Non Sequitur by Wiley Miller for December 21, 2010

  1. Comic face
    comicgos  over 11 years ago

    No such thing in taxation!

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    benbrilling  over 11 years ago

    That thermometer needs to be about 40 feet taller.

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    sleepeeg3  over 11 years ago

    For giggles, we should invert the tax pyramid, see how the lowest bracket responds to being taxed at 35%+…

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    Nebulous Premium Member over 11 years ago

    THAT’S why unemployment is so high. You can get a couple of dozen entry level workers for what it takes to buy one Congressman, but all the rich want to buy IS Congresscritters.

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    grapfhics  over 11 years ago

    Sleepeeg5, they already are with all the regressive taxes and the income tax. That makes us all equal in the eyes of the GOP.

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    cdward  over 11 years ago

    Back in the good old days, the tax rate for the highest earners was much much higher than 90%.

    Here’s the real question that the taxation issue papers over. In the last 20-25 years, the amounts that the ultra-rich have “earned” have gone through the roof. The gap between them and the middle class has grown exponentially, and it’s not because of the high tax rates since I essentially pay the same rate as say Bill Gates. (Unless you take capital gains into account, and then I pay more).

    So what went wrong that the shot the 1-2% into the financial stratosphere while making the rest of us worse off?

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    lsherris  over 11 years ago

    Taxation is immoral. It is akin to slavery in which the government owns you and your labor. It doesn’t matter whether the tax rate is 30% or 90%; taxation should be abolished.

    Government doesn’t produce anything; it only steals. Citizens are in favor of the system since a majority wrongly believe they are getting more than they are paying in. Only the very few (far fewer than 1-2%) who actually control the government truly benefit at the expense of the rest of us.

    Democrats and GOP are two factions of our one party government. GOP is attempting to take over the Tea Party to make sure we have no real choices.

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/burris/burris16.1.html

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    gbrucewilson  over 11 years ago

    One more time. The top 1% pays 40% of all income tax. The bottom 50% pays 3% of all income tax. The “poor” do not create job. It come down to a simple choice. Do you want businesses (the rich) creating the jobs, or do you want to government spending money and not creating jobs? High taxes on the job creators drive companies to other countries.

    Also, in the “old days” when the tax rate was 90%, the rich paid less tax than they do now.

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    wmbrainiac  over 11 years ago

    Return to the tax levels of the Kennedy administration so that the country can afford to build a decent infrastructure - including broadband that is competitive with that of most other industrialized countries. The interstate system would never have been built, nor will any other major project of national importance, under current rates.

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    steverinoCT  over 11 years ago

    One more time. No one is creating jobs, rich or poor, because no one is spending any money. The capacity businesses have already is idle. There needs to be an injection of money into the system. The poor spend their earnings; the rich (because of the above) is sitting on theirs.

    Every week I hear about another water main break; another crumbling bridge; another decaying railroad track. Spend money: fix these things. Workers get jobs, spend money, businesses grow. Infrastructure improves: all benefit. Ask a trucker how vital his industry is; then ask him how well it works without subsidized roads, bridges, etc. This is stuff we need: we’re still living on the infrastructure built by the WPA.

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    steverinoCT  over 11 years ago

    Oh, yeah, funny comic.

    The American response to gross income inequality is less “Outrage! Revolution!” and more “How can I get me some of that?”

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    steverinoCT  over 11 years ago

    …and the tax rates, like the oft-quoted 90%, is marginal tax rate: your first $X is taxed at one rate, and only the last $x is at the higher rate.

    For example, Obama wanted to maintain the current rate at income below $250,000, and go back to Clinton-era rates (37% ?) on income above that. That means that everyone pays the same rate on the first $250,000; only additional income above that pays more: if you make $260K, only the last $10K is getting the higher rate.

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    woodwork  over 11 years ago

    Without paying taxes, as was said, there is no infrastructure…also, no cops (there goes crime over the top), no fire protection is(ever lose a home to fire?), what needs doing away with is two (and more) stupid wars, expensive weapons systems, perks for our politicians, and so forth.

