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Popularity of Libertarianism

2010-08-30 20:59:54.071226+00 by Dan Lyke 6 comments

Philip Greenspun: Libertarianism will become less popular as government grows larger.

Between the damage that the Republicans have done to the notion of less government in the naughties, Ron Paul's disastrous mismanagement of his campaign's message, yeah, there's going to need to be another meme for that notion to grow, and it's only going to happen once Glenn Beck and the Tea Party folks flame out fabulously.

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comments in descending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2010-08-31 18:44:29.131226+00 by: Dan Lyke

To elaborate a little bit on that "50%", if you figure that government spending in the U.S. this year will run just shy of 44% of the GDP, and that a good portion of upper income people are getting their money from capital gains, at a relatively low tax rate (for example, Warren Buffett), then someone's gotta be paying those bills. And, yeah, it's probably those of us in the 90%-98% percentile range.

Mark, the other thing that makes Rand's characters unrealistic, besides the overwrought prose (and I say this as someone who generally likes Rand's ideals) is that their idealism would be no match for the real world.

#Comment Re: made: 2010-08-31 17:56:32.883226+00 by: Mark A. Hershberger [edit history]

And he says something sensible about Ayn Rand:

Ayn Rand’s characters are good-looking, hard-working, ambitious, and striving for excellence (though I guess an Edith Wharton-style excellence in crafting prose was not a virtue in her mind).

(Though, in the interest of full disclosure, I really don't know anything about Ayn Rand's writing besides the impressions I've gotten from fanatics and haters.)

#Comment Re: made: 2010-08-31 11:25:04.363226+00 by: jeff

Most of these savings programs are merely obfuscated Ponzi schemes which are successful only when capitalism works (e.g. increasing population and proportionate wealth gains during economic booms).

#Comment Re: made: 2010-08-31 09:53:35.331226+00 by: DaveP

Philip predicts a decline in libertarianism. I'm hoping for an increase in social awkwardness.

#Comment Re: made: 2010-08-31 01:09:39.923226+00 by: Dan Lyke [edit history]

Teachers are getting a pretty good deal nowadays. I'll have to dig up numbers, but when you include the pension commitments and healthcare, it's a hell of a lot more than you'd guess from the raw salary numbers.

On 50% of taxes... uh... at a first approximation, we're probably in that ballpark. And that's with Charlene's offsetting low income (although see above about teachers). We're not near the highest tax bracket, but if you count sales tax and property tax and state and local income taxes, yeah, pretty much anyone Greenspun would have occasion to talk to regularly is probably in that boat unless they get a substantial portion of their income from capital gains.

#Comment Re: made: 2010-08-30 22:19:53.547226+00 by: ebradway

And it doesn't help with people like Greenspun over-blowing the facts:

hand over what may soon be the majority of their income

Must be nice to be in the kind of tax bracket where you feel like that's the case. The people I work with and live near sure aren't. I definitely pay considerably less than half my pay in taxes (including Social Security and Medicare).

her $200,000 in compensation (salary, health care, pension commitment, etc.) for 9 months of work

What school districts are giving that kind of compensation? Seriously, I want to know because I want to get a job there. Maybe you can come up with that figure by calculating the value of the pension vs. the loss of value in 401Ks because Wall Street and the banks tanked the market due to under-regulation...

one is a 50-year-old retired police officer

I guess he has a point here... my father retired from the Air Force at age 48. He served 30 years. The main difference between his career and others is that the military will start you on a career track when you are 18 rather than 25 or 30 because they also train their people. Of course, they also expect you to die if the situation calls for it. Not many careers involve that level of existential commitment. Police work is on up there. If you survive 25-30 years as a cop, then maybe you deserve to retire. FYI: When my father hit 67, they started subtracting his SSN payments from his military retirement even though he paid into SSN his entire career.

And yeah, the Republicans totally blew the message because they like to exclude the military from what they think needs to be reduced in the government.