Posted by: theoptimisticconservative | March 6, 2012

It’s the big government, stupid

The frustration of conservatives and other GOP voters about the giant red herring of “contraception” is palpable.  For crying out loud, can’t we stop talking about this?  We’ve got a terrible economy, a soaring national debt, gas prices and consumer-goods inflation on a tear, an Iranian nuclear-weaponization problem, a world increasingly in turmoil around us, and regulatory overreach of colossal proportions within our borders – and we’re talking about contraception??  How do we stop this?

The answer is, We can’t.  Not in the context of current government.  We bought into this mode of political discourse decades ago, when we decided it was a good idea to set up federal regulatory agencies and unleash them on every aspect of our lives.   When the federal government is empowered by its regulatory charter to take sides on the issue of contraception, then contraception is something we have to talk about.

Anything the people don’t agree on becomes a government issue, if government is chartered to take actions of any sort that imply an opinion on it.  This creates enough problems when the government in question is local.  But when the government in question is the federal government, the implied outcome, no matter what the issue, is a “national policy” on the matter.  As certain rights are enshrined in the first ten amendments to the US Constitution, so advocates wish to enshrine others in federal mandates.

This process is bound to come in conflict with the original concept of American rights, as it has lately done with contraception (a technology-accelerated social factor in today’s America) and religious liberty (a First Amendment right).  And as we might expect, virtually all pundits on the right are reiterating that the issue with contraception and the universal mandate is religious liberty.

But that is only half the picture, and it is fatal – I mean that word seriously, in terms of the survival of our national idea – to speak only of religious liberty, as if it is a disembodied right that can coexist with any size of government.  Catholic objections to funding contraception with mandated insurance premiums are the canary in the coal mine; the real, underlying problem is government so big that it goes around forcing us to do one thing and not another on an expanding host of matters.

The problem is big government.  That cannot be said often enough.  The problem is that we have chartered the US federal government to, in effect, have an opinion on your contraception, Sarah Fluke’s, and that used or not used by Catholics.  When government is forcing us to do things with our money, property, and speech that we otherwise would not do, of course we have to talk about that.  But again, it’s not just an issue of religious liberty.  It’s an issue of the size of government.

That covers liberties of all kinds.  Some conservative writers have been leery of presenting the contraception mandate as a general “liberty of conscience” issue, apparently on the theory that religious liberty is a stronger argument and easier ground to hold.  But that posture itself accepts the premise of government so big that it interferes with the individual conscience on more and more issues.  If organized religious organizations are exempt because of conscience, why shouldn’t individuals be?  How you answer that question is exact information as to how big and intrusive you are satisfied with government being.

The more outcomes you insist on trying to control, the bigger government gets.  America was set up for this day 70 years ago when the federal government used wage controls and tax incentives to induce employers to provide medical insurance.  Other factors from decades back include the creation of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare under Eisenhower (it became Health and Human Services in 1979); Johnson’s “War on Poverty” legislation, which provided contraception to low-income women and mandated that at least 6% of federal funding for maternal and child care go to “family planning”; and Nixon’s health industry reforms in the early 1970s, which enlarged federal oversight of private insurance plans and advantaged then-nascent HMOs over true “insurance.”

It is not possible and it will never be possible to grow government every decade, hand more and more things over to it for supervision, and expect to keep our liberties intact.  If government is big enough to declare that objections to contraception are meaningless and that government ought to force private individuals to fund it, there will be a constituency for that.  If it is big enough to preach opinions on sex to other people’s minor children, there will be a constituency for that.  If it is big enough to make the use of salt illegal in restaurant cooking, there will be a constituency for that.  And if government is big enough to suppress dissent by restricting access to the airwaves and internet servers – or increasing the cost of it until individuals and small organizations can no longer afford to use it as an effective vehicle for dissenting opinion – there will be a constituency for that.  There will be a constituency for everything we let government be big enough to do.

We have put together a government this big by incremental steps, and for reasons that were often emotional at the time.  But the future was always foreseeable.  Politicians and pundits predicted as much as 100 years ago that we could not let government take over more and more things, regulate them, and prescribe levels of contribution from us on an invidious basis, without seeing compromised our liberties of thought, speech, and discretion over our livelihoods.  They were right, and those who made fun of them were wrong.  That remains the case today.

The problem isn’t social conservatives.  The problem isn’t social liberals.  The problem is big government.

J.E. Dyer’s articles have appeared at Hot Air’s Green Room, Commentary’s “contentions,Patheos, and The Weekly Standard online.


Responses

  1. Why would democrats and the liberal media want to discuss “a terrible economy, a soaring national debt, gas prices and consumer-goods inflation on a tear, an Iranian nuclear-weaponization problem, a world increasingly in turmoil around us, and regulatory overreach of colossal proportions within our borders“?

    It’s called seizing the narrative, changing the subject to a subject which you believe favors your side. Of course, this really being about religious freedom, it’s a two-edged sword, which perhaps demonstrates just how desperate the other side feels.

    All conservatives and republicans need do is say, “oh, so you want to talk about public financing of contraception while denying the religious freedom aspect instead of talking about “a terrible economy, a soaring national debt, gas prices and consumer-goods inflation on a tear, an Iranian nuclear-weaponization problem, a world increasingly in turmoil around us, and regulatory overreach of colossal proportions within our borders“? Ok, how honest is that? If you don’t want to talk about the important issues that Obama is failing to address and, you want to mischaracterize the issue you do want to address…then why should anyone trust you?”

    Then just walk away…

    • Should be “forced private” instead of “public” financing of contraception…

  2. The right has become so confused that too many of us really don’t see what has to be talked about. In the expression “contraception mandate,” the problem for every aspect of our future lies with the word “mandate.”

    We can’t actually refuse to talk about that, nor should we want to.

    We can’t fix anything else if we don’t reverse the penchant of the federal government for mandates of this kind. There is no such thing as improving America’s future without dealing with the “mandate” issue.

    The central problem, the one that will destroy everything else, is government being big enough to levy the kind of mandate represented by the universal contraception-insurance mandate. Nothing we care about can survive the silent endorsement of such mandates.

    The problem is big government. We HAVE to talk about it.

    • Any issue should be open to discussion and debate. The liberal obsession with the contraception issue however is an attempt to change the discussion from an examination of Obama’s record and the veracity of his policies.

      In addition, the subject of ‘mandates’ is one in which almost 50% of the American public approve…as long as someone else is paying for those mandates.

      The whipping boy being ‘the rich’ of course.

      The facts however reveal that as a category, the rich pay more than their fair share of taxes, so the underlying motivation of suggesting that they pay less than their fair share is one of envy and jealousy.

      That and class division in order to maintain an attitude of entitlement.

      The dems and liberal media claim that the rich aren’t paying their fair share, ignoring that production by the rich is taxed three to four times. Business income tax, personal income tax, and short and long term gain taxes.

