Friday, November 9, 2012

No, Military Keynesianism Does Not Make Us Wealthier

In his latest column, Paul Krugman continues to shill for higher tax rates, claiming that raising taxes somehow will strengthen the economy. I really don't have the time to deal with arguments that we have gone over before, so I will leave it at that. And, yes, Barack Obama won. The economy soon will explode with 12 million new jobs. Bill Clinton said that in a campaign speech, so it must be true.

Instead, I wish to look at a November 4 op-ed in the NYT, "The Permanent Militarization of America," by Aaron B. O'Connell, who teaches history at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis. O'Connell writes that to a certain extent, Dwight Eisenhower's famous warning about the "Military-Industrial Comples" in his farewell speech in January 1961. However, writes O'Connell, much of the government spending in defense has had a positive economic effect and has contributed to economic growth:
The military-industrial complex has not emerged in quite the way Eisenhower envisioned. The United States spends an enormous sum on defense — over $700 billion last year, about half of all military spending in the world — but in terms of our total economy, it has steadily declined to less than 5 percent of gross domestic product from 14 percent in 1953. Defense-related research has not produced an ossified garrison state; in fact, it has yielded a host of beneficial technologies, from the Internet to civilian nuclear power to GPS navigation. The United States has an enormous armaments industry, but it has not hampered employment and economic growth. In fact, Congress’s favorite argument against reducing defense spending is the job loss such cuts would entail.
At one level, he is right. Some new technologies that were developed for the armed forces have found their ways to civilian uses, but the story is much different than what he might think. First, new technologies by themselves are not useful to the economy at large unless entrepreneurs can find a way to integrate these technologies into goods and services that individuals not only find useful, but are willing to give up scarce things in their possession in order to obtain.

Without the entrepreneurial component, vaunted new technologies tend either to be unused or applied in very esoteric ways that have little or no effect upon the general population. Take the Internet, for example. A lot of people have reminded me that government agents developed the first elements of what we know today as the Internet more than 40 years ago. That is true, but also irrelevant.

First, the Internet would not have been invented had entrepreneurs not first developed and applied what we know as telecommunications. I'm sorry folks, but Alexander Graham Bell and those who followed him were not working for the Department of War or Defense. Second, the Internet as we know it was of no commercial or economic use until entrepreneurs both developed and applied technologies like fiber optics and they developed mechanisms by which ordinary people could access what now is a technological and commercial wonder.

Furthermore, O'Connell's claim that this vast amount of government spending "has not hampered employment and economic growth" is one of those "proving a negative" statements. What he really is saying is that since the U.S. economy has been relatively strong since Eisenhower's speech, the diversion of huge amounts of resources from marketable uses to military spending has had no negative economic effects.

One cannot make that statement, economically speaking. First, we don't know if the economy would be stronger than it is now (I believe that it would) had this spending not occurred. Second, for O'Connell to be correct, military spending would have to have moved ALL factors of production from lower-valued to higher-valued uses in all situations involving Pentagon expenditures. If that is not true, then military spending has made us worse off.

No, I am not arguing for complete cessation of military spending. Certainly keeping this country from being invaded is a good use of resources, but that has not been the case with the USA for a long, long time. And, as O'Connell unwittingly notes, members of Congress are violently opposed to cutting any spending in their districts or states because that means some people there lose their jobs, at least in the short run.

But government employment is not the same as economic growth, even if O'Connell cannot see that (and few history professors these days are able to move beyond their own socialistic views). As for the rest of the article, I agree much with him, but I also find it interesting that he completely left out the militarization of the civilian police forces, and the militarization of the enforcement arms of federal agencies.

In fact, other than having our living standards lowered by gargantuan military spending, the one way we will come in meaningful contact with militarization is an encounter with the police. Why am I not surprised that a history professor missed that important point? You supply your own answer.


Tom E. Snyder said...

"In fact, Congress’s favorite argument against reducing defense spending is the job loss such cuts would entail." (See Bastiat, 1850)

Lord Keynes said...

"Second, the Internet as we know it was of no commercial or economic use until entrepreneurs both developed and applied technologies like fiber optics and they developed mechanisms by which ordinary people could access what now is a technological and commercial wonder.

