The Libertarian Police Department


#1

I ran across this and hope it is entertaining

http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/shouts/2014/03/libertarian-police-department.html?mobify=0

Just put a quarter in the slot.


#2

I thought it was quite hilarious. Thanks for posting. I’m sure some will react negatively (as some did in the comments). But I will reject that. Satirical caricature is about as old as the pen, and my read of those who get offended by it or uppity about it is that they are not secure in their own beliefs.


#3

Pretty entertaining,but do people really think of libertarians like that?-Kevin


#4

Thought it was pretty darned funny. :slight_smile:


#5

cigroller, I remember one of your posts a few years back in a monumental thread on high speed rail. You gave what I thought was the best critique of libertarianism I had ever read. It showed how the market can’t self correct for things like unknown but real & dangerous additives in foods, for one. A good rational for the existence of something like the FDA. It’d be nicer if it wasn’t as bureaucratic as it is but I’d rather have it the way it is than no FDA at all.


#6

I really didn’t see it as all that funny and I’m not a libertarian, just like efficient and effective and somewhat limited reach of government. Maybe I’m just in a bad mood though after just writing the check again this year. I dumped way more money in but still ended up owing more. Between state and federal, my taxes are up 30% over last year. Like I said when you’ve seen the sausage made and the people behind it, you become a little more apprehensive letting them make more.


#7

karl sieger, wow. Thanks. I’m amazed that you remember. I don’t remember exactly what I wrote, but I’m sure I know the gist of it.

I have a brother who is an anti-federal regs guy (he probably doesn’t know specifically what a “libertarian” is, although he wouldn’t be one). But he says he won’t drink Mexican beer because it doesn’t go through an FDA-type oversight. (I don’t even know if that’s true or not, but that’s what he tells me). He’s the classic kind of person who is fine about anti-public goods discussed in the abstract, but not so sure on the level of the specifics.


#8

Flagged as spam, but not much different than Paul Ryans undersatanding of social security in the latest budget proposal,

"There should be a rule–or even a law–that politicians who propose “fixes” to Social Security should at least show they know something about the program. By that standard, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., would flunk.

What’s worse, his misunderstandings–heck, let’s go ahead and call them misrepresentations–are aimed at taking your money.

What’s at issue is a passage in the budget resolution Ryan released today, the fourth annual version of his “Path to Prosperity” budget. Like the others, this budget calls for large cuts in government programs for the poor, in order to preserve tax breaks for the rich and finance lavish defense spending.

But what concerns us here is his description of the Social Security trust fund, which currently holds close to $3 trillion in U.S. Treasury bonds, all purchased with payroll tax income paid by working men and women since 1983.

The idea of building up this trust fund was to bank excess tax revenues against the looming wave of baby boomer retirements, which has now begun. But the trust fund is still growing, because Social Security’s income streams–the payroll tax, interest on its bonds, and revenues from income taxation of benefits–still are sufficient to cover current benefits, and then some.

Ryan wants you to think different. Here’s the passage in question, from page 66 of his plan.

“Any value in the balances in the Social Security Trust Fund is derived from dubious government accounting. The trust fund is not a real savings account. From 1983 to 2010, it collected more Social Security taxes than it paid out in Social Security benefits. But the government borrowed all of these surpluses and spent them on other government programs unrelated to Social Security. The Trust Fund holds Treasury securities, but the ability to redeem these securities is completely dependent on the Treasury’s ability to raise money through taxes or borrowing.”

The same language appeared in Ryan’s 2012 budget resolution, but not in his 2013 and 2014 versions (as far as we could tell). It’s back now, and no more accurate or honest than it was three years ago.

Let’s examine the misrepresentations embedded in these 90 words by explaining exactly how the trust fund works.

From 1983 on, the payroll tax was increased to produce more revenue than was needed to pay benefits each year. The idea was to build up a reserve to cover the coming wave of baby boomer retirements; in effect, the baby boomers have been pre-funding their own old-age benefits.

The natural question was: what should be done with the money in the meantime? It wouldn’t make sense to just place it under a national mattress, for inflation would have reduced the value of the holdings by as much as half over the last three decades.

The answer was to place the money in an interest-bearing account–that is, invest it for a yield above inflation. (This is the folly of Al Gore’s old line about keeping the money in a “lockbox.” That can’t be done, because the lockboxed funds would turn to dust.)

That’s what’s been done. The money has been invested in U.S. Treasury securities, just as you might do by purchasing Series EE savings bonds, or TIPS. Why do people invest in T-bonds? Because they’re the safest securities in the world. The U.S. has never, ever defaulted on them (although the Tea Party wing of the GOP seems to think that would be a good idea). The money isn’t invested in corporate securities or anything else, because Congress hasn’t allowed that.

