News Bulletin: Leftists Call for More Government

But I like the way Steve Jones, a reader, explains it:

So many on the left believe that more government is the answer. When I tell them that our government spends twice what it gets in revenues and the Federal Reserve is constantly devaluating the dollar, their answer is more taxes. Then I explain that our federal government grows at a rate of $100 billion a month and all of the Obama tax increases raise $700 billion over 10 years which would only reduce that growth by about $5.8 billion a month. They say Obama will cut spending $3 trillion over 10 years. Then I say that cutting $3 trillion dollars over 10 years would just reduce government growth by $25 billion a month. Therefore, the government must still borrow to keep the government running and the debt continues to grow and the interest on that debt will consume all of the government’s revenue in the future, perhaps a decade or so from now leaving no money for anyone. They say nothing. Then the next day the whole thing starts over with total amnesia of the prior day’s conversation.

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  • Anonymous

    Not to take one single tiny thing away from this, but reading “Crisis and Leviathan” really makes me stop and think more carefully about what the term “Big” in Big Government means when I see it.  In other words, as bad as this is, it’s actually worse.

  • Karenhphillips

    Sort of Greece-like isn’t it?  As long as our personal lives aren’t affected, people choose to believe that everything will be ok because it’s always been ok.  The majority of Greeks probably can’t comprehend what’s happening to them now, even though the handwriting’s been on the wall for quite some time. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jeremy-Sinn/1482319324 Jeremy Sinn

    “Yeah, but if only the taxes on the rich were increased everything will be fine!”

  • onceproudamerican

    Logic is like Kryptonite to a liberal.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Todd-Shoenfelt/100000327394374 Todd Shoenfelt

    Santorium just won 3 causes.  Both branches of the Big Government Uniparty are in denial, so a catastrophe is extremely likely.  Buy gold.  Take a cash position so you can buy assets cheap on the way down and go long.

  • Journalisk

    I could say the same to “conservatives,” who conserve nothing, not the land nor the sea, and sell off our commonwealth as just gold. What is the logic in that for posterity?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=665555277 Harold Ray Crews

    Dr. Woods why do you hate America?  The greatest of America far exceeds the petty laws of mathematics.  What is it about exceptional that you don’t understand?

  • Rob Nabakowski

    The problem with engagement with these types is they “feel” they are right.  You can’t reason with them.  Feelings trump reason every single time.

  • http://www.facebook.com/r.scott.white R. Scott White

     Just in case people don’t get your tongue in cheek, it should be noted that, yes, spending more than you have has really become so out of control that people won’t understand your comment.

  • Brian

    That is an excellent summary of the debate with lefties.

  • Anonymous

    Nonsense! we all know the real reason for Obama’s deficits was the bush tax cuts.

    Tax cuts are expensive and have to be paid for!

  • Anonymous

    hah economics is so silly.

  • Anonymous

    Yes, we’re always the clueless ones on the subject of econonics..or on any subject really.

    Get used to it!

  • Anonymous

    “When I tell them that our government spends twice what it gets in revenues…”

    Ok, I see the problem. At this point you’ve already lost them. Remember, they *are* a product of gov skools and you led off with math. You might want to start off with, “Government spend B-I-G…” followed by a furrowed brow and frowny face. You could even throw in a tear for the coup de grace. Keep in mind, successful arguments with liberals must originate from any part of the anatomy except the brain. And apparently, the more posterior the better.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Frank-Gimsdale/100001154537833 Frank Gimsdale

    Having a conversation with your typical left winger that involves numbers is usually dead from the start.  Its like having a philosophical conversation with a 6year old. You can certainly try to do it, but chances are the 6year old’s eyes glaze over after about 1min into the discussion.

