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    1. As I understand Dvorak’s proposition, which began to be developed and discussed LONG before Trump entered politics, is that the wealth tax would be an annual assessment, not a one time event.

      However, now that I have read the CNN summary of Trump’s proposal, it sounds intriguing. Even a blind squirrel finds a nut now and again.

  1. Rod,

    Bernie is not going to change his position on nuclear power. Bernie wants the anti-fracking, anti-oil exploration, anti-nuclear votes. It’s irrelevant whether it holds together as a coherent strategy. Because that’s not the objective. The objective is strictly more votes and he may be succeeding in getting the “anti” vote. Mission accomplished! Something that makes sense is not important. Actually Hillary and Trump just pander to whatever crowd they are in front of and that seems to be working even better.

    Bernie is distrustful of private industry in general but very trusting of the federal government as long as he’s in charge. The biggest business in the world is the US Federal government and unlike Exxon they force you to buy their product through taxation.

    What I lament is that we seem to be electing a dictator. As if the president is supposed to have such wide sweeping powers by our constitution. And various sides seem Ok with it as long as it’s their dictator. The president and the federal government were not meant to have this much influence and control.

    So rather than just wishing that your favorite industry gets extra special treatment why not push for less governmental influence across the board. That will solve the bribing by lobbying concern you have. No one bribes someone who doesn’t have the power to deliver.

    And what would ensue. Well the best solution based on delivering watts at the lowest rate would win out. It would be an iPhone vs Droid battle.

    You can set rules like CO2/MW limits. That would certainly favor nuclear. The recent EPA rule has that but then ruins it with trying to pick the technical solution. And of course windmills/solar panels are the illogical preferred pick and natural gas is there to actually generate the watts that the windmills and solar panels can’t. There you go. You’re gov’t the technologist! So you want to flip Bernie to pro-nuclear (fat chance) and then have him as your technologist and also economist and anything else he thinks he is an expert on controlling?

    Setting emissions limits, and then backing off and letting actual engineers provide solutions is nit Bernie at all. After all they make pick the wrong one. I’m not sure it fits any of the remaining candidates but it fits Bernie the least.

    But if you want your technology to win out and you also want the executive branch to have command and control of the energy sector then your only hope is electing someone who will favor your technology. That certainly is not Bernie.

    If you want your technology to win out because its the best you want government out of the way as much as possible.

    1. I think you’re mistaken about “The biggest business in the world is the US Federal government”
      I’d have said that the world’s most powerful, ruthlessly capitalist conglomerate calla itself the “People’s Republic” of China — well, once you’ve translated the name from Chinese.

      Worse than that, in terms of the future for our grandchildren, the PRC are not constrained by the ignorant opposition to nuclear power that is imposed upon otherwise educated Americans by organizations that used to be anti-nuclear-weapons, and no longer have the Cold War to justify their existence.
      They have clearly indicated their awareness that Molten Salt Reactors, which the USA has pioneered, are the only remedy for man-made Global Oceanic Warming, and have embarked upon a program intended to be able to sell the technology world wide. Humanity and the biosphere may survive after all, but Western quasi-democracy would not.

  2. The income tax started out at a rate of something like 2% for those earning over something like $200,000 a year in 1914.

    Just saying.

    1. Camels nose in the tent
      Now we have the whole stinking camel
      Doing my taxes now and ruining what should a beautiful Saturday .

      1. “Doing my taxes now and ruining what should a beautiful Saturday”

        Well, someone has to pay for your naive faith in RW media driven BS. Might as well be you.

    2. @FermiAged

      Correct. And it did not touch the politically powerful fortunes that had already been accumulated during the robber baron and industrial trust eras. Carnegie, Rockefeller, J.P. Morgan, Vanderbilt, on and on, did not resist the income tax because they already had their wealth and were no longer building careers, building assets, and making large sums of new money doing constructive work.

      1. Rod

        So you are looking for some sort of restitution for past sins?
        And I guess all rich folk are guilty or you just want to pick and choose?
        Like Bill Gates ?

        What a free people spend their money on is up to them. So you and Bernie get to judge? How so?

        For an engineer it seems your politics are emotional not logical.

        Economic growth is driven by less DC not more.

        Economic outcomes are not equal nor should they be.

        I tried to have that discussion earlier but you responded with what best can be described as envy or jealousy

        I don’t believe my prosperity is based on getting my neighbors income confiscated and distributed to me by my favorite politician. Apparently you do.

        Sounds very Hugo like. And isn’t Venezuela paradise now

        1. @Jim Doyle

          You’re quickly becoming tiresome. It might help your understanding to learn that I’m not an engineer, that nearly every adult in my family was a public servant, that I’ve worked in both the private and public sector, and that I’ve heard your line from people who claimed to be private sector worker while holding jobs with companies that did nothing but government contracting.

          1. There isn’t a large capitalist enterprise that got there without gov’t largess. Not one. The myth of the ‘free enterprise/small gov’t America’ is just that: a myth. At ever stage in US economic development the key player was the Frederal gov’t…from highways, to supporting early manufacturing, to all infrastructure development.

            The interplay between the gov’t and private concerns actually is what built the US at every single stage our our country’s economy.

            Taxing goes back to Alexander Hamilton and the early days of the Republic. Without out it we wouldn’t be here, we’d be a neo-colony of the Brits. Not thanks. The a-historical nonsense about ‘taxes’ is just that: we always had taxes, both direct (whiskey tax) and indirect (tariffs). The income tax has stood every Supreme Ct. decision…bar none.

            The US nuclear energy fleet: taxes. BTW…Jim…yes, the French is more an example of the positive development of nuclear energy than the US. Based on the population and the standardization of reactor design, they did a far better job than we did. Thanks to “socialism”. The natural vertical monopoly as a *state run industry* is what made the French system work and now produces almost 80% of their generation. It is an example what we should be doing in the US.

          2. The income tax has stood every Supreme Ct. decision…bar none.

            If that were true, there would be no need for the Sixteenth Amendment.

      2. So Rod, are you willing to give up the income tax for a wealth tax or will we have both?

        The wealthy were able to create “charitable” foundations to shield their wealth. It’s true that many engaged in activities that most would say are beneficial. Over time, they became captured by Leftists. The Ford, Carnegie, Rockefeller, MacArthur and Pew foundations now are basically tax exempt adjuncts of the Democratic party.

        And many fund anti-nuclear power activists.

        1. Absolutely, I’d give up income tax for a wealth tax.

          I’m not a Democrat. I’m an unabashed liberal who admires some ideas from Lincoln, both Roosevelts, Eisenhower, and Kennedy.

