Earth To Axelrod


Sitting here in a Denny’s on the outskirts of St. Louis, I can’t help but notice a delightful elderly couple a few tables over. She’s small framed, her white hair pulled back while she sits there demurely, her slender hands around a cup of coffee as she smiles softly at a person I assume is her husband. He’s wearing one of those beige lightweight jackets that has the word “Members” on the front. Peering through his silver metal framed glasses, he’s diligently applying just the right mixture of butter and syrup to his pancakes. They arrived about ten minutes ago in a white Lincoln Land-Yacht, which is parked just outside the front door.

I wonder how much money he has in his wallet? I’m sorry, is that an untoward thought? Does it strike a jarring chord? Stay with me here, because I’m not done. What are the odds that he has a hundred, or maybe two hundred bucks on him? Yes, let’s say he’s got that much on his person. Unless he’s armed, which I doubt, I’m pretty sure that I could quickly relieve him of the contents of that wallet. But since I choose not to rob this couple, can we conclude that I’ve just given them two hundred dollars? Then again, after considering my own bank account balance, I think I need the money more than they. In fact, I’m sure of it. What’s more, I don’t have two hundred bucks to give him, which is what I would be doing if I didn’t rob him, so I have no choice but to go after the wallet. Bad luck for you, Gramps.

If any of the preceding made sense to you, your position in the Obama administration awaits. David Axelrod will welcome you with an open wallet, though not his of course. On Meet The Press yesterday, the President’s senior advisor rationalized raising tax rates for those earning over $250,000 thus: “…we can’t afford to borrow another $700 billion to pay for tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires.” So people keeping what they earn is akin to the government borrowing money? Earth to Axelrod: It’s not your money, dweeb.

Yes, I understand the economic stipulation that the government is supposed to plan expenditures based upon anticipated revenue, and that a decrease in revenue equals a shortfall in expenditures. I get it. But the planted axiom in Axelrod’s formulation is that your earnings do not belong to you, but rather to the government. Therefore, whatever portion of your earnings you get to keep is not the result of your toil and talent, but of government benevolence. This is the working assumption of the left, from the White House to the editorial page of the New York Times, from the ivory tower to Havana. Your property is really not yours. And when you successfully lay claim to it, it is the despot who feels that he has been cheated.

Why is it wrong for me to rob this gentle old couple of their property, yet entirely acceptable to some that such as Mr. Axelrod can stake a claim on the earnings of them and others? Does an official title erase the distinction between right and wrong, between charity and theft? In the last analysis, government is force, and theft in the name of compassion or utopia is still theft. If the Obama administration’s moral compass is so horribly askew as to make these truths incomprehensible, then the “change” they advertised was nothing more than a euphemism for the sort of thuggery the Founders warned against.

There are 34 comments.

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  1. Inactive

    How bad is the liberal attitude toward money?

    At the 3:30 mark, listen as Rep. Marie Donigan (a Democrat, of course) literally shrugs off any suggestion that public funds are limited. The woman honestly believes that money falls from the sky or grows on trees. It would be funny if it were not downright scary and infuriating.

    It is a shocking reminder that the most powerful country on Earth is being run by people who are profoundly stupid and abysmally ignorant, with a worldview totally detached from any known conception of Settled Reality – not just idiots, but insane idiots.

    • #1
    • November 16, 2010 at 2:53 am
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  2. Inactive
    Mark Woodworth: Is all taxation theft?

    In abstract theory, all taxation is legalized theft, absolutely. You must start from that premise in order to keep government small and limited.

    [W]hat are the necessary, minimal, functions of government [?]

    There are basically three:

    (1) National Defense — An army is expensive, non-productive and absolutely necessary. If you do not have national defense, you have nothing, because you cannot protect your citizens and their property. The Ancient Romans alleviated the cost-effectiveness problem somewhat by putting the army to work building roads and bridges during times of peace.

    (2) Disaster Relief — A natural disaster can easily overwhelm the resources of a regional government. In that case, the central government (with greater resources) may offer help. Note that I wrote “may offer.” It is important for regional governments to maintain as much autonomy as possible, without actually seceding from the national union.

    (3) Food Supply — Nothing stirs up popular revolt quicker than empty bellies, so a consistent food supply must be maintained. The central government may use public funds to buy surplus food and stockpile it as a hedge against regional or national famine in the future.

    Everything else is money-wasting meddling.

