According to California's "Proposition 13", property taxes are capped to 1% of the assessed value. The assessed value cannot increase by more than 2% per year. If the property is sold, then the assessed value is increased to the current market value.
If you perform improvements on your house, such as adding an extra room, then it may be re-assessed at the current market value.
(I was wondering about one point. Does the cap apply only to residential property, or also to property owned by a corporation? If it applies to corporations, then it's a really great deal for insiders. If an individual owns property, he must change the title when he dies. If a corporation owns property, it can be owned indefinitely. Ownership of the corporation will change, but the property is still owned by the corporation. According to this page, corporations in California get the same property tax advantage as individuals.)
True inflation is 10%-30% per year or more. Proposition 13 means that your property taxes rise by less than true inflation, because the increase is capped at 2%. If you own a house and stay there long enough, then eventually your property tax burden becomes negligible. The value of the tax owed is eroded via inflation.
In NYC, there is no provision to pass binding laws via direct ratification, as in California. In NYC, the voters approved a "term limits" measure, but the city council was able to overturn the law by a simple majority vote. That loophole was exploited by Bloomberg so he could run for a third term. City council members currently serving their second term also benefit from that law.
In NYC, there is a cap on the amount that your property taxes can be raised in a single year. However, that law can be changed at any time. Also, the cap is much closer to true inflation than California's cap. The only thing preventing a huge hike in property taxes is that there'd be a massive public outcry if they went up too fast.
Rising property taxes is one of the negative spirals of urban decay. To raise money, the parasites increase property taxes. This lowers property values. Then, property tax rates must be raised even more. At some point, property tax rates are so high that people are better off abandoning their land, instead of paying extortionate property taxes. The local government is technically bankrupt. It doesn't pay for someone to buy the foreclosed land, because they'll still owe a tremendous property tax burden.
Due to Proposition 13, people in California pay less in property taxes. However, they pay higher sales taxes and income taxes. Unless you're working as an agorist, you don't benefit much from Proposition 13. You pay less in property taxes, but pay higher other taxes.
One interesting side-effect of Proposition 13 is that California's government has been using "eminent domain" to seize land and build more expensive housing or commercial buildings.
One defect of Proposition 13 is that it increases friction in the real estate market. If you've been living in a house for 20 years, then you're getting a pretty good deal on property taxes. The incentive is for you to not move, because you can't sell the property tax advantage to someone else. When the house changes ownership, the property tax assessed value is marked-to-market.
Another defect of Proposition 13 is that it discriminates against older people. If you're 20 years old, it would be very lucrative to buy a house and live there for 40+ years. If you're 50 years old, then there isn't as much advantage to buying a house, because your life expectancy is less.
Another defect of Proposition 13 is that, even though you get a good deal on property taxes, Proposition 13 causes the price of a house to be increased. The value of the property tax dodge is partially included in the cost of the house. You still will benefit if you stay in the house long enough.
The US Supreme Court has affirmed Proposition 13. However, if California is forced into bankruptcy, then that could change. Due to the recession/depression, California's income from sales taxes and income taxes has sharply decreased. Some pro-State trolls blame "Proposition 13" for California's budget crisis, but the overall state of the economy is a bigger factor. There is no guarantee that the Supreme Court won't change its mind and overturn Proposition 13. There is no guarantee that a mainstream media PR campaign would cause Proposition 13 to be repealed.
Since taxation is theft, any law that restricts State taxation power is a good one. However, California's proposition 13 has some undesirable qualities. It discriminates against new homeowners in favor of older homeowners. It provides a disincentive for people to move. Corporations get the same tax perk as individuals.
California's Proposition 13 law makes it seem attractive to move to California. However, that is by itself insufficient reason to move. Besides, the State is going to collapse in another 20 years. After that, I won't owe property taxes anymore, no matter where I live!
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
According to California's "Proposition 13", property taxes are capped to 1% of the assessed value. The assessed value cannot increase by more than 2% per year. If the property is sold, then the assessed value is increased to the current market value.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
This story was interesting.
The US has 130,000 troops in Iraq, almost twice the number in Afghanistan.Wasn't Obama supposed to end the Iraq War? Weren't people disgusted with the Iraq War?
The US troop count is due to drop quickly to about 50,000 by this time next year.
I thought Obama had already promised to remove most of the troops by mid-2009?
This really unpopular war continues, yet it receives almost no mainstream media attention. With Obama's election, the Iraq war ended, because the mainstream media doesn't spend as much time covering it!
One of my favorite stories is "Annual US military spending is enough to buy every American health insurance."
It's amusing how the "pullout date" for the troops is always 1 year away. Someone should make a graph of "time until projected pullout date" vs "time". It's probably a horizontal line.
Monday, September 28, 2009
I noticed some interesting provisions in the healhcare reform bill (cited elsewhere). I don't have time to read all 1000+ pages of the law. Plus, each draft keeps changing. I did notice some interesting bits discussed elsewhere.
This bit was interesting.
If you don't have adequate health insurance coverage, you owe tax equal to the what your health insurance premium would have been. The IRS is responsible for collecting this tax.
This sucks for a would-be agorist. If you only have off-the-books income, you're still forced to enroll in the State health insurance plan. The only solution is to claim no on-the-books income and get the State plan via welfare. If you want to see an agorist doctor, you're still forced to pay for the State plan.
That makes it hard for an agorist to fly under-the-radar. The only option is to declare no on-the-books income, while simultaneously enrolling in the State welfare plan.
This bit was also interesting. (I didn't even understand what the text was saying. Notice how the law says "Strike this sentence and add another sentence.", making it incomprehensible. This is what the other site said that provision meant.)
High-deductible policies are illegal. You can't purchase a cheap health insurance police with a high deductible. Your insurance policy must cover everything, including routine care.
That's missing the point of insurance. Insurance is supposed to be protection against disasters, and not to cover everything. "Insurance" that covers routine medical expenses isn't insurance.
This illustrates an important point about the "healthcare reform" law. The IRS will be responsible for making sure everyone has health insurance or pays the equivalent tax. "The healthcare reform law gives more power to the IRS!" is a criticism I don't hear mentioned.
I don't have time to read every draft of the healthcare reform law. I'd also have to read the laws being amended, in order to fully understand it. I doubt many Congressmen bother reading the law either. It is offensive that big laws are passed, yet almost no Congressmen actually read them first!
Sunday, September 27, 2009
This article was interesting. The "Naked Cowboy" dropped out of the race for NYC mayor. He was fined for failing to comply with the election bureaucracy. He said that the election bureaucracy paperwork was a huge deterrent to running. He was running as a publicity stunt with no real chance of winning, yet he was still forced to abandon his campaign. He probably would have been forced to pay a lot of money, to ensure he was 100% compliant with the election bureaucracy.
"Campaign ballot access laws" are designed to hinder non-approved candidates. Minor party candidates spend a large chunk of their campaign budget making sure they're compliant with the ballot access laws and election bureaucracy.
If a mainstream candidate makes an election law flub, he can usually get a waiver and get on the ballot anyway. A judge says "It's a violation of the intent of the law to deny this candidate access to the ballot." If a third party candidate makes an election law flub, he's denied access to the ballot. A judge says "The law must be strictly interpreted as written."
For example, lobbyists for the Republicans and Democrats challenge the Libertarian party and other parties when they attempt to get listed on the ballot. If the Republican or Democratic parties make an election law flub, they always get a waiver.
Political pundits and celebrities don't normally run for Congress. Why is that?
Suppose that you have a TV show on a mainstream media channel. If you declare your candidacy, "equal time" laws require you to abandon your TV show. Of course, the mainstream media has no obligation to then cover your campaign as newsworthy, because you have no chance of winning! Instead of using your TV show to promote your campaign, you're forced to abandon your show for the duration of the campaign. The political campaign lasts many months, from primary to general election. That's a long time to give up your TV show.
The campaign laws are designed to prevent celebrities from running for political office. They can't perform their normal job as a celebrity while campaigning. That's the primary reason you don't normally see celebrities leveraging their popularity into a political career. Some do succeed, but that's usually an exception.
The election laws are designed to prevent access to the ballot, rather than promote freedom.
Saturday, September 26, 2009
There have been a lot of Congressional hearings regarding "The SEC failed to properly investigate Madoff."
The evil fnord is "The insiders at the SEC should be replaced with different insiders. The regulations need to be made stricter." rather than "The SEC monopoly for investigating investment fraud is immoral! All the people who participated directly or indirectly in the scam owe compensation to the victims."
Bernard Madoff had the parasitic personality type. He emotionally intimidated the SEC investigators. If an SEC investigator was too persistent, Madoff complained to their boss and the investigator was ordered to be lenient.
Bernard Madoff said to the SEC investigators "I'm Bernard Madoff! I'm an awesome guy! How dare you question my authority?" Via parasitic mind control tricks, plus his political connections, Madoff prevented the SEC auditors from doing an honest investigation. For example, one frequently-quoted story is how Madoff got angry when SEC auditors asked him to provide detailed statements. This behavior, combined with his political connections, enabled Madoff to dodge accountability.
That is the "Captured Regulators" problem. Bernard Madoff had sufficient political connections that he could get any SEC investigator fired. This made it impossible for an SEC investigator to do an honest audit.
