Brugle on December 03, 2009, 01:54:12 pm
That is a false dichotomy. Crime and taxes are not inversely proportional or necessarily connected at all. You can move to Panama, Uruguay or dozens of other places that have less violent crime and less taxes than the US.

And there are places (like the U.K.) that have more violent crime and higher taxes than the U.S.  Within the U.S., places with the most violent crime (the inner cities) typically have higher taxes.

Of course, to many of us, the collection of taxes (by violence or the threat of violence) is criminal.

Gillsing: Number one--- iT IS THE GOVERNMENTS DOING.  When any government sets up a series of circumstances where the free market is not allowed to do what needs to be done and then totally screws up the enforcement of the regulations that it implemented, who is supposed to be responsible for that---martians???
Well, I guess you do subscribe to some type of conspiracy theory then?
It seems that you are the only contributor to this thread who is interested in conspiracy theories.  As far as I can tell, the rest of us are more concerned with what is done than with the motives of the participants.

Just this morning I saw this short (800 word) paper on 6 of the U.S. government policies that create financial instability and led to the recent crisis and recession.  (There are other harmful policies, but those will do for a start.)
http://www.iedm.org/uploaded/pdf/Horwitz0909_en.pdf
Did some of the people responsible for those policies (mistakenly) think that what they were doing was for the good of the citizenry?  Probably.  Did some of them intend to divert wealth from the citizenry to politically powerful people, but (mistakenly) think that it wouldn't do much harm?  Probably.  Did some of them realize the danger they were causing and not care?  Probably.  Did some of them conspire?  Probably.  Did some clueless people have responsibility that they shouldn't?  Probably.  The point is, those things don't matter.  What matters is that the U.S. government has the power to replace bottom-up market regulation with top-down government edicts, and when that power exists it will be used, and when it is used then bad things will happen.  Even if most government functionaries are highly-educated well-meaning people, and even if most of them aren't corrupted by the power that they hold, there is no way that their edicts can come close to doing as well as the best efforts of millions of market participants. The most heavily government controlled parts of the economy (finance, medicine, education) are the most messed up, which is not a coincidence.

I also believe that the government is relatively powerless in a free market, because when you're not allowing yourself to use military might to boss the corporations around, money is the next most powerful thing. And the free market has a lot more of that than the government does.
This is nuts.  The government (at any level) can toss anyone they want into a cage and make their life a hell.  No market company (unless it has a lot of political clout, such as the company formerly known as Blackwater) can do that.

Mattel has much, much more money than I do.  What are they going to do to me?  Offer to sell me toys for a very low price?  Offer to give me a job at a very high price?  Doesn't sound too scary.  But any local cop can stop me because he doesn't like my beard, beat me up, then arrest me for resisting arrest, and there isn't anything I can do about it.

But, since we don't live under a free market, Mattel can rip me off using political power.   But don't think that the problem is Mattel.  The problem is the political power.  Was CPSIA caused by Mattel bribing certain people with suitcases full of cash?  Was CPSIA created by well-meaning people "for the children"?  Or was there some other reason?  Who cares?!  What matters is that (as is often the case with government edicts) some politically-powerful people gain and that (as is almost always the case with government edicts) the citizenry are screwed.

the free market has enough money to pay entire teams of lobbyists to find ways to get things done.
A free market is not controlled by government, so there would be no lobbyists.  Companies (or individuals) can make money only by selling people stuff that they want (or by crime, but it's hard to do that on a large scale without political power).

In our (far from free) market, companies have the choice of either trying to satisfy customers or trying to obtain wealth using political power (or some of each).  The more power that governments have, the more that a typical company (or individual) will try to obtain political power and the less that it will try to satisfy customers.

I don't judge a government's intentions by the final result, because there's ample room to fail miserably even if you do your best.
Who cares about a government's intentions?  Case 1: government actors at all levels tried their best, and the result was mass murder, mass starvation, mass destruction, and mass misery.  Case 2: government actors didn't try to do much at all (maybe they were lazy, maybe they were bribed), and the result was general peace, general prosperity, and general happiness.  Which would you prefer?

dough560 on December 04, 2009, 04:57:49 am
A prime example of government interference is the firearms market.  This interference has resulted in three classes of individual arms.  We have approved arms,  generally available to the market.  Controlled arms, (selective fire side/long arms, silencers, etc., individual or crew served.)  And the Black Market.  Arms which slipped through the  regulations, which have disappeared of anyone's books.  Each firearm class has a separate value.   John Ross ("Unintended Consequences") explains this market better than I can. 

