AEIdeas

The public policy blog of the American Enterprise Institute

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Discussion: (78 comments)

  1. Che is dead

    “The Utopian schemes of leveling (redistribution of the wealth) . . . are arbitrary, despotic, and in our government, unconstitutional.” — Samuel Adams

    “Efforts to prevent the emergence of social differentiation through engineered homogeneity would not work, and in any case it would require a suppression of the forces that produced differentiation—the free use of human faculties.” — James Madison

    “Property is surely a right of mankind as real as liberty. If property is not as sacred as the laws of God, anarchy and tyranny commence.” — John Adams

  2. “The POTUS cannot spend a dime or even redistribute a dime without approval of a majority Congress”

    LarryG

    Ask Bush and the Republicans about that Medicare part D pizza box.

    1. larry the loser asks: “Ask Bush and the Republicans about that Medicare part D pizza box“…

      So is this finally an admission on your part that the whole medicare thingie is a fraud?

      1. re: ” So is this finally an admission on your part that the whole medicare thingie is a fraud?”

        I have ALWAYS maintained that Medicare has some serious issues but they were made even more serious and critical by the addition of Part D – and little noticed Part C – which basically took away the 20% co-pay that made seniors have skin in the game.

        Both of these were ADDED to Medicare and the two of them C and D – have essentially doubled the tax dollars needed to finance Medicare overall.

        If you required Medicare recipients to pay what it costs to actually provide C and D , then you could get back to the 20% co-pay for B and boos the premiums for people who have over 50K a year in income. Right now, you can be retired with up to 200K a year in retirement income and only have to pay $100 a month when Part B costs the govt and additional $300 a month to finance.

        what I object to is the stronger focus on SS when Medicare is the one that needs attention now.

        1. I have ALWAYS maintained that Medicare has some serious issues but …“…

          Gee larry g I must’ve missed all those other times you were supposedly pointing the massive flaws in that wealth tranfer scam…

          Dang!

          1. ” Gee larry g I must’ve missed all those other times you were supposedly pointing the massive flaws in that wealth tranfer scam”

            not sure you were really listening!

          2. not sure you were really listening“…

            Yet another comment to go into massive tome of ‘idiotic larryisms‘…

  3. If you don’t think the Government can make things you obviously missed out on defense spending (during WWII, Vietnam, etc.), NASA spending, or any other public works spending by any kind of government — even in feudal times the realm understood the power of the public purse.

    1. morganovich

      vic-

      um, no. you have bought into the fallacy.

      1. the government did NOT make most of those things. they were made by private industry and bought by the government. that is not the same thing at all. by your logic, you make ipads, not apple just because you bought one.

      2. such purchases made by government are funded by taking money from the people. thus, each dollar they take from you and spend on an f-18 is money YOU do not have to spend on an ipad. that is NOT the way to drive economic growth. it’s the foolish fallacy of folks like krugman who advocate broken window fallacies and forced seizure and spending because they have mistaken the map (reported gdp) for the terrain (the economy and public wealth and well being).

      you can boost gdp by bulldozing whole towns.

      not only do the guys who drive the bulldozers get paid, but every home must be rebuilt, refurnished, etc.

      i doubt you would claim that this is the route to prosperity.

      but that is precisely the argument that you are making.

      taking my money and spending it for me on things i may not want and that are not investments in future production to meet my desires is how you wreck and economy, not how you get it to grow.

      the “power of the public purse” that you describe is not even zero sum. in most cases it is negative sum. it takes money away from productive uses and funnels them into unproductive ones.

      if you want to see just how true this is, i recommend reading this study:

      http://www.people.hbs.edu/cmalloy/pdffiles/envaloy.pdf

      if the public purse provides the sort of benefits you claim, then one would expect the districts of powerful politicians to thrive as such largess was showered upon them.

      however, even though such districts do see a marked increase in public spending, it is more than offset by a decrease in private investment. each dollar of goodies wipes out $1.20 in private investment. note that this does not even take into account the fact that that $1 of goodies came from someone’s taxes.

      the public purse is a negative sum game in all but the rarest of circumstances. (the federal highway system is likely an exception)

      1. John Mathew

        NASA is a second exception: So much tax money went into R&D that several industires were birthed and bloomed. Our cultural fired-up imaginations were icing on the cake.