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  14. Andy
    Sandfan  over 11 years ago

    For all you “eat the rich” advocates, here are the top lobbying groups from the Senate Office of Public Records:

    http://www.opensecrets.org/lobby/top.php?indexType=s

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    ses1066  over 11 years ago

    As a professional tax preparer for many years, I have been sensitized to these evergreen arguments. For clarity’s sake, it must be emphasized that the discussions of 90% marginal tax rates are not a one-to-one comparison to our current tax system.

    In two aspects there were very important differences; First that there were more tax brackets and levels than exist today so very, very few were actually taxed at the top rate and then for very little income. The why for this is the second prime difference, the number of and types of exclusions and deductions were very different back then.

    Back then you could deduct for credit card and any other type of personal interest expenses. At one time you could deduct political campaign contributions like you can now do for charities. Add that to a very different purchase-power dollar value that drove those brackets and you see the source of such things as the AMT and phase-out amounts in the current tax code.

    Personally, I have had a desire for years to have election day to be placed a week after Income-tax day so that the actual cost of governance would be made clearer.

    Wiley should run these kind of cartoons during my busy season in April!

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    pdchapin  over 11 years ago

    Anybody with serious money who’s paying the stated tax rate isn’t really trying. I worked with a guy who worked for the Michigan legislature and they determined that although the tax rate was suppose to be progressive, with all the deductions for the wealthy, the rate was actually almost perfectly flat.

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    myopinion1234  over 11 years ago

    Let’s all just give up on life and jump on the Socialist bandwagon. That way we can all pay a 75% flat tax on everything!

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    runninanreadin  over 11 years ago

    The sign COULD read “Hey, you give to the guitar and violin players. I play a bell!” (It’s worth a shot…lol)

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    freeholder1  over 11 years ago

    some things to note not mentioned.

    1) the very rich don’t live of income. they live off interest from investments. and businesses. Taxed differently. Sometimes, the right bonds, not taxed at all.

    2) the very rich Don’t put money from their cuts back into the economy. They put it into their accounts and live off the extra interest.

    3) Businesses see it as a sign of weakness if they are not cutting jobs, to “save” money. We had robots at our previous job that actually slowed down production because you could only run them at 80 to 85% rate or they d throw the parts out because their grippers weren’t made to handle the speed. Humans stand around waiting for them with their parts in hand. If the production cells were broken up, new people hired and rates set correctly, production would have increased by 20%. but humans cost you in insurance and other ways that robots don’t.so production stays stymied by inept invention and refusal to admit mistakes.

    I mention that because that defines our tax system as well. Mule headed leadership refuses to admit that a simplified system would level costs all around and the only reason we keep the thing is so the rich can cover their careful non-payment.

    4) the rich incorporate themselves and hide behind those shelters.

    The ones who make over 250,000 but less than a mill are the ones being hit hardest and paying the bulk. Those are largely independent businessmen or middle execs or 2 income families barely getting by because of the fronts they have to maintain to keep their positions. It is infact unfair to them as well.

    Fishstix and I don’t agree on much but a flat tax is one thing we do agree on.

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    DjGuardian  over 11 years ago

    Dishonest comic… and I have never said that of the non sequitur (and it’s my favorite strip). It is dishonest because the homeless guy doesn’t pay any taxes at all. It’s not that he pays and then gets more money back than what he paid in (like many people in the lower income brackets). Nope, he doesn’t even start paying.

    Yet, he gets tax payers to pay for his medical care every time he goes to the emergency room. He gets us to pay for his trips to jail. He gets us to hand him money for doing nothing but looking pitiful so that we feel better about ourselves for thinking we are helping someone - even though we are merely contributing to improper behaviors like spoiling a child.

    So like I said, dishonest comic and it’s a shame no one in the diatribe above me picked up on it. It’s a greater shame so many would rather rail about their own personal choice topic than the one at hand… and worse, so many do so equally as dishonest (at least intellectually) as this comic is.

    A shame.

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  21. Danae
    Wiley creator over 11 years ago

    It’s not a homeless guy.

