Thursday, March 06, 2008

Speaking of Fire in the Belly...

...what happened to mine? I was reading through old threads on The Firing Line and found one from 2001 where some guy was complaining about how much money Bill Gates had in his Scrooge McDuck vault. Given today's demotion of Billy Boy to Number Three on the big list, I'll roll out this old fisking for your perusal:

He was not rich when he started. Big deal. He still has more money than he personally needs.
Needs? I wasn't aware that freedom was a needs-based condition. How many bullets do you need in your magazines? How many guns do you need to own? How fast does your car need to go? Do you really need that fast of a CPU in your PC? Part of the magic of this nation is that need doesn't enter into our economy, else Ben & Jerry's and Hagen Dazs would be Tango Uniform inside of a week.
Despite the hatred of welfare so often found amongst conservatives, there are indeed some people who truly need it.
We only guarantee the pursuit of happiness here. Catching it is up to you.
Why does it hurt that this man pay a vastly larger share of the costs
Why should we endorse using the guns of the state to extort a larger percentage of money from this person, simply because he has the audacity to have it, and we think it could be better spent elswhere? Down that line of thinking lies all sorts of nastiness, from the confiscation of farms from the kulaks to the looting of Foot Locker stores during urban riots.
when his wealth is made possible by our consumer environment and our money which is all created on a collective basis.
I don't know about you, but I'm not part of any "collective". Nothing gets done on a "collective basis"; there are only bazillions of individual human beings who make individual decisions to drive a Ford or eat at Burger King. I recall my purchases of various Microsoft products fairly well, and am quite sure that I was not under the control of the Hive Mind or ordered to purchase them by the State.
I believe something like 70% of all money in this nation is controlled by less than 1% of the population. That pisses me off.
I don't care if 70% of the cash in this land was controlled by one guy. More power to him! Look, prosperity is not a finite item like a Domino's pizza, whereby if Bill Gates has eight slices of pepperoni and extra cheese, then you and I have to eat the cardboard box; prosperity, wealth, capital, money, value is something that is created by effort, inspiration, intelligence, and sometimes pure dumb luck.

Think of a lottery winner; how much of his money came out of your pocket? Unless you bought a ticket, none. When you gave Microsponge your money, did you feel you got value in return? If not, return the product and demand a refund; if so, then what matters it to you how many other people made the same transaction? Why should the people who make the least use of this vast leviathan of a welfare state have to pony up the largest share of its cost in total dollars as well as percentages of income taken? Billy Boy probably pays more in taxes than everyone on this board put together, and for what? He's sure not gonna make use of public schools or hospitals. All the return he gets on those tax dollars is some indifferent pothole repair on his street, the Heathen Chinee Navy kept away from the coasts, and a horde of federal lawyers who are payed with his tax dollars hounding him with ridiculous charges for being too successful.

Once upon a time, America used to worship the underdog. We'd send our kids to play high school football so that they could learn that sometimes the other guy may be bigger and faster and stronger, but that what counted most was fire in the belly, the grit to get knocked down and get back up and try again.

Now, in everything from income taxes to Japanese car companies to the silly federal harassment of Microsoft, we're teaching our kids that if the other guy's bigger and faster and stronger, just whine to the ref and maybe he'll make the other team wear lead boots.

Capitolism works by our government producing a system and a currency, and then we use that system to divide up labor so we can get more done.
I'll leave you with a quote from noted hardcore conservative thinker, Hank Thoreau:
Yet this government never of itself furthered any enterprise, but by the alacrity with which it got out of its way. It does not keep the country free. It does not settle the West. It does not educate. The character inherent in the American people has done all that has been accomplished; and it would have done somewhat more, if the government had not sometimes got in its way. For government is an expedient, by which men would fain succeed in letting one another alone; and, as has been said, when it is most expedient, the governed are most let alone by it. Trade and commerce, if they were not made of india-rubber, would never manage to bounce over obstacles which legislators are continually putting in their way; and if one were to judge these men wholly by the effects of their actions and not partly by their intentions, they would deserve to be classed and punished with those mischievous persons who put obstructions on the railroads.


