Don't fly me to the moon

bush to the moonThe President’s budget for 2011 has been unveiled. What’s news is not what’s in it, but what’s not: $3.5 billion out of the GAO estimated $97 billion needed to send former President Bush back to the moon by 2020. Worthy goal? Undeniable. Priority at a time of record deficits, unspeakable unemployment and in the midst of two wars? Hardly.

Sure, you might say, “Hey, this is a jobs program. This will cost Florida, Texas, California, Ohio, Maryland, Virginia, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and New Mexico big time and the hurt will spread to Congressional districts all over. Plus, we need Lockheed, Boeing and Pratt & Whitney’s stock strong.” Yeah, politicos hate the idea of ever stopping a Federal jobs program. It will be a big fight. One, I suspect, that might provide leverage for some savvy bi-partisan-don’t-wannabes to sell their vote for something deemed worthy.

But just wait, there’s more news to hit the fan – another $5 billion in cuts is buried on the OMB’s web site. Popular programs that affect the DOE’s historic whaling program, Pentagon procurement of even more C-17’s it doesn’t want, many programs that are duplicates of other programs, tax subsidies that are used to pretend that we are developing something commonly known by its oxymoronic name, “clean coal”, payments to store peanuts and cotton, EOC grants for emergency preparedness in areas that will never ever be at risk, subsidies to pay banks to be the profitable middle man for student loans, Pentagon programs for weapons that have been determined to not work and never will, grants to worsted wool manufacturers, countless demonstration programs that have demonstrated they don’t work, and repeal of subsidies to the oil and gas industries. When critics were calling for the President to present a responsible budget, they were looking for cuts in help for the poor and sick. Not the connected and wealthy. This budget, if you’ll pardon the pun, will never fly.

25 thoughts on “Don't fly me to the moon

  1. Farmer Dave

    Here we are talking about flying again. This budget is in the red by more than a trillion dollars. I don’t really care where the cuts are. Someone is going to have to just say no to all of this spending and soon. Social Security and Medicare are a huge part of the budget and as we all know, entitlement programs never go away. So our elected officials are going to have to have some intestinal fortitude and cut everything else and learn to live within their means just like I do and you too I would guess. The recession we are experiencing is mild compared to the meltdown our economy would suffer if we default on our debt. And by the way, what % of the budget is eaten away by interest payments on the debt? Many a homeowner has realized that paying only interest on a mortgage and never paying down the principal is economic suicide.

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  2. Lee Leslie Post author

    Thanks for weighing in. I hear you on the cuts, but I do care where the cuts are made. The problem is, of course, that our “leaders” generally can’t publicly agree on setting priorities or living with them. I care that we, has a society, determine what is more important just as we do for our families (food, housing, heat, etc.).

    To force that, we tried “pay as you go” which forced any new spending to be offset by either cuts or new revenues (basically the cutting up of credit cards) -- seems logical. It didn’t work because Bush, Cheney & Company decided most everything was “emergency spending” (maybe I buy it in the first year of an 8+ year war, but the other 6 years were silly) then they just let the bill expire (Harry Reid reintroduced it in 2007 and Obama has called for it to be passed, but the Senate can’t get 60 votes because a majority won’t either cut the budget which hurts the lobbyists who sent them there or fund it which hurts the taxpayers who actually vote).

    What both sides hope happens, is that we’ll have the explosive growth like occurred and saved Clinton’s presidency. Both sides are also aware that cutting key sector spending too soon will cause the recovery to be too flat (like the Japan example), growth won’t happen, the deficit will become permanent. Tough call.

    But your last question is one we should all worry about. Interest on the debt (FY 2009: $383 billion; from 1988 to 2008 it ranged each year from $214 billion to $451 billion). Rates are at an all time low and to keep the interest costs down, we’ll keep the rates as low and as long as the foreign markets who buy our debt will allow. But doing so means investors have little incentive to invest (save and/or expand) anywhere but the Wall Street casino and gives us almost no options to spur the economy. Rates will go up and when they do, you and I better hope our economy is expanding. Inflation is cruel.

    Regarding your site question: we don’t build in spell check into the comment window because we believe in personal responsibility -- that, and most modern browsers offer spell check plugins.

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  3. Farmer Dave

    Thanks for the personal responsibility comment, I liked that a lot. It is too bad, so many people blame everyone else and do not accept personal responsibility. So, thanks for the reminder and yes, I should take my time and check my own spelling.