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    Justice22  over 11 years ago

    Do you realize the bill giving healthcare to 9/11 first responders is being held up because the Republican Senators want a huge tax break for big industry to be included, while at the same time saying, “This must be paid for!”

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    Justice22  over 11 years ago

    ^ Sorry Mr. Miller.

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    Auslander47  over 11 years ago

    @freeholder1 Anyone can start a business and incorporate and get EXACTLY the same tax breaks as the “rich”.

    There are too many statistics floating around this discussion - that almost always means that everybody is lying about something. er… did I just say politicians are liars? Guess I did.

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    Auslander47  over 11 years ago

    @ Richard - I’d love to have to pay a million dollars in taxes >grin<

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    aaronb Premium Member over 11 years ago

    @freeholder1 – 2) the very rich Don’t put money from their cuts back into the economy. They put it into their accounts and live off the extra interest.

    Your second point is self-contradictory. Where do you think that interest comes from – the magic interest fairy? Banks have to earn that interest by investing that money in things like business loans, home loans, car loans, etc., all of which is good for the economy. I have never understood this idea that rich people stash all of their money in some black hole where it’s unavailable to the economy.

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    puddleglum1066  over 11 years ago

    Speaking of self-contradictions, I have a hard time with politicians who preach about the “Protestant Ethic” and the “value of good honest work,” but have as the centerpiece of their economic programs doing away with all taxes on income that was obtained without any labor at all–you know, inheritances (in which the only “work” you did was picking the correct parents), dividends and interest (where the only “work” you did was parking your money in the right place) and capital gains (where the only “work” involved sitting on your behind and watching the dough roll in). If they were self-consistent, these politicians would insist that the tax rate on un-earned income be at least as high as the rate on income that actually involved doing some work.

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    Barbaratoo  over 11 years ago

    Sigh…I’ve been reading comments for quite some time. Does ANYONE ever proof what they write? Sometimes it seems that many of the ones who “gripe” the most haven’t completed a simple high school education in English. I used to think that tax dollars were spent for education but obviously, I was wrong. Wiley, I loved this comic - period

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    whitecarabao  over 11 years ago

    Wiley, another great one!

    To all the tax debaters, How about using the IRS form 1040SuperEZ:

    Line 1: Enter the total of all income. Line 2: Enter total amount withheld. Line 3: Subtract line 2 from line 1. Send the amount in line 3 to the IRS

    (I don’t remember who it was that presented this in his comedy routine)

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    RadioTom  over 11 years ago

    I personally favor the tax rates we had during the Monroe Administration. And the repeal of the 16th Amendment, to make it REALLY permanent! Or at least as permanent as possible…

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    Dtroutma  over 11 years ago

    “Net taxable Income” is a little device that determines that many making very high GROSS incomes pay no more than those making marginal GROSS incomes- in fact, many making more at the start end up paying the same RATE or less than those “earning” much less.

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    Spyderred  over 11 years ago

    I hate to inject actual data into the above debate but … The amount of individual income taxes paid fell substantially in 2008, by $84 billion, and nationally, average income tax rates were at their lowest levels since 2004. The average tax rate for returns with a positive liability went from 12.68 percent in 2007 to 12.24 percent in 2008.

    As the data below show, incomes reported by tax returns at the high end of the income spectrum plummeted from 2007 to 2008, as did their share of the nation’s income and income taxes paid. In 2008, the top 1 percent of tax returns paid 38.0 percent of all federal individual income taxes and earned 20.0 percent of adjusted gross income, compared to 2007 when those figures were 40.4 percent and 22.8 percent, respectively. Both of those figures—share of income and share of taxes paid—were their lowest since 2004 when the top 1 percent earned 19 percent of adjusted gross income (AGI) and paid 36.9 percent of federal individual income taxes.

    Each year from 2005 to 2007, the top 1 percent’s constantly growing share of income earned and taxes paid set a record. That trend reversed in 2008. In fact, the income share for the top 1 percent of tax returns was lower in 2008 than in 2000, largely due to differences in capital gains.