    • #2
    • November 16, 2010 at 3:34 am
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  3. Inactive

    As I mentioned on another thread, Republicans and conservatives have, up to now, done a very poor job educating the public. There is no excuse for this. Right-wing “propaganda” has a big advantage because it is based on common sense and well-established socio-economic principles that the average person has no trouble understanding.

    We must start by dispelling a widespread, deeply-entrenched misconception: that the Federal government is a money tree with unlimited funds. It must be made clear that the government has no money. Every penny it takes in, and (more to the point) every penny it spends comes out of a taxpayer’s pocket. Not only that, but every entity that the government “runs” (like the Post Office) is a money-loser.

    Once we establish that, we can advance the argument by telling people bluntly that: “Whenever the government offers you some sort of entitlement goody, you are being bribed with your own money.”

    Then we can begin encouraging them to wean themselves off the government teat by explaining that almost everything (espcially schools and charities) works best when conducted at the local level.

    If we can get those three points across, everything else is easy.

    • #3
    • November 16, 2010 at 4:17 am
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  4. Member

    Dave, I’ve been trying to communicate this idea to a friend of mine for so long–and failing miserably. Now I can just forward your post to her. Beautiful!

    • #4
    • November 16, 2010 at 5:01 am
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  5. Inactive

    I love Dr. Walter E. Williams’ quote: “To take money out of my own pocket to give to the less fortunate is called charity. Taking money out of someone else’s pocket to give to the less fortunate is called stealing.

    Beautiful illustration, Dave!

    • #5
    • November 16, 2010 at 5:42 am
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  6. Contributor

    Bravo, Dave! This is a point that conservatives really must belabor until it becomes second nature to the American people. I suspect it already is, but somehow dimwits like David Axelrod are still able to get away with spouting such claptrap.

    • #6
    • November 16, 2010 at 5:51 am
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  7. Founder

    Political philosophy and gorgeous prose…at Denny’s. Dave–only Dave.

    • #7
    • November 16, 2010 at 5:55 am
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  8. Member

    “…then the “change” they advertised was nothing more than a euphemism for the sort of thuggery the Founders warned against.”

    Dave, you are spot on. And you wouldn’t believe the numbers of residents of the People’s Republic of Del Mar (California) who, themselves, have made it and want to pull up the drawbridges and prevent others from following in their footsteps. Instead, many of them openly and without apology wish to redistribute the income and wealth of other people at the point of the State’s gun.

    It bears repeating to observe that most California voters either a) fail to realize we are in a hole or b) do not know the First Rule of Holes.

    • #8
    • November 16, 2010 at 5:57 am
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  9. Contributor
    Dave Carter Post author

    Peter, I came close to going on a first-rate rant on this topic, …but the Cowboy Chopped Steak is so delicious!

    • #9
    • November 16, 2010 at 6:05 am
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  10. Inactive

    If you can’t ken that metaphor… well we have a DOJ drink special tonight with four eggs,bacon,sausage, pancakes, and a big Denny’s apology of $ 54,000,000.00 to a class action civil suit for “slow service ” to black students . When I was in college I don’t remember any slow service in a similar , but poorly named, chain called “Sambos”. Memory hole on that one ! How about things that PC just completely zapped ? Easy one – Gay Nineties !*!

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    • November 16, 2010 at 6:05 am
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  11. Member

    “We have no permanent deficit anymore, the natural condition is a surplus, okay — so the question is, what do we do with it? We could give it all back to you and hope you spend it right. But I think — here’s the problem. If you don’t spend it right, here’s what’s going to happen.” – Impeached President Bill Clinton

    The raw arrogance of these people is staggering, isn’t it? In their heart of hearts, they actually do believe it’s their money. Any attempt to apply logic to their mindset will fail, because their mindset is simply an unexamined assumption filled with greed: a Twinkie from hell.

    • #11
    • November 16, 2010 at 6:34 am
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  12. Thatcher

    So, how do we get you out of that big rig and into Congress?

    • #12
    • November 16, 2010 at 6:35 am
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  13. Contributor
    Dave Carter Post author

    Pilgrim, you’re very kind, but I’ve had about all the government work I can stand from a career in the military. But I am happy and willing to engage and make the case for liberty on this and any other forum that will have me. Then again, it would be the most entertaining 10 minutes in congressional history.

    • #13
    • November 16, 2010 at 6:46 am
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  14. Member

    Well said, Dave. Republicans should be in the habit of saying “taxpayer’s money” whenever talking about government revenues or expenditures in interviews. The Left is committed to propoganda on many fronts. We must actively counter it every chance we get.