    In many of my conversations with left wingers (and some neocons too) on government finances and taxation, I present them with actual data from the IRS’s historical data section that breaks out taxes collected by income group and bracket.  It comes from the IRS in Excel so I just take the amounts in the columns for the top two brackets (33% and 35%) and double the amounts (effectively raising the rates to 66% and 70%)  and they quickly see that the result is only about $300B, which still leaves nearly a $1T deficit. I then explain to them that its doubtful the government would collect that much in later years as this group would shift their incomes or adjust their economic behavior, so we would probably have to find more people to tax the next year (ie lower the bar or definition of rich). 

    So then I ask them, “then what?”  At this point I usually get the “we can cut defense by x argument”. To which I reply, “that’s great but cutting defense by x still leaves a massive budget deficit and even worse it means a lot of high paying middle class jobs go away and along with that, the tax revenue attached directly and indirectly to those jobs and the defense contractors.” At this point frustrations starts to set, so I take things one step further, and tell them, let’s not cut any spending and double everyone’s income taxes (look of horror comes on their face at the idea of them being subjected to the same treatment as they want to impose on others) and guess what, we sill have a deficit and our economy goes into tail spin on top of that. 

    Now, if you really want to throw them through the loop, show them the GAO report released in January on the trust funds, which according to its own “very liberal” accounting, they are underfunded presently by $33T! Ask them where that money is going to come from? Usually at this point they either get quite or assert what I call the “tooth fairy argument” which is nothing more then their blind faith that the government has lots of smart people that will fix this if we just go along with their demands (of course that only lasts until their angelic guys are replaced with the devils of the opposition).

  • Anonymous

    I love when the discussion ends with the liberal concluding that because i’m against the income tax and the state i must hate “roads, bridges, clean air, clean water, the poor, the middle class, education, equality, workers rights, etc” (each are fully worthy of an LOL) and then the liberal demands i move to “the libertarian paradise of somalia because they have no government and see how that turned out?” which is laughable because Somalia collapsed into chaos because of failed socialist and marxist governments, and now here’s a democrat telling me to move out of a “democracy” because we have a difference in politics…weird.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=22101535 Mark Lundgren

    I love it when I mention Ron Paul to a liberal and they respond “yeah but he wants to return us the the gold standard” like the statement is self-explanatory and they just won the debate.

    [sigh]

  • Daniel Brooks

    Our brains are wired to ignore facts that threaten our beliefs and cause discomfort, and then our brain rewards us for ignoring those facts, similar to the rush an addict gets: http://www.livescience.com/576-democrats-republicans-adept-ignoring-facts-study-finds.html

    “We did not see any increased activation of the parts of the brain normally engaged during reasoning,” said Drew Westen, director of clinical psychology at Emory University. “What we saw instead was a network of emotion circuits lighting up, including circuits hypothesized to be involved in regulating emotion, and circuits known to be involved in resolving conflicts.”The test subjects on both sides of the political aisle reached totally biased conclusions by ignoring information that could not rationally be discounted, Westen and his colleagues say.Then, with their minds made up, brain activity ceased in the areas that deal with negative emotions such as disgust. But activity spiked in the circuits involved in reward, a response similar to what addicts experience when they get a fix, Westen explained.

  • David Bardallis

    It’s tempting to say that “debating” with your garden-variety touchy-feely leftie is akin to talking to a child, but I actually think children — probably due to having had a lot less time to absorb lies and propaganda — are more likely to readily grasp some basic points that elude the adults:

    1. The state produces nothing. Objecting to state interference in the provision of goods is not to object to the provision of goods.

    2. The moral law applies to everyone, even people in government costumes. ‘Nuff said.

    3. You cannot become wealthy by consuming wealth. And you can’t forever spend more than you make (or, in the case of the state, take).

    There are plenty of other things I think the average six-year-old could be made to understand that the typical leftie will avoid seeing no matter how much you try to make them open their eyes.