          1. Rod, you’re not a Democrat? Don;t let it worry you.
            I regret to observe that Hillary isn’t, either, and the Republican party are more like Royalists in their support of inherited political power.
            I call myself a hard core liberal, because I regard a bleeding heart as a weakness.
            I voted for Obama, and prefer him to any Clinton. But he’s a little too much to the right of Teddy Roosevelt on most issues.

      3. Rod,

        Well then try being a little more convincing in your counterpoints. You seem fixated on inheritance and how much others in private business make. This is the old fixed pie size model of the economy which is of course false. Or the alternate argument is really its none of your business how much private industry pays their employees.

        I don’t care how much others make or that their family is rich and they inherited some of it. Lebron makes as much as he can shooting basketballs. I say good for him. He and the Cavaliers both seem happy with the situation. I don’t see where the act of dying means society gets to pony up to someone’s estate and have a feeding frenzy. Having a will and honoring the deceased wishes seems much more fair to me.

        I’ve already explained that I am not some sort of anarchist who desires no gov’t and of course the limited federal gov’t described in the constitution’s purpose was to provide an environment where citizens can thrive.

        And it has. The problem is that its busted out of its defined duties. All not described in the constitution shall be left to the states or the people. 10 th amendment.

        We are violating it.

        Funneling more $$s to DC so that central planners can map out our energy and economic choices is not the recipe for economic growth. The individual not the collective drives innovation which spurs economic growth which lifts all boats.

        You seem OK with central planning. You just want “your” guy as the chief planner. Yet you lament when politicians make political choices on a subject like energy versus technologically sound choices. Of course they’re political. They are politicians.,

        We won’t come to agreement but it would be nice if there would be a substantive counterpoint. You express wealth envy and poa just claims the above is just right wing media propaganda.

        I guess the founders were right wing media nuts?

        1. Jim,
          then your argument on estate taxes is not with Rod but with the Founding White Guys who simply didn’t believe in inherited wealth. Jefferson quoted the author of the Bible of Capitalism, The Wealth of Nations (which, BTW, was published in…1776) thusly:

          “A power to dispose of estates for ever is manifestly absurd. The earth and the fulness of it belongs to every generation, and the preceding one can have no right to bind it up from posterity. Such extension of property is quite unnatural.”

          There is an incredibly good short essay on this here:

          Federalists = Socialists it seems, at least in some measure. The Founding Fathers also didn’t like things like patents and copyrights though Hamilton understood the necessity of them and wrote the first patent laws for our Republic. Inherited wealth? Not so much….

          1. My position is based on morality and ethics.

            It amazes me that liberals always find a way of interjecting race into any discussion but that’s an aside.

            I think what you earn is yours and you should have the means to will it to whomever YOU wish since after all is your property,

            My great aunt who recently passed wanted to disperse her estate to her extended family so she wrote her will that way

            She amazingly did not list the IRS as an heir

            She could have but decided not to. If you feel that the IRS is a deserving heir to your estate by all means write it in your will.

            Free country with private property rights are great things

          2. Of course, Thomas Jefferson didn’t believe in inherited wealth. He left his daughters only debts. 😛

          3. Jim – To understand some people, you have to realize that they start from the axiom: “White = Evil.”

          4. “Relevance of race to this discussion is?”

            Funny, I was wondering what intelligence had to do with your comments.

            But since you asked, theres a few here that wanna know if they’re debating with an inferior being or not, so they can bring it down to a proper level of bigotry.

          5. Rod,

            You make no counterpoint. I don’t believe Atlas Shrugged addresses the issue of inheritance tax. Maybe you can point out to me.

            So as usual your reply is non-relevant. So you think the act of dying is a taxable event?

            I would hope that you have changed your will to make the IRS a heir correct? You do walk the talk right?

            But we could actually debate if you made a counter-point. But you don’t.

            So snarky Daily Kos type commenting is OK here as long as you agree with Rod. How noble.

          6. “Have you received ALL of your instruction on morality and ethics from a superficial reading of Atlas Shrugged?”

            Touche!!!! I knew ya had it in ya, Rod.

          7. “You don’t debate. You name call.”

            I haven’t called you a name yet. Still trying to figure out one thats accurate enough, but won’t get me banned from the sight forever. Its a tough one, thats for sure!

        2. “You express wealth envy and poa just claims the above is just right wing media propaganda”

          Hey, I never said that. Besides, I didn’t read whatever it is you said that you claim I called propaganda. I never read your posts if they’re longer than three sentences.

    3. FermiAged – That’s correct. Federal Income Tax was originally sold to the public as “soak the rich” — only those rich Vanderbilts in New York were going to have to pay.

      Funny how some ideas never die.

  3. That 20 individuals has as much wealth as the bottom half of Americans, what does that imply? A combination of two things:
    1. The largest corporations are worth a lot.
    2. Many Americans don’t have that much savings, for different reasons. One of them is simply that many adult Americans are fairly young and haven’t had time to save that much.

    What is the impact of having these 20 individuals having this much wealth? It simply means that some large corporations have clear owners. Does it make anyone else poorer? Would the bottom half of Americans be able to consume and spend more if the government owned those corporations, or if ownership at the top was less clear and more diluted? No. The bottom half would have as little or less.

    Only the luxury consumption of the rich really takes something away from what others could conceivably spend. The assets, however, (the companies) cannot be spent. Or they could, but then we’d all soon be poorer when those productive assets stops generating goods and services. What the ultra-rich consume in luxury goods is very little in comparison to their wealth as the wealth is mostly tied up as working capital that we would need to have in any case. What we consume is not wealth, but income, because income reflects production, and production is what we consume.

    Thus it’s faulty economic reasoning to expect others to be able to spend much more because of asset taxes. One should make up one’s mind about what should be achieved with such taxes. Is it to strip entrepreneurs of their companies? To force capital into hiding, out of the US? To make the state control more productive assets? To give incentives for spending, as opposed to for saving? All these things could be achieved, to some degree. What you won’t achieve, though, to any significant degree, is anything beneficial.

    Taxing assets is trying to eat the cake and keep it. You want spending, but you don’t want to pay, so you search for a way to make someone else pay for you. It won’t happen. You can try, but it won’t happen.

    Full disclosure: I’m a Swede, and Sweden removed its wealth tax in 2007 since we saw that it did more harm than good. Also, we abolished the inheritance tax in 2005. The latter was done by a government of social democrats.

    1. So let me get this straight
      The solution to our stagnant no growth economy is more government control and higher taxes

      More money to DC. Already the richest area in the US and it produces nothing. Its good at absorbing the citizens tax dollars though

      Astounding conclusion

    2. I suspect the main problem with wealth taxes is that it is too easy for the rich to hide their wealth from the taxman (using secretive tax havens, or anonymous banking). I’m still flabbergasted that a social democratic government would abolish inheritance tax — does Sweden have a problem (as the UK does) with high house prices which would push many ordinary people above the inheritance tax threshold?