    Just as importantly, I’d like to hear a Republican politican come right out and say we don’t need any more programs or agencies — we’ll work with what we’ve got.

    • #14
    • November 16, 2010 at 7:19 am
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    Aaron Miller:

    Just as importantly, I’d like to hear a Republican politician come right out and say we don’t need any more programs or agencies — we’ll work with what we’ve got. · Nov 15 at 6:19pm

    I’d like to hear a Republican politician come out and say we can eradicate a few government agencies completely, and do with less. Less We Can!

    • #15
    • November 16, 2010 at 7:24 am
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  16. Contributor

    I’ll one-up Pilgrim: Dave Carter for Treasury Secretary. Brilliant illustration of applied common sense. Thanks.

    • #16
    • November 16, 2010 at 7:29 am
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  17. Contributor
    Dave Carter Post author

    Aaron, good point on the left’s use of propaganda, Lackoff’s protestations notwithstanding. It’s time we frame the debate, e.g., by pointing out that it wasn’t Mr. Axelrod’s money to start with. I’ll have more to say about this soon, but I like your point, Aaron.

    • #17
    • November 16, 2010 at 7:54 am
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  18. Member

    Dave, bravo.

    A description I recall from Thomas Sowell is that taxation is essentially armed theft. Only a government has that power. I’ll have to pull “A Conflict of Visions” off the shelf to check that reference.

    I have a vivid memory from grad school days of first encountering an “unconstrained” view of government and its power. One’s world view clearly matters. It is vital to elect conservatives. From dog catcher to POTUS. We need conservatives in government helping to lighten the chokehold on us all.

    • #18
    • November 16, 2010 at 8:39 am
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  19. Inactive

    Thanks Dave… we all need to be in constant touch with reality. And keep in mind the simple definition of government… “the guys with the most guns”. We each surrender a piece of ourselves to the collective to achieve security. But those to whom we surrender ourselves each accumulate those pieces of each of us, and when their pile overwhelms each of us as individuals, we now have an enemy we cannot overcome. Are we there yet? Are we there yet? are..we..there……..??

    • #19
    • November 16, 2010 at 8:57 am
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  20. Inactive

    I’ve been grinding my teeth and throwing things against the wall – often things I love, such as my sanity – every time I’ve had to listen in impotent rage – my least favorite kind of rage – while Obama says “we can’t afford to give the rich another 700 billion” … dear darling lad, it’s NOT YOUR MONEY.

    It’s theirs.

    They figured out how to earn it – and in the doing they made money for other people along the way – and now you say, we can’t afford to let them keep it? Dave is right. This is the kind of thuggery he stood the long silent watch on the Rhein to keep at bay. Thanks for making me feel slightly less crazy, Dave.

    Carsten Stroud

    • #20
    • November 16, 2010 at 9:31 am
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  21. Inactive
    Mark Woodworth:

    David L. answered you beautifully, I think, but I just wanted to add that there are some good things that are done with taxes and tax policy.

    What Dave C (Too many Daves here?) is saying that it’s the whole *mindset* that needs to change. Yes, some taxes are a necessity. But the mindset that “it’s our money and we’ll let you have what we think you should have” is completely immoral.

    The correct mindset is “We earned this money and we realize that you need some of it in order to keep the country running, so here is some of it. But it’s OUR money. Not yours.”

    Isn’t that the financial basis of a government that’s “of the people” anyway? That government money *is* our money? Not the other way around?

    • #21
    • November 16, 2010 at 9:49 am
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  22. Inactive

    Unfortunately, as I mentioned here, it’s not just a problem of the left. It’s also a problem of the whole language of the tax profession. I learned this first-hand from my significant other as she took tax classes in law school and from her comments of the accounting profession. There’s a real problem in the language of the whole subject. Everyone approaches the question of tax policy as if the government is the actor, never the taxpayer. Whether it began as a thing of the left, I don’t know, but it’s now common place. Even Republicans unwittingly buy into this language even if they try to oppose the “it’s the government” attitude.

    I liken it to how the debate over abortion, and when human life began, has been framed as a religious issue. That certainly was a tactic of those who were pro-choice, but so many people have for so long ceded to that framing, that it has almost become impossible to convince people it isn’t. It’s now an excuse (it’s just religion) to avoid engagement on the substance.

    Reminder of the power of language to shape opinion.

