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Posted at 3:42 PM ET, 02/17/2011

A good moment for a grand bargain?

By Ezra Klein

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I take Digby's skepticism of grand bargains seriously. I also think that many in the GOP are cynically leveraging the deficit to argue for conservative policy priorities. As we've seen a couple of times now, when deficit reduction comes into conflict with tax cuts, tax cuts win. They win, in fact, every time, and have won every time since Ronald Reagan.

But that doesn't mean the deficit isn't a real problem. My best guess is we have something like five to eight years where we can sustain both the debt load we're carrying now and the debt load we're projected to be carrying in the future. And even before then, interest on the debt is getting a little nuts. As Steve Mufson notes: "Starting in 2014, net interest payments will surpass the amount spent on education, transportation, energy and all other discretionary programs outside defense. In 2018, they will outstrip Medicare spending. Only the amounts spent on defense and Social Security would remain bigger under the president's plan." The graph atop this post -- click on it to make it larger -- tells a similar story.

So I think the question is whether we want to deal with that debt now or later. At the moment, the White House is occupied by Barack Obama, and the Senate is led by Harry Reid. It's possible that the composition of the government will be friendlier than that to progressives in six or eight years, but I wouldn't bet a lot of money on it. Democrats look likely to face a rough couple of election cycles in the Senate, and even assuming Obama gets reelected, it's fairly rare for the same party to hold the presidency for more than eight years.

Which is all to say that if you think a deal on deficit reduction has to happen at some point, this might be a better moment than most. That doesn't mean that the plans that people propose should be accepted uncritically, or even accepted at all. That'll depend on the policy recommendations they contain. But it's not an obviously bad context for a grand bargain.

By Ezra Klein  | February 17, 2011; 3:42 PM ET
Categories:  Budget  
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Next: Reconciliation

Comments

Not to be churlish, but tax cuts have not "won every time since Ronald Reagan."
Reagan raised taxes - Social Security and the gas tax.
Bush I raised taxes.
Clinton raised taxes.

Posted by: RZ100 | February 17, 2011 4:11 PM | Report abuse

So, since 1980:

* Reagan exploded deficits
* Clinton balanced the budget, thereby reducing debt load
* GWB exploded deficits

So, why are we to assume that in 6-8 years, if Republicans are likely to have control of the White House, they won't just explode deficits again?

If we come to a grand bargain now, why won't that just be room for more tax cuts for the rich later?

I agree that I'd rather have team D in the mix when the problem has to be solved, all else being equal. But the last 30 years tells us all else isn't equal. Given what the priorities of a new Republican administration will be, I'd rather have them hamstrung by the debt. Yes, it will mean more spending cuts than tax hikes, but the other option is spending cuts now, tax cuts later, and a new grand bargain situation 15 years from now. At some point, if you're Charlie Brown, you have to stop trying to kick the football.

Posted by: djanyreason1 | February 17, 2011 4:22 PM | Report abuse

So, I am 67 and perhaps a little slow but I do not understand why so much is being made of Social Security at the moment. Even by the most conservative estimates it will not be in trouble for another 25 years. There are other issues that are much more pressing. Furthermore, SSI is a self funding program. It does not receive money from the general fund except to pay back the money the government borrowed once they found the key to the SSI Lock Box. Methinks this is a lot of smoke and mirrors to scare us old folks. "Cut" is a manipulative word. Extending the age threshold ten or fifteen years from now is not cutting. Decreasing my current SSI is cutting.....but no one is suggesting that. So my wish is that left and right would stop talking about SSI and focus on Medicare, Medicaid and real defense cuts..... including putting the cost of two wars as a line item in the Defense budget. Once you do all that, THEN tackle SSI. Of course it will never happen. It is much to easy to blow smoke, than really get down to the hard job of governing.

Posted by: tarryh | February 17, 2011 4:30 PM | Report abuse

"So, I am 67 and perhaps a little slow but I do not understand why so much is being made of Social Security at the moment. Even by the most conservative estimates it will not be in trouble for another 25 years."

The younger generation is hoping for a few chunks of meat to be left in the pot by the time they get to it.

"Extending the age threshold ten or fifteen years from now is not cutting."

How is it not? The same amount is extracted in taxes, less is paid out in benefits. For people that die between the old and new retirement ages, it's a 100% cut.

