Confiscatory Dreams of Useless Losers

On the subject of the most recent post, I have proof for those of you who are wondering why I referred to Liberals as useless.

Just read the following post and never ask me why again:

So I think there should be additional brackets at, say, $5 million (55% tax rate), $10 million (60%), $40 million (65%), $100 million (70%), $400 million (75%), $1 billion (80%), $5 billion (85%), and even $10 billion (90%).  Someday someone will have that much annual income, if they haven’t already.

I’d argue that this principle should apply even more so to the Federal estate tax, which after a certain point should become all but confiscatory.

What shocks me is that somebody could write the following in complete seriousness and not even be ashamed of their resentful, envious, vile, useless, ignorant self-importance. Not only hasn’t the useless creature who’s been churning out these confiscatory fantasies created anything of value, he is also too stupid to open a history book and to read about what happens in societies where dreams of confiscating the untold riches of the billionaires are made true.

For the especially clueless, here is a newsflash: confiscating the money of the ultra rich and sharing it among the ultra poor or pouring it all into social programs makes the entire society hugely, miserably, disgustingly poor. Then, starvation begins. If we had a poor society to begin with, it becomes even poorer as a result of these measures.

How come there are people who still manage somehow not to know that when history textbooks are plentiful and easy to find?

Who has confiscated the brain matter of the idiot writer of the above-quoted post? People, be kind and give it back to him. The poor critter is suffering.

51 thoughts on “Confiscatory Dreams of Useless Losers”

  1. The far Left do not like unequal economic outcomes. They want equality of outcome. What they do not realize is that this results in everyone being equally poor.

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      1. …which is not to say that many who are intuitive leftists, rather than educated leftists (although even some “educated” leftists also do this) aren’t pretty messed up in the head. Sorry for the horrible sentence. I’ll write it all down better on another day.

        I’m thinking at the moment about Nietzsche’s critique of Duhring as a kind of intuitive leftist. There’s an attitude of feeling hard done by and wanting to equalize the score. This also fits the model of what Twisted Spinster made reference to earlier, which is passive aggressive complaining. I think most of the complainers in life really don’t know what is getting their goat, just that other people seem to be happier than they are, have more to live for, and seem to be doing well. The complainer feels like they must be getting more than their fair share out of life and decides they need to even the score on the basis of the assumption that making someone else more miserable will make them feel better.

        Women, females, are the worst at this, I find. I mean they’re often very good at it, which makes them horrible.

        Others adopt an identity politics model of reality to wreak their revenge.

        Both the complainer and the identity politics denizen are superficially credible. They may even be superficially intellectual, which facilitates their wreaking of their havoc.

        Whatever they get involved in just devolves.

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      2. Arguing the far Left (note I said far left) want equality of outcome is not a straw-man. Many on the far Left don’t like that one guy has more wealth than others. Hence the constant arguments about “income inequality” (a total non-issue when one gets into the details about it) and the talk of how such a small percentage of society controls such a large percentage of the wealth that one hears from the far-left.

        If by “equality of footing,” you mean a variant of equality of opportunity, that is different, but even then, attempts to achieve such equality of opportunity can basically turn into seeking a form of equality of outcome. True equality of opportunity is impossible to achieve, as some people are always going to be born smarter, better-looking, into a wealthier family that can afford better education, etc…by equality of opportunity as the right favor it, what is meant is equality under the law in terms of things like sex, race, color, religion, etc…there should be no discrimination here.

        One can have safety nets in place for when people get knocked down and out due to bad luck, injury, or whatnot, but arguing for these is different than arguing to re-distribute wealth or income because one thinks it unfair that some have more than others.

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      3. Actually, I consider myself part of the far left, and I consider equality of footing as distinct from both equality of results and equality of opportunity. Literal equality of results is something I’ve never seen articulated in earnest. The post by the “brain dead useless liberal” at Cogitamus that everyone is pouncing on does not even remotely describe equality of results. The tax policy proposed there allows for “But the tax is only 35% on the excess, so someone who dies with an estate of $50 billion can pass $32.5 billion to the kids,” which is a far cry from equality of results. Diana Moon Glampers is a fictitious character. I have yet to see a real-life example of advocacy of literal equality of results. Equality of opportunity as framed by conservatives looks to me like a very procedural kind of equality, whose main purpose is to allow the “winners” to proclaim that they shellacked the competition “fair and square.” Equality of footing is sort of like the handicap system in golf. It’s not about kneecapping the low handicapper, but about every player measuring themself against their personal best. Whereas in chess, a game between two people who are not very closely matched in ability is excruciatingly boring, so you spend no time playing and all the time in the quest for “a worthy opponent.” In economics it is survival which we are competing over, so competition brings out the worst in people in that particular arena of combat. Think three people competing over a two-man [sic] lifeboat.

