37 votes

Should Ron Paul Supporters Apply for Food Stamps?

(edit)

With the recent 'controversy' over Dr. Paul receiving and accepting his Social Security Insurance payments, I've 'bumped' this thread back into the conversation:

QUESTION:

Should Ron Paul supporters apply for food stamps, housing assistance, energy assistance, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera???

(Previous content referencing Atlas Shrugged has been submitted as a comment below)

http://www.dailypaul.com/237450/should-ron-paul-supporters-a...

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Economy economy economy

I think these services are used by the government as a cover-up for what they have done with the economy, not because they care!

Without social services we would see a gruesome situation on the streets and there for see clearly what they have done.

With the economy and toxic environment that we have because of government choices these services are necessary.

Who's to blame?

If you have children, yes.

If it is only you or you and a spouse hold out until you can find something. Mopping floors and cleaning toilets should not be beneath anyone if they want to eat.

Get the food stamps.

You drive on the public roads, get police and fire protection don't you?

"Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty" TJ

Demanding/supporting perpetual theft is wrong.

The morality of accepting stolen goods is less black and white.

1. The person who accepts stolen goods and endorses the theft itself is immoral.

2. The person who accepts stolen goods and fights against the theft is a bit different, especially if they make a reasonable attempt to "pay back" what they have received by investing at least that much (not necessarily in $ but in effort) fighting against the theft. (And no, previous/subsequent taxes do not count as "paying back", see next paragraph.) For those who accept the stolen goods out of "necessity" it may take a bit of courage and conviction to trust that when the theft is brought to an end, times will as a direct consequence be better across the board when it comes to economics, jobs and charity such that they aren't just digging their own grave. (Or it takes such conviction and moral fortitude that they will fight the theft even if it does mean they are digging their own grave.)

3. The person who accepts stolen goods and thinks they can justify it by saying "they paid into the system" or "they are just getting their money back" or "there is no crime in attempting to recover your stolen money" is immoral, ignorant or both. The money they put in is not sitting in some vault waiting to be retrieved. It is gone -- it was stolen from them, and it was spent. This worthless argument is often made with respect to SS, but SS is simply inter-generational abuse. Older generations effectively steal from younger generations via taxation and from both younger generations and the unborn via government debt. People grow up being robbed by the system, and then think it is their right to turn around and steal from the following generations. Theft is never a right. (And this is kind of besides the point, but there is also the issue that people tend to be very bad at applying any actual math, seemingly conveniently so, not seeing that what they "paid in" to SS over their whole life they tend to collect in SS in a very small number of years once retired.)

The previous paragraph should not be taken to mean that I am calling everyone accepting SS immoral. If they are accepting SS but still fighting very hard for an eventual end to the theft, that places them more in the grey area of #2 above. Also, there is the issue of government-induced dependency, both via nominal taxation theft and via inflation theft (which is why the ending of the theft should probably be phased out rather than ended abruptly -- unfortunately we are headed towards economic collapse which may result in a very abrupt ending).

Ah, but this is no ordinary theft

This is a Warlord who goes to every person in the village and demands they give him some of their stuff. They all comply, then he says, "If you think you NEED some of this stuff, come fill out an application and I MIGHT give you some of it. Otherwise, I will just use it how I see fit."

Now, is it amoral to petition the Warlord for some of the stuff back, even if the stuff he gives you wasn't YOUR stuff to begin with?

You might say, you should band together with the other villagers and overthrow this despot! But he's much stronger than you, so it's going to be a long time until you can convince enough people to help you overthrow him. To me, in the mean time, it is not immoral for YOU to petition to get the stolen items, it was immoral for the Warlord to take it and extort the community in to filling out forms (begging) for their stuff back in the first place.

Edit: I just realized, thinking about this example, that a hidden evil of government handouts is that it starts dividing a community against itself. It's supposed to "help" the poor, but instead it creates tension where none existed before.

wolfe's picture

yep to your edit... :)

That is exactly why I LOVE these types of discussions... It helps us all to fully examine it all..

You said:
"Edit: I just realized, thinking about this example, that a hidden evil of government handouts is that it starts dividing a community against itself. It's supposed to "help" the poor, but instead it creates tension where none existed before."

An example, when someone get's pissed off that someone else is using food stamps to buy steak.

They use both the theft and the "hand outs" to create tension, and general lack of respect for one another...

Never feel guilty for reclaiming some of your money and never look down on or judge someone else for the same thing. It was there money before it was stolen, after all, they have a right to buy a steak with it.

The Philosophy Of Liberty -
http://www.thephilosophyofliberty.com/

I agree.

People have the right to choose what they eat.

Another thing I would not get

Another thing I would not get angry at someone buying steak with food stamps because they may seriously need it if they are anemic.

Your example is also flawed.

"Otherwise, I will just use it how I see fit."

That is not how SS has played out, or will play out in the future. The "warlord" has already used all of the stolen stuff as seen fit. Subsequently, the warlord has no stuff. To fulfill your petition for stuff the warlord will have to go out and steal it. Your petition for stuff is therefore a request for more theft.

As Ron Paul says: "you don't have a right to get something from government because government has nothing, so the government has to take it from somebody and give it to you"

wolfe's picture

You're arguments are flawed...

You keep falling back on the SS argument. But you can not isolate one theft and say it is different. Further, this discussion isn't even really about SS.

So try to address the points from the perspective of the conversation to further it along.

A thief's chosen allocation of funds is irrelevant to the theft and reclamation of funds.

The Philosophy Of Liberty -
http://www.thephilosophyofliberty.com/

I only use SS as an example,

because SS is the area where the "I'm just getting my money back" argument is most often used. But the argument I make is not just valid for SS, it's valid for all so-called "entitlements" -- unemployment, medicare, medicaid, etc.

"A thief's chosen allocation of funds is irrelevant to the theft and reclamation of funds."

That's pure nonsense. You can not reclaim any funds. The funds are gone, they have been spent. The government has nothing. Any money you accept from the government in the future, the government has to first steal from someone else.

wolfe's picture

Absolute garbage...

Reparations in a court of law do not care how the defendant used the money, only that he must return it.

As exactly in my example, you seem to think it matters that the government hasn't allocated the money in a way that you can isolate and reclaim your funds specifically.

If I am stolen from, I have a right to retake my money. Taxation is the theft, reclaiming my money is not.

You want to blame the victims for the theft, but that simply isn't correct.

The government doesn't HAVE to do anything. Reclamation of your money does not constitute support for theft.

If reparations are awarded by a judge. The defendant must repay the money. The judge is, of course, NOT condoning the thief going out to steal more money to pay them. It is expected the thief will use lawful means to repay the debt. If he does not, the judge is not complicit in the new theft simply because he demanded the thief repay previous theft.

The Philosophy Of Liberty -
http://www.thephilosophyofliberty.com/

Your analogy

fails to take into account that the Judge is compensated with the very monies you are attempting to recover.

There are no politicians or bankers in foxholes.

Not garbage, recycled genius. :-)

"Reparations in a court of law do not care how the defendant used the money, only that he must return it."