When Ross first published "Unintended Consequences", I loaned my copy to a local firearms dealer whose past included an engineering degree and private pilots license.  He and I could not find anything factually wrong with this work of fiction.  He began passing the book to other clients who included several lawyers and collage history professors.  Other professionals were also given the book for review.  To my knowledge, no one has found anything factually wrong with this book.  Quite a few of the reviewers did not care for the direction of the book.  But they all admitted it was factually accurate.  If anyone can find anything, please let me know. 

At this point in our history, It is not what the government and bureaucrats have done, but what are they doing now and what do they base their actions and intentions on.  The government passes a law and turns it over to the bureaucrats who actually write the regulations, which they interpret and re-interpret as they desire.   Political beliefs and goals shape these regulations.

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives abuses are excellent  examples.

Example:  #1 You own an AR-15.  A semi-automatic version of the military's M-16.  According to BATFE regulation, if your AR-15 has any of the 16 parts needed for reliable full automatic fire, you have an unlicensed controlled firearm.  Each specialty part is worth five years in prison and a $25,000 in fine.  This regulation pertains to any semi-automatic firearm with a full automatic counterpart.

Example #2:  A few years ago you could buy a $4.00 aluminum adapter you could fit to the end of a rifle or pistol barrel and screw a plastic pop bottle in place.  The combination would suppress the sound of a gunshot for one or two shots.  The BATFE decided this was a sound suppressor and required a $200 tax. 

Example 3: A guy who had a sound suppressor for his rifle  took some extra parts and mounted them on a board which he displayed at his sales table at a gunshow.   He is now bankrupt and will spend most of his remaining life in prison.  The BATFE decided retro-actively each suppressor piece was now a suppressor and each piece required a $200 Tax.

The BATFE is a member of the Treasury Department which operates their own courts.  These courts operate independently of the regular federal court system.  Each of the above examples were not about possession of a item but the possession of an item without paying a $200 Tax.

How extreme can the government get?

#1:  Ruby Ridge:  The government alleged Randy Weaver sold undercover agents two rifles.  Each rifle had a legal length barrel, but were shorter than the twenty-four inch minimum length for a legal firearm.  The shoulder stocks had been cut down to pistol grips.  Weaver stated the rifles had shoulder stocks when he sold them to the undercover agents.  The agents had been trying to force Weaver to work for them and infiltrate a skin head group.  (Anyone want to speculate which party is lying?)  When it was over, a fourteen year old boy was shot in the back and killed.  A woman standing in a doorway, holding a newborn baby, was shot in the head and killed.  The federal marshal who killed the boy was also killed.  During the siege, the government issued illegal shoot on sight orders for anyone carrying a gun.  All over an alleged bill for $400 in taxes.

#2: Waco:  Ever see the complaint department novelty gifts; a bronzed hand grenade with the number #1 attached to the pull ring?  The Branch Dividians were making these, selling them at local flee markets and gun shows.  They had ordered inert surplus grenade cases which while being shipped, the packing case broke open in a UPS Terminal.  UPS called BATFE who started an investigation.  BATFE allegedly believed the grenades were being rearmed.  The government learned a few things from Ruby Ridge.  In the initial assault, a BATFE agent died.  He allegedly bled to death.  It is still not clear whether friendly fire was involved, no autopsy reports were ever released.  When it was over, few of the Dividians survived.  Those who died, died from cyanide gas.  Cyanide gas formed when the CS riot control agent the government pumped into the building was exposed to open flame.  (One of the side effects of the cyanide gas is extreme muscle contractions, breaking major and minor bones as the individual dies.)  Allegedly, government agents threw or fired flares and thermite grenades into the building after the CS was pumped in.  (Wonder if they wanted to insure the CS conversion to Cyanide?)  When the Dividian autopsy results started to leak, word began getting out over the internet.  (The news agencies did not report on the story.)  Public outrage began to grow and the autopsy reports were quickly sealed.  Without evidence, the uproar died with a whimper.  After all, who wants to believe the U.S. Government was no better than Germans gassing the Jews during WWII.   At any rate the feds retained control of the site, fenced it in and bulldozed the remaining structures.  Major pieces of evidence, such as the compound steel entry door disappeared.  To my knowledge, the government controls the site to this day.

