The Problem of Labor — David Pascoe

The Problem of Labor — David Pascoe

My vantage point these days is an oddly (Oddly?) curious one. A sleep-deprived and writing-deprived one. Perhaps this accounts for the difficulty I have in comprehending how some … people think. Or don’t think. So there I was, minding my own business, which mostly involves me minding Wee Dave’s … business, and monumental foolishness flashed across my feed.

Short aside:

I’m pretty certain (don’t laugh; I might cry) time spent socially networking is proving the bane (one of: shorter aside (nested asides inside nested parentheses! cats and dogs, living together!) being I’m working hard to cut myself slack when it comes to my careers as a father and as a writer. I’ll be attending Superstars this week, paying VERY close attention, and there’ll be an AAR when I’m done and it’s done and the doneness is rare/medium rare or so. That said, this may be my big thing this year. I simply may not have it in me, and in my family, to do a lot else. Except LibertyCon. I have reliable sources that suggest her BbES Princessness will cut me out of the inheritance-by-adoption should I fail to deliver the Young Master to that particular shindig, and I just can’t be having with that. All of which is to say that I’ll be giving up all of the booking of faces, the twits, and as much of the online-y-ness as I can safely manage come the day after Soul Cake Tuesday or whenever that happens. I need the time, and I need the emotional energy to actually make fiction. The news, such as it is, is far, far too unpleasant for me to dwell upon when I have a not-quite-nine-month-old psychic vampire sucking my will to power *cough* live. And as Mrs. Dave recently pointed out to me, I tend to have difficulty asking for help. If you see me online, mucking about with silliness that doesn’t further any of the priorities of great priority-ness, please drop me a line telling me to get back to work. Thank you.

End aside.

So, back to monumental foolishness. This link takes you to Twitchy, purveyor of delightful silliness perpetrated by ostensibly responsible adults throughout these great internets. Should you deign, feel free to follow the links therein to the origin of the idiocy, one of those Great Minds which Think Alike (and Right, and Truth and probably Beauty) over at that Edifice of Rightness, the NYT. Yeah, them again.

Apparently, El Presidente Numero Uno has proposed a tax credit for working mothers parents that should help to offset the costs of childcare. The GOP has predictably (I have as yet to ascertain whether it is also wisely) criticized this as unfair to stay-at-homes. The writer, in all his Received Wisdom, mocks this opposition as wrong headed, evil and all the usual epithets directed at those filthy others Not In the Club.

But the money quote is this one:

The tax code is already hugely distorted in favor of stay-at-home parenting: Labor outside the home is taxed; household work, such as stay-at-home parenting, is not.

So, apparently, I’ve fallen through some red-tinged rabbit-hole into a world where the IRS taxes my labor. Funny, I only remember reporting my income. Is there a block on my 1099 where my employer (slave-driver, I tell you. I never get a day off, and no sick days. On the upside, I can come to work in my pajamas, or even a kilt.) should have tallied said labor? What is the unit of measurement for this work? Is it man-hours? Is there a dollar value attached? I thought that whole calculation was considered extraneous, but what do I know: I’m just a stay-at-home parent, bilking the government and the American People (in that order, of course) out of the untaxed labor I’m putting in while not getting paid. Again, presumably by Daddy Government and the American People. (Seriously, when do I start getting a paycheck for raising an American? Strike that.)

If the logic makes your head spin, well, it should. Keep in mind that you (and I, and apparently all our stuff and all our time) belong to the government, and you’ll start to understand what’s going on here. Also, just why somebody might make that claim. This is really part and parcel of what Cedar wrote about last week.

You see, if you ladies parents decide that you really want to be the ones to instruct your children on life, the universe, etc. and one parent will remain in the house to do so, you’re wrong. You see, you don’t get to have an opinion on that, unless you want to be evil, and you don’t want that, do you? If you stay home, Mom Parent, you’ll be robbing society of the value of your work outside of the home, in a career that actually means something. How can you do that to the generations of feminists who fought for (the mandatory exercise of) your right to hire a nanny, or pay a childcare service, so you can slog the daily nine-to-five like your husband does? Wait, you have a husband? You’re voluntarily buying into the patriarchal notion of marriage? You know that’s just a tool to prevent you from becoming empowered, right? Oh dear, oh dear: I see we have a lot of work yet to do brainwashing education you toward your eventual enlightenment to your rightful place. Look, sweetheart, don’t worry your pretty, little head about it: just know that we’re working for your betterment, and sacrifices will have to be made.

*sough* Sorry, don’t know what came over me. So this is straight out of the Leftymost playbook. Nothing we think we own is actually ours. Not even the unpaid and untaxed (gah) labor we spend raising children the government doesn’t pay us for. Now truly, I don’t want a check from Uncle Sam for being a parent. I understand that’s called Welfare, and if they give you money for a thing, then they will sure as heckfire start requiring you to meet their standards on how you perform same. With mandates in schools requiring specifics on lunches, on curriculum, on nearly everything, how comfortable to start requiring specifics on out of school times and activities?