        1. NASA is a second exception: So much tax money went into R&D that several industires were birthed and bloomed. Our cultural fired-up imaginations were icing on the cake.

          This type of reasoning is an example of the Broken Window Fallacy. The money wasted by NASA could have been used to create even more industries and products.

  4. The rallying cry of the Democrat Party has been–for as long as I can remember–envy for the rich. It’s an extremely strong, insidious and destructive emotion. It occurs in the best of persons, but it’s always damaging, and it’s always surprising when I hear it displayed. Yet the Democrat Party has gotten away with encouraging hatred, or a kind of get-even-with-them-ism. I admit I still feel the envy sometimes. But I can’t stand feeling that way anymore. It’s one of the seven deadly sins for a reason yet it’s part of the Democrat party platform.

  5. PeakTrader

    Vic Volpe says: “…even in feudal times the realm understood the power of the public purse.”

    That power created a thousand years of economic stagnation, called the Dark Ages.

    1. Economic stagnation??? The Dark Ages???
      Dante, Giotto, da Vinci
      Gothic cathedrals — taking the resources of local artisans over one-hundred years to build.
      Industrial water-ways to supply power to medieval industrial enterprises.

      Money is money. Whether it’s Boeing or NASA, either is a builder. Potato chips or starships.

      Instead of following people who want to make our goverrnment ineffectual and use their political power to stymie progress, let us look for new leadership that promotes our industriousness and will put our craftsmanship and creativity to good use.

      1. let us look for new leadership that promotes our industriousness and will put our craftsmanship and creativity to good use

        HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!

        As if the main problem with politics for as long as governments have existed is somehow not finding good men to run governments. Only a fool thinks that all we need to do is find these good men. This is an impossible task. The best you can do is to devise a government such that is doesn’t poison us all when inevitably the corrupt and evil come into power.

        Additionally, your crowing about Boeing and NASA shows astonishing ignorance. That these companies built things using resources that were forcibly taken from the private sector, rather than financed voluntarily, demonstrates that what they built wasn’t as valuable as what would have been built if the government hadn’t forced tax payers to finance these two boondoggles.

        1. Only a fool thinks that all we need to do is find these good men.

          Very true. The ring of power corrupts all that wield it no matter how good and noble their initial intentions. That is a point lost on most utopians who advocate for the state from either the left or the right.

          1. morganovich

            i would even go a step beyond that.

            even if, by some amazing chance, we WERE able to find the best, brightest, and most ethically incorruptible men even to walk the earth, they still could not do it.

            there is simply now way that any group of men could have enough knowledge to drive an economy as well fro the top down as individual demand and voluntary transactions can from the bottom up.

            it is difficult enough to get such information to flow to the top of a company that makes just a few things. it is impossible to do so in somehting as complex as a national economy.

            i think framing the argument as one about good vs evil men is as dangerous as it is irrelevant.

            the danger stems from the notion that “our guy is not evil/corrupt/bad/etc” and it shifts the debate to who is and is not evil/virtuous and therefore misses the more important point that is matters little as the task is impossible for anyone.

            the genius of the american founders lay in recognizing this and placing the rights of the individual above the powers government. whether by accident or design, this unleashed a wave of productive capacity, economic growth, and a rise in wealth and standard of living that is literally unprecedented in human history.

            then some “good men” coma along and push through the new deal and cause a depression, the great society and drive an entire race that was steadily gaining ground economically into reverse and the CRA which bankrupts the folks it was intended to help.

            government is simply too unresponsive, poorly informed, and inflexible to match bottom up decision making.

            the merit if the politicians is irrelevant.

            as soon as your start from “the government needs to step in and stimulate the economy” you have already lost.