    I liked pay as you go. If memory serves, that was initiated by Newt Gingrich when the Republicans made promises and gained control of Congress. If they had remained true to their values and their promises, conservatives would still be in power today. Now we have liberals in control and chaos ensues. George Bush, in my opinion, was one of the most liberal Republican presidents ever to hold office.

    We will not have explosive growth or any growth as long as there is uncertainty regarding laws that may or may not be passed, that will impact business as greatly as those that are pending. Cap & trade, health care, new taxes or fees on banks, global warming legislation and increased taxes on corporations are all things the administration would like to pass and until they do or declare they will not, business will not move forward. Uncertainty from government is a death blow to Capitalism. The Presidents angry outrage at the financial industry brought a halt to the increasing Dow Industrial Average and today the benchmark was just a breath away from dropping below 10, 000. With the debt as high as it is and our debtors as nervous as they are, high inflation is a given and I am now investing in equipment for I know I will not be able to afford same in the future.

    If the administration continues their “damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead” stance and the debt continues to rise, as it did today when the Congress voted to raise the debt ceiling, then Katy bar the door, for we all will sink with the ship, our President at the helm.

    I am hopeful cooler heads will prevail, although I am hard pressed to name one.

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  4. Lee Leslie Post author

    Memory fails. Gingrich opposed the bill and tried to block its passage. Paygo was first enacted as part of the Budget Enforcement Act in 1990 -- the Dems controlled the house and the senate and the law was signed in to George H. W. Bush (signing, he betrayed his read-my-lips promise as it raised Social Security wage limits). Newt was in the house as Minority Whip.
    Not sure which set of “values and promises” you are referencing here. The party of Lincoln of Hoover of Reagan of Bush 1 or Bush 2, but Reagan’s deficits led to the poor economy that toppled Bush 1. Bush 2’s deficits lead to the poor economy that toppled him.
    I’ll leave it to Brenden to expand on what happens when the government competes in debt markets, but I believe that spending money betting on future growth (of tax revenues) is dangerous and significant spending should only be done in an emergency. After the accumulated deficits of the last 30 years, however, cutting current programs or limiting initiatives designed to spur growth won’t start paying for those things Reagan and Bush 2 put on credit. To achieve it without disrupting business (world markets, people’s lives, etc.) requires a disciplined plan and may take decades.
    There will be no immediate gratification on this issue. This president says he’s on that course. He won’t be in office when it is achieved many years from now. And may your god have mercy on us if someone with the values of Bush 2 comes back into office before it is finished.

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  5. Brenden

    Biggest budget busters are lib-left-dem wet dreams: Social Security and Medicare. Sure, tell me different. The Dem party refuses any responsible management of social entitlement and wealth transfer to unproductive citizens. Largest single destructive force in current credit crisis/recession: Fannie and Freddie, another Bwawney Thfwank & Democrat abomoniation. Obama is the most irresponsible fiscal president ever in U.S. history, second only to his predecessor — but then he’s raising year-end budget deficits at TEN TIMES Bush II’s rate. He also plans to pay for his borrow and spend program with cap-and-trade gov’t credits from a bill that will never pass. He’s pro-regulation from healthcare to energy, which spells private (productive) sector doom. He’s a bum, along with Pelosi and Reid. That cannot be mentioned enough.

    You want to turn this into a partisan pissing match over fiscal irresponsibility, Democrats giving away three touchtowns in the first 2 minutes. They lose every time. I will say Bill Clinton was a fine fiscal conservative who promoted entitlement cuts and free trade but you’d be an idiot not to think he was pushed there kicking and screaming by his GOP Congress.

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  6. Lee Leslie Post author

    Brenden: Let’s leave the pissing match to adolescent boys. Both sides have plenty of history of refusing to either pay for programs or cut. I sometime long for your ability to pretend that our extraordinarily complicated government, society and economy can be solved with simple approaches based in dogma that would magically enable the pretended vision of our founders to come to full fruition, but finding practical solutions to solve problems pulls my head out of the sand each time. The Dems don’t deserve the blame you spew -- this is a bi-partisan train wreck. Obama’s only had a year and started it saddled with all the problems you list including most of the projected deficit. You don’t like cap and trade, neither do I, but the private side has made so little progress toward energy independence and lowering environmental impact, that something’s gotta give. We should not sit by and watch our national wealth and weather go disappear together.

