Three little Fonzis

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before….An article proposes some doable progressive goals — guaranteed jobs, universal basic incomes, sovereign wealth funds, state banks, and a land tax. A bunch of libertarians — Radley Balko, Charles W. Cooke (never heard of him before but he seems to be big on twitter), and Nicky G — lampoon the goals as the impossible dreams of dirty hippies.

Turns out Sarah Palin’s Alaska has a big sovereign wealth fund:

In 1976, Republican Governor Jay Hammond started Alaska’s sovereign wealth fund (SWF), which has come to be called the Alaska Permanent Fund. The way it works is Alaska has a big pile of money that it uses to buy up the means of production (sometimes called stocks and bonds). Those investments yield returns and revenue for the state. Right now, Alaska plows that revenue into its universal basic income (UBI) program, which is called the Permanent Fund Dividend. The way it works is the state sends a check to every single Alaskan each year. Last year, it was $900, but in better years, it has been as high as $2000. For a family of four, that’s a $3,600 and $8,000 income boost respectively.

The Alaska communist story gets more interesting than that though. The way Alaska builds the principal of the fund is in line with another of Myerson’s proposals: take back the land. You see, the oil wealth in Alaska happened to reside underneath public land. Instead of doing the red-blooded American thing and just giving all of that natural wealth that nobody creates away to oil companies, Alaska held on to its ownership and collects royalties from the oil. Those royalties are plowed into its SWF. So what you have in Alaska is a state that is leveraging publicly-owned natural resources to build a SWF that pays out a UBI. Or as conservatives on twitter call it: a communist hellscape.

The reasonoids and WaPo editorial board types can scream like stuck pigs all they want, the simple fact is that many left-wing populist economic policies are both popular and possible. Not liking the policies is one thing, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but it’s a lie to pretend they can’t be done or that REAL AMERICANS hate them.

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118 replies
  1. 1
    Narcissus says:

    Yeah but american exceptionalism

    we’re too special

  2. 2
    Ash Can says:

    I think the reasonoids are giving Bill Kristol a run for his money for the “always wrong” title.

  3. 3
    srv says:

    Fucking media questioning the Rod:

    “Why do you think this is a good idea?” CNN’s Chris Cuomo asked Rodman, who was surrounded by fellow former NBA players.

    Rodman, cigar in hand, said the trip was good for the world and added, apparently referring to Kim: “I love my friend. This is my friend.”

    Later, Rodman asked as a reminder if people realize “this guy is 31 years old?”

    At another point, the former NBA star grew angry and began yelling at Cuomo. “I don’t give a rat’s ass what the hell you think,” he said. “You are the guy behind the mic right now … We are the guys who have to go back to America and take the abuse.”

    It’s OK if you’re a Baldwin or Sean Penn, but woah if you’re in the NBA.

  4. 4
    burnspbesq says:

    Rodman is well past his sell-by date, and will do and say pretty much anything to stay out of bankruptcy.

  5. 5
    MomSense says:

    If I recall correctly, I think Palin raised the dividend when she was governor.

  6. 6
    KG says:

    Yeah, but Alaska doesn’t have much in the way of gun control and there’s no zoning laws or building codes in most of the state, so it’s a glibertarian utopia, if you can deal with no sun for three months (and then no nights for three months) and no major cities or pro sports teams or, you know, civilization

  7. 7
    Little Boots says:

    @srv:

    is there a Pyongyang syndrome? yet?

  8. 8
    srv says:

    @burnspbesq: I remember when my cousin came back from Law School for Thanksgiving reunion and my aunt interupted one of his comments with “It’s not like he’s even human anymore.”

    It’s why you’ll never have a gig at MSNBC.

  9. 9
    Little Boots says:

    I would love to see every state have a ballot referendum on: state gives umpteen thousand dollars to each citizen next year. yes or no?

  10. 10

    If you start out with the premise that ‘every man for himself’ is the best governing philosophy, then you reject any and all notions of the common good and a social contract that would act for the common good.