          2. even if, by some amazing chance, we WERE able to find the best, brightest, and most ethically incorruptible men even to walk the earth, they still could not do it.

            I could not agree more. My comment was to those who do not understand the economic calculation argument and want to keep ignoring. Just as Mises assumed that the New Socialist Man creation as a given and went on to show that there was no way that central planning could work I have assumed that we could do away with the impossibility of central planning and argue that human nature being what it is power would corrupt all those that held it, just as Acton wrote in his letter to the Bishop of London.

            The utopians on the left and right do not seem to understand that their hopes and dreams are not applicable to a very human society run by human beings. They can wish for all-knowing, benevolent angels to run society but such beings are not to be found anywhere on this world.

      2. PeakTrader

        Here are some comments from the book “The Fall of Rome: And the End of Civilization:”

        “What I find amazing is the extent of roman technological advancement (including a water-run wheat mill in southern France). Even more amazing is that much of it was lost would not be re-invented for several hundred years. I assume that at first maintenance stopped, and then no one knew how things worked and then no one knew what these things used to do. It wasn’t just a political collapse/change; everything was lost, and in a relatively short time.”

        “…living standards must necessarily have fallen given the collapse of “international” trade. In the case of Rome, by “international” I mean within the empire–but the empire was so large that such trade was in effect international. If people in Gaul could eat bread made with Egyptian wheat, then they didn’t have to grow their own and could devote their efforts to more profitable activities. Once Rome fell, every little kingdom was responsible for feeding and clothing itself.”

        “A startling decline in western standards of living…the best integration of archaeology and economics I have seen; it is also a first-rate economic history in its own right, as well as a history of pottery.”

        1. Morganovich,

          “even if, by some amazing chance, we WERE able to find the best, brightest, and most ethically incorruptible men even to walk the earth, they still could not do it.”

          Agreed. Still, don’t you find it amazing the ones who have the most burning fever to control the economy and the people are usually the least competent and most corrupt? If it’s my destiny to be bossed around by politicans, I’d at least prefer it to be my men and women of actual accomplishment rather than no-talent hucksters like Obama, Pelosi, and Reid.

          1. argh, wish there was an edit option in the comments..

          2. Paul

            Ditto on the edit function.

            Perhaps men and women of actual accomplishment don’t need to become politicians. Most of the smart people I know say they don’t want those jobs.

            Do you suppose we could get a “none-of-the-above” choice on our ballots so that if “nota” won, that office just wouldn’t be filled?

      3. PeakTrader

        Vic Volpe says “…people who want to make our goverrnment ineffectual.”

        Government has been effective, e.g. making health care several times more expensive for society, just so some people can have free or cheap health care.

      4. LOL…The cathedrals were not built by ‘taking’ the resources from local artisans. They were built by the generation of surpluses that came when the climate was favourable and agricultural productivity exploded. Some parts of the ‘Dark Ages’ were clearly not very dark at all. As productivity grew so did populations. People actually grew taller and healthier and the cathedrals were built to celebrate the economic progress.

      5. Vic

        Instead of following people who want to make our goverrnment ineffectual and use their political power to stymie progress, let us look for new leadership that promotes our industriousness and will put our craftsmanship and creativity to good use.

        Look in the mirror. There’s the leader you’re looking for. That’s the best possible person to promote your industriousness, and put your craftsmanship and creativity to good use.

      6. vic, your statement is mistaken. those geniuses belong to the Remaissance not to the Dark Ages.
        Dante Alighieri (Born: June 1, 1265, Florence, Died: September 14, 1321, Ravenna)
        Giotto (Born: 1267, Florence, Died: January 8, 1337, Florence)
        Leonardo da Vinci (Born: April 15, 1452, Died: May 2, 1519)

    1. Lemme get this straight…..

      You are in awe of a guy who was willing to force you to pay for his own political glory. There was no prize for the American people who paid for this crap. And useless bragging rights are pretty expensive.