      While the Muslim answer was of course to make the wealth tax part of their religion (zakat is a de facto 2.5% wealth tax, and Allah doesn’t recognize no steenking tax havens), us Westerners could solve the enforcement problem by noting that it is not assets in general that are the cause of massive inequality in society. Rather it is assets which cannot be competitively produced (such as land) that are the problem — the aristocracies of yore were based on ownership of agricultural land, and many of today’s super-rich owe their vast income to their ownership of prime urban land, especially where the price of that land has been inflated by urban containment policies (in the cities of what Paul Krugman calls the “Zoned Zone”). Many other members of the wealthy elite owe their riches to coercive monopolies (such as patents and copyrights).

      Taxing these particular problem assets (as opposed to all assets) should be much easier, as it is impossible to conceal land from the taxman, nor coercive monopolies that are granted by the government in the first place! Another approach may be to fight inequality by reforms that eliminate rent-seeking possibilities in the first place.

  4. Good post, Rod. Sanders definitely gives lip service to some neccesary and desirable changes our nation must undergo for its very survival as a world power. But that is all it is; lip service. The corruption runs too deep for a president, even one driven by altruism, to institute the kind of change that will put us back on track. We do indeed need a political revolution. But it isn’t going to be waged by the players in DC, and the last two decades has seen legislation put in place designed to squash any revolt waged by the masses. Your rights to legal process have been removed. All that is needed now, to silence you, is a simple label, placed there by law, that removes your acess to due process. The inevitability of widespread revolt and protest was recognized by this corrupt and traitorous band of criminals in DC, and in league with global power brokers, they have the tools in place to stamp out any revolution. This grand experiment, our people governed republic, is already terminated. You’re on the right track with what you hold dear. Because beyond a very closed circle, your immediate space, you will just continue to tilt at windmills. Instead of waiting for Sanders to move mountains, you’d be better off putting in a garden, and enjoying a home grown meal with those beautiful grand kids.

    Just put a fresh yanmar in the yawl. I think I’ll go sailing on election day.

  5. IMO, the core of America’s economic problems are:

    1. The titanic cost of running the most expensive and inefficient government and private health insurance systems on Earth

    2. America’s titanic social and economic failure to fully integrate its black minority population into mainstream America which is actually astonishing since Americans of African ancestry only represent about 13% of the total American population and have been in America since well before the American revolution.

    3. The demonization of government workers by the extreme right which has caused wage depression in the private sector

    4. The demonization of commercial nuclear energy by the extreme left which has cost us jobs and could possibly cost us our coastlines

    5. America’s exceptional obsession with getting drunk and high has extremely costly local and global socioeconomic consequences; drugs have turned our streets into war zones and even some nations.

    6. America’s obsession with accumulating large arsenals. Combine this with a population that loves to get drunk and high while also isolating disgruntled ethnic minorities and you don’t need to watch– the Walking Dead– to get your fill of violent feudalism:-)

    7. Lack of investment in industrial robots. America is behind South Korea, Japan, Germany, Italy, Sweden, and Denmark in the number of industrial robots per worker. And for a private company, robots are the cheapest laborers of them all!

    8. The failure to fully invest in our space program. The 0.5% annual Federal expenditure for NASA is a joke. Our meager investment in space has already created a global telecommunications industry that’s worth over $200 billion a year. But there are potentially quadrillions of dollars to be made in the New Frontier if will willing to make the appropriate investments.


    1. “America’s titanic social and economic failure to fully integrate its black minority population into mainstream America which is actually astonishing since Americans of African ancestry only represent about 13% of the total American population and have been in America since well before the American revolution.”

      We have spent probably over a trillion dollars on this over the past 5 decades. Time for them to put on their big boy pants (and also pull them up over their boxers). Right now, they are their own worst enemy.

      Remember when it was believed that things were going to get better for them once they had “the powah”? Well, if you look at any city or county where they have the power, you will find dysfunction.

      Interesting that you lament the decline of the space program since it was sacrificed largely to fund the so-called “War on Poverty”. MLK’s associates were at the launch of Apollo 11 protesting the spending on the space program and demanding it be spent on the poor.

      We could have been on Mars by now.

      1. That money has been wasted attempting to create ‘separate but equal’ African American communities instead of communities that are fully integrated into mainstream America. We don’t need minority ‘nation states’ within the United States of America. Similar policies have also failed in Europe with their extremely segregated Muslim populations.

        Spending on space has always been viewed by many Americans as a waste of tax payer dollars even though studies continue to show that NASA spending creates substantially more wealth than it consumes.


      2. @FermiAged

        We’ve wasted a great deal of money in energy development for sadly similar reasons. When part of the powers that be prefer suppression and fear effects of freely enabling growth, money spent to achieve can grow to very large numbers with little overall success.

        Witness, as a very tiny example, the $452 million promised to be spent by the US Department of Energy for a partial assist to a couple of selected example companies in their effort to work their way through the tangled thicket of regulations and unwritten opinions of the US NRC, the US EPA and the US Justice Department (antitrust).

        1. You’ve pointed out a couple of the many examples of government breaking legs and offering crutches.

    2. It should also be noted that the substantially higher rates of fertility in the poorest American women also increases the raw number of poor people in America:

      Births per 1000 women in US:

      Under $10,000 ——- 98.3

      $10,000 to $19,999 – 74.7

      $20,000 to $24,999 – 62.1

      $25,000 to $29,999 – 66.4

      $30,000 to $34,999 – 67.9

      $35,000 to $49,999 – 55

      $50,000 to $74,999 – 55.5

      $75,000 and over – 54.8

      1. Another issue I break with the conservatives is abortion. When they’re not getting us into wars, they’re busy babbling about the bible. And when they do get their wars, they spend the next 50 years moaning about how the country we “liberated” is so ungrateful. They also moan about all the refugees we end up taking in as a result of the war.

        As soon as I hear one of these morons say the words “family values” or quote the bible, I just turn them off like an annoying TV commercial.

        That said, the women in your statistics would do well to move their time preferences a few years into the future. These births are not a result of immaculate conception.

      2. Comical in a way. Look at those stats. A common RW gripe, usually accompanied with some sort of racist remark.

        But wanna watch those stats explode into an even worse set of numbers and wards of the state?

        Just do away with Planned Parenthood.

        Then what happens? Well, the RW will blame someone else, of course.

        Disastrous policies are ALWAYS someone elses fault. Just look at the middle east.

  6. This election seems to be highlighting the failure of the 2 party Coke and Pepsi political system we have. As a recent independent I’ve really been attuned to the reaction by the parties to their front runners. Sanders being ignored by the press (the little conspiracist in me says the Democratic party is directing them to do so) and lots of talk about Hillary’s domination of the “super delegates,” and Trump, well just the whole Trump phenomena and the frustration of the voting Republicans …and the party’s reaction to that frustration.