    And then you yell, “Taxation is theft!” a lot and yell about how tyranny is just around the corner, and get on the internet and complain without a hint of irony about how the government can’t produce anything of value.

  11. 11
    sven says:

    I am from Alaska and the Alaska Permanent Fund is extraordinarily popular. The individualists in our state (and especially the “individualists”) view the dividend checks as a divine right. Even hinting otherwise will lead to comments about the marital status of your parents and possible attraction towards women who have had children. Recall the “keep government our of my Medicare” signs of the past few years. Now multiply by six hundred thousand.

  12. 12
    🎉 Martin says:

    Won’t somebody please think of the corporations?!

  13. 13
    Amir Khalid says:

    @srv:
    Dennis Rodman is pretty much the kind of person I’d expect the 31-year-old boy king of North Korea to appoint as an emissary between his country and America. The results have also been pretty much what one would expect from such an appointment: a 21st century update of a Marx Brothers movie, with Rodman as all four Marx brothers.

  14. 14
    Jay C says:

    IIRC, the Alaska Permanent Fund was supposed (by siphoning off a steady stream of income from its natural resources oil flow) to solve a previously near-intractable problem which had crimped Alaska’s development for a century: i.e., the place was a vast, remote, rugged, frozen hellhole where hardly anybody wanted to live, and whose size, landscape and climate had seemingly condemned it to being a ward of the Federal Government forever. Hence, I recall, the general lack of opposition to setting up Alaska’s Fund

  15. 15
    Little Boots says:

    @sven:

    well they earned it. they landed there. whitely.

  16. 16
    burnspbesq says:

    @srv:

    It’s why you’ll never have a gig at MSNBC.

    Oh woe iz me.

    Got anything else?

  17. 17
    🎉 Martin says:

    @burnspbesq: Yep. He’s even cashed out his NBA pension. Who the hell knows how he makes rent every month.

  18. 18
    Yatsuno says:

    @🎉 Martin: IIRC he has several IRS tax liens against him as well. Too lazy to research it at this point plus I’m trying to not think about work as much as possible.

  19. 19
    burnspbesq says:

    Dear DougJ,

    Describe the political conditions in which those things become do-able.

    Then explain how you plan to bring those political conditions into existence in this universe.

  20. 20
    Little Boots says:

    I suppose he could be actually on the take, but this is truly pathetic. you couldn’t have saved something from the NBA rodman? really?

  21. 21
    Little Boots says:

    @burnspbesq:

    through stalinism, obviously.

  22. 22
    Narcissus says:

    If North Korea is paying Rodman for his efforts that is just awesomely hilarious

  23. 23
    Culture of Truth says:

    Look it’s very simple. Borrowing and spending are bad!

    Except for 1981, 1982, 1983, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991 1992, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008

    Is that so hard so hard to understand?

  24. 24
    Little Boots says:

    @Culture of Truth:

    borrowing for war is never not the answer.

  25. 25
    KG says:

    @burnspbesq: in addition to the Alaskan fund, North Dakota has a state owned bank… So there are clear red state examples of this stuff working. Honestly, I think it’s going to have to happen at the state level first, and I think it can in some places.

  26. 26
    Little Boots says:

    @KG:

    cause if there is one big, honking, obvious truth in American politics, it’s that nobody is really THAT conservative. it’s all such a con game. Especially down South.

  27. 27
    Frank says:

    “Libertarianism” is “selfishness” transliterated.

  28. 28
    jl says:

    @KG: A number of communities in the purple to deep red Central Valley California have publicly owned electric utility companies, usually combined with water and irrigation ditricts. That in my experience provide much better service than Peculation Greed and Explosion, or whatever their name is, in certain more liberal areas of the state.

    But then, a lot them were formed around 1900, back when the country was commie.

    But, I guess if some people are willing to wallow in corporate propaganda and manufactured history, nothing is possible. We should be glad that at least some things can still be imagined, though. There is hope yet.