Oh dear me:

"In 1973, Bell Laboratories developed a modified chemical vapor deposition process that heats chemical vapors and oxygen to form ultra-transparent glass that can be mass-produced into low-loss optical fiber. This process still remains the standard for fiber-optic cable manufacturing."

And what was Bell labs? Before the 1980s, Bell labs was a research institute reliant on a government-supported monopoly:

"Bell Labs was a creation of a government sponsored monopoly with price and profit controls, what would these days be called "socialism" but back in the day was called "pragmatic."

AT&T and the Bell System were granted the ability to operate as a monopoly by the federal government in return for guaranteeing telephone access for rural areas at affordable prices and caps on the amount of profits they could make ....
The second part of this were the profit caps. Any profits over a certain generous amount were to be turned over to the federal government, but the bosses at AT&T didn't want to make those payments so they reinvested those dollars in the business. That meant good salaries, good benefits, good working conditions, scholarships for kids, long vacations, etc.

It also meant the greatest pure research facility in the world, known as the Bell Labs. Many of the greatest minds in the world were brought together in New Jersey -- Murray Hill, Morristown, Holmdel, Princeton, etc. -- to solve intractable problems facing science, communications and manufacturing."

Anonymous said...

I think this image of the rugged "Galtian" inventor, locked in his basement alone creating the future is a nice little icon but completely divorced from reality.. The overwhelming majority of the scientific and technological developments of the last 100 years have been conducted in the research labs of Universities (and in terms of output, private and public research institutions are largely interchangeable). Even most historical corporate labs (like IBM's and At&Ts) are largely winding down operations...

Also, most of the entrepreneurs that commercialize these inovations tend to be themselves spinoffs of these Universities and research labs... In other words, the innovation precedes the entrepreneur, and not the other way around...

And yes, about 50% of research in the U.S. is directly funded by the DoD...

Mike said...

Statists are such simpleton thinkers. (or lack thereof) Yes we would all be still living in caves if it wasn’t for government funded Bell Labs and the like.

Statists present a moronic binary view of the world. Either we have the State massively funded for our “benefit “or we have nihilism.

Go ahead and continue to worship at the altar of the State.

Anonymous said...

What a pathetic straw man! Your side is the one who has the "dollars or whips", "market create, government destroy" mantra!

With respect to tech inovation, at least in the last 50 years the algorithm seems to be consistent: research institutions, public and private, develop the technologies and then commercial entreprises transform and package them into products.. not a bad synergy..

Would this innovation come at the same or better rate without public funding? maybe, who knows, but the fact of the matter is that this IS how it works today...

Mike said...

"but the fact of the matter is that this IS how it works today..."

So I guess we should just accept it eh? Nice defense.

The State is doing such a wonderful job in the NorthEast. rejecting non union help, rejecting food in NYC because it doesn't fit the right profile.

But that IS how the system and State work to day. So I guess folks up there will just have to suck it up and accept it.

Mike said...

and lets not forget the National Guard can't help because the only one that can carry a gun in NYC is the police according to Mr Progressive Statist himself

Anonymous said...

Ha! Kind of ironic isn’t it? Could have said the same thing about the Tea Party blocking everything to the detriment of the economy. Stimulus spending? Jobs act? I 100% believe that the Fiscal Ditch is the Tea Party’s opportunity to fall on their own swords, so be it bub, so be it. Their no-compromise position will be 2014 campaign ads. I just became Grover norquists biggest fan. Sweet delicious Norquist tears… Creating the “Fiscal Ditch the Tea Party 2014″ PAC on Jan 1.

Mike said...

The Progressive mindset has the naivete of a child. They actually believe taxing the "rich" will solve the problem.

The Tea Party crowd is tends to be intellectually dishonest refusing to acknowledge their own goodies must be cut.

You both are ignorant. We no longer have a political problem. We have a math problem.

Take you talking points and stuff it. Its time for the adults to take charge. No chance of that any time soon.

Pascal J. said...

Military spending does make us poorer but your reasons are incorrect.

Military spending makes the world poorer for the same reasons hurricanes makes us poorer. Destroying lives and property is a loss.