    Another indicator of this reversal in the income and tax shares of the top 1 percent is that during 2007, the top 1 percent had actually paid more in federal income tax than the bottom 95 percent, a comparison that was much remarked on a year ago. But the diminished income of the top 1 percent in 2008 means that the comparison no longer holds. During 2008, the bottom 95 percent (AGI under $159,619) paid 41.3 percent of the total collected, a larger share than the 38.0 percent paid by the top 1 percent (AGI over $380,354).

    The top-earning 5 percent of taxpayers (AGI over $159,619), however, still paid far more than the bottom 95 percent. The top 5 percent earned 34.7 percent of the nation’s adjusted gross income, but paid approximately 58.7 percent of federal individual income taxes.

    For the past few years, the IRS has also been presenting data on a small subset of the top 1 percent, the top 0.1 percent (the top 10 percent of the top 1 percent). In 2008, this top 0.1 percent filed 140,000 tax returns, reporting nearly 10 percent of all adjusted gross income earned and paying approximately 18.5 percent of the nation’s federal individual income taxes. The average income for a tax return in the top 0.1 percent was $6.0 million in 2008, while the average amount of income tax paid was $1.36 million, indicating an average effective individual income tax rate of 22.7 percent. Both the income figures and tax figures for this group in 2008 were down significantly from 2007 levels. http://www.taxfoundation.org/news/show/250.html

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    cptvdo1  over 11 years ago

    go to a flat tax, and the lobbyists will be begging on the street corners

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    myopinion1234  over 11 years ago

    If you want to make your head hurt, add in all of the state/county/local sales taxes, property taxes, FCC fees, excise taxes, state income taxes, FICA (Social Security), Medicare, et al…..

    And for those who don’t know, you only pay half of your income tax. Your employer pays the other half as a payroll tax.

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    ccmills  over 11 years ago

    once again Wiley you promote a lively debate love it

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    bmonk  over 11 years ago

    lsherris said, about 9 hours ago

    Taxation is immoral. It is akin to slavery in which the government owns you and your labor. It doesn’t matter whether the tax rate is 30% or 90%; taxation should be abolished.

    Two things to note:

    In the good old USA, we chose to impose this government and its taxation on ourselves. Or bought into the social covenant when we stayed as adults. How does that make it slavery?

    In principle, taxation is to pay for the government services that serve us all. How much road can you build, or maintain? How about the internet? The justice system–as inefficient and as unjust as it might be, should we abolish it entirely? Clean water? Public education? We might argue details of what we should or should not fund, but if we want any public services, we will have to pay some sort of taxes or fees. Heck–even money itself, as we have it, is a government function, since private money proved to have certain problems.

    That said, we can also argue about how effective the taxes-to-services covenant works. Maybe the rate should be much lower. But try living in an anarchy, without taxation, and see how much of your wealth you get to enjoy, and for how long.

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    benbrilling  over 11 years ago

    Lower taxes for the rich will give them money to hire more workers. Servants, gardeners, caddies, lobbyists.

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    lindz.coop  over 11 years ago

    DjGuardian – Beg to differ – homeless folks DO pay taxes on anything they buy, use, etc. In addition, many of them work and also pay taxes on their income. Just because you’re homeless in the land of opportunity, doesn’t mean you don’t have a job – it just means it’s harder to keep said job because if your employer finds out, they’ll fire you. Check in with some of the folks who have recently lost their homes to foreclosure.

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    grimesgang  over 11 years ago

    The simplest tax form, and the one we are quickly waddling toward:

    Line 1: Enter your gross income.

    Line 2: Send it in.

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    lsherris  over 11 years ago

    @bmonk:

    “In the good old USA, we chose to impose this government and its taxation on ourselves. Or bought into the social covenant when we stayed as adults. How does that make it slavery?”

    Excuse me? I wasn’t there. I wasn’t consulted. This happened without my consent. If you enjoy paying taxes to the government that’s fine with me. I prefer to opt out. You can have your government as long as it respects my private property and leaves me alone.