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  7. Brenden

    There is nothing complicated about not spending more than you collect in revenue. That is not dogma — it’s effing common sense! Your insistence on an “extraordinarily complicated government, society and economy” enables the bureaucrats to justify their ridiculous salaries in their failed attempts to explain to you, “We’re broke.” You don’t need a PhD to know that.

    I’m sure you and I both agree we’re broke. So cut spending. And don’t just cut — slash, maim, burn. Bring the boys home. Whatever it takes. Then encourage the free flow of labor and capital domestically and internationally. Let the people who know how build, create and employ invest their wealth to renew the economy. And don’t be hostile toward their efforts. Let them be rewarded with mansions, champagne, cigarette boats and trips to San Tropez. Conspicuous consuption means jobs in construction, maintenance, services and travel. Remove the coercive gov’t as much as possible from uncoerced transactions that define true value. Gov’t cannot regulate the value of anything without destroying it.

    I long for you to lose the desire to grant taxpayer subsidies to people who have no ability to pay for them. Like it or not, everyone dies, rich and poor alike. If you can’t pay your light bill, do you hand it to your neighbor to pay it for you? No, so why do you hand other bills to the gov’t?

    You cannot transfer resources from the productive sectors to the unproductive sectors endlessly because the productive sector will cease to produce. That is not dogma, merely a fact. When the productive sector ceases to produce, what remains? You cannot have a persistent threat of uncertain regulation. You cannot endless borrowing without budgeting a payoff. You cannot tell people that the United States gov’t must tax you in order to change the weather. Don’t confuse truth with dogma**.

    **(Again, more lib heretic-labelling. ALWAYS attack the person before the argument: the opposition are ignorant followers of “dogma” whose religious beliefs are “myths and legends” and, oh yeah, a pack of atavistic racists).

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  8. Cliff Green

    To the character “Brenden,” your statement, “Biggest budget busters are lib-left-dem wet dreams: Social Security and Medicare” is a flat out lie.
    Social Security and Medicare are paid through payroll taxes, not from tax collections that go into the general fund.
    I share your concern over government spending, yadda, yadda, yadda, but please don’t try to compare apples to oranges in front of people who know the difference.

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  9. Lee Leslie Post author

    Brenden -- Sure there’s something complicated about it when the spending is faith-based (the good faith of the US government) and that same government is 20+% of the economy in which 30% or so are either retired, unemployed or below the poverty line relying on the rest to fund the government. You think current regulation hurts business, just contemplate the upheaval if we instantly pulled a trillion or so out subsidies and tax breaks for business. Not saying living within your means isn’t common sense, but the government is on both sides of the economic engine. Cuts need to be smart and phased, that’s all.

    I’m all for wealth creation and consumption -- as long as they aren’t drinking huge amounts of water from the government pail or taking advantage of lobby-purchased special interest regulations that allow them to shelter their fair share of the expense that enables them to operate.

    I’m not handing any of my bills to the government. But before you start your cutting subsidies to the most vulnerable who put anything they receive immediately back into the economy, why not take a look at what’s causing so many to under preform in this land where anyone should be able to earn a cigarette boat? There will always be poor among us, but we need to make it a smaller percentage by doing a better job of making those under performers to perform more competitively. Generations of policies that undermine workers making a living wage to the benefit of global enterprises has made it terribly difficult for way too many.

    I’m no proponent of permanent subsidies -- not for the unemployed or the poor (the infirmed, yes), but temporary measures that help people back to becoming productive consumers and taxpayers makes incredible sense to me -- we need more of them.

    Used to be that the road to middle class took little more than finishing school and hard work. Now the path is through a McDonald’s and it leads no where.

    I’m disgusted by growth of government spending during the last 30 years -- Federal, state and municipal. But until there are living wage jobs out there, it isn’t the time to cut at the bottom. Living wage jobs will return to this country when small business can rebuild the capital they need to operate and hire; when your trade policies again consider what we are doing to off-shore industries; when commonsense returns to progressive energy policy and emerging clean technologies; and when we finally start fixing our schools.

    Dogma? Not a time for it. Too much is at risk. Almost half this economy has already failed or is close -- you need to worry about how they can make a living and survive this or your trips to San Tropez will be on valueless currency with a revolution going on when you return.

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  10. Janet Ward

    Well, back to the topic at hand, and ignoring Brenden, who apparently has Republican talking points written on his hand, ala Ms. Palin, Project Constellation might have been a good idea in the beginning. But it is way behind schedule and millions, if not billions, of dollars over-budget. Even NASA officials, including Administrator Charlie Boldin, a former astronaut, think dumping it is a good idea.