Imposing US will through military power, makes the US poorer, because there are few benefactors from US will, and resistance to that will makes us less liked and less safe, and terrorism is functionally equivalent to hurricanes. Fear can create spending, but its spending that is unproductive and we'd prefer to avoid.

The reasons posted in the article are unfortunately based on an Austrian Economics lie: If only we'd fire all 20M US government employees (1/3rd the labour force), they would all find awesome jobs in the private sector.

An article that uses the opposite assumption:

Anonymous said...

I don't think you understand how the internet works.

It existed in it's full form before any private entrepeneur sold access to any private consumer. The protocol and communication system is literally the same as it's always been (TCP/IP). Sure websites have gotten fancier, but not much of the underlying infrastructure has changed except that it's gotten bigger.

Reason the internet was developed? To share large academic data sets.

JG said...

Every few months I visit this blog out of morbid curiosity and I'm treated to the same displays each and every time.

On one side I see a those sympathetic to the Keynesian view offering up nuanced, detailed and generally thoughtful rebuttals to Anderson's posts.

On the other side I see childish, black-and-white, unthinking soundbites from posters like Mike who offer nothing but empty soundbites about how awful government is.

This dynamic is a perfect microcosm of the larger debate between Austrians and Keynesians. Thank you Anderson, for creating a forum that showcases the intellectual poverty of Austrian economic thought.

William L. Anderson said...

The reasons posted in the article are unfortunately based on an Austrian Economics lie: If only we'd fire all 20M US government employees (1/3rd the labour force), they would all find awesome jobs in the private sector.

I guess that is one of the "nuanced, detailed and generally thoughtful rebuttals" of which JG speaks. What I find interesting is that Keynesians really believe -- they REALLY BELIEVE -- that an economy is nothing more than a homogeneous mass of what Robert Higgs calls "goo," into which you stir money, and prosperity magically appears.

Keynesians have no idea of how factors of production receive their value, nor can they even explain things like marginal utility. In other words, they claim to be economists while eschewing the fundamentals of economic thought.

Mike said...

Frequently in the discourse of public policy topics I run into unthinking and assumptive opinions from people like JG.

At what point did I say how awful government is? Now a thinking person who has a basic grasp of Austrian economics and Libertarian philosophy would surely know that one uses short cut language in comment sections of a blog as it is not a doctoral thesis. And that given the relative positions of people on this type of blog, an intelligent person would fill in those blanks with the tenets of the philosophy to properly understand the point being made.

So JG given your unwillingness or inability to execute the rudimentary requirements stipulated above, I will spell it out more robustly for you. I fully accept and recognize the benefits and proper role of a minimal Constitutional government at the various levels of the State. Government activity beyond what is called for constitutionally is an infringement on liberty and distorts the economic system. At which point it in fact then becomes “awful.” Oh and let’s be clear, since you won’t take the time to understand the base line assumption, when I speak of the Constitution, I speak of it original intent and not the revisionist interpretations by activist statist justices.

I find it interesting the morally and philosophically ambiguous amongst us love to impugn the principled as being “black and white” and thus not evolved. History is replete with evil outcomes by statist’s actions operating in the “grey.”

Thank You JG for creating a post that demonstrates the pseudo intellectual vacuous thinking by a segment of our society. You remind us again that some are impervious to logic, reason and history and will insist on all of us sticking our hand in the fire to see if it really burns instead of learning from the past.

Alex said...

Basically the defenders of the military-industrial complex are admitting it's mostly a welfare program.

William L. Anderson said...

Absolutely right, Alex.

JG said...


Allow me to translate your last post.

Blanket assertions that lack supporting arguments are what you call "short cut language".

Any government policy that wasn't explicitly desribed verbatim by an 18th century colonial era document is to you an "infrigenment on liberty".

Anyone who doesn't adopt a rigidly absolutist rules-based approach to complex thinking is what you call "moraly and philosophically ambiguous".

I think it's cute how you guys have your own language.

Mike said...

Allow me to translate your reply

You are unable or unwilling to grasp the concept of the difference between blog posts and a full treatise on a subject.