      This is the same president who ensured that he got a lifetime supply of cuban cigars just before he signed the economic sanctions prohibiting trade with Cuba. I mean, he literally held off signing the prohibition until he got the word that what he wanted was secured. He then reached into his drawer, pulled out the document and signed it.

      That’s how “effective” government is. I’m from the Soviet Union. I assure you that government was very effective – for Stalin, for Lenin, for Khrushchev, for Brezhnev….but not for ordinary Russians. Governments do for the mighty at the expense of the ordinary people.

      1. methinks: I’m from the Soviet Union.

        Then you should be aware that the primary purpose of the space program was strategic. It moved investment from the development of nuclear missile technology into peacetime exploration of space. The future would be decided, not by nuclear war, but by the system which was best able to compete technologically. It was a brilliant move in the Cold War, and quite possibly helped deter continuing nuclear-tipped confrontations.

        1. PeakTrader

          Zachriel says: “…moved investment from the development of nuclear missile technology into peacetime exploration of space.”

          However, it seems, the Soviets began that and led the U.S. in the 1950s.

          I think, the U.S. was able to walk (develop missle technology) and chew gum (explore space) at the same time.

          1. PeakTrader: I think, the U.S. was able to walk (develop missle technology) and chew gum (explore space) at the same time.

            The U.S. could not only invest in space, but because of a strong market economy, could also provide consumer goods, even integrating many of the discoveries of the space program into new consumer products.

            Nevertheless, it had the effect to changing the global political dynamic.

        2. morganovich

          zach-

          oh come now. that is romantacist wishful thinking.

          the winner of that particular contest was not decided by which government went to the moon or had more jets of missiles.

          it was decided by one nation allowing its citizens to prosper (by staying out of their way) and become rich and prosperous while the other drove them into penury by attempting to run the economy.

          most of the technology that evolved in the US had nothing to do with government.

          what you call a “brilliant move” was a deliberate provocation and a response to sputnik. kennedy was an utter fool around foreign policy. bay of pigs, cuban missile crisis, viet nam, you name it. he was a disaster.

          you are just engaging in romantic thinking here and missing the real issue.

          going to space did nothing to reduce cold war tension. it merely intensified the competition.

          the pace of military development on both sides did not slow at all and deployments and active conflict become more, not less prevalent.

          but the real issue here is that the space program was insignificant in the fall of the soviet union.

          it was their economic philosophy that failed them, not their rockets.

          1. morganovich: it was decided by one nation allowing its citizens to prosper (by staying out of their way) and become rich and prosperous while the other drove them into penury by attempting to run the economy.

            That was the means, and demonstrated to the world the advantages of a market economy.

        3. Citizen B.

          I agree with Zach on this particular subject but I am glad to see more private enterprise now involved. It looks like Space X vehicles will be used extensively by NASA in the future.

          1. morganovich

            zach-

            i must confess that i have no idea how you think going to the moon reduced the threat of conflict.

            it was brazen tripumphalism. it was an escalation of a nasty race, not a climb down.

            what, we went to the moon and suddenly russia stopped building missiles and tanks, getting involved in war like viet nam, and laid off the war rhetoric?

            going to the moon was not some magic symbol that changed everyhting or demonstrated victory.

            victory was demonstrated through wealth, standard of living, freedom, health, etc.

            the moon was a tiny side show that while it got everyone excited for a little while ultimately meant next to nothing in terms of geopolitical balance particularly in comparison to the rest of kennedy’s blundering.

            i must confess i really do not understand what you are driving at here.

            what is it you think that the moon trip did? what actual effects can you point to or even logically support? i’m just not seeing it.

            the moon trip was just a sideshow to get americans excited and sucker people into wanting to pay for federal programs that produced little of use.