    I was registered as a Republican, but this last time I renewed my driver’s license I changed to independent. But for years I’ve thought there’s no difference between the two parties at a fundamental level. Sure there’s superficial differences, mostly over moral issues that really have no place in national politics, but they all agree that a highly centralized, tightly controlled economy and populace is more desirable than a lose confederation of state governments. Both sides are obsessed with war and foreign interventionism, and they all are surprised when their plans backfire, missing the irony of the fact that we were once colonies of a foreign “superpower,” not even an independent country (and we celebrate our independence and right of self-government every July).

    And every politician claims credit for improving our lives by coopting technological and productivity advancements and claiming them as their own, either by outright intervention or through wetting their beaks with the tax code. If anything, it seems to me that our lives are improving despite government intervention, not because of it.

    I’m not against government. I just think that smaller and decentralized is often better than large and concentrated. And I’m all for helping out the poor and needy, but not under threat of jail for not paying taxes, and not if the mechanism is so inefficient that only 1-5% of every dollar actually makes it to the people in need. And when a technology is so revolutionary as to change the way the world works, I think it absolutely should be kept out of the hands of politicians.

    But then again, I’m just a cable guy, not a nuclear physicist.

    1. “But for years I’ve thought there’s no difference between the two parties at a fundamental level”

      This 2 party thing, left versus right, is a carefully orchestrated charade, designed to negate the possibility of a true concensus of the masses. It is designed to keep us bickering amongst ourselves while our so called “leaders” pursue the interests of global power brokers. What amazes me is the widespread ignorance illustrated by how many people are rabidly and devoutly partisan, be it right, or left. Even here, on this blog, where one would expect to find logic and common sense, some recite the script by rote, apparently unable, or unwilling, to think for themselves.

      1. “The argument that the two parties should represent opposed ideals and policies, one, perhaps, of the Right and the other of the Left, is a foolish idea acceptable only to doctrinaire and academic thinkers. Instead, the two parties should be almost identical, so that the American people can ‘throw the rascals out’ at any election without leading to any profound or extensive shifts in policy” (Georgetown University Professor Carroll Quigley, Tragedy and Hope, 1966.)

        Ever wonder why almost nothing changes and if it does, it’s always for the worst?

    2. I myself use the Coke and Pepsi analogy. Same empty calorie, teeth rotting, carmel colored sugar water. Only difference is the packaging and advertising.

      The analogy is also useful since Pepsi has always been identified with the GOP. Nixon used to represent Pepsi and Pepsi received the first concession in the USSR during detente.

      Based in the South, Coke has traditionally aligned with the Democrats. Some drink it at breakfast! Disgusting.

    3. “If anything, it seems to me that our lives are improving despite government intervention, not because of it.”

      Yes – in the last few decades our lives have improved due to the miniaturization of electronics. Technology has wrought these changes. This is why it is irritating to see politicians stifle a technology that could do a lot of good to improve the lives of the people of the world. If the government would just back off a bit, we could have clean, safe energy at a low price.

      Unfortunately, the greed of man does require some input from the government to give us this energy gift in a safe manner.

      1. Can you imagine where the personal computer, cellphone, internet and even electronic media (on the internet) would be if it was controlled like the government controlled the telephone and radio?

        And the government (like Al Gore) did not invent the internet. It was more like Isaac Asimov’s million monkeys typing the Gettysburg Address. Before some reader throws ARPAnet at me read http://www.nethistory.info/index.html – Quote follows.

        “Bob Taylor, writing in reference to a mailing list invitation to attend the 35th anniversary event, Bob Taylor explained.

        “In February of 1966 I initiated the ARPAnet project. I was Director of ARPA’s Information Processing Techniques Office (IPTO) from late ’65 to late ’69. There were only two people involved in the decision to launch the ARPAnet: my boss, the Director of ARPA Charles Herzfeld, and me.

        Numerous untruths have been disseminated about events surrounding the origins of the ARPAnet. Here are some facts.

        The creation of the ARPAnet was not motivated by considerations of war. The ARPAnet was not an internet. An internet is a connection between two or more computer networks.”

        1. It’s an unfortunate coincidence that radio waves were developed and exploited when the progressive era was hitting its stride. The very verbiage of the Communications act of 1934 speaks volumes of the socialist/communist political mindset of the time… “The airwaves belong to the people” and other collectivist nonsense.

          1. @rod, Compare the licensing fees for airlines (registration fee is only $5.00, less than 1/20 of what I pay to register my car) with nuclear power plants(~$5 Million). Look at the cost of the Air traffic controllers (Salary, training, benefits, retirement), the Air traffic control equipment and the rest of the government “Subsidies” given to the airlines. Compare that with the Millions (Billions??) collected in “oversight costs” when the NPP is placed on the bad boy list (Watch-list). Compare that to the reasons airlines are fined and the amount. Never heard of a bad boy list for airlines. So, are they pushing Nuclear Power or Air Power?

          2. “Collectivist nonsense”? Gawdd… We are a collectivist species as much as we are individual one. The oldest fraud is when some guy put up a fence around some land and convinced everyone on the outside of the fence that what was inside of the fence was his. Then again….

            the concept of private property is very new. Personal property always existed: the tools you made by hand, the kill you made with a spear, the clothes you tanned and then wore, etc.

            Land was *always* considered “The Commons”. It would do you some good Eric to actually understand the anthropology and history of the political economy of property ownership. This country was never only about private property, it was, as I pointed out in the other thread, a totally integrated “Big Gov’t” and private initiative country. That’s true for most countries that had accelerated into the Industrial Revolution. Going back to the early days of the Revolution and the first Constitutional Convention, the role of gov’t was hotly contested. The “Big Government” side won, fortunately, that is the Federalists, who believed that nation building, especially as it confronted stronger countries like Britain and France, need a strong central gov’t with truly massive intervention into the economy.

            FDR’s NRA and New Deal were extension of that and “totally American”. As was Social Security, thanks the many gods, that we have it.

            The anti-Big Gov’t crowd would of left us with no nuclear energy, no rail roads, no passenger air line industry. We would be a neo colony of the kind Brazil and Argentina ended up being until they started taking control over their economies. That was future. Fortunately, the ‘cult of the individual’ didn’t exist back in the day.

          3. “The anti-Big Gov’t crowd would of left us with no nuclear energy, no rail roads, no passenger air line industry”

            You forgot to add “no air”. 

          4. Well, I knew after I hit “submit” I shouldn’t have done that, knowing that I’m bringing a knife to a gun fight, intellectually speaking (hell, I can’t even spell “Annapolis” without help from my computer, and no one in their right mind would let me anywhere near a nuclear reactor control room).