You are unable or unwilling to grasp the concept of the rule of law under a constitutional republic and fail to understand the substitute of the rule of man is mob rule and a thugocracy.

You are unable or unwilling to refrain from mischaracterizing others statements when you either know or should know better.

Not sure who the plural is in “you guys,” but I think it’s cute how you appear to possess limited understanding of subject matter you opine on and yet retain a sanctimonious elite position at the same time.

JG said...


I understand the difference between somethig as informal as a blog post and a formal essay. Even on this blog I have found some posters who manage to post insightful and detailed defenses of their positions (usually from those on the Keynesian side of the argument), however your posts and don't fall into this category. Your posts tend to be little more than you running your mouth with subjective opinions backed up with zero facts and a condescending attitude thrown in just for fun. And you're not alone. The vast majority of posters on this blog, including and especially the host, tend to be long on opinions and short of facts. Maybe in your mind statements like "The Progressive mindset has the naivete of a child" count as more than obnoxious opinions but in the real world it sounds like some blowhard running his mouth.

Mike said...

“condescending attitude thrown in just for fun.”

Because I have no tolerance for Statist, intellectual hypocrisy and vacuous thinking. You misinterpret my contempt for simple condescension. It is the collectivist political and economic philosophy that will be the final undoing of this country if left unchecked.

“naivete of a child”?

Apparently you don’t understand what’s embedded in that statement. Progressives pedal a child like view of the world to the masses and tell them they can have something for nothing. It’s been going on for centuries in one form or another. Bastiat said labor is pain and people will seek to avoid it. Statists play on it selling an easy lifestyle paid for by the other guy.

“The vast majority of posters on this blog, including and especially the host, tend to be long on opinions and short of facts”

I doubt you accept a fact, especially one that conflicts or challenges with your worship of the State.

You want to debate an issue? Bring it. But be prepared to defend your position beginning with the premise. If your premise is false then everything flowing from it is flawed. Progressives tend to cheery pick their arguments and obfuscate. They don’t like having their premise picked apart. I exposed Zachriel on this blog to be an intellectual fraud. He dropped away.

JG said...


You want to debate an issue? How about this one:

Every overblown comment you make, like "collectivist political and economic philosophy that will be the final undoing of this country" is just a tired repeat of what right-wingers have been saying for the past 80 years about Social Security, Medicare and every other policy that offended their libertarian religious dogma about small governement.

Explain to me how Social Security or Medicare has led to the decline of America. Explain to me how single payer healthcare has destroyed the economies of Canada and Sweden. Explain to me how how tax rates have hurt the German economy and how strong labor unions have made German export uncompetive in the markets.

Explain any of these things and then I will start to show you some respect. But if you can't explain how any of these things are true then I ask you to shut your fool mouth and spare us the tired, arrogant, factless rantings of an uneducated dipshit.

Mike said...

Pick ONE. Don’t litter your post with multiple issues in an attempt to obfuscate. Based on the litany of your pet programs you have cited your philosophical premise is clear.

Pick ONE. Then be willing to stick to the premise and the substance of the topic. Based on the last paragraph of your post I have little confidence in your ability to engage intelligently. The shallow and uneducated invariably resort to gutter level name calling when challenged beyond their ability to defend constructively. You already started.

JG said...

I pick the example of Canada. For the past 40 years Canada has had a government funded single payer healthcare system. The perfect example of government entitlement program that libertarians like you have in mind when you denounce "statist" or "collectivist" government programs.

My challenge to you is this:

a) If programs like this are so harmful to the economy then explain why Canada's historial GDP growth rate has exceeded the US growth during the past 40 years? See chart 2.23 for details:


b) If "statist" programs are so much more inefficiant and wasteful than the private sector alternatives then explain why healthcare cost inflation is so much lower in Canada than in the US while delivering service that is equal in quality? See link for supporting details:

JG said...

By the way, I picked the Canadian healthcare system as my example because it kills two libertarian myths at once:

A) The myth that progressive social progams cripple the economy, and

B) The myth that those social services are more efficiently provided by the private sector.

Mike said...

Let’s start with a couple of foundational items shall we.