  29. 29
    MomSense says:

    @MomSense:

    You betcha, a special payment of $1,200 on top of the $2,000 dividend payment in 2008.

    http://seattletimes.com/html/l.....tax07.html

  30. 30
    Yatsuno says:

    @jl: The Tennessee Valley Authority is the single greatest socialist works program in the US. And don’t even think of messing with it cause even the good ol’ Southern libertarians will kick you in the teeth if you even think of trying to change it. They loves them some socialist power rates but fuck the rest of the country if they want to install something like this.

  31. 31
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    @Culture of Truth: Can I borrow 1990 from that list? I’m not sure I like the way I spent it and would like to have a do over. I’ll give it back I promise.

  32. 32
    MoeLarryAndJesus says:

    Radley Balko’s work against police brutality is important and beyond reproach. I wish he would wake up and divorce the assholian side of glibertarianism.

  33. 33
    Anoniminous says:

    Rest assured anything a glibertarian says is not even wrong. The entire movement is permeated with third rate hackery and epistemic closure. The last is the big reason for their hysteria every time someone comes up with a workable socialist idea, thus invalidating their fantasy world.

  34. 34
    Little Boots says:

    we are an almost ridiculously liberal country.

    every redneck that skipped church this week, or drank. every glibertarian that took a bus or rode the subway or drove on a public highway. every old bastard that railed at obamacare while he went to the mailbox to collect his social security check.

    every defense contractor CEO. nobody wants the damn vision of the American teabagger, striving on his own with his rifle in one hand and his gold bar in the other. nobody.

    it’s complete crap.

  35. 35
    trollhattan says:

    Great thing about the Alaska awl checks is it does something never achieved by alchemy: turning petroleum into lead (ammo).

    It was quite a fight, developing Prudhoe Bay and the pipeline, but given the population in the ’60s it was probably a reasonable bidnez expense to set this up. You don’t see anything like it for the folks atop the Marcellus Shale in these more enlightened times, right?

  36. 36
    Little Boots says:

    @Yatsuno:

    see?

  37. 37
    piratedan says:

    @KG: #6

    well I do believe that Anchorage is a bigger city than anything in Wyoming, North or South Dakota, Vermont, New Hampshire, West Virginia, Montana and Iowa. Granted nearly half the state lives there but I’m not sure that civilization is dependent upon your state/metro area having a major sports franchise. Pizza Huts and Dairy Queens I can buy as the outposts of civility… and it’s not as if Alaska has a long honored tradition of electing total assholes to represent them. Is there a healthy streak of wingnuttery, you betcha; but the daylight and sunlight thing varies quite a bit between Nome and Ketchikan. They could implement similar policies in places like Wyoming or Montana if they were so inclined but Alaska is certainly a special case in many ways. Agreed with other folks upthread, it starts local and if it works, other folks get on board.

  38. 38
    Ejoiner says:

    Need some serious help here – in a long winded debate with some hardcore conservatives over Obamacare (yes, I know) and one has just posted a lengthy study by the Washington Examiner touting the better health insurance policy offered by Walmart. I’m in way over my head but a quick google search hasn’t helped me find any rebuttals. Anybody got anything out there to throw at me?

  39. 39
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    The phrase I’ve heard used for Alaska is “subsidized subsistance” — rugged individualism underwritten by generous state handouts.

    Which is fine, and to be encouraged, as long as everyone’s honest about what it is. Strangely, libertarians aren’t good at being honest about such things, because they seem to believe that everything that falls into their hands comes from the sweat of their own flops.

  40. 40
    Roger Moore says:

    @jl:
    We have a public electrical and water utility here in Pasadena, and I wouldn’t trade them for a SCE and a privately owned water company for love or money. LA also has a public utility, and there seems to be a concerted, well coordinated campaign to screw their employees. I can see why. It’s not like people working on high voltage power lines are doing anything important or dangerous.

  41. 41
    Little Boots says:

    @piratedan:

    don’t question anything you said, but isn’t Alaska fabulously corrupt? at least for congresscritters and senators?