            But consider this: Why is it that a country with a land area of 3.1 million sq miles (CONUS, Wikipedia) has exactly one short wave broadcast station that is permitted to “direct” its signal inward to the United States? Wouldn’t it make much more sense to have several short wave broadcast stations, centrally located, that could provide a nationwide signal? What is the technological reason why it wouldn’t work? I’ve picked up WWV (the only SW broadcast station not counting non-profit and religious stations) in every corner of the country, save Fraser CO -due to the continental divide- and on basic whip antennas, nothing exotic. I’ve communicated around the world on 100 Watts, and at least 30 states, including some on Digital voice and FM, with high fidelity, from a station in my home and a small compromised antenna in my back yard.

            If there’s no technical reason, then perhaps a national audience for radio isn’t wanted. Hard to say, but at the time of the establishment of the FCC there were several nation wide broadcast networks, and who could ignore the hundreds of television networks delivered via satellite and cable, all national in nature.

            Could it possibly be because there are specific laws preventing such stations from existing? Laws that were established so that NBC could maintain their national footprint through their AT&T supplied long lines network, and make sure that new entrants would have to do the same thing? Any such law would have to be repealed before any such station could be financed, let alone all the receivers that would need to be purchased, etc. An efficient way to reach a national audience no longer an option because of a stroke of a pen.

            People always like to speak of government intent as if it’s a noble cause, and I’m certain that many of the bureaucrats are fine people doing the best they can (after all, I’m a bureaucrat of sorts myself). But too often we find the laws are used to crowd out competition and maintain status quo. The intent of legislation might be to better everyone’s lives, but it seems like the real outcome is far, far away from this lofty height.

            (I’ll go back to lurking now…)

          5. “Do you recall WHY social programs and notions of collective progress were so attractive in 1934?”

            Yes. We had a Federal Reserve System that was supposedly designed to PREVENT panics and depressions. We also had two morons, Hoover and FDR that prolonged the depression.

          6. Hoover was an engineer. Therefore, he concluded that efficiency could get America out of a Depression that ended up being worldwide. (Hmm … sound familiar to some modern-day thinking?) He was simply the wrong man for the job at the time.

            It was FDR who prolonged the Depression. Fortunately for his legacy, WWII bailed him out by ending it.

  7. Rod, your arguments are very convincing and anybody who has the courage and integrity to examine the nuclear energy question objectively must realise that it is the anti side where all the money is and all the liars are concentrated.

    But changing Sander’s opinion will be hard, even if he is not as corrupted as others by oil money. Leo Tolstoi observed:

    I know that most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it be such as would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives.

    1. Sanders is a small-town mayor turned small-state congressman turned small-state senator turned small-time presidential candidate.

      In his entire political career, he hasn’t accomplished anything substantial, and the only reason why he is still in the presidential race is because we’re in the middle of an “anti-establishment” phase of the political cycle (never mind that he has been a Washington insider for a quarter of a century now) filled with weak and flawed (and criminal) contenders, which he is riding for all it’s worth.

      His big claim to fame is that he has never changed his mind about anything and that’s precisely what his base loves about him. I had a conversation with a Sanders supporter earlier today who expressed that this is exactly why she is supporting him — because he doesn’t bend his views on anything, particularly not for something that could be considered a “special interest.”

      Given his lack of accomplishments, his political brittleness, and his well-publicized anti-nuclear position, my mind boggles that anyone could consider his candidacy to be a good thing for the future of nuclear power in the US or worldwide.

  8. Although still pandering to Israel quite a bit too much, Sanders recent foreign policy speech was refreshing. The sad fact is, when giving sound and well deserved criticism towards Israel, out politicians must tread very lightly, or the immediate repurcussions are severe. But at least he was willing to include criticism of Israeli settlement activity, collective punishment, and the blockade of goods going into Gaza. That shows more spine than anyone else has shown towards Israel. I note Breitbart has come out with a strong repudiation of Sander’s criticisms, using falsehoods and obsfucations as rebuttal. Sanders has delivered a refreshing viewpoint, far more respectable than Hillary’s groveling promises of fealty. Ironic that Hillary so perfectly recites the Brietbart script when it come to Israel.

      1. It would be interesting to see how a Sanders presidency would respond to a major disturbance in the middle east where either Israel was doing a visible major beat down of the Palestinians or a situation requiring another US “boots on the ground” operation.

        It seems that most US Jewish voters prefer Clinton be elected. This seems paradoxical but I think it’s partly pragmatism as Clinton is far more likely to win. The other part is risk avoidance as if Sanders is elected and things go south, there could fear a collective backlash. But really, what go wrong with an open borders policy AND expanded welfare benefits?

        1. And a none of the above energy policy.

          The all windmill./solar panel solution.

          But logic does not win out with the electorate and surprisingly not here either

          1. Gosh poa

            What would you be a clone of? I guess Rod. You seem to be quite the cheerleader and also the attack dog?

          2. “What would you be a clone of? I guess Rod.”

            Naaaahhh…Rod and I ain’t exactly seeing eye to eye these days. And “attack dog” is a bit over doing it with the label thing. I just can’t stand ignorant BS, and I’m kinda vocal about it.

          3. “Everybody knows him”

            I really like the way you repeatedly think, and speak, for everyone else here, Brian. It shows a remarkable humility.

          4. Poa

            You can’t debate a lick.
            You offer no counter points.
            Just the name calling.

            See if you think something is BS state it and here’s the part that you have difficulty with

            Actually justify your position

          5. Doyle. I have no desire to debate you. Frankly, its would just be waste of time. Your opinion means nothing to me, and I’ve read enough of your masturbatory ego driven tripe to know that you think so highly of yourself that you cannot even conceive of being wrong about anything. And you have absolutely NO sense of humor. So buzz off, and bray at someone else. I’m enjoying yanking your chain from a distance, and I think I’ll keep it that way.

          6. Jim – You haven’t been around here long, so I suppose that someone should tell you: POA = “PissedOffAmerican”

            That’s the moniker that this person used when he first showed up here. Finally there was some brief truth in advertising, but just as “Kentucky Fried Chicken” eventually became “KFC” (whether that was to avoid association with “Kentucky” or “Fried Chicken” I still don’t know), “PissedOffAmerican” eventually became “poa.” You can draw your own conclusions about the reasons for the name change.

        2. “Jim – You haven’t been around here long, so I suppose that someone should tell you: blahblahblah….”

          You know, Brian, you should probably devote a little more thought to what you reveal about yourself with your comments. This constant striving to bring people over to your side, and to speak for others here, telegraphs a very sad insecurity on your part. I hope this new found buddy thing with Jim works out well for you, and you feel a little less inadequate through your bonding experience with him. Its really quite touching. Makes me wanna pat you on the head and whisper “There, there….it’ll be ok” in a cooing fatherly voice.