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      4. Well the far-Left who are socialists tend to be for equality of results, at least from what I have seen. They don’t like it when some people have more than others, based on the false belief that wealth exists in a fixed pie and therefore for one person to have more, it means someone else must have less.

        If I am understanding your concept of equality of footing correctly, it seems like a variant of equality of opportunity.

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  2. Some stranger just popped up on my Facebook page to announce that it was his democratic right to understand my status update in simple language, or else I was discriminating against him since his first language wasn’t English.

    My status update had to do with a continual dialogue I’ve been having with myself, that started twenty years ago, and takes into account a lot of philosophy and constant learning. This guy said if I couldn’t produce the miracle of having him understand what I meant in a couple of minutes that I — a stranger to him on the Internet — was robbing him of his democratic rights.

    He went ballistic when I said he wrong — so I blocked him.

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  3. Laws should be reformed to ensure that people receving that much money have truly earned as opposed to stealing it from shareholders under ridiculous golden parachute provisions or from workers in slave-like conditions in some third world country. But once we are positive that said multi-million dollar income was honestly earned there is something profoundly inmoral in confiscating more than 50% of someone else’s honest work.

    Whoever bakes the cake takes home the biggest slice.

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      1. Only thing I could get a bit antsy on is that the process to determine if something was truly earned could be a little subjective (for example, the golden parachutes, which are put into the contract before the executive runs the company into the ground—it’s kind of like how a movie star gets paid, based on their prior success, regardless of whether the movie bombs or not—if the movie bombs, then next time around, they get paid less; similarly, if an executive drives the company into the ground, they get a golden parachute that was negotiated based on their prior record, but next time around, they get far less, if they aren’t finished entirely as a CEO).

        If the shareholders approve of the golden parachutes as they are negotiated, I think that is their business, not the general public’s; however, this is where shareholder activism and corporate governance laws and all that come into play as well for public companies, as sometimes the shareholders are not paid attention to.

        Slave-like conditions in third world countries I agree are wrong.

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      2. This sounds good in theory, but I’ve never heard of anyone being finished entirely as a CEO. Maybe that’s because the amounts in golden parachutes are what to most of us are “set for life” amounts. Perhaps if I could see the actual sense of defeat in these actual CEOs’ faces I’d be able to relate to them, but I don’t travel in those circles, so perhaps I’ll never know. Being finished entirely as a worker, however, is tragically common, with all the corporate assholes and their “unemployed need not apply” policies and de facto age discrimination.

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      3. Regarding CEO compensation, writing at Forbes, Steve Denning argues that that the current regime of executive compensation (wherein they are given loads of stock, which is supposed to create incentives for them to increase shareholder value, therefore benefitting the owners of the company). That concept dates to a widely-cited 1976 paper. According to Denning, under the previous regime, executive compensation per unit of net income declined. Under the shareholder value era, executive pay per unit doubled several times over, while real company performance generally declined.

        Eliminating the incentives (which include legislation) underpinning the SVE would solve thee problems associated with than incentive structure, including focus on short term rather than long term thinking. Such a move would not necessarily mean executives are paid less, but would rather result in it being more in line with actual performance.

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        1. I think that this can all be solved by stopping ANY sort of governmental handouts to corporations (including any sort of tax breaks). After that, they can compensate each other as they see fit.

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  4. Well, that is definitely not one of your better posts, because you clearly haven’t a clue what liberals are. Anyway, I’m one of your useless readers: Pinko Liberal and PROUD of it.

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    1. I have no idea why you decided to take this personally, Steve. I’m a liberal, too, and it bothers me that I have to share the boat with the likes of this article’s author.

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        1. “Well you did seem to be claiming that it was the definitive answer to the question why liberals are useless.”

          – We are not all like that, are we? At least, I’m not. 🙂

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  5. I also am a member of the far left, and I think the “equality of outcomes” argument is just silly.

    As to the taxation rates proposed in the quote, they are somewhat like the rates from 1946 until 1960 or so in the U. S. A. This was a time of overwhelming prosperity. Its faults were racism, sexism, etc., but not universal poverty at all.

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    1. The Left complain a lot about things like wealth inequality and propose policies that they claim will mitigate this, so I don’t see it as a strawman.

      As for the tax rates and the economic growth from 1946 to the 1960s, that was a historical anamoly. It was because the world had just come out of World War II, in which the United States had built up this massive amount of manufacturing capacity while the rest of the industrialized world had been bombed into smithereens, and was in the process of re-building.