And would a court of law, facing a defendant with no real possessions of their own or legitimate means to earn money, suggest that the defendant should make reparations by going out and stealing?

"As exactly in my example, you seem to think it matters that the government hasn't allocated the money in a way that you can isolate and reclaim your funds specifically."

No, that's not it at all. Say a portion of everyone's taxes had been collected in gold, and all of that gold had been thrown in a pile and saved. I would then have absolutely ZERO moral qualms about everyone getting back exactly the amount of gold taken from them and put into that pile. I would not care if the American Gold Eagles someone got back were actually not the same AGEs originally taken from them - that is (ignoring things like numismatic value) irrelevant.

The problem here is not that the stored wealth is unallocated instead of allocated. The problem is that there is no stored wealth. It was spent. It's gone.

"If I am stolen from, I have a right to retake my money. Taxation is the theft, NOT reclaiming my money."

But who do you have a right to take the money from? I say you only have the right to take the money from the person who stole it from you. You want to steal indiscriminately and call that "wealth reclamation".

The government is not a person, they don't have any wealth, and you can't take anything from them. All you can do is use the government as a tool to steal from others.

"You want to blame the victims for the theft, but that simply isn't correct."

I blame the perpetrators -- all perpetrators. I blame not only the IRS agents, not only the politicians, but also the voters who voted in support of these programs, and the voters who do not demand an end to them. They are all perpetrators. That many of the perpetrators are also victims just means that in addition to being perpetrators, many of them are also kind of stupid and/or ignorant: "Everyone wants to live at the expense of the state. They forget that the state lives at the expense of everyone." - Frédéric Bastiat

"The government doesn't HAVE to do anything. Reclamation of your money does not constitute support for theft."

The government has nothing. How do you propose they obtain the wealth you wish to "reclaim"? Their only tool is force, and the use of force to "gather" wealth for you is called "theft".

"If reparations are awarded by a judge. The defendant must repay the money. The judge is, of course, NOT condoning the thief going out to steal more money to pay them. It is expected the thief will use lawful means to repay the debt. If he does not, the judge is not complicit in the new theft simply because he demanded the thief repay previous theft."

And what if the judge knows, with absolute certainty, that the only means available for the defendant to obtain the funds is to commit theft? Furthermore the judge knows that the defendant has done exactly that (steal) in response to multitudes of court orders of payment over and over again for decades, with no exceptions? Then, by definition, the judge can not have such expectations (use of lawful means). And if a judge with this knowledge demands (e.g., via any type of force or threat of force) that the defendant pay the money, then the judge is complicit in the new theft.

wolfe's picture

I stopped at this statement...

Because from it, it is clear that you are not interested in continuing in a legitimate discussion but stuck on the idea that you must be right so you will be right...:

"And would a court of law, facing a defendant with no real possessions of their own or legitimate means to earn money, suggest that the defendant should make reparations by going out and stealing?"

Of course not, the judge demands reparations, period. It is not his concern after that. I was awarded reparations and the judge didn't care that the woman had nothing, and no way to obtain anything legally. Only that she owed me for damages.

I don't enjoy arguing in circles, which is what you are doing now. Enjoy your point of view... I hope you keep thinking on it.

The Philosophy Of Liberty -
http://www.thephilosophyofliberty.com/

You're funny.

Don't you realize that you are just reacting to your own analogy being critically flawed?

You are the one that set up this analogy of defendant = government. The analogy doesn't really work. All I did is make that obvious by pointing out that when you ask the government for money you are in fact asking them to steal. I took that reality about government and plugged it into your analogy, and your analogy blew up -- because it was never valid to begin with.

You either want to bury your head in the sand and pretend that you have absolutely no idea how the government will get the wealth that you demand, or you want to pretend that even though you have full knowledge that they will respond to your request with theft that you are in no way responsible for that theft.

Do you or do you not agree that the only way government can give you wealth is to first take it from someone else?

If so, then do you or do you not agree that the government doesn't have some "Giant Pile o' Wealth" just lying around, so continued future demands results in continued future theft?

If so, then do you or do you not agree that by asking the government to give you wealth you are in effect asking them to take it from someone else?

These are pretty simple concepts. It must take some truly "special talent" to refuse to understand them. (Perhaps what is really going on is that you are trying really hard to avoid seeing yourself as complicit in theft because you don't want to admit guilt, not even to yourself.)

For now, we are stuck with the government we have - and that

includes the government continually taking (stealing) our money. The Fed continues to cause boom/bust cycles which cause loss of jobs and hungry people. So until it is fixed, what would you rather do - watch people starve, rather than share? Of course we want to fix the economy so people can take care of themselves. I don't believe in enabling people to be lazy, but sometimes things are out of a person's control. When we get rid of the Fed, things will improve and people can all have jobs again.

False choice I never gave.

"So until it is fixed, what would you rather do - watch people starve, rather than share?"

First: If you look at my original post, you will see I provided a scenario #2. Basically what I am opposing in this "discussion" with wolfe is scenario #3 where people believe that these social programs have become rights because they believe they are owed their money back. Such people will not work to end the theft and will instead vote for its continuation. Scenario #2 is describing people who, while accepting money from social programs, also try to work to eventually end them. This may be a long term process (unless we actually hit $ collapse, in which case it may be really fast). For example, we need to end the Federal Reserve (or at least get true competing currencies) before people can actually save for retirement without being so badly robbed by inflation that saving enough is nearly impossible. (Currently they either save in $ and get robbed directly by inflation, or they can save in hard assets and get robbed by false, inflation-driven capital gains taxes, and if those hard assets are precious metals they get hit with extra taxation on such false gains.) So maybe we do that first, and only then start to slowly phase out social security over time (I'm talking several decades -- basically so is Ron Paul when he talks about letting people 25 and under opt-out, though I wish he combined that option with a warning that they may get screwed by inflation if they opt-out before having access to sound money). As more people have more time where they can save using sound money, their dependency on social security will decrease.

Second: "Sharing" is done of one's free will. What we have now is theft, not sharing/charity. What I want is personal responsibility, where people know they have a responsibility to take care of themselves, where parents know they have a responsibility to at least get their children to the point where they can take on that responsibility for themselves, and where people realize they should be good to their family, friends and community because if times get tough they may have to depend on them for help/charity.

wolfe's picture

lol...

Believe what you want.... Have a good day. And I meant it when I said I hope you continue to reflect on the subject. Your arguments are circular and irrational, but you do not appear to be, so at some point you may understand.

The Philosophy Of Liberty -
http://www.thephilosophyofliberty.com/

Wrong.

I broke the argument down for you into three fairly simple points:

  1. Do you or do you not agree that the only way government can give you wealth is to first take it from someone else?
  2. If so, then do you or do you not agree that the government doesn't have some "Giant Pile o' Wealth" just lying around, so continued future demands results in continued future theft?
  3. If so, then do you or do you not agree that by asking the government to give you wealth you are in effect asking them to take it from someone else?