The SEC has an explicit State-granted monopoly, regarding prosecuting investment fraud. Even though the SEC did a lousy job, there are no negative consequences for SEC insiders. They get to keep their jobs and their monopoly. Some people will probably be scapegoated as part of the Congressional investigation, but that's part of the scam. The important part is that the scam is preserved and the real insiders keep looting and pillaging.
Congressional hearings are evil fnrods designed to distract attention from the real issue, which is "The State violence and justice monopoly is immoral." The blame is always focused on corrupt/incompetent individuals or bad bureaucratic procedures, rather than on a fundamentally corrupt system. The evil fnord is "The State should be reformed!" or "Corrupt/incompetent individuals should be replaced!" rather than "A State justice/violence/regulatory monopoly is a bad idea!"
Friday, September 25, 2009
This article was interesting. The US government isn't going to recover its $81 billion bailout/"investment" in Chrysler and GM.
Where did that $81 billion go? It didn't vanish into thin air.
The money wound up in the pockets of GM and Chrysler's creditors. That money was used to postpone bankruptcy for awhile. In the meantime, the creditors got extra payments on their bonds. Plus, some of that money was used to enhance the post-bankruptcy value of GM and Chrysler, further benefiting creditors.
Summarizing, the primary beneficiaries of the $81B bailout are the banksters. Some of that $81B is showing up as the recent huge profits for Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, etc. Some of that $81B is going to be paid as bonuses and salaries for the banksters.
Assuming 300M American taxpayers, $81B divided by 300M is $270. It's exactly the same as if $270 were stolen from every single American.
That's the "benefit" of government. If a criminal had to personally steal $270 from everyone, it wouldn't be profitable. The State taxation/inflation engine allows money to be stolen, without anyone able to notice or object.
Government does not protect people from theft. The biggest criminals are those working for the government. Under "color of law", their theft is legitimized.
This $81B is only a tiny slice of the total bailout pie.
Several trillion dollars in bailouts is immoral. However, it is perfectly legal. The people receiving the bailout money are the ones who write the laws! If you're a State insider receiving trillions of dollars, you can always profitably lobby to block reform.
I'm offended by the excesses of the State, the banksters, and the "too big to fail" insiders. Unfortunately, the only practical recourse is agorism.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
This post on no third solution had some interesting bits about the evil of State regulation of the healthcare industry. In particular, David Z was talking about the law forbidding healthcare sellers from excluding preexisting conditions.
I thought about this issue very carefully, and came to an interesting conclusion. In a true free market, health insurance would look very different than it does now.
Consider the current corrupt system.
Health insurance corporations are barred from charging customers extra if they have a "pre-existing condition". Sick people love this arrangement, because they will buy health insurance. Suppose you're a healthy person who doesn't get insurance from their wage slave employer. In that case, it's in your rational self-interest to forego health insurance. Otherwise, you're subsidizing the health care costs of sick people.
When healthy people choose to go uninsured, the net effect is that everyone who buys health insurance pays the rate charged a sick person.
Health insurance corporations are required by law to cover certain drugs and procedures. This drives up the cost of health insurance. The cost is merely passed onto customers as higher prices.
My last two jobs didn't offer any health insurance at all. COBRA coverage from my previous job expired. I paid an extortionate fee for an individual health insurance policy. Fortunately, my new wage slave job includes health insurance.
Can I afford to forego insurance? My parents would freakout if I said "I don't want to purchase health insurance!", so that option is eliminated. Further, if I am re-hospitalized, I'll pay a much lower fee if insured. If you're uninsured, the "full retail price" for a hospitalization is $5k-$10k+ per day, according to the statements when I was hospitalized! The health insurance corporation negotiates a discount where they pay 10%-50% of the "full retail price". Remember that all the doctors did was forcibly drug me, feed me lousy food, and give me a lousy bed. My health insurance corporation has negotiated a deal with the hospital. The insurance corporation only pays $1k per day, and the rest of the fees are waived/negotiated. Even for $1k/day, it still was very profitably for the hospital.
This arrangement makes it mandatory for me to purchase insurance. Unless I'm 5x less likely to be hospitalized than the average person, I have an expected net loss by foregoing insurance. Even if I don't get another panic attack, I could break an arm, get hit by a car, need my appendix removed, etc. I'd be forfeiting my savings if hospitalized.
Ironically, someone who's broke can afford to be uninsured. If hospitalized, they can always declare bankruptcy and default on their bill. The law requires emergency rooms to give (lousy) care to all patients, even if uninsured. Due to the risk of a deadbeat poor uninsured person, the price is raised for *ALL* uninsured people. Because uninsured people are more likely to default on their medical bills, *ALL* uninsured people are charged extra to compensate for this risk. If you have savings, then you're forced to buy health insurance.
Suppose that health insurance companies were allowed to charge sick people more. That would defeat the point of purchasing health insurance. You'd get sick, and then your premiums get jacked up next year.
A wage slave has the same problem. You get health insurance from your job. If you get sick, you lose your job *AND* you lose your health insurance.
Summarizing the flaws of the current corrupt system:
- Insurance companies are barred from charging sick people more. This means that poor healthy people make the rational decision to be uninsured.
- If insurance companies could charge sick people more, then they would jack up your premiums whenever you get sick. That defeats the purpose of purchasing health insurance.
- If you're healthy but unemployed, and have savings, then you're forced to buy health insurance. You're forced to pay the same rate as sick people, even though you're healthy. If you do get hospitalized while uninsured, you'll pay through the nose. This forces you to buy health insurance.
- Most wage slaves get health insurance through their job. If you have a job, you're almost definitely not severely ill. Employers get cheap group rates. Employer-paid health insurance is a loophole around the "sick people can't be charged more" rule. If you don't have a wage slave job, then you're going to pay a lot more. If you're unemployed and purchasing a health insurance policy, then you're probably sick.
- This rule also hurts small business owners, who pay a lot more than a group policy at a large corporation.
- Emergency rooms are required to treat everyone, even if uninsured and poor. The cost of this free care is paid by everyone else.
- Uninsured people tend to be poor deadbeats. To compensate, the price for uninsured people is raised.
- When you're sick, you don't get the opportunity to negotiate for price. You can't make arrangements ahead of time. When you call 911, they take you to the nearest hospital based on where you live. There's no competition among hospitals; it's more like a group of mafia gangs parceling out their turf.
- Insurance is expected to cover everything, including routine doctor visits. This makes health insurance more expensive. The whole point of insurance is protection against disasters, not coverage of routine problems.
- Due to State regulation, insurance corporations have very little discretion regarding what is covered and not covered.
- The economic interest of the hospital bureaucrats are not aligned with those of the patient. The doctors get paid on work performed and procedures done, and not based on whether the patient actually recovers or not.
- Restrictive State licensing requirements for doctors decrease the supply of doctors, driving up prices. That isn't the main point of this post. I've emphasized that enough elsewhere.
Suppose a doctor or insurance association made an offer "We'll agree to offer health insurance for your entire life, even if you get sick. The initial premium is 0.5 ounces of gold per month." Call this "Insurance business A".
Suppose now that 10% of the customers get sick. Their expenses are 5 ounces of gold per month instead of 0.5 ounces. Now, the insurance business is forced to raise its premium to 1 ounce of gold per month.
Another competing doctor or insurance association says "We'll agree to offer health insurance for your entire life, even if you get sick. The initial premium is 0.5 ounces of gold per month." Call this "Insurance business B".
The 90% of healthy people will now switch from insurance business A to insurance business B. Insurance business A now has only sick customers who have expenses of 5 ounces of gold per month. Insurance business A is forced to charge 5 ounces of gold per month in premiums.
Insurance business A's customers say "WTF? We bought health insurance and now our premiums got jacked up. What was the point of buying health insurance?"
Insurance business B's customers say "WTF? If we get sick, our insurance provider will go bankrupt and healthy customers switch vendors. What was the point of buying health insurance?
This example illustrates "We promise to cover you for your entire life, even if you get sick!", is *NOT* a valid model for health insurance.
What is a valid model for health insurance?
Insurance business C says "If you develop diabetes in the next year, we will pay you 100 ounces of gold to offset future expenses. If you have a heart attack in the next year, we will pay you 200 ounces of gold to offset future expenses. If you need a kidney transplant, we will pay you 150 ounces of gold. (etc)" Insurance business C will then do an evaluation of its customers risk. To one customer, they might say "You're pretty healthy. Your premium is 2 ounces of gold for one year of coverage." To another customer, they might say "You're a bigger risk. We charge you 10 ounces of gold." If the customer doesn't like it, he can shop around for a better price.
The incentive is for the insurance business to evaluate risk correctly. If they're too cautious, they lose customers. If they're too generous, they will lose money.
Suppose that insurance business C has a bad year and loses money. Provided the owner is not bankrupt, he may try again next year. He doesn't have the burden of sick customers raising his expenses. There also could be partial payouts. If a customer's risk of diabetes increases during a year, then there might be a partial payout.
For routine medical expenses, the customer will pay out of pocket. You got the flu and need to see a doctor? You just pay the fee directly yourself. You broke an arm? You just pay the doctor directly. It doesn't pay to buy health insurance for routine small medical expenses. For those, it makes sense to pay the doctor directly yourself. You should only buy health insurance for expensive disasters.