    Someone had to be the grownup here.

    As for budgets, deficits have generally fallen under Democrats and risen under Republicans. That is a fact. As for Social Security and Medicare, I don’t care how they are paid for — though Cliff is right, they are paid for with payroll taxes. What I do know is that millions of older Americans would be impoverished without them. They would die from ailments that are perfectly treatable without Medicare.

    Why do Republicans hate old people?

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  11. Brenden

    Medicare and Social Security are insolvent. General fund, payroll taxes, lockbox-schmockbox — insolvent. They’re in the red this very moment and compoundingly so in the nearby and out years. They’re the fastest-growing components of the deficit. A tax is a tax.

    You can’t legislate or otherwise force into existence “living wage” jobs. That is up to employer-investors who will pay a wage commesurate with their variable operating costs. When you constrain factors of production as you propose through 1) legislating wage rates 2) using inefficient (read: “green”) energy inputs and 3) constraining free trade increasing imported input costs — you increase costs to business. Small business, particularly. Resulting in fewer jobs for the poor.

    Too many people in this country pay no taxes and receive benefits they could never hope to repay; more than 50 percent take well more than what they pay in. That is not right and not fair. The transfer payments given to the poor by the gov’t do not come as result of an exchange for their labor, hence no value is created. They may, as you say, put the money immediately back into the economy. Since that money was impounded by the gov’t from a productive business or individual that would have freely chosen how to best use it, that capital allocation is suboptimal. Suffice to say, that poor person would have been better off with a job. Of course we need a social safety net but not a socialist state noose.

    OK, subsidies, lobbyists — yadda, yadda. The political system is broken. All this populism sounds good. But we give the gov’t its capacity to be corrupted. The only way is to constrain its power to do damage by limiting its power to tax, transfer and regulate. I hope the revolution does come soon, to return the gov’t to its size and role defined in our founding documents.

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  12. Lee Leslie Post author

    Brenden -- So your point is that we need to fix long term funding and adjust benefits of Medicare and Social Security to assure solvency (which I agree are paid for by taxes). Me, too. Guess that it really depends on whether you are one of those people who sees something breaking and throws it away or one of those who attempts to fix it. Seems that much of the healthcare “reform” debate was about setting standards and controlling cost that would be fundamental to any plan to address Medicare Social Security solvency. Of course, so would immigration laws. So would enforcement of age discrimination laws. So would pension reform. Etc.

    Of course, you can legislate “living wage” jobs (raising the minimum wage) -- I admit that possibility of sustaining them in our present global free trade zone and no-enforcement of currency issues is improbable. But government can do plenty to create a business environment that would make living wages possible and clean policies more viable. Raise standards and enforce clean air laws while creating tax incentives to re-tool seems obvious (though never going to happen). Force adoption of recycled content in packaging. Go ahead and pass the tax credits for bio-fuels and other alternative energy sources that expired. There’s always the gas tax to fall back on. Business is a game. Phase in some rule changes and all of us will adapt and learn to play the new version. Happens with technology changes. Happens with regulation. Happens with discoveries that old methods are toxic. Happens when styles and tastes change and can happen here. Just not going to as long as our leaders are on the dole of K street.

    I absolutely agree with that it is not right nor fair nor sustainable that so many take in so much more from the government than they pay in. We must change that. We must find ways for them to earn more and pay more.

    As to the yadda, that isn’t the only way. Why not address the source of the corruption and fix it? Why not audit the tax breaks and make it more fair? Why not require new funding laws to have offsetting revenue sources? Why not expect more out of our leaders than less?

    On another subject, and hope you don’t mind, I provided you an avatar and will take it off if you’d like. Matched up with the email address you use here.

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  13. Brenden

    I kinda start seeing your side, and then you go and say something like “Force adoption of recycled content in packaging.” Do you think the Chinese, Brazilians or Indians do this? Do you realize that such as suggestion would make American products prohibitively expensive in global trade? And that they would be replaced by the whatever packaging standards of a competing nation? And then you would not achieve any of the “green” goals you seek — and you would have fewer jobs here? And “Business is a game?” Um, I don’t know what you mean by that but I don’t think you’d try to win by profit maximization. I think you’re playing with a different rulebook.

    The only way to address the source of corruption is to severely limit the gov’t’s power to tax, transfer and regulate. Telling them to tell us to put all our finished goods in recyclable packaging I assure will result in more regulation, bureaucracy, subsidies and corruption.

