you would disagree with the government making these investments, and I agree that an institution so compromised by petty politics doesn't inspire a lot of faith that they could invest responsibly.

BUT, "investing in our future" is one of the most important things that any person or organization can really do. Should we give up on such an important tool?

I don't pretend to have all of the answers, but answering "NO" to the above question IMO is unacceptable.


RE: :p
By ebakke on 3/13/2013 3:08:16 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
Do you want your government to encourage growth in a new and highly important industry...
Absolutely not. I don't want the government ever deciding what industries are "highly important". I want governmental policies that encourage all commerce equally; I want a government that gets out of the way and influences as little as possible.

quote:
You must be pretty a near-sighted person.
Says the guy who can only envision new industries existing with the artificial support of gov't.

quote:
BUT, "investing in our future" is one of the most important things that any person or organization can really do. Should we give up on such an important tool?
I'm not "in this with you". We're not part of some group together whereby we're seeking the same goals and have mutually agreed to make the same sacrifices. I'm investing in my future. Not yours. So yes, we should give up on a tool to benefit you at my expense.


RE: :p
By Reclaimer77 on 3/13/2013 3:21:27 PM , Rating: 3
Winning post. It's sad how few people understand things.

quote:
I'm not "in this with you". We're not part of some group together whereby we're seeking the same goals and have mutually agreed to make the same sacrifices. I'm investing in my future. Not yours. So yes, we should give up on a tool to benefit you at my expense.


Quoted for truth!


RE: :p
By Spuke on 3/13/2013 4:35:05 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I'm not "in this with you". We're not part of some group together whereby we're seeking the same goals and have mutually agreed to make the same sacrifices. I'm investing in my future. Not yours. So yes, we should give up on a tool to benefit you at my expense.
Yes, great post!!


RE: :p
By 3DoubleD on 3/13/2013 8:08:54 PM , Rating: 2
Winning...

He's certainly winning the argument that creating new economic opportunities that would have otherwise been impossible is bad for the economy... yup. The US government subsidizing SpaceX is a TERRIBLE idea. Why would having the first widely successful private business capable of transporting satellites to space be good for the economy... and it saves all that money NASA was wasting... just terrible. Yup, he won that one.

He also got me on the next point, I can't imagine any business that doesn't require massive government subsidies. It isn't because all of the examples I have given are the few unique situations where I think subsidies ARE good. I 110% agree that ethanol, oil, and many other industries should not be subsidized. My point is there are a few, high technology industries, where investment using tax dollars highly benefits EVERYONE (yes even you, whether you appreciate it or not). Yup he scored another one on me there....

And finally, this "I'm not in this with you" line you all love so much. I get it, if that money isn't spent directly benefiting you, then you don't agree with how it is spent. That is a view point I can understand. I don't like my tax money being wasted either and I agree a lot of government is waste, but you all seem to take a more hard-line approach - that's fine.

My point which I so ineloquently try to convey in my other posts are that there are problems/challenges that exist that effect us all (whether you choose to associate yourself with the rest of the human race or not), but these problems/challenges aren't readily solvable through the private sector.

This is a far cry from condoning the reckless spending that we see in governments world-wide today. I'm just saying that on the few issues that "investing in your future" converges with "investing in my future", that subsidies derived from taxation make sense (eg. the same way using taxes to pay for national defense makes sense).

Of course, if you believe that, no matter what, absolute free-market capitalism is the only way to go... then we won't see eye to eye on that one. It would be interesting to know why you would think that is better than what I have proposed. What evidence/history leads you to believe that is a better system? I am legitimately interested.


RE: :p
By ebakke on 3/13/2013 9:33:20 PM , Rating: 2
You keep making the argument that sometimes, some of the money that gets spent on our behalf results in something beneficial to some (most?) people. I'm not arguing this point, so stop trying to convince me. My argument is that it comes at a cost, and that cost isn't just monetary.

I have several complaints with government subsidizing industries. First and foremost, I object to the force. You and I are going about our lives and suddenly we're being forced, under the threat of imprisonment or worse, to give the results of our labor to someone else. I don't care if it's going to benefit me or not. If I'm not making the choice myself, but am being forced to do it, I'm going to be unhappy. The "logical" argument is that it's "for my own good" or for the "benefit of society", but I find that to be an entirely unacceptable reason to empower a group of people to force others to do what you wish.

Second, governments don't invest for an economic gain. They invest for a political gain. Giving money to X, because it will get you reelected isn't altruistic. It isn't helping society. It isn't looking out for humanity. It's protecting yourself at the expense of others.