The Social Security trust fund’s bonds are backed by exactly the same commitment of the U.S.’ “full faith and credit” as any other Treasury security. Keep your eye on that ball, because Ryan is going to try to palm it.

When one buys a T-bond, one is effectively lending the money to the government, which then uses it to do things. So, yes, Ryan is correct in stating that “the government borrowed all of these surpluses and spent them on other government programs unrelated to Social Security.”

Right. On national defense. Two wars. Construction of roads, school buildings, courthouses. On the salaries of congressmen like Rep. Ryan. What of it?

Was this money wasted? Hardly. The U.S. economy has more than doubled in size (adjusted for inflation) over that time, in significant part because of the infrastructure and services provided by government–including with that borrowed money.

It’s worth noting, however, that under George W. Bush, the government also used those surpluses to preserve tax breaks for the wealthy, by spending the borrowed funds on those wars without having to raise the income tax, which is predominantly paid by the wealthy. The payroll tax is predominantly paid by the middle class and the working class, so in effect the latter has made an interest bearing loan to the former.

http://www.latimes.com/business/hiltzik/la-fi-mh-paul-ryan-rehashes-20140401,0,6898624.story#ixzz2yRtozKg0


#9

Any problems that exist were created by both major political parties and the few independents that are floating around. They can squabble and point fingers all they want but every one of them has a hand in it. The only difference is the degree.

A survey done in Oklahoma some years ago showed that 60% of the employed were working on the taxpayer dime and that number has not likely gone down. To me, this is a problem when 4 of every 10 are carrying the other 6.


#10

@Barkydog‌

I just checked, and you flagged the posting as abuse, NOT spam, as you claimed

Who is being abused?


#11

Well sorry Barky but there was nothing he said that was untrue. That’s how the trust fund works. It is empty except for debt instruments that can only be repaid by us throwing our tax dollars at it.

Whether or not the money was used for legitimate purposes or not and good for the country is a question of debate. The reality is that it meant that congress did not have to make the hard choices to either cut the budget or raise the taxes to balance the budget. They were given a pass on it. Give them a couple extra trillion dollars and they just can’t wait to spend it. And there are always tons of good proposals helping them along to spend it.

We can just agree to disagree on that though. I swore it would be a cold day before I voted republican again, and now it’ll be a cold day before I vote democratic, so where does that leave me?


#12
Pretty entertaining,but do people really think of libertarians like that?-Kevin

Back in the 80’s while working for Digital Equipment Corp…I worked with a Libertarian who ran for Congress in NH. He was running the republican ticket - since the Libertarians don’t have their own party. He did pretty well…But Charlie Bass won.

And YES this guy thought like that. He was really out there.

Libertarians have a wide political following. Dershowitz (Law Professor at Harvard) by many is considered a liberal…but he’s a card carrying Libertarian - has been most of his life.


#13

Is the Libertarian fraught with contradictions ? One good Lib friend of mine was lamenting the ills of Aspartame and reminding anyone he met that we should not buy any product with it as an ingredient as after all, “every dollar spent is a vote for or against anything.” Sounds good ! Now, how do we know that the product contains Aspretame ? "Well, it has to appear on the label " according to my good friend. Now, who is responsible for that life saving decision ? Ooops, another contradiction begins to unfold.

Now, a Libertarian police force in reality ? That’s an interesting thing to contemplate. Let’s see, 911; " yes mam, could I have your credit card number and date of expiration before I send an officer to respond. Of course you know, the charges could vary according to the offense of the intruder as determined by the officer once he arrives. So please remain where you are so you can let him know when his activities have gone beyond the amount you are willing to pay for. "


#14

Satirizing libertarian principles is pretty easy. After all, Libertarians support the institution of slavery as a free market activity where people are allowed to sell their labor for a lifetime for a onetime payout.*


#15

First of all, as a libertarian-leaning guy, I LOL’d at that post. Seems everybody here (one notable exception) enjoyed it. I could quibble with some of the suppositions, but the thoughs of a liberty-preserving P.D. was hilarious.

As for the flagger:

"Any value in the balances in the Social Security Trust Fund is derived from dubious government accounting. The trust fund is not a real savings account. From 1983 to 2010, it collected more Social Security taxes than it paid out in Social Security benefits. But the government borrowed all of these surpluses and spent them on other government programs unrelated to Social Security. The Trust Fund holds Treasury securities, but the ability to redeem these securities is completely dependent on the Treasury’s ability to raise money through taxes or borrowing."