Look, all of this aside, there are plenty of people out there, Americans (at least legally so) who think you do not own your own labor. Not simply the fruits of the labor, but the work itself. My mother-in-law raises goats, and enjoys the milk they produce. She doesn’t sell this milk, so she doesn’t earn a goat-based income and doesn’t pay taxes on it, but I guarantee she labors. Should the government get a slice of that? Well, do they really want fresh goat milk, or would they like some of the energy she burns caring for her goats? Nevermind. The point is, we’re dealing – again, still, forever – with a group of people who don’t understand logic, and wouldn’t apply it even if they could. And they’ll continue, despite all evidence to the contrary, to try to force us down the path they’re compelled to follow.

I’m not worried about this, at least personally. Yes, the idiots will continue to idiot as hard as they possibly can, but I’ve got plenty of weapons to hand. I’ve got disruptive technology, and a community of like-minded iconoclasts (well, not precisely, but what do you call us Odds, exactly?) at my back. Between us, we’re putting out the word: we’re not alone in this fight.

143 thoughts on “The Problem of Labor — David Pascoe

  1. My dear sir, I totally understand your bafflement and confusion. However your mistake is a very simple and basic one, to wit;

    Think? What makes you believe that these people THINK?

  2. …caring for a kid or wiping a counter…

    The depth of understanding, the breadth of knowledge — I’m just glad the deep thinkers are hatd at work (taxed!) Striving for the future.

    Incentive structures, let’s explore ’em.

  3. David said: “The point is, we’re dealing – again, still, forever – with a group of people who don’t understand logic, and wouldn’t apply it even if they could.”

    That is not the case. What we’re dealing with is not a pack of idiots. We’re dealing with intelligent, driven, resourceful people… who want to enslave us and take all our stuff. As soon as you can bring yourself to accept that fact, everything they do makes perfect sense.

    Should the government get a slice of you’re Aunt’s goat farm? They think so, and don’t ever doubt they’ll find a way. In Cuba they just take the goats, and if you beg properly they don’t shoot you.

    Please make a note of it, and adjust tactics to match the threat.

    1. There’s a small core of this, sure. And the underlying philosophy is geared to run that direction.

      But the vast majority? Useful idiots, stress on the idiots. They’re not members in an organized, secret cabal, each playing their part to perfection. They’re idiots, who’ve failed to think through the philosophy. Hell, they may not be able to think through the philosophy.

      Certainly there’s danger in underestimating the opponents. But there’s significant danger in overestimating them as well. Particularly if we burn resources best used elsewhere.

      1. Small core? I no longer buy that. I have seen lefties demand higher taxes while bragging about working “under the table”. I have seen them declare it “unfair” that someone sacrificed to learn a trade and so earn a good living while those who partied are stuck with minimally skilled, minimally paying jobs.

        They know what they are demanding — that your work be confiscated to benefit the indolent, with much of it sticking to their fingers as they are the middle-men and arbitors. They hide it under concern for those who cannot work, but the mask slips too often.

        1. Still a small core. Too be fair, a small core of 314 million is a lot of people, but the number in a position to implement and benefit from from this nonsense is tiny, relatively.

          Demanding higher taxes while bragging about working under the table? Useful idiot. Using fair in a sentence with government? Useful idiot.

          Progressivism is an enemy of freedom. Full on, no question.

          Most ‘leftists’ in America aren’t really progressives, though their thinking is corrupted by it. Most of them are hereditary, or compassionate, or team-identified and they haven’t spent any time thinking about it in depth.

          That failure to think through the philosophy makes them idiots. The human tendency to band together against attackers makes them useful.

          I’d prefer to undermine their utility.

            1. I have, from time to time, asked what the “fair share” should be of some people. Occasionally, I’ve eve had someone answer with a figure. Invariably, when they have, I could then run the numbers and show them that the “rich” are already paying far more than that.

              Similar type argument when somebody screams about “income inequality” and CEO compensation–run the numbers and find that the CEO compensation would would out to about $10 total per year per employee.

              I think once in all the times I’ve done that have I seen the lightbulb go off. I can only hope that somebody reading the arguments took away the proper conclusions.

              1. Awhile back I tried to figure out what each person’s fair share is.
                There are about three hundred million people in the USA.
                There federal debt is about twenty trillion dollars
                Each persons fair share of the debt is
                $20,000,000,000,000 / 300,000,000 = $66,666.67 per person.
                So for every man, woman and child, that is their fair share.

                1. So if I payed $66,666.67 in taxes, does that mean I’ve payed my fair share and don’t have to pay more taxes?

          1. At this point in the game, I have to say it’s a distinction without a difference. Both groups advocate for the same goals, use the same tactics, and respond to the same to stimulus. They’re all corrosive to liberty.
            The only point in making a distinction is that the “fellow travelers” could, possibly, with great effort, eventually be convinced of the error of their ways. After enough metaphysical pain. For the true believers, it’s a religion, and not subject to argument.

            1. The value of the distinction lies in the notion that it’s not a game. So, your only point in making the distinction is the whole point in making the distinction.

              Fight progressivism to its dying breath. Redeem our fellow citizens along the way.

              All the hostile rhetoric is wonderfully cathartic (in the wider world, not particularly extant here and now), so long as it’s rhetoric. I indulge, myself.

              If it shifts from the rhetoric to the real I’ll not be standing idly by while people are made to bleed for the crime of spending too little time considering their political thoughts.

              There are bad actors, and philosophical enemies. Enemies that need to be dealt with so our citizenry can be free and so the world might once again see the beacon. But we’ll not get anywhere decrying roughly half the population as enemies because they fall on the wrong side of an oversimplified political axis.