      In addition, the United States had a whole lot of infrastructure it had built up from the New Deal, which then contributed to making areas of the U.S. that had previously been rural into booming, thriving economies. So the U.S. economy dominated the globe during that time period.

      Another thing to keep in mind is that we didn’t have as many high-earners then and said high earners also had deductions they could utilize to reduce the amount they paid in taxes. To utilize those tax rates today would wreck the economy and also would be extremely unfair to the people who earn the money. The idea of a free society is that you can earn as much as you want and can. The government can tax the higher-earners moreso than the lower earners, but it has no business taking the majority of someone’s income just because they earn a lot of income.

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  6. As for the tax rates and the economic growth from 1946 to the 1960s, that was a historical anamoly.

    As far as I am concerned, this requires proof. As a mathematician, I understand the nature of a proof, so vague illogical text will not suffice. I simply think this is false, and will continue to think so until this viewpoint be proven wrong.

    Remember: It never matters who is right; it always matters what is right.

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    1. I’ve never heard anybody claim that that “growth” had anything to do with taxes. There was a World War right before, the war that destroyed all the main competitors of the US on the world arena. Since we are not planning to replicate the WWII right now (I hope), then what’s the point of talking about 1946?

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    2. What proof do you need? There is nothing “vague” or “illogical” in my statement. Because of the conditions the U.S. found itself in (massive amount of infrastructure development to facilitate further economic growth, massive manufacturing capacity, all major economic competitors destroyed, etc…) the economy was able to undergo tremendous growth in spite of the high taxes. That we had such a situation was a historical anomaly.

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  7. Clarissa, the tax rates in the US until the 60s didn’t make this country miserable or incredibly poor. I’m not necessarily arguing to go back to those exact rates, but there you have empirical evidence that seem to refute your claim.

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    1. I think it’s obvious that I’ve been set off by the word “confiscatory.” It’s the mentality of useless losers who entertain confiscatory dreams that bugs me. I think we all know the historical reasons behind that.

      “empirical evidence that seem to refute your claim”

      – My claim is that dreaming with confiscating other people’s stuff makes one a loser. What empirical claim has refuted that? As for the US before the 60s, yes, I believe that it was a very poor, backwards place. Will anybody argue that the living conditions have not improved dramatically since the atrocious 50s?

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      1. Actually, the US economic indicators show continuous growth from the mid 40s to the early 70s, when “confiscatory” taxes where in place. The 50s were horrible as far as social issues came, not in economic terms. To make an analogy, I could say that Argentina is a much more progressive society now than it was 50 years ago. It is not, however, in a better economic condition (we used to have the biggest middle class in Latin America. Not anymore. So while wealth has been created in the past 50 years, it doesn’t mean that the society as a whole is better off).

        We can have a moral argument over whether a certain tax rate for people earning over X amount of money is fair or not. That is enterely different from whether it is sound economic policy or not.

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        1. “Actually, the US economic indicators show continuous growth from the mid 40s to the early 70s, when “confiscatory” taxes where in place.”

          – These indicators always show what the people using them want them to show.

          “The 50s were horrible as far as social issues came, not in economic terms.”

          – Oh, really? How much wealth in the country was held by women? How about the media salary for women? For African-Americans? For other ethnic minorities? All of this much vaunted wealth of the 1950s was only shared by a bunch of white guys. These very guys still can’t let go of the memories of the times when they could afford to have a housewife and exploit the blacks to their heart’s content. Even Michael Moore in his Capitalism movie couldn’t find any other argument in favor of the purported economic bliss of the 1950s rather than that his father could afford a housewife and a car.

          A country’s wealth should be measured by how well its population lives economically and how much wealth it has. The white males have been managing to present themselves as “the population” for way too long. Let’s not be buying into their mythology any longer.

          If today women possess more property and have much greater personal incomes than in 1955, then, without a shadow of a doubt, today’s economy is better.

          Who wants to bet that the author of the OP who dreams of returning to the “super rich 50s” is a white guy who’s simply upset that he can’t buy women as easily as his papa did?

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      2. The U.S. economy grew during the mid-40s to the 1970s in spite of the high taxes though. As mentioned above, WWII and the New Deal resulted in a massive amount of new infrastructure (which facilitated economic growth), a massive manufacturing base, and most of the major economic competitors in ruins.

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        1. “The U.S. economy grew during the mid-40s to the 1970s in spite of the high taxes though”

          – Not for women and minorities, it didn’t. Their lives sucked just as bad and their wealth was just as non-existent.

