Your Duty To Your Country

First, let’s specify that is an honor and a privilege to be an American citizen and part of this grand experiment in self governance.

Even now, with all the fraud and… ah… weirdness, we’re still the best country in the world. More, we might manage to extricate ourselves from this without landing in the dystopia of the Davoisie’s dreams, and that’s pretty much us, in all the world.

Long ago, before embarking on this wild adventure of marrying and raising a family, my fiance and I discussed it, and realized we’d be poorer (relatively) in America, but this is where we wanted our children and grandchildren to be raised.

Surely this great a privilege must come with duties, right?

Sure. One of them is to exercise franchise with care and thought (or ask a well intentioned idiot who they’re voting for, then vote against.) Another is to understand history and try to speak out to keep our experiment to the intended Constitutional course. Another is to serve in the military, or otherwise defend your country in any way you’re called to, in time of danger. To that purpose, you’re supposed to keep yourself trained to take part in the militia that all citizens are supposed to constitute.

You know what’s not part of those duties? “Pay taxes for the privilege to vote.” For one, because our privilege of voting right now is not worth a plugged nickel, since legitimate votes are being flooded out by the dead, the non-existent and the non-citizens. (No? Prove otherwise. Keeping confidence in the vote is the duty a legally elected government. They’re supposed to do what it takes to reassure us that the voting is legal and clean. You know what doesn’t do that? Yelling at us and telling us it’s legal. You know what would? Permitting investigations, in fact demanding them, encouraging states to clean up the voting rolls, and stopping the use of dodgy machines, as well as stopping motor voter and demanding proof of citizenship to register to vote. Demanding people register a month ahead of voting and show ID to vote would be a good start. But not anywhere near enough.) For another because that’s called a poll tax, and rightly or wrongly it’s been specifically disallowed. Which if you think on it, makes sense, since, right now, if you needed to pay taxes to vote about half of the citizens couldn’t.

If you reflexively respond to any hint that one considers taxation theft, or that just changing the means or our fleecing will not change much, with “That’s unAmerican” and “you owe the taxes for the privilege of being American.” congratulations. You’ve been successfully brainwashed by New Deal Politics and have a massive confusion between your country and your government.

Let’s leave aside the fact that Taxation is in fact theft: you don’t get the right to say no, or even to argue. As someone who has had attempts to dun her for money not only not owed but “wait what?” back when, you argue with trepidation, and always aware that these bureaucrats, on a whim, can take everything you’ve worked for and destroy your life.

“But Sarah,” you’ll say. “You just need to reform it.”

No, you see, because once you establish the government’s “right” to take from you on threat of prison or worse, you can’t reform that. How can you? The people it attracts are the kind who love the crazy money and power. And it is not just the IRS but people in government in general. They’re attracted by large amounts of money that no one tracks very well. All the subcontractors to the government know they have to spend every bit of money. If you save money, you get punished by not being given the money you need next year.

What kind of crazy system is that? And that’s not counting all the politicians who hire family; those who divert “shovel ready” money to things like opera; and those who spend money preaching to Middle Eastern youth “gender” nonsense that makes Kansas farm boys laugh till they cry.

In fact, throughout the 20th century, in the full bloom of theft from the people, drunk with money, the US government who covered itself in the “defense” fig leaf (defense expenditures are something like 3% of the budget) has done only two things well: arranged to kill its own citizens and arrange new ways to steal from us.

The things it did badly are innumerable: it has destroyed our social fabric with mandatory discrimination against males, particularly males of a pale complexion; it has destroyed our schools with bizarre ideas hatched in Marxist struggle sessions; it has destroyed our science by sloshing around mad money for results it approves of; it has destroyed our transportation with its dreams of non-pollution and its fears of an end to gas; it has destroyed our families by paying women to kick men out; it has killed our babies in batch lots by demanding no limits to abortion; it has destroyed our arts by turning our artists into prostitutes; it has destroyed our military in a mad rush to make it kinder and more sensitive. It is now well on its way to destroying our ability to grow food and keep ourselves warm in winter.

If you like all of that, please let’s go on as we are. But might I perhaps suggest that if you like all of that, it might be cheaper to pay a discreet dom to whip you, call you names and feed you dog sh*t? And it will be easier on the rest of us.

You cannot stop the crazy train by “reforming” it. What are you going to do? Tell it that it can only steal so much and no more? Have you heard of honor among thieves? When? Not in humanity, that’s for sure.

So, what can you do?

Well, it is time to start questioning the very paradigm all this rests on.

It is time to realize taxation is theft. There is no other name for taking money by the force of arms, whether present or implied.

Oh, wait, yes, there’s another name. It’s Armed Robbery. But theft is shorter and easier to write, so I’ll continue using it but you may assume I mean armed robbery under threat of assault with a deadly weapon. (Whether the US army still qualifies as that, I leave as an exercise for the reader.)

Taxation is theft, and citizens of a free nation should be duly outraged to be subjected to it.


Let’s stipulate that the government needs some money — oh, not the sloshing vast quantities of money it has — but some money.

We are a vast land, and it is probably right that our ambassadors don’t do their work part time, while teaching languages in local colleges by day (though what a glorious idea that would be. Talk about dedicated public servants.) We probably do need an armed forces (though note that the founders didn’t like the idea of a standing army) and we need (in fact very much need) weapons research, because I’d rather pay now for high-level killing devices than in American blood later on. (Hey, you know, the DIL and DIL in training might at some point give us grand-spawn, and at any rate, I have ducttape grand-spawn. I would prefer those don’t die, particularly since we can’t guarantee the Commander in Chief in 100 years won’t be a screaming Fraud Plant like Bai-Den.)

At any rate, some money is needed, though it shouldn’t be anywhere near the quantities that it is.

How to extract it without theft?

Well, believe it or not, the American people are the most generous people in the world, known to open their purses for good causes all over.

But yeah, I can also see that running the government from the charity of the governed isn’t a wonderful thing. Mostly because you can’t plan. You can’t count on it. (On the other hand, maybe not allowing these cartoon characters to plan would be a good thing?)

I’ve suggested a national lottery. Or rather a series of them. “Ooh, the lottery for Defense is up to a billion this week. We should buy two tickets. We can dream large, on that.” “Oh, you know, we haven’t bought the lottery for medical research in a while. And I’m not going to until they get rid of Fauci-clones.”

It puts the onus where it belongs. The government asks for our money, not the other way around. The same with oh, annual fundraisers, and what not. You want it? Ask the people for it, and show us what you’ve done to deserve it, or at least show us you’re not assholes stepping on our liberties.

I’m open to other suggestions in how the money should be collected to run the government.

There are some hard and fast things I’d not compromise on (not that I get to do as I want, of course, but I’m doing my duty as a citizen by pushing discussion of this.):

-No reaching in and taking money from people’s pay checks. Payment due must be paid at a time and place. You stand in line to give in your hard earned cash. And you see how much you’re giving the idiots

-No corporate tax. Why? Well, because corporations don’t have any money of their own. No, seriously. Their taxes are paid by increasing the cost of products. They’re paid by the consumers, and it’s a hidden tax.
However, also, no money given to corporations. Ever. The government is not Robin Hood stealing from everyone to give to their friends. We’ve gone a good long way towards Fascism (Real fascism, which is crony capitalism on steroids) and it’s time to throttle the heck back. If corporations have a contract with the government the terms of the contract should be publicly disclosed and available for anyone to look at/make a stink about. ALL the terms. Nothing hidden.

-Granted that we’re going to have to finish paying social security to those people in serious trouble. But social security should be means tested. And you should allow people to opt out of it who are just about eligible to receive it. (Like me.) You also should not sign any more young people to it.
This disbursement should be paid from a tax that sunsets in oh, 20 years. And everyone receiving payments should know it sunsets in 20 years.

There will need to be a tax levied to keep our commitments to our veterans, too. Because it was a contract, and it will not be abjured. While on that, though, those disbursements will be audited, because I understand we’re not giving our fighting men (and women) the very best. Not even close.

-Most federal departments should be disbanded. Yesterday. Government needs its frigging nose out of education; medicine; the environment; food production; etc. etc. etc. The government needs its nose whacked hard with a baseball bat before it gets it cut off with a guillotine.

-Any taxes levied for special purposes, should be temporary, sunset, and have no possibility of being extended. Ever.

-There will be no taxes levied and no federal funds available to illegals entering our border and being winked and nodded at by a government not keeping its fundamental duty to guard the borders. No services either. You want to come into our country trailing five or six kids who might be yours or kids you kidnapped along the way?

Fine and dandy. Well, not really. Defending the borders is something that the Federal government should be doing, and I’d gladly contribute to that. However: if I can’t prevent you coming in, I should not be responsible for treating your medieval disease caused by filth or bizarre alimentary habits, or your drug addiction. I should not be responsible for educating your kids. And I most definitely will not feed you or house you in the style you hope to become accustomed to.

You want handouts? Go back to where you came from and demand them from you local tyrant. Our local tyrants need a leash around their necks that tightens when they try to buy a new people with our money.