These people died over Taxes and if the BATFE allegations were correct, the lack of a license.  Additionally the suspected government abuses could have rocked this government like nothing since the revolution.  To date no government agent has been charged in civil or criminal court.  In civil court, the government settled with the surviving Weaver Family Members.  The records or the out of court are sealed.  In state criminal court, pretrial motions for the defense of the government agents was, "They were just following orders. Charges were dismissed with the state court stating they did not have jurisdictions, since the marshals were just following orders.  ("It was allowed to stand for U.S. Government Agents, but not for German Soldiers after WWII.)  Kevin Harris was acquitted of murder charges in the death of the marshal who shot the Weaver boy in the back.  It was ruled, self defense.  In the Waco incident, the surviving Dividians were acquitted of murder in the death of the BATFE Agent.  His death was also ruled, Self Defense.  The surviving Dividians did spend time in prison, I believe for racketeering.   

Ruby Ridge and Waco still bother me.  Government interference and suppression of civil rights, market and property rights affect all of us.   Some of us have not survived that interference. 

Gillsing on December 04, 2009, 06:00:15 pm
Despite what you might think there are "conspiracy theorists" out there who are right.
Yes, that seems quite possible, but my trouble is knowing which ones are right and which ones are wrong. Which is why I'd like to find out more about the reasons for why you seem to think that the US government is trying to keep people from leaving USA. Because from where I'm sitting, it looks more like they're trying to make it difficult for people to get into the USA. Which is fine by me, what with all the scary stories I hear about that place. (Some of them in this very thread!)

Granted, my own government could certainly abuse me in pretty much the same way. Our cops are known for occasionally having killed restrained prisoners by using too much force, but since I avoid living in the real world, I've never had any problems with the police. So perhaps it'd be just as easy for me to avoid trouble in USA, assuming that I get past the Homeland Security at the airport. I hear that they like to 'confiscate' things?

It seems that you are the only contributor to this thread who is interested in conspiracy theories.  As far as I can tell, the rest of us are more concerned with what is done than with the motives of the participants.
Indeed! I just found it strange to see a claim that the US government would actively want to stop people from leaving the country and settle somewhere else. As for what I believe of governments in general, I'd like to refer to my first post in this forum. We should be relieved that we don't live in North Korea, where I just read that all savings beyond $60 has been rendered worthless because the government has issued new currency. A government can do whatever it wants, but at least in a democracy the people in charge have to hide their intentions to make it look like they're trying, or the citizens will vote for someone else.
I'm a slacker, hear me snore...

terry_freeman on December 04, 2009, 11:36:14 pm
Inflation is _not_ "good for the economy" -- it's good for making the phony numbers look good, that's all.

Inflation makes things good for the "first spenders" - the government and the banks, the various teat-suckers who get government checks, and so forth. But there's always the downside; every dollar printed represents value taken from someone else. A further downside is that accounting and business calculation are skewed in several ways. Prices move upward in fits and starts due to the monetary expansion. The interest rates vary according to the whims of Helicopter Ben or whoever controls the printing presses, not according to actual savings and lending by real people with real money at stake.

As I said earlier, "thrift" and "thrive" derive from the same root. In a healthy economy, there is no disincentive to limit savings. Savings are not "idle" unless one actually stuffs the savings into a mattress or bell jars in the back yard. In a world of honest banking, one might choose to take the risk of lending savings to those who have productive purposes in mind.

Fiat currency leads to boom-bust cycles. The boom feels great. The bust is a delayed part of the package deal; it is like the hangover after a really good drunk. More "hair of the dog" may alleviate one's misery, but the real cure is to stop drinking like a fish.

It is a myth that government intervention and faith-based paper "improve the economy." They are vastly destructive.
 