    As far as government services are concerned they are quite inefficient and can better be provided for without coercion.

    For roads: http://mises.org/books/roads_web.pdf For defense: http://mises.org/books/defensemyth.pdf

    I prefer my water not be poisoned with fluoride. Of course that’s not an option with municipal water systems.

    Although the internet was invented by government as a weapons system. It has been co-opted for peaceful private use. Its function does not depend upon government although governments certainly would like to cripple it. Governments depend upon the ignorance of its citizens.

    Public education is horrible. It succeeds in its main function of propagandizing young people to support government. Obviously it failed miserably with me.

    I argue that government is always evil. It is impossible to control. The Constitution was a huge failure precisely because from the beginning of this country people have used government to foster their own private ends at the expense of the majority of citizens.

    I would love to live in anarchy. A private police/security system would protect me much better than our present group of doughnut eaters. For some reason I feel much safer walking around Disney World at night than walking around Central Park.

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  41. I am 60
    Barbaratoo  over 11 years ago

    So go live in anarchy. As people always say, “America, love it or leave it!” Go ahead, Isherris, leave. What’s stopping you?

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    lsherris  over 11 years ago

    @Barbaratoo

    Oh I love America. I hate its totalitarian government. I will do everything I can to save America from its government.

    @exoticdoc2

    Anarchy is the only answer for a crappy intrusive government. All other solutions are temporary since all governments tend toward the crappy and intrusive. Read some Murray Rothbard, for example: https://mises.org/books/powermarket.pdf

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  43. Rothbard thumb
    lsherris  over 11 years ago

    @exoticdoc2

    Let us disagree intelligently. I would be interested in historical examples of anarchy leading to death and destruction. Historians often distort the truth. For example, Hoover is accused of being laissez-faire when in fact he was guilty of massive intervention in the economy.

    In “Death By Government” R.J. Rummel estimates close to 170 million people were murdered by their governments in the 20th century. This does not count soldiers killed during wars. Really, how much worse could anarchy be?

    We both agree that government is evil. Our disagreement is over its necessity. I have heard it said that 90% of the population are peaceful, ethical and honorable. This 90% would function quite well without government supervision.

    The problem is the other 10% which is comprised of sociopaths. Certainly an anarchic society would need protection from these people. A private protection service and/or insurance company could provide this protection much more efficiently than government.

    The problem is government attracts the sociopaths in society. The less intelligent end up as criminals or in security (police, TSA, etc.) The more intelligent end up in politics, law, lobbying and corporations which depend on government largess for their existence; think GE; Goldman Sachs; GM; etc.

    Don’t believe the propaganda you’ve been fed your entire life. The slave is led to believe that without the benevolence of his master he would starve and freeze to death. The taxpayer is led to believe that without government he would live in a dog-eat-dog world of violence and poverty. In truth, the more money and power the government steals, the lower our standard of living.

    More (eloquent) information is available at:

    www.mises.org www.lewrockwell.com

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    lsherris  over 11 years ago

    @exoticdoc2,

    I’m going to need a better example. Haiti, of course, is an extremely poor country. The reason it is so poor is that its government, by not recognizing and enforcing private property rights, prevented capital accumulation. When the disaster struck people were too poor to help themselves.

    That said, I am not sure that Haiti existed in a state of anarchy. The government may have been impotent, but soldiers still bossed people around. Foreign soldiers and rescue workers bossed people around. People who live as virtual slaves do not know how to take care of themselves.

    Let’s look at Katrina and its aftermath. The poor people trapped in and around New Orleans did not fare much better than those in Haiti. We didn’t have anarchy; we had government officials preventing private individuals from helping in the rescue. Rescue boaters were turned away. Walmart trucks with water were turned away. Government officials actively prevented people from evacuating the devastated area. From what I have heard, if you survived the initial disaster, you were better off in Haiti.

    Human nature being what it is we tend to degenerate into government. Let’s look at a Biblical government. The Israelites prospered under the freedom they enjoyed with the system of Judges, which was very close to anarchy. The Israelites wanted a King. Samuel warned them they would be forced into virtual slavery if they had a king. Their children would be conscripted and their best fields taken from them. Saul was made king. He overstepped his authority. Samuel’s predictions came true. Government significantly lowered the standard of living compared to anarchy.