  3. “The problem isn’t social conservatives. The problem isn’t social liberals. The problem is big government.”

    It’s social liberalism that has and is driving the expansion of big government. Left on their own, social conservatives would settle for a far smaller government. Even RINO’s, for the most part, go along with the liberal narrative, rather than pushing for ever more regulation.

    The ‘cart’ may be big government but the ‘donkey’ pulling it is social liberalism.

    Elephants don’t pull carts😉

    • I agree, GB, that the social liberals are the ones pushing for bigger government. No question about that. The point conservatives need to hammer home is that we wouldn’t be talking about 98% of the stuff we have to talk about as political issues now if government stayed out of them.

      Most Americans have used contraception at some point, but that doesn’t mean most Americans think Catholic organizations should have to pay for it for their employees. Take out the universal mandate — big government — and we don’t even have to argue among ourselves about the issue.

      There was a time when people over much of the earth were superstitious about taking a bath too often. Reiterating simple truths has gotten more and more people to change their minds. We need never despair of making headway with the human mind, but we do have to keep our message and priorities straight.

    • Conservative stars John Kyl and Bill Frist were happy to push legislation illegalizing internet gambling. The so-called conservatives are just as happy with government intrusion as the socialists, as long as it’s the kind of intrusion they favor. The problem is government, period. But homo sapiens americanus doesn’t see it that way. The priorities of the last two generations of Americans are security, comfort, convenience and entertainment, in that order. Freedom probably doesn’t make the top ten. As long as government seems as though it’s supplying the big four, even at the cost of half of everyone’s income, it’s all good. Fortunately, it can’t go on forever. There just isn’t enough wealth.

      • I agree that Kyl and Frist pushed for something that improperly infringes on liberty.

        I note, however, that there is a difference in method and intent between the left and the right. The right tends to propose using law, as law works and for the purposes of law, for the wrong reasons. The right tends to want to outlaw and punish thngs.

        The left, on the other hand, invariably proposes to work less through positive law than through mandates, lawsuits, judicial rulings, and the literal enlargement of government as a factor in our lives. You can avoid the punishments proposed for internet gambling by not gambling over the internet. The only way to avoid the universal “insurance”-purchase mandate in Obamacare — unless you’re Amish — is to be indigent, illegal, or dead.

      • There’s another difference between the left and right’s approach to government and its proper relation to regulation.

        The left consists of the radical left and liberals; Stalin’s “useful idiots”. The liberals for the most part are wide open to the manipulation and disingenuousness of the radical left, which is why of course, Stalin labeled them as he did…the liberal impulse, which is the impulse of compassion divorced from reason is easily led astray by the radical left, who use liberals to further the goal of the enlightened, entitled elite ruling over everyone. “There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters.” – Daniel Webster

        On the right, for every social conservative who wishes to use government and law to regulate morality, there is a social conservative of the libertarian view, who views morality as no ones business but their own; “Sin lies only in hurting others unnecessarily. All other ‘sins’ are invented nonsense.” Robert A. Heinlein

        The difference between the left and right when it comes to regulation, law and government is profound.

        The rights’ transgressions are easily resisted and corrected with a high barrier to social consensus.

        The left welcomes ‘big brother’ in the guise of the ‘nanny state’, easy victims to the nanny states’ inevitable consequence of tyranny and oppression. “Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive.” C.S. Lewis

        “Concentrated power is not rendered harmless by the good intentions of those who create it.” — “Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself.” Dr. Milton Friedman

    • Elephants don’t pull carts ———

      I used to ride elephants all the time, Geoffrey…..part of a Bronx boyhood.

      • Fuster…

        Since when is riding an elephant, the same thing as one pulling a cart? Where elephants amenable to pulling a cart, given their greater strength, they would have been adapted to that task long ago. So the analogy stands on its own.

        Rhetorical question; Am I detecting a noted lack of substantive rebuttal, as of late?

      • Just clicked on your link. OK, elephants can be trained to pull a cart, which just begs the question, why wasn’t it common practice? Whereas the use of horses, oxen and donkeys was widespread.

        • GB,

          Maybe it has to do with what comes out of that end of the elephant, the altitude, and the instant speed bump that it presents.

          My dad plowed fields with draft horses when he was young. He said there is a reason for plows’ hitches to be long, and after hours behind one he came to understand why wagons and buggies were tall.

          You were working with Fuster. and the thought occurred. I wonder why?

          -John

          • because I remind you of your dad, no doubt…….all tiny and green and fun-loving

        • ——- why wasn’t it common practice?—————-

          Oh Geoffrey……really……

          the next time you go to the gas station to fill the gas tank on your tank, stop at the pet store to pick up a week’s worth of Purina Elephant Chow……..

          see which fill-up is the more costly…….

          BTW, is your elephant one of those native to Britain or is it one of the famous Oklahoma elephants?

  4. Peter Sloterdijk
    The Grasping Hand
    The modern democratic state pillages its productive citizens.
    Winter 2010
    To assess the unprecedented scale that the modern democratic state has attained in Europe, it is useful to recall the historical kinship between two movements that emerged at its birth: classical liberalism and anarchism. Both were motivated by the mistaken hypothesis that the world was heading toward an era of the weakening of the state. While liberalism wanted a minimal state that would guide citizens almost imperceptibly, leaving them to go about their business in peace, anarchism called for the total death of the state. Behind these two movements was a hope typical of the European nineteenth century: that man’s plunder of man would soon come to an end. In the first case, this would result from the elimination of exploitation by unproductive classes, that is, the nobility and the clergy. In the second case, the key was to reorganize traditional social classes into little groups that would consume what they produced. But the political history of the twentieth century, and not just in its totalitarian extremes, proved unkind to both classical liberalism and anarchism. The modern democratic state gradually transformed into the debtor state, within the space of a century metastasizing into a colossal monster—one that breathes and spits out money.

    This metamorphosis has resulted, above all, from a prodigious enlargement of the tax base—most notably, with the introduction of the progressive income tax. This tax is the functional equivalent of socialist expropriation. It offers the remarkable advantage of being annually renewable—at least, in the case of those it has not bled dry the previous year. (To appreciate the current tolerance of well-off citizens, recall that when the very first income tax was levied in England, at the rate of 5 percent, Queen Victoria worried that it might have exceeded acceptable limits. Since that day, we have become accustomed to the fact that a handful of productive citizens provide more than half of national income-tax revenues.)

    When this levy is combined with a long list of other fees and taxes, which target consumers most of all, this is the surprising result: each year, modern states claim half the economic proceeds of their productive classes and pass them on to tax collectors, and yet these productive classes do not attempt to remedy their situation with the most obvious reaction: an antitax civil rebellion. This submissiveness is a political tour de force that would have made a king’s finance minister swoon.