Now, yes, I’m fully aware that I don’t have the ability to enforce any of this. And most of it might be a pipe dream until the system crashes.

The thing is, the system is crashing, and will crash hard. Both because it is out of control and now it’s mostly doing more harm than good. It is also running headlong into a population crash of the productive. I’m half-sure that the importation of people over the Southern border (oh, now the Northern too) is just because the idiots in power don’t realize humans aren’t widgets and are amiably trying to import people to keep population numbers up. But there is a difference between the productive and the parasitic, and a country can’t subsist on the second kind. (I’m going to say too that while not every import is parasitic — not even every illegal import — the government largess showered on them on entry doesn’t lend itself to their becoming productive or striving to be so. Humans respond to incentives.)

Also our thieves, drunk on money, are trying to make us obey more minutely and in more insane ways, which will only crash everything harder and faster.

What I’m doing here is my duty as an American citizen. When it all crashes down, remember this failure was baked in.

Handing money to a bureaucracy in batch lots, money that is largely untraceable and uncontrollable by the true owners of this country, is how we get here. Money in huge, untraceable quantities attracts the corrupt, the corruptible, and those who want power. Because money is power, and the power to tax is the power to destroy.

Whatever is designed after must be done in the understanding that taxation IS theft. There is no “fair tax” the only fair tax would be a tax decided by each citizen, individually, and carefully. And that might be impossible given the size of the country and the complexities of collecting.

However the knowledge that taxation is theft should be beaten into any and every governmental stooge. Even supposing theft might at times be necessary, it should be limited, undertaken only in the most exigent of circumstances, and limited in time. And if possible, as much of government as possible should be funded voluntarily, be it by lottery or other means.

Think about it. Because handing money to a bunch of drunken clowns who are throwing it in a dumpster fire is NO part of being a good citizen.

And given sufficient untraceable money, you’re almost always going to attract drunken clowns into government and permanent bureaucracy.

And a nation ruled by drunken clowns cannot survive long.

191 thoughts on “Your Duty To Your Country

  1. Sarah, I’m just going to say that I’m still working on my essay on this subject. I’m much better equipped to understand what it’s like to come up with things like this on a daily basis. I’m not sure I could do it.

  2. Another way the government can raise money is how the post office used to be run before it started getting subsidized by taxes: Charge for their services. Not really feasible in terms of, say, the military, but a lot of bits of the government could function that way. Public schools (run at the local level, not federal) could charge for students the way private schools do, for instance.

    1. and this would make them way more responsive.
      And before people say “but what about students who can’t pay”? charity.
      Also, honestly, at this point I’m not convinced kids aren’t better off outside schools.

        1. Pardon me as I get up on my soapbox…again…
          A large percentage of children would be better off homeschooled.
          Large institutional public schools are actively destructive to some kids.

          1. It’s more than that; most college “educations” are unnecessary, and most students would be better off in VoTech (or an apprenticeship program); the sole exceptions might be medicine (and even that could be mostly OJT, even more than it is currently) and a path into research. College was not intended to be career training; that was what VoTech and apprenticeships were for, and they did a better job of it.

              1. Thanks. I’m basing that mainly on getting a BSEE after working 9 years as a design lab tech, in which the only two courses which were both valuable and unfamiliar to me, and which I used regularly in a 30-year career in engineering, were Statistics and Thermodynamics. So, 10 (IIRC) credit hours out of a 140-credit degree at Hopkins; basically 8 wasted years of night school.

                1. Depends on the degree. I was using techniques and skills learned in multiple Forestry classes before I graduated. Would have continued to use those skills had I stayed in forestry. I observed it being done while I worked with the foresters and engineers writing programs for them.

                  Now the 4 year programming degree. On the grand scale they promote? Not so much. Smaller scale yes. But what I’d learned at the two year degree learning to program and different tools was the footprint of what I used. 1) What needed to come out of the program/system. 2) What was needed to go into the system. What the client had. Where did the client need to get the rest of it. 3) Miracle 🙂 worker (me). Okay, on a micro scale the 4 year CS degree project development helped. But the BSA Woodbadge leadership training helped as much, even if the programming project was a group of one (me, myself, and I), the same stages applied.

                  1. Took a double major in accounting and IT. I’ve used the accounting at least as much as what they taught me of IT.

                    1. Having spent a bit more than a decade in software engineering, and having worked on accounting systems three or four times during that time, I have come away thinking that a basic accounting class should be a requirement for anyone who works on developing code for a living!

                      I’m also convinced that there are a LOT of things in computing that would make the lives of software developers a lot easier — most of which were discovered in the late 1950s and early 1960s — but have been, and still are, largely ignored. I can’t even complain about the self-learners in the field, because I had a minor, and know many who have a major, who didn’t learn these things! Indeed, the only reason why I’m somewhat aware of them, has mostly been due to a combination of self-learning and a tendency to seek out weird things to learn about.

                      Alan Kay was right to call computer science a “not-a-discipline”!

                  2. Can’t argue against any of that, and maybe a fresh-from-HS newbie, with zero job experience, can benefit from a fair number of the courses in an EE program like I took, to get at least a basic understanding of things I’d been doing for over 10 years. I think what bothers me the most is the idea (resulting AIUI from the Fed restriction on proficiency testing, resulting on the fallback of “credentialism”), that a degree is necessary in almost any field not skilled labor.

                    And FWIW, it wasn’t until I was almost ready to retire that I learned one of the main reasons why [Large Defense Contractor] required engineers to have a degree regardless of proficiency: Government Defense contracts apparently have the sacred-to-contractor Bottom Line tied to the number of “degreed engineers” projected to work on the program. And they do check. That made me feel really good about all the night trips into Baltimore to take such courses as “Two Views of the Human Environment – Solution and Threat” (the only course I ever took whose purpose was as much a mystery after I took it as before – and I got an “A”. Oy…)

                    1. maybe a fresh-from-HS newbie

                      Which I was for the Forestry degree. While for the CS degree, I wasn’t a fresh out of HS newbie, to the working world or programming and writing small projects for clients from scratch. Won’t say I didn’t learn anything that helped. Just never used it on the scale the professors insisted must happen. Design phase? Written document to work from that can be handed to someone to write the manual while the software was being written? ROFLOL Was lucky to have it sketched out on a napkin as a list (not quite that bad but close).

                    2. Yep, pretty much as I remember from every software project (radar system test software) I worked on, although they were all controlled by my direct supervisor, not some program manager who was lucky to be able to spell his own name. The “How software is specified” parody that appeared in the ’80s was closer to reality than most realize. 🙂

                    3. Funny. The Reader learned about the degree thing with Great Big Defense Contractors early in his career. At a yearly performance review the then pointy headed boss noted as an aside that he was glad to see the Reader tutoring the engineers in his section working on degrees. When the Reader asked why management would notice, he was given the degreed engineer lecture. The Reader was doing it in exchange for the practical knowledge those individuals had that the Reader lacked, but he never told the pointy headed boss that.

            1. This brings up a bigger question:
              Does college prepare students for the work world?
              I have quite a few nieces and nephews who are in their early to mid-20s. Almost all of them were very good students in high school and college (and grad school). Almost all of those had a miserable time on their first ‘real’ jobs in their field after college.
              It’s almost as if the skill set you need to succeed in college is completely different than the skill set you need to succeed in the work world.
              Just my $.02

              1. College to first job can be a wake up, definitely.

                skill set you need to succeed in college is completely different than the skill set you need to succeed in the work world.

                I can’t comment about CS programming because I was working as I got the degree.

                Forestry? Don’t know how it works now, but to get the degree it was required to have a minimum of 6 months work in the forestry field before graduation. Not work study. No credits. I had 18 months before I graduated. First 3 months between freshman and sophomore years. I probably had a better idea what I was getting into for field work than most. Most got on summer fire crews, a few on logging, and some on silverculture (tree planting). A lot on fire crew in summer, silverculture during weekends and Christmas break (given when trees are planted). I got lucky and got on a presale crew which included planned unit layout, mapping, and timber cruising.

                1. And that’s the way it should work in every field. Reality is a major shock to someone who was never anything but a student.

              2. “the skill set you need to succeed in college is completely different than the skill set you need to succeed in the work world.”

                Bingo! College prepares almost no one for almost nothing in the Real World(TM); at best it provides tools needed. And that really is “at best”.

    2. iirc, the Pony Express used to charge $5 per piece of mail. Allowing for inflation, that’d be (very) roughly $155 today. I’d expect mail to be cheaper today, what with economies of scale and mass transportation, but still…

      1. If the USPS didn’t have to fund pensions in advance, had have the disincentive of unionized workers who gang up on the people who try to work hard, then I suspect the postage rate would 1) stay relatively low and 2) not be a money loser as compared to FedEx, UPS, DHL [OK, subsidized by the Germans, but still} and so on.

    3. Hell, .gov could, if not necessarily save money, divert most of the money they pay to administrators and “consultants” towards paying teachers and buying classroom supplies that said teachers are forced to pay for out of their own pocket.

        1. I wonder what would happen if teachers simply refused to spend their own money for schoolroom supplies? It’s a safe bet that no administrator would dare to issue a traceable order for them to do so, or to fire any teacher who refused.