              Clearly identifying our enemies and, vastly more important, the seeds and chaff of their philosophy scattered through our culture is paramount to ensuring our victory. Find it, drag it into the light and see it dispelled.

              1. If it shifts from the rhetoric to the real I’ll not be standing idly by while people are made to bleed for the crime of spending too little time considering their political thoughts.


                Both the right thing, and a good tactic– yeah, some will be the scorpion who stings you as you cross the river. But some will react like people, not animals, not fanatics.

          2. There is nothing idiotic (at a first approximation) about demanding higher taxes while bragging about working under the table. It translates to “everyone else should pay more, some of which will be given to me through welfare, or infrastructure, while I don’t pay anything. Suckers!!!”. In other words, it has the same logic as any other form of theft.

            There is the other reason for doing this. That would be helping the evil system implode while protecting yourself from it. I doubt that many of the people that you speak of are doing it for this reason though.

            1. In other words, it has the same logic as any other form of theft.

              That happens, no doubt. But it’s not what I see from most people. Most people favor the ephemeral idea, while facing the same struggle with the concrete reality everyone else does.

              Getting around onerous burdens imposed by the distant “governors” has a long tradition. Failing to connect your personal onerous burden (and not recognizing the insufficiency of “the rich” to cover costs) with the ephemeral idea you’re enamored of, that’s where the idiocy lies.

              1. That reasoning is similar to that of every theif that I have known. It boils down to “I need it, so someone else should be responsible for providing it.”

                1. You appear to assume the ephemeral idea is expected to have benefit to those holding it. Mostly not, in my experience.

                  It’s why it’s so seductive and so successful, most people being generally good. It’s take from the vaguely described greedy and give to the vaguely described needy, with most participants assuming they fall in neither category.

                  1. I see your point, although with 49% getting more (in direct payments?) from government than they pay in taxes perhaps mostly not may be overstating it.

                    1. I’m curious (suspicious) of the 49% number, but I haven’t had time to research it.

                      Does my GI Bill fall in there? (Was compensation per my contract, but it’s a .gov benefit.) Social Security (I know it’s not a savings account in reality, but people paid in and are pulling out)? Medicare?

                      Both sides have reasons to inflate the numbers, so I find myself wondering what the truth of such a number reflects.

                    2. Thanks, I’ll see if I can go through it later tonight. The current moment is busy with more things than will quite fit in it.

                      Which, of course, explains why I’m commenting.


                  2. Point out the “needy” are in fact in the top 2% (worldwide), and you will get the haughtiest declarations that people living on one dollar a day (and there are about a billion on the planet living on that) are — irrelevant.

                    1. Distinguo: Since the U.S. has a little under 5 percent of the world’s total population, the poorest people in the U.S. cannot be in the top 2 percent worldwide. This would remain true even if all the wealth in the world belonged exclusively to Americans, which is manifestly not the case.

                    2. Depends on if it’s a percent of people, or a percent of whatever you’d call the relative lifestyles.

                      Imagine the two absolute ends of the quality-of-life-on-earth-currently– you’ve got the bottom 1% (probably those poor kids in the “for just 10 cents a day” commercials) and the top 1%. (missing a meal is a matter of choice in all but incredibly rare cases)

                      I prefer the latter, because it avoids the “if I improve, someone else gets worse” illusion, and treats it more like a test score, but allows for the removal of things that are too basic for the test, to probably over-extend the metaphor.


                      The ornery in me wants to snark that the supposedly needy are better off than a lot of the folks who are managing to get by in the same situation, but that’s probably just annoyance left over from tax time and reading too many of those “relative income of welfare to working family” articles. Search for “welfare pays more than work” to be really depressed– someone ran the math on how much you need to make pre-taxes to get as much as someone on welfare. Our state is pretty good, actually, but my sister’s…..
                      Published by CATO, but the only arguments I’ve seen against it ARE that it’s from CATO and they’re honest about their perspective, rather than “this is why it’s wrong” or “I’m not going to bother, because in X, Y and Z cases CATO deliberately obfuscated or showed objectively blinding bias.” (In contrast with, say, Mother Jones.)

                    3. Depends on if it’s a percent of people, or a percent of whatever you’d call the relative lifestyles.

                      People can be measured by percentages. Lifestyles can’t – except by measuring how much of the population is at that level, which gets you right back to measuring people.

                2. In my experience, they put a period after “I need it.” The connection of that fact with any other never occurs to them.

                  1. Some do, some don’t. I have seen the attitude that stuff on store shelves can be taken just like picking berries in the forest. On the other hand I have heard people demand that other people do stuff for them just because they “need” it (in those cases, it was mostly more like want it).

          3. It’s not a failure to think through the philosophy that gets me, it’s the failure to think. My conversations with progressives usually goes, “A=B” “Right”. “B=C” “Right” “Then A=C”. “No, I don’t think so, that’s too hard, and it doesn’t feel right, and you are a meanie anyways”. I lay this in the lap of our education system.

            1. In one blog I follow one left-winger has taken to abusing my intelligence because I keep on pointing out what his principles mean.

              I mean, this person says that Obama’s illegal delays of Obamacare provisions aren’t illegal because the Supreme Court hasn’t said so, I ask whether the Supreme Court has said murder is illegal, and out comes the abuse.