    And it’s not necessarily that they’re stupid… usually, they are pretty bright but, owing to their conditioning, willingly put their brain in the “off” position on any matter of politics and/or economics.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Zebram-Zee/100002539017006 Zebram Zee

    Does anyone know if the following graph is accurate:
    http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/us_20th_century_chart.html

    Is our government spending really 40% of GDP?
    I’m going to take a shot in the dark and say that if the government is spending 40% of all the wealth that is generated each year in the country, and they can’t solve basic problems they were tasked to accomplish, then maybe the problem is how the money is being spent, not that we haven’t taken enough money from the people.

  • onceproudamerican

     A true conservative is fighting to conserve the Constitution and the rule of law, from that base we can debate the other issues within the lawful scope of government influence.

    The most powerful law of all is the law of unintended consequences.  For instance, our ‘environmental’ laws have run industry our of America where we try to mitigate environment consequences of production, to China, Mexico, and other third-world countries where they do not with the outcome being MORE environmental damage.

  • Anonymous

    Putting your brain in off mode is the defitnition of stupid.

  • Anonymous

    The Constitution is part of the problem as it gives gov unlimited power. I know this is contrary to the public myth about limited government but it has been there from the beginning. There can never be such a thing as limited government. Once you give them anything, you have given them everything, it is only a matter of time. One is either free or a slave because you can’t be a relatively pregnant, you either are or you aren’t.

  • http://www.facebook.com/TrevorPeck Trevor Peck

    My favorite reply ever to the entitlement over-promise was, “The government can’t default on those promises, people would riot in the streets if they did.”

     All I could say was, “At least we agree on something.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/brandon.coats Brandon Coats

    This is true of a lot of
    people I speak to. They just assume that the government will be there to do the
    right thing and so they never question the spending or the integrity of the
    people being elected to serve the public. I suppose the logic goes something
    like “after all I go to work every day and try to do my work as best I can
    and so then will a public official.”

    Blatant assumptions and logical fallacies are a huge part of the current
    problem. Everyone got to live in a very comfortable bubble for so long that
    they do not understand their system will inherently dismantle itself through
    printing money ad infinitum and the resulting devaluation of currency until the
    system literally comes to a grinding halt… a great depression. 

    We do not need centralization of power. If fact, we should avoid it at all
    costs. Time and time again when power converges to a point, the level of
    corruption becomes so unbearable that social tensions lead to a revolution to
    restore balance. The big banks are not sustainable. They will decisively bleed
    the entire system dry on resources and value by printing something worth
    nothing and exchanging/trading it with tangible objects which do actually have
    value. This is also known as stealing. The only way that it is not stealing is
    if the money has some inherent value and stability of the currency creates
    trust in its value such as one gets with a gold standard.

    I ask critics of the gold standard an important question. Why gold? Why not
    silver or aluminum or any other resource which is widely available and has some
    intrinsic value? Fiat currency is a failed currency and untying the value from
    the tangible will always lead to the case in which powers that be decide to
    print, print, print causing inflation and while this is occurring the most
    wealthy are able to capitalize and absorb a disproportionate share of the total
    value of the system (i.e. such as through the concept of interest alone). After
    this collection phase, the currency is then deflated and the guys holding the
    most again benefit the most out of the return of value to the currency.

    The entire process what I like to call the “banking cycle.” It is never ending
    and is an attempt to create perpetual growth, but the only way for perpetual
    growth is through small businesses coming from nothing and innovating a field
    or product. Big businesses can grow too, but they face a problem too difficult
    to counter. This being corruption and lack of variety. Just like in all of
    nature, we need variation in order to be successful. We need our DNA to contain
    mutations that could become invaluable to our survival. By analogy in order to
    have a healthy economy we need variation and competition. If all businesses coalesce
    into one then a single virus (ideas against the mainstream, for example) can
    come through and destroy the system so that the economy must now shutdown
    because its sole constituent is gone. This is a bit extreme, but the point is
    perfectly valid. We need competition.

