The Institute for Energy Research is a not-for-profit organization that conducts intensive research and analysis on the functions, operations, and government regulation of global energy markets.

About IER
Latest Analysis
March 9, 2012

Bill O'Reilly: Exporting Nonsense on Gas Prices

March 9, 2012
Info Facebook

Lately Bill O’Reilly’s comments regarding gasoline prices have been nonsensical. O’Reilly’s analysis of the oil market and the role of exports is not only wrong, it’s absurd. Even if he were right, slapping taxes on American firms is not the way to help Americans. As we’ll see, oil refiners aren’t doing anything nefarious by participating in the global market. And as for O’Reilly’s proposals, they would not only cost American jobs, they would have a negligible impact on gas prices.

O’Reilly’s Plan to Tax Our Way to Prosperity

For those who missed his commentaries, here’s a good example of O’Reilly’s energy fallacies from his “Talking Points Memo” of February 22:

We began covering the skyrocketing oil prices last Friday with Lou Dobbs. He was candid. Saying because of the mild winter, there is plenty of oil and gas in the U.S.A. So supply and demand here should dictate lower prices.

But of course, they are not lower. They are much higher because the oil companies are shipping their products overseas. Measured in dollars, oil products are now America’s largest export worth $88 billion a year to the oil companies.

A decade ago, oil exports were not even among the top 25 exports. Most of the oil stayed here. And with working Americans getting hammered by stagnant wages and huge unemployment, this is yet another punishing situation for the folks.

Tomorrow President Obama will speak in Miami about gas prices. But he is likely to have no solutions.…However, if the Obama administration wanted to, it could ask Congress to raise export taxes on the oil companies to encourage them to sell their products here. Think about it. The oil companies are regulated by the federal government. They can’t drill on land nor in American waters without permission from the feds. Many Republicans want to drill baby drill but what’s the point if all the oil goes to China? Increased production obviously doesn’t mean lower prices for us.

The cartels overseas and the oil companies here set the prices based upon what they can get anywhere in the world. So right now we can expect oil prices to continue to go higher until the oil companies believe they are going to be held accountable. Then they will back off just a bit. [Bold added.]

O’Reilly’s analysis of the oil and gasoline market is simplistic and misleading, but even if it were correct, his “solution” is a betrayal of the supposedly conservative respect for property rights. If O’Reilly’s information were true, that companies needed permission from the government to drill on private and state lands, our oil production would be falling.  After all, oil production on government lands and waters was down last year, even as it climbed 14% on private and state lands.  If O’Reilly were right, Americans would really be hurting from the inevitably higher gas prices the government’s sloth at producing energy would have.   Unfortunately, in this case, O’Reilly is succumbing to his populist streak and railing against the rich greedy businesses in favor of “the folks.”

Even on his own terms, O’Reilly isn’t accusing oil companies of breaking any laws, mistreating any workers, or defrauding any of their customers. According to O’Reilly, these companies are selling their product to the customers willing to pay them the most for it, and therefore suggests that Congress should get involved and increase rates just on those specific companies. When the government starts targeting certain companies for punishment through the tax code, just think about the abuses that could occur.  Our Founders did, and outlawed bills of attainder.

If O’Reilly believes his own rhetoric, then why stop with gasoline? For example, the price of food has been rising aggressively during the last few years, making it harder for struggling families to make ends meet. At the same time, American farmers are exporting massive quantities of food abroad! If Congress slapped a big export tax on wheat, imagine how much cheaper bread would be for the folks here in America. O’Reilly’s implying that wheat and corn are unnecessary but gasoline is.  Maybe he should visit a farm or a bakery or a food processing plant.

Let’s push the analysis further. What if the mayor of Detroit made it illegal for any company to ship a car outside of the city for sale to an outside buyer? Imagine that from now on, all vehicles produced in a Detroit plant must be purchased by a final consumer in Detroit. Think of how much the price per vehicle would tumble, once the demand from the rest of the world were cut off! Those Detroit residents sure would benefit, having all of that massive supply of cars to themselves.

The Two Critical Flaws in O’Reilly’s Argument

As my analogies illustrated, O’Reilly’s analysis is wrong. In fact, there are two separate mistakes he is making.

In the first place—as the grain analogy was meant to demonstrate—O’Reilly completely misunderstands the benefits of international trade. Even if it were true that the U.S. were a net exporter of oil to the rest of the world, it still wouldn’t make sense for the government to slap a tax on U.S. exports. In other words, if there were a Saudi analog of Bill O’Reilly on Al-Jazeera, telling his government to stop exporting so much oil to the rest of the world in order to keep prices down for Saudi motorists, then that would be horrible economic advice.

One of the most basic economic principles is that all countries benefit from participating in the international division of labor, where each nation specializes in its “comparative advantage.” Countries (such as Kuwait and Canada) that are endowed with more crude oil than their own people will consume, export the surplus production to the rest of the world. The people in other countries pay for their oil imports by selling their surplus goods, such as wheat, cars, software, etc. Through this process, per capita living standards are far higher than they would be if each country had to produce everything domestically.

Thus we see that an attempt to hinder oil or gasoline exports from an oil-surplus country would make no economic sense. Yes, the people of that country would have more oil leading to lower gasoline prices for a while, but they would have less of whatever they were previously buying with their oil exports—perhaps wheat and hence bread prices would be higher. On net, the average citizen would be made poorer by the government’s interference with trade and market flows of goods.  And eventually, forcing an industry to sell at an artificially low price would mean it could go out of business, as many refineries in the U.S. have already, despite exports.

Yet there is something else fundamentally wrong with O’Reilly’s assessment of the situation: The U.S. is currently a large net importer of crude oil. In 2011, the U.S. imported 8.9 million barrels per day, and exported a paltry 46,000 barrels per day (just about all of it goes to Canada). So the notion that the U.S. would be awash in oil if it didn’t send it abroad, is nonsense.

The reader might wonder why the U.S. exports any crude oil, if we’re a net importer? Robert Rapier at Forbes explains:

Oil that is exported to Canada is most likely produced in fields that have easier access to Canadian refineries than to U.S. refineries. We import over 50 times as much oil from Canada as we export to them, so oil exports are clearly not the problem.

It’s not crude oil, but petroleum products, that the U.S. exports on net. Yet even here, the numbers show that O’Reilly is painting a false picture.  In December 2011 the U.S. exported a total of 108.4 million barrels of petroleum products, including tens of millions of barrels of products that our government makes very difficult to use here, such as petroleum coke, residual oil and high sulfur fuel oil.  Are companies supposed to keep products they could sell abroad but consumers cannot use here because of government regulations?

Looking at the destinations for our exported petroleum products, we again see that O’Reilly is misinformed. Of the total exported in December, 9.2 million barrels (8.5%) went to Canada, and 18.1 million barrels (16.7%) went to Mexico. We shipped the Netherlands (yes, the Netherlands!) 11.4 million barrels (10.5%) of petroleum products.

In contrast, China—the place where O’Reilly claims we’d ship all of our extra oil production, and so drilling here would be pointless—received only 4.1 million barrels of petroleum products, a mere 3.8% of the total for December. Once we see the actual numbers, we have to wonder: Did O’Reilly’s staffer bother to research the actual figures?

Why An Export Tax Would Make the U.S. Poorer

Now that we understand the true situation regarding the oil market and U.S. exports, we see the relevance of my absurd Detroit auto example. In Detroit, the major companies “import” most of the inputs (such as tires, glass, steel, etc.) from other cities, then use their own workers and factories to assemble the finished vehicles. Most of these products are then “exported” to cities outside of Detroit, because the car companies can obviously get a much better price for each unit by selling into the world market as opposed to just selling to Detroit consumers. If the mayor of the city foolishly made it illegal to export cars, it would simply ruin the industry. There wouldn’t be a huge gap in car sticker prices inside Detroit versus outside of Detroit; no, the number of cars produced in Detroit would simply plummet, with the market share going to other producers.