          1. Then there would be no supplies, and the bureaucrats wouldn’t give a rat’s ass. When test scores declined, blame the ‘lack of funding’ or the teachers.

            That’s how the government rolls. When it fails, it needs moar moolah.

            1. Can’t argue; that’s how the bureaucrats operate. But still, what happens when the classes don’t have something required by the sacred Lesson Plan, the Lesson Plan decreed by those same bureaucrats? And the parents find out? Popcorn time? 🙂

              1. Well, in rural AL in the 90s and early 00s, the attitude of 75% plus of parents was that the teacher provided supplies or the kids had a ready made excuse for doing no work and acting out. And if “mean ol’ Mrs Nelson” tried to say anything, that was raaaaacist. Then the other 25% didn’t get to learn either. So she bought supplies. Note: the 25% were from the same demographic, but were there to learn. And were derided by their peers as “acting white”.

                There’s a reason her three daughters were discouraged from following in her footsteps. There’s also a reason I’ve become somewhat pessimistic over the years. Most of what we see today has been a long time coming; Trump and the WuFlu just ripped off the masks.

    4. Before 1913, the Federales got their money through tariffs and excise taxes, and didn’t run deficits except during wartime…whereupon they found it difficult to sell bonds, etc…Once the income tax was passed, and the Federal Reserve printing plant was approved, it could splurge on idiotic wars and corrupt procurement….And the Government grew by a factor of 15 or so…..I think I see the problem….

  3. If corporations have a contract with the government the terms of the contract should be publicly disclosed and available for anyone to look at/make a stink about. ALL the terms. Nothing hidden.

    10,000 spooks have entered the chat

  4. I do have one point to add — our navy currently provides protection for all of the sea lanes, right? For nations that aren’t us as well as for our own ships. Why aren’t these other nations reimbursing us for providing the protection that they don’t? If they don’t want to pay, that’s fine. They build up their own navies and merchant marines to protect their ships and that’s fewer ships and sailors we have to outfit.

    — G.K.

    1. Because their payment was to be the front line in WW3.

      Since WW3 isn’t happening, the deal needs to be renegotiated…. which it is. Or rather has. Because those renegotiated agreements happened under Trump and early-Brandon.

      1. Also, there are benefits to us for keeping the sea lanes open for everyone. We get goods and supplies from everywhere. There probably isn’t a freight port in the world that we don’t get at least a small amount of commodities from. And ships traveling to and from the US pass through nearly every oceanic waterway in the world. One of the reasons for the golden age that we’ve lived in for the past few decades is the US Navy keeping the ocean free of trouble throughout the entire world.

        So, yeah, most everyone else enjoys something close to a free ride. But we still get the lion’s share of value out of it.

          1. Two problems: the first is assuming that merchant ships exist for their own sake, rather than for the goods they are carrying.

            The second is that we annihilated our merchant marine through Wilson’s Merchant Marine Act of 1920.

            1. First… Well, they do. Transportation infrastructure is (outside of Marxist delusions) a very good thing to have, and creates opportunities that would not otherwise exist.

              Second… The Jones Act has nothing to do with it. As is readily demonstrated by the US having a large Merchant Marine at the beginning of WWII.

              1. The last thing we need to be doing is subsidize global trade through our Navy’s expense when it results in the deindustrialization of America. Our Navy should protect US-flagged shipping, and nothing else.

                1. We already only actively protect US-flagged shipping. This is why there have been occasional instances in which the US will allow the ships of other nations (Kuwaiti oil tankers in the Gulf during one particular flare-up come to mind) to temporarily reflag with the Stars and Stripes.

                  However, all navies take action against hijackings in progress. If a Super Hornet happens to pass by a group of pirates approaching a super freighter screaming for help, then those pirates are going to be turned into shark bait. The end result of this is that piracy stays local, and India doesn’t start stealing oil shipments from the Persian Gulf to China. The risk is too great, and sooner or later the Super Hornets are going to be nearby when it happens. Why? Because USN carriers are everywhere. If they’re not on station nearby, then they’re passing by while transiting to their final destination.

                  Once the pirates are aboard, responsibility devolves back to the nation that flagged the ship to deal with it. This is something that came up repeatedly when the Somali pirates were in the news several years ago.

                  As for your claims of “de-industrializing” America, that’s missing the point. Nothing in the world is built with materials that only come from a single country. The Golden Age that we currently live in is a result of that. It’s not about whether something can be assembled more cheaply in China. It’s that no matter what it is, there’s at least one part of it that requires moving overseas. And that goes both ways. There’s stuff built in the US that gets shipped out to the rest of the world on ships flagged in other nations. The US Navy’s mission to keep the ocean lanes clear allows that freight to move, as well.

                  1. The last 30 years or more of history says you’re wrong that the US benefits more from global trade. We aren’t importing raw materials, we’re importing finished manufactured goods. We are paying the Navy to bankrupt our working class with their own taxes. We can deal with pirates when they go after US shipping. Anything else is somebody else’s problem unless they want to pay for our protection or reciprocate at the same level. I’m well aware of the US Navy’s role; I was part of it. All you’ve done is regurgitate what we do now. My argument is that needs to change.

                    I could care less if India starts stealing oil shipments to China. Have at it, boys. The Indian Navy is getting pretty formidable in its own right, and that would be good to keep China worried. America doesn’t need to be the unipolar power in the world if we’d mind our own business.

                    We’d be much better off importing raw materials that we don’t have and making our own manufactured goods for our own consumption right here. The last thing we should want is to be dependent on containers full of Chinesium crap. I don’t care if the world can ship stuff safely, only if we can.

                  2. Many things in the world are built from materials coming from only that country.
                    Nowadays, the country in question is mostly China, but the point remains.

                    You can cite Ricardo’s law of comparative advantage, and argue that all else being equal. It is best for countries to produce only what they can produce most efficiently.
                    But that does not make all else equal, does not consider that transportation has costs, does not account for inefficiencies introduced by language or cultural barriers, does not account for interruptions in the supply chain, nor does it account for cascading effects, etc.

                    Ricardo is an aspirational counter to mercantilism and its balance of trade arguments, not a workable model. Especially over the long term.

                    1. Did Ricardo take into account the bad actors that monopolize a commodity, then cut off the supply? Not just raise the price, but hog it all for themselves. China has become practically the only source for far too many commodities.

                    2. Do people obsessed with the effects of monopoly ever take into account the way that a monopolist continuously burns their own wealth to give everyone else a discount?

                    3. The PRC is largely a middleman. It gets raw materials and converts them into intermediate products. A massive chunk of those products are kept at home for the government-subsidized wasteful projects. The rest get shipped elsewhere. The other thing that happens in China is that parts made elsewhere using someone else’s design get put together into a completed product. Again, it’s something that doesn’t need to happen in China. If (when) China collapses, everything China makes can be made elsewhere given a little time to get factories running. And, in fact, this process has already started. For example, Foxconn, which has been in the news the last few months, is reportedly looking at Vietnam as a relocation option after getting fed up with the issues in the PRC.

                      Not so on the other side of the Straits of Taiwan, where some truly irreplaceable items are manufactured.

              2. Second… The Jones Act has nothing to do with it. As is readily demonstrated by the US having a large Merchant Marine at the beginning of WWII.

                History does not run on the time frame of a bratty 2 year old.

                It took until the 70s for the catastrophic decisions of the early 20th century to come within a few months of killing the entire US rail system.

                1. During the first 25 years of the Jones Act’s existence, the US Merchant Marine grew and came to dominate the world’s sea trade.
                  Your argument runs counter to the readily observable facts.
                  Nor do you advance any claim as how something that was demonstrably good, became something bad.
                  Even the prominent critics of the Jones Act don’t advance your claim. (And their cries of “globalism good, protectionism bad” haven’t aged well.)
                  Your argument is invalid on its face, and unsupported by evidence or ideology.

          2. That’s our own government’s fault. The rules and regulations that go along with sticking a US flag on your ocean-going freight hauler are much more onerous and expensive than they are in many other countries. I don’t know the details, unfortunately, but I’ve seen mention of it from time to time. The end result of this is that ships get registered in other countries where the regulations and fees aren’t anywhere near as bad.

            And since the freight is still coming to the US anyway regardless of whose flag is on the ship, the end result is still the same.

            Until someone starts shooting at the ship, that is. There are laws restricting how the US Navy can respond to attacks on ships that aren’t flying American colors. And you can’t fly American colors if you aren’t registered in the US.

            1. Which argues against us getting the lion’s share of value.
              You always have to factor in opportunity costs.

              1. What you’re overlooking is the sheer volume of stuff that goes in and out of the US, and the dollar value associated with those goods. We dwarf everyone else because we’re so rich in comparison to the rest of the world. That’s why we get the lion’s share of value.

                1. We get the lion’s share of “value” from seigniorage on the petrodollar.
                  A state of affairs that our leaders are doing their best to destroy.

                  The question is simply, what is the value of having your own transportation infrastructure?
                  I think you’ll find that using currency as a measurement proxy falls short.

