Recent comments

  • Reply to: Why I'm Skeptical About Piketty   1 hour 25 min ago

    People conflate catching bad guys with protecting the public,  but sometimes there's a case where the two are directly in conflict.  Guess what choice the authorities in Brownwood, TX made.

  • Reply to: Why I'm Skeptical About Piketty   1 hour 29 min ago

    Maybe at least some taxes should be really high. Maybe even really really high. So high as to useless for revenue-raising purposes — but powerful for achieving other ends.

    We already accept this principle for tobacco taxes. If all we wanted to do was raise revenue, we might want to slightly cut cigarette taxes. And since cigarettes are about the most-taxed thing in America, we certainly would want to cut out all our other anti-smoking initiatives. But we don't do that because we care about public health. We tax tobacco not to make money but to discourage smoking.

    The same is true of widely discussed proposals to tax carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions. The goal here wouldn't be to maximize tax revenue, it would be to reduce pollution. The revenue would be a pleasant side effect.

    If we take seriously the idea that endlessly growing inequality can have a cancerous effect on our democracy, we should consider it for top incomes as well.


  • Reply to: This year's polar Open Thread.   1 hour 36 min ago

    . . .then the public can pay for it--and a fair price at that. If a public official is taking actual bribes to cut sweetheart deals for developers (and not paying fair market value to the current owner), that's something I'm opposed to. If local voters are displeased with the judgment used by public officials who honestly believe they are acting in the public interest with their choices, then they should definitely replace them in the next election. Building a freeway benefits a large number of private individuals at (arguably) the expense of those whose property is taken (even if fair market value is paid), and the route chosen favors other private officials. If eminent domain exists, and fair market value is paid, then I'm more or less fine with it as long as it is limited to real estate and the rights relating to it (no allowing Oakland to try to seize the Raiders to prevent them from leaving town, for example). If the public wants the spotted owl to have a home on land owned by (in fee simple or otherwise) a private individual, they should pay for it.

  • Reply to: Why I'm Skeptical About Piketty   1 hour 50 min ago

    It's starting to feel more and more like we're going to have to make a choice here pretty quick: democracy or inequality.

  • Reply to: Why I'm Skeptical About Piketty   1 hour 51 min ago


  • Reply to: This year's polar Open Thread.   1 hour 59 min ago

    You seem to have trouble distinguishing between the problem of the state becoming an agent to transfer property from one private owner to another with the state being an agent to protect the greater good.


    Sure, you can disagree with a particular notion of the greater good, such as the protection of a given species, and that's fine. But Scott, I need to tell you, that has no bearing whatsoever on the question at hand.


    It is not only wrong but extremely dangerous for the state to become an agent of confiscation by better connected private interests. It is a perfect formula for corruption. Do you think otherwise or not?

  • Reply to: Why I'm Skeptical About Piketty   2 hours 25 min ago
  • Reply to: Why I'm Skeptical About Piketty   2 hours 31 min ago

    Not with the 90% tax bracket, except in war or national emergency (real national emergency, like the Yellowstone supervolcano exploding).


    But I'm certainly fine with people arguing for it so long as others are arguing for no income tax at all, or pathetically low rates like 10% regardless of income. That's how politics works.

  • Reply to: This year's polar Open Thread.   2 hours 45 min ago

    . . .if the Butchers of Beijing are willing to endanger their trillion plus dollar crown jewel in the name of pretending they can force the world--or even their own people--to believe that June 1989 never happened. The 25 year anniversary is coming up--the b***ards are going to be very busy if they want to tamp down all the reminders.

  • Reply to: This year's polar Open Thread.   2 hours 50 min ago

    The Harlem Hellfighters


    Why on earth were all these people fighting a thoroughly idiotic European War?  

    More than 8.5 million men served in the British Army, at some time, between 1914-18. It came to include troops from the Canadian Expeditionary Force, the Australian Imperial Force, the New Zealand Expeditionary Force, the South African forces, the Indian Army, the Royal Newfoundland Regiment, the British West Indies Regiment and the Chinese and Egyptian Labour Corps.