        4. Oh, Zachy, how naive. The war was NEVER going to be decided with nuclear weapons. Self-annihilation provides a powerful disincentive. These are just scare-tactics used on you (and us in the Soviet Union) to demand tribute from us. Don’t be so easily fooled by your political overlords.

        5. Then you should be aware that the primary purpose of the space program was strategic. It moved investment from the development of nuclear missile technology into peacetime exploration of space. The future would be decided, not by nuclear war, but by the system which was best able to compete technologically. It was a brilliant move in the Cold War, and quite possibly helped deter continuing nuclear-tipped confrontations.

          Heh. Yes, those clever Soviets were able to redirect competitive efforts between themselves and the US from a race to see which could create the largest number if instances of Mutually Assured Destruction, to a harmless race to the Moon, by simply launching that little Sputnik thingy.

          Such a double-dare challenge couldn’t be ignored by a red-blooded American like Kennedy, so naturally, he responded by seeing and raising the Soviets by as many of his own dollars taxpayer dollars as was necessary to get to the Moon first, resulting in his losing all interest in nuclear weapons.

          The plan worked!

          What isn’t as well known, and Methinks may be able to shed some light on this, is that in the Soviet Union the choice of challenges was hotly debated, and the final choice of a race to the moon was only slightly favored over a challenge to find the first real unicorn.

          1. Citizen B.

            Ron, here is some info on Sputnik I & II. Sputnik I flew on 4 Oct 1957 at 184 lbs and one month later Sputnik II at 1100 lbs. That is impressive tech momentum.

          2. Cit B

            Ron, here is some info on Sputnik I & II. Sputnik I flew on 4 Oct 1957 at 184 lbs and one month later Sputnik II at 1100 lbs. That is impressive tech momentum.

            Thanks. I hate to admit it, but I remember those events. That impressive achievement caused a lot of concern at the time.

            http://www.mentallandscape.com/Sputnik1_GermanHam.mp3

          3. …to a harmless race to the Moon, by simply launching that little Sputnik thingy.

            Yes, I’m aware Kennedy wasn’t President in 1957. Consider it poetic license.

        6. “It moved investment from the development of nuclear missile technology into peacetime exploration of space.”

          A successful “investment” means a return on your money. How much did we realize in profit from a dozen guys walking on the moon?

          “The future would be decided, not by nuclear war, but by the system which was best able to compete technologically.”

          And so rocket ships to the moon was the only possible way to compete technologically. Got it.

          1. Ron H: A successful “investment” means a return on your money.

            Reducing nuclear confrontation has significant value.

          2. Not to mention electronic miniaturization and the plethora of satellite technologies such as for communications and Earth sciences.

          3. John Dewey

            zachriel: “Not to mention electronic miniaturization and the plethora of satellite technologies such as for communications and Earth sciences.”

            Do you really believe that satellite technologies and electronic miniaturization would not have developed anyway? Do you really believe all those billions of dollars were necessary?

          4. “Reducing nuclear confrontation has significant value.”

            I see zero evidence the space program achieved that. It’s just a rationale to spend money.

      2. Methinks

        You are in awe of a guy who was willing to force you to pay for his own political glory. There was no prize for the American people who paid for this crap. And useless bragging rights are pretty expensive.

        No prize? What are you talking about? are you forgetting Tang? Surely worth $109 billion in 2010 dollars.

        Oh, that’s right, you

        1. The Tang mustache was my first lipstick. I kid. I have no idea how Americans drank tang or soft drinks, for that matter. I guess it’s a taste you have to acquire in childhood. That and twinkies. But, I’m a HUGE fan of space ice cream. That was worth all the money stolen from you Americans to develop! :)

          1. But, I’m a HUGE fan of space ice cream. That was worth all the money stolen from you Americans to develop!

            Hmm. Then I stand corrected! I had forgotten about the ice cream. It WAS worth all that money. :)

          2. what is this space ice cream you speak of? is it still available?

            Zachriel, I stand corrected. Space ice cream makes all those billions and diverted resources worth it.