That was an interesting conclusion. In a free market "We agree to cover you for your entire life, even if you get sick!" is an invalid business model. Instead, the insurance business agrees to pay its customers if there's a serious illness. Also notice that the interests of the insurance business are aligned with the interests of the customers. Both the insurance business and customer have a financial incentive to maximize their health.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
There's another G-20 meeting coming up in Pittsburgh later this month. As usual, idiots are planning a bunch of pointless riots and protests.
A bunch of amateur protesters against para-military police is no contest. The police win that confrontation easily.
Even if the vast majority of protesters plan to be nonviolent, the State will plant "agent provocateurs" in the protest group. The State spies will goad people into becoming violent. If you have a peaceful group of people, and one person throws a rock at police, then that creates the illusion that police are justified retaliating violently. A large nonviolent protest is *IMPOSSIBLE* (unless explicitly sanctioned by the State).
Plus, there are individuals who go to such gatherings *SPECIFICALLY* for the opportunity to behave violently, even if they aren't deliberately planted State spies.
Riots and protests are a waste of time. A protest is a collection of slaves petitioning their masters to be less cruel.
The protesters are also required to apply for a permit. If you're applying for a State license for your protest, then you're really a pathetic loser.
Some people think "I'll go to that event to promote agorism!" That's stupid. I can more easily promote agorism by blogging or on a street corner, than by going to such a protest. It's stupid for an agorist to specifically go somewhere where a lot of police and violence are expected.
Those G-20 meetings themselves are evil fnords. The real decisions are made behind the scenes, by insiders who don't attend the meeting. The people actually attending the meeting are slave-puppets. They're merely publicly ratifying the decisions that insiders made ahead of time.
Meetings like the G-20, IMF, WTO, etc. are merely evil fnords. They're designed to give stupid protesters a target for their frustrations. The real insiders make the real decisions before the meeting. Anybody you see at such a meeting is actually a slave-puppet, following the agenda chosen by their masters.
The bad guys promote such protests, as a distraction. People waste their energy rioting and protesting, instead of doing something useful like agorism. A protest might make you feel better, but it accomplishes nothing.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Over the past couple of months, the S&P 500 has risen faster than the price of gold. If the size of the US economy is shrinking when valued in gold, then it's impossible for the stock market to outperform gold over an extended period of time.
The comedians on the Communism Channel say "Over the past few months, the S&P 500 outperformed gold! Therefore, gold investors are idiots!" It's amusing how they denigrate gold investors at every opportunity. Even though the S&P 500 has outperformed gold recently, doesn't mean the stock market is a better investment than gold. Over the last 10 years, gold has outperformed the S&P 500 by a wide margin.
The stock market severely underperformed gold over the past few years. The recent gains may merely be catching up after previous bad returns. It's much more likely that a stock market bubble is inflating.
The Federal Reserve insiders have kept the Fed Funds Rate at 0%-0.25%. That practically guarantees that an asset bubble is inflating somewhere.
Are recent stock market gains an indication of genuine economic growth? Or, are they merely inflation and a bubble?
Just because a stock market bubble is forming, doesn't necessarily mean you can profit. As a non-insider, you don't know exactly where the bubble where occur, you don't know how long it will last, and you don't know when the next bust will occur. Then next inflationary boom can last anywhere from 0.5-5 years. During the next recession/depression, insiders qualify for a bailout but non-insiders lose everything.
Another inflationary bubble and deflationary recession/depression are guaranteed. It's statistically built into the rules of the monetary system. As the final collapse of the State draws near, boom/bust cycles should get more severe.
Even though another stock market bubble appears to be inflating, that doesn't necessarily mean that now is a good time to buy stocks. The best way to protect your savings is by investing in physical gold and silver.
Monday, September 21, 2009
One of my favorite fnord phrases surrounding the healthcare reform debate is "Death Panels". Allegedly, Obama's healthcare reform plan includes a committee of State bureaucrats that decide which people qualify for medical treatment. This committee has the power to deny people medical treatment, making it a "Death Panel".
Most of the medical expenses that you will incur over your entire life occur over the last 3-6 months of your life. Suppose your lifetime medical expenses are 200 ounces of gold. About 100-150 ounces of gold will be spent in the last few months of your life. Why is that?
Suppose your grandmother is very old and sick. She has medicare or another health insurance plan. Suppose she is hospitalized and is going to die soon.
Keeping someone alive on a respirator is *VERY* profitable. The hospital collects $2k-$5k per day. The hospital doesn't have to do anything except hook you up to a machine that keeps you breathing and keeps your heart beating.
One problem is that the hospital is paid based on "# of days patient is in hospital". The hospital doesn't get paid extra if the patient recovers. The hospital doesn't have to give the money back if the patient dies. The interests of the hospital bureaucrats are not aligned with the interests of the patient.
Lawyers and doctors get paid by the hour. They don't get paid based on whether they actually help their customer or not. If you die in a hospital, you doctor still gets paid based on the work he actually performed.
Suppose the hospital keeps someone alive for 100 days at a cost of $3k per day. That's $300k! That's a very profitable scam! Your grandmother is kept alive on a respirator, but she's barely conscious or unconscious and unable to do anything. Her odds of recovery are practically zero.
Your grandmother isn't spending her own money. She's spending the health insurance corporation's money or medicare's money. There's no incentive for her to say "Forget it! This is a waste!"
Suppose your grandmother were spending her own money. Then, she might make the rational decision "$300k just to be stuck on a respirator unconscious for 3 months! Forget about it! I'd rather give the $300k to my children!"
The current system denies old and sick people the right to make rational economic decisions. They aren't paying the cost of their own medical care directly. They can't choose to die and pass the savings on to their children.
The hospital is making the decision whether to unplug the life support system or not. However, the hospital is getting a couple of thousand dollars per day! The economic incentive is for the hospital to drag out the dying person's life for as long as possible.
Obama's reform proposal is that a State committee will make the "unplug life support" decision, and not the hospital. This committee saves money by denying medical care to people who are nearly dead. However, what happens if the committee makes a mistake and denies treatment to someone who would have recovered?
There is no "free market" choice in the current system or in Obama's reform proposal. Someone who wants to be kept alive on life support should be able to pay their own money and get it. Someone who wants to pass the savings on to their children should also have the choice.
In the current system, the "unplug life support" decision is in the hands of hospital bureaucrats. With Obama's "Death Panels", a State bureaucracy will be making the decision. It isn't a substantial difference. A hospital bureaucrat is effectively a State employee.
Sunday, September 20, 2009
I performed a very interesting experiment.
Google allows you to search for a specific date range. I searched for "taxation is theft" (with quotes) for various time periods.
Apr 2009 - 72 results
Oct 2008 - 54 results
Apr 2008 - 29 results
Oct 2007 - 32 results
Apr 2007 - 24 results
Oct 2006 - 16 results
Apr 2006 - 16 results
Q2 2009 - 358 results
Q1 2009 - 305 results
Q4 2008 - 299 results
Q3 2008 - 185 results
Q2 2008 - 90 results
Q1 2008 - 82 results
The number of search results for "Taxation is theft" is increasing over time. That's a good sign. I did a similar search for "agorism". The results were similar, but I didn't post them here.
That might be biased, because older pages might get removed from the hosting website. Plus, the total volume of pages on the Internet is also increasing exponentially. If a page is updated, it'll show up in the timeframe it was last updated. I tried to avoid that bias by not including current webpages in my search.
A lot of those references were denouncing people who believe "Taxation is theft!"
Even if someone is saying "People who believe 'Taxation is theft!' are fruitcakes!", that's still progress. Going from no citations at all, to people denouncing it as a stupid belief, is progress.
The volume and quality of free market thinking on the Internet is definitely increasing.
Saturday, September 19, 2009
This post on David Z's shared items reminded me of an important point.
Most health insurance corporations do *NOT* have a choice regarding "Which drugs are covered?" and "Which treatments are covered?" It's mandated by law.
In turn, this guarantees that healthcare is expensive. If an insurance corporation is required by law to cover the latest blockbuster drug "cashcowazine", then they're forced to offer high premiums.
Insurance corporations don't mind this regulation, because they merely pass the cost on to customers as higher prices.
Customers don't have a choice. They have no choice but to buy an expensive policy. If you want to buy an insurance policy that only covers hospitalization or serious illness, but not routine medical care, that's not available.
The purpose of medical insurance should be "guard against disasters". Instead, health insurance covers *EVERY* medical transaction. This evolved from the health insurance tax loophole.
After World War II, corporate employers started offering health insurance as a tax-free perk. At the time, this benefit wasn't explicitly tax-free. The income tax law was amended to allow this tax-free benefit. This led to the custom of everyone getting health insurance from their wage slave job. Since it's a tax-free perk, the incentive is to cover everything, even routine medical care.
True insurance is protection against disasters, and not to cover routine expenses. The State completely perverted the purpose of health insurance, making it mandatory even for routine health care. Most people aren't directly paying the cost of medical care, leaving no incentive for efficiency.
Friday, September 18, 2009
I noticed an effective tactic when debating pro-State trolls on health care reform.
If you say "Government licensing requirements for doctors are damaging and should be eliminated!", then the Statist will say "You're a fruitcake." Saying "Government licensing requirements are damaging!" is a fnord phrase that sets off their pro-State brainwashing and causes their logical thinking ability to shut down.
Instead, I say "The supply of doctor licenses should be increased." This frames the issue in a manner that pro-State trolls can understand.