              Along with slathering over the (alleged) impending demise of all conservatives from stupidity.

            2. They progressives value feeling over thought. Heck they’ll happily assert that A = !A (where ! stands for NOT) if it makes them feel good. Its like trying to discuss calculus with a cat. The cat can’t (or perhaps won’t 🙂 ) master the tools to manipulate numbers and symbols. Neither will the progressive. At least the cat catches the occasional mouse and is friendly.

            3. I lay this in the lap of our education system.

              I agree, but SOMETIMES you can get somewhere by asking “what do you mean by ‘A’?”

              At the very least, it will sort out those who can’t/won’t think from those who are just using the words differently.

              There’s a reason that they use words wrong so often– it makes sloppy thinking a default, and that makes emotional thinking more powerful, and while emotion isn’t inherently bad it is more resistant to persuasion with facts and much easier to manipulate by psychopaths.

    2. You said:
      “We’re dealing with intelligent, driven, resourceful people… who want to enslave us and take all our stuff. ”

      Shoot ’em all and the devil will claim his own?

      1. I only have one problem with this suggestion:

        Where are we going to find enough rounds? That’s a lot of shooting.

    3. I think you’re mostly wrong. Not in the “There’s a core such as you describe, but most of them are idiots” sense, but more basically.

      Yes, there are a very few individuals who are driven, resourceful, and intelligent. Who actually set their goals based on what a smart person would deduce the results would be. Who actually MEAN all the stupidity that comes boiling out of the sewer of the Left. But they are a tiny minority, and don’t actually affect much.

      The driving force behind the Liberal Intellectual Radical Progressive Left is a group of people fantastically ill suited to leadership who nevertheless believe they should HAVE leadership. Should, as in, it would be better for everybody. So the very basis of their lives is delusion. They think, against all evidence, that they are smart enough and caring enough to be the right people to tell the rest of the world what to do.

      It used to be strong enough, and sufficiently favored by The Gods. The excuses change, the pillocks don’t much.

      Some of them ARE smart, but their delusion prevents them from using that intelligence to see the world as it is rather than as they would have it be. Many of them ARE kind; but their delusion prevents that kindness from actually doing anything but harm.

      And I make this point because your characterization would lead us to interpret the behavior of the LIRP Left on the assumption that they were driven by intelligence that would keep them from destroying the world, because the smart, driven people you describe want a world to rule.

      The cold truth is, they aren’t smart enough to tell when they are driving off a cliff. They aren’t smart enough to see when they are handing power to a Stalin. Your Smart Driven people are rational, if evil. And our enemies re NOT RATIONAL.

    4. “We’re dealing with intelligent, driven, resourceful people… who want to enslave us and take all our stuff. ”

      I’ve never yet gotten a coherent answer in a discussion about the welfare state where I point out that according to the Supreme Court the essence of slavery is being forced to labor against your will for the good of another.

      1. The difference between slavery and being a taxpayer in a welfare state is that when you’re a slave, you don’t have the option of quitting work and going on welfare. You’re not really forced to labour against your will under the welfare state, because you have the option of not working at all. And if everybody takes that option, well, you get something that makes Haiti look like Utopia.

        1. The problem is that the Left doesn’t want a welfare state except as a tool to tear down the system they aren’t running. They have no problems with a slave state as long as they aren’t the obvious slaves.

          1. This is a bit of an oversimplification. The rank and file Leftist wants a welfare state because he has been indoctrinated in the belief that anybody who opposes welfare is a Big Bad Conservative Meanie and therefore Not A Nice Person, and Nice is the only virtue he knows by name. The leaders, or rather the Alinskys and Marcuses and Laskis who indoctrinated them, of course have their own motives.

            As C. S. Lewis said in The Pilgrim’s Regress: ‘No important transference of property could be carried out if all the small people at the bottom knew what was really happening.’

  4. I was of two minds when this entered my feed last week. First, I was amused at the sublime idiocy of the mentality behind such a comment. Because holy cow, it was weapons grade stupid. Second, I was horrified at the very real possibility that said mentality might be widespread. Think back to the 1990s. There was an idea being tossed around that people should be taxed on the income that your house could be imputed to earn as a rental property. For example, if the rental rate for similar properties in your area was $1200/month, you’d be taxed as though you had actually earned that rent each month. The fact that you were a) living in in the house and b) not actually renting it seemed to be beside the point. Very few people I knew-thankfully- thought that this was a reasonable idea. To those who did buy into such nonsense, I always responded this way:

    “Well, you could be a prostitute/gigolo. I’ll be somewhat positive and say you would be one of the high end ones, earning over $1000/night. Since the fact that you’re NOT actually earning such money is, to you, irrelevant, we’ll go ahead and tax you on that income.”

    For some reason, this comment really offended those people. Go figure.

      1. I remember when Al Gore was talking about a millionaire tax that actually started when you made $250000. He said, well if you make $250000 for 4 years, you’re a millionaire. So it’s a millionaire tax.

          1. They should make it 50. A lot of people work 50 years, and then everyone who earns $20,000 for even one year can pay!

    1. There was an idea being tossed around that people should be taxed on the income that your house could be imputed to earn as a rental property.