    With these considerations in mind, we can see that the question that many European observers are asking during the current economic crisis—“Does capitalism have a future?”—is the wrong one. In fact, we do not live in a capitalist system but under a form of semi-socialism that Europeans tactfully refer to as a “social market economy.” The grasping hand of government releases its takings mainly for the ostensible public interest, funding Sisyphean tasks in the name of “social justice.”

    Thus, the direct and selfish exploitation of a feudal era has been transformed in the modern age into a juridically constrained and almost disinterested state kleptocracy. Today, a finance minister is a Robin Hood who has sworn a constitutional oath. The capacity that characterizes the Treasury, to seize with a perfectly clear conscience, is justified in theory as well as in practice by the state’s undeniable utility in maintaining social peace—not to mention all the other benefits it hands out. (In all this, corruption remains a limited factor. To test this statement, it suffices to think of the situation in post-Communist Russia, where an ordinary party man like Vladimir Putin has been able, in just a few years as head of state, to amass a personal fortune of more than $20 billion.) Free-market observers of this kleptocratic monster do well to call attention to its dangers: overregulation, which impedes entrepreneurial energy; overtaxation, which punishes success; and excessive debt, the result of budgetary rigor giving way to speculative frivolity.

    Free-market authors have also shown how the current situation turns the traditional meaning of exploitation upside down. In an earlier day, the rich lived at the expense of the poor, directly and unequivocally; in a modern economy, unproductive citizens increasingly live at the expense of productive ones—though in an equivocal way, since they are told, and believe, that they are disadvantaged and deserve more still. Today, in fact, a good half of the population of every modern nation is made up of people with little or no income, who are exempt from taxes and live, to a large extent, off the other half of the population, which pays taxes. If such a situation were to be radicalized, it could give rise to massive social conflict. The eminently plausible free-market thesis of exploitation by the unproductive would then have prevailed over the much less promising socialist thesis of the exploitation of labor by capital. This reversal would imply the coming of a post-democratic age.

    At present, the main danger to the future of the system involves the growing indebtedness of states intoxicated by Keynesianism. Discreetly and ineluctably, we are heading toward a situation in which debtors will once again dispossess their creditors—as has so often happened in the history of taxation, from the era of the pharaohs to the monetary reforms of the twentieth century. What is new is the gargantuan scale of public debt. Mortgaging, insolvency, monetary reform, or inflation—no matter, the next great expropriations are under way. Today, the state’s grasping hand even reaches into the pockets of generations unborn. We have already written the title of the next chapter of our history: “The pillage of the future by the present.”

    Peter Sloterdijk is a German philosopher; his article was translated by Alexis Cornel

    • “each year, modern states claim half [and even more of] the economic proceeds of their productive classes and pass them on to tax collectors”

      As that doesn’t include the death tax, inheritance taxes, estate taxes, probate taxes and gambling’s 50% tax…

      “we are heading toward a situation in which debtors will once again dispossess their creditors”

      Which shall inevitably and inescapably lead to fiscal collapse and sovereign bankruptcy. The last time something like this happened (though for somewhat different reasons) was perhaps during the French revolution of 1889, which historians tell us was particularly nasty and brutal. Only this time Virtually every Western Democratic Government is insolvent.

  5. Ron Paul is the only authentic small government candidate and even Dyer probably supported and supports “big government” throwing away lives and dollars in Iraq Afghanistan, foreign aid to Israel, probable war on Iran etc etc.

  6. horrible, simply horrible…..
    where’s the proper respect?

    dead people should be buried with all their possessions and servants to insure a comfortable afterlife.

    taxing them is against the desires of the gods.

    • Upon your passing, what right do I have to take what you’ve spent a lifetime earning? Clearly none.

      Would it be different if a tribe of, say 150 people, took what you had spent your life accumulating? I think not.

      So the only rationale is that the ‘group’ is large enough to comprise a ‘society’ and has the legislative power to compel compliance.

      That’s not a rationale, that’s the power of the mob saying, “because we can…”

      Try making a substantive argument in favor of your position rather than mere dismissive rhetoric implying greed as the sole motive.

      “Property is surely a right of mankind as real as liberty.”
      “Property must be secured, or liberty cannot exist.”
      “The moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the law of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence. John Adams

      • Government, big or small, needs a certain amount of revenue. The estate tax reduces the amount of money that needs to be taken from the current income of the living. (Unless you can demonstrate that a dollar of estate tax is more of a burden on the economy than a dollar of income tax.)

        Big government has an unfair advantage: You can’t buy people’s votes by saying the government can’t help you. And it is easier to raise campaign contributions with the underlying threat of oppressive government regulation or the promise of a generous government handout.

        • “The estate tax reduces the amount of money that needs to be taken from the current income of the living. “

          That’s true but in no way provides a rationale for how government seizes that money other than the explanation of, “because we can”…

          Had I the power, I would not be justified in taking 1/2 of another’s inheritance, how does the mob acquire that ‘right’?

          To assert that ‘quantity alone’ confers that right is to assert that ‘might makes right’, which is to return to the law of the jungle and in principal, abandon the rule of law.

          • Geoffrey—– have you figured out a way that a government of a nation of more than 300 million can operate without taxing the citizenry……..

            Has anybody offered to donate an aircraft carrier and outfit it with those darling little airplanes?

            • The issue isn’t the need to fund the government, the issue is to do it in a principled manner consistent with the Constitution.

              More than 50% of government revenues go to entitlement programs. It is undeniable that Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are the primary drivers of the national deficit. There are other factors of course, such as the excessive regulation that J.E. so compellingly illustrates but the ‘big 3’ form the bulk of the increase in deficit spending.

              There are serious proposals for reform, most notably by Rep. Paul Ryan and the Heritage Foundation. Neither proposal is being looked at in a serious manner by a bi-partisan commission of Congressmen or by the Administration. This is a failure of leadership by both sides but the President does have the bully pulpit and he is the single individual most responsible for leadership on important issues.

              The ‘lack of concern’ is due to the correct assessment that political compromise is unachievable at this time. Democrats refuse to countenance even partial privatization of Social security. Republicans point to Europe as evidence that socialism doesn’t work, so without cutting the budget are unwilling to talk about ‘targeted’ tax increases.

              And, it so happens that I have figured out how to operate the government without taxes. Yes, I’m serious, see: Balance the Budget AND Eliminate the Debt! My proposal uses compound interest, time, fiscal discipline and a public trust fund to eliminate income taxes. All it requires is consensus, strict fiscal disciple by both party’s and, of all things, Al Gore’s “lock box”…

              • and how is collecting taxes upon the estates of dead and formerly wealthy people not consistent with the Constitution?

                seems to me that it’s not only 1001% constitutional but simply a good idea……

                and it matters little to the merits of considering estate taxes as to whether the govt uses it to fund school lunches for kids or health benefit entitlement programs for superannuated and retired military officers.

                separate argument once we accept that govt must exist and must be funded

  7. Yup. You gang just can’t stop talking about it. But don’t blame the government, please. Santorum put both feet into this particular mire because he thought he would gain kudos with the fundamentalists who seem to have hijacked the Republican Party. Unfortunately for him and his party it backfired spectacularly because all he succeeded in doing was to raise the specter of big Santorum government coming to a bedroom near yours and mine in the infinitisimally unlikely event of Picky Ricky winning in November.