    If you got any jpgs of Chuck Noll around…

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  14. Lee Leslie Post author

    Just an example of how government has the potential to create a business environment that favors one approach or another. Generally, we seem to favor tax incentives. The initial competitive issues aside, helping a green industry sector reach a scale to be competitive with the dirty versions, is a worthy goal. I also suggest that if it were a priority here and required for import, China, Brazil and India would jump at the opportunity to provide goods.
    Don’t be put off by the game reference. Anything that has rules, resources, strategy, winners, losers and fans, earns that label by me.
    Didn’t like Ludwig II?

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  15. Brenden

    Oh dear. I’m going to try to be nice here but… Here you are urging the gov’t to impound profits of productive “dirty” companies and have them legislate anti-competitive regulation that will, in the long run, make them less profitable. Then, you take the impounded profits and create competing unproductive “green” businesses to compete with the legally hamstrug “dirty versions” from whence you extract your seed capital. Then, you’ll no doubt offer the “green” companies some tax incentives.

    I mean, jeez, don’t you see how screwed up that is? Why not state your goal: to eliminate the “dirty companies”? To eliminate profit. To have the state control the factors of production on the basis of whimsically-legislated politically correct outcomes. As opposed to, say, ol’ trusty-dusty reliable profit maximization or return on invested capital.

    You’re willingness to take other people’s earnings and redistribute them to sentimental, dubiously “scientific,” gov’t-sponsored enterprises is really scary. You have no right to make such claims on other people’s labor and wealth. (And their effing liberty!!)

    And China, Brazil and India jumping at this opportunity to dive into a chasm of economic ruin? Um, no. You are afflicted. Please seek help.

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  16. Lee Leslie Post author

    Not at all. The subject was about living wage and green/alternative energy and emerging technology and the possible ways government could create an environment that would increase the probability of a successful venture. This was a simple example. Were I recommending it, the dirty industries would certainly have plenty of advance notice and be providing all kinds of incentives and low cost methods to retool in advance of any negative impact (for example: the last 50 years). We any of these hypothetical dirty industries so greedy and misguided that they would snatch the financing and incentives and use them to expand their dirty business rather than clean it up, they shouldn’t be given a 4th, 5th or 6th opportunity. They all know that buying a few congress people or senators is much cheaper.

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  17. Brenden

    I want to hope that reasonable minds can come to a consensus but when you say… “possible ways government could create an environment that would increase the probability of a successful venture”… well, that just ain’t right.

    Who decides what is a “clean” and “dirty” company? You, Lee? Sen. Chambliss or President Obama, maybe? How familiar are you with the final goods packaging industry? Where in the hell do you get the cajones to make statements about how people should spend their own money and how entire industries should be structured? How do you even know what is “clean” and what is “dirty?” I’m guessing you’re applying the Potter Stewart porno test of “I know it when I see it.” That is totally subjective and does not account for any of the realities of input and output costs, industry structure, competitive dynamics and so on. Let alone the fact that free trade will result in competing nations not subject to your whimisical rules to dominate the market.

    And get over this “living wage” nonsense. The wage rate is equal to the worker’s marginal productivity (and the capitalist’s marginal operating costs). It has nothing to do with your standards of what workers are entitled to, nor your outrage at the capitalist market structure nor your fairy-tale notions of “green” industry.

    What you’re suggesting is totally outrageous, politically corrupting and destructive. You have the **right** to petition the gov’t to confiscate private property in this manner, but it is wrong for them to do so. In the long run, your goals will make American industry less profitable and less productive, resulting in fewer opportunities for the poor to lift themselves from poverty, increasing deficits, decreasing liberty and so on.

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  18. Lee Leslie Post author

    Hey listen: you asked how it could be done and I simply demonstrated a hypothetical. But since your dander’s up, the answer is, of course, the people would decide through the peoples’ representatives. This hypothetical is no different than banning ozone-depleting substances or heavy metals or carcinogens or drugs or personal ownership of nuclear weapons. Nor is in different from rationing gas during WWII.
    The wage rate is not a matter of worker’s marginal productivity and the capitalist’s marginal operating costs -- it has much more to do with supply and demand of workers and industry pay norms (which is nice for collusion).
    No where in this have I suggested confiscating property. Should a company decide to continue to attempt to market services or products that have no market, they would be free to self-destruct.

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  19. Brenden

    No, you’re saying something different. You’re not saying, “Thus-and-such is a dangerous chemical and here’s the scientific evidence therefore we are going to ban it.” Producers find substitutes. You’re saying, “Force adoption of recycled content in packaging…” and have the gov’t create “clean” businesses to compete with “dirty” ones.

    So, “the people” will decide acceptable business practices? So you don’t have any definition whatsoever for “clean” and “dirty,” yet you propose to subject the whole final-goods packaging process/industry to a politically determined outcome. Do the owners of the packaging businesses ever get a say? You know, the people most affected by what you suggest? I dunno, man, I realize I can’t sell you on the insanity of all this so I guess I’ll just leave it up to anyone who cares to read this far.

    Two final points:

    On wages, the macro-economist says the market supply and demand for labor determines wages. Wages can be (in)elastic subject to the demand for labor. To the extent producers have market-power to “collude” as you say, that is also a function of the worker’s substitutability — either by another worker or a piece of equipment. The micro-economist says the worker’s wage should equal his marginal productivity with respect to the marginal operating costs. If the worker can provide more value, he should be paid more. Economically, both propositions are true.

    On confiscation, when you add conditions affecting the transactability of an asset, you affect its value. Plutonium is much more difficult to trade than wheat because plutonium must be carefully stored and transferred. Plutonium is worth nothing to you and me because we could not possibly trade it for stuff we like (without incurring large capital costs — or medical bills). If you load up businesses with all manner of regulation about how their final goods must be packaged, then you decrease their value. Another investor may not be interested in complying with that regulatory regime, move their factory off shore to a non-ridiculous packaging regulating country and hire some locals.

    By suggesting the gov’t pass all these regulations, you are essentially confiscating the value of these business in the name of state control. Obviously not directly confiscating them, but, you know, kinda confiscating them….

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  20. Lee Leslie Post author

    Brenden -- Simply said, hypothetically, that there are things that we can do using legislation to create a favorable environment for types of businesses or industries or labor relations, of skill sets, or wage standards, should, we, as a society, through our democratically elected leaders determine to do so. I would hope they would be diligent in their decision making and involve those impacted in every way.

    Sure, the people can decide what is acceptable business practices. We require standards of accounting and reporting, ethics, safe working environments, trade and market standards, pollution, product safety and liability, warranty, advertising, etc. We make adjustments to rules all the time. What’s the difference? I don’t understand why you have a bee in your bonnet on this. All hypothetical. If your issue is government reach in such things, just help your leaders understand where you feel the lines should be drawn.

    I understand that you believe that the rights of the individual corporation trump the combined rights of our society (aka: the people). I don’t.

    You seem to believe that once a business is established, it has some right to a constant business environment, but things change.

    I guessing that you that you believe a change in government regulation that devalues a business asset should be to the takings clause (Dave Lucus is old friend of mine and was my client at the time) -- and, perhaps, you are correct. But given proper/adequate notice of regulatory change combined with paths to finance (through tax incentives or direct payments) to retrofit and remain competitive, the incentive to modernize to fulfill a new requirement could easily be convincing enough for most businesses (maybe not Georgia Power).

    Nonetheless, they were all hypothetical. There’s limited or no lobby budget for any of them. And by this point in the comment column, I don’t believe you are arguing that stopping the funding of the Constellation program amounts to confiscating property from Lockheed, do you?

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  21. Brenden

    Ah, I do go on a bit. Soon I’ll be yammering about differential calculus and all manner of arcane economic theory trying to indulge my towering intellect. I suppose my whole problem with your post was largely personal, not intellectual. Again, I return to your statement:

    “Force adoption of recycled content in packaging…”

    This throw-away comment of yours says so much about who are and your ideology. That you don’t respect property, intellectual nor tangible. That you don’t respect the fundamental liberty of uncoerced trade. That you define economic activities in terms of political goals. That you favor unchecked authoritarianism.

    You think that there is more “social” gain by a radical change in methods of production, without respect to the risks and costs undertaken by the producer-owners. Your attitude is very dangerous. People who share it risk destroying the productivity that gives them the standard of living they take for granted. When you want the state to guarantee your retirement and healthcare, there will be nothing left for them to tax.

    I hope the revolution does come when I return from San Tropez. There is no reconciling our opinions. So when you ask the gov’t to confiscate your fellow citizens’ property without due process at the point of gun, I sure hope they shoot back.

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  22. Lee Leslie Post author

    You got me pegged -- I always hoped to be more like Ragnar Danneskjöld than Ellsworth Toohey, but it seems that have probably ended up more like Ignatius Reilly. Thanks for stopping by.

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