You claim the argument is circular. Show where. (You can't, because it isn't. Each point only depends on the previous point and real-world facts, therefore the overall argument is not circular. I suspect you may be confused and think an analogy is somehow a logical argument -- it isn't. And plugging reality [as derived from the above argument] into an analogy to show the analogy is flawed is not "circular". Another possibility is that you are "seeing" circularity between the 2nd and 3rd points because of their similarity, but there is none -- the 3rd is a specialization of the 2nd -- from the generic "future continued demands" to the specific "by asking the government to give you wealth". Of course there are infinite ways you might see circularity where there is none, so I can't reliably correct your error unless I know specifically what it is.)

Ditto for irrational.

wolfe's picture

roflmao...

Let it go man... If you believe so strongly that you are right, why do you feel such a need to convince anyone else?

Your case amounts to, "if we don't demand our money back from the thief, he will stop stealing". That assumes that thief is a pawn, and not the initiator. Which is false. And it is very circular. "He won't stop stealing from us, so we can't demand our money back or he will steal from us more" It actually doesn't get any more circular than that.

In addition, you assume that all of the stolen money evaporates the second it enters the system. It does not.

And last, how the thief obtains the money to repay is about as relevant as the electric company making sure that it's customers aren't thieves, drug dealers, etc. The money owed, is owed, if he steals again to obtain it then he should be held accountable for that theft as well but is not relevant to his electric bill.

And lastly, despite the fact that it isn't relevant, because I am sick of hearing you repeat the same garbage talking points. The government has 3 non-theft mechanisms available to it to repay funds.

1) Liquidate previously stolen assets, such as lands, and equipment purchased with stolen funds. (that pile of *stolen* wealth that you seem to think doesn't exist).

2) Return all currently available funds.

3) Use rightfully acquired future funds, such as paid for voluntary services. (Yes, the government does have some of those as well, I can list them if you are unaware).

If forced to pay ALL that they owe, it would bankrupt them... YAY!.. But they never would repay it all, so it is not likely to truly bankrupt them, unfortunately.

Taxation is theft. On that we agree. And all *rational* people believe that the victim has a right to reparations in that situation. And a judge does not say, "Oh I am sorry, I think you would have to steal to repay it, so you don't have to." What they actually say is, "Here is what you must repay, or face jail time and further fines." If that person steals and get's caught again, they go back to court for that crime.

Repeating the same talking points, when confronted with contrary logic, without addressing it, is in fact circular arguing.

Both your argument and logic are circular.

Now... As I said, I don't care whether you agree with me. I have given you the facts and logic on it, the rest is up to you or not, and I personally don't need you to agree with me... So have a good day.... :)

The Philosophy Of Liberty -
http://www.thephilosophyofliberty.com/

I want the theft to end.

"If you believe so strongly that you are right, why do you feel such a need to convince anyone else?"

I don't like leaving threads in states of confusion where the truth is obfuscated by nonsense. People reading the threads can end up walking away with bad info or nothing gained.

Worse, yet, I'm being robbed, and I would like it stop. That won't happen as long as people don't see (or care) that their actions (accepting money from government, asking government to redistribute money) mean that others get robbed.

"Your case amounts to, "if we don't demand our money back from the thief, he will stop stealing". That assumes that thief is a pawn, and not the initiator. Which is false."

No, that is not exactly my case. You are conflating government with the thieves. Government is not the thief. Government is the tool used by the thieves. Every last one of the thieves are people.

And I agree that the thieves are the initiators (or at least "perpetuators" as many of the thieves have also been victims and the theft has been going on long before many of the thieves were born). And when I say you shouldn't demand "your money" back from the government, I am asking you, the ex-vicitim-now-turned-thief, to not conspire to steal.

(Also, the government is the pawn, if only people would act morally -- see "thought experiment" below.)

"And it is very circular. He won't stop stealing from us, so we can't demand our money back or he will steal from us more" It actually doesn't get any more circular than that."

Again, more conflating government with thieves.

And your grotesque misrepresentation of my position is creating a circularity where there was none. You are inserting "He [government] won't stop stealing from us" as a starting-point. And you are also making a completely illogical (post hoc ergo propter hoc) step which I never made (going from "He won't stop stealing from us" to "we can't demand our money back..."). You fabricated both of those additions, and they are both required for the circularity you constructed, and which does not exist in my original argument.

The only way we stop being robbed is if we agree to stop being thieves.

It's really simple math. As long as someone is collecting stolen goods, someone is getting robbed. If no one is collecting stolen goods, then no one is getting robbed. (The only time that doesn't hold is when the amount of stolen loot hidden away in some corner of the system is changing -- but such changes in any given direction are always necessarily finite and of limited duration, and it is the steady-state case that concerns me most. And that concern over the steady-state case rather than just the short-term is one part of why I am willing to see a program such as SS be phased-out over time rather than just instantaneously ended.)

Consider a thought experiment: Say Ron Paul became president, and his economic plan got enacted. Three years later (per his plan) the budget is actually balanced. What then happens if all of the thieves (those accepting government hand-outs) stop their bad behavior? The government then has a massive budget surplus. Voters will see this and demand and get tax cuts. (Debt, interest and inflation are all taxes themselves though, so even if there were no prior balanced budget and no cut in explicit nominal taxes, there would still be an effective tax cut in direct response to the reduced acceptance of government hand-outs, at least until total debt reached zero -- and at that point voters would be screaming for tax cuts.)

"In addition, you assume that all of the stolen money evaporates the second it enters the system. It does not."

I don't really assume that. But neither do I accept the assumption you appear to be suggesting, which is that future taxes will somehow be equitably cancelled-out by past hand-outs. That's not how it works. If it did, no corporation would bother hiring a lobbyist, and I wouldn't be seeing so much of my income being stolen. Also, it would be impossible for me to reduce that theft by doing something as simple as moving dollars to gold, but that's what's happened.

"And last, how the thief obtains the money to repay is about as relevant as the electric company making sure that it's customers aren't thieves, drug dealers, etc. The money owed, is owed, if he steals again to obtain it then he should be held accountable for that theft as well but is not relevant to his electric bill."

If by "about as relevant" you mean "they better not knowingly accept such money or they may be fined and/or imprisoned for up to ten years", and even if they didn't know they may get sued for recovery of the funds, then yeah, it's exactly the same. (/sarc)

Accepting money (or purchasing goods) which you know is stolen is illegal (except when the government does the stealing). Or maybe you would like to try purchasing some stolen goods off the back of a truck and then bragging about it to the cops.

And yes, the thief should be held accountable, but when you use the government as a tool for theft, you are one of the thieves.

Trying to hold "the government" accountable for the theft is nonsense, just like a war on terror is nonsense. People are responsible for crimes, and only people can be held responsible for those crimes. If you commission someone to commit a crime on your behalf, then you are guilty, and voting for politicians who promise to commit theft is exactly that (morally, sadly not legally). If you knowingly accept stolen goods, then you are guilty, and accepting government hand-outs is just that (morally). Using past evil (theft from you) as an excuse to do more evil (theft on some innocent victim) only perpetuates (and generally escalates) the evil.

"1) Liquidate previously stolen assets, such as lands, and equipment purchased with stolen funds. (that pile of *stolen* wealth that you seem to think doesn't exist)."