Sean Roach on December 04, 2009, 11:53:01 pm
I didn't say the U.S. government was currently trying to keep people in.  I said that if enough people started leaving such that the government realized society/the economy was going to be disrupted or was already being disrupted, they'd throw up all sorts of roadblocks to emigration to save the country at the expense of the well being of its people.

Actually, some of those roadblocks already exist.  Already you can not just walk on to an airplane with too much cash in your pockets.  I don't remember what the limit is, but you have to declare anything over a certain amount.


Gillsing on December 05, 2009, 03:18:51 am
Well, I didn't get it from you, I got it from Rocketman's post. Then again, if it's true that the government has worked toward that goal for 30 years (or more), perhaps they're playing chess, and anticipate that there will come a time when people will want to emigrate in vast numbers. And by that time, all the roadblocks will be in place. It doesn't sound likely to me, but I guess it's a possibility. :-\

As for having to declare money being carried out of the country, does that actually prevent the money being taken out, or is it primarily a way to keep track of who is moving large sums of money? Tax evasion and funding (OMG!) terrorists come to mind.
I'm a slacker, hear me snore...

Rocketman on December 06, 2009, 04:39:36 pm
Well, I didn't get it from you, I got it from Rocketman's post. Then again, if it's true that the government has worked toward that goal for 30 years (or more), perhaps they're playing chess, and anticipate that there will come a time when people will want to emigrate in vast numbers. And by that time, all the roadblocks will be in place. It doesn't sound likely to me, but I guess it's a possibility. :-\

As for having to declare money being carried out of the country, does that actually prevent the money being taken out, or is it primarily a way to keep track of who is moving large sums of money? Tax evasion and funding (OMG!) terrorists come to mind.
 
You more than likely got that from me.  Why do you think that right now when pretty much everyone can see that with the world's economy is in the toliet and higher taxes are going to be implemented to pay for government run health care that will be much less affordable and less efficient than we currently have that many of the "free" market nations like the U.S. and England have decided to implement new tax policies and new tax regulations that go after "overseas tax cheats"?  They don't care as much for the lower middle class that have little to contribute because they will likely not have to steal from them but the individuals that have money that can make a contribution to keeping them in power a tad longer.  I'm talking about the individuals that have the money and connections to leave the country with their money and contribute to some other nation.  
« Last Edit: December 06, 2009, 04:43:45 pm by Rocketman »

Gillsing on December 07, 2009, 04:19:48 pm
I'm not sure I understood that. But it makes sense to me that a government would try to keep people from tax evasion of all kinds. And I don't really see anything wrong with preventing people from making a lot of money in one country, then moving it to another country to evade taxes, while they themselves remain in the lucrative country to make even more money that is never taxed. It's like they're having the cake and eating it too, while honest workers pay full taxes.

Then again, if every government is a criminal institution, and all taxes are theft, perhaps I should be supportive of the clever people who manage to sneak their wealth away from the thieving government? I guess it's a matter of perspective, and I'm not quite there yet.
I'm a slacker, hear me snore...

Rocketman on December 07, 2009, 10:08:29 pm
Okay Gillsing, then let's go back to the basics.  A person should have the right if he or she chooses to leave a country with the money that they have accumulated up to that point in time, minus whatever taxes for the year that have been charged against that person UP TO THAT TIME IN THAT COUNTRY.  That I believe has the force of law because that's part of a U.N. declaration and the U.S. government has signed into it.  Only that's not the way that the United States is playing the game.  If you walk into a U.S. embassy to end your citizenship they want an immediate 35% (I'm not quite sure of the exact number but 35% is pretty close) of everything that you have accumulated.  Not earned that year, accumulated throughout your lifetime.  As bad as that is before that they wanted to tax you for an next 10 years of your life even though you were not living in the United States and didn't have amerikan citizenship.  That changed not too long ago because they must have realized that even they wouldn't have been able to get away with that if it came to a supreme court case.  If Sandy is reading this could he please verfiy everything that I just said?  With his situation he's a lot more familar with it than I am.