          People want to try to divorce social issues and ideology form the economy but that’s a huge mistake. They are too interlinked. We need to ALWAYS ask ourselves, “Whom do we have in mind when we talk of a growing economy? Who benefitted? Who lost?”

          The so-called “economic expansion” of the 1950s robbed women of the advances they had won during the 2 World Wars. That happened because the economic “growth” only favored those people who were interested in buying women. It did not favor anybody else.

          Saying, “I’d like to live the 1950s economically but not socially” is a complete nonsense. I’m sorry but it is. The two are indissolubly linked.

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      3. I think the claim about the 50s being good economically is that, by the standards of the time, the 50s were very prosperous (they were a lot better than the Great Depression). But it is also very correct that women and minorities were greatly restricted in business.

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      4. Saying, “I’d like to live the 1950s economically but not socially” is a complete nonsense. I’m sorry but it is. The two are indissolubly linked.

        That’s a depressing thought. You seem to be saying that the Best of All Possible Worlds somehow falls short of the illusory “post-war economy minus the racism and sexism,” as if the best of both worlds is too much to ask for.

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        1. I’m saying that it was a horrible economy because it could only exist if 50 per cent of population were forcibly excluded from the job market.

          What was it about that decade that qualifies it as “best” of any worlds is a mystery to me. You and I and Evelina wouldn’t have any job or a hope of one in that decade because we’d be past our sell by date even for a position of a low-paid secretary that everybody grabs and pinches and harasses for a minimum wage.

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  8. But even 90% of 10 billion is still 1 billion a year. That’s stil incredibly, unimaginably, fabulously wealthy. In my book, that hardly suggests “confiscating” wealth. And there would still be poor people and rich people. I don’t think this is trying to argue for equality of outcome at all. Just a bit more stability. The rich people would just be 1 billion a year rich instead of 10 billion a year rich. And the poor would still be poor but perhaps have access to health care or universal day care. And then there would potentially be 9 billion more dollards circulating throught the economy: enriching public transportation, schools, museums, national health care, etc. etc. Societies in which a very small percentage of the population own the vast majority of the wealth have historcially been unstable. I think the graduated tax structures is an important and necessary thing.

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    1. The same logic can be applied to you and me. There are people who are so much poorer than our way of life seems incredibly rich to them. How would you feel if somebody said, “Let’s confiscate all her clothes and just leave her these 2 outfits. That’s a lot more than we ever had, so she will get by.” Would you like that logic to be applied to yourself?

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      1. Well I am in about a 30% tax bracket. And there are people who make less than I do who are in a much lower tax bracket. And I have no issue with that at all. I believe that I SHOULD pay more taxes that people who are well below the middle income. So do you have issues with graduated taxes in general?

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        1. No, of course not. I think I should be paying a higher state tax than I do right now, for example.

          But the word “confiscatory” makes me very angry. If a tax goes higher than 50 per cent, that is an unfair tax, in my opinion.

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      2. Well I do agree that the word “confiscate” is problematic. But I support a more aggreesive tax structure than you do. Especially with talentless Hollywood actors. 😉

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      3. To the extent that our labor market’s “leaner and meaner” (talk about “inextricably linked”) trend is because poor countries are finally experiencing broad-based prosperity, I’m all for it. But if the compromises of first world social/economic/security norms outweigh the amount by which expectations are raised elsewhere, then it’s just another example of Getting Used. So far, I’m skeptical. “Between 1991 and 1998, the share of workers in salaried jobs with benefits fell sharply in Mexico,” according to EPI’s 2001 report on post-NAFTA Mexico. It seems the kinds of jobs one can hang a life on are an endangered species everywhere. Perhaps they were a mirage in the first place, always had at the expense of some “outsider” group. Looks like the future for everyone everywhere is grub and hustle in the world of commerce. Great for the entreprenoorial/opportoonistic personality types that thrive on that sort of thing, but misery for me. Oh well, perhaps this too shall come to pass.

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    2. No, the confiscated money will not make the society rich and happy. It will be frittered in 2 minutes and there will be no other place to get it from. What happens after that can be learned from the history of my country. The entire thing got to the point where peasants with 2 cows and 10 chickens were considered rich and had their stuff confiscated. Then, there were no more peasants to create food, so the famine started.

      The idea that you can feed everybody by robbing the few is very old and it has failed every single time.

      Soon there is nobody else to rob and that’s that.

      Of course, we cango back to the 50s and rob women. That should last for a while.

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    3. I think the graduated tax structures is an important and necessary thing.