                  1. If maritime transportation infrastructure is so important, then our government should stop driving shopping companies to register elsewhere.

                    Simple as that. The US Navy keeping international waters clear of pirates and privateers (and a single modern super freighter holds exponentially more than a galleon ever did) is unrelated.

    2. That may well end spectacularly and suddenly.

      Da Techguy has been writing about the recruiting crisis building in the armed forces, and ships are very maintenance heavy things. Problem is, the most likely solution to a manpower crisis is a peace time draft, and you cannot run a navy on a draft.

      1. Some of the things the Navy currently does with manpower will soon be able to use less of it.

        One of the reasons for the electromagnetic catapults on the Ford-class is that they can tune their launch force low enough to allow the launching of drones.

        The first obvious target for this is instead of using fighter-bombers with refueling equipment to deliver fuel you can orbit a couple fuel-drones over the fleet. That also dramatically reduces maintenance on the manned aircraft that you would otherwise be using.

        The second and third targets would be replacing over the horizon sensor platforms, and then supplementing the CAP.

        1. I haven’t been following the situation lately, but are the EM catapults on the Ford class actually working now? I had read that there was a massive East Asia Group Fornification with the ‘pults on the Ford itself.

          1. Pretty sure those were fixed a long time ago.

            The Fords are like every other big military hardware project: riddled with bugs at first which is taken to mean it is inherently garbage.

            They really should work out more kinks in testbeds. But it is also remarkable how much Russia Today cares about how the US is wasting money on this or that which will never work.

            1. I’m not looking at RT, but Strategy Page was pretty pessimistic in Dec 2021.


              That seems to be the most recent update on the Ford class from them.
              The money quote:

              Many EMALS problems were fixed but some major ones remained.

              One bit that’s profoundly scary: If one of the four catapults goes down, that system requires all of them being offline until the bad one is fixed. Not a problem with steam, but somebody has more faith in electrics than this retired EE does.

              With respect to crap programs, “LCS”. Nudge, nudge, say no more. #Headdesk

              1. That is a seriously bad design for a warship. Being able to take battle damage is critical, and losing the ability to launch your prime defense and raison d’etre because you can’ fix stuff without shutting things down (let alone it also implies certain damage might shut everything down) means you are well and truly screwed if you take a hit. Which you will in any kind of warfare where you are not just kicking the posteriors of non peer opponents.

      2. One of Peter Zeihan’s points is his belief that in the near future, the US is going to say “Screw it,” and pull the US Navy back to enforcing the Monroe Doctrine. Or in other words, we keep an eye on the Western Hemisphere, and tell the rest of the world to go take care of itself.

        And shortly afterwards, in his opinion, all Hell is going to break loose in much of the rest of the world. It’ll be a bloody, messy affair with colonialism coming back into vogue (to secure the raw materials that they desperately need to keep from falling back into pre-industrial industry) while countries simultaneously try to deal with the havoc that the demographic collapse is playing with their populations.

        Note that the two items are linked. In his view, the demographic collapse is going to have repercussions that will cause countries to start once again considering colonialism (well, aside from China, which is already trying to practice it) at the same time that the US Navy is pulled back to our own side of the world.

    3. Our Navy keeps global sea lanes safe for everyone. That needs to stop. Either they pay a toll, or they take their chances. Encouraging global trade has had the impact of destroying our blue-collar class by deindustrializing America. It has not been a net positive for most Americans, but it has enriched the hedge fund class.

      1. bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzt, wrong

        Actively working to make US labor uncompetitive is what drove it out of business. Some of that was regulation. Some of that was unions driving wages above market and preventing modernization.

        And to top it all off we never actually stopped manufacturing. We just stopped using mass labor to do it.

  5. One of the reasons Europeans cannot understand the US is that the US is not a nation state since we owe no obligation to a nation, nor a king, nor a government. Rather, we owe an obligation to the constitution. Should the government suspend that constitution, our obligation ends. It’s no accident that the oaths sworn by all government officials, not just the army, is to uphold and defend that constitution, not the government of the day, but the constitution.

    Now, I know they’re all foresworn — psychopaths that they are, Part of being a psychopath is poor impulse control and lack of ability to think about the longer term, Obviously, they lack the imagination to consider what might happen should they go much further in dissolving the only thing that keeps them in office, never mind preserving their lives.

    Note for the FBI stasi guys reading this. No threat. Simply a knowledge of history. It always ends badly for them when a sou disant ruling class loses the cos ent of the governed,

    1. Yep. No threat implied, but water runs downhill, and we all know where this leads. If you think you don’t you’re whistling past the graveyard.
      Seen a lot of that recently. In fact, should write a post about that.

      1. The problem comes when many of them depend on water running up hill, and figure if they can just put off their boss finding out until after they’re fully vested and retired.

  6. I’ve always thought every check to the IRS (State, too) should include a form with every government department listed so you could check off the ones you don’t want your money to help fund. Democracy in true action.

  7. Honest question: didn’t the early US fund itself through tariffs quite a bit? I don’t know that we could do that today, due to the size of our government, but would raising tariffs be in any way a feasible option for government income?

    Also, this is related to a few threads ago, but Sarah, I told my husband your experiences about people stealing things off of front lawns in Portugal, and his reply was “So can you tell your kids to go play in the front lawn?”

      1. Precisely. Size the government ot the available funds, after repealing the 16th Amendment and restricting the fisc to what was available in 1789 under the original taxt. A pipe dream, to be sure, but attractive. 🙂

    1. This was one of the major factors leading up to the American Civil War. Most of the nation’s exports came from the South, so 85% (low boundary, IIRC high boundary was 93%) of the federal revenue came from Dixie.
      This was a state of affairs that suited the Yankees—who were happy not to be paying it themselves, and the Planter class—who wanted that pesky middle class kept in their place, quite well. Until it didn’t.
      It also meant that that there was absolutely no way that the federal government could let secession occur without threatening its own existence in a very real and present sense.

      Our hostess doesn’t like us talking about the ACW much, so I’ll leave the (I feel necessary) counterpoint there.
      But it’s much easier to understand the antebellum period once you realize who was controlling the purse.
      (I should mention the dissolution of the 2nd national bank, over the outraged screams from every quarter of the sectarian elite and every dirty trick they could pull, making payoffs much harder to pull off.)

    2. Tariffs and land sales after 1803. The US government stopped selling land (more or less) after the Great Depression, when the various homestead acts were finally scrapped.

    3. Yes, the early US only had import duties and excise taxes (mainly on distilled liquor). It was also unable to collect enough to pay it’s debts from the Revolutionary War and War of 1812. When the federal government cranked the whiskey tax too high, farmers in the back country revolted. (For those hundreds of miles from markets, distilling liquor was the only way to convert excess crops to something high enough in value to ship by horse-drawn wagon, so they justly saw the whiskey tax as a tax levied by rich city folk on poor country folk.) When it cranked the import duties too high, ships avoided them by off-loading on a beach somewhere before entering a port, and the government got nothing. So the amount that could be collected was rather low.

      A lot of veterans waited decades for their back pay, and finally had to settle for “patents” (deeds) for the land the government couldn’t sell for cash – that is, inaccessible, rocky, swampy, or infested with malaria and hostile natives.

  8. “Anyone may arrange his affairs so that his taxes shall be as low as possible; he is not bound to choose that pattern which best pays the treasury. There is not even a patriotic duty to increase one’s taxes. Over and over again the Courts have said that there is nothing sinister in so arranging affairs as to keep taxes as low as possible. Everyone does it, rich and poor alike and all do right, for nobody owes any public duty to pay more than the law demands.”
    — Judge Learned Hand

    1. There is also no duty to pay taxes to secure access to the franchise. That would be in the way of a poll tax. Poll taxes are right out.

    2. Sounds like something that might have been said in response to the (second) Roosevelt administration’s attempts to scapegoat Andrew Mellon for the “crime” of taking advantage of fully legal tax breaks.

      1. The Democrats did the same thing to President Trump for decades. “Trump didn’t pay any taxes last year! REEEEEE!!” The Bureau Of Infernal Ravenous spent 15 years investigating Trump. They found…bupkus. But the REEEEEE-ing went on and on.
        “I can only conclude that I am paying off karma at a vastly accelerated rate.” — Susan Ivanova

        1. Mellon was arguably even worse, as odd as it sounds these days. Roosevelt’s attorneys basically tried to convict him for following the law, and iirc openly admitted that he had followed the law.

          And this was going on while Mellon was working on putting the finishing touches on one of his life’s dreams – donating his large collection of paintings to the federal government under the condition that the collection be used as the core of a new national museum, the National Gallery of Art. Much earlier in his life, Mellon had been impressed by the National Gallery in London, and had wanted to give the American people the opportunity to experience something similar in their own country. So he’d assembled a large collection of art expressly for the purpose of forming the nucleus of such a gallery, and – late in his life – started negotiating with the Federal Government over the project at pretty much the same time that the Roosevelt Administration decided to turn him into a scapegoat over his wealth.

  9. Also, no corporation or other anonymized group (not even a nonprofit society) should ever be allowed to fund a political campaign. EVERY political contribution must have a single individual’s name attached to it as the responsible party.