This land sale seems to be the only suggestion you offer that actually generates any significant funds -- but it's not anywhere near enough. Wikipedia says there's 2265M acres in the US. This page says the feds still own 24% of it, but also states "huge areas were retained by the federal government because they were unfit for settlement and cultivation". This land is going to have low value both because it tends to be remote and because it's "unfit". If you could get $5000/acre for it (which seems unlikely), you could collect about $2.7 trillion. Congratulations, you have found maybe 4.5% (give or take) of what you need. Only 95.5% more to go.

The federal government isn't going to totally dismantle itself and have a big fire sale, so selling everything (buildings/equipment/etc) is not really an option. However, some serious cuts can certainly be made. If you do something like what Ron Paul suggested (getting rid of five departments) you can then sell off the no longer necessary assets. According to the official plan, this allows for the sale of $21 billion in federal assets over 4 years, which is pretty insignificant.

"2) Return all currently available funds."

The amount of "currently available funds" is hardly even a blip. "Cash on hand" is generally (at most) a few hundred billion. (The government clearly does not have significant reserve cash when it "has to" keep bumping up the debt limit because it "has to" borrow because it keeps running out of funds [and every time it happens it has to temporarily "reverse-fund" one or more things, such as dipping into retirement accounts -- which itself is just an accounting gimmick that would likely earn you jail-time if done in the private-sector, until the "crisis" is over because they actually completely run out of funds].) Our unfunded liabilities are $100+ trillion. (I want to say that you wouldn't necessarily need quite that much to make "reparations", but when I work it out just based on annual GDP and how many years of GDP I think it would take, it still ends up pretty huge -- maybe in the ballpark of $40 to $80 trillion. If you also throw in the difficulty of trying to go "cold turkey" on payments to people who have already taken out more than they put in, you have either a political impossibility or many trillions more you have to come up with.) So this ("available funds") is less (probably much less) than 1% of what's needed. And it gets worse -- it's really 0% (negative actually). That's because pretty much the only reason the federal government ever has any cash on hand is because they just got done selling treasuries, which means that every penny they have in their hand they already owe (at some time in the future) to the treasury holder, with interest. So if your goal is reparations rather than more theft (e.g., from treasury holders), then the government does not have any "currently available funds".

"3) Use rightfully acquired future funds, such as paid for voluntary services. (Yes, the government does have some of those as well, I can list them if you are unaware)."

What's that? Sounds like some kind of charity? Is this some kind of self-granted government-monopoly? Because there's no way the government is providing a service in a fair free market and actually keeping its head above water. Anyways, not even knowing what it is, I would consider it highly unlikely that this could provide any significant amount in a timely manner, and that probably drops to 0 if it hasn't granted itself some profitable monopolies. (The only real purely government "enterprise" I know of is the USPS, and that's bleeding money.)

BTW, are these services being provided with the use of stolen resources? Because if so, then I don't know that "rightfully acquired" is really an appropriate description.

The only other federal government "money maker" that pops into my head (call it "4)") is the leasing of land and air-waves. Government leases land (even if it's already privately "owned") for things like oil drilling, so the feds could (and probably already do) pull in some money that way.

But now that I've finished with that pointless exercise, I would like to point out that the federal government is not the thief here. Prior SS hand-outs did not go to the federal government. Prior medicare/medicaid/unemployment pay-outs didn't go to the federal government. Corporate subsidies didn't go to the federal government. These things all went to people. It is those people (and their co-conspirators) that owe any "reparations". What the federal government owns is presumably owned by all of us. If you sell off all of the federal lands and use it to pay down reparations of only certain individuals -- reparations that are not owed by other individuals -- then you are performing a transfer of wealth, robbing the innocent and benefiting the guilty.

"If forced to pay ALL that they owe, it would bankrupt them... YAY!.. But they never would repay it all, so it is not likely to truly bankrupt them, unfortunately."

Who is "they" and "them"? You seem to be conflating government with the thieves again. The "they" that owes you are all of the people that supported the programs that ripped you off, and all of the people that willingly accepted the ill-gotten gains. They took your money. Not some abstract concept such as "government". Abstract concepts don't do anything, people do. (Note that this is at the root of a lot of society's problems. Corporations are used as shields for misdeeds performed by people. Government agencies and bodies are used as shields for misdeeds performed by people. If the guilty people were directly punished for their misdeeds rather than the shield getting a fine [if that], the world would be a better place. And while legally you can sue a government, we are not talking legality here as taxes are perfectly legal -- we are talking morality. And morally speaking, justice is only obtained by punishing those individuals who are actually guilty. Punishing the innocent is injustice.)

Also, technically speaking: Sovereign countries can default. They can be conquered from without. They can be overthrow from within. The can fall apart (like the USSR did). Sovereign countries do not, however, go bankrupt. (Bankruptcy law does not apply. Sovereign countries need not divide their assets and sell them off. They can just tell the lenders to piss off. Of course that may lead to war/overthrow.)

"Taxation is theft. On that we agree."

[tiny]yippy[/tiny]

Now if we could only agree on who the thieves are.

"And all *rational* people believe that the victim has a right to reparations in that situation."

No, the victim only has the right to seek reparations. The victim does not have an unencumbered right to the reparations themselves.

If someone robs you on the street, you have the right to seek reparations for that robbery. However, if the person who robbed you is never caught, you are not likely to get any reparations. If the robber stowed the money somewhere and then gets themself killed in a shoot-out with the police and the money is never found (or is found by someone who just quietly pockets it), you are not likely to get any reparations. The key here is that you only have a right to reparations from those that actually wronged you (including those that significantly participated in such wrong doing -- e.g., "accomplices after the fact"). You do not have a right to steal from or otherwise harm anyone who has done you no wrong. That is the non-agression principle upon which libertarianism is based. (Maybe you are not a libertarian and don't agree with that principle? Not sure there's a lot of room left for discussion if you think you can just harm [i.e., rob via taxation for your reparations] people who have done nothing to you.)

"And a judge does not say, "Oh I am sorry, I think you would have to steal to repay it, so you don't have to.""

You're the one that needs to "give it up" with this broken analogy. Your "so you don't have to" is a strawman, making it sound as if this criminal is just going to get off scott-free. If a judge felt that he could not get a repeat offender to pay up without them committing yet another crime, that judge can exercise some rather unilateral powers that many people aren't even aware judges posses. (Word to the wise -- if you're in a judge's courtroom, do not piss them off.)

Plus you're attempting to apply a legal analogy to a situation where no law was broken. It's morality that has been violated. Using a legal system which is bound/sworn to follow the law (and to hell with morality) as the basis for an argument by analogy on a moral issue is just asking for trouble.

"If that person steals and get's caught again, they go back to court for that crime."

And? What's the court going to do with this entity that has stolen countless times before, and which will predictably steal countless times again? Just keep ordering them to make reparations, with new reparations ordered for the new victims and the re-victimized?