    Thank goodness wars are no longer fought by international coalitions.

  • Reply to: This year's polar Open Thread.   3 hours 2 min ago


    Good for them, although I can see this shutting down quickly via mainland pressure.

  • Reply to: This year's polar Open Thread.   3 hours 2 min ago

    “Now let me talk about the Spanish people,” Bundy said in a new video unearthed by New York magazine, right after he concluded his thoughts on “the Negro.”

    “I understand that they come over here against our Constitution and cross our borders,” he says. “But they’re here and they’re people. I worked side-by-side a lot of them. Don’t tell me they don’t work, and don’t tell me they don’t pay taxes. And don’t tell me they don’t have better family structures than most of us white people.”

    “When you see those Mexican families, they’re together. They picnic together. They’re spending their time together,” he said. “I’ll tell you, in my way of thinking, they’re awful nice people. We need to have those people join us and be with us.”

  • Reply to: One Hundred Years of Open Thread   3 hours 10 min ago

    The cop that pulled over the truck seemed to have thought he was searching for an impaired driver and pulled over the truck w/o seeing any impaired driving himself.

    Once a person gets sent down the tracks that they got the right perp, stuff can happen.


    That's what civil suits long after the damage is done is for?

    How many people would be willing to sue the police?  Other cops wouldn't find out about who filed the suit, right?

  • Reply to: Why I'm Skeptical About Piketty   3 hours 16 min ago

    He seemed to call both a kind of ballpark, where taxes can be used to curb a wide variety of socially unhealthy things.




    But his certainty on what would happen should be a could:


    The new tax code would redistribute value inside the corporate structure without anyone actually paying the new sky-high taxes.

    Albeit for Yglesias, all peoples' income over $10 million in a year would be taxed at the same rate, even across the board for all as far as the tax rate the income would be multiplied by.

  • Reply to: Why I'm Skeptical About Piketty   4 hours 13 min ago

    He doesn't even bother to argue that the government needs money,  and rich people are the ones that have money.   He straight up compares income to tobacco as a noxious thing that needs to be discouraged through taxation.

  • Reply to: One Hundred Years of Open Thread   4 hours 26 min ago

    OK,  if a meteorite struck the hard drive,  or by 1 in 10^20 chance right at the moment of a hard drive write,  radiation particles simultaneously flipped both the data bits and the CRC bits,  then sure, it's a "error in the system".  The other 99.(imagine 18 more 9's) percent of the time, the error was someone's negligence at best.


    Is it your position that the authorities can simply collect fine money,  fail to record it,  and execute arrest warrants anyway, with no liability?  That would save on the IT budget.


  • Reply to: One Hundred Years of Open Thread   4 hours 38 min ago

    . . .is that the authorities should be *strictly* liable for any errors in the system that lead to a mistaken arrest, regardless of the lack of any evidence of bad intent?


    Sorry, I'm *really* glad the position you seem to be advocating isn't the law. Particularly since the exclusionary rule is very much in existence.

  • Reply to: One Hundred Years of Open Thread   4 hours 45 min ago

    According to  the wiki article:  "the computer erroneously listed an outstanding warrant".  Blaise, what do you think of that?


    So the claim is the computer made an error,  so no human being is responsible.   This decision was even worse than I thought. 

  • Reply to: This year's polar Open Thread.   4 hours 49 min ago

    . . .lots of people are nationally known. Doing so by repeated failure in the public square means that Newdow is a version of William Hung who doesn't get paid for the self-inflicted humiliation.

  • Reply to: This year's polar Open Thread.   4 hours 55 min ago

    So my observations based on reading the comments section of NRO are a good way to summarize the intentions and motivations of all conservatives in the USA?


    That Perfect Strangers/Star Trek mashup ain't gonna write itself! Gotta get to work! Look for it tonight on the newsgroup!