      Isn’t that sort of what property tax already is? I know it’s technically on home resale value, but that’s going off the same demands as rental worth.

      1. Yes and No.

        This would have been a separate tax than property tax and one version of it was it would be a tax on people who paid off their mortgage.

        IE since you completely own your house, you should pay income tax on the “income” that you’d receive by renting it out.

        1. Ouch. That “logic” makes my brain hurt. I’ve never seen that blatant an attempt at money grabbing, even in the very authoritarian countries where I’ve lived, nor in the very poor ones. Maybe just not organized enough.

  5. *points at the NYT and its unindicted co-conspirators*
    Quack quack quack quack. Quack quack? Quack!

  6. ” If you stay home, Mom Parent, you’ll be robbing society of the value of your work outside of the home, in a career that actually means something”

    You know, when I read 60’s feminism, the career that actually meant something was often (even usually, though I haven’t got statistics) in advertising.

    Yes, folks, forming your children is less important than persuading people that two identical bars of soap have differences.

            1. try that again
              BTCA is something I use from time to time (tomorrow as a matter of fact). The lab plays with H2SO4 but I only get to rarely use H3PO4 (when the fool supplier sends the right stuff … Phosphonic is not the same as Phosphoric no matter what the Chinese say … ruined a batch of stuff, that) to go the other way those products use either NH4OH (Ammonium Hydroxide) or C4H11NO2 (Diethanolamine) to go up in pH. We mostly use C2H4O2 (Acetic Acid Glacial … really, really strong vineger) the stuff I will add the BTCA to can possibly use KOH. but so far I just make it, toss 250 pounds or so of Acetic and it’s fine, and all others use NaOH for Caustic (mainly pH but I used to use it for a reaction … lovely working in August with a product you reacted up to a temp of 145 degrees. 15,000 pounds of that cooking will heat up the warehouse nicely, let me tell you) I also get to play with H2O2 (Hydrogen Peroxide) in 32% up to 45% strength. Fun stuff.
              and that is about all I can describe without violating non-disclosure.

              1. Dude…

                You said Acetic Acid. Did I ever tell you the story of when my lab partner accidentally (HAH!!!) tried to kill me with Acetic Acid?

                Suffice it to say that holding an uncapped stock bottle of Acetic Acid under someone’s nose is a bad idea. I’ll also mention that yes it does indeed smell like vinegar. Oh, and if it hits hard enough it can make someone’s eyes water just from the smell of vinegar over twenty years later. Oof.

                1. When we walked into our lab, the teacher’s first statement was that anyone who smelled, tasted or deliberately touched to their skin anything we were working with would be expelled from the class and thus be held back a year.
                  Anyone who did it to someone else would have the police called on them for assault, and the teacher (6’4, in both directions) would sit on the offender until they got there.

                  It was wonderful, nobody screwed around…..

                  1. I had classes with guys who that would not work on. See, there is a reason I never thought a single thing Beavus and Butthead did was funny. I knew guys who made them look smart.

                    1. Happily, one of those maronies supposedly died in prison. The others, I wonder if they ever grew up, or if they just stoned themselves to oblivion. I skipped the class reunion last year (egads … 30 years?), so I don’t know who made it or not.

                2. Yeah, it can get a bit harsh, no? I got a snootfull a few times.
                  You know what gives me the willies? Sometimes we order a drum of Acetic and a drum of 50% Caustic Soda and our supplier shrink-wraps them to each other.
                  If you’ve ever seen our shipping guys drive you’d know this is A BAD IDEA

  7. If you take the logic of Wickard V Filburn (where in your raising your own crops deprives someone else of selling you those crops) to it’s logical completion, you raising your child deprives someone else of getting paid to raise them. It’s rather obvious if you think about it.

    1. Gasp! And think of all the income I’m denying people by not even HAVING a child!

      Is there some Government agency that can assign someone to breed with me? (Shuddering at the thought of what happens when the Gender Activists get a hold of that one.)

      1. “Hi, I’m Bob, your Government assigned Breeding Mate.”
        “Um, Bob, you’re male and I’m male. We can’t breed. The government made a mistake.”
        “Nonsense. The Government doesn’t make mistakes. Now, let me in before I call the Breeding Enforcement Bureau to send Enforcement Police.”

  8. I know many here also follow Larry’s blog, but he just posted a request for links to SJW attacks on conservatives in Sci-Fi here. Apparently he’s gathering links/proof for a reporter that approached him on the subject since Sad Puppies 3 is in full swing.

    Now, I’m off to nuke some popcorn…

      1. If he hits the midwest, that’ll be a lot of popcorn!
        (I’m having a Real Genius flashback.)

    1. Does that mean the best way to save money would be to do nothing?
      That’s an excuse I don’t need to get out of housework.

    1. Let us be just. Everyone admits that the man growing his own grain was the de minimus case. The law at question in Wickard v. Filburn was, overwhelmingly, actually regulating interstate commerce.

      The leftists who today say that anything that could conceivably have some impact on commerce falls under the commerce clause got there on their own. (Recently ran across a soul trying to claim that Obamacare was justified because of the bankruptcy authority of the feds; after all, if you torture the data, it will say that medical issues are the leading cause of bankruptcy.)

      1. You know, I never knew there was actually a specific law involved there… it was always kind of hand-waved, and I never thought about it.