  42. 42
    Anoniminous says:

    @Ejoiner:

    It’s a meme going around winger circles. Here is a useful link. I do not vouch for accuracy.

  43. 43
    Kropadope says:

    @Ejoiner:
    I’d read into this plan Walmart is offering. I never really knew Walmart for its generous benefits. I would bet iit requires full-time employment, a designation Walmart avoids giving many employees from what I’ve heard. The generous coverage most Walmart employees receive is state Medicaid.

  44. 44
    Little Boots says:

    @Anoniminous:

    south park was wrong.

    Blame Austria.

  45. 45

    @Ejoiner:

    My quick and dirty answer would be that the provisions of Obamacare started being phased in around 2010 when the law was first passed, so any current excellence of Wal-Mart’s plan is due to, yep, Obamacare.

    Obamacare: they’re soaking in it, and have been for the past 4+ years.

  46. 46
    MomSense says:

    @Ejoiner:

    Richard Mayhew is the person to ask. Maybe you can ask for his help if/when he posts tomorrow. I just looked at the Examiner article and it looks like BS to me. I think they compared one plan off the exchange with Walmart’s two HRA plans which are Health Reimbursement Accounts. They talk a lot about network and hospitals in the plan but not a lot about services so I don’t know if these are more like health savings accounts and heaven help you if you or a family member is diagnosed with a serious illness.

    It looks very vague and sketchy to me.

  47. 47
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    @Ejoiner:

    touting the better health insurance policy offered by Walmart.

    To its employees? They presumably self-insure, so they know their pool of insured pretty well, and they also have numbers for decent network clout: there was a story last year saying that they’d fly people to the Mayo Clinic or other national specialist facilities, but that’s strictly pragmatic — they don’t want to deal with local specialists on a state-by-state, city-by-city basis. But if you have cancer, you’re probably not going to be working at WalMart for that much longer, and good luck getting an FMLA absence too.

    Comparing an employee plan with a broadly-pooled individual plan is a dumb apples/oranges comparison right now, and it’s dumb given that we know how WalMart staff aren’t generally full-time employees, and some are on Medicaid. The aim is to make it less dumb over time, but we’re not there yet.

    Richard Mayhew can probably pick it up.

  48. 48
    KG says:

    @Little Boots: I think most conservativism in America is a protection of the status quo, more than anything else. There is also a reactionary element to movement conservativism, but mostly it’s IGMFY

  49. 49
    KG says:

    @Bill E Pilgrim: if we are doing redos, can I have 2002 back to rethink law school student loans

  50. 50
    Little Boots says:

    @KG:

    but also a hatred of the real status quo. the New Deal status quo. the status quo that actually lets most people get by in this country. that’s what gets me.

  51. 51
    Anoniminous says:

    @Little Boots:

    Ah yes. Böhm-Bawerk, von Mises, and all them idiots.

  52. 52

    Not just Alaska. What about Singapore. Pro market conservative love Singapore. It is number 2 on the Heritage Institute economic freedom index
    http://www.heritage.org/index/country/singapore
    (it used to be number 1).

    Singapore also has two huge sovereign wealth funds
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G.....orporation

    Total assets of about $ 500 billion (with a b) or over $400,000 per person http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D....._Singapore

    (think of that — it is more than half the average wealth of an American (and much more than your wealth sucker unless you are in the top few % by wealth)).

    The freemarket approach is always the best, because they define any country that performs well as a freemarket country even if it has massive massive state ownership of means of production due to the policies of the free market “Socialist Path Party.”

    The free market ideology is a religion. The success of a state which decided it should own the means of prodution is considered proof that capitalism works better than a mixed economy with a sovereign wealth fund.

  53. 53
    Little Boots says:

    @Anoniminous:

    I know. the whole damn zoo.

    just, no, nobody, except a really small, disturbed group actually cares. and yet, they pop up on the internets.

    why? dammit, why?

  54. 54
    Little Boots says:

    @Robert Waldmann:

    Singapore!!!