Lastly, governments are disgustingly inefficient. The market forces that pressure companies to keep prices low, or to cut their workforce when revenues decline, or find more efficient, cheaper ways to produce their good/service don't exist in governments. Budgets grow, and grow, and grow, and grow resulting in more money "needed" from you and I.

You assert that problems/challenges exist which affect us all, but that no one but people like yourself know how to solve them and that the only solution is through government. I wholeheartedly reject that assertion.

In short, I want a system based on voluntary interactions between people. If you want to subsidize ["problems/challenges aren't readily solvable through the private sector"], then by all means, send a check. If you want your buddies to, then by all means, try to convince them. If you want me to, then give me your best sales pitch. But employing someone else to come to my house with a gun, empty my wallet, and give it to your cause all in the name of the "greater good" is immoral, cowardly, and abhorrent.


RE: :p
By 3DoubleD on 3/14/2013 10:07:09 AM , Rating: 2
Your view of taxes is very interesting - a forced activity by "threat of imprisonment or worse". And I can definitely appreciate that view point - when did you ever agree to the "contract" of given up your hard earned dollars to the government.

The truth of it is, if you were born in the country you live in, you might never have consciously agreed this "contract". On the other hand, if you moved to the country where you now live, as part of becoming a citizen, you would have verbally agreed to the constitutions and laws as they stand. I would say that a new citizen is in fact not being forced to pay taxes since they already agreed upon that contract. Whether they think it is fair or not is not relevant anymore, if they have issue with taxation, they have to express it via their political freedoms.

But back to the person who is born a citizen. If we assume that the person was never asked if they consented to those the laws of the nation, then yes, you could say they were being forced into something they didn't want. So if there was an alternative scenario where a coming-of-age ceremony for children/young adults offered the question "do you consent to be a citizen of this country, and with it, agree to follow and protect its laws and constitution?"

If you say "yes", then the person is no longer being forced to pay taxes - they agreed to it as a price of citizenship.

If you say "no", I'm guessing they would be expelled from the country since you denounced your citizenship. This would be similar to an immigrant walking into the Immigration Office and saying they refuse to swear an oath to that country - they'd send him away.

So if we extrapolate this hypothetical scenario to real life, you in fact DO have a choice when it comes to paying taxes, despite the lack of the ceremony above. By staying in your home country, you are choosing to be a citizen and obey the laws (murder laws, theft laws, taxation laws). By leaving for a country that does not collect taxes and denouncing your citizenship of your home country, you are making the choice against paying those taxes.

So in summary, if you stay in the country that has laws of taxation, you have chosen this and thus you are not being forced to pay your taxes any more than being force to not murder someone - it is the "contract" that you agree to as a citizen.

Now whether taxes are fair and whether they should be abolished is a completely separate issue. In fact, I like what you said whereby you would like to approve each expenditure of your money on a case by case basis. I imagine a real-life implementation of this would be sort of an opt-out system on your tax form. You can opt-out paying for the poor, the elderly, the sick - the caveat being that you cannot use those services either, but that is obviously one that you want to make. Now that would certainly get tricky with things like national defense or other programs where you would benefit directly regardless of whether you paid, but it is an interesting concept for certain services.

I also find your comment regarding governments "investing for political gain" interesting, I'll have to give that some more thought. I don't doubt that many (all) government actions are "investments in political gain", but we mustn't forget that government officials are elected by the people. Occasionally, they actually do the people's will, and if the people's will was "helping the sick" then I would say that the act was altruistic (by the very definition) despite whatever motivations the politicians had at the time.

Lastly, you completely reject that there are problems only a government can solve, but I find this difficult to comprehend. Is there any more effective way to govern a country than with a "government"? Is having a government of elected officials WORSE than having complete anarchy? If you did not mean anarchy, but mean that a corporation(s) could govern, I can't fathom how that would work - sounds like an oligarchy or dictatorship, certainly not a democracy.

If your rejection of government wasn't that complete (yes, they are the best at governing, imposing law and a judicial court), is there anything else that government is good for? How about national defense? Could a "system of voluntary interactions between people" constitute an effective national defense force? Such a militia would only be reactive, as in once your invaded, since in general people have very little sense to invest in unseen future threats. And in that sense, I think there are many other good functions of government where long-term planning, something that humanity has repeatedly proven terrible at, can actually take place.