The situation is similar with petroleum products. Right now U.S.-based refiners operate in a competitive world market. Part of their business involves importing the inputs (i.e. crude oil) from abroad, using domestic workers and equipment to refine it into gasoline or other products, and then exporting some of it abroad. If the U.S. government foolishly slapped a tax on these foreign sales, the U.S. refiners wouldn’t continue with their previous level of output, and dump the excess stocks on the U.S. market.

No, if the U.S. government slapped a tax on foreign sales, then U.S. refiners would scale back their operations. They would import less crude from abroad, they would hire fewer American workers and run fewer shifts, and they would produce less refined gasoline. In the new equilibrium, it wouldn’t at all be the case that gasoline sold in the United States for far less than in neighboring countries. On the contrary, the U.S. refiners would cater to Americans with their reduced output, while foreign refiners would capture market share caused by the reduction in U.S. output (and exports).  The result, in other words, would mean U.S. job losses and not much relief for motorists.

Conclusion

Bill O’Reilly’s talking points against oil companies completely misconstrue the actual trade flows of crude oil and refined products. Yet even if O’Reilly did state the facts, his proposal for raising taxes on a profitable sector of the U.S. economy would destroy jobs and do little to lower gasoline prices.  In fact, his rhetoric sounds a lot like President Obama’s calls for increased taxes on oil companies as the way to reduce gasoline prices.  No one should believe either of them.


View Comments
  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1176968418 Michael O. Sayegh

    if we raise the taxes on oil companies, for sure they will pass it on to us 

    • http://TheInterventionistParadox.wordpress.com/ Bharat

      Taxes on businesses cannot be passed on to consumers. They can only be passed on backward through the production process. This doesn’t mean that consumers can’t be hurt by a tax on businesses: you have to differentiate between the incidence of a tax and the indirect effects of a tax. The incidence of the tax will fall on the business that is taxed, and can be passed on backward through the production process (eventually back to land, labor, and capital). The indirect effects of the tax harm anyone that interacts with the business, including the consumer.

      • http://www.facebook.com/matt.tanous Matthew Tanous

        “Taxes on businesses cannot be passed on to consumers. They can only be passed on backward through the production process.”

        What?  That is only half true.  It goes BOTH ways.  The cost is higher, so I can make less of it – hurting my suppliers as the demand for their products drops and they have to charge a lower price.  Still, the supply I make drops meaning the consumer pays a higher price for the final good as well.  It gets “passed on” in both directions.

        The tax being “passed on”, though, refers specifically to charging a higher price (or otherwise obtaining higher revenues) due to the higher production costs associated with taxation.  This cannot be passed backwards, as getting supplies is a cost, not a revenue source.

        • http://TheInterventionistParadox.wordpress.com/ Bharat

           This falsehood is based on the fallacy of where prices originate from. Prices initiate from individual value scales, not from costs. Costs, in fact, are prices that are derived from the prices, that are derived from value scales. And the costs of the costs are derived from the costs, that are derived from the prices, that are derived from value scales, and so on.

          So when I say you have to differentiate between the incidence of the tax, and the indirect effects of a tax, you have to understand that when people speak about “passing on a tax,” they mean passing on the incidence of the tax. The indirect effects do not count as passing on a tax.

          So again, as you said, the consumers are hurt by the tax. Not because the incidence of the tax is passed on to them, but because they are interacting with the seller. The indirect effects of the tax are what hurts them. If the government put an income tax on an individual A, we would not say the tax is passed on to individual B who interacts with individual A; we would say that individual B is harmed as well by the indirect effects of the tax.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Tuppertil Loris Dean

    How can raising taxes on oil refineries possibly reduce the pain at the pump?  As in every industry, if their costs are higher, they will only pass it on to the consumers!  

  • Barbiebrock

    Sorry but I agree with Bill O’Reilly,,,if the companies would stop exporting stuff over seas then the USA might get out of debt.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/VO3R4FR2PTW2QRTUFPL4H3WPGU What

      A company can pump oil to sell or refine, just like a farmer can grow cotten to sell or make clothes out of it. Unless, some new law has been passed giving new ownership rights to our government to resourses that are finite. Otherwise, the companies pay their employees, who spend their money however they choose. Increasing taxes on top of the cyclical rising of gas prices during the warmer months will only raise our gas prices even more.

    • http://www.facebook.com/James2039 James Moore

      Sure, and if you click your heels together 3 times wearing red shoes, you’ll go right home.

      Did you not read any of the article?  What logical objections do you have to the points raised?

    • nuwriter

      I’m sorry, so if companies stop selling products, the government might get out of debt?

      Did that even make sense when you wrote it?

    • http://www.facebook.com/matt.tanous Matthew Tanous

      Yeah, bringing in dollars back from overseas is totally a bad thing.  Because being in debt means people owe YOU right?

    • http://www.praxacademy.com Rothbardian

      Actually, if we exported MORE overseas, we might get out of debt.  Exporting means selling, which means receiving money.  You clearly did not understand the article above.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/VO3R4FR2PTW2QRTUFPL4H3WPGU What

    Your reminder of “comparative advantage” should be repeated more to others. Enough people just don’t get it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Cook-Staley/1557676914 Cook Staley

    How about we put it (lowering cost) in the hands of the people who know WHAT will lower the cost at the pump.  The company’s that drill and refine oil should be able to provide a list of things that can be done to lower the price at the pump. Why not bring them before congress and ask them to provide that information and act on it NOW !

    • KnowledgeRoad

      I think you need to read what you wrote, then read it again, and again, and again.  I sincerely hope that proverbial light bulb goes off over your head.  One does not ask the fox, what can be done to stop him from raiding the chicken coop. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/scott.oneal2 Scott O’Neal

    They’re called Tariffs; this is a tactic that is as old as the republic itself.  If Government puts a tariff on exported goods so that it is equally or more attractive economically for the seller of goods to sell their product domestically rather than internationally, then the supply of the product available for domestic consumption is increased.  The laws of supply and demand kick in and as supply increases, prices generally go down. 

    • Capn_Mike

      nope!
      the supply goes down!!

    • http://www.facebook.com/matt.tanous Matthew Tanous

      Tariffs are on imports, and are also stupid.  Look up Bastiats Candlemaker’s Petition if you care to understand why.

      Also, if I can’t sell my stuff at a high price, I make less of it. I also make less of it if my market is artificially tiny. This is why health insurance is so expensive – the market is tiny (generally the size of a STATE, not even the whole US).

    • http://www.praxacademy.com Rothbardian

      If you believe that the law of supply and demand will kick in, then why did you need a tariff in the first place?

  • http://www.facebook.com/scott.oneal2 Scott O’Neal

    I do not think the taxes/tariffs are placed on the refineries, only on the products that are sold internationally (exported).

  • http://www.facebook.com/jrwixson Jim Wixson

    I agree!  O’Reilly is way of on this issue. We should be pushing to create more supply in the US by drilling and extracting oil wherever and whenever possible so we can meet our domestic demand first and export as much as possible to the world market.  This should lower prices not only in the US, but, world wide.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=562335605 Cherie Dupler

    Perhaps you should go on his show to debate it.  I agree with OReilly as well as drill here drill now.  It makes all sorts of sense.,,,which is why the poser in chief would never go for it…..  

    • http://www.facebook.com/James2039 James Moore

      Debate?  O’Reilly doesn’t do debate on his show.  He also doesn’t do:  Economics, history, or Constitutionalism.

      Now, releasing excess hot air at a premium volume while wearing an American flag?  Yeah, that goes on there.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002505978871 Subvertive Freedom Culture

         O’Reilly doesn’t do Intelligence.  But if he did, it would still be stupid.

    • http://www.praxacademy.com Rothbardian

      O’Reilly doesn’t invite people on his show that would make him look like the fool he is.

  • oket

    O’Reilly fashions himself an authority on many subjects that are simply out of his league.  In his feeble attempt at being “fair and balanced” he reveals his ignorance on real world business principles.  No longer watch his program.  In fact, Fox News unbalanced bias favoring Romney makes them no better than CNN, MSNBC etc.  Never thought I would say that..keeping it real!

    • http://www.facebook.com/matt.tanous Matthew Tanous

      I remember that time Stossel had to teach him how to pronounce Keynesian.  But, yeah, he’s an economics expert all right. LOL.