    Bad judgment, Rick. Having finally gotten big government out of our bedrooms we aren’t really in a mood to risk allowing the religious fundamentalists the opportunity to decide how we’re to conduct our private lives again. Double bad judgment, Rick. You thought you could profit by jumping on the bandwagon in the row between a faction in the Roman Catholic Hierarchy and the Administration manufactured by the rightwing media. Problem is, Rick, the electorate saw right through it, and after the Catholic Hierarchy realized they didn’t even represent the views of Catholics, they quickly sued for peace on a fig-leaf. You see, ordinary Americans – Catholics included – recognized that the real issue of “religious freedom” was the right of individuals not to have their priests legislate for them, and that it ‘s for the individual to decide whether he or she will or will not avail of any particular part of their health-cover. Am I to presume that under big Santorum government Jehovas Witnesses will be able to dictate to the employees of JW institutions that blood-transfusions won’t be provided by their health insurers? And is Righteous Rick proposing that the next time the Catholic Hierarchy decide a war is unjustified that provision will be made for Catholics to withold a portion of their taxes on grounds of conscience? Or is this only a sex thing?

    You can bet on one thing. The electorate doesn’t ever want the return of Big prying Government of the sort that Righteous Rick and the ayatollahas of the religious right are so keen to bring back. As for the role of government generally: Isn’t is just possible that the sort of government that was perfectly adequate for the pastoral society of the founding-fathers in which people usually lived their lives and died within the one parish, might be a little on the slim side in our enormous, largely urbanized, military-industrial nation?

    No, guys, government isn’t a big conspiracy. It is the product of the legislative choices made by our electorate within the framework of our wonderful Constitution.

    To change the subject slightly. I worry for the Republican Party and where it is going. The saying (can’t remember which of the ancient Greeks this saying is attributable to) “Those whom the gods wish to destroy they first make mad” comes to mind. None of the present shower is likely to beat Obama. As the internecine hate-fest continues into the summer things are likely to get even worse as the candidates thrash each other’s credibility and they push each other further and further away from the centre in order to pander to the coalition of extremists who have hijacked their party. If Romney is chosen, and is defeated by Obama in November (as is probable), the nutters will probably blame it on their Party not being sufficiently extreme. If Santorum gets the nod, his defeat might well have the effect of galvanizing the decent center of the party to throw out the loonys and restore samity and electability. An interesting few months awaits.

  8. A veritable ‘Gordian knot’ of false premises which lead to invalid conclusions;
    Fundamentalists haven’t hijacked the Republican Party, conclusively demonstrated by the majorities choice of Romney over Santorum.

    It’s not a ‘faction’ in the Roman Catholic Hierarchy that objects to contraception it’s a fundamental theological tenet. The Administration
    manufactured the issue by attempting to restrict religious freedom in order to promote institutional financing of contraception. The rightwing media is characterizing the issue correctly and the MSM is ignoring and denying the issue in order to promote their agenda and fulfill their role as the propaganda organ of the left.

    “Religious freedom” includes far more than the right of individuals not to have their priests legislate for them. The issue is whether its constitutional for the government to compel religious institutions to violate their own religious tenets because liberals want social consensus to decide of what health-coverage shall consist.

    Blood-transfusions, when needed are a life saving measure, contraception is only needed when people make the choice to have sex and wish to avoid consequence. It’s perfectly reasonable to not want to get pregnant but its a choice not a life saving procedure.

    The Supreme Court ruled long ago that no one may withold a portion of their taxes on grounds of conscience. It’s readily accepted by nearly everyone.

    Santorum has made no indication that he wishes to see the return of “Big prying Government” that’s your paranoia labeling anyone who expresses strong religious views and moral outrage at the state of the country as seeking theological tyranny.

    No one’s suggesting we return to the founding fathers size of government. Just that what government we have be proportional to a free people. The nanny state you promote is anti-freedom by its very nature.

    The legislative choices made by our electorate are being made under false pretenses. “You must vote for the bill to see what’s in it”.

    Democrats exhibit contempt for “our wonderful Constitution” whenever that Constitution restricts the implementation of their agenda. That’s called being a ‘fair weather friend’.

    “I worry for the Republican Party and where it is going”
    Really? Not once have I seen you acknowledge a point, much less admit that a conservative point of view had merit.

    There is no “coalition of extremists” who have hijacked the Republican party again, Romney’s coming nomination proves that. But the radical left has hijacked the party of Scoop Jackson, JFK, Patrick Moynahan, et al. and the nomination of the most extreme left candidate in history, Barrack Obama proves that.

    Once again you falsely accuse conservatives of what your side is guilty of, one more stain of sin (bearing false witness) upon your soul.

    One wonders if it ever occurs to the intellectually dishonest that their need for lies, distortions and intentional mischaracterizations is prima facie evidence that they reside on the wrong side of the argument?

    If not, it indicates willful obtuseness, if so, intentional malice. So, Paulite t are you a fool or a knave?

  9. “To change the subject slightly. I worry for the Republican Party and where it is going.”
    _______________________________

    Don’t you just love the concern these intellectual midgets have for the hated opposition? But it must be true, if there wasn’t anyone to demonize, they’d be solely responsible for all the political and economic misadventures. The Stalinists, beneficiaries of a one-party police state, had to create the “wreckers” that threw sand in the gears of all their good intentions. Since there was only one party making the decisions, when things went wrong the party had to be purged of reactionary elements. Fortunately for the progressives, they have an opposition that can take the blame for failed policies. Both parties need each other to keep the charade in operation. We can’t have just one party, but neither can we have three, that wouldn’t fit the dialectic.

  10. Saw great bumper-sticker:

    “Romney passed the maths but failed chemistry”

  11. About the “death tax”–it is a tax on the dead person’s possessions, but it is paid by live people, the heirs of the deceased. The argument that this is a tax that doesn’t affect the living is wrong; ask any child of a farmer, fisherman, small business owner who wishes to continue his parent’s business.

    • Margo—- we pretty much assume that anyone who responds to an IRS notice is a living person………..just like the the undertakers assume that i’s not the guy in the box that’s gonna pay for the funeral.

      the point is that it’s not in any way, shape or form unfitting, unseemly or unconstitutional to tax inheritances of seven-figure chunks of change and property……sure, it might somewhere down the line discomfort the nobility and lead to young lords and ladies having to reduce the number of retainers or possibly even take up a —gasp—- profession.