Sorry for the long post (again)


RE: :p
By ebakke on 3/14/2013 11:07:53 AM , Rating: 2
In the first half of your post, you're saying that as a condition of existence on this planet, I must accept the fruits of my labor being forcibly taken by someone else, and given to someone else. My only choice is in which part of the world I would like to be a laborer? That's a real crap view, don't you think?

Or are you aware of a country with a limited government that doesn't rely on oppression?

quote:
we mustn't forget that government officials are elected by the people.
That's never justification for actions which harm others.
quote:
if the people's will was "helping the sick" then I would say that the act was altruistic
But it's not if the implementation of that help requires theft from someone else. The ends don't justify the means.
quote:
Lastly, you completely reject that there are problems only a government can solve
To be fair, I articulated this argument poorly. I did not intend this to cover a legal code and means of enforcement. I'm willing to accept a small, rigidly limited-in-scope government that defines a code of laws, and that enforces those. I expect the government to a) protect me from outside forces (read: other nations) and b) provide me with a legal system to seek justice against someone who has harmed me. And then I expect the government to go away. I don't want any laws that harm one person to help another, and I don't want the government to protect me from myself. If I make stupid choices, I should deal with the consequences.

So with that limited government, that truly benefits all at the expense of each equally, I would accept taxation that is a flat fee. The cost of government divided by the number of citizens. But I would greatly prefer voluntary contributions, and user fees. If I use the court system, I should pay for it. And if I don't want missiles raining down on me from ____, I'll give money to the DoD. If it becomes an out of control behemoth, I'll stop giving my money.


RE: :p
By 3DoubleD on 3/14/2013 12:19:19 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
In the first half of your post, you're saying that as a condition of existence on this planet


That isn't what I said at all. It's a condition of being a citizen of the country that has taxation laws. You are free to leave, you have the right, the FREEDOM to denounce your citizenship. There are numerous countries with no tax - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tax_haven - some of them are very nice (Bahamas, Cayman Islands, ect.). No one is forcing you to live in the country you currently reside. You make a choice by staying, by being a citizen of that country. You can still express your view that you do not like taxes, but it is not theft, it is not by force. You are in control. You can politically campaign for small government and the tax system you describe, and many would agree with you, but I disagree that it is immoral, forced, theft, or a human rights issue. Taxation is not a condition that you are born into and must suffer.

Of any other forms of oppression, I'd need more precise examples so that we might narrow down the list of tax-free countries that best suits your views.

In the end, yes, the government in many countries is excessively bloated and bureaucratic. There are numerous things the government shouldn't be doing at all. There are some things that the government should be doing (which we've covered). I think that we can both agree that nation-wide programs for the benefit of the nation/world that one could opt-in to would be agreeable to both of us. Perhaps that is the best compromise we can achieve. My point here being, speaking in absolutes and extremes is dangerously non-productive, which is why I took such a strong issue with one of the statements near the beginning of this thread.


RE: :p
By ebakke on 3/14/2013 12:59:33 PM , Rating: 2
A tax haven is not a place where there is no taxation. It's a place where certain taxes are lower (or zero). Again, I'm aware of no such country with a limited government that doesn't rely on forced taxation. I agree that some are better than the US, but The Bahamas' 3.9%/5.9% individual/employer payroll tax is exactly the type of thing I oppose.

quote:
opt-in to would be agreeable to both of us. Perhaps that is the best compromise we can achieve.
As long as it's opt-in, it doesn't require government (or the force that governments are entrusted with). If it's opt-in, a non-profit, charity, or for-profit company can provide the service.

But that's entirely my point. If we're free to opt-in and each pick what things we wish to purchase or not, that scenario yields the most freedom and the least oppression. It is the best compromise. The only person who "loses" is the guy who wants someone else to pay for his pet project.


RE: :p
By 3DoubleD on 3/14/2013 2:04:07 PM , Rating: 2
UAE is 100% income tax free. There may be a small 5% "property tax" which I'm unclear about (refers to rentals?). They also have a 5% tax on entertainment and hotels (tourism tax really). So you could live income and sales tax free with perhaps a small property tax (maybe)... although you would probably trade other freedoms in the effort to avoid the tyranny of taxes.. so yes, it's a choice.