        Here it is, as best I can tell:

        Lot different than usually portrayed.
        (Still a bad idea that just screams “real collectivism was a world-wide fad,” but I really dislike argument-by-bad-impression– only partly because that’s a powerful weapon for the left, who are better at calling names.)

  9. Now some busy body monitoring the Evil Huns is going to turn your aunt in for drinking raw goat milk. That’s illegal in most places, you know, even if you are drinking the milk from your own animals and not making a profit from it in any way.

    Oh, how I wish I were kidding about this.

    1. Quick, let’s tell Fed the Fred that she’s either pasteurizing it at home or lives in a state where raw is legal as long as it’s for your own consumption. There, problem solved.

      We couldn’t afford two working parents. We’d have to hire tutors, possibly pay college tuition, and lots of child care and elder care as well. Our local public schools are very well aware that it is not their job, as outlined by law, to offer an education appropriate to individual children. It is the parents’ job to offer an appropriate education. (Yes, we may live in the one school district in the country where the administrators actually tell people “If you want your kids to get an appropriate education you had better home school them.”)
      There is no job that I could get with my qualifications and (lack of) employment experience that could cover the expenses of my working full time. I ran the numbers a couple years ago and I’d have to be making over a hundred thousand a year.

    2. I just became a shareholder in a dairy herd. I’m not buying the raw milk. I am paying for the boarding of my partial cow, the milker’s labor, and the transportation to me. The milk itself is a dividend. There was quite a lot of paperwork involved, but I want to make cheese! (And, wow, is the ice cream good.)

  10. Simple solution. Find out what the limit of reimbursement for child care is and bill your husband for it. Then take the deduction.

  11. You see, you don’t get to have an opinion on that, unless you want to be evil, and you don’t want that, do you?

    This quote, generalized to a lot of different contexts, seems to have more than most would like to admit with what society means by ‘good’ and ‘evil’.

    Join the Dark Side. Be evil. And when you do, you can think whatever the hell you want. >:-)

    1. And when you do, you can think whatever the hell you want.

      No; you can only think whatever the hell you think. The first rule of thinking is that want has nothing to do with it.

  12. I just read a story posted on Tor (yes, I do this—there are some good stories over there and I HAVE AN ADDICTION TO PRINT.) It was a story about the creator of an artificial womb and the big corporation he’d licensed it to that was expanding production. And… it wasn’t the story it could have been. There was so much good potential there, but part of the premise was fatally flawed… the engineer noticed a problem, told the corporate bosses, and they erased his memory of the event rather than deal with the issue. At which point my brain went No… because no corporation in the world, no matter how evil, would allow a flawed product out into the workplace where it would damage the brand name. Especially with a product that was new, and had the potential for a vast market expansion.

    I have kids. Any kids’ product goes into recall with even a hint of an issue. You can’t buy baby Orajel any more because there’s a fractional possibility of a health issue—NO deaths, no major issues, just a chance. You just aren’t going to risk the bad publicity of a major issue just because you want to sell stuff you’ve already shipped out.

    Lack of thinking things through. Arrgh.

    1. The realistic scenario is the engineers immediate boss, or perhaps his boss’ boss, doing the memory wipe to save his own ass. That’s how large corporations really work, and why some of them seem to commit suicide by releasing bad product.

      1. Yeah, this was actually done at the highest level, which is idiocy. And the worst part was that the product had *shipped* but could easily have been recalled with little to no impact on consumers—heck, they could have blamed the distributers and sold the consumers on “we’re working to bring you the highest quality of product.” Mind you, there were other problems with the memory wipe—they decided to take the root of the engineer’s alcoholism while they were at it, which made him forget his dead wife entirely. Yeah, like that’s going to work well.

        1. One major US retailer has a system that can immediately tell all the registers in their stores (over 100,000 registers) not to sell particular products. Developed because of cat food recalls, as far as I can recall.

        2. Counterexample. The shuttle Challenger. Admittedly in that case the customer demanded that the supplier lie to them.

    2. I got to go to a big to-do on vaccination year before last– put on by a state university and a vaccine company, because the FDA had approved their vaccine for use on pregnant cattle and they had fought that approval due to the high rate of complications.

      It was pretty funny to see the crusty old ranch guys having in depth conversations about vaccination risks and benefits and tactics, while the hobby-farmers were asking questions that could easily be parodied as “do cows get autism?” (It would be an exaggeration and not entirely fair, but I don’t have my notes on hand to get exact examples. Mom wanted me to take notes since she was too sick to go.)

        1. Of course cows get autism. Only they aren’t born with it, they are dead with it.

          How to give a cow autism:

          1. Kill the cow.
          2. Scoop out its insides and sell them as beef.
          3. Turn the outside of the cow into a leather couch.

          Science (and not just any old science, but SCIENCE!!!) has demonstrated that applying this process to the cow actually increases its intelligence, which is how you can tell it from a non-autistic cow.

  13. Just wait until the baby vamp is able to have full locomotion. You’ve got everything that he can duck under blocked or in process yes?

    *may or may not have a scar from a baby sitting incident*

  14. At the risk of being burned at the stake and/or being pelted to death with popcorn, I’m going to ATTEMPT to make some (leftist style) sense out of the concept of taxing labor. I picked up these concepts in an American Labor History class (I know, I know. Listen. You try studying history in the hometown of the United Auto Workers without taking labor history. Let me know how that goes.) that was taught by a guy that I very much like and respect even if we disagree on a few things.