      • “it’s not in any way, shape or form unfitting, unseemly or unconstitutional to tax inheritances of seven-figure chunks of change and property”

        Would it be unconstitutional to tax 3-figure ‘chunks of change’? 2 figure? One figure? If not, then essentially you’re saying the mob can vote to take whatever they please. Which is just mass tyranny. If it is unconstitutional to at some point tax inheritance, then please explain what the difference is between what is constitutional and what is not.

        I’m betting it boils down to, “lets just soak the rich because we can….” The ‘tell’ is the “young lords and ladies having to reduce the number of retainers or possibly even take up a —gasp—- profession” comment. Really envious aren’t we? Jealousy is such an ugly emotion…

        “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbor’s.” Tenth Commandment

        And since lack of substantive rebuttal seems to be the norm on your side of the aisle, along with simply ignoring logical objections and then later acting as if the points were never made, lets just stipulate that if you don’t respond substantively, (see above points) then you’ve conceded the debate.

    • Do you rely more on your own earnings for your expenses of living, or are you relying on inheriting property from a wealthy relative? (As fuster mentioned, estate taxes do not affect small estates.)

      You can argue it is unfair to tax property that you have worked hard to accumulate, but is the tax on accumulated wealth any worse than the tax on annual earnings?

      For the record, I dislike both taxes, but I recognize that we can’t get rid of taxes entirely.

  12. So are we doing this to raise money to fund necessary government services, or to keep young lords and ladies usefully employed?

    Remember that all these seven figures have been taxed first when they were earned, taxed when purchased (hard goods), taxed as property, and taxed when they were invested and earned interest or dividends or capital gains. So yes, I think this is worse than the tax on annual earnings.

    I favor the Tea Party signs that read, Taxed Enolugh Already.

    • “We can never tax you enough, as long as you have more than I”

    • No, Margo. I think your bit of class warfare got it backwards.

      The stonking rich Republican elites don’t want to fund public education because their kids don’t need it or use it. These little princes and princesses can get into ivy-league colleges, not on merit, but because mommy and daddy can afford to endow their private college with buckets of money. And then when they graduate they go into the family hedge fund where they can play boss to the mugs from the underfunded public system.

      • Ah! More Ten Commandment coveting…

        There’s just as many rich liberals who pay lip service to liberal memes but limit their money to themselves and engage in the very actions you denigrate. Limiting your criticism to “stonking rich Republican elites” is intellectual dishonesty.

        If you have the right of it, why lie? Lie; “To knowingly tell an untruth” as in, telling only the part of the truth that supports your agenda.

  13. There seems to be a tendency around these parts to assume anything that the writer doesn’t agree with is “unconstitutional”.

    Most ordinary Americans who lack the insight of these people falsely believe that the Supreme Court decides issues of constitutionality. But of course, these people know much better. The Supreme Court itself is PART OF THE BIG LIBERAL CONSPIRACY TO SUBVERT THE CONSTITUTION.

    • When Ruth Bader Ginsburg speaks about deference to international legal norms, she’s circumventing the Constitution in favor of transnationalism. It’s actions like those that lead conservatives to question the legal understanding of the liberal side of the court.

      • Geoffrey, If you could link to where Ginsberg says that Justices should disregard the words of the Constitution so that they are freed to instead rule according to international norms, I would be much obliged.

        or perhaps Ginsberg never meant such and perhaps you could explain that which she is discussing.

  14. I would be talking about contraception too if I were a Republican. In fact, I’d be talking about just anything at all to distract the electorate away from the sight of one of the leading Republican candidates getting a standing ovation from the “faithfull” for branding the President a “snob” for encouraging Americans to be aspirational for their children.

    (One can understand the hostility of the Republicans to education. The polls show again and again that the more educated a person is the less likely he or she is to vote Republican)

    • J.E. starts this post with the comment below and yet you ignore and falsely claim that its the Conservatives who are trying to distract from the serious issues…and since when is a threat to religious freedom a ‘distraction’? Liberal insistence that its about contraception is the distraction. More intellectual dishonesty upon your part, why do you need to lie, if you have the right of it?

      “The frustration of conservatives and other GOP voters about the giant red herring of “contraception” is palpable. For crying out loud, can’t we stop talking about this? We’ve got a terrible economy, a soaring national debt, gas prices and consumer-goods inflation on a tear, an Iranian nuclear-weaponization problem, a world increasingly in turmoil around us, and regulatory overreach of colossal proportions within our borders – and we’re talking about contraception??”

      Generally, the more ‘education’ one has , the greater the indoctrination into liberal memes by Academia. The effectiveness of that academic indoctrination is not empirical evidence for the veracity of that ‘education’. Any ‘education’ that posits that there is no objective reality (postmodernism) but only subjective perception of reality is hardly an education. As proof; jump off a 10 story building and discover objective reality…

      • yes, Geoffrey it does seem that people with advanced degrees are more likely to describe themselves as liberal rather than conservative these last couple of decades.

        I think that it’s Ronald Reagan’s fault.

        • “Actually, the polls show that people with a BA are more likely to vote REpublican. People with no high school diploma and with higher graduate degrees (especially in humanities and social science) are more likely to vote Democratic” Margo

          People with no high school diploma are likely to be politically naive and easily led by the MSM. Those with higher graduate degrees have been fully indoctrinated into the liberal/leftist views of Academia.

          • only if they’ve left the US and moved to Academic, you nut.

            • ???

              I’m the nut?

              “Talk sense to a fool and he calls you foolish!” Euripedes 500bc

  15. Paulite–Actually, the polls show that people with a BA are more likely to vote REpublican. People with no high school diploma and with higher graduate degrees (especially in humanities and social science) are more likely to vote Democratic. Not sure what this tells us about “hostility to education.”

    Also, at least in my state, the best school districts for student learning results are REpublican strongholds. The All-Democratic all the time districts of Chicago, East St. Louis and Cairo are the worst. So let’s keep the stereotypes up to date.

    • People with no high school diploma are likely to be politically naive and easily led by the MSM. Those with higher graduate degrees have been fully indoctrinated into the liberal/leftist views of Academia.

      Also, getting a higher graduate degree requires staying on the professors good side. There have been plenty of stories about the low grades handed out to principled conservatives by liberal professors.

      Most people go along to get along and learn to fit in with the crowd, eventually adopting the popular PC view. They certainly never hear a conservative point of view in the humanities and social science departments. No conservative professor in humanities and social science is going to get tenure at Harvard or any major University…

    • I presume that these are your own special polls, and you have found all the real polls unconstitutional.

  16. “and how is collecting taxes upon the estates of dead and formerly wealthy people not consistent with the Constitution?

    seems to me that it’s not only 1001% constitutional but simply a good idea……

    and it matters little to the merits of considering estate taxes as to whether the govt uses it to fund school lunches for kids or health benefit entitlement programs for superannuated and retired military officers.

    separate argument once we accept that govt must exist and must be funded” fuster

    Sigh. We’ve already agreed that the government must be funded. No one here ever disputed the need.