    1. And this must include contributions in kind (such as a corporation, including news media, endorsing a candidate). It should be illegal for any corporation or non-individual person to comment in favor of or against any political campaign in any media, including internal memos. This includes unions, news media, corporations, non-profit organizations, private clubs, and more. The news media can report on politics, but can’t take sides except in editorials with the writer’s name prominently displayed.

        1. Not exactly burning the 1st. Making a distinction between a natural person and a legal (or corporate) person. To be fair, I was a bit unclear above, in that I wouldn’t strip a corporation’s right to advocate for a position. The NRA should be allowed to advocate for gun rights, Planned Parenthood should be able to advocate for abortion, and so forth. But they can’t vote, and shouldn’t be allowed to directly support or oppose any particular politician in an election campaign. And yes, I know that would be a very difficult line to draw in a lot of cases. It’s the difference between saying, “Vote for politicians who support gun rights” versus saying “Vote for Gertrude Gunseller”.

          Along the same lines, I also believe that patents and copyrights should only be owned by natural persons, not corporate persons. The ownership should belong to the person (or persons) who created the thing, and not to the company they work for. The company can license the rights from the patent or copyright holder. This would generally be part of the employment agreement defining what rights the company gets in return for paying for the development of the product, for example.

            1. That by itself isn’t a good argument. The Left hates all sorts of ridiculous things, often simply because they are hateful people.

              They hate the Citizens United ruling with good reason, because they’re a controlling, censorious bunch and it took a censorship sledgehammer away from them. I don’t hate it; I just think it failed to address a huge underlying problem with political money, and may have inadvertently worsened it.

          1. Making a distinction between a natural person and a legal (or corporate) person.

            The corporate person is nothing more and nothing less than a group of people.

                    1. Not being obtuse. There is a point, which you’ve identified: The only legitimate reason for a corporation to exist is to protect the rights and advance the interests of the individuals that comprise it.

                      A corporation has power that individuals lack, but it has no rights of its own and should have no legal powers that any individual doesn’t already have. Corporate speech is not the same thing as individual speech, nor is it congruent to freedom of speech itself. That’s my point.

              1. So, you oppose a particular measure, and you want to present arguments against it. You and several other people get together to make a film, or publish a book, or make a commercial, or put up a Web site. And the supporters of that measure come up with some legal argument and sue you. Now what happens?

                If you can incorporate, they can take the money you put into the corporation, and any money it raised, but nothing more.

                If you can’t incorporate—or if the corporation you formed is not allowed freedom of expression, which is effectively the same thing—then their suit can take away your retirement savings, and your house, and your business, and the same for everyone else who went in with you. Do you think that might put a damper on freedom of expression, and make politics the domain of rich people who can hire lawyers?

                1. Politics is already the domain of rich people who can hire lawyers.

                  And why would anyone be able to take away everything you own because you contributed money or time to a political cause? “The supporters of that measure come up with some legal argument and sue you” is exactly what happened in the Citizens United case, and the (correct) ruling was that they can’t penalize or forbid your speech.

                  I know there are sound financial reasons behind forming corporations. I’m disputing the notion that corporate “speech” — the action of a collective directed by a handful of people who wield potentially vast amounts of other people’s money — is congruent to the individual right to freedom of speech.

                  There would have to be a way for people to form groups and pool their resources. My point is that every single penny given to a political candidate or organization should always, verifiably, come directly from a specific individual whose explicit will it was to spend it (putting money into the same realm as volunteering one’s time).

      1. I’d like to keep GOA and whatever James O’Keefe’s next venture is as legal, thanks.

        A corporation is just people pooling resources and/or limiting direct liability.

        1. Now do Google.

          There’s no “just” about the political nature of corporations at this point. This whole thing is broken. In the spirit of “taxation is theft,” I’m trying to imagine a new set of rules around political funding that prioritize the rights and actions of individuals instead of ceding power to giant collectives and anonymous evildoers.

    2. Eh…

      This one gets tricky. A cash donation is one thing. But if a group makes a video that comes out in support of one candidate, or attacks a different candidate, then technically they’ve provided a political contribution. And the US Supreme Court held (wisely, imo) in Citizens United that such actions are allowed.

      1. There will always be tricky parts. The really tricky thing is not to let edge cases obscure the basic reality.

        Your vote is yours alone, thus the private ballot. Your public speech and contributions toward public elections are…public. Except they’re currently not, for most of the people with the most money and influence, and that’s a huge problem.

        1. Still not agreeing with it. The organization that formed the basis of the Citizens United case was explicitly created to create an attack video against a particular candidate. The reason why this was done was because forming an organization made it easier to deal with certain aspects of financing the project. Your proposal would ban such things, which flies right into the face of one of the most basic aspects of what it means to be an American.

          Further, there’s the extremely subjective nature of what exactly a political contribution is. It sounds easy when you talk about cash donations. But virtually anything can arguably be a political contribution. And if you don’t think that people are going to weaponize the heck out of that, then you’re incredibly naive. As an example, a catering service could be forced to go through an expensive audit to prove that they hadn’t undercharged a candidate whose event the service had catered.

          And finally, your proposal would ban newspaper endorsements of candidates, which is an American tradition dating back to the founding of the country.

          1. Naive? Maybe. Maybe not. Of course every loophole and gray area will be exploited and weaponized. All of the current ones already have been — most effectively by the enemies of everything you and I hold dear — and we’re swimming in an ocean of anyonymized public corruption. Every “but what if” example you could bring up has a “look at what’s being done to us right now” counterpart. And no, it wouldn’t ban newspaper editorials — the authors/editors would have to sign their name on it, is all (as they arguably already do).

            Why not try something different, something that might respect the difference between individuals and collectives and maybe privilege individuals instead? Something that might have a chance at getting public speech/money/activity out into public view?

            Maybe it’s an idea that could work, or maybe not. It’s no more naive than saying “taxation is theft” and musing on how taxation could be ended. I think it’s interesting that there’s such a reflexive reaction against it; only “it’ll never work,” never a “could it really work…”

          2. I’ll retract my earlier comment. I was thinking of companies like Ford or GM, which are not established for a political purpose, and had completely forgotten about PACs. I don’t see a way to restrict one without restricting the other, so yeah, no restrictions. But huge amounts of corporate cash can still be a problem.

            One possible solution? Transparency. Maybe have every PAC list the names of its founding board of directors and its founding financial contributors in a prominent place on its website and other publications, along with the names of its current board of directors and current top-ten donors. Then require that all political candidates list the names of the top ten financial campaign contributors in an equally prominent place. After all, if “dark money” is a problem, then light should be a solution.

            That would at least let people see who’s trying to buy an election or a politician.

            1. Shedding light on everything is exactly what I’m after. That and putting politics back in the hands of individuals instead of corporate brands and collectivized evil.

              Not that I’m going to achieve it. 🙂 This whole thing is just a big pie-in-the-sky what-if.

    3. My problem with that I that I, individually, cannot come up with the dosh to attempt to counter arguments from the like of Bloomberg, but through the action of joining a group such as the Second Amendment Foundation I can. There’s no good answers I fear, but more speech is generally a better thing.

      1. And no group you can join will ever wield as much influence as Google, Facebook, Pfizer, China, et al.

        Tying every single penny of political money to an individual donor whose name is public wouldn’t change the minnows vs. whales problem (nothing will), but it would cut the aforementioned bad actors and most of the present corruption off at the knees. And it wouldn’t cut against freedom of association, either; the members of associations that get into politics just couldn’t be politically anonymous.

        Not saying it’s a perfect answer or the only one, or even necessarily a good one (although I do think it could be). I’m just trying to get people to really consider it.

    4. And there can be an argument made for candidates for state-level offices not getting funding from out-of-state contributors. Witness all the blue-state contributions to candidates in Texas like Beto O’Dourke, and Wendy “Abortion Barbie” Davis. They were both wildly popular … but not in Texas. Massive out-of-state contributions smack of outsiders trying to buy an office-holder for a state that they want to boss around.

      1. Culminating in Bloomborg buying the Virginia state government in 2018 and ramming ‘gun control’ through. Virginians are still trying to reclaim their state and undo the damage.

      2. This! And the other side of it being judges’ rulings.

        You should only be able to donate to a race that you’re a constituent of.

        Judges’ rulings, at least the egregious ones we’ve seen in recent decades, should not be “nation-wide injunctions” unless it is a “nation-wide” court. Circuit courts should only be able to rule for their circuit.

        As to speech, I occasionally get it stuck in my craw that by accepting the phrasing that, for example, what Sarah writes falls primarily under freedom of speech, we’re conceding ground to the “guilds” who think freedom of the press is only about journalists, when in truth, a novel falls under at least two separate clauses of the First. But then, how would you cover videos? What did/would the founders consider, not theatre scripts, but the performances of those scripts, to fall under, Constitutionally?

        1. Constitutionally, the performers, and thus the performances, are null issues. Being people being paid (or even not paid; pro bono as it were) to perform a job, the Constitution is mute beyond the rights afforded everyone. Or did I misunderstand your question?