While Bill Clinton was President, there was a law that decreased the number of slots in State-licensed medical schools, restricting the supply of doctors.
The supply of doctor licenses is not determined by a free market process, but by a law.
The USA has fewer doctors per-capita than other industrialized countries. That leads to higher prices. In a State-backed monopoly, supply and demand have a nonlinear relationship. If you cut the supply by 20%, then prices may rise by more than 20%, especially for medical care where the patient/victim has no choice but to buy.
If you say "Government licensing requirements for doctors are damaging!", that's impermissible in the eyes of a pro-State troll. They'll get hostile when you suggest the idea. If you say "The supply of doctor licenses should be increased!", that's something a pro-State troll can understand.
No mainstream media debate of healthcare reform suggests "Increase the supply of doctor licenses!" as a solution.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
The story of "Pycho Donuts" is amusing. A store called itself "Psycho Donuts". Mental health advocacy groups are now advocating that the store be closed. They are organizing riots and protests. They are lobbying the State to force the store to change its name.
Recall that "mental health advocacy groups" are really fronts for pharmaceutical corporations. Does that mean that the owners of the "Psycho Donuts" store are the real victims?
I don't care whether such a store opens or not. People who don't care aren't going to protest.
I tried to figure out why the homicide industry would be offended by such a store. I see why the psychiatry/death industry is offended by "Psycho Donuts". It presents mental illness as something not-scary. Official State propaganda is "People labeled with a 'mental illness' are **BAD** and must be forcibly drugged." The theme of the store contradicts official State propaganda, and therefore it must be closed.
It seems like a clever publicity stunt. I predict that this will end in the store being violently shut down by the State.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Here is a very telling quote from an internal staff meeting by William Casey, Director of the CIA in 1981: "We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false."Actually, brainwashing everyone to have perfectly false beliefs is pretty impressive! Then, just by taking the opposite of the majority, you know you're right! This is simultaneously silly and true. The more that pro-State trolls get offended by my writing, the more important the subject. It's like the "Opposite George" episode of Seinfeld (fnord!).
On this page, von NotHaus announced that he was ceasing operations for the Liberty Dollar. As part of the conditions of his bail, he was forced to stop operating the Liberty Dollar business. Notice that, even though he hasn't been convicted of a crime (yet), the judge ordered him to cease operating his business. He decided that he preferred to be out on bail instead of waiting in jail for 6-12 months, so he agreed to the restriction. There is no legal requirement for a judge to offer someone bail, so the judge can demand whatever restrictions he chooses.
Even if he is acquitted, he doesn't recover the time and expense of a trial. The trial is going to last for months. It will extract a financial and physical toll, even if it ends in acquittal. The State bureaucrats can afford to harass von NotHaus, because their salaries are paid by taxation/theft. If you have a very profitable extortion racket, you can afford to spend a lot of resources harassing people who try to end your scam. As long as only a handful resist at a time, this is profitable.
Just like Robert Kahre was railroaded into a conviction in an unfair trial, it is very likely that von NotHaus will be convicted. It seems that every high-profile critic of the Federal Reserve winds up going to jail for income tax evasion or other "victimless" crimes. Once you realize that the Federal Reserve and income tax are one big scam, you have to act on your beliefs. Otherwise, you're accepting your status as a slave.
I'm surprised that he hired a lawyer, instead of going pro se. His lawyer is probably going to argue "The law is legitimate, but von NotHaus did not break it!", instead of "The Federal Reserve is immoral!" Von NotHaus probably won't be allowed to explain to the jury the immorality of the Federal Reserve and financial industry extortion racket.
The Liberty Dollar is immoral and stupid. I disagree with "The Liberty Dollar is illegal!" If I had to rank evil on a relative scale, the Federal Reserve is way more evil than the Liberty Dollar. However, the Liberty Dollar has some undesirable elements.
The Liberty Dollar buys silver at spot ($15 when I wrote this) and sells it at face amount (currently $20). The difference of $5 is profit for the Liberty Dollar business. Liberty Dollars are sold via a multi-level marketing scheme. Also, the Liberty Dollar should have picked a design that didn't look like State-issued money.
A really stupid person could confuse the Liberty Dollar with State-issued money. This potential confusion is probably the reason von NotHaus was assaulted by the State police. I read stories of someone taking a Liberty Dollar to a bank to deposit it, only to have the bank reject it. Some people are stupid enough to accept Liberty Dollars in payment and then try that.
It should be legal to use Liberty Dollars as money if you want to. It's misleading if people confuse the Liberty Dollar with State-issued money.
Businesses like the Liberty Dollar give alternative currencies a bad name. Instead of using Liberty Dollars, you should use generic silver rounds and value them based on the spot price of silver.
Looking at the indictment, the problem seems to be "The Liberty Dollar coins look sort of like US government-issued money." If von NotHaus hadn't made his coins look like State-issued money, then he probably would not have been arrested. On the other hand, then the State bureaucrats would probably have found another frivolous charge.
Even though the Liberty Dollar is stupid, I disagree with "Bernard von NotHaus is a criminal!" It seems that his biggest mistake was making the Liberty Dollar sort of look like State-issued money. If he printed "NOT LEGAL TENDER!" on the Liberty Dollar and made it look different than government money, he probably would not have been assaulted by the State. On the other hand, State bureaucrats always look for loopholes to arrest people who criticize the State.
For example, even if the Liberty Dollar did not look like State-issued money, von NotHaus could have been arrested for not reporting all his sales to the IRS. Whenever you buy or sell silver, it's a taxable transaction. If you use silver as barter money, it's a taxable transaction, with a much more unfavorable tax treatment compared to when you use slave points as money.
Even though the Liberty Dollar is offensive, I'm disappointed to see that von NotHaus is the victim of State violence.
If you want to boycott the Federal Reserve, use generic silver/gold rounds/bars and value them based on the spot price. There's no need to use Liberty Dollars. Even better, quote prices directly in silver or gold instead of slave points. Instead of saying "This costs $30!", say "This costs two ounces of silver!" It's loss-oriented thinking when you only think of prices in terms of slave points.
The Liberty Dollar is not a true alternate currency, because it's still based on Federal Reserve Notes. Stamping "$20" on a silver coin entirely defeats the purpose of an alternate monetary system.
It seems that every high-profile critic of the Federal Reserve winds up in jail, especially if they act on their beliefs. That is a serious problem if I want to promote agorism. Pro-State troll critics like Ron Paul are allowed, because they implicitly endorse the State. If I promote agorism, but don't also act on my beliefs, that makes me a hypocrite. My goal is to start agorist businesses myself, and help other people start agorist businesses. If I'm a high-profile advocate for agorism, then State enforcers will be eager to kidnap and torture me. It's a problem.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
According to this page, the IRS investigates approximately 4000 people per year for tax crime, with 2700 prosecutions, and 2100 convictions. The World Trade Center terrorist attack had 2974 victims.
Translating, more Americans have their lives ruined by the IRS each year, than by Al Qaeda.
If your father is kidnapped by the IRS, that's just as bad as if he were murdered by a terrorist. In some ways it's worse, because with a terrorist attack you can collect life insurance. When you go to jail, your wife and children are SOL.
If the IRS prosecutes you and you're acquitted, you still don't recover your legal fees. You aren't reimbursed for the time and expense and stress of the trial. State bureaucrats have an incentive to make a trial as long and stressful as possible.
Being investigated by the IRS is pretty stressful, even if there's no prosecution.
Suppose that there's n people working in the IRS enforcement division, and each is expected to prosecute m cases per year. Then, there will be n*m prosecutions per year, no matter what the merit. The tax law is so complicated that practically anyone could be found in violation.
Some IRS prosecutions, such as that of Irwin Schiff and Robert Kahre, are politically motivated. The tax law allows State insiders to crack down on any small business owner they want to terrorize.
The burden of IRS tax audits hurts small business owners more than executives at large corporations.
If you're a small business owner and your customers pay you in cash, then there are plenty of ways to avoid reporting your income. This leads to confrontations between the IRS and the small business owner. If you're found in violation, you could lose your business or go to jail or pay incredibly huge fines.
If you're an executive at a large corporation, you have an army of accountants. If there's a problem, you can claim "The accountants did the tax forms. I'm not responsible." The accountants can claim "I just work here. I'm not responsible." Unless there's flagrant fraud, nobody suffers any negative consequences. The cost of any fine is paid out of the corporation's assets, which isn't the executive's own money anyway. A small business owner pays the full cost of the IRS audit himself.
Even if you've never been audited by the IRS, fear of the IRS causes many people to be compliant with the tax code. You pay the cost of income taxes and the cost of tax compliance, even if State bureaucrats have never personally assaulted you.
By cultivating a culture of terrorism, most people are bullied into paying. By having outrageously huge criminal fines and penalties for tax evasion, people are bullied into paying. State insiders know that tax collection is the most important function of the government.
Sending someone to jail for income tax evasion is pure terrorism. Tax evasion is not a crime in the sense of natural law, because tax evasion doesn't injure someone else. Sending someone to jail for 10-20 years is almost as evil as murdering them. State bureaucrats aren't outright killing them, but they're still stealing a huge chunk of the victim's life.
If you really think about it, the IRS is a much more dangerous terrorist organization than Al Qaeda. More Americans have their lives ruined by the IRS than by Al Qaeda. Most people have been brainwashed into believing that the IRS is legitimate and necessary. The perceived legitimacy of the State and State tax collectors is precisely what makes them so dangerous.