    No one ever suggested that what estate taxes are used for determines their validity. Are you being obtuse or purposely misstating our contentions?

    Collecting taxes upon the estates of the dead and formerly wealthy people is not consistent with the Constitution for two reasons; taxes have already been collected upon those funds, to collect again amounts to fiscal double jeopardy. Secondly, if it’s unconstitutional for one person, had they the power to do it and its wrong for a few, then a majority doing it is still wrong. Might does NOT make right outside the law of the jungle.

    It’s an inheritance and the mob, through legislative action and a compliant SCOTUS is dipping our hand into the till with no greater rationale than “we want it and because we can”…

    Estate taxes, et al are simply a symptom of a government and a large proportion of its society that refuses to live within its means.

    If you disagree, fine. It is however incumbent upon you to show the logical inconsistency and error in my thinking. Not just dismiss it without rebuttal as if the argument was never made. To not respond substantively is intellectual dishonesty and demonstrates a lack of seriousness. Just repeating the same assertions without reasoned support and pertinent rebuttal to objections, does not an argument make. In effect you’re saying, la,la, la, I can’t hear you…

    • Geoffrey, you’ve listed reasons why you don’t like the inheritance tax, but none of them approach anything that the Constitution puts outside the power of the Congress.

      I do disagree and also respect your right to find the tax not to your liking, but lets not pretend that something is violative of the Constitution just because we don’t like it.

      the tax happens to be as old as the nation (1797) and never been found to be legally improper.

      • 14th Amendment to the US Constitution
        1.” …No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or …deprive any person of…property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

        Quote from IRS.gov
        “The Estate Tax is a tax on your right to transfer property at your death. It consists of an accounting of everything you own or have certain interests in at the date of death … The fair market value of these items is used, not necessarily what you paid for them or what their values were when you acquired them. The total of all of these items is your “Gross Estate.” The includible property may consist of cash and securities, real estate, insurance, trusts, annuities, business interests and other assets….

        Most relatively simple estates (cash, publicly traded securities, small amounts of other easily valued assets, and no special deductions or elections, or jointly held property) do not require the filing of an estate tax return. A filing is required for estates with combined gross assets and prior taxable gifts exceeding … $5,000,000 or more for decedent’s dying in 2010 or later “ Note: I’ve abbreviated the passages above solely for clarity’s sake.

        My point with the above is to illustrate that the estate tax is an arbitrary tax, which by definition is not an equally applied tax to US citizens. It therefore cannot extend “equal protection of the law”. It is therefore unconstitutional. I believe that logic to be unassailable.

        The fact that rich people can ‘afford it’ is irrelevant to the logic. But it does betray the majority proponents’ coveting of the wealth.

        My main objection to them has been and is, not a case of like or dislike but a recognition that no rationale supports estate taxes, other than ‘because we can’.

        It’s an inheritance, a gift and taxes have already been levied upon them at their formation. I see no supportive logic in the contention that it is lawful when the majority decide to enact a law against a class of individuals simply because the majority covet their wealth.

        • GB— the 14th is about extending the equal protection clause to the states—–it already applied to the fed govt.

          and it never had anything to do with estate taxes….as I said the estate tax was first passed by Congress in the 1790s….used it money to fund the Navy, IIRC,

          it’s not at all arbitrary GB, the rules are clear and apply equally in all cases…..

          I think what you mean to say is that it is a tax that only the wealthy have to pay…..which seems to bother you, for some unexpressed reason…..

          If I’m correct and you object to really rich people having to pay more taxes than poor and not-rich people, don’t be shy. Shou it out.

          • I’ve more than made clear my principled disagreement with the estate tax. If you don’t get it by now, you don’t want to get it.

          • “the 14th is about extending the equal protection clause to the states—–it already applied to the fed govt.”

            That’s correct and because it already applied to the federal government, the same principle “the equal protection clause” applies to the feds. Thus the logic remains intact and applicable.

            The feds have passed an unconstitutional law and SCOTUS has erroneously upheld it, which as a practical matter, essentially settles it. But pragmatism doesn’t address the truth of the matter; it’s unconstitutional because the equal protection clause is not satisfied; the law does not apply equally. The sole rationale for having the law is to rob the rich because we can.

            No, I’m not rich and don’t find most rich people to be admirable, it’s simply the principle of the matter. And principle’s are life’s guideposts.

            “The unexamined [as compared to ethical principles] life is not worth living” Socrates

  17. What is “fiscal double jeopardy?” If you can find that in the Constitution, you are interpreting it like a liberal.

    Geez, I’m going to have to lie down. I’m siding with fuster.

    • CV,

      Sorry to go on so long about this, I’m just tired of fuster occasionally and, Paulite t constantly ignoring rebuttal and blithely going about their way, using simple repetition of their argument as a substitute for reasoned debate, while seldom being called on it.

      I don’t believe I even implied that it was in the Constitution. I was trying to make a logical and moral point. Taxing twice, once as income and a second time ‘just because’ is indefensible once it is acknowledged that the majority has decided to enact a law against a class of individuals simply because the majority covet their wealth.

      That the law is only applied to a particular class of individuals and not to the rest of us, by far the majority, is what makes estate taxes a violation of the equal protection clause.

      Nor does longevity apply as a logical defense, rich people are protected by the Constitution too.

      • And how is it different from taxing you when your corporation earns money, then taxing the distribution to you, then taxing the money you earn on investing your income? Then, of course, if you buy anything, the state and localities tax that transaction, as well as the thing your bought, if it is a car or real estate.

        Income taxes are applied only to a particular class, too. Only about half the adults actually pay income tax.

        Maybe you could argue that a tax on possessions (or transfer at death) exceeds the federal government’s jurisdiction — that it should be left to the states where the things are located. I just don’t see that argument succeeding.

        I would rather see us work to reduce income tax rates.

        • I entirely agree as to reducing income taxes. But the two are interrelated; at present, federal revenue is fully consumed by three programs: Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.’ and, because we don’t live within our means, as well as ever increasing regulation strangling the economy, the hunger for ever more revenues has led to taxes which are arguably unconstitutional.

          I’m all for looking deeply into alternatives, such as The FairTax plan and in the middle of the comment section, I linked my idea for using compound interest, time, fiscal discipline and a public trust fund to eliminate income taxes.

          Trust funds allow many rich people to forgo a ‘job’ (85% of us would quit our job if we won the lotto) there’s no reason in principle, why a properly configured “public trust fund” couldn’t be created, allowed to grow sufficiently and then used, dollar for dollar, to lower income taxes.

          The multiple taxation you cite upon investment income is, as indefensible as the estate tax, both are examples of “because we can” and reflect an unwillingness to live within our means and the demands of the out-of-control regulatory state we’ve created.