          1. Bob – I think you do:
            For performance of plays, if the Gov’t tried to say “You can’t do that”, what Constitutional right would they be violating? The script clearly falls under freedom of the printing press and freedom of speech, what about the acting?

            I”m using plays as the nearest analog to videos/YouTube/etc

            1. AIUI, the script, if covered by copyright, is under the copyright laws; the performance (and performers) are not. So no Constitutional issue related to the performance.

              (And freedom of the printing press, whatever that might entail, does not extend to copyright violation, the “your freedom to swing your fist ends where my nose begins” principle.)

              1. “So no Constitutional issue related to the performance.”

                Well,,,,, one reason we have lots less restrictive obscenity laws is that SCOTUS ruled the performance was expression speech covered by the #1A, Which is why the government prefers to “encourage” so-called “private businesses” like YouTube to do their censoring.

                1. Sure. But I understood the question to be about copyright issues in performances, as copyright is defined in the Constitution, not about censorship. That’s an issue worth discussing (and it has been, extensively), but not the subject of this particular question. As I see it, anyway; YM, as always, MV. 🙂

                  1. Agreed, there is no copyright issue: the performance ain’t copyrightable. Constitutional is a little broader thing, and I think there needs to be a brighter line?

                    1. You have a 1st Amendment Constitutional right to put on the performance; you have no right to copyright it. Both of you, however, used Constitutional when it might have been clearer to use copyright.

                    2. Snelson is closer to my question’s intent. My original point was – setting aside things like Congress’s right to set copyright terms, if Congress were to say “You can’t turn that book into a movie! And if you do, you can’t show it!!” (You know they’d love to do that if anything too embarrassing gets discovered about J6 in some kind of tell-all “in the event of my definitely-a-suicide-trust-us…” papers).

                      Obviously that kind of censorship is a load of codswallop, but:
                      Is it only covered by the 10th*, the 9th**, and the second clause of the 1st***?
                      Or is there a better, directly in the Constitution/Amendments (or clear in the founders’ other documents about their intentions) line of defense?

                      I’d rather avoid going to “This Judge interpreted it to mean…” unless it’s someone so clear as Clarence Thomas… too often judges read into the Constitution whatever they want to be there, or “we assume Congress has the power to do this even though the Constitution doesn’t grant it to them”

                      (10th translated: “if the federal government isn’t explicitly granted a power, it doesn’t have it – that power is only available to the states and the individual citizens”)

                      **(9th translated: “this is only a partial list, it’s not all-inclusive when it comes to Rights, and what’s listed here doesn’t supercede things we didn’t think we had to write down”)
                      *** “Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom of speech, or of the [printing]**** press”

                      **** (Original Intent was “unlike King George, Congress can’t prevent anyone from printing books or newspapers or whatever”, not “the people who write newspaper articles have special privileges that ordinary folks do not”, as the NYT and CNN etc would have you believe. Thus “writing a tell-all book about J6” should be covered under “no law abridging the Freedom of the Press”. But does that cover things that don’t use the written word? Again, I’d rather deal with Rules As Written, as they’re harder to say “But that’s just, like, your opinion, man….”)

                      (On a side note, I would love for the Republicans to make a Rule that every member must attend a meeting every… month? quarter? where the Constitution is read, questions and answers, “is there anything that noone understands anymore that we should start an Amendment discussion on?”, “Do we need to update anything to cover modern technology, such as floor votes perhaps being done by videoconference instead of being in person?”, etc. Maybe “attend one of 4 sessions each month, everyone attends together every 6 months to make sure we’re not moving in different directions in our understanding”. And if they can’t make it to a certain number of those and don’t have sufficient justification, they’re no longer in Good Standing and are automatically kicked off their committees, lose seniority rank, etc)

    5. A corporation is in no way anonymized.

      Every single shareholder is known and registeted. It may be 100 shares of xyz owned by a person, or 20,000 owned by another Corp. But every name has to be known. There are no “bearer shares”. And every corporate board and officer is documented. Those are the named and known folks legally accountable for corporate actions.

      Even a privately held firm has to document ownership and follow rules.

      Since the transfer of such ownership is taxed almost everywhere, the “who” is tracked to ensure payment.

      1. If the “who” is tracked so well for other purposes, why can’t it also be tracked when corporations make political expenditures? Every shareholder must sign off on his or her proportionate share, and thus every dollar represents a real individual who has said “yes, this political expenditure represents my interest.” This wouldn’t infringe on anyone’s right to associate with others or speak in the public square. And it would keep public affairs PUBLIC.

      2. The Reader notes that since mutual funds and ETFs have become the dominant investment vehicle in the market that most individuals don’t own shares in companies; the mutual funds and ETFs do. And they tend to mostly vote the status quo in the individual companies they hold when it comes to directors and initiatives. And today, with the advent of no commission trading of most financial instruments, the original purpose of mutual funds and ETFs can be met without the middleman. The impact this cozy relationship has had on allowing corporate governance without shareholder checks can’t be understated.

  10. Sarah, your essay seems to ignore the inequity (gotta hate that word!) of who actually is the victim of the theft. We have a situation where the bottom 50% of “taxpayers” (<$42K income) essentially pay no federal income taxes at all while the rest account for 97% of taxes collected. Indeed, over 60 million filers had no fed income tax liability at all. (FY 2020)

    Add that to the practice of “spend and tax” that runs up huge deficits that require more taxes just to cover the debt service (“Read my lips”) and we have a real mess. Cut spending, social services, foreign aid, the intrenched beaurocracy?? Not possible, we’re told. So we have a death spiral. Question is, who is going to die?

    1. That’s why they want a VAT. Socialism for the rich is what they want, they are the rich after all. Sales taxes are the most “regressive” taxes there are.

    2. We’ll mak our maut, and we’ll brew our drink,
      We’ll laugh, sing, and rejoice, man,
      And mony braw thanks to the meikle black deil,
      That danc’d awa wi’ th’ Exciseman.

      Robert Burns

    3. Taxation hasn’t been linked to spending in a number of decades. They used to at least offer up a cover that they were just “borrowing” the extra money they were spending. Lately they’ve thrown all that out the window and just printed whatever they wanted and waggled their hands at any unfortunate consequences.

  11. I’ve long said, and I’ll say it again, that we should get rid of ALL tax withholdings and force everyone to cut a check to the government every quarter, just like (I’m told) it was done in the old days. Once ordinary folks realized just how much Uncle Sugar was shaking them down for every year, they’d march on D.C. and burn it to the ground within a year.

    1. “Once ordinary folks realized just how much Uncle Sugar was shaking them down for every year”

      But unless government is required (as they were supposed to be by the takings clause) to reimburse 100% of the costs of regulatory compliance, they’ll never realize how much is actually being shaken. Regulations ARE taxes.

      1. Very true. I was thinking specifically of withholdings in one’s paycheck. Almost nobody looks at their paystub anymore, especially with today’s near-mandatory use of direct deposit. So most folks have no idea of how much of their pay is getting snatched by Uncle Sugar from each paycheck.

        1. We checked the pay stub. Every check. I know know every penny that was snatched. Every tax season we adapted to make sure we paid both the feds and state a little bit. Now we get fairly big refunds. We have withholding but we can’t adjust it down low enough short of 0%, then file and pay quarterly (note we only pay regularly through his pension and what is pulled from the IRA’s, nothing on either SS or my pension, we are still getting money back. Oregon will be worse in 2024 if the rumored kicker actually happens.)

  12. “Even now, with all the fraud and… ah… weirdness, we’re still the best country in the world.”

    And likely still will be even if TPTB manage to bring everything crashing down. Though the margin between us and the second best won’t be as great.

  13. “But yeah, I can also see that while running the government from the charity of the governed isn’t a wonderful thing. Mostly because you can’t plan. You can’t count on it. ”

    You have to do it the other way around. You collect funds this year to spend next year. No pay as you go.

    But also, pretty much every smaller charitable org does it exactly by guess and golly. Ask churches. Ask . . . anything that relies on pledges and fundraisers. (Not the things that have been around long enough to have endowments, though.)

    1. A government popular enough to raise money voluntarily, and thrifty enough to spend less that collected, will soon have a revenue-generating endowment.

      Bonds can cover true unforseen emergencies, covered by assets such as lands. We raised staggering sums in two world wars selling bonds to private citizens. Those were not even “backed”, other than by promise.

  14. Hum. Lotteries, pay for services, tariffs on imports, I suspect monies from such could be well over ten percent of the present cost of our government.

    Sturgeon’s Law: Ninety per cent of everything is crud. True of our present government though there, it might be as high as 99.99%.

    So! If we trimmed away 90% of the feds (I see absolutely no down side to doing so.) I suspect we could get by, quite well thank you, without taxation.

    My memory of Sturgeon’s law or revelation was that he said, “90% of everything is crud, including this statement”, however I can find no reference to the latter today.