Posted by: justin84 | February 17, 2011 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Wouldn't suspending interest payments have the same desired result, i.e. not borrowing more money, and also provide more money to spend at the same time? That would be both grand and a bargain.

Posted by: JF11 | February 17, 2011 4:57 PM | Report abuse

tarryh:

I agree that Social Security is not as pressing of an issue as healthcare entitlements and defense, but I do not agree that extending the retirement age in the future is not "cutting". Of course it is. The current working generation pays taxes to support the retired/elderly (which is fine), so if we are not eligible for the same benefits when we retire then it is a cut!

P.S. I think you mean Social Security, not SSI. SSI funding comes from the general fund and is used as supplementary income for low-income disabled citizens.

Posted by: beellinor | February 17, 2011 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Any bargain with a mammon worshiping conservative is a Faustian Bargain.
"For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" Jesus, Mat 16:26

Posted by: denim39 | February 17, 2011 5:23 PM | Report abuse

Just so we are straight on our definitions:

- if cowardly Democrats at the statehouse shirk the job they were hired to do and shut down government, they are to be labeled hero's for 'fighting for the people'. (see: Wisconsin)

- if cowardly Democrats in Washington refuse to cut spending (real cuts, not 'freezes'), then it's the Republicans fault for shutting down government and keeping grandma from getting her SS check next month.

That's what I learned today reading the mainstream media outlets....

Posted by: dbw1 | February 17, 2011 5:36 PM | Report abuse

Raising deficits in good times and reducing them in bad times is exactly wrong.

Deficit hype has morphed into deficit terrorism. Please don't encourage these modern-day conservatives. They are playing the part of the mean landlord in a bad melodrama.

Posted by: metzge4 | February 17, 2011 5:40 PM | Report abuse

What we have here is awhole collection of Conservative cons being used to get what the Conservatives have been pushing for for seventy-five years.

When the Republicans lost the fight over Social Security, they declared undying emnity to the system and vowed to do away with it, no matter how long it took.

In 1960, having rigged the republican nominating process so that the far right could nominate Goldwater, those conservatives misread their success as a chance to win on Social Security. So Barry went out and campaigned on doing away with Social Security. He even gave a speech on why Social Security was unAmerican to a crowd of retirees in Florida, most of whom were on Social Security.

He was, of course, notoriously successful in has Presidential campaign.

Having lost in their frontal assault, those Conservatives decided that deception was a better idea. So they have been laying the groundwork ever since to be able to make two claims, neither of any validity, but together intended to let them default on seventy-five tears of promises that have been quite beneficial to Americans and to their Government.

To be able to default on SS promises, the republicans need the U.S. to look like it cannot afford to pay for Social Security benefits, and they need Social Security to look like it is broke.

To make Social Security is broke they have to keep ressurecting the claim that at some future point in time Social Security will run out of money. Originally that was going to be when Social Security receipts fell below expenditures, as we are now. But when Reagan brought this point up in his administration, Congress adjusted SS taxes to better account for demographics, and formally declared Social Security excess income to be part of a trust fund to deal with times when receipts fell bellow expenditures. One resilt of this accounting system was that the excess Social Security receipts went up quite a bit, thereby hiding a bigger part of reagan's deficits that had been hidden before.

Because the deliberate fraud the republicans are trying to pull depends on a very large deficit, a very large national debt, and republican claims that we simply can't raise taxes to deal with the deficit, therefor we must default on Social Security to balance the budget.

We are at that point now, thanks to those twenty wonderful years of Reaganomics during the reagan and Bush administrations. Lots of tax cuts accompanied by exploding deficits caused by wasteful spending on weapons systems that the President himself felt we didn't need, BUT WHICH WOULD WASTE LOTS OF MONEY, like the MX missile System, Star Wars, a 600 ship Navy, and eventually two un funded wars. Now the republicans are talking "Entitlements Reform", which is Republican Speak for default on all the loans the Government has forced the middle class to make to the Government through Social security and Medicare.

If a business or individual tried this, he would be jailed for Bankruptcy fraud.

Posted by: ceflynline | February 17, 2011 5:49 PM | Report abuse

And, to finish the thought, remember that changes to SS, Medicare, and Medicaid to extend the life of the system, whether by changing age of eligibility or benefits paid will have NO effect on the current deficit, and increasing the Social security taxes or medicare payments into the system won't add that much to the federal income, so that "Entitlements reform" won't solve the current deficit problems anyway.