          1. @Brian Mays:

            I changed POA’s moniker because I’m not a fan of certain words or phrases.

            POA – I am deleting your response to Brian. It was over the line with personal insult.

          2. Well, Rod, you coulda just edited it, and removed the word “stupid”, and the rest coulda stood.

            And you did not change my monicker here, I did. You REQUESTED that I do so, and I did. I have posted on many blogs as POA, and the long version. In fact, when Brian was still a pup, I was posting as POA on the early AOL message boards. I kinda get a kick outta your moderation here, Rod. Brian posts these snide and cowardly little heel nipping yelps, and you got no problem with it. But be honest, direct, and up front with an insult, and you immediately man the eraser.

            And gads man, Jim has done everything but call you, and me, a rectal passage, and you stand for it. Its actually kinda comical.

            1. @poa

              Point taken. You, like everyone else here, chose the name under which you post. I apologize.

              Snide, indirect “heel nipping yelps” approach, but don’t cross the border of direct insult. Name calling is generally not socially acceptable, and calling someone who has completed a PhD in engineering “stupid” is incorrect. You may disagree with the conclusions he has reached, you may believe with justification that he is ill-informed, but you cannot blame the source of your disagreements on a lack of mental capacity.

          3. Rod, I once had a girlfreind that had two doctorate degrees, was working on her third, while employed as a principal of an urban high school. Her IQ was off the charts. But she was totally inept, stupid, when it came to basic social skills and daily living requirements. Brian’s engineering degree doesn’t guarantee anything, including so called “intelligence”.

            What was that saying from the movie; “Stupid is as stupid does”?

          4. … when Brian was still a pup, I was posting as POA on the early AOL message boards.

            AOL, eh? I hate to break it to you, old man, but I was on Usenet and IRC before you even knew what the Internet was. I can even remember the days of the dial-up bulletin boards.

            But AOL explains a lot. You know, there used to be a joke name used for AOL customers by the long-time users of the Internet. In this name, the “A” in AOL (and POA) stands for a word that begins with “A,” but it isn’t “American.” 😉

            The online social environment of the Internet changed dramatically when AOL unleashed its flood of clueless users. What had been a community made up largely of students and hi-tech professionals suddenly became a vast mob of just about everyone — from those totally overwhelmed by the technology to genuine sociopaths. It was like going from being in cool private club to suddenly being forced to hang out at the DMV.

            I once had a girlfreind that … was totally inept, stupid, …

            Wow … just wow. POA can’t even resist an opportunity to insult his ex-girlfriend.

            The best jokes are funny because there’s a strong element of truth in them.

          5. There ya go Brian, lumping everyone together again. All those early AOL users were A-holes, right.

            Your humility is truely awesome. Don’t like yourself much, do you?

            I suspect, Brian, you over-rate your popularity here.

          6. Actually, Brian, Victoria and I are still good friends, despite going our separate ways over 15 years ago. And she and I have had many a shared laugh about her inability to interact sociably, and do simple tasks like drive anywheres approaching a safe manner. But in an intellectual conversation about a wide range of topics, she’d chew you up and spit you out. And she makes a piano sing like a bird. I call her “stupid” about certain aspects of living life because its just a fact, a fact she realizes, and is comfortable with. Just like me. I’m ‘”stupid” in a wide range of topics, and will freely admit it. But not you and Jim, right. You guys can bray loudly on any topic, all knowing, and above any and all that dare question your superior world view.

            You, too, are a pretentious bore, Brian. And really, if we are going to speak for others here, as you are so fond of doing, I think there are many here that would agree with me. Of course, I could be wrong, and may well be. But, thats alright, I can be stupid that way. (And still be comfortable in my own skin.)

  9. Many, many years ago, when I and the world were much younger than today, it didn’t seem to matter too much whether the Republicans or Democrats were in power, even up to the time of Bush 41. Since that time, the Republican party has become weirder and weirder. I recall that during the 2012 election, Australians for example, were 60% for Obama and 1% for Romney. Much of what Sanders says makes sense, and would be unremarkable in the rest of the world, for example, a single payer health-insurance-system. Does no one in the US notice that health outcomes, as measured by infant mortality or life expectancy places the US well behind most other developed nations, equal to Cuba, notwithstanding the fact that the US health system is vastly more expensive. The chronically underfunded British NHS actually delivers substantially better outcomes.

    Nonetheless, when it comes to the nuclear industry Sanders is just as anti-science as Cruz is on climate-change. So I do hope Hillary wins.

    1. I recall that during the 2012 election, Australians for example, were 60% for Obama and 1% for Romney.

      Aww … those poor Australians. I bet they feel bad that they don’t get a vote.

      Do you have any statistics on how many Americans even know who the Australian prime minister is … much less care?

      1. “Do you have any statistics on how many Americans even know who the Australian prime minister is … much less care?”

        That is a great statement on the ignorance of Americans. You don’t even have to go as far as Australia. Use Canada or ask who the president of Mexico is.

        Maybe after the public is educated about nuclear power, we can start on these other things.

        1. Do you really think the average Australian knows (or cares) who the Prime Minister of Canada or the President of Mexico is? They might know Canada because it’s another Commonwealth nation, but that would be the only reason.

          They have an opinion on American politics because the US is important internationally. These other countries, not so much. When was the last time you worried about the foreign policies of Australia (assuming that you’re not an Australian)?

    2. Why not a single-payer food system? Many of our health problems are diet and nutrition related. In many areas, our farmers are unable to remain in business while greedy corporate grocery chains are able to profit from their misfortune. Unscrupulous corporations package unhealthy foods and push them on unsuspecting consumers who are forced to pay for the slick advertising. And what greater sign of food income inequality is there than the presence of an increasing number of the morbidly obese?

      It’s time to recognize that food is a basic right. The private sector has had its chance and failed. Now the government must address the problem from farm to rectum.

      1. “Why not a single-payer food system?”

        Would a single payer health system give us better nutritional advice? It would be a real cost savings incentive for a government run program. Tax dollars would be saved, health would be better, and the productivity of the individual for society would be better. Private medicine just makes more money when you eat wrong.

        I guess a parallel can be made to nukes. Fuel producers make more when you use those sources of energy rather than nukes. Nuclear plants sip rather than guzzle.

        1. When the outcomes in different countries are stark, there can be a good reason to consider the policies used in the countries that do well. The US needs to note that it gets an F in universal provision of health care where Canada & Australia get a B+ and the UK a C+. Because in the US, it’s unacceptable to deny urgent medical care to the uninsured, someone else ends up picking up the tab.