  15. This comment has absolutely nothing to do with this post, but it’s cool so I thought I would share (Twitter link):
    Some of my early experiments with @runwayml GEN-1
    It’s still early days of AI video – this tech will only get better. A whole new generation of filmmakers is gonna be able to make whatever they want on zero budget
    See below for my process

  16. It’s probably obvious, but it should be mentioned – the flip side of taxation as theft is money printing as more theft.

    The government needs to be stripped of the ability to print money.

    1. Then the question is… who gets to determine what is “money”?

      I do NOT have an answer.

      Though I am amused that in the days of not-government banks, there WERE $3 bills and the most common image on such? Some “Santa Claus” fellow.. or at least one claim I’ve read said. Truth coefficient: UNKNOWN.

      1. I don’t know that I’m smart enough to have an answer here – too many questions in my mind from history – if the populists in the days of William Jennings Bryan hated the gold standard, why does a similarly named group champion one today? Jackson’s end of the Second Bank did cause a major economic contraction, and the natural resource curse appears to have struck Spanish empire gold.

        I suspect that seigniorage is probably a fit for a government – maybe I should join the Bitcoin maximalists and be more libertarian about this. But I’m not convinced that a precious metal standard is without flaw, tending to trade exogenous shocks (gold ore discovery or depletion, speculation in paper metals, new uses, etc) for bad policy of a Print All You Can Spend variety (as opposed to a purely hypothetical wise issuer who replaces worn-out notes and issues based on GDP or something).

        1. Precious metal based currency has all sorts of problems, no doubt, but the ONE it does NOT have it “print more money so we can spend it.” And THAT, is likely why no ‘gold’ (other metal) Standard will return… at least not until After Disaster.

  17. Speaking of how great our country is in comparison….

    “Rationing” of food has begun in the once Great Britain. Just a momentary hiccup I’m sure.

    Get your victory garden seedlings planted, folks. Make arrangements with local land owners for auxiliary food supplies as needed.

    Even if you end up not needing it, you can help someone else in need.

    1. Victory gardens are a concept rooted in white supremacy and must be reported to the proper authorities for removal, comrade.

      1. 1930s style Nuremberg edicts are being enacted by Team HarrisBiden:

        They put rabid antisemite and close Obama comrade Susan Rice in charge.

        When a government starts to do this, mass arrests and then gulags and concentration camps are the next steps.

        This is why they are so anxious to impose the Green Leap Forward-energy, food, indeed everything is intended by these totalitarian racial Marxists to be rationed based on identity group membership., Just like with their hero Stalin, they will starve the Kulaks out of existence.

        1. May actually be a hopeful sign.

          I’m too tired to fully recall what my line of thought was earlier today.

          Obama, probably, is feeling the need for steps either originally too risky, or originally unnecessary.

          It is one thing to declare that a thing will be done, and another to actually achieve it.

          At several places along the path to here, the left has declared some objectives, and both friction has prevented implementation, and the push has alienated people.

          Is this proof of what will happen? No. I’m not competent to forecast human behavior in that way.

          We shouldn’t give up on anything simply based on their forecast that doing X will cause Y.

          There is too much crazy, their forecasts may be contaminated with wishful thinking, and people in general are stressed enough that behavior can be unpredictably funky.

          1. “We must ban gas stoves!”

            “I have a camp stove that can use butane or propane. Another that can run on white gas/gasoline, diesel/kerosene, or alcohol, a kerosene heater/cooker, a gas grill (propane), a charcoal grill, and WHOLE LOT OF CONTEMPT for useless leftist (BIRM) governmental (BRIM^2) Arschlocher (BIRM^99)!

            Oddly, it’s wood that I have never (myself) cooked on, but it looks like I need to rectify that… in the name of (fuel) DIVERSITY. The way things are going, I wonder just how much is involved in getting and use COAL! And if that makes communi-tards soil their shorts, BONUS!

            1. Cooking on wood. Easy. Just get it down to hot *coals. It is a second class **requirement for BSA. So if 11 and 12 year olds can do this (granted some meals overseen weren’t the most appetizing looking, but they were edible).

              Our personal camp stoves are all propane, whether bigger two burner or single burner backpacking pocket rocket. Then too, even with an RV, we tended to use the campground provided fire ring to grill with wood fire (provided any kind of wood fire not prohibited). There is a reason why the RV stove “did not look used” when we sold the RV (we had used it, it worked, we just didn’t use it very much).

              (*) Dealing with hot coals (from either wood fire or briquettes) is harder and messier. Not a matter of turning off the fuel source.

              (**) I think it still is anyway. Changed from build your cooking fire, and cook your meal on it, to just cook your meal over a wood cooking fire. Although the “wood” part may have been removed too (too many locations where open wood campfires not allowed). Someone currently dealing with scouts would know better.

            2. As predicted, open calls for rationing being pushed by the globalist totalitarian climate alarmists: The hysteria they are ginning up regarding global warming has one purpose, which is to facilitate the imposition of global totalitarian socialism, where government and its corporate appendages dictate the minutiae of every aspect of life down to your daily food intake.


                1. Also amazing how people who claim that they “follow the science” act like they are pushing a religion. These are the same folks who for years have pushed “meatless Mondays”. Funny, given that in Catholicism, foregoing meat on Friday was an ancient religious obligation, and even after being reduced, is still observed during Lent and on Christmas Eve. Indeed, the left can’t even be original in their demands, they just switched the day of the week of the long time Catholic practice.

                  Whenever they try to push meatless Mondays, the response should be “can you do it on Fridays so it will be at least on the correct day for observance”.

                  1. The funny (uh oh, not so much ha ha) thing is how “Don’t question the science” is used… when science IS questioning. “Well, let’s just see about that!” is about as sciencey as one can get, really. Following in lockgoosestep? Well, that’s mighty close to Religion. And NOT even right, proper Religion, which does allow some questioning.

  18. people register a month ahead of voting

    Used to be that way in Oregon. I had to register before I was officially of age so I could vote when I was of age at that year’s November voting. (Turned 18 15 days before first Tuesday in November.) No problems. Showed proof of age, that I would be 18 to vote. Got my voting card. Showed card at voting location, with driver’s license.

    if you needed to pay taxes to vote about half of the citizens couldn’t.

    Mom is one of them. She hasn’t paid federal or state taxes since dad died. It was minimal before that. Net loss of income when dad died: ~$300/month. (For me, or my sisters, it will be a lot more that that. Mom lost her SS (hint, not very much), dad’s medicare, and dad’s part of the medicare supplement.)

  19. “Victory gardens are a concept rooted in white supremacy and must be reported to the proper authorities for removal, comrade.”

    I denounce myself.

    Of course all food production should be reported to the local Food Equity Authorities for proper distribution. Of course. I meant that. Certainly. I could not possibly meant anything different.

    *Affixes Current Thing flags, slogans and talking points to post. Cowers. Licks appropriate boots.

      1. “…I learned a thing or two, from Charlie don’t you know…..”

        (Toothy grin)

        Sometimes, it is as simple as planting the feed corn first, around the eating corn perimeter.

        Note: disappearing the collectivists escalates quickly.

  20. “I’m half-sure that the importation of people over the Southern border (oh, now the Northern too) is just because the idiots in power don’t realize humans aren’t widgets and are amiably trying to import people to keep population numbers up. ”
    This. I’ve read pieces for years about trying to deal with illegal aliens from villages in Mexico who want to live as they did there. And that does NOT fit here. Especially the way young girls are treated(“Oh, it wasn’t rape, it was just her uncle Hermanos, he’s new here. It happens all the time back home!”)

    And then we’re informed we’re racist if we object to it. Of course.

  21. I seem to recall Bruce Sterling using the military to hold highway “bake sales” in Distraction. Though they way I remember it, it was more like highway robbery.

  22. Duty to country? Yeah… I have a DD-214, too, from the Carter years…

    With that and $5.00 I can probably get a burnt coffee at the buck of stars (unless they raised the price again)…

    You’re welcome…

  23. And I never realized it until this evening, thinking about the ravings upthread: Chyna demonstrates the monopoly problem stronger than any historical example to date.

    They are an entire nation state, with an uncountable mass of near slave labor to throw at the problem, and the nation states of the rest of the world have been actively penalizing anyone who tried to compete with them.

    And it still fell apart in a matter of a couple decades. Faster in sectors where they tried to use monopoly “power” (LOL) to enforce their will instead of just giving everyone a discount.

    1. The middle thugdom is super civilized, intellectual, nuanced, and has twenty thousand years of history.

      After Poo, the deluge. Whinny is totes the strong horse, and the Han will happily erase themselves for the sake of his egotism.

      There will be freedom. Which will demonstrate again the lie of all of the promises of totalitarianism.

  24. I recall someone, forget where it was, and iirc this was around TEA Party time, who left the circle because we were against the Gov’t wasting money, because her hubby worked for the feds. When we mention the limited amount of Gov’t we were able to possibly support she got more and more belligerent and decided we all wanted her and her family dead. We kept asking her if his job could be done by him in the private sector, and likely cheaper to the Taxpayers, probably better, BY HIM and not hit her and her family financially, but she went full defense and cut off contact with the group. I’m guessing it was a makework position that made some upper manager look impressive with another underling, and she knew any sanity and they’d be in the Ghostbusters position “… Ive worked in the private sector! They expect Results!” I am sure the lot of us got on some watch list at that point.