    I am so glad you brought this up. I knew someone who lived in Singapore for a year. You cannot do ANYTHING in Singapore. It is obsessed with control. and yet, glibertarians hold it out as some big model of freedom, because … capitalism. says it all.

  55. 55
    Little Boots says:

    Libertarianism = the love of freedom that never feels free.

  56. 56
    Anoniminous says:

    @Robert Waldmann:

    The term “free market” is itself a religion. There has never been such a thing. Delve into the workings of any market, historic to modern, and you’ll find regulations. The problem with Conservatives and glibertarians is they can’t fucking think.

  57. 57
    JustRuss says:

    Sure, socialism works in far-off exotic countries like Alaska, but that has no bearing on Real Exceptional America.

  58. 58
    MattR says:

    @Ejoiner: Have to echo what others have said. I would be curious to know which Walmart employees are actually eligble to purchase insurance and how much Walmart pays to subsidize their employees premiums (note that they compare the employer subsidized Walmart premium with the unsubsidized Obamacare rate). They also ignore all the other cost reduction measures for those eligible for subsidies, such as higher actuarial values (plan has to cover 94% of all medical costs if you are under 150% of the federal poverty line) and lower out of pocket maximums.

  59. 59
    jl says:

    @Ejoiner: Could you provide a link to this Walmart study, or at least give a summary?

  60. 60
    Little Boots says:

    @Anoniminous:

    and again, I know I’m harping on the same theme, but nobody, including conservatives, wants their alleged vision. nobody. nobody wants the true dog eat dog of a free market. nobody. everyone wants the protections we’ve all built up over the years.

    the reason for those regulations is nobody, absolutely nobody wants the unregulated thing.

  61. 61
    mclaren says:

    One of the most bizarre pathologies afflicting 21st century America involves ridiculing easy-to-accomplish modest public policy proposals that use proven technology (electric cars, VAT tax, steep progressive income tax, high-speed rail, boosting the minimum wage, dramatically increase the Earned Income Tax, redesigning our cities to make use of light electric rail and trolleys, solar-electric power and nuclear power to replace our current natural gas and oil addiction), while applauding and promoting wacky unproven long-debunked schemes that make use of goofball fantasy technology and junk-science economics (supply side economics, Elon Musk’s “hyperloop,” orbital luxury satellites for vacations for billionaires, non-working Pentagon lightning guns to kill terrorists, equipping navy battleships with laser beam death rays).

  62. 62
    Little Boots says:

    @mclaren:

    ain’t it the truth. it’s truly a tragedy. we do not have to be stuck in this recession. we really don’t. but we decided to elect the stupidest congress in history, for the stupidest reasons.

    it really pisses me off sometimes.

  63. 63
    Anoniminous says:

    @Little Boots:

    One of the more obnoxious aspects of the US is our deeply rooted tendency for Low Church Protestant evangelizing, i.e., stand on a soap box, on a street corner, and yell incoherent gibberish at pedestrians walking by.

    The Internet is a really big soap box and the street corner is global.

  64. 64
    Little Boots says:

    @Anoniminous:

    this is true. it is part of the heritage.

    I love the freedom, real freedom, of the internets. but that is really interesting.

    I think I have to admit to loving the soap box now and then.

  65. 65
    handy says:

    @mclaren:

    Okay so the hyperloop is as obvious in its lunacy as a “orbital luxury satellite for vacations for billionaires” (what now?!), but laser beam death rays on battleships sounds kinda cool!

  66. 66
    jl says:

    I was going to post a Steve Martin Theodoric of York, Medieval Barber clip, but can’t find one.
    Sensible policy-wise, we seem to be stuck there in the U.S.

  67. 67
    Little Boots says:

    i was hoping the orbital luxury satellites were real.

    why must life fail me?

  68. 68
    handy says:

    @Little Boots:

    I’m so there if they have a low interest finance option on one of those.