Monday, September 14, 2009
This story is interesting. During Obama's speech, Republican Congressman Joe Wilson shouted "You lie!" My initial reaction was "So what?"
Based on the aftermath and mainstream media backlash, it's obvious that Joe Wilson did something heroic. Almost every article I read was critical of Joe Wilson. The coverage would not have been uniformly severely negative, if Joe Wilson didn't do something important.
As usual, Joe Wilson was forced to apologize. For once, I wish someone would say "I did the right thing! Obama really was lying! I'm not apologizing! I'm not sitting there quietly while the President lies to America!" Why should Joe Wilson be forced to apologize?
The specific issue is irrelevant (healthcare reform and illegal immigrants). The whole "healthcare reform" debate is a lie on both sides. The real issue, restrictive State licensing requirements for doctors, is never mentioned. "Eliminate State licensing requirements for doctors!" or "Increase the supply of doctor licenses!" is not mentioned as a possible solution for decreasing healthcare costs.
It's also interesting to read "Obama accepted Joe Wilson's apology." Translating, Obama said "I know the mainstream media is wrecking your career over this incident. I'm pretending to be the nice guy while everyone else ruins your reputation." An apology has zero economic value, and is irrelevant. The only value of an apology is that the slave is acknowledging the legitimacy of his master.
The mainstream media and Republican Congressmen are closing ranks against Joe Wilson. They're all criticizing him. They're probably kicking him out of the House or forcing him to resign. It's practically certain that Joe Wilson will be forced to resign or won't be reelected in 2010.
"The Strawman Fallacy" is also relevant here. Even if you believe "Joe Wilson should not have interrupted Obama!", that doesn't mean his career should be ruined. Joe Wilson should be evaluated based on his entire career, and not just one incident. This incident illustrates how politicians must continually be careful that they don't accidentally tell the truth, lest their career be ruined. This incident sets an example, in case another Congressman considers telling the truth.
A politician has no useful skills. It's irrelevant if Joe Wilson is replaced with a different pro-State troll. For this reason, any politician who deviates is sacrificed to preserve the scam of the State.
There's an interesting legal loophole I hadn't noticed before. Even if you're an elected Congressmen, the other Congressmen can refuse to seat you. An elected representative can be kicked out of Congress by a majority vote of the other Congressmen. Previously, the Senate was considering invoking that rule over the controversially appointed replacement for Barack Obama's Senate seat.
This article was also interesting. I don't understand how Joe Wilson is being compared to Preston Brooks. In a slavery dispute in 1856, Preston Brooks physically assaulted another Congressman.
Is that how far things have degenerated? Calling someone out as a liar is the same as physically assaulting someone? Physically assaulting someone is an obvious crime. Calling someone a liar is normal human behavior.
The rules for the House require Congressmen to be quiet when the President is speaking. However, those rules are defective. If someone is lying, the correct normal human behavior is to object. Otherwise, you're implicitly accepting the lie by sitting there quietly.
Also, the President speaking is not the same as other public speakers. The President claims the ability to violently impose his will on everyone else. If I give a speech, it's reasonable for me to prevent audience members from disrupting the performance. Even so, I suspect I'll get lots of hecklers if I attempt "Promote agorism via standup comedy!" Also, if I gave a speech, I wouldn't be lying.
Considering the mainstream media backlash against Joe Wilson, it's obvious that he did something heroic. Criticizing the President after a speech is acceptable. Calling him out as a liar during a speech is unacceptable. Why is that?
It's the difference between immediate feedback and delayed feedback. If you give *IMMEDIATE* negative feedback when someone is dishonest, that's correct behavior. If you give delayed negative feedback, that's implicitly accepting the dishonesty. That's an important psychological trick.
The fact that Congressmen sit there quietly while the President lies has a hidden psychological assumption "The President is telling the truth. He's a noble and heroic leader." Joe Wilson broke the trance when he shouted "You lie!" If you don't challenge a dishonest person immediately, you're implicitly accepting the dishonesty.
Consider the following example. Suppose a defense attorney tries explaining jury nullification during a criminal trial. The prosecutor immediately says "I object!" and the judge says immediately "Objection sustained!" and the defense attorney is forced to shut up. Why doesn't the prosecutor wait until it's his turn to speak to complain? The immediate objection has an important psychological effect.
If people started shouting out "You lie!" whenever politicians speak, then the scam would rapidly collapse. A politician is lying whenever his lips are moving. Joe Wilson set a dangerous precedent, calling out the President to his face.
The mainstream media backlash is also implicitly saying "Those people who interrupted 'Town Hall' meetings are scum like Joe Wilson."
Isn't accusing the President of lying the correct behavior for a Congressman? Even if the criticism later turns out to be wrong, it shouldn't be wrong to suggest the issue in the first place.
Wouldn't it be nice if someone had accused President Bush and his assistants of lying before the Iraq war in 2003?
The President is a noble and heroic leader, even if you disagree with his policies. That farce must be maintained at all costs, because the President is the public face of the State. Calling out the President as a liar shatters the myth that "The President is a noble and heroic leader!" All Congressmen are part of the scam, merely by sitting there quietly as he speaks.
Joe Wilson set a dangerous precedent, publicly calling out the President as a liar to his face. He gave immediate and direct feedback, rather than delayed indirect feedback. Immediate direct feedback has much greater psychological effect than delayed indirect feedback. Joe Wilson broke the trance of the President's speech. For that, Joe Wilson must be punished.
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Allegedly, there's a sugar shortage.
Due to lobbying by US sugar farmers, there's a cap on imported sugar. It's not a tariff, but an explicit cap (effectively an infinite-percent tariff).
Now, US food manufacturers have a problem. There's a shortage of sugar!
Due to another stupid law, a lot of corn is now used for ethanol. This leads to a shortage of "high-fructose corn syrup".
This "shortage" is entirely created by the State protectionist policy. Sugar prices in the USA are higher than prices outside the USA.
A pro-State troll says "Import quotas are good. That's encouraging farming in the USA."
The fallacy is that, without the import quota, the sugar farmers would be less profitable. The artificially high price for sugar encourages them to grow sugar instead of something else. It's the usual "seen vs. unseen" fallacy. People pay the cost of the State policy via higher prices for sugar. You don't see the things that the sugar farmers would be making instead.
For example, it might be more efficient to grow and export wheat and buy sugar, than to grow sugar. The State causes market inefficiency.
Also, the skyrocketing sugar price could partially/mostly be due to money supply inflation. Other causes than money supply inflation are always blamed for price inflation.
Technically, food manufacturers don't mind high sugar prices. With a State-backed monopoly/oligopoly, they merely pass the cost on to customers as higher prices. However, they need to explain the sudden higher prices to customers.
Shortages do not occur in a really free market. State restriction of the market is necessary to create shortages. The sugar farmers are receiving a massive State subsidy via the import cap. They can always profitably lobby to block reform.
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Rand Paul, the son of Ron Paul, announced that he is running for the US Senate in Kentucky. The incumbent Republican candidate is very unpopular, and will not get reelected. The incumbent isn't running for reelection.
A lot of people on the Ron Paul discussion forums are supporting Rand Paul's efforts to run for the US Senate. Unless you live in Kentucky, you don't get to vote in that election.
That illustrates a flaw with district-based winner-take-all voting. Suppose that 10% of the people living in the USA believe "Rand Paul would make a good Senator!". That's irrelevant. Rand Paul needs a majority/plurality in Kentucky to win. Of course, all elections are illegitimate, but this is a specific defect in the US voting system.
If you don't live in Kentucky, you may still donate money to his campaign. A lot of donations plus the name recognition is a huge boost for Rand Paul.
It'll be interesting to see how the mainstream media spins his campaign. Ron Paul and Rand Paul have sufficient popularity that the bad guys probably won't be able to completely ignore his campaign.
The Republican party fundraising engine is uniting in support for Rand Paul's opponent in the Republican primary.
Rand Paul seems to share most political viewpoints with his father. I read that he isn't as good a speaker as Ron Paul.
In some ways, Ron Paul is an advocate for freedom, and in some ways Ron Paul is a pro-State troll.
Ron Paul raises awareness for "The Federal Reserve is evil!", "The income tax is evil!", and "Big government is evil!" Some of his supporters have gotten disgusted and are moving towards agorism. Some of Ron Paul's supporters are understanding "All taxation is theft! Government is a massive criminal conspiracy!"
However, Ron Paul is also a pro-State troll. Ron Paul says "It would be nice if the government strictly followed the limits of the Constitution!" instead of "The US Constitution has no legitimacy at all!" Ron Paul says "Taxes should be lower and government should be smaller!" instead of "All taxation is theft! All government is terrorism!"
Ron Paul and Rand Paul are statists. If you wear the colors, you're part of the gang. As a Congressman, Ron Paul is responsible for all the bad things that government does, even if he votes against most bad laws.
Ron Paul knows that if he says "Government is a massive criminal conspiracy!", then no mainstream media outlet will cover him as news. He adopts self-censorship so he can be taken seriously. Is Ron Paul intentionally self-censoring? Or, is he still struggling with his pro-State brainwashing? Either way, it's disappointing to see people like Ron Paul coming so close to the truth but falling short.
Ron Paul's message of "Big government is evil!" is a prerequisite to "Who needs a government anyway?" When people learn about partial incomplete versions of the truth, that opens a path for someone to say the full truth. Ron Paul is pushing the "debate ceiling", the limit of permissible debate. He's the only mainstream politician that criticizes the Federal Reserve and income tax, even though "They are unconstitutional!" is a much weaker criticism than "They are immoral!"
It'd be nice to see Rand Paul get elected, but I'm not wasting time supporting him or donating money. Reform will not occur by voting. Raising awareness for evils of the State is still beneficial.
"The State completely collapses!" seems far more likely than "The State will be reformed!"
Friday, September 11, 2009
I liked this post on Anarchy in Your Head making fun of minarchists. However, he wasn't critical enough.
I also liked this post, where he says that a good solution is to try to convince one person at a time "The State is evil!" That post has one big error:
I am not proposing an alternative to your minarchist system.
There is an alternative to a minarchist system. This is agorism. All services currently provided monopolistically by government would be more efficiently provided by multiple competing vendors in a true free market.
If you ask a socialist "Should there be a government?", they will answer "Yes!" If you ask a minarchist "Should there be a government?", they will answer "Yes!" On the only political question that matters, socialists and minarchists give the same answer.
Who is more dangerous, a socialist or a minarchist? Socialism is obviously stupid, especially if you're a skilled intelligent worker. Why should a skilled intelligent worker let everyone else leech their productivity? That makes socialism and communism obviously stupid. The net effect would be that skilled workers lower their productivity to match the average of everyone, a net loss for society as a whole.
Minarchism represents an intellectual trap. A minarchist argues that government is necessary. What is needed is precautions to keep government small.
The fallacy is that a government always includes taxation power and a violence monopoly. A government must have a violence monopoly; otherwise, people would refuse to pay taxes. With a violence monopoly and a taxation/economic monopoly, then the evil power of the State will grow over time. Even if State employees are initially all saints, eventually someone evil will work their way into a position of authority and the descent begins.
Further, power without accountability is very corrupting. Suppose you place someone in a position of influence but there's no accountability if they steal or fail. That will turn someone into a parasite, even if they weren't beforehand.
The insiders who controlled the original US Federal government were not saints. They were concerned that people were getting too free. Under the Articles of Confederation, individuals had too much freedom because the government was too weak. Insiders formed the Federal government to consolidate and expand their power. As a concession to the Anti-Federalist faction, they put a lot of restrictions on State power in the Constitution. Over time, all the provisions that protect personal freedom have been eroded. The net result is the current mess.
Even if it were possible to return to a sharply limited government, it would rapidly degenerate into the current mess again. Minarchism is failed and discredited. It's time to try something else.
If you evaluate the (L)libertarian/minarchist movement as a for-profit business trying to reduce the size of the government, it's been a complete failure.
The danger of minarchist propaganda is that it doesn't challenge your pro-State brainwashing. There are many false beliefs that a minarchist can have, but not a true anarchist/agorist.
- There's a valid social contract that requires everyone to obey it. Individuals are obligated based on where they are born. They don't have the right to withdraw their consent for the State.
- Taxes aren't theft.
- A State violence monopoly isn't evil.
- People are intrinsically evil. Therefore, a government is needed.
- The most evil people are magically prevented from working for the government. Government workers are blessed with goodness, while everyone else is evil.
- Government would work, if only the people in charge weren't so evil. A fundamentally corrupt system is legitimate.
If I were the Supreme Leader of Humanity and had evil intentions, I would invent something like Libertarianism and minarchism. Minarchism is an intellectual distraction. People cling to minarchism, instead of realizing the truth, which is "Who needs a government anyway?" Once you understand "Taxation is theft!", you realize that all forms of monopolistic government are immoral.
It's easy to convince an intelligent person that socialism is stupid. Official State propaganda in the USA includes "Socialism is stupid! Free markets are good!", without mentioning that the USA is a nearly perfect Communist dicatorship.
It's much harder to convince someone that minarchism is stupid. You can't accomplish that without also cracking their pro-State brainwashing. Most people get hostile when confronted with ideas that challenge their pro-State brainwashing. People move towards minarchism and away from really free markets, because they don't want to admit that they've been conned.
Minarchism is evil because it's an intellectual distraction. If the philosophy of minarchism did not exist, then it would be easier to convince people "Who needs a government anyway?" Minarchism holds out the false hope that the State can be reformed. Minarchism distracts people from "The State is evil!"
Parasites probably intentionally invented minarchism as a distraction from agorism. The Libertarian party was originally an anarchist movement, but it was corrupted into a minarchist movement.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
This article was interesting.
Robert Kahre paid his employees using gold and silver State-issued coins. A 1-ounce State-issued gold coin has a face amount of $50. A 1-ounce State-issued silver coin has a face amount of $1. He valued the transaction at the face amount, and not the fair market value. Because the face amount was so low, it was under the IRS reporting threshold.
He was exploiting the contradiction that State-issued gold and silver coins have a legal tender value that's far below their fair market value.
The IRS then accused him and his employees of income tax evasion. There was a trial, which ended in some acquittals and some hung verdicts.
The IRS prosecutors re-tried him after the hung jury. After a hung jury, the bad guys get a mulligan, and may try again. In the meantime, the victim has to pay the time and expense of a trial. His business was interrupted because terrorists seized his property.
In the re-trial, the State prosecutors/terrorists probably made sure they picked a complacent jury. They probably rehearsed their propaganda, for why Kahre was a dangerous person who belonged in jail.
In the re-trial, the victim isn't allowed to say "Hey! There already was a trial on this issue and it was a hung jury! Why are you wasting my time?!" In a re-trial, you're barred from mentioning that there was a previous hung jury on the same issue.
Some people look for clever legal loopholes to escape the income tax. The bad guys will always look to close the loopholes. Looking for clever legal loopholes around the income tax is fighting the bad guys on their turf.
Robert Kahre was also accused of accounting fraud. When he paid his employees, he used the face amount of the coins. When he purchased the coins, he charged it as an expense to his corporation based on the fair market value. This inconsistent accounting might be the reason the IRS won their case. If you incorporate your business, you're voluntarily entering it into the taxation system. A true agorist should have unincorporated businesses.
Even if Robert Kahre were acquitted, the IRS can still prosecute other people for doing the same thing.
Robert Kahre had an incorporated business. By paying in gold and silver, he avoided the 1099 reporting requirement. What if his business was not incorporated, and transactions were 100% off-the-books? I suspect that the State terrorists would still have assaulted him. I don't know any examples of people practicing larger-scale agorism.
Robert Kahre was in the construction industry. The construction industry is heavily regulated by the State. It's probably illegal/impractical to operate an agorist construction business. On the other hand, it could be a "volunteer" group like "Habitat for Humanity"; the workers get paid off-the-books but they're legally volunteers.
Even if Robert Kahre were acquitted, he's still the victim of terrorism. He doesn't get compensated for the time and expense and stress of a trial. He doesn't get reimbursed for his legal expenses. State thugs confiscated his property and disrupted his business. Even if acquitted in a criminal trial, the bad guys may still pursue a civil trial to collect their tribute. Even if acquitted, the bad guys succeeded in wasting a lot of Kahre's time and money.
In the re-trial, Kahre was found guilty.
As lengthy sheets of guilty verdicts were read, Kahre's longtime girlfriend Danille Cline sobbed, putting her head against him.If the jurors were crying, then why did they find him guilty? Didn't they were understand that they were giving the defendant a lifetime jail sentence by voting guilty? Didn't they realize they had the option of voting "not guilty"?
Three jurors were observed crying, too. Some spectators, sitting on the defense side of the full courtroom, also were in tears.
Criminal penalties for income tax evasion are terrorism. Why didn't Kahre's attorney argue "If you believe he owes back taxes, then file a civil lawsuit. Criminal penalties for income tax evasion are terrorism!"? Of course, if Kahre's attorney made such an argument, he would have been found in "contempt of court" and forfeited his law license. For that reason, a skilled agorist should represent themselves sui juris, when harassed by the State.
I'm a skilled speaker, and could explain my viewpoint better than any State-licensed attorney. Even if the prosecutor picks 12 pro-State trolls as jurors, I might be able to convince them over a trial that lasts several weeks.
It's a problem. 50% of the population has the parasitic personality type. If the State prosecutor picks a jury of 12 parasites, then a defendant is SOL. If the jury has 9 parasites and 3 people with the productive personality type, then the 3 might not be willing to confront the 9 and hold out for an acquittal vote.
He faces up to 296 years in prison and fines of up to $14 million, according to the U.S. Attorney's office.The disproportionately harsh sentence is obviously evil. Each count of tax evasion is considered a separate crime, rather than it being just one crime. "One separate crime for each act of tax evasion!" is a trick that the bad guys use to give freedom seekers unreasonably huge jail terms. If he paid his employees in marijuana, he probably wouldn't have gone to jail that long.
Another interesting bit is that the mainstream media doesn't cover this story, except as a footnote or to say "HAHAHA!! That scumbag Kahre got what he deserved!"
GOLD: the money of KingsThat's an interesting perspective.
BARTER: the money of Peasants
DEBT: the money of SLAVES
There's nothing wrong with barter. Gold and silver were selected by the free market as money, because they're the least common denominator for barter. If people don't have access to gold or silver, then they will substitute other goods.
The US is Rome. The last thing an empire does is invade Afghanistan.That's pretty funny. If you're fighting a land war in Asia, that's a good sign that your empire is over!
I liked this quote:
‘This is a case about money, greed and fraud’Who's guilty of greed and fraud? Is it Robert Kahre, or the prosecutor and judge?
That's the fundamental problem with a criminal trial when the main issue is taxation. Both the prosecutor and judge are State employees. In any dispute where one party is the State, the parasites control both the prosecutor and judge. If you're the type of person who understands "Government is a massive criminal conspiracy!", then you don't seek a job as a Federal judge or lawyer.
A true "jury of my peers" would be "12 people who understand that government is a massive criminal conspiracy"!
Judges are dependent on the State's taxation power to pay their salary. They will always side with the prosecutor in a trial about taxation. Judges are not selected by a free market process. Judges are chosen by politicians. You only get picked to be a judge if you have great political connections. All of a judge's friends are people who are dependent directly or indirectly on the State to earn their living.
This article was interesting.
Kahre's tax saga began in the early 1990s, when he went through bankruptcy after several partners in a now-defunct Las Vegas construction business took assets and left town, leaving Kahre with an unpaid IRS bill that led to seizure of his business equipment.That's pretty neat. Kahre was previously the victim of the IRS theft, and that's why he embarked on his campaign of tax resistance.
Filling in the details, he had a business with some partners who turned out to be deadbeats. They took some of the assets of the business and disappeared. Kahre was left with the unpaid IRS tax bill. "These guys robbed me!" was not a defense; the IRS terrorists still demanded their tribute.
It seems that only the local newspapers in Nevada covered this case. It wasn't picked up by the national mainstream media. Most pro-State trolls discussing this case write "HAHAHAHA!! That scumbag Kahre got what he deserved!" rather than "Taxation is theft! Does it make sense to send an otherwise productive person to jail for the rest of their life?"
Severe criminal penalties for income tax evasion are terrorism.
The vast majority of people pay taxes without resisting. This makes it profitable for the bad guys to spend a lot of money terrorizing people like Robert Kahre.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
One of my coworkers said in an excited tone of voice "Did you hear that Ted Kennedy died?" My reply was "So what?" His response was "I guess you're right. It doesn't really matter."
The State propaganda engine makes people excited about irrelevant events. It's amusing and sad to watch my mother get all excited at the news coverage of Ted Kennedy's funeral.
Do I get a tax hike because Ted Kennedy died? Do I get a tax cut? I never met him. It makes no difference to me that he died.
Compare the tone of Michael Jackson's funeral coverage with the tone of Ted Kennedy's funeral coverage. Michael Jackson's funeral was like a rock concert. The announcers at Ted Kennedy's funeral news coverage were super-polite and respectful, like analysts at a golf tournament.
I watched some news coverage and noticed something really weird. They were playing sounds of insects chirping in the background! They were almost certainly doing it on purpose. A mainstream media sound crew wouldn't be careless like that. What does that accomplish?
I was watching the news coverage, and I was wondering "How does the coverage of Ted Kennedy's funeral glorify the State?" I didn't get it. I know there was an important evil fnord, but I couldn't see it. I'm not usually fooled by evil anymore, but I was disappointed that I couldn't see the evil fnord.
My best guess is that politicians are the public face of the State. The pro-State propaganda is "Government is benevolent. It's controlled by super-awesome people like Ted Kennedy and President Obama."
People are expected to mourn the death of a prominent Statist just like they would mourn the death of a parent or friend.
The evil fnord of a State funeral is "Politicians aren't parasites. They're heroic leaders!" I knew that evil fnord was there, but I didn't really see it.
A pro-State troll writes about all the wonderful laws that Congress passed while Ted Kennedy was a Senator. All those laws were backed by violence. Was Ted Kennedy a heroic leader, or a terrorist who helped provide the illusion of legitimacy to the State?
Mourning the death of a politician makes as much sense as mourning the death of Osama bin Laden.
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
On "An Excellent Example of Parasitic Behavior", Stefan Molyneux and others asked me if I wanted to participate in his Sunday call-in show. I'm not interested in that right now. I might in a year or two, when I start my own vlogging business or "promote agorism via standup comedy" business.
I'm much more offended by pure Statists like Paul Krugman, than by Stefan Molyneux. I don't bother reading Paul Krugman at all, except when I feel like noticing some evil fnords. Stefan Molyneux is still annoying, because he has the philosophy of freedom mostly correct but he isn't all the way there.
This is the opposite of the type of criticism Stefan Molyneux usually receives. I'm not saying "Stefan Molyneux is a fruitcake who believes a government violence monopoly is a bad idea." I'm saying "Stefan Molyneux could promote freedom better."
I prefer the written format to the verbal format. I'd rather participate in a thread on his discussion forum, than the call-in show. I prefer the written format, because I can read faster than most people talk.
My criticisms of Stefan Molyneux are:
1. He's pretty longwinded. He'll make a 20 minute video when the idea could be summarized in only 1-2 minutes.
I don't have time to watch every single one of his videos. I only watch videos that are cited elsewhere and seem interesting.
A long detailed description might be useful to someone who's a complete beginner to the philosophy of freedom. I'm looking for more advanced material.
I read his online books. I prefer written resources, because I can read faster than someone in a video can speak.
2. He doesn't emphasize the effect of a corrupt taxation system and corrupt monetary system. Stefan Molyneux claims that he made more videos on this subject, which I probably didn't watch. (If he wanted to be more specific, he could provide a link.)
The income tax is evil because it steals from you when you work.
The inflation tax is evil because it steals the savings out of your wallet and out of your checking account. The Compound Interest Paradox is a defect in fiat debt-based money that is more evil than constant uniform inflation. Even if you don't understand the Compound Interest Paradox, "Inflation is theft!" is sufficient argument against the Federal Reserve.
Government regulations are evil because they increase the cost of doing business. As a percentage of sales, government regulations cost small business owners more than large corporations. Government regulations are a way of indirectly subsidizing large corporations at the expense of small business owners.
Property taxes are evil because that means you don't own land. If you don't pay rent/taxes/tribute, then armed thugs will kick you off your land. You don't own your house. You merely have a perpetual transferable lease.
Property taxes mean that subsistence farming is unprofitable. If you own a farm that produces just enough to feed yourself, that isn't good enough because you need to raise money to pay property taxes.
All taxation is theft. The income tax, the inflation tax, and the regulatory tax are the most evil taxes.
Someone said that property taxes are more evil, because property taxes force people to participate in the State slave economy even if they have a self-sufficient farm. Debating "Which tax is most evil?" is like debating "What's the proper technique for beating your wife?"
Statists falsely call the US system as a free market, when it's really a fake free market.
For example, healthcare is expensive because of government. Government licensing requirements for doctors restrict the supply and raise prices. The number of slots in State-licensed medical schools is not determined by a free market process, but by a law. There's an artificial State-created shortage of doctors.
The USA does not have a free market healthcare system, due to government licensing requirements for doctors. The problem is not "too much free market". The problem is "too little free market". Neither Obama nor his mainstream critics mention the damaging effect of government licensing requirements for doctors. A good video on this subject might be interesting.
3. "Refuse to see abusive parents and relatives!" might be bad advice.
Everyone is individually responsible for what they do. If someone is abusive, then you should see them less often or not at all. On the other hand, your parents and relatives are unaware of their own pro-State brainwashing.
Do you have a greater responsibility to parents and relatives than to complete strangers? My parents did help me when I was first involuntarily hospitalized, so I feel morally obligated to try and help them. If my parents didn't bail me out of the hospital, then I probably would have been institutionalized for the rest of my life.
After I was involuntarily hospitalized, I was forced to live with my parents. Even though it was uncomfortable, it was actually very enlightening. Eventually, I was able to see how my parents pro-State brainwashed me without being consciously aware of it themselves. They thought they were teaching me to be a good person, but they were really teaching me bad habits and bad emotional/logical brainwashing. I wouldn't have started noticing these things if I'd been able to refuse to see them altogether.
Since I didn't have the option to leave, I was forced to adopt a different approach. I tried to figure out how to retrain my parents to be less abusive. To a certain degree, it worked!
I'm not going to make my parents understand "Taxation is theft! Government is a massive criminal conspiracy!" However, I am able to make them understand "$3 trillion in bailouts! What a ripoff! That's your retirement savings being stolen by inflation!"
I'm not able to explain to my parents "Government licensing requirements for doctors are evil and should be eliminated!" I was able to make them understand "The supply of doctor licenses should be increased. The number of slots in medical schools should be increased. While Bill Clinton was President, a law was passed reducing the number of spots in medical schools."
I'm somewhat worried about my parents. When the US dollar collapses in hyperinflation, they will lose their retirement savings. It's disappointing to see them work their whole life, only to have their retirement savings stolen via inflation. The people who get stuck the most during times of complete economic collapse are the elderly who lose their retirement savings. If you're a productive worker, a time of economic collapse is actually an opportunity, because the usual restraints on your productivity are lifted.
4. Stefan Molyneux accepts donations via PayPal. His site is supported by donations from readers, and he claims that he earns enough income for this to be his full-time job.
PayPal transactions are automatically reported to the State/IRS. If you accept donations via PayPal, aren't you required to pay income tax on the donations? Is it immoral to donate money to Stefan Molyneux, if the transaction is taxable?
An agorist banking system is needed, to solve this type of problem.
5. Stefan Molyneux is writing about theoretical anarchy and not practical anarchy, even though Stefan Molyneux claims to be writing about practical anarchy.
This relates to my post on "An Example Tax Resister Insurance Calculation". Francois Tremblay said "Tax resistance is easy! Everyone should be doing it!" I told Francois Tremblay that he should put his freedom where his mouth is and start a tax resister insurance business. That post was an example of how such a business would work. Francois Tremblay seems to be trying to move towards actual practical agorism. Francois Tremblay seems to be trying to start an actual tax resister insurance business. Tax resister insurance probably won't be profitable until the counter-economy is more sophisticated.
I agree when Stefan Molyneux says "Security and defense and justice can be more efficiently provided by a free market. Dispute Resolution Organizations (DROs) are preferable to a government police and justice monopoly." However, that is only theoretical anarchy. That's not practical anarchy.
In order to be a real practical anarchist, Stefan Molyneux should say "I'm starting a DRO business! Who wants to be a customer?" That would be actual practical anarchy.
Right now, it's impractical to start a DRO that actually has armed policemen employed. The government police monopoly would be threatened by such an organization, and you'd find yourself the victim of a violent State raid. A DRO can enforce rules without armed police. Enforcement through ostracism can be effective. If someone breaks the DRO's rules, then they're banned from future participation (unless they pay restitution to the victims). When there are multiple competing DROs, then all of them sensibly would refuse membership to someone who doesn't follow the rules.
Initially, a DRO would be a way for agorists to buy and sell goods and services. If I want to perform off-the-books work for cash, I can't advertise on Craigslist or other State venues, because the police might be spying. It's an even bigger risk if I'm entering a business that's regulated by the State. Working as an agorist in a State-regulated industry is lucrative but risky. A DRO would ensure that both the buyer and seller would respect each other's privacy from State enforcers. The #1 rule for any agorist DRO would be "No matter what happens, nobody complains to the State police." It's a tricky balancing act. You want to have as many customers as possible. You also need to keep out undercover State spies, or people who would complain to the State if they're unsatisfied.
Going back to the example of health care, suppose I wanted to work as an unlicensed agorist doctor. I can't advertise my services in public, because the State would shut me down. If there was a good DRO where I could advertise, then I could get customers. My customers would have assurance that I'm a good doctor. I would have assurance that my customers won't complain to the State and arrange for my arrest/kidnapping. A DRO would be useful for anyone who wants to buy or sell outside of the State slave economic system.
Right now, if you're an individual looking to buy or sell to other individuals, there's no way to communicate. If you use eBay, there's an obligation for the eBay corporation to report the transaction to the IRS. If you use Craigslist, then there's the risk that undercover police may read your ad. If you buy/sell on Craigslist, there's no assurance of the trustworthiness of the buyer or seller.
As another example, suppose I want to buy or sell gold/silver. If I buy from a State-licensed gold/silver dealer, then the transaction is reported to the State/IRS. If I sell to a State-licensed gold/silver dealer, then the transaction is reported to the State/IRS and I must pay capital gains taxes. A good DRO would enable people to trade gold/silver/FRNs without the State knowing about the transaction. Even better, a DRO could have an agorist gold/silver warehouse receipt banking service, so people would have a safe place to store their savings.
As another example, I'm considering starting a drug-free mental illness treatment business. I don't have a State psychiatrist or therapist license. Therefore, it's illegal for me to operate such a business. I can't advertise that business on Craigslist. I'd need a trustworthy DRO to advertise and sell my services. My customers would need assurance that my service is good, and I would need assurance that my customers won't rat me out to the State.
If DROs are so wonderful, then you should start a DRO business now and get a head start on everyone else! If DROs are so wonderful, then Stefan Molyneux should put his freedom where his mouth is and start a DRO business! Initially, a DRO would be a way for people to buy/sell goods and services outside of the State economy. People who want to work in the free market have a big problem and a big risk. There's no place for agorist buyers and sellers to meet. There's the risk that your trading partner will rat you out to the State.
Since Stefan Molyneux already has a large audience, he's in a good position to start a DRO business.
You might say "FSK, you're a hypocrite for not starting a DRO business yourself." My personal circumstances make that impossible. I am currently stuck living with my parents. My parents would be the first to rat me out to the State if I attempted practical agorism. For now, I'm stuck with only blogging. I'm working towards recovering my interpersonal freedom and then moving towards practical agorism. In order to recover my physical freedom, I need a wage slave job for now. It will take a few years before I'll be ready to start working on practical agorism. In the meantime, I'm helping raise awareness of the evils of the State and the value of really free markets.
Also, I'm still making progress on cracking my pro-State brainwashing. It isn't enough to realize consciously "Taxation is theft! Government is a massive criminal conspiracy!" You also have to crack your emotional pro-State brainwashing. That is hard, because you have the symptoms of a panic/manic attack when you do it.
I have several agorist business ideas.
- Start a DRO, where people can buy and sell agorist goods and services. I might write some "AgoristBay" software, to enable agorists to communicate via the Internet. Initially, you can just keep records partially encrypted on paper, and then use software when you have more customers. Some people on the fr33agents website appear to be writing some AgoristBay software, but I haven't looked at the details.
- Start a gold/silver/FRN barter network, making it easier for people to invest in gold and silver, avoiding State taxes and State overhead for transaction costs.
- Start a distributed gold/silver warehouse receipt bank.
- Start a drug-free mental health treatment business.
- Attempt "Promote agorism via standup comedy." I might find people willing to hire me to perform, but pay me in cash in an off-the-books transaction. I could give performances in unlicensed nightclubs, or start an unlicensed nightclub.
- Make and sell agorist-themed T-shirts. I might buy a T-shirt burning press.
- (Advanced) Start an agorist gold/silver time-deposit banking system, enabling agorists to invest their surplus capital and borrow to start businesses.
- (Advanced) Start a tax resister insurance business. Sell insurance against the possibility that agorists would be raided by the State.
- (Advanced) Offer an arbitration service, if two agorists have a dispute.
There seems to be a greater awareness of really free markets spreading on the Internet. If I wait a few years to get started, I might have an easier time finding customers and trading partners. Stefan Molyneux has a much greater audience than my blog, which would make it easier for him to start an actual agorist DRO business.
Mostly, Stefan Molyneux's videos are discussing things I already understand pretty well. He takes a long time to explain ideas that I already understand. I'm looking to move forward with actual practical agorism and really free markets. It's going to take me a couple of years before I start. It'd be nice to hear about other people's experiences with practical agorism.
Of course, attempting practical agorism is risky. If you try it, you might find yourself raided by the State. However, some people must operate a DRO and advertise to the general public, to attract customers. It's tricky. If you're 100% secretive, then you can't recruit new customers. If you're 100% public, then you risk a violent State raid. A good public speaker like Stefan Molyneux probably could do a good job defending themselves sui juris in a trial, if necessary.
If you're arguing "The law is immoral!", you need to represent yourself sui juris. A State-licensed lawyer can't argue "The law is immoral!", because a State-licensed lawyer has taken an oath to uphold the law. A State-licensed lawyer works for the State first, and for his client second. I probably could represent myself better than a State-licensed lawyer. Hopefully, I'll never be forced to find out! When/if State enforcers decide to harass me for agorism, I'll defend myself sui juris. If I seem like a tough victim, then State enforcers might seek softer targets elsewhere. If I'm a high-profile advocate for freedom, then State enforcers will make it a high priority to arrest/kidnap/silence me.
I don't mind if other people start DRO businesses before me. The more people practice agorism, the less resources are available to State parasites. I object more to someone working in an on-the-books wage slave job than I do to someone else working as an agorist.
One nice thing about an agorist business is that there's no artificial State-induced overhead. You can start for 5-10 hours per week until you get enough customers to do it full-time.
Given that the State is going to collapse in 15-20 years, not starting/joining a DRO is also risky! If you have a DRO in place before the collapse, then your odds of surviving are much more likely when TSHTF.
If Stefan Molyneux really wants to impress me as a super-awesome anarchist, then he should start his own DRO business. At some point, you need to move from talking/speculating to actually working towards freedom. I plan to start my own agorist businesses in a few years.
I'd already finished this draft, and noticed another awful video. This video ("True News 50") had huge errors. At the beginning of the video, Stefan Molyneux accepts the pro-State propaganda that the CPI is an unbiased measure of inflation.
My analysis "Real GDP is Decreasing, 1990-2008" is much better than Stefan Molyneux's analysis. If you use less biased inflation measures, like M2, reconstructed M3, or the price of gold, then real GDP is crashing, rather than increasing slowly as pro-State communists/economists state.
The CPI is less than true inflation. "Official" GDP reports are adjusted using biased inflation measures. Money supply inflation is misreported as economic growth.
That video ("True News 50") is an example of Stefan Molyneux getting facts outright wrong on basic economics. Of course, almost every State-licensed economist makes the exact same error. That video wasn't endorsing the State, but it's annoying to see basic logic errors like accepting the CPI as an unbiased inflation measure.
As another footnote, that YouTube video had approximately 3k pageviews. My blog gets 200-300 daily Visitors, according to Google Analytics. Stefan Molyneux appears to have an audience 10x-20x greater than my blog.