    People are afraid to be free. At the beginning of the middle ages serfdom started because free peasants sold themselves and their lands to the lords for protection. We are now giving up our freedoms and selling ourselves into government slavery for the same reason.

    People speak of degenerating into anarchy because they have been brainwashed by government schools to worship everything government. I smell the roses. I just don’t like the stench coming from Washington.

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    lsherris  over 11 years ago

    Now we’re making progress.

    “They were no longer acting for the government, but for themselves, just as all anarchy will eventually degenerate to, the strong dominating the weak.”

    Actually you are describing government. The concept of good government is an oxymoron. Politicians, bureaucrats, police, soldiers are always out for themselves. Of course everyone is looking out for himself. In a free market that is a good thing because the best way to look out for yourself is to serve your customer and make a profit. In government, the best way to look out for yourself is get paid off or at least follow bureaucratic rules and stay out of trouble.

    When we are discussing anarchy I mean a system of anarcho-capitalism in which people voluntarily participate in free markets. The free market is a much better regulator than government could ever be. Companies that cheat their customers would be boycotted. In our system, companies that cheat their customers pay off lobbyists and get subsidies, patents, or other special favors.

    Keeping government on a leash is like trying to keep a pet tiger on a leash. He’ll let you know who’s boss very quickly.

    I appreciate your disdain for Obamanation. However, I do not think the Republicans have the answer. When they have been in power government has grown as much as with the Democrats. We will not eliminate the welfare state unless we also eliminate the warfare state.

    The way to limit government is to take away its checkbook. We must eliminate fractional reserve banking (phony money) and replace it with a commodity standard such as gold or silver. Just eliminate the legal tender laws and the market will do the rest. Eliminate the Federal Reserve so banks who attempt unsound practices will go broke.

    You have so much faith in government. Police generally are much more concerned with their own safety than with the safety of citizens. I would feel much safer being protected by a private security service than by the police.

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  46. Rothbard thumb
    lsherris  over 11 years ago

    Merry Christmas.

    “True anarchy is no control whatsoever, no rules or regulations, which humans require.”

    True anarchy means no government; it does not mean no rules or controls. As I said, the free market and the fabric of society control human behavior much more effectively than government.

    As it turns out, I am in the medical field too. Maybe my nickname should have been disgruntleddoc. I am not aware that supplements are more unreliable than drugs. Perhaps that is a different perception of reality.

    If, by reliable, you mean the pill actually contains what it says, then by and large you are correct. I get my supplements from companies that follow pharmaceutical GMP practices. I believe those supplements are as reliable as FDA approved drugs.

    However, if by reliable you mean that in general FDA approved drugs are preferable to supplements for improving health I would disagree. I also believe the FDA is responsible for much needless suffering and death.

    This is an entire discussion in itself. If the FDA were abolished and the government completely got out of the regulation and financing of medicine (no licensing, no Medicare, no health insurance regulation, no hospital regulation or CONs, etc) the quality of medical care would soar. People would have more choices. Innovation would no longer be stifled, and best of all, the costs would plummet.

    The FDA makes decisions based on the needs of big Pharma. If drug patents were eliminated along with the FDA we would see innovation, new drugs, and less expensive drugs. Patents do not spur on research; quite the opposite. Patents inhibit researchers who do not bother exploring some options for fear of impinging on someone else’s patent.

    Regarding intellectual property in general, you cannot own an idea. For example I can own my pen. You may not steal it. However, if you like my pen and buy one or make one like it I cannot own the idea of a pen and stop you. Government uses patents as a way of awarding monopolies. It is costly and generally unfair. See: http://mises.org/books/against.pdf http://levine.sscnet.ucla.edu/papers/imbookfinalall.pdf

    This discussion has been fun. I think it is going to take more than my say so to change your mind. If you have time please look at some of the references I’ve posted.

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