Posted by: ceflynline | February 17, 2011 5:52 PM | Report abuse

denim39:

It's interesting when someone wants to bring the Bible into the debate....and somehow twist it into defending liberal policies of spending money we don't have on spending binges for pet proje....errrr, "infrastructure investments".

I salute you for wanting to use Biblical values; so I encourage you to consider some other Biblical teachings, particulary on giving, debt, and stewardship. Maybe start with the Proverbs warning about how "the borrower becomes servant to the lender." (think: China financing Democrat spending binges.

Posted by: dbw1 | February 17, 2011 5:54 PM | Report abuse

dbw1:
"That's what I learned today reading the mainstream media outlets...."

You mean Right Wing Biased Corporate Owned Media that have no interest in any manner of presenting a fair case, don't you?

The GOPers are not serious about addressing deficits in any manner. The extension of the Bush Tax Bonus for the Rich shows this on the national level.
The states giving the rich and corporations all sorts of tax bonuses at the expense of the middle class shows this on the state level.

Posted by: grat_is | February 17, 2011 5:55 PM | Report abuse

ceflynline:
"...Conservatives decided that deception was a better idea."

'Deception'....hmmmmm....oh, I get it! You mean like telling people health care 'reform' will reduce the deficit when in fact anyone who has been able to work a 5-function calculator later demonstrated the math and fuzzy assumptions were garbage, and Democrat health care reform is likely to explode the deficit?


Posted by: dbw1 | February 17, 2011 5:59 PM | Report abuse

Republicans CAN'T actually do anything that reduces the deficit, because in so doing they cut the ground out from under thier drive to kill Social Security and medicare.

So they keep proposing the most outrageous "fixes" for the deficit, like gutting the budget.

And occaisionally they cook up a really ridiculous idea and float it, like VAT.

They never seem to want to tell you axactly what a value Added Tax is, or what it does, but basically it says that any work don on or to a product in this country gets taxed, (the value Added part) what this does, of course, is make American products, even those made with foreign parts, more expensive that their totally foreign counterparts, because, EVEN IF we could make the item at the same cost as our foreign competetion, we would have the VAT as an added cost to American manufacturer.

Now there IS a tax of the foreign component of such an item, and that is a tarriff. But Republicans who favor a VAT almost universally favor lowering tarriffs. So here is yet another subsidy to foreign manufacturers to put American manufacturers out of business.

Neat, Eh? we pay foreign companies to put our companies out of business, cut taxes so that we can't afford government, and then declare that we are broke so retirees will have to give up their Social Security and medicare to balance the budget, and send every bodies jobs over seas in the bargain.

Now somebody tell me how Republicans are such paragons of fiscal discipline.

Posted by: ceflynline | February 17, 2011 6:07 PM | Report abuse

grat_is:
"The extension of the Bush Tax Bonus for the Rich shows this on the national level."

Two points:
1) it's kind of hard to give federal income tax cuts to the half of the country who don't pay any to being with (what's half of $0?).

2) compare federal REVENUES now vs the year before Bush tax cuts were enacted. WHAT??!! Revenues are higher?? How can that possible be when we all know tax RATE cuts create deficits!!! Wait a 'sec....oh, that's right, there's a second side to the deficit equation....look at SPENDING today vs the year before Bush tax cuts were enacted.

Now we see what really causes deficits, don't we....

Posted by: dbw1 | February 17, 2011 6:08 PM | Report abuse

ceflynline:

You post on VAT's and tariffs is very effective at convincing us that you must have never taken an economics class. Review the early 1930's, and the slew of protectionist policies enacted (including tariffs)....and how they helped contribute to skyrocketing unemployment and the Great Depression.

Increasing tariffs on those evil ol' foreign importers historically has a two-fold effect:
1) they initially in the short-term protect the domestic industry, as intended. But then a funny thing happens...
2) other countries retailiate, and raise their tariffs on goods we export....which leads to our exporting industries losing business and laying off people. Of course that means our domestic unemployment rate increases, which leads to fewer people here at home being able to buy the very products coming from the domestic suppliers the tariffs were intended to help!