Cayman Islands are largely tax-free. No income tax, property tax, ect. The only tax you will likely encounter is on imports... and you might be able to get around that if you were imaginative. The country otherwise operates under British law, so you get the benefit of a reasonable government with good judicial order (unlike the UAE). It might not be a "limited government" like you say, but since you don't pay for it, it's probably better than what you have now. It also has great weather... this would be my choice. Sometimes I wish I had studied to be an accountant, could find a job there in no time. I know an accountant who lived there for several years, but he actually got tired of the tropical weather... I think he was just homesick.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taxation_in_United_Ar...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cayman_Islands#Taxati...

I could list some nastier places to live where you won't have to worry about any laws (including taxation.. maybe a few bribes, which I imagine are acceptable in your view as an "investment" that directly benefits you)... but the cons may outweigh the pros on that one.

So the answer is, yes, there are places on this planet where you can not pay taxes. Staying where you are is a choice and by doing so makes you a citizen and willing participant in the laws of the country, even if you disagree with some of them on principle. It also makes you part of the democratic process, whereby if you are part of the majority, you get what you want, and if you are part of the minority, you have to go along with the majority. If that is oppression, then democracy is oppressive at it's very core. However, within the framework of democracy, if you decide that you find taxation so intolerable, then I encourage you to run for office. It would be a nice change to see someone who actually believes what they stand for.


RE: :p
By ebakke on 3/14/2013 3:12:55 PM , Rating: 2
We're still not talking the same language.
quote:
So you could live income and sales tax free with perhaps a small property tax (maybe)... although you would probably trade other freedoms in the effort to avoid the tyranny of taxes.. so yes, it's a choice.
The argument you're making is that if I want to live around another group of people who aren't chopping each other up in the streets (like in some 3rd world countries) then I must accept either a loss of economic freedom (from taxation) or I must accept the loss of other freedoms. How is this acceptable to anyone? How is this acceptable to you?

Taxes are not the thing I oppose. They're merely an instrument, a tool, a mechanism. (Albeit, the most common one in "civilized" societies.) The thing I oppose is force. I don't want to be forced to do anything and I don't want to force others to do anything.
quote:
I could list some nastier places to live where you won't have to worry about any laws
Which is not what I want. As I keep saying, I want the smallest set of laws that protects me against others forcing their will upon me, and protects others from me forcing my will upon them.
quote:
If that is oppression, then democracy is oppressive at it's very core.
And now we're getting somewhere! If 51% of the population can do whatever they want simply because they're the majority, how is that not oppression on the minority? What if it's 85% to 15%? What if it's 99% to 1%? The only hope against it in a republic such as ours is to have clear cut, hard limits on what the government is allowed to do. You might have 99% of the people in agreement that we should round up all of the ______ and kill them, but that's infringing on the freedom of someone else. Same applies if you get a majority or super majority to decide that it's ok to confiscate the wealth of the minority. And now we're right back to my desire for the minimum set of laws that protects each of us from the rest of us.


RE: :p
By 3DoubleD on 3/14/2013 4:10:16 PM , Rating: 2
Obviously the UAE was unacceptable, but you didn't say what was wrong with the Cayman Islands. As far as I can tell, it's a libertarian heaven on Earth - at least by far the best. I'm not saying you should move there, I'm just saying it is probably a much better fit for your values than where you live now - and I mean in regards to what types of government oppression directly affects you, not necessarily that the government or constitution conforms with your ideals.

Honestly, it sounds like you need to start a new country (revolution in the Cayman Islands?). You have a vision of a country so different than any other in existence that, short of a revolution, you are unlikely to see it in your lifetime. Even if you managed to get elected to your government, form a massive following, you'd have to drastically amend your constitution, which short of being some charismatic figure like Hitler (I'm not comparing you to Hitler, just saying he was incredibly effective at dramatically swaying people's opinions), you'd have a tough time doing it.

Your way might be better. It has never been tried before, who knows. It could also be a catastrophic failure (even worse than what we exist with now). You would be going into the unknown on that one, and since it is unknown, you will continue to have difficult persuading people to share your view. Democracy as it is, for all of its faults, has been an incredibly successful system. Never in human history has education, quality of life, art, science, or human rights ever flourished so greatly.

Unfortunately for you, on a personal level politics ends up being more of a belief system than a completely rational choice. How could we possibly vote rationally on issues so far outside of our comprehension. Even a veteran, PhD economist will say he doesn't fully understand the economy, how could a lay person vote rationally for the person the policy that is best for the economy (including voting for non-interference). Since we must vote based on beliefs (which are sometimes (or often?) poorly founded), any bit of evidence that one choice may be better than another is so much more important. And this is why it is unfortunate for you, we have centuries of success under the current version of democracy.