Blackwing1 said...

Hmmm...wearing lead boots.

Reminds me of "Harrison Bergeron", one of the few pieces of Vonnegut's work that wasn't crap.

I forget the opening line, something like, "The world was perfect. Everyone was finally equal, in every way."

Jerry said...

Amen! Wish we could get that message accross to about half the population.

OA said...

"I believe something like 70% of all money in this nation is controlled by less than 1% of the population. That pisses me off."

Translation: "He's got it. I don't. It's not fair." These are the idiots that thought holding their breath until they turned blue was a legitimate way of getting seconds on dessert.

Selfish cocksuckers like that are why I wouldn't care if 90% of the world just up and died.

Aaron said...

All envy based 'reasoning' (and I use that term under advisement) aside, what about all the jobs created by Microsoft? Isn't that a far better way for 'the rich' to put money back into the economy? Far better than government hand outs.

And besides, does anyone really think that further government meddling will make things better for 'the poor'? If they control as much of the flow of money as they're accused of, they'll just raise costs to off set tax losses.

Aaron said...

Oops, that didn't make much sense. I meant how much the rich control the flow of money, not the poor.

DirtCrashr said...

Wealthy people moving out of California due to its insanely unfriendly regulatory climate and labor practices has cost the state millions in revenue and in jobs.
I wish they had used that leverage to do "something" to fix the State but the problem here is completely structural: the Legislature is not answerable to the people because it and the districts "governed" are gerrymandered to the advantage and whole-ownership of the Democrat Party. A token portion of Republicans are allowed to squabble at the Trough with the rest of the pigs. They run things they way they see fit in an authoritarian "Libertal Fascist" manner without any real competition.

GreatBlueWhale said...

A five year old whines that, "His piece is bigger than mine!" and expects "somthing to be done".

They've never grown up and never will.

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

Wow, did the sun come out outside? It sure seems brighter in here.

aczarnowski said...

We only guarantee the pursuit of happiness here. Catching it is up to you.

That is a beautiful string of words Tam.

Michael said...

So I'm in a restaurant the other day waiting for a friend when I hear two women discussing taxes at the next table. The conversation went something like this.

Well if they can afford an expensive toy like a yacht, then they should have to pay more for it. It’s only fair – yada – yada – yada.

At this point I couldn’t keep my mouth shut so I turned to look her in the eye and said, as sarcastically as I could, “So each according to his means, and each according to his needs then – right?”

I swear to Uller that she brightened up and said, “Yeah! That’s it!”

And these people vote. . .

Dr. StrangeGun said...

Some people need the invisible backhand of Adam Smith.

Lorimor said...

Capitalism is the worst system yet devised-except for all the others.

HTRN said...

It reminds me of the ancient motto of leftists and small children "Don't be greedy, give it to me!"

Hating Microsoft? A company that made the owners billionaires, and 1500 of the employees millionaires? Like others said, it's pure envy. Microsoft, for all it's faults, is fairly generous with it's employees - for one, it had/has a nice stock option setup(hence the 1500 employee millionaires).

Cowboy Blob said...

Hey, Citizen! You don't NEED that second Kidney, do you?

brbiswrite said...

"I don't know about you, but I'm not part of any "collective".

I guess it depends on how one defines collective. Collective has a bad connotation ever since communists decided to use it.

However, a bunch of goofy individualists decided that they were more powerful as group when they wrote: "We, the People..."

Collective rights are in the constitution: the right to peaceably assemble and to petition the gov't for redress. To vote.

If you have mutual funds or insurance, you are acting collectively.

I don't want to nit-pick, but no one, these days, acts, gets ahead, or amasses wealth independently of others.

I don't begrudge others their wealth, and I don't want any of theirs.


perlhaqr said...

Dr. Strangegun: You have brightened my day, Sir.

Anonymous said...

Tam, You writ some beautiful stuff...JimB