No, in real life (for a human defendant) what would happen is they would be thrown in jail. They would cost the tax payers money to feed and house. And they would not make any significant reparations (which, frankly, would be an improvement because at least now they are no longer on a stealing-at-gun-point/wealth-redistributing/effectively-court-ordered rampage with untold collateral damage either). So how's that analogy working for ya now?

"Repeating the same talking points, when confronted with contrary logic, without addressing it, is in fact circular arguing."

What contrary logic? (What logic?) I'm trying to point out all of the faults in your comments, but there are so many...

And circular logic and repetition are two different things. Repeating the truth doesn't somehow make it wrong.

I'm still not sure what your argument even is. It seems to be one or more of:
1. Make federal government sell everything it has to make reparations, and when that doesn't result in sufficient funds "abracadabra", like magic suddenly the world is better?
2. Make federal government (or somebody) somehow make reparations, but without costing any individual person anything?
3. Make federal government (or somebody) somehow make reparations, and tax individuals to make the reparations (which then results in endless cycles of new reparations to make reparations for those taxes, and then the new taxes, ad infinitum -- but maybe by some magic this cycle ends of its own accord)?
4. Something else???
From what I've seen so far, you simply don't have any consistent position. Instead you have a set of wishes which, in the real world, are mutually inconsistent.

wolfe's picture

Ok...

I bet I can actually summarize our difference of opinion in a few short sentences, instead of the dissertations you write.

I believe:
1) The government is the thief, and ultimate beneficiary.
2) Thieves should be convicted and forced to pay reparations.
3) The government does as it chooses for it's own benefit.

You believe:
1) People (victims) are the thieves.
2) The government is only acting on people's demands.
3) That because people demand reparations, more theft must occur.

If you don't believe that the government is a thief, than you do not believe taxation is theft after all. But if you don't believe taxation is theft, then what is your issue with it?

If the government is not the beneficiary, then where do all the tanks, planes, military, personnel salaries, buildings, lands, foreign aid (bribes), etc etc come from? And to further prove the point, all social programs combined amount to only a tiny fraction of the total budget. They are not redistributing wealth. They are stealing from all (at a 70% rate), and handing a little back to purchase loyalty.

I took the time to understand your argument. I don't agree with it. But at least, I took that time. You still have not given mine the same consideration.

The Philosophy Of Liberty -
http://www.thephilosophyofliberty.com/

entitlements spending is 95+% of tax revenue (and growing)

"I took the time to understand your argument."

No, you still clearly have no clue what my argument is.

"You still have not given mine the same consideration."

Bull. I ended my previous post with a whole paragraph admitting that I simply couldn't figure out your position, and I suggested possibilities. And looking at your current post, it appears that my last sentence was dead-on -- your position (in fact, every one of your 3 points) is simply inconsistent with reality (so no one could truly make sense of it).

So, what's the core problem with every one your 3 points? What makes them inconsistent with reality? It's this: You think government, rather than being the piece of legal fiction that it is, actually exists as some kind of real, physical, thinking, acting, independent entity that, even though not capable of moral choice is still subject to moral responsibility, and even though it has no feelings or senses or goals of its own is still somehow capable of taking actions directed towards satisfying those nonexistent goals and thereby somehow benefiting.

Specifically, your points (corrected for the above) are:
1) This piece of legal fiction is the thief, and ultimate beneficiary. (rebuttal: Saying that "government is the ultimate beneficiary" of anything is like saying when I buy new tires for my car "my car is the ultimate beneficiary" -- it's nonsense.)
2) This piece of legal fiction should be convicted and forced to pay reparations. (rebuttal: You can't convict an idea any more than you can wage war on a tactic [e.g., terror]. Ideas have no possessions, so could not make reparations even if guilty, and ideas can not be "guilty" of anything since an idea has no free-will.)
3) This piece of legal fiction does as it chooses for its own benefit. (rebuttal: "government" has no free-will and can not "benefit". People have free-will, and people benefit [and lose].)

The points you attribute to me, once your mischaracterizations are corrected, are:
1) Only people can be thieves (in the moral sense - other creatures can of course take stuff). (Some thieves may also be victims. It's not really a crime to steal from yourself. It is a crime to steal from an innocent even if you yourself were victimized.)
2) The government, a piece of legal fiction, is simply a tool used by people (and some people obviously wield much more power over this tool than others). Even if it's a very powerful tool due to it being a widely accepted idea, the piece of legal fiction itself can do nothing. All (moral/immoral) actions are thought up by people, debated by people, voted for by people, ordered by people, and carried out by people. (Keep in mind that presidents are people, members of congress are people, lobbyists are people, cops are people, judges are people, voters are people, etc.)
3) If reparations for theft are demanded and taken, and collection of said reparations is not restricted to being from people actually guilty of the theft, then such collection against the innocent is theft (and a violation of the non-aggression principle).

Let me give a simple example to make it clear that it is people (and not the legal fiction called "government") that is responsible for taxation-type theft:

Say you have 100 people who get shipwrecked on an island. Someone proposes they should form a direct democracy government whose domain is the whole island (and where passed acts are to be enforced on all). There's a vote and 60 people vote for it and the island is thus claimed. Fast forward a hundred years. Population is now 200, none of the original people are still around, the direct democracy is still in place. Now someone proposes they pass a one-time act that says anyone with more than 10 coconuts has to put their "excess" coconuts into a pile, and the coconuts in the pile will then be available to those with the least coconuts. Say 110 vote "yes" and 90 vote "no", the measure passes. Now 20 people are forced to give up some of their coconuts. People eligible for getting coconuts under this act include both "yes" voters and "no" voters -- some of them collect "their" coconuts, some decide against doing so.

Then one day -- aliens arrive on the island, calling themselves "The Arbiters of Justice". They say "Who here has been wronged and wishes for justice?". The people whose coconuts were taken away speak up. Now, what do the aliens do? If they are just, they identify the guilty parties. Those 110 that voted "yes" are guilty, as are those who took the coconuts (and arguably the original 60 who voted for the creation of the government may be considered guilty as well). The aliens may attempt to restore the coconuts to those 20 people by taking coconuts from the 110 that voted "yes" and from those who took the coconuts.

You would instead say it wasn't people that (voted "yes" and) took the coconuts, it was government that took the coconuts, and government should have to pay back the coconuts. But what does that even mean? There are people that, even though they participated in this government (voted), are completely innocent -- they did not create the government (and though not mentioned may have tried to disband it or introduce constitutional property rights), they did not vote to take the coconuts, and they did not partake in the stolen loot. If the guilty (as per the previous paragraph) don't have enough coconuts to make good, are you going to take coconuts from the innocent under the guise of "making government pay"? And if not, what meaning does "making government pay" even have above and beyond making the actual guilty people pay?

You can modify the above example to be a multi-level representative system, and the basic facts won't change -- it will still be people who do bad things, and people who are therefore responsible for those bad things. "government" is just an idea, a system people use -- it can neither be responsible nor punished. (It can be a flawed system, perhaps even an inherently immoral system to use, but the moral blame falls on the people who employ it to do bad things, not on the idea itself.)

Responses to some of your other statements:

"If you don't believe that the government is a thief, than you do not believe taxation is theft after all."