To convince people to change your countries constitution in the way you describe you would need to assure them that they will be happier, healthier, richer, and more secure than before. Without a shred of evidence (that I am aware of that is, I could be mistaken), only armed with your feeling that today's democracy is unfair, that would be incredibly difficult. Maybe you have a vision of a democracy (or something else entirely) that will exist 100 or 500 years from now, who knows.

Anyway, stick for what you believe in, but remember, it's a belief, not fact. People will continue to believe in what they know works. They aren't stupid, they just weigh the risk differently than you - you apparently acknowledge no risk in such a radically different society - so long as we are free, damn the risks. That's a really hard sell, especially when the rewards are not plenty nor obvious. Is life really that bad vs. living at another time (eg. Communism, feudal dictatorships, oligarchies, ect.). The repression of the democratic minority in modern "civilized" countries is, probably by definition, a "first world problem" - and (ironically) the majority does not deem it a pressing one in the face of much more catastrophic issues (eg. how are we (humanity) going to eventually sustain and feed 8 Billion people on this planet with finite oil reserves (and other resources) without breaking into world-wide war and committing even more grievous violations of human rights and freedoms).


RE: :p
By kslavik on 3/14/2013 5:40:04 PM , Rating: 2
quote:

Your way might be better. It has never been tried before, who knows. It could also be a catastrophic failure (even worse than what we exist with now).


You are using the same argument the slave owners used 150 years ago: Who would work on the cotton fields if we abandon the slavery, human society existed with slavery for thousands of years, how would we do with out it.

Nevertheless, human society evolved beyond forcing people to work for free and collectively decided that slavery is morally wrong, and only then it was abandoned regardless of the uncertainty of how the the hard work would be done without slaves. The same way I hope forcing people to give out fruits of their labor "for the benefits of the collective" will also be abandoned in the future because humanity will realize that using force even for the greater good is IMMORAL and doesn't justify the end result. I'm not against taxation, as long as it is voluntary and not done with a force or a threat of force.


RE: :p
By 3DoubleD on 3/14/2013 11:19:49 PM , Rating: 2
You are comparing your life with the life of a slave?!?! You have to be f*cking kidding me!!! That is by far the most ridiculous thing I have heard in recent memory.

Your situation and a slave's situation from 150 years ago share no similarities. It is such a ridiculous comparison I don't even know where to start.

I'll just say this: as I've clearly explained, you are FREE to not participate in your country's "oppressive" society. You can LEAVE. You have that FREEDOM (not a word that slaves get to use). The fact that you don't think there is anywhere suitable to go is not the fault or responsibility of the country that gives you that freedom. You are forced to do nothing. For this reason, taxes are neither theft, a breach of your freedom, nor immoral. You are mistaken my friend.

I'm all for reducing spending, reducing taxes, reducing government, but your stance seems indefensible and comparing yourself to a black slave of the 1800s is absolutely atrocious and does not help your case. You are not persecuted, beat, chained, or murdered because of the color of your skin. You are given a choice to live in a community where we give a portion of our labor for the benefit of that community. If you don't want to be a part of that community, then you are absolutely allowed to leave. There are no chains here, you will not be killed for treason.

Absolutely ridiculous.


RE: :p
By ebakke on 3/14/2013 5:43:11 PM , Rating: 2
Well this has been fun, but clearly we're never going to see eye to eye. One more.

quote:
I mean in regards to what types of government oppression directly affects you, not necessarily that the government or constitution conforms with your ideals.
I will object to any oppression by a government that supposedly represents me, and most certainly by any that I'm funding.
quote:
You have a vision of a country so different than any other in existence that, short of a revolution, you are unlikely to see it in your lifetime.
I agree that I likely won't see it. But I still think it's the best solution, and will advocate for it. And it's not just me against the world. These folks are committing to moving across the country and becoming political activists because they believe that strongly: http://freestateproject.org/
quote:
Your way might be better. It has never been tried before, who knows.
I agree, it hasn't been tried to the extend I suggest. What has been tried, doesn't last very long before a well-meaning group of people demand more power to fix some problem of the day. And as time passes more of that happens. But at the core, what I'm advocating is freedom. Liberty.
quote:
Democracy as it is, for all of its faults, has been an incredibly successful system. Never in human history has education, quality of life, art, science, or human rights ever flourished so greatly. [...] And this is why it is unfortunate for you, we have centuries of success under the current version of democracy.
Democracy isn't an economic system. It's a system of government. And one that without severe limits can bring about many of the atrocities in human history. I don't attribute the successes you've listed to democracies, but rather to free enterprise.
quote:
Even a veteran, PhD economist will say he doesn't fully understand the economy
And yet some people think politicians of all people, should be able to "control" it. Or influence it in the "right" way.
quote:
Anyway, stick for what you believe in, but remember, it's a belief, not fact.
Your attempt to discredit my opinions by casting them off as non-factual beliefs is pretty weak. If you'd like to give me a logical argument as to how/why majority rule isn't oppression of the minority, that's great. But to just claim I'm living in fantasy land doesn't win the argument; it concedes defeat.
quote:
you apparently acknowledge no risk in such a radically different society
Sure there are risks. There are risks in everything. But if I'm advocating freedom, and you think that's radically different, I ask you this: What do we risk by being free, that we do not risk by being enslaved?
quote:
Is life really that bad vs. living at another time (eg. Communism, feudal dictatorships, oligarchies, ect.).
Give it a few more years. When this house of cards collapses and the gov't either fails or executes an enormous power grab (as all previous ones have), it'll be very interesting to see how different things will be compared to times/places you listed.