          • It seems rather odd that there’s a justification for the confiscation of the property of citizens to finance the federal government instead of that of others around the world, especially when the genesis and primary function of the state is protection of its citizens. If the threat to our sovereignty comes from, oh let’s say Bulgaria, shouldn’t we make every effort to finance our defense by comandeering the wealth of the Bulgars to construct our submarines and pay our homeland security personnel? We don’t even know those guys, what do we care if they can’t afford to send their kids to U of B or put a big downpayment on a yurt or whatever they live in? The idea that we should have to pay for our own defense is way out of date. Don’t we fine crooks to help pay the expense of their prosecution? How is the international scene any different?

          • Everything in the whole world is “arguably” unconstitutional. I myself have always been convinced that Donald Duck is unconstitutional.
            One thing mystifies me. If these taxes are actually unconstitutional why haven’t the Kochs or the other megabucks people who fund the Republican Party and are always complaining about taxes taken a case to the Supreme Court?

            Incidentally, I’m very concerned that if what you say is correct not a red cent of federal revenue goes to fund the military, and all of it goes to fund social security, medicare, medicaid.

            • On the very slight chance that you’re not being purposely obtuse, I’ll attempt to explain. The Constitution is a document of enumerated powers, it defines what the government may do. It also lists some of the most egregious things, government may not do.

              Relevant historical background; Jefferson had to argue and push to get the Bill of Rights into the Constitution, not because anyone objected or disagreed but because many thought it obvious that those rights were included, due to the presumption that it was self-evident; if the Constitution didn’t enumerate a power to the government, the government didn’t have that power.

              At least since Roosevelt, we’ve come to understand that Jefferson was right, that those who wish to ‘improve’ society will not let something like the Constitution stand in their way if they can get away with it.

              So, to summarize: if a governmental power is not enumerated or at least strongly implied as a component of an enumerated power, Congress cannot constitutionally pass that law, nor can the President constitutionally issue an executive order whose implementation, requires a power which is not enumerated in the Constitution.

              SCOTUS may erroneously rule in favor of an unconstitutional law and has certainly done so before and will again, they’re nine human beings, not demi-gods. When SCOTUS issues a ruling, only they have the power to overturn that ruling. So, regardless of how factually and objectively true my position on estate taxes may be, until they rule otherwise, the only recourse is for Congress to abolish those taxes.

              Were your wish to come true and the military abolished (you don’t want to pay for it) you would shortly find yourself either dead or a slave.

              “People {that would include you] sleep peaceably in their beds at night, only because rough men [that would be the military and police] stand ready to do violence on their behalf.” George Orwell

              • GB, the Congress has the power to lay and collect taxes…. that’s enumerated.

                sticl with saying that you find estate taxation unfair or unwise ….it simply ain’t unconstitutional.

    • just don’t try to lie down alongside me…… and leave your shoes on.

  18. GB hasn’t argued that the death tax is unconstitutional. He did point out above that nothing in the US Constitution authorizes the federal government to set up entitlement programs.

    • And nothing in the Constitution authorises the fedral government to set up the airforce or provide for military pensions – except that the Constitution provides for general powers to enact legislation subject to the constitutional rule of law and its underpinning principles. The latter are the criteria applied by the Supreme Court in reviewing legislation.

      What GB seems to be arguing is that unless there is an express or positive empowerment to legislate on a particular matter, or unless it is “strongly implied” (whatever the heck that means…..), then the legislation is unconstitutional. This is patently nonsense.

      • “… the Constitution provides for general powers to enact legislation subject to the constitutional rule of law and its underpinning principles.”
        __________________________________

        That’s called gibberish. The Constitution, on the other hand, is written in non-Hamiltonian language that any sentient English speaker can understand. The only reason that nine people in black bathrobes need to interpret straight forward statements like
        ” the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” is because some meddlers just can’t take no for an answer.

        Aside from that, there’s the question of the social contract that the constitution is supposed to define. I haven’t signed it, just like I haven’t signed a purchase contract for a new Scarab speedboat or a pre-nup with Lady Gaga. Insisting that people abide by a contract agreed to centuries ago and that they’ve never personally had the opportunity to accept or reject is nonsense in high heels and fishnet stockings.

    • opticon,,, what part of “Collecting taxes upon the estates of the dead and formerly wealthy people is not consistent with the Constitution for two reasons….” is not calling it unconstitutional….

      nice it’s very nice of you to wish to help Geoffrey out of the bog, and I also appreciate that you’re trying to obliquely inform him that such argument is unavailing, but that’s how I started out: simply trying to get him to argue the merits of it w/o the baseless appeal to legality.

      and I’ll remind you that nothing in the Constitution NEED authorize the Congress to act in any specific area. other silly souls (one currently a rep from Texas attempting to be nominated as the Repub candidate for president) say that Congressional funding for medical aid to Africa is unconstitutional…..

      any and all programs are Constitutional even sans explicit nomination in the Constitution as long as they’re consistent with the general grants of authority in the document.

      keep off the poorly-informed legal claims and stick to the wisdom and morality of things

  19. “There are three classes of people: those who see, those who see when they are shown & those who do not see.” Leonardo da Vinci

    We shall just have to agree to disagree.

  20. “opticon,,, what part of ‘Collecting taxes upon the estates of the dead and formerly wealthy people is not consistent with the Constitution for two reasons….’ is not calling it unconstitutional….”

    The part where GB stated the proposition as “Collecting taxes upon the estates of the dead and formerly wealthy people is not consistent with the Constitution.”

    This isn’t a statement that the death tax is “unconstitutional,” it’s a statement that it is inconsistent with the principles by which the Constitution was crafted. That isn’t the same thing as saying a thing is iterally “unconstitutional.”

    For a thing to be unconstitutional, it needs to directly violate an explicit provision of the Constitution.

    GB hasn’t made the case that the death tax does that. His point about the political fallacy of majoritarianism — if one person does it, it’s stealing; if 20 million Democrats want to do it, it’s just government at work — relates directly to the idea of government being limited on principle, independent of other factors. The case he makes about double taxation is less directly related to the principles behind the US Constitution.

    • sorry again hostess…… but he did NOT say that he thinks it inconsistent with the PRINCIPLES meant to be expressed by the Constitution….. he said it’s not consistent with the thing itself…..which is quite identical to calling it unConstitutional.

      and yeah, he did reference it as prohibited by the equal protection clause.

      let’s stop beating Geoffrey’s dead horse of an assertion. ya cain’t get it up and cantering, … and indeed consider his real objection….that it’s somehow unfair.

      that one is at least arguable.

      • No, fuster, calling a thing inconsistent with the Constitution is not identical to calling it unconstitutional. Ron Paul doesn’t understand that, but it is nevertheless true.

        Based on experience with GB’s commentary, I assess, moreover, that if he meant to say something was unconstitutional, he would call it “unconstitutional.”

        He didn’t do that, but instead made an argument based on principles. You are simply wrong to state otherwise.