Wrong. It is true that I do not believe the legal fiction is a thief. (It can't be, because it's incapable of independently doing anything. It's just an idea.) But I do believe many people are thieves. People use that legal fiction as a tool to conduct theft, and much of that theft is called "taxation".

Your argument is like saying "if you don't believe guns are robbers, then you don't believe in (armed) robbery".

"If the government is not the beneficiary, then where do all the tanks, planes, military, personnel salaries, buildings, lands, foreign aid (bribes), etc etc come from?"

Those tanks/planes/military are under the control of people. That they are owned by the legal fiction called "government" is itself a legal fiction. In reality, the effective owners are those people who have some measure of control over how they are used. (And as the executive branch grabs more power, that ownership has been shifting from congress [members of congress and those people who have influence over members of congress] and the people [voters] to the president [and those people who have influence over the president].)

The legal fiction is no "beneficiary", because it can take no actions -- it has no control over how these tanks/planes/military are used. The beneficiaries are those people who do have some measure of control over them (or will have in the future, or did have in the past).

Likewise, the foreign aid benefits people -- foreign dictators, people with interests in companies that want to do business with them, etc.

Name whatever you like -- if government is being used as a tool to make it happen, it's because there are people that have a vested interest and the ability to make it happen.

"And to further prove the point, all social programs combined amount to only a tiny fraction of the total budget."

Wrong. SS, Medicare and Medicaid by themselves make up 43% of the federal budget. See here.

And how would this further "the point" anyways? Are you really trying to make the argument that social programs are a smaller theft than some other thefts, so that makes that theft OK?

(Your comments really stink of someone trying to justify their own immoral behavior, past, present or future.)

"They are not redistributing wealth."

Wrong. "The very first Social Security recipient, Ida Mae Fuller of Vermont, paid just $44 in Social Security taxes, but the long-lived Mrs. Fuller collected $20,993 in benefits."

Furthermore, taxes are being taken from me and given to others. That is theft. ("redistribution of wealth" is just a euphemism for legalized theft).

"They are stealing from all (at a 70% rate), and handing a little back to purchase loyalty."

No, it is all handed "back" -- every last penny. It's handed "back" to people at Halliburton, Boeing, ADM, AIG, and Exxon. It's handed "back" to bureaucrats and politicians and their friends over at Solyndra. It's handed "back" to social program recipients. Very little of this (in terms of $) has to do with the government's one real purpose (defending individual liberty). The vast majority of it is redistribution of wealth and power. Even payments exiting the country (foreign aid, IMF, etc.) are actually just indirect pay-outs of wealth and/or power to people who already have sufficient ability to wield the tool of government to make what they want happen.

Furthermore, check this out: 2011: Total tax revenues: $2,091 billion; Total spending on entitlements: $2,108; so total spending on entitlements is 100.8% of tax revenue (though arguably about 4 or 5% of that maybe shouldn't be counted because it's federal-employee/veterans' benefits which many people do not consider to be "entitlements"). How can that spending be more than 100% you might ask? "We" borrow the rest of what "we" need. It's a big giant "F*** You" to the young and future generations. And it's only getting worse. Add another 6% on top just for debt-interest payments, and that's going to explode at some point when interest rates return to sane levels.

wolfe's picture

lol...

I dropped this a long time ago for several reasons. First, your facts and figures are completely outside of reality. You focus only on one aspect of tax revenue. Second, you think spending money on the military industrial complex is wealth redistribution? It's not, it is the government maintaining their monopoly on force. Social programs are not 95% of the budget, not even close.

You just believe so many things that are simply not true and fail to understand the basic premise that the government is a thief. Well, if you don't believe that, then your issues with taxes are absurd. In your world, the people get every penny back so in your world the only issue you have with taxes is they aren't spent on what you want them spent on. Btw, don't bother with the long dissertations because once I read far enough in to realize you are simply repeating yourself, I stop reading.

And lastly, you seem to be under the mistaken impression that I am for the social programs. I am not. However, I propose ending the taxation, which would eventually lead to their termination. You simply propose eliminating the social programs which makes no sense. The taxation is the crime, not the reparations. If you start by ending the social programs, all that you end up with is theft and no way to reclaim your money.

But as I said, you refuse to actually listen to my case, so I am done listening to yours.

I really have no interest in furthering this discussion. You made your case, I made mine... Let it go.

The Philosophy Of Liberty -
http://www.thephilosophyofliberty.com/

Ron Paul: "Spending is a tax!"

"First, your facts and figures are completely outside of reality."

My facts and figures come with citations. Where do you cite your sources for your refutation? You consider historical data from the CBO (Congressional Budget Office) to be "completely outside of reality"? (Oh, that's right, the real numbers don't fit your fantasy so they must be wrong. /sarc)

"You focus only on one aspect of tax revenue."

Wrong. When I said "entitlements spending is 95+% of tax revenue (and growing)", that is referring to pretty much all federal tax revenue -- not just FICA taxes, but income taxes and corporate taxes as well. (However that's not quite all of the taxes. For 2011 those add up to around $2.1 trillion. Once you throw in the remaining taxes like excise/estate/gift taxes the fed's total "take" was $2.3 trillion. That doesn't change the picture a whole lot though.)

You may have meant that I was only focused on one aspect of spending (rather than revenue), but rest assured I have no love for the over-sized MIC or all of the federal government "feature"-creep that has the "non-defenese discretionary" portion of the budget so over-sized. But that doesn't change the fact that around 50% of the entire budget is entitlements, and the question posed by the OP was about the morality of accepting one such entitlement. (The morality argument is basically the same for all of them.)

"Second, you think spending money on the military industrial complex is wealth redistribution? It's not, it is the government maintaining their monopoly on force."

And what the hell do you think that force is being used for?

At this point the MIC's primary purpose is the redistribution of wealth and power. (If their only purpose was defense, the size would be cut by half or maybe even two-thirds, and the military wouldn't be so top-heavy.) That redistribution takes on many forms: Direct "earnings" by military contractors, forcing foreign countries to sell oil in US dollars, coercing foreign governments to "play ball" with US (and non-US) corporations, etc. You expect anyone to believe that the government is maintaining this powerful force "just because"? Who do you think is that stupid? What they tell the sheep is that it's "to keep them safe" (because even the sheep would balk at the "just because" argument).

"Social programs are not 95% of the budget, not even close."

Learn to read (and/or learn some basic math). I stated that entitlements are 95+% of tax revenue, not 95+% of the budget. They are around 50% (give or take a few %) of the budget. (I even explained the difference for you: The budget is funded by tax revenues plus new debt. The US federal government borrows nearly half of the money it spends, which means its budget is nearly twice as large as its tax revenue, which means something that is x% of the budget is nearly 2x% of tax revenue.)

These numbers can be found all over the place. I already cited wikipedia and this article (though they are both using CBO numbers). You think you have better more reliable data? Let's see it.

"In your world, the people get every penny back so in your world the only issue you have with taxes is they aren't spent on what you want them spent on."