RE: :p
By 3DoubleD on 3/15/2013 12:07:12 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
never going to see eye to eye


At this point, I agree, haha.

quote:
These folks are committing to moving across the country and becoming political activists because they believe that strongly: http://freestateproject.org/


Good for them, that's what I like to see.

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I don't attribute the successes you've listed to democracies, but rather to free enterprise.


You might be right here. It's hard to decouple them fully. I'd have to do a lot of reading before I could refute that, so I'll give you that one with one caveat. Human rights and freedom have never flourished so greatly than under the current incarnation of democracy. Freedom might be the very reason you dislike today's democracy, but it is also its greatest gift. Maybe it has it's place in history... only time will tell.

quote:
And yet some people think politicians of all people, should be able to "control" it. Or influence it in the "right" way.


I think there are market regulations that absolutely prevent the market from doing harm to itself. Price fixing should not be allowed. Insider trading should not be allowed. Companies should not be allowed to merge to form a monopoly. These seem like common sense, but if an economist could explain to me otherwise, I might change my mind.

quote:
Your attempt to discredit my opinions by casting them off as non-factual beliefs is pretty weak.


I am not belittling just your political beliefs. I clearly stated that everyone has political beliefs. Everyone votes based on a belief. You do, I do, everyone. Neither of us knows how one action will affect the extremely intricate world around us. We vote by our principles, our morals, what we deem as logical. But I fully acknowledge that I cannot understand the world with absolute clarity and that when I go to vote, it is a belief - albeit one that is hard tested through debate and reasoning. You have chosen to defend the untested path with unknown risks and rewards and I am defending the tried and tested old path. That is all I am saying, I am not discrediting you at all.

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What do we risk by being free, that we do not risk by being enslaved?


Again, you are going a bit overboard on that one throwing the slave word around...

What are the risks in your experiment? The risk is that we allow more grievous violations of human rights. Is the "oppression" you feel so bad, so suffocating that, as a result of your new freedoms, you would be willing to let someone die? Many people die? Do you feel no responsibility, yet think that other people should feel for your sense of oppression?

THAT is the risk. It's a moral risk. Your system of opt-in national programs might be BETTER and you save lives, but it is completely unknown! You have no proof that your country could still defend itself from invaders or defend its interest on a army funded by opt-in donations. Would innocent lives be lost due to lack of funding of your non-profit charities because people were too greedy or short-sighted? If a small country was successfully modeled under your ideal form of government and society, and it proved to be successful, then I'd be the first to sign up, I promise you.

quote:
Give it a few more years. When this house of cards collapses and the gov't either fails


You might be right. If people so adamantly refuse to work together to achieve anything, it will all come crumbling down. There are so many big problems, and we have not even begun to scratch the surface.

Anyway, it's been fun. I'll hang up my hat too. We can agree to disagree. You've given me some things to think about, and I hope, even if you've agreed with nothing I've said, have taken things away as well. Talking in a forum like this isn't exactly perfect, I think both of us would have done better in person, maybe in the pub over a couple beers. Oh well. Cheers!


RE: :p
By ebakke on 3/15/2013 12:46:56 AM , Rating: 2
I concede overreaction to your use of the word beliefs. I guess it hit a nerve. At the time, it seemed like you were essentially equating my arguments to religious beliefs. To a blind "faith" absent logic, or reasoning.