  • Markknighton

    This is how! The oil refineries are make more gas then ever and for the first time in history they are selling “our” gas to other countries. If that gas was to stay here it would cause the supply to be more then the demand so the price would go down to encourage more consumption. If the oil companies were to be taxed so much to remove the profit from selling gas in other countries the the gas would stay here and reduce our gas prices. I will go one step farther than Bill OReilly Not only should the oil companies be tax so heavily for selling “our” gas to other countries so they can raise our prices ( killing the economic recovery) the oil company executives should be tried for treason and be executed!
     
     My Robert Murphy is totally wrong on this subject and most likely on the payroll of big oil companies

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/HSYXU4JZNRWWQQKTWH7TSH2WPM Jason

      Mark, clearly you did not read the article.

      “This is how! The oil refineries are making more gas then ever and for the first time in history they are selling “our” gas to other countries. If that gas was to stay here it would cause the supply to be more then the demand so the price would go down to encourage more consumption”

      Dr. Murphy covered this argument in the article, Mark.

      Exit question for you Mark. Why do you want resource allocators in the hydrocarbon extraction/production sector to die? That seems like a contradictory position to take versus what you’d like to see regarding the price of oil and gas.

    • http://twitter.com/vdigilio Vincenzo J. DiGilio

      So if we already have an overabundance of oil in the US, how will increasing the supply reduce prices?  It would be a negligible decrease in prices. Increasing supply of a good only works when the good is scarce, and in high demand.

      The oil companies are making record profits because 1) they actually produce enough now to sell to countries where oil is in high demand, and 2) our demand for oil has decreased because of conscientious consumers buying high MPG cars or hybrids.

      This is Economics 101, not “evil, greedy businessmen” trying to screw us.

    • http://www.facebook.com/James2039 James Moore

      Please don’t vote.  People like you are the reason we’re screwed.

  • Markknighton

    I just checked and I was correct MR. Robert Murphy works for the
    Institute for Energy Research which is funded by Koch industries which is an oil and gas company. Mr Murphy is one of those I think should be tried for Treason and executed.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002505978871 Subvertive Freedom Culture

       You’re right.  The fact that he works for an institute that receives funding from a gas company suspends the clear clogic and reason in this post.   Forget how absolutely correct he is about Bill O’Reilly’s idiotic babbling and how simply he presents the truth of the matter.  He works for the evil gas people who make our lives 100 more comfortable.  Let’s execute the guy!

      I’m crying on the inside Mark.  You did this.

  • Pingback: Bill O’Reilly: Exporting Nonsense on Gas Prices Oil | JunkScience.com

  • keepitlegal

    An example of comparative advantage is labor wages in China, India, Indonnesia and Mexico.  Because laborers in those countries have no choice but to work for less, corporations that once confined their manufacturing and services to using U. S. workers but, in recent years have built factories and hired workers in those nations no longer have to pay what U. S. citizens consider a “living wage” in the U. S.   A corporation that has gone global no longer is hampered by having to pay wages expected in a single nation.  It can enjoy the “comparative advantage” of internationalism.  During the past three decades many corporations have become, in a very real sense, sovereign.  To be sovereign means to have power in and of one’s self (including one’s corporate self) to make its own rules; and corporations that have outgrown any one nation can play off even the government of one nation against another.  Also, in the U. S. A., changes in what is defined by legislation and by court rulings over the past three decades as crimer and corruption has become the norm.  Acts that thirty years ago would have ended in conviction and imprisonment of both the givers of money to politicians to influence their policies, and the politicians who accepted such money as quid pro quo for policy-making, are now either legalized or unenforced by law-enforcement agencies. 

    Comparative advantage, in the broadest sense, is the power to behave in such a manner as for a miniscule percentage of the individual citizens of the world, including the principal officers of multi-national corporations to use, and apply, the advantage of that comparative wealth to influence political power, in such a way as to further their power and further grow their wealth, while diminishing the power and access to income of the vast majority of the people.

    Comparative advantage of the wealthiest most powerful less-than-one-percent of the population enables them to increasingly buy up so-called news reporting services, and to control (by selective advertising) the way the increasing power of an ever smaller percentage present their case to the public.  As the money-influence rhetoric goes, it is nothing more than “free trade” for them to use their wealth advantage to manipulate to the furtherance of their already established advantage.

    Unfortunately, the enormous amount of ownership of information services and, control of other information services by selectively rewarding those who talk the talk, and refraining from rewarding those information services that question the increasing monopolization of control by the wealthiest, has succeeded in persuading many of the very victims of this monopolization that it is only fair, and right and equable that the persons who have the most money, can buy control over who can, and cannot, compete with them.  In the very name of “fairness” the deck is stacked.

    Comparative advantage of the wealthiest is that once they have the most, they can control whether anyone else can rise.  The comparative advantage of the wealthiest, assures that — now that it is established — it can influence more and more money to flow away from the middle and lower income classes, and into the hands of the few.

    Of course, if legalized funneling of more and more into the hands of fewer and fewer is what the majority of U. S. citizens want, then, to that extent, what currently is happening is “democracy.’

    • nuwriter

      “These workers have no choice but to work for less”

      That is really a paternalistic and arrogant thing to say. Clearly they do have a choice, and they have chosen to take these jobs.

      I quote the economist David Henderson – “you don’t help the poor by looking at their list of options and eliminating the one they actually chose.”

      If you increase the wages these people are paid, you will destroy their jobs. They will lose their jobs, and you will feel better about yourself. But that is the function of government, to cause problems, and propose solutions that don’t work, thus creating a need for more “solutions”, that also won’t work, and could only be solved by government leaving well enough alone.

      • keepitlegal

         You are absolutely right.  The workers in China, India, Polynesia, Mexico do have a choice.  They can refuse the wages and starve or — in Mexico they can make a lot more money working for a drug cartel, killing any politician or law enforcement personnel who dare to try to arrest or prosecute a drug lord.

        You are absolutely right, also, in saying that if their wages were increased many jobs would be eliminated.

        You do not mention — for whatever reason — that there are numerous instances in the United States in which the same arguments have been proffered as why minimum wage should not be raised.  I personally know individuals who work TWO full-time jobs, at minimum wage scale, in order to be able to support their children and themselves in a manner at best describable as lower, lower middle class.

        You do not mention — among other things — that there are, at the same time, numerous examples of individuals who have, after making cronies of politicians, persuaded them to legalize the privatization of formerly publicly owned HMOs, set themselves up as CEO, convert them into an insurance company, and demand that the newly chosen board of directors, grant them millions and millions and millions of dollars per year, to run the new company for profit.  Just one of MANY examples was Leonard Shaeffer, who took over California Blue Cross, began setting up rules to DENY coverage to any who were not young and healthy, raised prices to those who could qualify, and set about making rules that declined to cover more and more people who got sick or injured, thinking they were covered.  Instead of reducing costs of medical care to citizens, the result eliminated coverage, increased prices, made paperwork for physicians and surgeons so complicated many of them gave up trying.  THAT is the “efficiency” the right wing nuts hawk in sound bites.  It is nothing short of legalized extortion.  Legalized how?  By votes of politicians on whom are heaped huge amounts of campaign donations if they “cooperate.”  So what we end up with is some individuals who can barely live on what they have to work for (or opt out and starve), and putting no limits on how much a CEO, thanks to his politically well-rewarded cronies, can make per year or receive in bonuses and stock options and free use of a corporate jet to go to play golf.

        Check it out.  Read the book, FREE  LUNCH.  Hundreds of such examples are laid out there in full detail.

        But, yes, you are right.  If workers in China refuse to work for what they get they can starve.  And if the demonstrate they are made to kneel down and be shot in the back of the head, and their hearts and lungs and such are “harvested” and sold to any of the Chinese rich,, who need them.

        And American workers, thanks to our fabulously rich and powerful multi-national corporations are told it is “fair, free market competition,” that justifies the trend toward putting American workers on the same basis.  That’s just how business works.  Isn’t it.