Try pulling your mind out of the collectivist gutter and try at least pretending to be for individual liberty. All of the money that goes in comes out, yes. However, it does not go to individual people in the same amount as they were forced to pay in, and it does not all come out without strings attached. That is by definition the redistribution of wealth and power.

For crying out loud, if someone robs you on the street and takes $500 bucks from you, and then goes and spends $500 for some jewelry which he then gives to his girlfriend, every penny that "went in" to the robber also "came out". That doesn't mean there was no theft (aka redistribution of wealth).

"However, I propose ending the taxation, which would eventually lead to their termination."

Your proposal is dead in the water so long as people think they have a right to get "back" the money that is "owed" to them. So long as they believe that, they will vote that way, and the government will then tax + borrow to pay for it, and the theft simply continues.

"The taxation is the crime, not the reparations."

The fact is you have no workable and moral answer to the "island & aliens" scenario, so you ignored it. You also have no workable and moral answer to the "robber" scenarios I posed in an earlier comment, so you ignored them. "Reparations" can not be had without committing new crimes, but you ignore that too.

Spending is taxation. Did you learn nothing from Ron Paul? Here it is right out of his mouth.

You can't make the taxation go away without cutting the spending. And since entitlements are such a high percent of total federal government revenue, that includes some cuts to entitlements. But in your fantasy land you can't cut the entitlement spending because then people don't get their "reparations". You have no solution.

But never mind that. You are clearly an economic genius with all the answers and this Ron Paul fellow is just some economic moron. /sarc

"If you start by ending the social programs, all that you end up with is theft and no way to reclaim your money."

Phasing-out the social programs (and reducing other federal government spending to what is needed for it to defend individual liberty) is the only way the taxation theft ends. Spending is taxation. If you want to make sustainable reductions in taxation, you have to make an equal amount of reductions in spending.

I Read both of your arguments and had to throw my two sense in.

=P
You both agree that tax = theft…check
You both agree that govt = a thief….check
Some disagreements perhaps: The people who want to reclaim their stolen paper money are/ar’nt thieves. The govt is/isn’t acting on the people’s demands. Govt does as it / the people wills, govt
My conclusions? Govt is the thief.
People who reclaim their theft are thieves even though some may desperately need it (I am sympathetic towards those who really need it. If there wasn’t an income tax there would be more charity and jobs. Heck I could even start my own business if I didn’t have an income tax and lived under the free-market.) Here is why the people who take part in the theft upon reclaiming their paper money after it has been stolen actually take part in the theft: The gov’t doesn’t have it. It is spent before it is even stolen, and now the govt is using the theft to pay the debts of borrowing (robbing the people to pay their loan shark.) People who ‘reclaim their stolen FRN’s are thieves because they are in fact having the govt repeat the cycle of theft (because there is no money…..we are of course running at $1.2 - $3 trillion deficits / year. In essence, robbing Peter to pay Paul.
No you cannot stop the theft by ‘not reclaiming your goods,’ but that doesn’t mean it is moral to reclaim them (we are speaking about an elected govt, not an individual.) You stop the theft by starving the beast (not by reclaiming because that would hurt everyone more so in the end, although that would work, USSR being a recent example) but by bartering with lawful / honest money= gold and silver. This is risky. The govt will not like it. People will be jailed. People will be harassed, but the Founders would have had the brains not to participate in the fraud that is the FRB (income taxes literally came into existence in this country because of the FRB, in order to keep up the illusion that FRN’s are worth money / fractional reserve banking works. Long ago everyone knew fractional reserve banking / fiat was horrible and fraudulent, or the majority for that matter. See United States Bank / National Bank.) Taxes won’t end until we band together and sell / buy our goods with real money / free money (free as in untaxed. When our govt prints $ they do so at a high interest rate to the FRB.)
Also, the govt does act on the people’s demands. Yes they may cheat the people here and there, but the people elected immoral people in the first place (they elected people who were okay with theft.) Yes the govt (people that the majority elect) ultimately reap the most ‘rewards / booty,’ but that goes along with them lying to the people who voted them in office.
You both agree income tax = theft. That is the key. What is the most effective solution? Stop using the fiat money and with drawl from the fraud. We all participate in the theft in the end because we choose to use a fraudulent monetary system.

“When a well-packaged web of lies has been sold gradually to the masses over generations, the truth will seem utterly preposterous and its speaker a raving lunatic.” – Dresden James

I guess I'd rather have sense than cents

"Govt is the thief."

Is "government" really the thief? Or is government merely the tool used by thieves (some of which are politicians, voters, lobbyists, CEOs, bankers, etc.)? I don't see how moral blame can be placed on an abstract entity that does not have independent free-will (i.e., the ability to exercise self-determination in the choice between good and evil). People have such free-will (or at least that is a commonly accepted premise for rendering moral judgements). Abstractions (such as government) do not. I would be OK with the statement "there are many thieves in government" or perhaps even "most people in government are thieves". But to me the statement "government is a thief" is either morally meaningless, collectivist (blaming all for the crimes of a mere majority), or at the very least rather inaccurate and pretty useless for identifying those people who are actually culpable. And "Govt is the thief" fails to acknowledge all of the thieves outside of government who use government as their tool (e.g., via campaign donations/work/endorsements, lobbyists, votes, lawyers, bribes, and other means).

"No you cannot stop the theft by 'not reclaiming your goods,' but that doesn't mean it is moral to reclaim them"

Exactly. It's important to remember that there is this rather big difference between morality and self-interest. Being one of the few who isn't feeding at the "stolen loot trough" may not be in one's self-interest, but it is the moral choice.

One of the ways to tell what is moral and what is not is to ask yourself what would happen if everyone did as you do. Even though "the theft doesn't end" is true if only one individual stops, or only a small % of individuals stops, it ceases being true once a large enough % of people stop. Such a situation would mean that lots of people saw the immorality of it and made the choice to be moral (why else act against their own narrow self-interest?). The tendency would subsequently be for lots of people to vote against politicians that supported this form of immorality, and that immorality would eventually be no longer codified in US law. And if people can see the theft inherent in legally-coerced social programs, it is not unreasonable to hope they can also see the theft inherent in corporate subsidies, money printing, and wars of aggression, and likewise bring them to an end. That may not be all of the theft, but it would be a damn fine start.

It all starts with a minority of people acting morally, and thereby acting as a good example for others. Only those who act morally can hope to convince others to do so.

"You both agree income tax = theft. That is the key."

Well, we didn't get into the nitty-gritty. Only anarchists think there should be no government, and as long as there is government (as small as it may/should be) it will need to be funded via some kind of tax. Income tax, though, has got to be one of the most vile and corrosive-to-liberty means of funding government, likely making its use completely indefensible. (The cynic in me thinks perhaps the progressives knew that when they created the income tax -- stamping out liberty being their ultimate goal.)

"Heck I could even start my own business if I didn't have an income tax and lived under the free-market."

I'll second that. It would be exciting and fun to try my hand at various business ideas I have, and I would be way more productive working for myself. (And I have the savings and skills to make it happen too.) But with the laws the way they are now? Talk about a buzzkill.

"What is the most effective solution? Stop using the fiat money and [withdraw] from the fraud."