          On gun violence the US gets another F, Australia gets an A, and the UK an A+. Bernie Sanders needs to look at decarbonisation, where Germany is getting a D-, and France a B+.

          As for Americans knowing the Canadian or Australian prime ministers, I suspect that few would. Most Australians could not name the premiers of all 6 states, how many state governors would the average American know, 2 or 3 maybe. How many Canadian provincial premiers could the average Canadian name?

        2. It was satire.

          The Soviets had a single payer food system. Collective farms, state run grocery stores. Why would single payer anything be run any better? Because we have better computers?

          1. Well – As it has been explained to me.

            For profit health systems benefit from there being lots of sick people. There is less incentive for preventive medicine to take the costs down. In addition, the normal competitive pressures in a for profit medical system do not seem to exist. Medical costs keep rising and there are fewer pressures to make costs affordable to the end user, the patient.

            Single payer systems exist for the patient (taxpayer) rather than for the entity that seeks to maximize profit. As has been explained to me this gives more “bang for the buck.” Statistics do show that medical costs are lower in other countries.

            Criticisms of a single payer system give the disadvantage of waiting for health care, but I’d rather wait than have a health care system that forces me to go around sick or even die because I can’t afford the care. I’m sure you’ve heard all of this before.

            As for the food – I absolutely agree. Food is cheap in the US. The system mostly works.

          2. Because it already is run better, see Canada, UK, France, Denmark. Single payer *under democratic government* is far superior to our ‘joke of a system’ called “medicine”. It’s was bad before Obamacare and it’s bad now (though my kid gets it until he turns 27 and THAT is going to stay).

            Health care should be a right. Most modern countries get that. The fact that no one is turned away from an Emergency Room visit shows how screwed up our system is. ER visits the MOST expensive form medical care. Half the time they are there because they didn’t get out patient care because that is not the law, only when you are in an emergency situation. Talk to any European about this and they we are mentally ill having so much wealth in this country (all of which goes to the top 1%) and we have the *worse* health care system of any industrialized country.

            In Europe you get treatment before you get ill. Here? On death’s bed so they can hook you up to a machine. The whole system in the US needs to go to a single payer and this tragedy can end. Oh…but wait, that would mean the rich would get taxed more! Poor babies.

  10. Hoping for a Clinton presidency strikes me as being as crazy as hoping for a Trump Presidency. That narrows the field down to…well…nothing.

    Like I said, think I’ll go sailing, come election day.

  11. Im still happy to throw the Trump monkey wrench onto the machine. Or at least try to. Who knows he could also actually work out and our current path leads to a worsening outlook IMHO. Most of the hyped negative press on Trump is misinformation or outright fabrication. Cruz and Clinton are unsupportable. For Sanders to be a viable option I would need the following:

    1. Expand and refine openness in government. Make a strong public commitment to it. No more fake email garbage or concealing information/budgets.

    2. A firm commitment to the US Constitution, as is, including the Second Amendment. No new bans or tracking schemes. Enforce existing laws. No ridiculous liabilities for gun manufacturers. I, and most would probably support a vast expansion of mental health treatment venues and programs.

    3. A specific integration and reconciliation of his kind of socialism with US Constitutional principles of freedom, individuality and self determination. Acknowledge the limits of the President initiating policy. Less emphasis on overly punitive or burdensome taxation for American workers and businesses. Always a bias favoring Americans over foreign options.

    4. Address the Federal Deficit. Put out accurate numbers and real budgets. Put forth some ideas (at the very least) on how to diminish its influence or fix it.

    Of course just that above and him as is, would probably make him a better and more responsible conservative than the overwhelming majority of the Republican party.

    1. “Trump is misinformation or outright fabrication”

      Yeah. Everytime he makes a buffoon of himself on national TV, its not really happening. Its a vast left wing conspiracy.

        1. “yea, as no one ever takes a outspoken or extreme sounding position for emphasis or effect”

          Yeah, well I’m no stranger to the art of insult either. But I don’t insult your intelligence, your gender, your country of origin, your race, or your ethnicity, then expect you to vote for me. But I must say, Tucker, its no suprise to me that he’s your man.

          1. Glad you grasped the underlying point there. Was worried it would be missed. Denial, projection and self hatred has no place in politics, although it seems to be a major theme this time around.

    2. Even if Trump leads to the destruction of the Republican party, he will have done a great service. The party will fracture into the neocons, the holy roller / anti-abortion wing nuts, corporatists and a sane faction which is about half the party.

      The sane faction could form the nucleus of a new movement or party unencumbered by old baggage.

      The fracture of the Democrats would not be far behind as they are a coalition held together by welfare buyoffs, feminist nonsense and racial hatred of Whites. All they have going for them is that they are not the Republicans.

      The breakup of the Democrats would also free up the saner Democrats who could not stomach the corporate ideology of the current Republicans.

      I’d also like to see a movement back towards something like the Articles of Confederation.

      1. My sentiments exactly. If nothing else hopefully this is the last time we will endure the far religious right setting a ridiculous, unelectible far right social conservative tone for a national election.

        As for the Dems, after a lifetime, Im done with them. Rod seems to have eternal patience and hope some will finally come around to his beliefs when it comes to energy.

      2. Pretty much agree.

        On the Democrat side, you forgot the wealthy “politically correct” Blue State crowd who loves property values that are utterly out of touch with actual US wages.

  12. I do not know whether I can trust Hillary to do the right thing on climate-change. But I know that I can trust Trump, Cruz and Sanders to do the wrong thing

  13. ” In my most cynical and conspiratorial moments, I wonder if his campaign isn’t a sneaky, convoluted way of achieving a personal victory by ensuring the election of a candidate from a dynasty he’s been investing in for decades.”

    Some days, when I just can’t avoid wearing my tin foil hat, I have that same thought.

    I felt that way 4 years ago about Romney. I kept finding myself wondering why the Republicans couldn’t find someone less repulsive to represent them. Obama was vulnerable, but since he was carrying on all the economic and security/surveillance policies of Bush, why would the TPTB want a change?

    1. My first thought of Trump’s candidacy is that it was a reprise of Ross Perot who I thought was an establishment relief valve for the angry populism of 1992. Just when it looked like Perot could actually win, he exits the race based on some nonsense about Bush ruining his daughter’s wedding. He eventually re-entered the race but had lost much credibility.

      I also think that there is a faction of the wealthy oligarchs that run things that really has it in for the Bush family.

      Wendell Wilkie was the GOP nominee in 1940 who was an establishment candidate to short circuit the America First anti-interventionists in the Republican Party. Wilkie was a Democrat until 6 months before he was the Republican nominee. He was a carbon copy of FDR on foreign affairs.

  14. Wealth tax is an awful idea
    As it is now I earn income, get a very large amount taken as taxes and the rest is actually mine to keep,

    If I’m smart and save/ invest my wealth will accumulate still being taxed for anything I make along the way.