SandySandfort on December 07, 2009, 11:01:28 pm
Okay Gillsing, then let's go back to the basics.  A person should have the right if he or she chooses to leave a country with the money that they have accumulated up to that point in time, minus whatever taxes for the year that have been charged against that person UP TO THAT TIME IN THAT COUNTRY.  That I believe has the force of law because that's part of a U.N. declaration and the U.S. government has signed into it.  Only that's not the way that the United States is playing the game.  If you walk into a U.S. embassy to end your citizenship they want an immediate 35% (I'm not quite sure of the exact number but 35% is pretty close) of everything that you have accumulated.  Not earned that year, accumulated throughout your lifetime.  As bad as that is before that they wanted to tax you for an next 10 years of your life even though you were not living in the United States and didn't have amerikan citizenship.  That changed not too long ago because they must have realized that even they wouldn't have been able to get away with that if it came to a supreme court case.  If Sandy is reading this could he please verfiy everything that I just said?  With his situation he's a lot more familar with it than I am.

If you are asking for a legal opinion, I cannot provide one. I only pay marginal attention to what these jerks are doing. However, I believe your description of the tax bites is pretty close to what I recall. The details are not important. The concept is that somehow you owe the government something if you just want to get the hell of Dodge. As you might guess, I am not sympathetic to this idea.

To me an even more alarming new regulation is that US persons flying out of the US MUST have a return ticket. WTF?

Gillsing on December 08, 2009, 12:28:46 pm
I googled a bit, but I only found a few examples of a destination country requiring a visitor to have a return ticket, as a way of showing that they intend to leave and not stay permanently. I didn't look too carefully though, because "regulation" and "return ticket" aren't very specific. Sounds crazy if you need a return ticket to show that you're coming back.

And that 35% of live savings seems like robbery. How do they even justify something like that? The free elementary school education that you had as a kid? (Assuming that it's free.)
I'm a slacker, hear me snore...

SandySandfort on December 08, 2009, 02:27:51 pm
I googled a bit, but I only found a few examples of a destination country requiring a visitor to have a return ticket, as a way of showing that they intend to leave and not stay permanently. I didn't look too carefully though, because "regulation" and "return ticket" aren't very specific. Sounds crazy if you need a return ticket to show that you're coming back.

I don't know the rationale. only the effect of the regulation. And I did not say it was a foreign country requirement. It is a US requirement. Just to make this as clear as possible, here is an example:

A US citizen decides to fly to Mexico City from the US. He buys a one-way ticket. Once in Mexico City, he intends to take local ground transportation back to the US boarder. The airline will not allow him to board unless he has a return ticket. So much for your right to travel.

I am currently trying to get more specific information about this regulation. When I do, you will all be the first to know. Just in case this sounds like an urban legend, I have been refused boarding without a return ticket to the US. I finessed the problem, but others might not be so persistent. I leave it as an exercise for the reader to figure out various ways around this ridiculous, morally offensive and unconstitutional rule.

Rocketman on December 08, 2009, 11:41:14 pm
Sandy:  Didn't know about that until now, but do you think that it might have something to do with getting rid of your Amerikan citizenship and how the authorities might use the excuse to go before a judge and say "He obviously didn't mean to end his citizenship because he bought a return ticket to America your honor"?

Gillsing:
"And that 35% of live savings seems like robbery. How do they even justify something like that?"
     Now your starting to understand.  

« Last Edit: December 08, 2009, 11:43:36 pm by Rocketman »

SandySandfort on December 09, 2009, 07:54:45 am
Sandy:  Didn't know about that until now, but do you think that it might have something to do with getting rid of your Amerikan citizenship and how the authorities might use the excuse to go before a judge and say "He obviously didn't mean to end his citizenship because he bought a return ticket to America your honor"?

They are not that Machiavellian. It's just another case of slightly raising the temperature to see if the frogs will jump.

Rocketman on December 09, 2009, 10:42:29 am
Yea, I agree.  I was thinking about that last night before I dropped off to sleep and concluded that as a whole they're just not that bright.  My guess is that some american tourists have gone to the american embassy in say Panama and told the officials there that they spend more money than they intended to (probably hitting the push buttons, but that's a whole nother story) and now they don't have enough money to buy a ticket and return home.  Some State Dept. whiz kid said to himself "Get a law passed that any tourist leaving America has to have a return trip ticket back here so they don't inconvienence any more of our people."  That's probably the origin of it.   ;D