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Comment Re:I approve, sorta (Score 1) 1291

It's very heartening to me to see that you are at least the second libertarian highly-modded in this thread who thinks that something like this is, at the very least, better than what we've got already.

For decades I've been advocating that we could comfortably get rid of a whole bunch of statist intervention and have a really free, libertarian market if we just slapped one simple elegant bandaid over the problem of growing inequality and concentration of wealth that comes about when you do that naively. (I have thoughts on how to do it less-naively and not even require that bandaid, but that's a topic for elsewhere).

Just make sure that nobody can get too far from the mean income, up or down -- that the further away from it you get, the harder you are pulled back toward it, but in the wide ranges nearer to it you're free to succeed or fail on your own -- and then let the market sort out things like paying wages and providing services as efficiently as possible, knowing that even the most desperately needy person is getting at least enough to cover their basic needs, and that the cost of that is being paid only by those most easily able to shoulder it, leaving the bulk of people in the middle classes largely alone and free.

Comment Re:I can't see how this will work (Score 1) 1291

I make about twice what the median American makes and I still have plenty of things (mostly a house) I could use more money for and work hard to get more money to get those things.

You can sure well bet that I wouldn't quit this job to live off of $10k a year work-free.

And if I was working part-time at McDonalds, I sure as hell wouldn't quit that job to live off of $10k a year work-free, instead of working AND getting that $10k/year and enjoying all the better quality of living that would afford me.

My mom lives off $10k/year because of disability, and believe me, it is a terrible existence. Even though she's disabled and isn't supposed to be able to work, she still wants to, because she needs more damn money. Of course, with disability, if she gets any job at all, even one paying minimum wage for an hour a day, she loses all her benefits. With a basic income, people like that would be allowed to work to better their lives, unlike with the perverse incentives current programs offer.

Comment Re:Free money isn't free (Score 1) 1291

I'd rather have a completely free-market economy with ONE simple elegant bandaid slapped on to stem runaway class division and concentration of wealth, than the statist mish-mash of different programs dictating how people must live their lives if they want a little hand with surviving.

Comment Re:Don't we (the US) already have that... (Score 2) 1291

Exactly, so we get a negative feedback loop that diminishes economic activity and wealth. People are working for money building things that people buy with the money they get from building other things and so on; that's how the economy works and how people's needs get met. If we replace the people building things with machines building things, then those machines would also have to do the buying of things (and be paid money with which to do so) to justify their own existence, which they're not going to do, so you'll end up with people not working, having no money, not building things, and nobody buying them; and machines not working and building things either, and everything stops. That is the problem.

Since paying the machines so that they can go buy the products (like we used to pay the people the machines replaced) isn't going to happen, one possible solution is that, even once machines are doing the work, we keep paying the people (who aren't working anymore) so they can keep buying the stuff that the machines are making, and use the money made by those machines to fund that paying of people so that they can keep buying the stuff that the machines make, and so on. In the end it's just like the pre-machine economy, except that people don't have to work. Which was the point of inventing machines in the first place, wasn't it?

Comment Re:Free money isn't free (Score 1) 1291

At least you've got it better than my generation, who are still paying into social security and pretty much guaranteed, whether this basic income happens or not, that it's not going to be there when we're old enough to collect. Instead, all our SS payments will be funding your SS income, if you still get it... the way that your payments were actually to fund your parents' income, and so on since the beginning. SS is not a savings account, and though I agree that it's a really unfair broken way of doing things, the first generation of people who got SS got it without paying anything in, so the last generation, whenever it ends, are going to be totally fucked, and it's that first generation who fucked them.

Comment For best results, scale with average (Score 2) 1291

If we do this by giving everyone half of (the average income minus their own income), then we basically guarantee that nobody makes less than half of average, we cost average people nothing to pay for it, and the burden on the rich who do pay for it scales with the inequality of income distribution automatically. In a market where income distribution was close to uniform already, this kind of distribution would automatically scale back to almost nothing. If a tiny handful of people get almost all the money and most people get almost none, then that tiny handful will be paying a lot to a lot of people. It creates a spring-like centerward pressure on everyone; people near average are barely affected at all, the further from average you get the harded it pulls you back toward average.

Comment Re:And how much does the rest of the world owe us? (Score 1) 528

I see the quibblers came out in force, sweating the fine distinction between socialism and socialism. Yes, my joke about USSR and NAZI went over their heads, and they brought out the predictable (but not by me, alas) rejoinder abut those same communist countries calling themselves democratic republics. People who quibble about things like that are blind to any kind of big picture, so this is addressed to them: you have a lousy grasp of reality if you think quibbling about the definition of socialism changes anything.

You probably think raising business taxes socks it to evil businesses and makes them pay their fair share. Here's some news to think about (but you won't): business pass on taxes to consumers, just like they pass on all costs. People pay taxes, you minwits, not businesses. Every single tax comes down to individual people paying them.

You probably think businesses are evil incarnate because they seek profits. Here's something else to think about: profits are to businesses as wages are to people. Just as you wouldn't want to work for free or for some socially responsible wage, neither would you invest your money for free or start a business with friends and expect no income from it. Oh wait, you think paying yourself while the business itself shows no profit makes it a nice business? Talk to any tax accountant for a dose of reality.