        • when the thing is a federal law or regulation being called inconsistent with the constitution it damn sure is identical with calling it unconstitutional………

          if he was saying that fondling a fire hose was not consistent with the constitution….then you make have a case.

          the ambiguity isn’t there for discussing federally enacted legislation……..

          bless your kind heart and I know that you mean well,,,,,,,,,,

          move on.

  21. In common usage, when the federal government does something that it has not been given the power to do under the Constitution, that’s unconstitutional. The main attack on the Obamacare mandate is that the enumerated power to regulate commerce among the states does not extend to forcing citizens to buy a health insurance.

    • Agreed, CV, but that’s not the point GB made about the death tax (i.e., that it is “unconstitutional” because the federal government isn’t given the power to do it in the Constitution).

      Your point is therefore another reason to accept that GB didn’t say the death tax is unconstitutional.

      It is also important to mention that the reason you cite for calling a thing “unconstitutional” is present in the Constitution. It does not need to be deduced from the absence of language; it is explicitly present in the 9th and 10th amendments.

  22. Geoffrey Britain on March 9, 2012
    at 7:04 am

    Would it be unconstitutional to tax 3-figure ‘chunks of change’? 2 figure? One figure? If not, then essentially you’re saying the mob can vote to take whatever they please. Which is just mass tyranny. If it is unconstitutional to at some point tax inheritance, then please explain what the difference is between what is constitutional and what is not.

    • I do believe that the death tax or estate tax is unconstitutional. I do so as a point of fact; in that the estate tax is applied only to a minority class and, as a matter of consistency in principle. Perhaps that is why J.E. and fuster have differing views on my take on the issue.

      fuster, you still haven’t offered rebuttal, merely insistence that you are right and I in error.

      As point of fact; the estate tax being applied only to a minority class is a clear violation of the equal protection clause. It matters not that the tax will apply to any of us who should enter that class, because the discrimination still applies. Just as if we placed a tax only upon those who got a sex-change operation and justified it by saying that it applied equally, as anyone could get such an operation and the law would then apply to them too…

      The principle of the matter is demonstrated by; if the government decided that regardless of size, it was going to take 50% of everyone’s estate, everyone would object to the constitutionality of the law.

      The estate tax is simply and effectively the redistribution of the assets of the wealthy from the private sector to the public sector.

      Again as a matter of principle; none of what I’ve said addresses the positive benefits of the estate tax. Which is as a counter balance to the inevitable accumulation of wealth into the hands of but a few. Private investment wealth is overall, necessary and good, capitalism cannot operate effectively without it. Generational wealth and human nature being what it is however, generally leads to an oligarchical class, an elite invested in its own entitlement.

      So the death tax does provide a useful societal function. It just does it unconstitutionally because it is applied arbitrarily to a minority class.

      • Geoffrey, other than the fact that there is not any one else who actually knows any law who would agree with you that is is unconstitutional, there IS no rebuttal possible…..

        if you insist that macaroni-and-cheez is unconstitutional, it would be equally valid and not rebutted.

        let’s stick to saying that it’s unwise or unethical.

        and thank you for helping the opticon out of flailing though another interpretive game of horsehockey

  23. While I disagree that no one else supports my view fuster, I do want to thank you for basing your argument upon the ‘logical’ assertion that mass agreement [with your position] equals objective truth.

    We can agree however that it is unwise and unethical.

    With all the verbiage that I’ve needed to engage in to address your obtuseness, it’s easy to see why opticon missed my assertion that the estate laws are unconstitutional.

    • Geoffrey, perhaps you can find it in your heart to forgive my extraordinary obtuseness……those as intellectually superior such as yourself are also oft sunny-tempered and large-hearted.

      ever so grateful, govno’

      • It’s not lack of intellect on your part fuster, it’s ideological blindness. I didn’t say you were stupid, I said you were being obtuse.

        When you repeatedly assert a position but refuse to engage substantively with rebuttal, you open yourself to that charge. What else are we to think?

        Reread, as objectively as possible, he entire exchange of comments between us, a fair reading will show that I repeatedly tried to give and respond with substantive reasons for my view.

        While, for the most part, you responded without engaging my points and merely repeated your denial of my assertions. That does not an argument make.

        But it does leave your opponent in the position of concluding that your ‘obtuseness’ is either purposeful or your just not grasping the concepts. I concluded that you did grasp the concepts (how could you not, after the third try?) and that your response was due to ideological blindness, you don’t want to get it and that’s that.

        OK… one more example of “ya can lead the horse to water”,…

        • Geoffrey, you did give a bunch of reasons for your opposition to the estate tax…..I recognize that and I thought that I indicated as much…..

          I didn’t much respond to them because, as I repeated said, I wanted to clear away the “unconstitutional” argument first.
          I thought that it was the worst of your arguments and should be discarded.

          Your other arguments I thought were better…. and all I was doing was clearing away the dead wood.

          You gave two reasons for why the estate tax was “unfair”….

          1) it’s a “second bite” at money that had already been taxed, and
          2) it’s tantamount to the many using their collective might to take from the few wealthy folks. You suggested envy or worse as the motivation.

          —————-

          1) I suggest that it’s not certain that the amassed amounts really HAVE been taxed at the rates that one would expect if going by the simple published rates. there are many ways to avoid…or defer… paying those rates on the first go-round.

          2) I’ll address that one next… it’s a good and interesting one.

  24. Hey, GB, I support your view!😉
    Also, JE, I think it’s important to note that this is not a tax paid by the person who amassed the inheritance, but by the heirs, who actually may be people of quite limited means, and if there are many of them, of quite limited expectations of inheritance.

    • actually, Margo the tax is on the estate……prior to becoming the property of inheritors…… and they don’t pay anything out of their ….possibly…..quite limited means…… they merely receive fewer millions….. poor dears won’t quite starve.

      • A rose is still a rose, by any other name. Highway robbery, ‘legal’ or otherwise is still theft. Whether by one or many, even with the collusion of government and long common practice, taxes that solely target a minority class, by definition, violate the equal protection clause.

        No amount of denial can change the logic of that assertion.

        • Geoffrey, why? why? why?

          does the equal protection clause prohibit taxing income at different rates?

          must the income tax be collected at a flat rate from all?

          ———–

          The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread.
          ——Anatole France

          is literally true…….. and all estates are equally subject to the same estate tax……..just the rates that differ according to value of the estate…——

          ———-

  25. A somewhat different look at the Constitution and federal finances:

    http://mises.org/daily/5940/Unjust-Wars-Then-and-Now

  26. GB, got it. I hadn’t seen you say the death tax was literally “unconstitutional,” and was interpreting your points differently. I appreciate you clarifying that.

    I don’t have a strong sentiment that the death tax is unconstitutional, but I do see a valid case that it is inconsistent with the principles of the Constitution. So I guess I was doing a bit of “projecting” there.


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