    1. Hi,

      I’m going to reply here because of the emotional state described JP Kalishek’s post, but I could have just as easily followed Sarah’s post above about taxation=theft.

      I’ve tried talking to the friend who has, my opinion, bought into the politics of envy about taxation=theft and long term welfare = either theft or slavery and got the “but people will die,” response.

      I’m looking for help countering this in a way that won’t be instantly countered by either “but people will die” ( with overtones of so you want to kill me personally because of inability to find a full time job) or blown off because “evil” right- wing propaganda. I haven’t even succeeded in suggesting that at least it should be devolved back to the states and away from the feds.

      Please help.

      1. I’m afraid you’re in for a major disappointment; I can probably count on the thumbs of one hand the number of times I’ve seen someone who has been brainwashed, who emotes rather than thinks, and who really doesn’t want to change their opinions, persuaded by either facts or logic. In fact, most of them specifically reject facts and logic.

      2. Dawn, have you asked specifically who would die, and why, if, oh, Social Security was means tested (those who had savings and income after age X would not get benefits), or if those who could afford insurance were allowed to keep it instead of going on Medicare. I’ve had a little luck asking for specifics based on “if people are able to pay for themselves, then why not . . .”

        1. TRed,

          Thanks for the possibly helpful reply. I can certainly try it, but the person I’m referring to is also into single payer. (ick). The best response I’ve had with dealing with why single payer is an awful idea is to refer to the VA. If they can’t even get the VA right, then why should we trust them to scale up. Unfortunately, I’ve also had responses to that to the effect of well private health whatever is “stealing” resources and if it were all single payer it would be better. How that conclusion was reached, I have no idea.


          1. If they are into single payer, look at the Bureau of Indian Affairs hospitals. They make the VA system look very, very good. Now, partly it is the cultural challenge of tribal understandings of medicine vs. western medicine (in some cases). In others, it’s sort of the worst of the post office crossed with the ER on payday Saturday night. (The escalating cost and decreasing service of Medicare would also be an example, but trying to do the research on that would absorb all your time.)

            Canada has no private care. Yes, people can and do come to the US, but not for trauma and similar things. BlazingCatFur has some articles (archived) about the problems with that single payer service.

            I wish you luck. If you can even plant a seed of doubt, you’ll be ahead of the game.

    2. I was visiting a then (alleged) friend and mentioned, in presence of his Ma that the 1980’s were great as the economy was finally working at least enoug to move to something approaching correct, where the 1970’s were utter crap. His Ma ‘corrected’ that and said the 1970’s were glorious and the 1980’s were just awful-terrible-bad. Guess who never, as far I know or could determine, worked in the PRIVATE SECTOR?

      I suspect public sector workers (I figure there must be a precious few) and parasites (vast majority…) figured the 1980’s a Dark Age and the 1970’s a Golden Age. I say, “Let them get HONEST JOBS and PROVE worth and value!” But I am “evil” like that… horns, cloven hooves, tail…

    3. My entire programming career I’ve been in private sector jobs. But interestingly most the complements have come in the form of “You deliver. It works.” Which is weird. Why else program? I’ve never met another programmer who didn’t deliver and it worked. OTOH limited example set.

      1. d, I would have said the same thing before being involved with big corporate projects. Holy smokes! They rival the government for not getting it done.

        1. I’ve heard of failed projects, never been part of one. I’ve never been part of a huge corporate project. Part of a huge project yes. But the company was small. Project was huge because it had been growing for 25 years and it was all tiny bite sizes that could be modified quickly and sent out to requester, be it fixes or additions. There were some requests that couldn’t be done (any core library changes that changed *interfacing with program) but surprising little of that happened. But the response time to clients was not normal (no waiting for “next release”). Only reason anything not critical fix responses were “will put it on the list” was because of time and lack of resources. Even then client could jump the line if they wanted to pay for it (didn’t affect my pay), or go to the boss, VS standard maintenance.

          (*) Changes weren’t difficult. But required every library and program to be recompiled and a mandatory full release for all clients which had to be installed before any other changes could be sent out whether the library change applied or not. Which, while not difficult, was a major PIA.

          1. “I’ve heard of failed projects, never been part of one. I’ve never been part of a huge corporate project. ”

            Oh, we managed to drag it across the line…. but there was about a 50% wastage of time on meetings, checkpoints, reports that no one read, getting obvious things approved, etc. ad infinitum, ad nauseam, ad infinitum nauseam……

            1. Oh. When I was part of a company after they bought the one I worked for, definitely was ignored at meetings and the reports I sent. If hadn’t then there wouldn’t have been the big blow up at the release wrap up.

              Someone, who had left the company, thus dropping the whole manual in my lap, then came back. Threw a tantrum (yelled at the tech writer, who was not me), when he discovered the manual had been rearranged, new features and changes for the last three releases added, the marketing sections pulled. I stepped in. As the programmer in charge of that software, and manual since he’d left, I yelled back. Latter someone asked if the rewrite was that big of a deal. My response was, it was at the end of the last two releases when the addendums were added instead of inserting where change/updates needed to go, because no one could figure out where they needed to go (including me and I was the one writing the software changes/fixes; that is a problem IMHO). The rewrite was approved because TPTB did not want a third addendum. Not my fault the original author/marketing person came back and threw a tantrum over it. Definitely not the tech writer’s fault. It was in the project check off goals at the start. It had regular updates from both me and the tech writer (I helped her reorganize it. I gave her the updates and changes.) Did someone highlight it to the guy when he returned to the company? No. Would they anyone else? No, again.

              Not the first or last time my input of what was happening was glossed over (would say ignored but that isn’t true, because end users didn’t). But the only time someone threw a tantrum over it.

        2. This! Very much this. Sometimes, we make Dilbert seem like a documentary . . . on our good days.

          In the Texas plant when closed down, I even had a Dilbert moment with the Plant Manager.
          We crossed paths in the lab, halted, and he said “I was supposed to find something out for you, but I forget what.” I replied “I think I was going to ask you something but forget what it was.” He and I decided if it was really important, we’d figure it out eventually.

  25. Thomas Hobbes, generally considered to be a strong proponent of authoritarian government, argued that the purpose of government is to protect people from being killed by other people; and since everyone values their life equally, he said, therefore everyone should pay the same amount to the government for having it protected. Not the same rate or percentage, but the same amount. This was precisely what is now called a poll tax (or head tax). It’s also what the Constitution originally provided for as a limit on direct federal taxation: every state’s share of federal taxes had to be proportionate to that state’s population, that is, so much per head. That’s a rather breathtaking restriction on what (in Hobbes’s writing) is usually described as “absolutism”: You can’t charge the wealthiest lord (or, these days, the richest industrialist or banker) more per year than the poorest beggar can afford to pay.

    In my daydreams of rewriting the Constitution, the two amendments I definitely want to repeal are the income tax and popular election of senators.

    1. I suppose it might be considered going just a wee tiny widdle bit too far to include that ‘disposing’ of any (sel)elected official seriously suggesting putting such back shall be considered not a crime but a PUBLIC SERVICE.

  26. Here’s an idea on taxation and federalism.
    1. The States are the superior entity in the Constitution.
    2. The feds are SUPPOSED to be constrained by the Enumerated Powers
    3. The feds are SUPPOSED to present a budget by a date certain, annually


     1. Have States collect the taxes for the feds and each State and Territory write the feds one check. 
        a.  BUT – each governor first looks at the budget.
            i.  No enumerated power supporting this line item? 
           ii.  Governor zeroes it out
    2.  Governor totals the AUTHORIZED federal budget, divides by the population of       America on 12/31/yy, multiples by the number of citizens in his/her State, send the taxpayers of that State a bill and the feds a check

    3. No more idiocy like citizens of Houston paying taxes to the feds to redistribute to Los Angeles, Miami, Seattle to improve THEIR ports to divert jobs from Houston. Houston wants a better port? Tax Texans. If TX wants to get IA in on the plot – let TX and IA figure that out.
    4. No more IRS – huge budget cut
    5. More State input – as we are designed
    6. Less (no?) spending on unconstitutional stuff like, oh,
    a. foreign wars none of our business
    b. securing other countries’ borders
    c. pensions and welfare for Ukrainians
    d. NATO once the Cold War ended and the USSR collapsed
    e. A federal police force like, oh, the FBI (General Police Powers are RESERVED, not DELEGATED)

  27. “we’re still the best country in the world.”

    Given the condition of the Us, that’s scary. I lived in Germany in the late 50s and early 60s, then again from ’66 through ’69 when my father was stationed there. Germany wasn’t much different than the US then. It’s gone way down hill in the mean time and while I would like to visit some of my old stomping grounds, I’m rather reluctant to do so. Writing the wrong thing on the innertubez here in the states can get you arrested there when you try to visit.

      1. I remember the questions as to why the Soviets did not come west when Carter made a mess of the US military and joke of NATO. Turned out they were in worse shape than we were.

        I think they are jumping up and down on thin ice.

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