Non-profits seek a profit too, but it is diverted to different legal categories that the tax bureaucrats have created to maintain the fiction of being a non-profit, with the express purpose of fooling useful idiots like you. If you don't believe me, go look up the legislative history.

Look up the legislative history of minimum wage laws while you're at it. The US federal minimum wage law began during the Great Depression by FDR's brain trust with the express purpose of preventing northeast textile mills from relocating to the south for labor which was far cheaper, something like 1/4 the rate, because blacks were so discriminated against, by US and state governments. Look up the speeches by beloved FDR backers expressing their contempt for blacks and support of whites.

For that matter, racism was government-mandated. Railroads (yes, evil businesses) in Louisiana were ordered, against their wishes, to have separate cars and trains for blacks and whites. They did not want to because it added expense and reduced profits, but the government ordered it, and it went all the way to the Supreme Court before "separate but equal" was officially approved as government policy. Before government stepped in, blacks and whites rode together and got along. Hell, slavery itself was government-mandated, which you probably do know, but refuse to see as one of the evil consequences of the tyranny of the majority with a coercive government. You'd rather blame it on evil white males, just as you'd rather blame Eric Garner's death on racism than police unaccountability.

Your beloved Democrat President, Woodrow Wilson, was perhaps the most bigoted US President ever. He segregated the post office and other government jobs.

Speaking of Woodrow Wilson, if you look at this chart, or google for "inflation since 1800" if it is invalid. Notice how inflation was consistent up until the 1920s: it rose during war and settled back down after. A dollar in 1900 was very nearly the same value as one from 1800. What happened after? Well, the Fed and income tax were begun in 1913. WW I ran up inflation as usual, and after the war there was the usual depression and deflation -- or would have been, but the new Fed stepped in to prevent deflation back to normality. They wanted to do a lot more damage, but they had no leader, as Woodrow Wilson had had a stroke and was pretty much out of it. The 1920 depression started as bad as the 1929 one, but was over and done with in 18 months precisely because the government did nothing but shrink the budget back to pre-war levels.

If you quibblers were the slightest bit interested in what actually happened, and would open your minds to let history show you a reality which goes against everything your quibbling supports, you could wander all over the place and find all sorts of things which would upset your pre-conceived quibbly notions.

You probably think Standard Oil and Rockefeller were evil incarnate and the government did right by breaking up Standard Oil. You would be wrong. Rockefeller innovated like nobody's business and brought the price of heating and lighting oil down so low that it drove the old stick-in-the-mud companies out of business. He probably single-handedly saved whales from extinction. One of the companies that failed to keep up with his innovations was run by a man whose (wife, daugheter, I forget now) wrote a scathing muckraker expose of him, full of lies and nonsense, which inflamed the public, which goaded the government into a long legal case. Fun fact: Rockefeller himself failed to see how much cheaper Texas and Oklahoma oil was compared to his Pennsylvania oil, and had been losing market share for years by the time the government started its legal case. Yes, look it up: markets broke up his monopoly, not the government, which merely wasted money and disrupted the efficient market for no gain.

On and on the list goes. You clowns who think socialism is so great (if you could ever agree on its definition and whether it has even existed) could learn a lot from history, but it's so much easier to rant and rave and stomp you feet than to actually dig in and do anything useful. You do nothing useful, but luckily for the world, innovators like Uber and Cody WIlson come up with new ideas far faster than governments can knock them down. Socialism is only good for perfecting distribution of a closed static system, and there it would probably excel. Of course you are all right, that there has never been a true socialist system, but that's only because the world is populated with people who can dream up new things and better ways to do old things, upsetting the socialist cart time after time. You may think markets are evil and only socialism can tame them, but trying to prevent markets is like trying to prevent water flowing downhill. Too much rainfall one year, not enough the next, predictable silt buildup, unpredictable earthquakes and fires and landslide, and next thing you know, your clever gravity-defying dam is just a pile of rubble. The analogy with market-defying socialism is beyond your comprehension, but that's ok too, because markets always exist with minds of their own, no matter how much a few social cowards might think otherwise.

Comment Re:Never Understood the Name (Score 1) 266

It has nothing to do with the political spectrum. The "liberal" in "liberal arts" refers to freemen, i.e. full citizens, not slaves. The classical liberal arts were the things needed to conduct life as a free citizen: grammar, logic, and rhetoric (the most basic three, the "trivium", whence our term "trivial"), and four kinds of mathematics: arithmetic, geometry, "music" (meaning harmonics) and "astronomy" (meaning dynamics).

Modern use of the term to mean "non-STEM" is just misuse of the language.

Comment Re:And how much does the rest of the world owe us? (Score 1) 528

Oh come now, those characteristics are insignificant and do not define communism or socialism. Didn't you see the various redefinitions above? You are using antiquated capitalist terms. You need to use the modern self-definitions. After all, you wouldn't depend on a tree for the definition of trees, you'd rely on a superior intellect.

Comment Re:Where are these communist societies (Score 1) 528

Another redefiner. Just because communism embarrassed socialists doesn't mean you should drop all pride in your beliefs and redefine them. Have some spine, man. Stand up tall and be proud, like a true Scot in his skirt.

By the way, do you know passing the bar to become a lawyer is not that ancient a concept? Ought to learn a little history before you use it wrongly for false parables.

Two is not equal to three, even for large values of two.