        What is “fair” and “free market” about the politicians making laws to legalize Leonard Shaeffer’s buying what belonged to the whole of all taxpayers, for less than pennies on the dollar for value received, and not one cent of that going to the public,  The right wingers have no qualms about government pouring taxpayer-owned billions into pockets of those like Shaeffer, and saying the system CANNOT AFFORD a living wage to a fry cook. 

        These words are wasted.  If you think in sound bites, instead of the real details, you don’t have to think.  You don’t have to deal with details that demonstrate that what the citizens and the workers own, or earn through hard, honest work, can be taken away at nothing more than a vote by some politicians who are well-rewarded for making sure the playing field between them and the big campaign donors is NOT level.

        • nuwriter

          It’s funny that you’re arrogance lets you think you’re so clever, while chiding me for “thinking in sound bites”. I’m sorry, but that’s exactly what you’ve done. Putting a lot of slogans together does not analysis make. You are the one being spoon fed your opinions. Abolishing the minimum wage is not exactly the most popular opinion, for all the damage it actually does.

          But I’ll take on all of your points and point out their silliness.

          1. Your solution to the plight of the workers in the countries you list is to artificially raise the wages that an outside company would have to pay to employ them. While this sounds great and probably makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, it ignores the simple economic facts that if you increase the price of doing business in a place, you will decrease the likelihood that a business will operate there. Your solution will cost people their jobs, and would have the exact same result as the business never having operated at all. You say their options are to take the job, or starve – and you seem set on taking away their only other option. Whatever option you use to increase their wages short of increased demand or production will lead to unemployment. 

          2. Why would I mention other places where a poor argument is made. Your anecdotal evidence is meaningless. I’m sorry that you’re friend has to work so hard to support their family, but raising the minimum wage here too would not neccesarily increase their standard of living. It’s more likely to lower it, as raising the minimum wage would not increase the marginal value of your friend’s labor, just the price of it to the employer, thus making it more likely that your friend would lose one or both of their jobs. All you would have done would be to have priced your friend out of the market.

          3. Where did I defend cronyism? I’m clearly more against it than you are. But you want to destroy it by adding more of the very sort of regulation that creates it. You seem to equate cronyism and the free market, and you could not be more mistaken. Your issue with California Blue Cross is not in any way a free market problem. We do not have a free market in health care. The amount of government intervention in this sector of society is why it is so expensive, and why the customers of California Blue Cross are suffering. If the workers were paying for their own health care directly, then what CBC is doing would hurt them directly, but CBC is here protected because of government intervention. In a truly free market, firms that maltreat their customers go out of business. But in the cronyism that you knowingly or unknowingly support, corporations must satisfy government in order to be successful.

          4. You’re the one hurting the fry cook. Eliminating his job with an artificially high wage does not help HIM.

          5. You want to level the playing field, then shrink the power and the scope of government.

          • keepitlegal

             1.  The wages of the lowest 50% of income earners in the U. S. has been shrinking over the past 30 years, while the income of the top 1% has quadrupled.  The income of the 40% of the citizens of the U. S. above that bottom 50% has been shrinking over the past 30 years, while the income of the top 10% has increased.  The nation did no fall apart in the 30 years or so between WWII and Reagan, during which time the income of the middle class and lower income classes grew.  In fact those were the most economically healthy years of any nation in the world during any three decades, before or since.  The assertion to stopping the flow of money out of the 90% of Americans and into the top 1% would destroy jobs is exactly the opposite of what has occurred. 

            2.  The above information applies to the entire United States, so if you call that anecdotal you are as ignorant of the meaning of that word as you are brainwashed.  An anecdotal example would be such an example as what occurred to one person, or those of a small percentage of the population, not an entire nation. 

            3.  Cronyism refers to such individuals who have cronies (pals, buddies, mutual back-scratchers, who engage in under the table deals that are not “arms length” as defined in American jurisprudence.  If you are an adult, with any business experience or education, you know the legal concept of “arms length,” but if you do not you can ask an attorney to explain it to you. 

            4.  You are redundant in restating the same naive premise as in number one, above, but you are welcome to read my response to it again, by reading it again.

            5.  To assert that regulations and power of government are the problem in the United States is so naive as to be irrational.  If you do have a clinical problem preventing being rational then let me explain that I have some experience with that and have much empathy for individuals with such problems.  On the other hand, if you are merely ignorant of what regulations are, and why they are necessary in an orderly society, you have missed out on what all students should know by no later than ninth grade.  If there were no laws, then there would be no need of regulations, as regulations are the putting into effect of laws.  A law against defrauding the stockholders of a corporation is not applied until and unless it is applied through regulations spelling out who, what, how, when, where such things as investigation, enforcement, incarceration are to be carried out in accordance with such laws.  To say that government needs to be made smaller is naive, in that there is no one to protect you from being cheated by a bully, a larger business that would like to just snatch your business away from you… or a thousand other things… except the government.  Take the power away from that and you would have no protection unless you get up a gang of vigilantes and do something.

            Again, if you have a clinical problem of some kind, and are just off your meds, or the prescription is not doing its job any longer, I mean you no harm.  But if you are as ignorant as your comments relating to business or law or regulation or government suggest, then you have been short-changed by whatever educational system was under a duty and an obligation to prepare you to grasp the realities an adult must deal with in this world.

            Possibly you have heard the joke about a guy carrying a sign saying, “No chemicals should be in the food we have to eat.”  There is no matter known to mankind that does not consist entirely of chemicals.
            No chemicals would mean no food at all.

            That is about how much sense your comments about regulations make.  Without regulations your life, and everybody else’s, would be
            total chaos, and as long as anyone were around physically stronger than you, or carrying a bigger spear or club than you carry, you would be their victim or their slave. 

            You need not answer this, but the ideas you express in writing suggest to me that you may have bi-polar issues.  If so, believe me when I say I do not judge you for it.  One of my best friends is an attorney at law who has those kinds of issues.   

          • KnowledgeRoad

            I have long held the opinion that the human species is undoubtedly the most stupid on the planet.  You’re arguments posted here, have not given me any reason to change that opinion.  I have read a great many right wing nut case comments, however yours is truly a great example of someone who for whatever reason, abdicated the ability to reason. Perhaps it’s something in the water.  More likely, you were spoon fed this crap from day one, and now absolutely believe it.  To do otherwise would bring into question who and what you are.  The most difficult thing a human being can do, is be absolutely honest with oneself.  It requires a great deal of courage. and far too few, undertake the journey.

          • nuwriter

            I’m sorry, but you call yourself “knowledge road”, and your best response is a series of insults? Really?

            I have long held the opinion that when one turns to insults, they have lost the argument.

            I could follow with four or five insults, but you’re just not worth it.

  • keepitlegal

    It sounds like good sense, at first blush, to see the argument made that if ANY tax is put on a corporation it will pass that tax expense along to customers.  Let’s do away with all taxes and regulatory fines then.  After all, if a corporation pollutes the air illegally, and thousands of asthmatics and babies and elderly people die from that illegal pollution, and the government fines the polluting corporation, this is not a deterrent because the corporation will just pass along the expense of that fine to its customers. 

    The seventeen (plus) banking corporations that committed flagrant, blatant mortgage fraud — resulting in running up the U. S. housing market by 75% or more, under the G. W. Bush administration, and collapsed it (under G. W. Bush), and led thence to the crash of the entire economy (under G. W. Bush)
    was a terrible thing.  Don’t you agree.  (If you do not believe that this is what brought about the Great Recession, read the best-seller by Gretchen Morgenson (Reckless Endangerment)

    It’s all totally verfified, and no one can deny it with a straight face.

    However, here’s where things get REALLY interesting:  No criminal charges were brought against any principal officer of any of those corporations, despite overwhelming, prima facie evidence.  INSTEAD, under the current administration, lawsuits were brought, and one-by-one these corporations have been allowed to settle out of court.  One settlement was for two-billion.  Does that sound like a lot of money?  Check it out in Morgenson’s book.  It’s mere PENNIES  ON  THE  DOLLAR  of the trillions… yes, with a “t” that corporation gained through fraud.