These domestic businesses (who your tariffs were trying to help) ultimately then also have to lay off people since any foreign business they had dried up after the retailiatory tariffs, and their domestic business decreased as well after higher unemployment here at home led to fewer domestic customers for their products.

And there you have progressive policies leading to negative unintended consequences...again.

Posted by: dbw1 | February 17, 2011 6:25 PM | Report abuse

A common GOP argument about entitlement reform (seen in the comments section here and elsewhere) essentially says "Democrats created SS and Medicare/caid, therefore it's their responsibility to deal with it." In other words, they wash their hands of any responsibility for dealing with them. I wonder how prevalent this argument is. I personally find this line of reasoning completely preposterous.

If it is prevalent, then I don't see Repubs ever bargaining in good faith on entitlements.

Posted by: nickthap | February 17, 2011 6:32 PM | Report abuse

So Ezra doesn't know what the hell he is talking about, but is willing to favor us with his uninformed "best guesses". For the recored, no competent economist who is not a bought-and-paid-for Chicago School hack believes any genuine difficulty is "5 to 8 years" down the road.

Why can't we have better reporters and pundits?

Posted by: labonnes | February 17, 2011 6:41 PM | Report abuse

You know, Ezra's argument that we have to address the national debt right away might be reasonable -- if we weren't stuck in the worst recession of our lifetimes with 9-10% unemployment. Sure, Ezra agrees that we need massive Keynesian investment in jobs -- but not enough to make a fuss about it.

Is there something in the water in DC that makes Democratic politicians and veal pen pundits continually advocate capitulation?

Posted by: stonedone | February 17, 2011 9:07 PM | Report abuse

DBW1 says a number of things which just aren't true.

Most leading health care economists think the affordable care act will probably deliver bigger cost savings than the CBO estimates. The CBO fairly deliberately low-balled the esimated savings, as they're reasonably but unproven. The "anybody with a five function calculator stuff is nonsense." (Actually, one would have to have made a pretty concerted effort not to understand what you could have learned on this site alone to make that statement.) As for the borrowing from the Chinese riff, my memory is that it was the last Republican administration that exploded the deficit after the strong fiscal position handed it by the Clinton Administration; and that it was the last Republican administration that redoubled the damage by handing a titanic revenue-crippling economic downturn to its successor. (Yes, there was a stimulus program to help offset the downturn, but a McCain Administration would have enacted one of much the same size. Just ask Holtz-Eakin, his principal economic advisor. And the unemployment rate is now about 2 percentage points lower than it would otherwise have been as a result.) Finally, the debated extension of the Bush tax cuts on high income households benefitted roughly the top 2% of income distribution. It's hard to imagine how returning their tax rates to where they were during the Clinton Administration--the time of longest business cycle expansion and biggest job creation boom of the 20th century--would be the death of freedom or capitalism. Anyway, it's almost a sure bet that someone advancing arguments like this believe what they believe, and won't be convinced otherwise by any contrary facts or arguments.

Posted by: madhoboken | February 17, 2011 9:21 PM | Report abuse

Ezra says "I also think that many in the GOP are cynically leveraging the deficit to argue for conservative policy priorities." Thats pretty amusing and fairly hypocritical since Obam used the financial crisis to expand the scope of government to an extent not seen since the Great Society. All with Ezra cheering them on. Remember the we can't let a crisis go to waste quote? Also says that when deficit reduction comes in conflict with tax cuts, tax cuts comes in first every time. Pretty funny coming from a liberal who thinks all government spending is sacrosanct and who's first impulse is always raise taxes. Also, to all the idiots in here who keep blathering on and on about tax cuts for the rich, here's a bulletin for you: even if you eliminated tax cuts for the "rich", i.e. those people making $250,00 per year (not exactly rich if you live in NY City or Los Angles or DC), you'd only get 70 billion dollars more per year. It wouldn't even put a dent in the Obama deficit. Now if you want big money you'll have to go after the cherished middle class. Eliminate the Bush tax cuts for them and you get 400 billion dollars per year. Boy Bush really favored the "rich" didn't he?

Posted by: RobT1 | February 17, 2011 11:39 PM | Report abuse

"of spending money we don't have"

Wrong. We have plenty of money.

Perhaps a quarter of Americans are really struggling, and are honestly "broke".