          3. Paul

            what is this space ice cream you speak of? is it still available?

            Why it’s this wonderful stuff of course.

            You can find it at Amazon among other places.

            I’m now convinced that $109 billion was a small price to pay for the development of not only Tang, but freeze dried ice cream!

          4. I can get freeze-dried ice cream sandwiches on Amazon now? And with free shipping? Snap! The space program is jeenyus!

        2. Citizen B.

          Ron, here is the NASA fiscal 2010 budget. NASA is “frozen” at the 2010 level. Tang does not seem to dominate spending but rather space exploration, science and support activities for other federal agencies does.

          1. Cit B

            Ron, here is the NASA fiscal 2010 budget. NASA is “frozen” at the 2010 level. Tang does not seem to dominate spending but rather space exploration, science and support activities for other federal agencies does.

            Of course, you’re right. In light of NASA’s new mission and sever budget constraints, it was inevitable that some things be cut.

            Actually, my snarky remark was about the fact that Tang was developed for the space program, and is one of the few “benefits” I can remember resulting from the Apollo program considering the enormous costs.

            Don’t get me wrong, I love the whole space program, but just don’t think it has been an appropriate use of taxpayers’ money.

    2. The American government spent hundreds of billions of American’s money just so one of their officials could blunder the line “One small step for man. One giant leap for mankind.” The first sentence should have been “One small test for a man.” As Armstrong said it, it doesn’t make sense.

      If getting to the moon was so important and helpful, why hasn’t anyone else done it and why haven’t we gone back to the moon in forty years? The moon race, as with much that the government does, was about the ego of those in power, and had nothing at all to do with the well being of the ordinary American.

      1. If getting to the moon was so important and helpful, why hasn’t anyone else done it and why haven’t we gone back to the moon in forty years?“…

        Damn good question ken

        There were reams and reams of papers written back in the fifties, sixties and into the early seventies talking about supposedly vast potential of having manufacturing both on the moon and in near earth orbit…

        I the early seventies I was a chemist, one of many thousands actually working on adhesives that would work in the heat, cold, and high cosimic energies of space vacuum…

        I wonder how many billions of private dollars went down that rat hole…

        When Nixon cut off further moon launches there was at least for a short time a push by private industry to take over the space program…

        That was movement was quashed by the wailings and whinings of NASA and other government agencies…

  6. Benjamin Cole

    “Government can’t give us good things. Government doesn’t make things, it just redistributes them.”–P.J. O’Rourke.

    Actually, he is giving the federal government a pass.

    Worse than not making things, the federal government taxes productive citizens to buy things, and those things go into the black hole of the federal ward, never to see by the public again.

    Think military outlays. Totally parasitic, in classic economic terms.

    1. Think military outlays. Totally parasitic, in classic economic terms“…

      Well pseudo benny how did you forget about the totally parasitic entitlement spending?

  7. There is a C-SPAN link up there for Burt Rutan also. Try that.

    1. Vic

      There is a C-SPAN link up there for Burt Rutan also. Try that.

      That’s an entirely different story. Rutan is a *private* individual spending *private* money on a venture of his own choosing. He hasn’t decided how best to to spend MY money like Kennedy did.

      The financial risks and rewards belong entirely to Rutan and Allen, although we get to enjoy watching his efforts and will almost certainly benefit in the future.

  8. PeakTrader

    Vic Volpe says “…let us look for new leadership that promotes our industriousness and will put our craftsmanship and creativity to good use.”

    So, you don’t like the old leadership, after an additional $1 trillion a year in spending (compared to 2007) and over $1 trillion a year of budget deficits:

    http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS12300000

  9. PeakTrader

    “The Zero Sum Fallacy”

    Would you rather have $100, because someone made $1 billion or have $1, because someone made $1 million?