    So, what happens when a corporation gets taxed, fined, or in any other manner is caused to have to pay out any amount of money? 

    It gets passed along to customers — or comes out of profits and therefore decreases what drives stock prices (profits), and hence penalizes, in the case of a public corporation, its STOCKHOLDERS.

    Are you beginning to get the picture.  There are those who would have you and me believe that no corporation should be fined, taxed, sued by any regulatory agency of the government BECAUSE it will just pass along the resultant expense to its customers and/or its shareholders.

    See what the gist of that argument is:  It is that the people and their political electees, appointees, and hirelings ARE  POWERLESS  TO  ENFORCE  any rule against any corporation. 

    Once you have let that soak in, you may wonder, “Why, then, even HAVE any laws, and regulations or any fines or any taxes on corporations.  The corporate execs will LOVE  YOU  for making that argument on their behalf.  It’s tantamount to saying, “There ARE no laws that will impact corporations.”

    At this point you may be wondering, “Okay, then, why haven’t any of those corporate EXECUTIVES been charged under the existing laws… yes, existing laws… against fraud (which Gretchen’s book will explain to your total understanding.”

    Answer:  “Because THOSE  CORPORATE  EXECS  FUNNEL  MILLIONS  OF  DOLLARS  TO  THE  ELECTED  OFFICIALS  WHO  APPOINT  THE  HEADS  OF  THE  SO-CALLED “LAW-ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES” OF THE U. S. GOVERNMENT AND THE  STATE  GOVERNMENTS!”

    Those politicians you elect in what you perceive to be a “democratic” way are inundated with campaign contributions, favors or all imaginable kinds (and some unimaginable, unless you have a very dark and correct view of the morals and ethics of todays politicians, and how they get immensely richer than the piddling little salaries they are paid for their jobs).

    Get the picture now?  Those corporate execs hire people to pretend to enter comments in blogs just like this one, and muddy the water, to convince you that the corporations should not be controlled in any way, because they will pass the resultant cost on to their customers and shareholders.  So, don’t you get it?  The smart thing is to let them do anything and everything they want to, legal or otherwise, because you are wasting your time.  Those corporate execs have friends in high places, and YOU  DO NOT.  You do not have millions to spend on lobbyists and campaign donations.  So your power, and your complaints, are futile and pointless and will just come back on you and other powerless citizens.

    You’ve been hearing certain platitudes that right wing nuts have been repeating to you for decades now, to convince you that corporations are your friends, and the mean old bad old laws and taxes and regulations are hurting those friends of yours… the corporations that bribe, and your politicians who accept those bribes, an sell out on you.

    But, hey, I understand.  To dig in and study and discover for yourself the whole picture — the picture the corporation’s hired journalists and cartoonists, and the politicians they turn into multi-millionaires provided they speak the narrative as they are PAID to speak it — that’s the picture you will get, and hear repeated and repeated and repeated and repeated,.. if you do not dig in and find out the facts for yourself.

    And when you’ve heard something repeated a million times, and you never hear the REAL story told, it’s only understandable that you don’t get it when sometells you you are being scammed.

    It’s not your fault.  Or, at least, not if being too lazy to dig and find out the truth is asking too much of you.  It’s hard work digging out the truth behind all the hype and sound bites and political b——t.  Maybe you should not be expected to question any of that.  To do so requires thinking and questioning what you hear.  It’s much, much easier to just repeat what you hear, and have others who do likewise agree with you.

    That’s what most people do, you know.  And who doesn’t want to be repeating what “everybody’s” saying, instead of something that might cast doubt on it. 

    • nuwriter

      But it’s the regulations that create all the problems you speak of. It’s the ability to use government regulation to cripple one’s competitors that brings business begging to government.

      You will not solve this with more regulation. It’s like trying to put a fire out with gasoline.

      You solve this by shrinking government.

    • http://www.praxacademy.com Rothbardian

      This is a summary of your comment: “Corporations are to blame because they use government power for their own ends, so clearly more government is the answer.”  You just typed around 800 useless words.  Congratulations.

      • keepitlegal

         If that is the case, then do not read Thomas Hartmann’s book, for he wasted at least two hundred times as many.

        The story is in the details, and you do not bother to mention that corporations serve much good as well as much evil.  Your economy of words would suggest only one side of that. 

        Nuwriter’s comment, like yours, indicates the kind of gross error that occurs from grossly over-simplified truisms and associated metaphors that fall short of expressing the nature of real problems requiring realistic solutions.  It is through such machinations as giving members of the Congress huge campaign donations that lobbying law firms. often made up of FORMER members of Congress, or former members of White House administrations, sell FOR  MILLIONS  OF  DOLLARS  their access to current officials, such that they can insert as little as a single phrase into a bill headed for a vote in the House or Senate, that has nothing to do with the main subject of the bill, but which opens the door to the funneling of millions or even billions into the pockets of already wealthy, powerful interests. 

        To promote such an over-simplictication (as Nuwriter implies) that regulations are the cause of such fraud and corruption is equivalent to suggesting the silverware be tossed out with the dishwater. 

        It was not the existence of regulations (and laws) against criminal fraud that enabled the raping and plundering of the U. S. housing market, and in turn, triggered the Great Recssion.  It was not failure of the Dept. of Justice to  enforce those much needed regulations and laws that would have, IF ENFORCED, PREVENTED the horrendous economic damage done to the American middle class and working poor.

        Why were those laws and regulations — written to protect the REST of the population of the U. S. from exploitation by the seventeen banks that raped the economy — not enforced?  The answer is:  The head of the Dept. of Justice, and the heads of the various enforcement agencies are POLITICAL APPOINTEES, and if they cross those who appointed them, by enforcing things those politicians and their wealthy cronies DO NOT WANT enforced, they (the department heads) do so at cost of being replaced, at minimum, and character-assasinated if they go public that they were under duress
        to omit to enforce the laws and regulations that would — in protecting the innocent citizens — reduce the MONEY FLOW to those wealthy, powerful campain donors.

        Honesty in governance, today, is fatal to a political career or to the career of the CEO of a banking corporation.

        The PROBLEMS that could be solved in America today, require people who do NOT suffer the false impression that those problems can be reduced to a brief half truth.

        The problems, as well as the workable solutions, can only be grasped in the details.

        Surely Nuwriter would not do away with every regulation written to protect his rights of ownership, his right not to be defrauded, his right to protest against being defrauded.

        Ignorance, which can easily be expressed in a single sound bite may be bliss to the ignorant, and highly beneficial to those who are robbing him without his knowledge.  Rooting out who is robbing you, and how, takes a lot of words.  Read FREE LUNCH, and you will begin to see how and why.

        Reading the details and learning what is being done are not for the lazy or for those who revel in aphorisms and wallow in naivete.

        • http://www.praxacademy.com Rothbardian

          I am not saying that “regulations are the cause of fraud”, I am saying that the State is the vehicle that allows fraud to take place. You admit as much when you talk about how politicians are bought and lobbied to.

          • keepitlegal

            To say that the state is the vehicle that allows fraud is so vague as to be meaningless. Suppose one were to say that breathing is the vehicle that allows tuberculosis to occur. Suppose one were to say that railroads are the vehicle that allow train wrecks to occur. Suppose one were to say that mobile home parks are what allow tornadoes to occur. If there is a rational argumentation you would like me to read, relating to regulations, however, I encourage you to share it with us.

        • nuwriter

          But moat of the regulation on the books today is not designed to protect the consumer, or the private citizen, but rather to protect the established business from competition. Until you grasp that fact, you are spinning our wheels. The laws were not written to protect us, but rather to protect the banks.

          You also seem to completely ignore the role of the Fed in the crisis, either in creating the artificial credit that created the bubble in the first place, or in the implicit guarantee of bailouts that led to the moral hazeard you attribute the the banks. The market punishes foolish investment, but it was government that stepped in and rescued the bad actors, and government legislation that directed where the crash would come.

          While your reading, check out Meltdpwn by Thomas Woods.

          • keepitlegal

            You might try reading what I have said, before repeating something I have said again and again and again, and telling me “… until you grasp that.”