  69. 69
    Anoniminous says:

    @Little Boots:

    My (unprofessional) opinion is they suffer from functional psychosis (= “loss of contact with reality.”) Most of the time they can simultaneously walk and chew bubble gum and manage to not get run over by a bus while traipsing down the avenues. Yet they still exhibit unusual or bizarre behavior, and difficulty with social interaction in daily life. Challenging them in some way triggers the typical psychotic hallucinations and/or delusions and/or violence.

  70. 70
    handy says:

    So about these laser beam death rays. Can they set them on stun too?

  71. 71
    Little Boots says:

    @Anoniminous:

    exactly, seriously, honestly, it is really this one thing. most of us know conservatives. we do. they are not crazy in most ways. just this one thing: they cannot vote or deal with politics in any way that makes sense for them personally. it is a mystery.

  72. 72
    Amir Khalid says:

    @handy:
    What is the point of a “stun” setting on a laser-beam death ray? Such half-heartedness is only conceived of in liberal progressive fantasies like Star Trek.

  73. 73
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @burnspbesq: Do you think there is a problem with any of the ideas? If you agree with the ideas, it is merely a question of how. We all know it isn’t going to happen tomorrow, but do you think it is something that should not happen? Ever?

  74. 74
    Little Boots says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    hmmm. maybe we don’t have all the answers.

  75. 75
    handy says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    Well you have to have contingencies in certain kinds of situations. How do you know for sure you’re not dealing friendlies? You just can’t make that assumption, Hoss. In the heat of battle you absolutely cannot, not when your weapon of choice is a friggin’ DEATH RAY for godssake!

  76. 76
    Little Boots says:

    @handy:

    the important thing is we all get along. (that’s totally not the important thing, is it?)

  77. 77
    🎉 Martin says:

    @handy: Conservatives shoot their wives, kids, neighbors. Fuck, they shoot their own asses, all in the defense of the 2nd amendment. Vaporizing some peaceful Alderanians is simply the cost of liberty.

  78. 78
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @burnspbesq: Have you simply given up? Work for it.

  79. 79
    Little Boots says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    asleep maybe.

  80. 80
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Little Boots: The attitude pisses me off. It is an identified problem. Fucking fight it.

    I’ve picked a cause. My money (such as it is) and my efforts are going into voting rights. For every fucking one.

  81. 81
    Amir Khalid says:

    @handy:
    Some wise man once said, “Kill them all. The good Lord will know His own.”

  82. 82
    Little Boots says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    fair enough.

  83. 83
    Little Boots says:

    you’re coming off super angry, but you know what, why not. maybe you, and all of us should be more than a little angry.

  84. 84
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Little Boots: Me? People died to ensure that others could vote. It matters more than almost anything. I will never be denied the vote. I have the documents ( they are easy for me) – for others, it is not that easy.

  85. 85
    Little Boots says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    that is all true.

    be angry.

    it really sucks when people try to deny that.

  86. 86
    Little Boots says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    can we at least take a journey together?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=loWXMtjUZWM

  87. 87
    Little Boots says:

    I seriously know you’re right, omnes, I just can’t help myself.

  88. 88
    Little Boots says:

    you’re not pissed, are you?

  89. 89
    Little Boots says:

    is it cause of the heart:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4gpNqB4dnT4

  90. 90
    Little Boots says:

    oh well, good night goobs.

  91. 91
    Little Boots says:

    still miss omnes.

  92. 92
    Little Boots says:

    or we can all love adele together:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rYEDA3JcQqw

  93. 93
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    with Rodman as all four Marx brothers.

    Does Rodman play the piano, like Chico, or the harp, like Harpo? I’m sure he can do Groucho’s part with no effort at all, just a bit of greasepaint and a cigar…

  94. 94
    opiejeanne says:

    @jl: Riverside, Anaheim, and the third slips my memory. San Diego?

  95. 95
    Davebo says:

    It’s not just state lands. Every state in union get’s 50% of royalties gained from mineral rights on federal land in their state with the rest going to the feds.

    Except Alaska where it’s 90% to the state and 10% to the feds.

    Rugged individualists indeed.

  96. 96
    mike in dc says:

    Jobs for everyone sounds pretty good to this unemployed lawyer with six figure debt.

  97. 97
    Aimai says:

    @Ejoiner: how canbthis be remotely meaningful when walmmarts strategy is to use part time employees, below minimum wage, who are actually encouraged to use foodstps and other government assistance to get by? What kind of reliable sffordable healthcare could they offer?

  98. 98
    Citizen_X says:

    @handy:

    laser beam death rays on battleships sounds kinda cool!

    Hmph. S.H.I.E.L.D. would make them fly.

  99. 99
    Chris says:

    @sven:

    It’s that way everywhere. Scratch a conservative, find a nice big government check in their past. Every. Single. Time.

  100. 100
    Barney says:

    Just buy up their stocks and bonds.

    This is called ‘quantitative easing’, and has been going on for some time now. But you should remember that this also involves the rich people getting that public money you use for the purchase (printed, or raised in taxes, or borrowed from other rich people or countries), and continuing to be much richer than other people. ‘Buy their wealth off them’ is not a solution for inequality. You need to take their wealth, with taxes.

  101. 101
    Glocksman says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    Darth Vader to the bounty hunters:
    No disintegrations.”

    @Aimai:

    I’m sure Walmart does offer some good health plans.
    To store management and the executive suite, that is.

    To the ‘associate’ stocking shelves at 3 AM, not so much.

  102. 102
    someofparts says:

    Proud to say I added to the comments on that post. Told them there were enough straw men in those comments to have a bonfire that could be seen from the moon.

  103. 103
    Glocksman says:

    @Little Boots:

    I’m disappointed as well.
    I was looking forward to kicking in a few bucks to the Balloon Juice ASAT fund.

    As the noted philosopher and humanitarian Khan Noonien Singh once said ‘it’s very cold in space’. :)

  104. 104
    gnomedad says:

    @srv:

    “It’s not like he’s even human anymore.”

    Men in Black figured that out years ago.

  105. 105
    Chris says:

    @Barney:

    ‘Buy their wealth off them’ is not a solution for inequality. You need to take their wealth, with taxes.

    This.

    The solution to all our economic problems begins with soaking the rich in taxes. Alas, our current system has decided that’s just not possible.

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    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    @jl:

    A number of communities in the purple to deep red Central Valley California have publicly owned electric utility companies, usually combined with water and irrigation ditricts. That in my experience provide much better service than Peculation Greed and Explosion, or whatever their name is, in certain more liberal areas of the state.

    Heck, Palo Alto, California home of Stanford University and the gliberarians of the Hoover Institute has hippie socialized electricity. As always a libertarian is someone on the public dole who thinks the freemarket is great for the other guy.

  107. 107
    liberal says:

    @Davebo:

    The reasonoids and WaPo editorial board types can scream like stuck pigs all they want, the simple fact is that many left-wing populist economic policies are both popular and possible.

    It’s never been clear to me why the states should get any of the money. It’s on federal land, after all.

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    liberal says:

    The reasonoids and WaPo editorial board types can scream like stuck pigs all they want, the simple fact is that many left-wing populist economic policies are both popular and possible.

    Sadly, land value taxation isn’t a left-wing populist policy (even though it should be). Not surprising, when one considers that, at least sampling the commentariat at BJ, people don’t even understand the notion of urban site value and has so little understanding of economic rent that they think land rent can accrue only on agricultural land, or land with mineral resources.

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    Jay in Oregon says:

    @sven:

    I am from Alaska and the Alaska Permanent Fund is extraordinarily popular. The individualists in our state (and especially the “individualists”) view the dividend checks as a divine right.

    I’m originally from Alaska as well; the PFD made sure that a lot of people in my generation were able to go to college, especially out-of-state. Granted, many of them choose to move back to Alaska, but there would be a lot more ignorant redneck-types in the world without the PFD.