Not only can moving savings to hard assets positively impact the whole system if enough people do it, but it has the extra advantage of directly reducing the inflation-theft of those individuals who practice it (so self-interest kicks in -- now if only more people understood economics).

"Bartering" via gold/silver would be interesting, but a bit dangerous (especially for the seller) if you live in a state with sales tax and you try to get away with not paying those taxes. Also, if you can buy stuff in silver or in fiat, why would you give up your silver? The seller would have to offer a big enough discount if you paid in silver (rather than fiat) if they wanted to entice you to actually part with your silver, which I think a seller would only do if they wanted to accumulate silver for their own savings? (Or maybe the seller is selling unique items and only accepts silver/gold, so fiat isn't even an option.) It might be possible that once it gets rolling though and you have sellers with a substantial, sustained silver income they will tend to start using silver for their own purchases even if there is no discount because it will be more cost-effective for them than converting to fiat first.

wolfe's picture

Gold, silver, barter = good...

Thank you for taking the time to read the arguments, however, even if we don't agree... :)

On the rest of the points:

Government acts on peoples demands?:
1) This is impossible because it is a democracy of the majority limited to a two party controlled system. It is not possible for the government to act "with permission" because it cannot obtain the permission of all it "claims to act for".
2) Like the patriot act, NDAA, etc?

I have never seen the government act in any interest but it's own, ever. Which of these people are thieves? The ones who don't vote? The ones who vote for the Rep with good rhetoric but does it anyway? The ones who vote for the Dems but lose? etc etc. Please explain which groups are thieves?

The money is spent before it is stolen?:
1) The US has an overwhelming amount of assets to use to rightfully return the money, the money doesn't evaporate, it becomes planes, tanks, etc.
2) So as long as I am capable of spending the money before I get caught, I can walk free and clear if I rob my neighbor blind? Wish I had known that.

And I do not like to argue from authority, but just this once... Earmarks anyone? Ron Paul uses earmarks for the EXACT same reason I make my arguments about reparations.

Part of starving the beast is about ending taxes(theft), but also demanding that it return it's ill gotten gains.

Seriously, 70% of your life is stolen! Where are the damned pitch forks and riots? They just do such a damn good job about being sneaky about it. Is someone a thief who has 70% stolen from them, and reclaims 2% from the thief?

The Philosophy Of Liberty -
http://www.thephilosophyofliberty.com/

squeezing blood from a turnip

"This is impossible because it is a democracy of the majority limited to a two party controlled system. It is not possible for the government to act "with permission" because it cannot obtain the permission of all it "claims to act for"."

This is essentially one of the primary arguments anarchists use to say all government is illegitimate. Perhaps you are really an anarchist at heart.

"Like the patriot act, NDAA, etc?"

There's a saying: "People get the government they deserve." Sadly, much of the American public is OK with things like the Patriot Act and the NDAA. If most of the American public were mad about these things, they would likely never have happened (or be over-turned). It's not a sure thing though -- the greater the percentage of Americans that agree, the more likely it becomes.

Most politicians act in their own self-interest. If it's clear they will lose power if they don't take a certain course of action, they will take that course of action. When it becomes necessary, the people must be prepared to set that course for them.

"Which of these people are thieves?"

  • "The ones who don't vote?" -- not a thief (at least not for this reason), but also not helping
  • "The ones who vote for the Rep with good rhetoric but does it anyway?" -- not a thief (at least not for this reason), though may be guilty of negligence if the Rep rhetoric could be seen through by a reasonable person
  • "The ones who vote for the Dems but lose?" -- well since every Dem politician I've ever seen is for theft, I guess I'm going to have to call this one an attempted thief -- but that still isn't a full thief (at least not for this reason) -- being an attempted thief is immoral, but does not entail culpability
  • "etc etc. Please explain which groups are thieves?" -- the above were pretty simple. You seem to want morality to be incredibly simplified, but in the real world it just isn't. It's complex, and there's a lot of moral grey area.

"The money is spent before it is stolen?"

The US federal government is in constant debt (ever since 1957). So yes, every penny has been spent before it is even collected -- all revenue does is offset a small amount of existing debt.

"The US has an overwhelming amount of assets to use to rightfully return the money"

First, no it doesn't. (You just don't seem to comprehend the amount that is "owed". It's a massive amount of money. How about instead of just making baseless claims, you sit down and figure it out. Figure out how much is owed. And figure out how much the federal government "owns" and what it could sell it for. I'd love to see your itemized list along with any relevant citations.)

Second, to whom do those assets truly belong? Do some of them actually belong to all of us, so in order to pay us back, we would just be taking from us? Do you think that would even count as "paying us back"?

"the money doesn't evaporate, it becomes planes, tanks, etc"

Except when it does. Consider military spending (19% of the budget). Much of that goes to pay military salaries (so isn't really recoverable). Resources converted into bombs and blown up are not really recoverable. Resources turned into bullets and shells which are then fired are not really recoverable (well, not completely anyways). Fuel put into tanks and planes and ships and burnt up is not really recoverable.

You can see a crude breakdown of US military spending here. The only categories that involve any significant possibly recoverable resources would be "Procurement" and "Military Construction". Those two only represent 24% of the military budget, so now we're only talking about 19%*24% = 4.56% of the US federal budget. Military procurement is notoriously wasteful (i.e., they don't get their/our money's worth), so what they get is even less than what that 4.56% might suggest. Pretty much everything they acquired more than a few decades ago has already been scrapped. So if we sold every single piece of equipment the US military has it would seem to be worth less than $5 trillion. And I doubt we could even get anywhere near that price for it because the world couldn't afford to buy it from us at that price.

So what are you suggesting they do with those? Chop them up into pieces and give everyone a piece as "payment"? Sell them to some foreign country so they can then use them to invade some other country? Use them to invade Canada and "get our money back"? (Canada doesn't have that much money -- the whole world literally does not have that much money.)

Other areas of government similarly "burn up" most of their budget, and probably have even less to show for it than the military.

"So as long as I am capable of spending the money before I get caught, I can walk free and clear if I rob my neighbor blind?"

No, because you lack the ability to use the government as a shield to protect you from being prosecuted for such a crime. Past presidents and congress critters and those that influenced them to do what they have done can and do use government as such a shield. When a criminal bludgeons you with their shield, though, you blame the criminal, not the shield.

"And I do not like to argue from authority, but just this once... Earmarks anyone? Ron Paul uses earmarks for the EXACT same reason I make my arguments about reparations."

The situation is not remotely the same. He earmarks money that is either going to be spent or not, and then votes against the money being spent. (See #2 in my original post.) His earmarks have zero direct impact on the size of US debt -- that is purely a function of the bill passing or not passing. I.e., the bill spends the same amount of money whether or not he has earmarked any of that money. (In fact, the more he successfully earmarks for his district, the less is left over for other districts, which reduces the incentive of other politicians to pass the bill.) If a bill has zero earmarks, it still spends the same amount of money. On the other hand, if someone collects money from a federal social program, that amount directly increases US debt. If no one collects such money, the money is not spent and US debt does not increase.