            I shall indeed put MELTDOWN on my stack of books. I budget about a thousand a year for books, and read them as fast as I can and still remember some of what they say.

            You are absolutely right in my opinion in saying the government stepped in and helped bad actors. But tonight I have written a long comment talking about the fact that the government — providing we the people PURGE it of the criminal acceptors of quid pro quo in determining how they write and vote legislation — is the only organ of power the PEOPLE have.

            Rather than say that again, let me ask you to read it there.

            If we pull the teeth of the government, and THEN kick the criminals out of office, we will have no power as a people to repair the damage the corporatists (as defined by Johnston in FREE LUNCH) have done.

            To destroy the government, in order to make the job of controlling of the 99% by the 1%, or the CRIMINALS WHO ARE A PART OF that 1%, would be like burning down the barn to get rid of a group of skunks that have taken it over.

            Once the skunks are gotten out, we are going to NEED THAT BARN.

            Evidently I am a lot farther along with analyzing the issues here than your remarks seem to encompass.

            But what good is served by your false and misguided personal accusations of me.

            What would be wrong with laying out facts and offering arguments without the personal (ad hoc)accusations.

            The problems in the U. S. and the world today are not about me, and they are not about you. What say, if you have facts to share and arguments to offer, you just stand them on their own feet and see how that works.

            The only thing one person can do is seek to LEARN and share in learning.

            All this erroneous crap about what you would know is in error if you had actually read what I wrote, could be avoided and the shared learning between us could be maximized.

            How about giving that a try. The responses from this end might be far more productive and enjoyable.

            Before closing, let me repeat: The government is the ONLY organ of power the PEOPLE AS A WHOLE have.

            We the people have the power to INSIST that politicians on the take be exposed (not enabled by at least one new law that is proposed this very day, to prevent transparency).

            The Jobs Bill seeks to PROTECT illegal acts from being exposed.

            That is EXACTLY what corporate criminal bribers and corrupt political electees want. It is NOT what the honest ones want.

            Calling it “The Jobs Bill,” is mere camouflage.

            If you wish to discuss it pro or con, please, speak to the facts and the issues themselves. That is what conduces to mutual learning.

          • keepitlegal

            You’ll be pleased to know I ordered a copy of the book: MELTDOWN just now.

            I’m feeling very skeptical about the term “free market,” DUE TO THE FACT that criminal corporatists have used that term as a veritable CODE WORD by which they falsely label ANYTHING BUT free market.

            FOR EXAMPLE, the setting up of ENRON was a huge effort on part of more than one greed-driven corporation, just one of whom was Dick Cheney, to use political influence, bribery, intimidation… and other devices to bring about the privatization of electrical power companies that were non-profit and owned by “the commones” (also know as the peope). The whole scam was based upon the PROMISE that “free enterprise” also referred to as “free market competition” would be more efficient than government, and would bring about LOWER COST to the citizens than the bad old mean old public domain, or government ownership.

            If you read David Cay Johnston’s FREE LUNCH, you will discover that not only was ENRON a den of liars and thieves but, also, the price of electricity, of ALL the privatized electrical plants WENT UP… not down… UP.

            In Orgegon alone, Johston gives details of seven cities that owned (that is, the citizens of them owned in common, and as NOT-FOR-PROFIT,their very own electrical power plants. Through criminal corporate pressures and political donations and reciprocated favors from politicians, laws and policies and even court rulings were POLITICALLY INFLUENCED to FORCE THE CONVERSION of those plants to ownership by a corporation.

            Again, to appreciate this fully, keep in mind that the whole argument used, and the whole story hawked to the citizens of those seven cities, was that “free market competition” was going to REDUCE the cost of electricity to those citizens.

            It was a lie. It was a lie. It was a lie.

            Indisputable proof consists in the billing. The price of electricity to the citizens of those seven cities in Oregon did not merely go UP under corporate ownership, the costs of electricity to those citizens double, quadrupled and eventually drove people into bankruptcy, just to keep their lights turned on and their central heat and cooling on.

            Am I making this clear? On the FALSE PROMISE of forcing… yes, forcing… those citizens to give up what belonged to them, the SAME ELECTRICAL POWER PLANTS working just as they had before, selling to the SAME CUSTOMER as before, quadrupled and more the prices the people had paid for electricity before they were ROBBED of what was theirs.

            This is just one of THOUSANDS of example where the LIE has been used to persuade, or FORCE, citizens of the U. S. (and of subdivisions thereof, called states, counties, cities or towns to be disposessed of something they already had paid for (by way of paying their electricity bills which had paid off those companies) in the false name of making things more efficient.

            Many people went along with the ENRON-changes, and other corporate takeovers of public ownership (this big bad thing called “the government” and these terrible things called “regulations” some of which PROTECT the citizens against just such theft of what they own in common, and then JACKED UP the price.

            Even despite thousands of true accounts of where the results have been the same (prices went UP, rather than down), the lie is still being preached to this very day that BUSINESS is more efficient than government (public ownership). The evidence disproves it.

            One “business” (meaning one or more corporations) get through paying political bribe-takers to FORCE the people to give up something THEN the very first thing the CEO of that corporation does is demand several million, or several HUNDRED million for his trouble and his business acumen.

            And, lest I forget to mention this part, the amounts PAID into city coffers or county or state coffers, in each and every case have been pennies on the dollar of VALUE THE CORPORATION RECEIVES, or hundredths of a penny on the dollar of value received.

            Do you doubt any of this? If so READ JOHNSTON’S BOOK, FREE LUNCH, where you will find names, dates, places, details, where the records can be seen by you or anybody…

            Once you learn of how CORRUPT are the politicians who get millions of dollars worth of campaign donations, favors, jobs for family members, fat jobs for themselves after they retire from politics or fail to get re-elected… you begin to recognize the words “free enterprise,” and “free market” and “free market competition” for the lies that have been used to gloss over in the media what REALLY goes on.

            A level playing field would be a playing field in which criminals would NOT bribe politicians to force people’s local, country, state authorities to accept pennies on the dollar.

            A “free” market is not one in which rich corporations bribe politicians (making THEM rich) to force people to sell something they have no desire to sell. This is not “free” market. It is not “fair competition.” It is FRAUD!

            But I must make sure to emphasize that this does not prove GOVERNMENT is a bad thing. It proves that the BUYING OF GOVERNMENT AWAY FROM THE PEOPLE is the bad thing.

            Business that is honest does not rely upon bribery, political cronyism, deceit and lies and FORCE. That kind of manipulation of the people is CORRUPTION OF their government.

            The whole fabricated set of lies, whereby criminal corporatists are doing a con job on the people, and blaming GOVERNMENT, points to the very results brought about BY the take over of what is the people’s by self-serving, criminal, greed-driven interest, who then gouge and exploit the very people whom they conned.

            QUESTION: So why would I read a book that the advertisements say explains something about ‘free market competition” or “free enterprise” ?

            ANSWER: Because I want to know what it says… whether it supports the lies and the defrauding of the people in the false NAME of exactly the opposite of what it means as used by the criminal con artist corporatists, or whether the author offers FACTS that support even one example in the REAL WORLD of where prices of something citizens were conned into, or forced into, selling so cheaply it really amounts to the equivalent of taking candy from a baby… or whether he just does as MOST supporters of the criminal corporatists do, to speak in sound bites and aphorisms, without even attempting to back those things up with facts.

            My mind is open to learning and to being changed if there are facts and arguments indicating it needs to be changed.

            So, let me find out whether there is any substance or wisdom in the book MELTDOWN or not.

      • Guest

         If that is the case, then do not read Thomas Hartmann’s book, for he wasted at least two hundred times as many.

        The story is in the details, and you do not bother to mention that corporations serve much good as well as much evil.  Your economy of words would suggest only one side of that. 