1)Please cite the Constitutional authority for the US to initiate a single payer health care system under the Federal government. Failure to do so makes it irrelevant as a policy argument.

2)Your citation of Canada for an argument of government run single payer health care not having an effect on the economy is a material logical fallacy. Reasons include but not limited to:
• Canada’s economy is structurally different the US. Resource exportation.
• Canada’s population demographics are fundamentally different. Behavior, lifestyle, diet, cultures, etc
• Canada’ economy is not burdened by a defense budget as large as the US as a percentage of GDP. Somebody else pays the tab.
• Canada benefits from medical and pharmaceutical innovation outside the country. Internal reimbursement is below the “all in costs” of production forcing other country consumers to pick up the difference.
• Healthcare inflation is thus lower in Canada since they do not pay full price as cited, they ration service in scope and response. Your Wikipedia chart can be explained by a whole array of others factors and to assume it is only public vs private is a casual oversimplification.
• Canadian citizens seeking timely, complex or innovative treatment do so outside the country (typically the US) as the resources are not available accordingly. I live next to the boarder so don’t try to tell me otherwise.
• We have no way of knowing what Canada’s economy could look like if it wasn’t burdened by a massive social welfare program. And as a corollary, it citizens are burdened with a tax policy to pay for a massive social welfare system that still requires them to augment the insurance coverage to obtain desired protection.
• You want more; Cato has plenty of research on the subject that will overwhelm you with facts and not propaganda.

3.) By your language you are clearly hostile to a libertarian approach and have a bias to attack that versus the substance. What is your problem with maximum liberty for the individual and minimal coercion by the State?

4.) You seem to interpret my use of the term of “collectivism” as a denouncement. It is simply a statement of fact and description. Since you seem to like Wikipedia. Why so sensitive? If you are a Marxist/collectivist by definition, say so. Wear the description with pride. It’s not a pejorative, it’s a description.

Mike said...

An additional comment to your statement:

“The myth that those social services are more efficiently provided by the private sector.”

It doesn’t matter if it social services, education, healthcare etc. Public sector management of matters can’t stop themselves from administrative bloat. It’s in their DNA. It creeps in the private sector as well in large corporation. The difference is the competitive marketplace eventually exerts disciple or they go out of business. The public sector has no material competitive disciple.

JG said...

This is what I mean when I say long on opinion and short of facts. I just gave you a concise, real world example of a large government social program that contradicts every libertarian argument against single-payer healthcare programs and I backed it up with links to supporting data.

You, on the other hand, just tried to argue around my data by listing a bunch of excuses about how Canada is different than the US and that must be how they made it work. Your bullet points were either highly vague and questionable (is Canada's demographics really different than the US?) or outright false (see the link at the bottom discussing the myth of Canadians flocking to the US for treatment) and none of your points directly refuted the evidence that I put forward. You put forward the claim that the lower Canadian health cost inflation is the result of "a whole array of other factors" but you don't bother to mention what those factors are, and even if you did that wouldn't change the fact that the Canadian government funded system has done a better job at cost control than our private insurance system.

I have put forward a damning case against the libertarian position on healthcare and I'm still waiting for you to provide a fact-based rebuttal of my position.

Reference from above:

Mike said...

You provided data without minimal critical thinking. You committed an all too common fallacy of conflating correlation with causation. You might as well as cited the average country temperature of Canada as well. You cite data without asking “why” and “how” as if it magically supports you argument without any mental work.

I provided you a short bullet point list (there is plenty more) of differentiating factors that directly challenges your premise. Your labeling them as “excuses” is evidence you have done no critical thinking on the subject. Each one of them is readily verifiable by themselves. Look them up yourself; I’m not here to spoon feed you like a child. The key is in the thinking, not superficial factoids.

I didn’t “argue around” your data; I challenged the premise of your argument. Your data is meaningless without proper logical foundation, context and thinking.

You then disregarded the challenges to your premise that were in the form of questions. Either answer them or admit you advocate the subordination of the individual to the collective for the “greater good” as defined by the elite.

Your article citation is nonsense. As I stated I live in a boarder city. I have had and currently have Canadian citizens working in my organization. The article is flawed and you are dead wrong on the issue. I see it firsthand.