    The concept of “taxing labor” begins with another concept; that of “selling labor.” Most of us call this “having a job.” Others may refer to it as “subcontracting” as well. The bottom line is that the left often equates labor with money.

    When a person works for someone else (goes the theory) they are essentially offering up their time and effort (labor) for money. Employment is therefore a mutual agreement reached about the amount and type of effort put in versus the compensation paid/received. According to this type of thinking, an employer who buys your labor is a lot like a patron at a hot dog cart who buys a hot dog. The product is labor, the payment is cash/insurance/401K, etc.

    Once you’ve equated labor with the money it brings in, it’s easy to think about things in terms of “taxing labor.” To a true Leftist, there’s not really all _that_ much of a difference between the two after all. The employee sells the labor. The government takes a cut of the proceeds. It makes sense put in its proper context.

    What drives me UP A FREAKING WALL is the attitude that unpaid labor is of no value, but even that makes sense in this context. If labor equals money made from it and the laborer/housewife isn’t being paid for her labor then, by this definition, it has no value. Understand this people: Marxism is and always has been a materialist philosophy. It’s about getting what you can. They’re viewing the existence of housewives(husbands) in a purely economic light.

    Where this makes me want to chew nails and spit bullets is the implication that I devalued myself by taking care of my two oldest daughters when I was married to their mother. Why? Because I held a lower paying job than what I may have been able to get working days to take care of them. Why? So that my kiddos would never have to see the inside of a daycare. So that they could be with someone who loved them and taught them things. And, quite frankly, because my ex was making about 105k a year and I was making about 25k a year. It just make more sense for me to be the one to hold the lesser job. I didn’t really expect to find a job making what she was.

    So I’m not saying I agree with this crap. At least now though, you may be able to understand this garbage and combat it effectively. That’s assuming that you’re not all running for the brain bleach.

    1. It strikes me that a major flaw in Marxist/LIRP thinkin is their inability to grasp the illusory nature of “money”.

      Money is a conventent abstract to measure and store labor, time, value, etc.. It does none of these things perfectly, but it does them so much better than barter that the flaws are tolerable. But if you insist on picking at it it will unravel. You cannot insist that it is a fair estimate in all cases; that way loes madness.

      And that madness is called Socialism. Which never works because, among other flaws, it fails to take into account the ways that money does NOT work.

    2. Using that explanation, it is less that you devalued yourself by taking care of your children than it is that you DEPRIVED the government of its cut of your labor by taking care of your children. You should be ashamed of yourself for cheating your betters out of their rightful due! What were you thinking?

      1. And also deprived the state of a cut of the payment I would have had to provide for the daycare center and the income of its employees. Silly me. What was I thinking?

        1. Why, only that the Government is supposed to work for me, not I for it. Very revolutionary idea, even this long after the founding of a State dedicated to it. It runs contrary to the way Governments have run throughout recorded human history. Oh, there have been occasional exceptions, but not long lasting ones.

          And, ultimately, the SJWs, the Marxists, and the LIRPs are all very, VERY traditional in their view of government. The State is to be our shepherd, and we sheep should stop bleating.

          And they REALLY don’t like it when we maintain that we would rather not be sheared and rediced to mutton and lamb, which is the fate of sheep. Uppity peasants! How DARE we question our betters.


    3. At the risk of being burned at the stake and/or being pelted to death with popcorn, I’m going to ATTEMPT to make some (leftist style) sense out of the concept of taxing labor.

      Bah, I poke stuff until it makes sense and try to identify where they’re coming from all the time.

      Usually it just gets folks either agreeing or giving me more information. 😀

      The concept of “taxing labor” begins with another concept; that of “selling labor.” Most of us call this “having a job.” Others may refer to it as “subcontracting” as well. The bottom line is that the left often equates labor with money.

      Sarah’s mentioned before that idea of labor having an inherent value, rather than it being the means by which you produce value– it sort of works, as long as you don’t try to integrate it too far.

  15. The Labor Theory of Value is a core tenet of Marxism.
    “The labor theory of value (LTV) is a heterodox economic theory of value that argues that the economic value of a good or service is determined by the total amount of labor required to produce it.”
    Labor theory of value

    1. Thanks Sam! I didn’t have the link. It’s been awhile. And yeah, it’s a core value, straight from the pen of Sata…err… Karl Marx.

    2. the economic value of a good or service is determined by the total amount of labor required to produce it

      Good Lord, that’s ignorant. It takes me twice as much work to bake a loaf of bread than it does my mom (she’s been baking, from scratch*, since she was knee-high to a grasshopper) but mine isn’t worth more than hers. Quite the opposite. Shoot, if I was trying to read while baking (which has been known to occur) you wouldn’t want to eat my bread if I was giving it away.

      *As in “first plant the corn” scratch.

      1. By that argument, a mechanic who can fix your car in 15 minutes is 1/32th as valuable as one who takes all day to diagnose the problem and then fix it.

      2. The other day, I had a lawyer send a letter to a person about a debt to “Mom’s estate”.

        He charged me $30 to “write a letter”.

        He didn’t charge me that much because of the “labor” involved. [Wink]

        Oh, I paid it because I think getting him involved was worth it.