        Nuwriter’s comment, like yours, indicates the kind of gross error that occurs from grossly over-simplified truisms and associated metaphors that fall short of expressing the nature of real problems requiring realistic solutions.  It is through such machinations as giving members of the Congress huge campaign donations that lobbying law firms. often made up of FORMER members of Congress, or former members of White House administrations, sell FOR  MILLIONS  OF  DOLLARS  their access to current officials, such that they can insert as little as a single phrase into a bill headed for a vote in the House or Senate, that has nothing to do with the main subject of the bill, but which opens the door to the funneling of millions or even billions into the pockets of already wealthy, powerful interests. 

        To promote such an over-simplictication (as Nuwriter implies) that regulations are the cause of such fraud and corruption is equivalent to suggesting the silverware be tossed out with the dishwater. 

        It was not the existence of regulations (and laws) against criminal fraud that enabled the raping and plundering of the U. S. housing market, and in turn, triggered the Great Recssion.  It was not failure of the Dept. of Justice to  enforce those much needed regulations and laws that would have, IF ENFORCED, PREVENTED the horrendous economic damage done to the American middle class and working poor.

        Why were those laws and regulations — written to protect the REST of the population of the U. S. from exploitation by the seventeen banks that raped the economy — not enforced?  The answer is:  The head of the Dept. of Justice, and the heads of the various enforcement agencies are POLITICAL APPOINTEES, and if they cross those who appointed them, by enforcing things those politicians and their wealthy cronies DO NOT WANT enforced, they (the department heads) do so at cost of being replaced, at minimum, and character-assasinated if they go public that they were under duress
        to omit to enforce the laws and regulations that would — in protecting the innocent citizens — reduce the MONEY FLOW to those wealthy, powerful campain donors.

        Honesty in governance, today, is fatal to a political career or to the career of the CEO of a banking corporation.

        The PROBLEMS that could be solved in America today, require people who do NOT suffer the false impression that those problems can be reduced to a brief half truth.

        The problems, as well as the workable solutions, can only be grasped in the details.

        Surely Nuwriter would not do away with every regulation written to protect his rights of ownership, his right not to be defrauded, his right to protest against being defrauded.

        Ignorance, which can easily be expressed in a single sound bite may be bliss to the ignorant, and highly beneficial to those who are robbing him without his knowledge.  Rooting out who is robbing you, and how, takes a lot of words.  Read FREE LUNCH, and you will begin to see how and why.

        Reading the details and learning what is being done are not for the lazy or for those who revel in aphorisms and wallow in naivete.

      • keepitlegal

        False. That statement is neither a summary of the points I offered nor something I would agree with.

        There are, in all societies, good laws and bad laws. In order for you to know the facts and ideas I would bring to the subject of government, political history, political science, the U. S. government system, laws, theory of laws, history of laws, social theories, economic theories… I would have to provide you a list of at least thirty books you would first need to read, so that we could discuss in terms of facts and ideas you evidently have no awareness of. Let me propose that you read just one book, however, that one being: FREE LUNCH, by David Cay Johnston. His background in his subject is in thirty years of journalism, much of that devoted to investigative journalism — incidentally, my favorite kind. If you read that book very, very carefully (it contains a lifetime’s worth of pulling together things Johnston learned through talking directly with many of the key players in the ACTUAL process of governance of the U. S., ACTUAL business changes in the U. S. and many sub-subjects. He has an ability to take some enormously complex things and explain them at a level at which a smart high school graduate would understand much of it.

        After you have read that one book, we could discuss your ideas about what Johnston exemplifies and explains in it.

        At this moment, the only way I could respond to some of your comments would be to explain to you hundreds of facts, concepts, definitions, explanations. But please do not think I mean this in a condescending way. It’s just that I have spent literally thousands of hours studying, reading, thinking, investigating… and for me to begin making statements arising out of all that, and have you agree or disagree on basis of where you are (and where you are not) as to many of the details, would not be productive for either of us.

        David Cay Johnston, on the other hand, has — in the pages of a single book — provided the best “education” a single book could give a person who has not spent the greater part of his life studying and reading about and working in relation to some of these things.

        For you to read that one book would provide you a giant leap forward in what it took Johnston thirty years of experience to grasp as fully as he does.

        This is the most sincere and supportive response I can make to your comments at this time. I am sending copies of that book to a dozen of my own family members and most cherished friends. Happy reading!

        • http://www.praxacademy.com Rothbardian

          I might read the book eventually, but after reading the summary and some reviews on Amazon, I am confused over what we disagree on.

          A reviewer states, “Johnston provides chapter after fascinating chapter of how government at all levels offers break after break which is consistently picked up by Average Joe Taxpayer”. It appears that Johnston does not agree with subsidies and believes that the wealthy are using the government to steal from the middle class. I agree completely with this assessment.

          I blame the government for allowing this crony capitalism to happen. That is why I say the government has allowed fraud, because through subsidies and other opportunistic regulations the state has punished the middle class. Corporations have simply taken advantage of the state’s corruption for their personal gain.

          Btw, you say you are not being condescending, but you are when you say I need to read so “we could discuss in terms of facts and ideas you evidently have no awareness of”. There’s no way for you to know what I know from a few online comments.

          • keepitlegal

            Why do you think we disagree with anything. You replied to something I said by asserting a summary of it which neither was an accurate summary nor said anything I agreed with.

            The people I enjoy exchanging ideas with do not thing of a discussion as a contest of opinions. We have been reading for years, thinking hard on some subjects for years, have applied some of our ideas and seen them fail or succeed for years. We enjoy ideas that differ from our own, and enjoy looking at questions of political philosophies, historical interpretation, ethical issues, economic issues and theories, history and philosophy of science.

            Each of us has read many, many books, and have weighed ideas from them. We share these ideas, look at opposing sides of them, express our opinions of some of those ideas as that, and nothing more — that is, we do not find it threatening that one of us sees an idea or an event in a different light than the other does. We share facts and thoughts about those facts, and compare.

            Most importantly, each of us not only is ready, willing and able to change his mind about something he feels strongly about on one given day. And the REASON for this is that each of us is eager to learn and grow in understanding, and to add NEW facts at reasonings to his thinking. And the means we want to upgrade our repositories of fact, expand the number and range of our thoughts about those facts… and, in a nutshell, to LEARN and keep on learning.

            And there is no learning without letting go of ideas that do not stand up to NEW facts and/or compelling new ways of looking at them.

            For me to perceive that someone else is wrong about something is not learning. Learning consists in finding out where my, myself and I are wrong.

            So, okay, you think it is condescending of me to perceive, based upon things you have said (and not said)in relation to something I have said.

            Tell me, then, the latest twenty books you HAVE read.

            Would you like me to tell you the latest twenty I have read?

            If you get facts and ideas from some other source than great books, great journalism, great oratory, courses by great teachers… I am interested in that, even more.

          • keepitlegal

            Anybody can write a summary of a book.  If it contains something they do not want you to know, they can make false statements about it.

            What Johnston provides in that book are facts, facts and more facts.

            Let the facts speak for themselves.

            If a book’s value can be known by a review of it, there would be no point in reading any book.  This is comparable to saying that if you could review somebody’s — anybody’s — review of the German language you could speak that language fluently.

            Having read that book — every word of it — carefully and thoughtfully, I can truthfully say to you that it will not offer you a bunch of theory or politically oriented rhetoric.  One thing it does not do is spare any facts about members of ANY political party.

            Same goes for Gretchen Morgenson’s work in Reckless Endangerment.

            You get names, dates, places, lies quoted, documented facts that establish they are lies. 

            Such authors as these deal in facts.  Brief reviews or comments about them (including mine, here) cannot lay out all those facts for you.

            If you take the trouble of focusing in on the facts, you will become aware of a far different picture of some things of great importance to your life, and to my life — things that will make you aware of how
            shallow and deliberately misleading are lots of things you hear in political speaches and in partisan op-eds and such.

            It will be your gain if you read these books.  You’ll be glad you did.

            I’m in process of ordering copies to be shipped to each of my three sons, to each of my siblings, to my attorney, to my CPA (who also are valued friends) and to each of about six others of my most valued friends.

            Those who have received their copies already, and have started reading, have told me they can’t put ‘em down.