Unless you are going to engage in defending the premise of positions with critical thinking, you are a waste of time. Start asking why and how. That is how you advance and evolve one’s intellect.

Since you love that statist position on healthcare, why stop there? Why not extend the single payer philosophy to the other necessities of life. Why not advocate a single payer system for food, clothing, housing, transportation etc? If you’re going to be intellectually honest you should advocate all those and more. Perhaps you’re embarrassed by what your collectivist philosophy really means.

Start thinking or stop wasting people's time.

JG said...

Your bullet points are FALSE. I gave you an example of a study that refuted your point about Canadians coming to America for treatment and you think that living near the Canadian border makes your anecdotal hunch more valid than a real study performed by experts. News flash: your anecdotal perceptions are not facts.

Nowhere in your multi-paragraph word dump did you provide ANY facts to support ANY of your ideas. This is not a debate, this is me backing up my positions with clearly detailed facts and you responding with the equivalent of "nuh-uh" and then claiming you're right without bothering to prove yourself.

Typical libertarian blowhard. Long on opinion, short of facts.

Mike said...

I’ve tired to be constructive and civil. I’ve tried to engage the dialogue on a THINKING basis unlike your data dump which means nothing without context and constructive application. I tried to explain to you the bullet points I cited are either obvious or readily verifiable. I tried to explain to you about the experience of living in a boarder city.

You refuse to engage in thinking. You refuse to defend a collectivist position that subordinates the individual to the State. You refuse to defend your premise with critical thought. You ignore questions that challenge the core of your philosophy that your arguments rest upon.

You are long on superficial demagoguery and short of thinking. In the end you resort to adolescent name calling because that’s all you have.

While I do not wish anyone ill will, it would appear you are impervious to logic and rational thought and will only hope of evolving your thinking is to experience the negative effects of your collectivist philosophy good and hard. I’m not wasting my time with you.

Anonymous said...

I think you’re just mixing moral and economic arguments and then chastising people for not following the same logical path. I don’t think many people in the world (apart from an hypothetical Fundamentalist Bureaucrat) would think government intervention and supervision are, by themselves, moral prepositions in any sense, so “why no advocacy of government food, housing, etc.?” is simply nonsense...

You also take a lot of concrete economic premises that you pass off as profound metaphysical truths; if, for instance, the free market in food left 80% of the people in America starving, your moral premise would not change, but if you would not defend such a system (as I assume you wouldn’t) then it wasn’t standing on purely moral grounds to begin with...

Your appeal to the Constitution is even more insular, as it is a purely legal one; if the Constitution was amended tomorrow to include a right to health care, would you start defending it? If not, then you are just appealing to some other kind of principle that you project onto the Constitution.

In effect, I don’t think your premises are very different from mine, since you still support a coercive state (however minimal), presumably to provide the services that you assume would not be provided efficiently in the free market. Coercion is coercion, so if you are simply appealing to the economic outcomes of your particular instance of coercion, then you’re not defending freedom on principle, you are just making a consequentialist argument like everybody else. In that case, its all about stats and numbers and models and empirical evidence and its a far more wonkish (and boring) debate than you seem to be willing to have...

My personal position is that the state should be the smallest one that still provides the best possible outcomes, where “best” and “possible” are to be agreed on by overwhelming majority (i.e. not necessarily 51 to 49)... If the best possible outcomes of health care are with government intervention than that is the way to go... If not, then no... I think it’s that simple..

Mike said...

“I think you’re just mixing moral and economic arguments…”

The two are interrelated. Economics is an expression of man’s interaction with each other. To the extent the State interjects itself through coercion in that free expression creates distortions in behavior and devaluation of ones labor.

“ for instance, the free market in food left 80% of the people in America starving,…”

False argument as the free market by its nature delivers the maximum resources to meet the demands of the marketplace. Note I said free market. Not corporatism, not a political market etc. Wherever in the world you find people wanting for basic resources, you usually find lack of free markets and/or corrupt government.

“Your appeal to the Constitution is even more insular, as it is a purely legal one …”

Not insular. A foundation. If you don’t begin with the rule of law then you have the rule of man. An economic system based on the rule of man is subject to whatever ever thug or gang is in charge and doomed to failure.