True words there. The FACT is, that the excess funds were "borrowed’ and spent elsewhere. Another FACT is, if any corporate HR or CFO did that (spend down the pensions), they’d be looking at a lenghty jail term. It’s decidedly NOT regarded as fically prudent–that’s a FACT.

The government spent the SSI payroll deductions–yours and mine–and left a big, fat, “IOU” note in the coffer (which is EXACTLY what a Treasury note is).

The natural question was: what should be done with the money in the meantime?
Surely not to fund Mapplethorpe and Bridges to Nowehere...
It wouldn't make sense to just place it under a national mattress, for inflation would have reduced the value of the holdings by as much as half over the last three decades.
There's this thing called the stock market...a truly enlightened gov't could easily have passed laws allowing equity investments of money. (But then they would be unable to raid the coffers...and the rest is history).
Why do people invest in T-bonds?
Because they're stupid? (Is this a trick question?)

#16

Amusing to read. Thanks for the link. As a Libertarian, I find it funny when others define Libertarian beliefs in the absolute while not evaluating their own the same way. Democrats are not exclusively Progressive/Liberal/Socialist nor are Republicans exclusively Conservative/Christian/Capitalist. Libertarianism is orthogonal to the traditional R’s and D’s in that it is socially liberal and fiscally conservative. Libertarianism is opposite, ideologically, from Communism.

As for Ayn Rand, she knows better than most the results of communism since she fled the Bolshevik revolution, but she’s a terrible author.


#17

“As for Ayn Rand, she knows better than most the results of communism since she fled the Bolshevik revolution, but she’s a terrible author.”

… and let’s not forget that Ayn Rand took Social Security.

I treat my own political beliefs with the same critical eye that I apply to the political beliefs of others, but you have to admit many Libertarians present their own beliefs as dogmatic absolutes, just like extremists from every political faction. To indicate that only those who disagree with you are dogmatic in their beliefs is simply not accurate or intellectually honest. Not all Democrats are exclusively anything. If that were the case, how could a moderate like Obama have won the Democratic primary in 2008?


#18

@Whitey, I do admit the dogmatic absolutes from the the Libertarians that make loud noises. I also see the 33% or so of the electorate who neither identify as Dem or Repub because neither represents their ideology. That block (and they don’t vote AS a block) votes for the party that focuses on their hot button for that election cycle. Ya can’t get elected without the independents!

As for Obama being a moderate, he is not, but he played one in the '08 primary to attract those very same independents. My opinion, no offense or argument intended.


#19
Democrats are not exclusively Progressive/Liberal/Socialist nor are Republicans exclusively Conservative/Christian/Capitalist.

MOST people in this country are Independent.

I know MANY democrats (especially here in the Republican state of NH) who are FAR MORE FISCALLY CONSERVATIVE then ANY republican in NY.

You have the following people who call themselves conservatives.

1st Conservative views - Everyone should be forced to own a gun.
2nd - No gun control laws what-so-ever. Everyone should be allowed to buy a gun.
3rd - Criminals should not be allowed to own a gun. But no background checks.
4th - We should have background checks.
5th - Background checks and people should not be allowed to own automatic weapons.

I fall in 4th view. And I do NOT consider myself a conservative. Some liberals think my views are conservative…and some conservatives think my views are Liberal. Funny how that works.

In the bible belt a conservative is someone who doesn’t believe in abortion…PERIOD. For many - that is the ONLY factor to determine if you’re a Conservative. Everyone one else who believes in Abortion is a Liberal. And according to their brainwashing - there are no conservative democrats…so they join the GOP.

I’m staying an independent.

Rush Limbaugh - a card carrying Conservative - was on Welfare for 2 years when he got laid off from a radio station.

Texas - the largest block of conservatives is also the largest Welfare recipient state in the union.


#20

If Obama wasn’t a moderate, we’d have single payer healthcare reform instead of a giveaway to the health insurance industry. If Obama wasn’t a moderate, he wouldn’t have passed tax cuts for the rich, or agreed to the spending cuts he has. If Obama wasn’t a moderate, he wouldn’t have continued the defense policies of the Bush administration, including the use of drones, keeping the prison complex at GITMO open, and other aspects of the so-called “war on terror.” His opponents insist on painting Obama as a socialist liberal extremist, but that doesn’t make it so unless you ignore what he’s done in office. The guy has expanded gun rights for goodness sake, but that doesn’t stop the NRA from insisting he will come for your guns. Yep, there is a pretty wide divide between reality and how conservatives try to characterize Obama.