But anyway, if you're ever in MN, I'll absolutely have a few beers with you. Until then, see you in the next thread. :)


RE: :p
By Reclaimer77 on 3/14/2013 6:26:15 PM , Rating: 2
Not sure if this will mean much to you, but this country was founded with income taxes being illegal.

The first attempt to make income taxes law by Congress was ruled Unconstitutional by the Supreme Court and struck down. And rightfully so. They changed the Constitution with an Amendment to eventually make this tax legal, yes, but the point still stands.

Our Founders knew that taking a mans hard earned money before he even had it was morally wrong. The Government has NO right to do so. And more importantly, would lead to wealth redistribution and a centralized Government in Washington. Two things they were very much against happening.

The Federal Income Tax is at the root of 90% of the problems this country is facing today. Without it we wouldn't have the Industrial Military Complex for one thing. Even my anti-military Liberal friends will have a hard time arguing that point :)


RE: :p
By Reclaimer77 on 3/14/2013 6:13:29 PM , Rating: 2
Typical for Collectivists, you associate those who think otherwise with selfishness and greed.

quote:
My point which I so ineloquently try to convey in my other posts are that there are problems/challenges that exist that effect us all (whether you choose to associate yourself with the rest of the human race or not), but these problems/challenges aren't readily solvable through the private sector.


I disagree. Simply put, you and the other guy are posting increasingly large walls of text, I'll simply say I don't agree.

This doesn't mean that I'm not part of the "human race", or whatever other Collectivist talking points you want to throw at me.


RE: :p
By mikeyD95125 on 3/14/2013 3:12:24 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Absolutely not. I don't want the government ever deciding what industries are "highly important". I want governmental policies that encourage all commerce equally; I want a government that gets out of the way and influences as little as possible.


Ack! Well too effin bad you delusional libertarians who enjoy all the conveniences society, but want none of the sacrifice, because you and Reclaimer (as usual when he doesn't back up his dogmatic opinions with any sources)are going DP on the wrong hole.

Why? Hmm I think because you both are stating your absolutist arguments against any kind of government involvement over the freaking internet. Once in a while, bright people get together and create something awesome that benefits people everywhere. Because this sometimes happens through government programs, you can't rule out government involvement entirely, definitely not ideologically like it is so tempting to do.

Do negative things happen because of government involvement? Well no $h1t?!?!?
So articulate that argument against bad government more precisely. Unless you actually believe that no government involvement is really the solution. In which case you missed the economics courses after intro macro and micro, in which Keynesian economics schools 19th century 'Reclaimer style'(TM) wild west market economies by controlling inflation and evening out the business cycle.

My evidence is that you no longer poop in a hole.
Cheers,
Mike D


RE: :p
By ebakke on 3/14/2013 10:38:17 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
who enjoy all the conveniences society, but want none of the sacrifice
$400M to Solyndra isn't convenient to me. DoD drones used to kill Americans without due process isn't convenient to me. An education system that is failing miserably isn't convenient to me.

And never once did I say I wasn't willing to pay for the things that are valuable to me.

quote:
Because this sometimes happens through government programs, you can't rule out government involvement entirely
Because something has happened a certain way in the past, that is the only way it can happen in the future? Or because something has happened a certain way in the past, I must accept that as a viable solution?

Read my other posts in this thread for a more articulate argument. But based on the post I'm replying to, I suspect you're not actually interested in understanding my point of view; you're just interested in chastising it.


RE: :p
By 3DoubleD on 3/13/2013 6:13:47 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I'm not "in this with you". We're not part of some group together whereby we're seeking the same goals and have mutually agreed to make the same sacrifices. I'm investing in my future. Not yours. So yes, we should give up on a tool to benefit you at my expense.


I was going to write another response arguing with you point-by-point, but I figured it would be much more interesting to hear your reasoning as to why you think that your future is independent from everyone else? How you are not inextricably linked to everyone and everything around you that "your not with us". How do you reconcile the fact that the very technology you use to write your comment wouldn't be here without tax money spent on research and development at one point or another?

Your answer might be "I just don't give a sh*t [about you or anyone else]", but maybe, and I hope, it's something more interesting.

Your answer might be "if the government didn't pay for the research and development it would have eventually happened through the private sector". And to that, I'd certainly agree with you partially, I'm sure some of the same (or similar) technologies would have eventually emerged, although they may have occurred many years or decades later (if at all). Maybe that's the price worth paying for government interference-free economics. It's hard to imagine a world without rockets or satellites since surely no company could have invested so much capital into such an endeavor (look how well North Korea and Iran fare in 2013, even with so much computational power and the blueprints at their finger tips). Who knows, we might not even have the internet in such a world... and our computers would look very different. But we keep a couple thousand extra in taxes per year and sleep well knowing the economy is taking it's natural course.