“Constitution was amended tomorrow to include a right to health care, would you start defending it?”

I would defend the legality but not the policy. The 18th amendment was moronic but at least it followed the proper rule of law in its institution. The 21st amendment subsequently followed the proper rule of law in its repeal.

“since you still support a coercive state (however minimal), presumably to provide the services that you assume would not be provided efficiently in the free market”

Not exactly. I recognize the State is coercive no matter how small. However the State’s role should not be based on perceived to be more efficient, but what is deemed minimally necessary. If you start looking at it form that viewpoint in an honest and objective manner, the role shrinks pretty quickly.

“. If the best possible outcomes of health care are with government intervention than that is the way to go... If not, then no... I think it’s that simple”

Is it really? If the most efficient solution to solving the problem of the homeless is the government to intervene and appropriate your spare bedroom, are you ok with that? Fortunately you still have some semblance of the rule of law to protect your property rights to prevent such a public policy that might be passed by an overwhelming majority.

This takes us full circle back to the moral element. Government is force; private market is voluntary exchange where you determine what is in your best interests in exchange for your labor. Government coercion devalues your labor and your essence of a sovereign individual. Absent the restrictions of a constitution it becomes tyranny of the majority and that is immoral.

Thank you for the thoughtful constructive dialogue.

JG said...


I've tried to conduct this debate using facts to support my argument and every time I do your reply is to say that my facts "lack context" and then you rattle off a series of untrue factoids that wouldn't even refute my statements even if they had been true, which they are not.

I can give you all the facts in the world to refute your positions but I already know that you'll simply invent some reason to reject them and go on believing what you want to believe, not because it's true but because it's what you want to believe.

I see no point in carrying on a debate with someone who has decided to reject all inconvenient facts.

Anonymous said...

"I can give you all the facts in the world to refute your positions but I already know that you'll simply invent some reason to reject them and go on believing what you want to believe, not because it's true but because it's what you want to believe."

Isn't this ironic, JG? Mike provided what seemed to be a coherent rebuttal against your argument and you accuse him of trying to argue around your points. Mike explained himself and you resort to calling him a "libertarian blowhard." I believe you're an intellectually dishonest, holier-than-thou child trying to win the argument with "my dad can beat up your dad" excuses.

I'm surprised no one in this interesting debate brought up Canada's overall corporate tax rate of about 25%.

Enjoy your universal health care, JG! You deserve it more than anyone here. No matter what you want to believe in, reality will eventually crush whatever fantasy bubble you're living in and even then, you will probably continue to ignore empirical evidence and data right in your face. Your views are already represented by much of the mainstream media, so it's refreshing to be able to hear some different opinions on these important economic issues.

Anonymous said...

It's even more irritating when certain people believe they are so above everyone else that they won't even answer a simple question that could shed some potential insight in a debate. I recall reading some earlier arguments where Mike asked Zachriel about 17 times what he does for a living without any answer or reply back. If he really thought it was so irrelevant to the discussion, then why did he continually refuse to answer the question at all and how do we know he wasn't working for some think tank or a university?

There would not be any problem if Zachriel had just answered the question so everyone else would know where his point of view is coming from and so we would know that he was being sincere in his views and reasoning. It just adds suspicion when people like him continually refuse to respond to these types of questions and when JG breaks down like a grown child and resorts to insults and personal attacks, which I have also seen from some of the Austrian school supporters who have debated here.

JG said...

That's right Anonymous, Mike broke me down like a child, you zinged me with your amazing debate skills, and Romney still has a path to win Ohio.

Just remember that when the people you debate walk away in disgust it's not because you wowed them with your insights and knowledge, it's because they got tired of arguing with a brick wall who confuses his own opinions for facts. Enjoy your echo chamber while the rest of us enjoy living in the real world.


Anonymous said...

Let's agree to disagree then. Fair enough?

Anonymous said...

"Romney still has a path to win Ohio."

I never said or implied that. Romney was a complete milquetoast flip flopper that had NO chance of winning the election even if he had tried. You obviously have an agenda to promote and that's perfectly fine. Cheers!

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