     

    If we did our jobs, then
    we would break up the monopolies and make way for competition which is the
    catalyst for change. The monopolies themselves are active buffers against
    change. Just consider patent laws, as an inventor I am aware of the misguided
    truths behind the patent ideology. The bigger your business the more patents
    that you will strategically issue in an effort to curb your competition.
    Innovation should have creators, but the property should not go to the company.
    It should be given to the world. The reason I argue giving innovation to the
    world to use as they wish is that these steps of innovation are like sparks
    causing new ideas to surface and the faster we spread them the faster
    innovation will change our lives and our world. This all leads back to
    competition. Why would we limit competition? The answer here is simple, it is a
    means to keep those in power in power for the foreseeable future.

    Now a more fundamental question… do we need banks? Do they produce value? If
    you talk with a banker/financial officer then they start spitting out lines
    like “yes, of course we create value because we create liquidity.”
    This liquidity is used in reference to the ease of transferring funds from one
    individual to another, but what I am suggesting is that this ability to
    transfer between entities is innate. So to put this statement into context
    the liquidity is a product which must be measured with respect to the innate
    basis which is already there and must always be greater than that innate level
    in order to be of use to anyone. As soon as this is found to contradict our
    premise, then we can dismiss the whole as being a contradictory system.

    Banks want you to get caught up in the ideas which are only applicable to the
    world they create. But, it is always our option as free, intelligent people to
    reject those contrived notions for what we see is best. When times get hard
    enough people will begin to come together and if these people unite in their
    ideas and beliefs about how and why the system got to the breaking point, then
    they will only be able to unite about notions of truth. Fact is something that
    is agreed upon by all competent observers and when your observers vary with all
    possible backgrounds then unity is only possible through facts. The media can
    spin all the hokus pokus that it wants and for awhile it will work, but at some
    point we will wake up and reject notions without logical basis not extending to
    fundamental contexts of the proper role of humanity.

    So what are the rules of
    the road to get us back on track?

    1. Elect the brightest people from fields outside of politics (i.e. Dr. Ron
    Paul) and ideally from a background of science. This removes a huge base of
    corruption with instantaneous effect.

    2. Never elect people
    that flip-flop from day to day. This means that what they say they will do is
    what they will fight to do and provides a basis for servitude to the public by
    application of a very important filter. 3.Never entrust your children to a
    public school system alone. Teach them and nurture their creative needs. Prompt
    them to imagine ideas that are abnormal or uncommon and to analyze these same
    ideas. This provides for the future generation by passing down knowledge to the
    next generation while inspiring them to be curious and ask questions.

     

    Each of these are time
    dependent concepts that are tailored not only to help right now, but in the
    future as well. We cannot make the right choices today without referencing the
    future first.

     

    If we follow these basic
    ideas, then we can correct the past wrongs of our system. Science will become
    popular again and the masses will come to respect knowledge and not money
    because the average will be able to think for themselves once again.

  • David Bardallis

    As I say, it’s tempting to believe this, but I don’t agree. Intelligence can be measured many ways, and I think people can still be basically smart yet prisoners of their conditioning/programming. Some will eventually realize how much they’ve been conditioned and learn to transcend it. Others never quite get there. Are they stupid? I dunno, maybe. Some surely are. But I still think the basic problem is one of conditioning and not intelligence per se.

  • David Bardallis

    This is so very common with garden-variety lefties and their extraordinarily myopic orthodoxy. They really cannot fathom that anyone could think differently than they do, or at least no one “serious” can think other than they do.

    They tend to approach any subject you might debate the same way. You make your case for your point of view. They reply, more or less, this way: “[Insert unexamined leftist nostrum #37 here].” They then begin their victory lap, because they think all of their bumper-sticker slogans are axioms instead of propositions that are so full of faulty assumptions and false premises that they’ve been discredited or falsified dozens, hundreds, or thousands of times both by theoreticians and real-world experience.