Honestly, it is an interesting idea. If I could spend a week or a month in that world I'd totally jump at the chance. It could actually be better. But unfortunately, it's only hypothetical. I do not know of any example where truly free-economics operates. If they were wildly successful, I probably would have heard about it.

Historically, did the US meet success (becoming a superpower) because of super-capitalism or because it is a leader in technology? The USSR was a superpower too (no capitalism here), but (among many reasons) it didn't work out because they didn't realize the vast benefits of marrying capitalism with all of the beneficial technologies spawned off of their expansive research and development. Without the massive investments in research and development, between, during, and after the World Wars, would the US have become the dominant superpower that it is today? That's another hypothetical world, and I'll leave you to answer it for yourself.

Anyway, back the the question, how does the world around you not affect your future? I'm curious to know.


RE: :p
By Nfarce on 3/13/2013 9:40:25 PM , Rating: 2
I will only touch on one question of yours since this wasn't my battle:

quote:
how does the world around you not affect your future?


That's a pointless question. From the day we are born the "world" around us affects our future. That's without debate. The better question for this entire article subject would be "how does the government and politicians not make your life better?"

And I could give you dozens of examples of how not, starting in reverse chronological order latest to earliest with Obamacare that wasn't supposed to cause our health insurance costs and premiums to go up.


RE: :p
By MadMan007 on 3/14/2013 2:12:48 AM , Rating: 2
There are easily as many dozens of examples of government programs that improve your life. You just don't think of them because you take them for granted or they are so integrated into many aspects of your life that they aren't obvious.


RE: :p
By ebakke on 3/13/2013 9:45:09 PM , Rating: 2
I didn't say I'm not linked to people around me. I didn't say I don't interact with others, and with my environment. What I said was, "We're not part of some group together whereby we're seeking the same goals and have mutually agreed to make the same sacrifices." I'm not in this with you. I do not agree to spending my money subsidizing green energy, agriculture, space exploration, poor people, old people, sick people, stupid people, or anyone else's kids. I do not agree that we have problems "only the government can solve". I do not believe we have problems facing all of mankind that can only be solved by trampling on the freedoms of others.

You keep implying that because something exists that was funded by government, that it wouldn't exist otherwise. I accept that tax dollars funded the creation of the Internet. I also accept that a mechanism for communication between computers, across wide areas, is highly valuable outside of the DoD and that it (or something similar) would've been created anyway. I accept that I don't have a crystal ball, and I don't know what would've happened had the US gov't not spent that money. It could've taken decades later or never happened, as you suggest. Count me skeptical, but it's certainly possible. Those resources also could've been spent on something different, dare I say, better. Who knows, we might have had self driving cars, space habitats, eradication of AIDS, an energy source that you'd find acceptable, teleportation, etc.


RE: :p
By MadMan007 on 3/14/2013 2:20:04 AM , Rating: 2
So your position can be summed up as 'I'm selfish like a 3-year old.' Cool. Hope you never get sick, become poor, grow old (lol), or find yourself in any situation where government programs would help you, or if you do that you reject using any such programs.

The problem with assuming that markets would necessarily invent the same things is that for companies to invest in something, it needs to have some reasonable expectation of monetary return. There are other criteria than monetary return on which to judge the value of something.


RE: :p
By ebakke on 3/14/2013 10:45:39 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
So your position can be summed up as 'I'm selfish like a 3-year old.'

My position can be summed up as, "I'm just as selfish as every other human on the planet. And I don't claim anything different."

You seem to be missing the crucial point: I don't care if the government programs could/would help me. I don't want the 'benefits', I don't want to pay for them, and I don't get a choice. If I could stop funding them today, and sign a document that says "you're on your own should X happen" I'd be positively thrilled. If I did end up becoming sick or poor, and then had to "fend for myself" - why would you care? That's my problem to solve, is it not? How is my solution worse in your eyes?

quote:
The problem with assuming that markets would necessarily invent the same things is that for companies to invest in something, it needs to have some reasonable expectation of monetary return. There are other criteria than monetary return on which to judge the value of something.
I think you just unintentionally listed an argument in support of non-profits, charities, and other groups that add value (in a free market) without seeking a monetary return.


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