    • #22
    • November 16, 2010 at 9:51 am
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  23. Contributor

    This is just excellent. Nothing to add.

    • #23
    • November 16, 2010 at 10:00 am
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  24. Member

    I understand the revulsion at the notion that everything is the government’s to start, and anything you get to keep is a gift from their beneficence.


    I think we are going too far here. Is all taxation theft? Are there no legitimate claims that the collective, organized as a state, can make on the individual?

    Certainly life with the rule of law is better, for all, than anarchy. With the rule of law, life is less nasty, brutish, poor, and short: the pie is bigger for all. Don’t we all accept that it is a good deal for everyone, provided that the cost of the state is less than the increase in wealth that the rule of law allows?

    To compare taxation by the state to theft by an individual is not helpful. It goes too far and allows our opponents to dismiss us as kooks. Axelrod, as a part of our elected government, can make demands on us in the form of taxes.

    The real arguments we need to make are much harder: what are the necessary. minimal, functions of government, and why it is a mistake for all when the government steps beyond these functions.

    • #24
    • November 16, 2010 at 10:07 am
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  25. Contributor
    Dave Carter Post author

    David R., your caveat to David L.’s defense of Dave C.’s post in response to Mark W.’s comment is A. O. K. To recap, the power to confiscate earnings or property against the wishes of the owner or producer is the power to rob. The question, as Mark said, is when to use that power. In America, we have a Constitution that specifies the legitimate functions of the federal government, and then goes so far as to prohibit those powers that are not expressly enumerated. It is our money first and foremost, and we consent to a portion of it being used in concert for those purposes allowed in our national contract, the Constitution.

    • #25
    • November 16, 2010 at 10:22 am
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  26. Inactive

    Interesting The Axe should use the amount of “$700 billion.” I assume he’s referring to the money “borrowed” for the Obama stimulus effort in early 2009. Well, why should taxpayers — any taxpayers — have to pay for that make-work boondoggle intended to help Obama’s union member friends? Let George Soros pay for that $700 billion theft of Americans’ money.

    • #26
    • November 16, 2010 at 10:50 am
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  27. Member

    Let’s not play loose with language. Theft is taking property against someone’s will. Limited taxation for the most basic purposes, such as Lady Kurobara described, is not theft because we consent to pay for such essential community needs. If someone refused to pay, it would be within reason to throw the bum out. Community dues are unavoidable.

    Taxation becomes theft when it fails to meet the consent of the governed. When politicians use my money to bail out folks who bought houses they couldn’t afford and now refuse to move out, that’s theft.

    • #27
    • November 16, 2010 at 10:51 am
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  28. Contributor
    Mark Woodworth:

    Mark: Considering the flagrantly unconstitutional purposes for which the government routinely spends OUR money, I don’t think it’s too kooky to sometimes liken taxation to theft.

    But the major reason for Dave’s revulsion at Axelrod’s comments was the latter’s obvious attitude that the income individuals earn is the government’s. It is also revolting, as others (e.g. Diane) have elsewhere noted, that these deceivers continue to refer to the extension of the Bush “cuts” as cuts. They are in place and to keep them in place does not constitute a cut. Nor does the extension of the lower rates on lower income earners constitute a cut — as if the government is doing any of us a favor. Yet that’s what Axelrod is saying, essentially, when he says that the government will have to borrow $700 billion unless the “cuts” for the upper income earners is ended, i.e., unless their rates are raised. Another offensive thing about Axelrod’s quote is that it assumes a zero-sum game with respect to taxes and revenues, and that’s just empirically false — no matter how many times they propagandize to the contrary.

    • #28
    • November 16, 2010 at 10:55 am
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  29. Founder
    David Limbaugh: This is just excellent. Nothing to add. · Nov 15 at 9:00pm

    Me neither. But I have to add: I loved this. Thanks, Dave.

    • #29
    • November 16, 2010 at 11:34 am
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  30. Member
    Aaron Miller: Let’s not play loose with language. Theft is taking property against someone’s will. Limited taxation for the most basic purposes, such as Lady Kurobara described, is not theft because we consent to pay for such essential community needs. If someone refused to pay, it would be within reason to throw the bum out. Community dues are unavoidable.

    Taxation becomes theft when it fails to meet the consent of the governed.

    So when 51% of the people say “let’s take money from the other 49% for our use”, that’s not theft?

    • #30
    • November 17, 2010 at 4:12 am
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