    They may as well add “OH SNAP!” after every cliche they respond with. It’s pointless to reason with them, at least regarding politics and economics. This is what happens when you expose millions of Americans for decades upon decades to institutions that do not teach them to think but rather to obey.

    I say these things because I live in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and 90% of my friends are unfortunately exactly this way. They just don’t know what they don’t know.

  • Anonymous

    Is not the definition of intelligence the ability to see through/past conditioning and instinct? It is what is supposed to separate us from animals.

  • David Bardallis

    I don’t really believe there is any single definition of “intelligence.” It’s actually a more complex subject that it would seem at first blush.

  • http://plenarchist.wordpress.com/ plenarchist

    Interesting but problematic.

    “Elect the brightest people from fields outside of politics…” Oops. You’re talking technocracy and if there is anyone who is just as insufferable as a politician, he is the anointed “expert.” That’s what the Zeitgeist people want. Ick.

    “Never elect people that flip-flop from day to day.” Except that the flip-flopper cannot be defeated because he has mastered the sublime art form of telling the right people what they want to hear at the right time and can count on few people actually taking the time to care. The only solution to this problem is to do away with elections altogether… oh, yeah!

    “Never entrust your children to a public school system alone.” Can’t argue with that one.

    IMO electing Paul at this time in our turbid (turded?) history will only give freedom a momentary stay from the relentless march of statism. Ultimately, a new system devoid of a political class needs to be formed. As long as there is one, freedom will always be under assault.

  • http://www.facebook.com/matthew.swaringen Matthew Swaringen

    Too common unfortunately. I have had the same experiences many times as well.

  • Sam Geoghegan

    Interestingly, most leftists or progressives aren’t socialists. Socialism is an anarchist idea with a flawed economic prescription.

  • Lou Bjostad

    Reality is frequently under attack by Authority (just as Realitarians are frequently under attack by Authoritarians). One of my favorite examples occurred in the Indiana legislature in 1897.  A clever “mathematician” cooked up a way to square the circle (constructing a square with the same area as a given circle by using only compass and straightedge).  To make his method work, he actually urged the Indiana legislature to pass a new law, redefining pi as 3.2 instead of 3.14159…..

  • http://plenarchist.wordpress.com/ plenarchist

    “The Constitution is part of the problem as it gives gov unlimited power…”

    I don’t agree. The US Constitution is very clear in limiting the fed gov (not so much with state constitutions). The problem imo is with representative gov and attendant political class; the weasels entrusted with obeying and enforcing the Constitution.

    We elect foxes and expect them to guard the hen house… not exactly a recipe for success. The Constitution is just a piece of paper when there’s no one to enforce it.

    Unfortunately, we have inherited a fatally flawed political system of “democratic” representation that in the end must become oligarchy. The ancient Athenians greatly distrusted representative gov to the point of paranoia and would be appalled at what we call democracy today.

  • Anonymous

    The idea of a limited Constitution is a prevalent myth but that is only because the obvious has been overlooked.

    “Article I,Sec. 8 informs us that “Congress shall have Power to lay and collect Taxes,. . . to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States. . . .” Later on,we discover that Congress also has the power “To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States,or in any Department or Officer thereof.” Standing by themselves,these words would provide the most ambitious tyrant with the only grant of authority that would ever be needed to carry out his or her desired purposes. As Lord Macaulay so well expressed it,”Your Constitution is all sail and no anchor.”

    Suppose that I was given the authority to “provide for the general Welfare” and “to make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper” for exercising this power?What could I not do,constitutionally,pursuant to such a grant?Who is to decide what constitutes the “general Welfare,” or what laws are “necessary and proper?””

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/shaffer/shaffer215.html

  • http://twitter.com/austrianeconomi Freddy H

     True, the Constitution is just a piece of paper. Nothing more, nothing less. It has no authority whatsoever. Why people continue to worship it is beyond me. See Spooner for more: http://praxeology.net/LS-NT-6.htm