Another 65% are middle-class and doing just fine: McMansions, SUVs, Iphones, etc and clearly could handle higher taxes

The top ten percent is doing better than ever, is filthy stinking rich, and enjoying the lowest tax rates they have faced in generations.

We have the money. We are just spending it on junk. It's time to be honest about it.

Posted by: brickcha | February 17, 2011 11:42 PM | Report abuse

"Another 65% are middle-class and doing just fine: McMansions, SUVs, Iphones, etc and clearly could handle higher taxes"

If you steal $500 that was in a man's wallet, does it make it okay if he can "handle" it?

"We have the money. We are just spending it on junk. It's time to be honest about it."

No, "we" don't have the money. Individuals have their own money, and are spending what isn't stolen from them on their own priorities.

Posted by: justin84 | February 17, 2011 11:57 PM | Report abuse

The people who typically agree with Ezra believe in the tooth fairy. tarryh is a case in point, posting as follows (comments in CAPS):
"So, I am 67 and perhaps a little slow (VERY) but I do not understand why so much is being made of Social Security at the moment. Even by the most conservative estimates it will not be in trouble for another 25 years. (DEPENDS HOW YOU DEFINE "TROUBLE". IF YOU THINK THERE IS ANY MONEY IN THE SOCIAL SECURITY TRUST FUND, THAT DOESN'T MEAN THERE REALLY IS ANY THERE. THEY HAVE SPENT IT ALREADY, LUMPED THE SOCIAL SECURITY FUNDS IN WITH THE FEDERAL BUDGET AND WE ARE RUNNING DEFICITS THAT DWARF THE BUSH DEFICITS UNTIL GOD ONLY KNOWS. IF THE MONEY IS ALREADY SPENT, HOW IS SOCIAL SECURITY NOT IN TROUBLE? TYPICALLY, WHEN AN INSURANCE COMPANY OR A BANK "BORROWS" MONEY, THEY LEND IT OUT FOR MORE THAN THEY ARE PAYING TO USE THE MONEY. IF THEY HAVE LENT IT PRUDENTLY, THEY CAN THEN "REPAY" THE MONEY. THE FEDS DON'T WORK THAT WAY. THEY "TOOK" THE MONEY AND PROMISED IT WAS IN A SOCIAL SECURITY TRUST FUND THAT THEY WILL "REPAY". THE PROBLEM IS THEY DIDN'T "LEND' THE MONEY, AND THE ONLY WAY THEY CAN "REPAY" IT IS TO TAKE MORE MONEY FROM THE CITIZENS TO PAY THEM BACK. THINK OF IT THIS WAY. I BORROW $100 FROM YOU. WHEN IT COMES TIME TO PAY YOU BACK, I DON'T HAVE ANY MONEY. SO I BORROW MONEY FROM CHINA TO PAY YOU BACK. PROBLEM IS, I HAVE TO REPAY CHINA. BUCKLE UP YOUR PURSE, SWEETIE, BECAUSE I'M GOING TO NEED YOUR $100 TO PAY BACK THE CHINESE. IF YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND THIS, LEND ME $100 AND WE CAN WORK ON YOUR LESSON PLAN.

Posted by: buggerianpaisley1 | February 18, 2011 9:02 AM | Report abuse

The long-term debt is a problem and I'd prefer for Democrats to deal with it, but here's why it can't happen:

The entire problem is made up of spiraling medical costs, rising military costs, and excessively low taxes.

Social Security is not a problem and it is sound for decades. Upping the cap to 90% of income (and keeping it there) and steady, slight increases to the payroll tax eliminate any problem with funding the program. It's a red herring in the debt debate and should be ignored when conservatives (or others who fall for conservative lies) bring it up.

Republicans oppose all tax increases, particularly those targeted on the rich. Obama already surrendered that fight, at least until after the 2012 election when he'll have a renewed mandate.

Republicans opposed Obama's cost controls in the health care reform debate. And they oppose broader reforms like single payer. Obama had that fight, came out ahead, but has signaled his intention to stand down on further battles for now.

The military scale-down we need just isn't going to happen while Iraq and Afghanistan are ongoing. The key is finding a quick transition to end both occupations. Obama is doing that. We should be reasonably clear of Iraq by the end of this year; Afghanistan will take longer. Again, this will have to wait until after 2012. Probably closer to 2016. Luckily it's not nearly the contributor to the problem that medical spending is.