    1. morganovich

      peak-

      the sad truth is that most would choose the latter.

      this has been shown over and over in economics experiments and game theory simulations. one of my professors in college actually made us replicate this experiment on freshman because none of us could believe that people were so systematically irrational.

      they are.

      even ivy league economic students show this tendency in quite a pronounced fashion.

      the game makes it a little less obvious what you are choosing, but ultimately, most people would rather have $2 if you got $1 than get $5 if you got $10.

      they clearly and repeatedly choose $2 over $5.

      this is precisely why it is so critical not to let democracy anywhere near economic issues.

      in a system driven by rights, the $5 and $10 outcome prevails, but in one dominated by popular vote, you get $1, $2.

      seeking personal welfare via voluntary transaction is different than voting for it in that it does not allow for coercive takings.

      it is precisely that requirement of voluntary transactions that is required to get to maximized outcomes. take it way, and you get results below the possibility frontier.

      1. this is precisely why it is so critical not to let democracy anywhere near economic issues.

        in a system driven by rights, the $5 and $10 outcome prevails, but in one dominated by popular vote, you get $1, $2.

        Democracy fails on more than economics issues. It is all about power and logrolling to rob some for the benefit of others. My son found it amusing that when that great blowhard, President Teddy Roosevelt, asked Franz Josef what an emperor did in modern times when monarchies were passing from history he replied that it was the duty of the emperor to protect his people from their governments.

      2. this is precisely why it is so critical not to let democracy anywhere near economic issues

        +1

        Bingo.

      3. in a system driven by rights, the $5 and $10 outcome prevails, but in one dominated by popular vote, you get $1, $2.

        I believe that’s commonly referred to as “leveling the playing field”.

        1. Or, more accurately, just leveling. Kind of the way nuclear blasts level, but using economics.

      4. the sad truth is that most would choose the latter.

        Uh-huh. I don’t know about you, but a version of that question has always been among our interview questions to ensure we don’t hire idiots with Ivy League pedigree (so many of those).

        1. Seriously?

          That must be why so many of those folks are working at Walmart.

          1. You would not believe how many people answer this way. You will never ever become rich counting and envying your neighbour’s fortune.

          2. “In Ireland people have an interesting attitude to success; they look down on it. In America, you look up at . . . the mansion on the hill and say, “One day . . . that could be me.” In Ireland, they look up at the mansion on the hill and go, “One day I’m gonna get that bastard.”

            ~Bono from U2 (pre-Obama’s America)

          3. Yeah, Paul. That time is long gone. Mourn it and move on. I sometimes think that without the counter-weight of the Soviet Union to scare Americans with the reality of communism, this country is destined to become the American version of the Soviet Union. The signs are all there.

            This must have also been the pre-global warming Bono. The post-global warming Bono was flying the favourite hat (just the hat) he accidentally left behind on a private plane from America to where ever he was in Europe while screeching that we must temper our consumption to save Gaia!

  10. PeakTrader

    Morganovich, yes.

    However, it may be similar to the choice of being 5’10” tall with everyone else 5’5” tall, or being 6’0” tall with everyone else 6’5” tall.

    1. PeakTrader

      Of course, I’d rather have $1 million just because someone else made $1 billion.

    2. ??

      I didn’t know I had that choice. Who knew?

      1. PeakTrader

        Now you know. And you may have the choice of building hotels on Park Place.

        1. I meant a choice of being 5’10 or 6′.

          1. PeakTrader

            And I meant a choice of building hotels on Pacific Avenue or Park Place.

  11. Actually, as I read your article about zero-sum thinking, I realized how Marxist and atheistic the concept is. We have made nothing from nothing and have found everything ready to use with our effort. Zero-sum thinking implies that resources are finite. Many times in history and especially in my lifetime it has been declared that our resources will expire. Yet we always find that there are many more resources than previously believed (eg. see fracking, per acre yield etc.) Zero-sum thinking is greed and fear in action. It is what kept primitive groups of people from using and developing their abilities talents and gifts. In short, it is greed and envy in action.

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