  • Pingback: St. Patty’s Day Slug Fest: Murphy vs. O’Reilly

  • Howard Tinsley

    The Federal reserve is the problem…End the secret banker’s scam and prices will drop and our wealth will slowly return

  • Pingback: Articles for Thursday » Scott Lazarowitz's Blog

  • http://www.facebook.com/James2039 James Moore

    Does anyone here realize that what O’Reilly is espousing is ISOLATIONISM?!  Why does everyone accuse Dr. Paul of Isolationism, but when O’Reilly proposes textbook Isolationist policies no one calls him on it?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001388792017 Dan Michel

    Hey Bob can you come over to my house and knock some sense into my dad? He still buys everything this man says…

  • http://www.praxacademy.com Rothbardian

    O’Reilly’s whole silly idea is based on the falsehood that there is an oil supply problem in the U.S.  No, the problem is the devaluation of the dollar on a global scale.  Once Obama/Romney and congress puts a cap on prices or taxes exports, then we will see a supply problem as companies either take the oil overseas or just produce less of it because it is no longer profitable.

  • http://bastiatscorner.blogspot.com/ Daniel

    Bob, I wish you had your own TV show instead of this hack.  Though, I’m afraid the average viewer would find you sound logic and economic rigor to be too boring.  Keep up the sisyphean task of dispelling attractive fallacies like those proposed by the ignorant O’Reilly!   

  • keepitlegal

    Of all the books I’ve read so far on the subject of how and why the bulk of the citizens of the U. S. are losing average net worth, net income and relative influence upon their elected politicians, the most incisive and insightful is David Cay Johnston’s book, “Free Lunch.”.

    The best books I have read on how the U. S. housing market got plundered to the tune of trillions of dollars of value by Wall Street banking corporations, are: the book titled “Reckless Endangerment,” written by Gretchen Morgenson and Joshua Rosner.; and, one titled “You, the Jury,” written by Anthony Accetta.

    Both David Cay Johnston and Gretchen Morgenson have been investigative reporters for the New York Times, and each cites names, dates, places, circumstances in support of assertions made.

    Anthony Accetta has performed as an advisor to some of the largest corporations on laws relating to fraud, and has acted as a prosecutor in regard to fraudulent acts.  He is an example of an attorney at law who believes (as I believe) that ethics are essential to long term health of corporate governance and financial health, and their enormous impact on the U. S. economy and on the financial health of the population of the United States as a whole. 

    Although none of the authors cited above have said this directly, I glean from reading them that each of them would heartily agree with the following, which are my words:

    As John Stuart Mill indicated, “Those who are capable of the greatest evil (by which he meant the power to achieve it) also are capable of the greatest good.”  The power of  corporations today is is such that they can achieve good things of immense and amazing proportions when they are ethical and concerned for the good of all humans as well as the good of their corporate officers and stockholders.  And, likewise, they have the power, if not hampered by concerns for the common citizen,  to achieve massive harm to the worlds resources, to the world’s ecology, to the pursuit of happiness of the common citizen and, ultimately, to themselves. 

    To be aware of the magnitude of the power now in the hands of the mega corporations (many of them multi-national in the span of their vested interests) I am greatly, greatly relieved, and encouraged to know there are thinkers/writers like those above, who are motivated by a desire to disclose things going on in the United States — with regard to these giant repositories of power (the mega corporations) as things have been, and are, playing out in the real world — warts and all.

    In a sense, there is no such thing as an absence of bias.  If one wants to live on, and not die today, that is a bias.  If one wishes to love his neighbor, and himself, and wishes to live and let live — such that one’s own success and pursuit of happiness are not destructive to the neighbor’s having them, too, then that is a bias.  So, in this sense, there is nothing automatically wrong with a bias but, rather, there are some biases that conduce to the happiness of many, and some biases that tend toward making life hell for others, in getting what pleases oneself, alone.

    There can be, and are, biases in favor of living and letting live… competing without merely destroying others, or making them miserable, to gain something for oneself.

    Again, nowhere in the above cited books do I find these ideas stated.  I do find in these books, however, an implied bias that power is neither good nor evil in and of itself but that power for power’s sake is
    destructive, and that it is important that you and your kind of citizen, and I and all my kind of citizen, know what is going on, on part of SOME corporations in bribing politicians to enable them to engage in large, enormously deleterious plays that enrich and further empower these corporations, to the harm of all common citizens.

    What we, the 99-plus percent of the populace of the U. S. do not know is going on, we cannot do anything to influence or correct it.  And sound bites and political rhetoric and half-truth aphorisms not only can mislead us about the nature and extent of problems being created to our detriment but, also, can lead us into perceiving the very sources of our harm to be our friends.

    We must, to the utmost of our ability, acquaint ourselves with the real problems, occurring in real time, in the real world, and at least a sufficient amount of DETAIL to be sure we can assess who is out to exploit us, and who is out to inform us.

    Let me urge you to read the above cited books, as they do not take sides for or against corporations or politicians just for existing, but rather they enable us to know and understand the difference between what is hype and finger-pointing and interest-based propaganda, on the one hand, and a description of the real world problems we must first understand, before we can make rational decisions as to what we can do to deal with problems in an informed and effective way.

     

  • keepitlegal

    Lots of propaganda going on here.  If a tax is put on oil produced in the U. S. and sold outside the U.S., all the oil company has to do is put it on the market here.  Tax avoidance is legal.

    If it were put on the market here, the supply/demand formula says the price here will come down.
    How does that translate into “passing the cost to the consumer?”

    Some people with jobs in the U. S. are having to cut back on expenditures on all other consumables, in order to pay costs of commuting to work.  Some of those people would sell their homes and move closer to their jobs, except there’s a hitch to that — many would have to sell for less than they owe on their home, because trillions of dollars got ripped off the housing market due to housing fraud — housing fraud for which there has not been so much as one prosecution of any human responsible party who knowingly and with aforethought directed a corporation in committing flagrant, rampant fraud, making a profit risking money that did not belong to the risk taker profiteers but to shareholders who were lied to — crimes committed that were not prosecuted and WILL  NOT  be prosecuted because the perpetrators shared a portion of their illegal gains with elected officials who, as a result, looked the other way.

    There is far more to all this than the average propagandized (by oil companies) citizen has a clue is going on.

    So what about the person writing this?  What’s his stake in it?

    He cares about the people being ripped off, lied to, gouged and propagandized… while he, himself is retired, and can go fishing a mile away, and would not be hurt even if gasoline at the pump were $ 5.00 per gallon.  He can pick up a tackle box and rod and reel and WALK to the lake.

    He CARES about the people still working or who want to work and there are no jobs.  He (this commenter) worked a many a seventy hour work week to raise and house and feed and educate a family.  Now it’s someone else’s turn.

    Yet all some commenters seem able to think about is the poor oil companies and the poor banks that raked off trillions in profits and then, when their risks went belly up on them, got bailed out, leaving the rest of us, and our great grandchildren yet unborn to pay back for them.

    Folks.  This old codger is not sad for himself.  He is sorry for you — even you guys who do not grasp how slickly you are being ripped off by the partnership between your elected officials and the corporations that pay them to look the other way, and to make speaches about the poor oil companies and how cruel it would be to give them incentives to make life livable for people who have to work or drive to job interviews where they stand in lines a hundred people long.

    What about them?

    You don’t want any taxes for oil companies that go ahead and send oil out of the U. S. that would help bring the price down here, because it would increase price at the pump here?

    That’s what the oil company PR people want you to believe.

    Believe it if you want to.

    While you figure it out, I’ll be down at the lake.

  • 4th_Rider

    The article IGNORES that the real issue here is that Big Oil is ever pressuring for more leases on government land – always keeping prices high explaining profits are “needed for research and exploration” – yet all the while stabing the American people in the back by selling domestic oil overseas !!

    And remember Romney trying to corner Obama about the fewer drilling leases on governement land – LEAVING OUT THAT BIG OIL WAS SITTING ON THE EXISTING ONES FOR _YEARS_ and all Obama did was tell them “use it or lose it”.

    Romney, Big Oil, they don’t give a damn about the “price at the pump” – only profits and that includes selling OUR OIL overseas !!!

Back to top