      I’m all in favor of progressive taxation, however there is a big difference between tax brackets of 10, 15, 20, 25 and 30 and tax brackets of 10, 15, 20, 55, 60, 65, 70, 75, 80, 85 and 90%

      Also abundance has never been a valid argument for an usurious tax rate. Suppose you collect thimbles, does the mere fact that you have collected 1000s of them gives me the right to walk into your house and walk away with 90% of them?

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    4. In all societies throughout history, a very small percentage of the population owned the vast majority of the wealth. In the Soviet Union for example, you had an elite that controlled what wealth there was. In market capitalism, you’ll have large chunks of wealth created by entrepreneurs for themselves. But the difference is that in market capitalism, generally (provided you are moral and act within the law), you get rich by making the rest of society rich. You create goods and services that people want and are willing to trade money for. This then makes the producer (owner of the company) rich. They did not get rich by taking wealth from the rest of society, they created new wealth.

      As such, while most societies historically have been more unequally poor (an elite in the Soviet Union still had a standard of living lower than the average American or European today), in modern liberal democracies, we are unequally rich. You can live in a trailer and still have a car with power windows and doorlocks, radio, heater, air conditioning, etc….along with hot and cold water in your trailer, private bathroom with working toilet, bed, air conditioning, heater, appliances (oven, microwave oven, stove, coffee maker, refrigerator, freezer, etc…), flat-screen television with cable, modern computer with Internet access, etc…along with access to the full manner of places to buy things, everything from coffeee shops to grocery stores that are filled with fresh fruit, vegetables, meats, cheeses, etc…that’s RICH by historical and current global standards for the people living in Third World poverty. It’s just that in modern societies, we are unequally rich.

      Instability occurs if you are talking about a small population controlling a vast amount of pre-existing wealth (where they hog it all to themselves) and living their wealthy lifestyle usuallly off of the backs of the poor, as happened in Imperial Russia for example. But in a society where people are free and new wealth is being created constantly, and the standard of living keeps going up, then you don’t get instability.

      Now if you decide to punish the wealthy with excessive tax rates in a free society, what happens is that they will produce less, and everyone ends up poorer.

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      1. “an elite in the Soviet Union still had a standard of living lower than the average American or European today”

        – I agree with what you have to say in this thread, except this part. You haven’t seen their style of living and I have, so, please, believe me, they were much better off than any average American at any point in time. For one, they had absolutely no debt. 🙂

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      2. I see, I stand corrected then. I was referring to where I had read about how a manager in the Soviet Union might have had an apartment and a car and access to good food and so forth, but not a whole lot beyond that (unless one of the really top-end people). If that was the case, then in comparison to the average modern American, who has all those things or even more when you include modern technologies, they weren’t that well-off. Are you referring to the “elite of the elite” though, because I know they lived very rich, even by modern standards 🙂 I am guessing different levels of the Party entailed different standards of living?

        Also one other thing I am curious about, could women rise up to high positions in the Soviet government, or was that strictly a male-dominated culture?

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        1. We had 2 kinds of elite: the party apparatchiks and the people in sales who has access to consumer goods and traded them for favors and services. The two groups had a weird mutual dependence and, together, corrupted everybody else.

          “I am guessing different levels of the Party entailed different standards of living?”

          – Of course, just being a a Party member guaranteed nothing. You had to be in a position of power.

          “I had read about how a manager in the Soviet Union might have had an apartment and a car and access to good food and so forth, but not a whole lot beyond that (unless one of the really top-end people). If that was the case, then in comparison to the average modern American, who has all those things or even more when you include modern technologies, they weren’t that well-off”

          – The average American, though, has neither an apartment nor a car. S/he has a 30-year mortgage and a lease. It’s very hard to compare two such completely different systems. How do you factor in such things as the complete absence of the phenomenon of the consumer debt in the USSR?

          “Also one other thing I am curious about, could women rise up to high positions in the Soviet government, or was that strictly a male-dominated culture”

          There was just one woman in the Politburo.

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  9. I mean that even 90% tax on 10 billion LEAVES someone with 1 billion a year. The above made me sound like I can’t do basic math! 😉

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    1. And then there would potentially be 9 billion more dollards circulating throught the economy:

      Not at all, unless said billionaire kept the 9 billion under the matress, which we know is preposterous. Otherwise s/he keeps at the very least it in the bank (if not outright invested), and the bank loans it right out, for productive uses in the economy.

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      1. They do, but you claimed that “9 billion more dollars” and I’m saying no, they wouldn’t be additional, at least not in general. It would just replace private investment with government investment.

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