    Wealth tax would mean my savings principal and interest would be taxed forever. Which of course would be a disincentive to saving.

    Really bad idea.

    1. It’s worse than a disincentive to saving. It would promote shifting money to riskier investments.

      Even now, putting money in safe investments involves risks with respect to the rate of inflation. You must consider whether the money you get back years later is worth more, in real terms, than what you put in.

      So the plan is that, in addition to inflation, the value of an investment is going to be eaten up by a continual tax, regardless of how much return it provides?! Who is going to invest in t-bills under that system? Well, I suppose it will be almost entirely foreigners, who would not be subject so this “wealth tax.”

      Instead, the money of Americans will seek higher returns at higher risk. This could have a destabilizing effect on the economy, because when the fecal matter impacts the rotary impeller, as it eventually does, a lot of people who would have been better off in more secure investments will get their hind ends handed to them on a government-supplied silver platter.

      Of course, I assume that Rod will say that he only wants to tax the assets of “the rich.” Well, who are the rich? If I’ve saved up a substantial amount of money for my daughters’ education, does that make me rich?

      Oh … that’s right. There is no need to do that anymore, because Sanders has promised that he is willing to fit the bill for any kid to go and drink beer for four years while hiding from the realities of the world in his or her “safe space.” What a wonderful new century we’re living in! Is it any wonder why Sanders’s supporters are so young and/or naive?

    2. Isn’t the problem with the global economy though that there are too much savings (much of them in the central banks of China and other mercantilist nations) chasing too few productive investment opportunities?

      No-one has any right to get a return on their savings higher than the rate at which the economy is growing — any such return would be an economic rent extracted from the rest of the population.

  15. Well also the act of dying is taxable or maybe just confiscation. I can’t tell.

    My aunt recently passed and prior extended her will to pick up extended family because she wanted to help fund their education.

    When discussing it with her the “gee I need to will some of my estate to the IRS” never came up

  16. Tax code explained in Beer

    Suppose that every day, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all ten comes to $100…
    If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this…
    The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.
    The fifth would pay $1.
    The sixth would pay $3.
    The seventh would pay $7.
    The eighth would pay $12.
    The ninth would pay $18.
    The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59.
    So, that’s what they decided to do.
    The ten men drank in the bar every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve ball. “Since you are all such good customers,” he said, “I’m going to reduce the cost of your daily beer by $20? Drinks for the ten men would now cost just $80.

    The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes. So the first four men were unaffected. They would still drink for free. But what about the other six men? How could they divide the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his fair share?

    They realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody’s share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being paid to drink his beer.

    So, the bar owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man’s bill by a higher percentage the poorer he was, to follow the principle of the tax system they had been using, and he proceeded to work out the amounts he suggested that each should now pay.

    And so the fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% saving).
    The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33% saving).
    The seventh now paid $5 instead of $7 (28% saving).
    The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% saving).
    The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% saving).
    The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% saving).
    Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to drink for free. But, once outside the bar, the men began to compare their savings.
    “I only got a dollar out of the $20 saving,” declared the sixth man. He pointed to the tenth man, “but he got $10!”
    “Yeah, that’s right,” exclaimed the fifth man. “I only saved a dollar too. It’s unfair that he got ten times more benefit than me!”
    “That’s true!” shouted the seventh man. “Why should he get $10 back, when I got only $2? The wealthy get all the breaks!”
    “Wait a minute,” yelled the first four men in unison, “we didn’t get anything at all. This new tax system exploits the poor!”
    The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.
    The next night the tenth man didn’t show up for drinks, so the nine sat down and had their beers without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They didn’t have enough money between all of them for even half of the bill!
    And that, boys and girls, journalists and government ministers, is how our tax system works. The people who already pay the highest taxes will naturally get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore. In fact, they might start drinking overseas, where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier.

    David R. Kamerschen, Ph.D.
    Professor of Economics.
    [Allegedly and doubtful]

    1. In fact, they might start drinking overseas, where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier.

      Don’t be so sure. The United States is one of two countries in the entire world that taxes its citizens on their world-wide income, no matter where they live. The other is an obscure country in East Africa that you’ve probably never heard of.

      The only way out of it is to renounce one’s US citizenship … and even then you are subject to a tax in order to do so. The IRS will screw you no matter what.

      1. But only over a certain amount (I think it’s about $180k/year). And they have to return to the US once every 2 years I think.

        1. Oh … no no no, David. You think wrong. Definitely wrong.

          Every US citizen is subject to tax by the IRS on his or her world-wide income, regardless of how rich or how poor, regardless of when the last time that person set foot in the United States. There’s even a rule by the IRS that requires US citizens to report every foreign bank account that contains over $10,000 (at any one moment). Believe me, when I was living in France, I was careful never to get close to having 10,000 euros in my French bank account, because I didn’t want to go through the hassle of having to report it. (At the time, 1 euro was worth more than 1 dollar.)

          Things have gotten worse since I returned to the US. A bill passed in 2010 has been causing a huge amount of trouble for people overseas. This bill increased the reporting requirements to the IRS to a level that is so onerous that Americans living overseas are beginning to face difficulties finding financial providers and people who are still willing to deal with them as American citizens.

          There are even people called “accidental Americans” — people who have pretty much lived their entire lives outside of the US and don’t consider themselves American citizens, but because of the US’s bizarre rules on what constitutes a citizen (resulting from a misinterpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment) they actually are.

          This is kind of a “reverse-Cruz” effect. Many of these people are Canadians who were born in the United States but have lived most of their lives in Canada. Because of what the IRS has been doing in the last five years, many of these people have realized for the first time in their lives that they might owe the IRS back taxes. Thank you, Uncle Sam!

          As a result, there has been a record number of people renouncing their US citizenship in recent years. The part that sucks is that these people — even the “accidental Americans” — have to pay the IRS in order to do this.

          Frankly, the US Federal Government is the world’s largest extortionist operation, bar none. There is no other way for a reasonable person to describe it. Don’t feed this beast.

          1. “Things have gotten worse since I returned to the US”

            Yep. But you’re just one person. I think we’ll survive it.

          2. Yep. But you’re just one person. I think we’ll survive it.

            It doesn’t affect me any more. Your reading comprehension is up to its usual standards.

  17. “Well also the act of dying is taxable”

    Wow, in some cases thats a real bonus. They’re gone, and we get to fill a pothole or two with the proceeds.

  18. Another very interesting stat as far as science is concerned is the percentage of American graduates with degrees in science and engineering compared to other industrialized nations:

    1 South Korea 32

    2 Germany 31

    3= Sweden 28

    3= Finland 28

    5 France 27

    6= Greece 26

    6= