Oh, Mikey. This stuff drives me nuts. It’s all hogwash, and completely divorced from the historical context, presented very disingenuously as some sort of rhetorical fact. Totally not true. For example, the 17 Amendment…In historical context, it took the elections out of the hands of the political bosses who could buy State Senators for nothing, and forced them to use an actual political process… which didn’t stop them, but at least cost them more money. The political machines of both parties were so powerful at the time – and what meager protections there were were completely unenforceable – that the process of electing Federal reps via State senates was completely and irrevocably corrupt. This, at least, made it so the bosses couldn’t just outright pick their representatives in Washington, they at least had to appeal to the people. The movement to repeal it NOW is completely driven by monied interests that want a return to that construct to make it easier to manipulate American policy – as it Citizen’s United didn’t help enough. But those who are driving this rhetoric are the same corporate Right wing astroturf groups that are driving the Tea Party. These corporate oligarchs and social conservatives know that their money is a much bigger hammer at a local level – they can overwhelm one state at a time on both economic and social issues, circumventing the protections we have on a Federal level, all in the name of “freedom” and “State’s Rights”. But think about this – without the Federal government, who steps into that power vacuum? “Free citizens”? Think again. It’s the Church, the Corporations, the larger political groups. If you think that getting rid of government gets rid of those who would control your life, you’re an idiot. In fact, the government is the only of these power structures you have any say in. For another example, The 16th Amendment was created to ALLEVIATE the onerus and regressive sales taxes that were in place at the time, including the 20%+ taxes on alcohol, that were lost during Prohibition… it was also accepted that progressive income taxes are far more egalitarian than other forms of revenue such as fees, penalties, and sales taxes, which make up far more of your tax burden than your federal income tax, as sales taxes etc place a FAR greater burden on the poor and working class, as any economic analysis can show you. As for the misinterpretation of the powers granted by the 16th Amendment, in Burshaber v. Union Pacific, the Supreme Court upheld the notion that the income tax does NOT violate the Constitution’s earlier taxation regulations, and with the Penn Mutual case, reinforced that the Federal government ALREADY had the ability to tax incomes – it just removed apportionment stipulations. But more than the specifics of your policy screeds is this: you can’t ignore the fact that no one – NO ONE – is an island. Not only do you benefit from your tax dollars – again, this isn’t feudalism, where your taxes are going towards elaborate palaces and ermine robes – it goes towards the roads that move the goods that the economy in which you participate depends, it goes into subsidizing the energy that powers your Xbox and the clean water you put in your bong. It educates the people that innovate the new products that fill your bedroom, and that create new jobs for an increasing population. I got news for you, kiddo, unless you’ve been making over $250,000 a year for 20 years, you’ve benefited more from taxes than you’ve paid. In fact, as someone who has probably been in the workforce for less than a decade, you’ve made out like a FUCKING BANDIT. And this doesn’t even BEGIN to touch on the idea of how much these services would cost on the open market. You like that whole “I don’t get to come take your stuff” thing we got in this country? Thank taxes. You like the whole “fires don’t ravage our cities and towns by burning unchecked” thing we have? Thank taxes. Are fire brigades in the Constitution? Nope. In fact, they used to be a free market business. How did that work out? Well, ask Chicago, San Francisco, and Seattle, all of whom BURNED TO THE GROUND in the era of the private fire brigades. By all means, enjoy the fruits of your labors – which wouldn’t be possible without the infrastructure and government services that you so decry. And here’s the thing: because we as an aggregate VOTE to fund these things, it is accepted as part of our social contract, and it is implied within that contract that as we have a choice in voting, we are funding these things AS A CHOICE. This is not “someone with a gun is making me do stuff”, this is “we, as a bunch of grown ups, have decided together that these things are worth doing”. You ALWAYS have a choice to vote against these things. That makes the power stem from the people, your sophistic arguments aside – but that doesn’t mean each people gets to do whatever the fuck they want. Doesn’t mean it’s enforced illegally by force, it just means that you, as a citizen, accept the mechanisms by which change is manifested. You are free to leave if you do not accept the social contract as well, or you can work to get the votes needed to change it. If you really want, you can actually just plant your own food, generate your own electricity, and make everything you use yourself and not pay a single dime in federal taxes. And as long as you don’t go all Michigan Militia, everyone will leave you the fuck alone, and you will STILL benefit from access to government services and the protection of police, fire, and military. By choosing to participate in society and the economy, you implicitly recognize your responsibility to those constructs that make them. However, you are absolutely free to NOT participate, and THAT is what makes you NOT A FUCKING SLAVE. Hayek himself makes very clear in “The Road To Serfdom” that he believes government intervention IS necessary, and readily admits that he doesn’t know where that line is… he really just says “there needs to be a line” – he spent a lot of his life debunking the notion that he was an absolutist about government intervention, even writing an entire tract to explain his “inevitability” quote, which he HATED was taken so out of context. Like Ayn Rand, his arguments are CLEARLY presented as a (valid) critique of Authoritarian Collectivism, as post-war England was flirting with the idea of Central Planning of the economy. What it was NOT was a basis for an AnarchoCapitalist State, or a support of unfettered capitalism. Restructuring a Representative Democracy (which is what we have, despite your protestations to the contrary) through a rhetorical argument against Socialism is like taking chemo when you’re healthy because it cures cancer. As for your claim that Keynesian economics hasn’t helped, you know who doesn’t think that? EVERY ECONOMIST LIVING. It’s not just Krugman and Stiglitz, et al, but Greenspan himself – shit, the Bush response to the 2007 crash was CLASSIC Keynesian policy, enacted by Wall Street alumni. I mean, fuck, the basic tenets of Keynes are economic catechism, even among Right-leaning economists. Keynesian policy is responsible for the longest stretch of prosperity in American history, a stretch that ONLY returned to a boom-and-bust cycle with the Reagan-Thatcher obsession with (and gross misinterpretation of) HAYEK fueled by that lunatic Milton Friedman. ONLY WHEN we strayed from Keynesian policy did we have the mayhem that was the 80’s. I mean, shit, son, it’s right in the historical record. Not only that, but Keynesian policies in Europe led to their post-war success, until, again, Thatcherism spread to other countries, almost crashing the entire world economy. Not to mention Asia with both the Thai crash and the Japanese market woes. But that’s my largest gripe with this garbage – there is some pretend historical nonsense but it lacks any real context, because it’s all stuff not derived by long and careful study of the many disciplines that go into political philosophy, but read in it’s final form, as talking points, and regurgitated in such long form that no one has the fucking time or energy to show you what fucking nonsense it is. I’m not going to debate this shit with you further, because it’s not worth my time or energy – this post alone is EXACTLY why I posted what I did in the first place. It is mind-bendingly frustrating to have to debunk this stuff again and again, when the onus of intellectual due diligence to realize just how against the facts of history this stuff is should be on you. I encourage you to read BEYOND your own ideology. I have books on my bookshelf from Goldwater, Greenspan, Adam Smith, FA Hayek, Will, Krystal, a whole host of viewpoints.
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