      3. Actually, if you account for the labor involved in training and practice, and charge for that, it might allllllmost work. Sorta-kinda.

        Doesn’t take talent into account, though.

        Anyway, they don’t mean it. They never mean it. What they mean is “Stupid peasants; your labor is worth what We tell you it is worth, and the things you want cost what WE tell you they cost, and if the consequence is that you starve or freeze, all hail the Glorious Revolution.”

        Marx was an antisocial crank who froze his brain solid spending one winter day too many on the British Museum. His claptrap became popular because it accused the Industrialists of theft. The Intellectuals wanted to believe this because they couldn’t accept that the broad spread of literacy was reducing their status to that of any other sort of work-shy bum. And a lot of the Upper Classes bought it because it told them they were right to hate the Industrialists, when the real reason was that the Industrialists were raising the price of labor and jerking the peasants out from under them.

        Marxism is an excuse for two classes of fading elitist to try to reestablish their control of the “Masses”



        1. “From Each according to his Abilities, To Each according to his Needs” is a pretty sweet deal, if you’re a needy incompetent, but it makes a slave of the capable and independent. Advocating such a position says an awful lot about the individual who does so, and which side of the equation he expects to be on.
          — Richard Chandler (10/15/04)
          (Yes, quoting myself)

          1. It’s even more,basic, so far as I am concerned. Yes, most of them expect some handout, but often not that much. ALL of them fall under Mencken’s Law;

            “Whenever A annoys or injures B, on the pretext of saving or improving X, A is a scoundrel.”

  16. My wife is disabled, which translates to my sons and I working a little harder at home than average. Would that be taken into account? Or would it be a flat tax on all unemployed individuals?
    A life tax?
    You know, the guys that have retreated to shacks out in the desert/mountains/woods are starting to look less and less crazy, (by comparison anyway.)

    1. In Illinois and Wisconsin, IIRC, people who cared for relatives at home and got a little state aid were signed up as SIEU members without their permission because “they work in the service industry” and found the dues deducted from the state allotment and other benefits, and got dunned for the rest. Which helps explain the declining respect many people have for labor unions . . .

  17. Since no-one has mentioned it, I recommend that the Huns follow Dave’s link through to Twitchy, scroll down and read the comments. They’re pretty amusing. The funniest, however, is not reproducible in polite company.

  18. I never get a day off, and no sick days.

    *blows nose, hits ‘play’ on “The Secrets of Scotland Yard, makes sure kids’ Tang cups are full and not too hot and that nobody needs another blanket or pile of kleenex*

    Oh, there’s sick days. We just don’t get them OFF!

      1. I got one of those! Took my eldest to see Frozen; next year, it’s her sister’s turn, if there’s something it looks like she’ll like.

        Oh. Wait. Like, with the guy I’m married to? We take the kids to the zoo…. 😀

        1. And this is why My Lady and I wave not reproduced. Not because wee are Morally Superior, but because we have enough to deal with, and we would be horrific parents.

          Trying to be a good Aunt-Uncle pair, though. Made sure our niece got exposed to A.A. Milne’s Pooh before Disney’s. Gave her THE SPACE CHILD’S MOTHER GOOSE, THE CYBERIAD, JUST SO STORIES, and THE ANIMAL GARDEN for baby books.

          Got her hooked on Weber last year. Tried with Piper this year (no results in).

  19. This is not new. Sometime back I encountered an argument that a window washer in a building was engaged in “interstate commerce” and thus subject to federal regulation if anyone in any building said washer washed was engaged in interstate commerce. Or, the guy growing his own vegetables in a vegetable garden would, if he weren’t growing them himself, have to buy them via interstate commerce so, by growing them himself, he is engaged in interstate commerce by not engaging in interstate commerce.

    So parents caring for their children themselves would otherwise be using daycare and making payments that would be taxed as income for the daycare. So they are “depriving” the state of that tax.

    Anything you do to reduce your tax burden and keep your own money (which isn’t your own in their view) means you’re an evil person and want widows and orphans to starve and kittens to die (but not Sad Puppies. Sad Puppies are evil, of course, and deserve to die).

    But we were born free. One breath later, however….

  20. Instead of taxing labor, we need to tax wealth. My suggestion:

    We have a trial period where anyone who votes for a “progressive” is subject to a 75% tax on any assets over $50K. No loopholes. After a suitable period (say, 10 years) the program is evaluated for effectiveness.

    1. “…held that life itself was at fault. The Judge concurred, and in a moving summation duly confiscated it from all those present before leaving for a relaxing afternoon of ultragolf.”

  21. Too many people live their entire young lives without actually having performed labor, nor being demanded to, and yet needing labor done. Since it is inconcievable that they should do without, they must therefore demand other people’s labor, and successfully demanding, come to believe they own it.

  22. You mention your mother’s goats…I am thinking that the government would argue that based on the Supreme Court decision in Wickard v. Filburn they have a right to a slice of that…it is a small step from the logic used in the court decision to the government intruding in every aspect of your life like forcing you to buy health insurance…oh, wait.

    1. If I recall correctly, NFIB v Sebelius stated the government can’t DEMAND that you engage in trade. It can just tax you if you don’t. (Assuming the tax gets passed in the correct way… oh, wait, never mind.)

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