Obama will have the political space to do the right thing, but nothing effective is going to happen for the next two years. Then he can push for (hopefully) stronger health care reforms that control cost (public option?), institute the minimal fixes needed for Social Security, allow the Bush tax cuts to expire, and start scaling down military spending.

Until then, we can expect a lot of loud debate and some symbolic and painful (and ultimately counterproductive) cuts to discretionary spending, but it will all be sound and fury signifying nothing.

Posted by: soundizen | February 18, 2011 1:16 PM | Report abuse

"No, "we" don't have the money. Individuals have their own money, and are spending what isn't stolen from them on their own priorities"

A few thoughts:

1. Individual priorities can lead to "tragedy of the commons" and "free rider" scenarios. Public goods need public money.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_good

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tragedy_of_the_commons

2. The wonderful results of the First Fundamental Theorem of Welfare Economics (People acting in their own self-interest in a perfectly competitive market will result in the efficient allocation of resources) only holds under a number of assumptions, including no externalities (like pollution), and "perfect information" (eg, you know what chemicals are in the food you buy), as well as other conditions that disallow firms to mark up the price of their goods higher than marginal cost. In the real world, these conditions are entirely unrealistic and its desirable for a government to try to fix some of these (eg. have the gov't require ingredient listings, check meat quality, tax pollution to "internalize the externality," etc.)

The Lispey-Lancaster hypothesis proves that if the assumptions required for optimality cannot be met, the second best alternative may include market interference that would otherwise not be optimal.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theory_of_the_second_best

3. The economic definition of efficiency, ie, Pareto Efficient, is defined as "you cannot make anyone else better off without making someone else worse off." In such a scenario, if one person had all the money in the world, and no one else had anything, this would be pareto efficient. This is an extreme example of a distribution of wealth that the vast majority would not like, but it serves to illustrate that the efficiency of self-interest can lead to terrible outcomes.

The 2nd Fundamental Theorem of Welfare Economics (the oft forgotten one), proves that one can obtain any desired efficient allocation of resources with any possible desired distribution of wealth via lump-sum transfers and free market activity. That is, if the given distribution of wealth is undesirable, a better one can be obtained through free market activity if a central authority can make lump-sum transfers of wealth from one group to another. The question remains up to society as to what constitutes a desirable or undesirable distribution of wealth.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fundamental_theorems_of_welfare_economics

In short, there are many reasons why government intervention can improve economic outcomes backed up by mainstream free market economic thought.

Posted by: Nylund154 | February 18, 2011 1:35 PM | Report abuse

"That's what I learned today reading the mainstream media outlets...."

And what I learned from Glenn Beck is that the Wisconsin protesters are part of a Marxist-Islamist (!) conspiracy.

Posted by: Gutavo | February 18, 2011 2:20 PM | Report abuse

The first paragraph here, which claims that tax cuts have won every time, is blatantly false. So false you have to wonder what the author is thinking. Even putting "every time" in italics doesn't make it true.

How could anybody forget Clinton's 1993 tax increases. You know, the ones that balanced the budget and preceded the best economy we've had in decades? George HW Bush raised taxes, famously breaking his "no new taxes" pledge.

Just because Obama lacked the courage or skill to let Junior Bush's tax cuts expire doesn't mean it couldn't be done. It's been done before.

Posted by: orange2299 | February 18, 2011 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Rereading the post, perhaps the author is saying in the first paragraph that among Republicans, tax cuts always beat deficit reduction. So what I wrote about Clinton doesn't apply.

It does apply, however, to George HW Bush and even times during Reagan's administration.

Posted by: orange2299 | February 18, 2011 4:15 PM | Report abuse

"If you steal $500 that was in a man's wallet, does it make it okay if he can "handle" it? "

If the person "stealing" some of that $500 was your venture-capitalist business partner, who has heavily invested in You, Inc. for decades and provides your business with a wide variety of services and insurance, and you were trying to stiff him out of his fair share, then yes, it is okay.

The idea that you created your wealth all by your lonesome is laughably false. The vast majority of "your" earnings would be impossible for the vast network of tool and information that society provides you. You have an obligation to maintain it, and the size of that obligation is directly related to how many times society has managed to lever "your" earnings.

Posted by: brickcha | February 18, 2011 11:43 PM | Report abuse

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