    From time to time, the legislature tries tap into it for special occasions (much as Social Security is borrowed from) or even do away with it entirely; at one point they proposed giving every eligible Alaskan $25,000 lump sum payout and ending the program.

    The voters told them where they, and the horses they rode in on, could go.

  110. 110
    Berial says:

    From David Brin on Google+

    “California… supposedly socialistic, because the Democrats have a 2/3 supermajority… is shockingly in great financial shape. Even more shocking? It’s not spending all the new budget surplus that it hard-won through relentless hard work on trimming costs for 6 years. Hm. What happened to all those forecasts that the dems – unrestrained – would go on a spending spree?

    Instead, today, Governor Jerry Brown forged a general agreement with the heads of Assembly committees to set aside a large part of capital gains taxes in a Rainy Day lock-box against future budget shortfalls in bad times. Surprised?

    http://www.sacbee.com/2013/11/.....hould.html

    If you are surprised, then you pay more attention to Limbaugh stereotypes than to actual facts. If we look at actual outcomes — and exclude wretched cases like Chicago and Detroit — then Democrats nearly always show more fiscal prudence that Republicans. At the Federal level, the correlation is nearly perfect, with all major, unambiguous metrics of US and middle class health improving across the span of Demo Administrations and plummeting across the span of Repub ones.

    These metrics include nearly all that conservatives should care about, like health of the military, military readiness, small business startups and profitability, equity values, declining budget deficits, and so on. Any rational person who cared about the actual health of actual markets in an actual nation would get past stereotypes… and never trust the GOP again with a burnt match.”

  111. 111
    slippytoad says:

    @Little Boots:

    Maybe if these glibtards love Singapore so much, they should move there and establish the Galtian paradise they jack off to constantly.

    The thing about libertarians that I’ve gleaned over the years is they are THE BIGGEST LOUDMOUTH DO-NOTHINGS of all history. They will talk a blue streak about this that and the other, and all you have to do to shut them up (or make them really mad) is just tell them to try cashing that check their big mouth has been writing.

  112. 112
    burnspbesq says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: @Omnes Omnibus:

    Call me skeptical on the merits, very concerned about implementation issues that the author of the RS piece has apparently assumed out of existence. “The devil is in the details” became a truism because it’s true.

  113. 113
    Big Picture Pathologist says:

    @MoeLarryAndJesus:

    I’m sure I’m in the minority here, but I would give Balko a lot more credit for his work in police brutality if he weren’t a fucking libertarian shitstain. It is the government-funded and therefore PUBLICLY ACCOUNTABLE nature of the police that EVEN FUCKING ALLOWED him to do the work in his field. I find violence done in the name of pursuing greater profits — drug gangs, mercenaries, etc.. — to be a far more important problem to many more people. Good luck collecting the names responsible for THOSE ills, Radley!

    Police brutality is absolutely a problem, but I’m not willing to let Balko — and those who employ him — off the hook for doing everything in their power to ensure that police departments will always be struggling to fill their ranks with the best possible candidates due to the relentless assaults on civic spending.

    Seriously, fuck him — he did research on low-hanging fruit that ultimately serves the interests of the anti-gubbmint crowd.

  114. 114
    slippytoad says:

    @Jay in Oregon:

    I just love how Alaska is such an independent-minded place where everyone gets a literal government giveaway.

    The cognitive dissonance explains, to me, why Sarah Palin was so nuts. See, in order to be a successful Republican in that state, one must loudly and harshly articulate an unwavering commitment to a set of principles that shrieks in horror at the idea of a guaranteed check from the government, while simultaneously defending that glaringly out-of-place ideal. Thus, Palin’s inability to form coherent sentences or even hold consistent opinions: she’s been bred in a political hothouse firmly bolted to its own blatant hypocrisy.

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    Howlin Wolfe says:

    @handy: Also, sharks with frickin’ laser beams attached to their heads!

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    Howlin Wolfe says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Omnes, Burnsie feels that his equivalent of “Harrumph! *sniff*” is irrefutable and unanswerable, and has not stuck around for any refutations or replies.

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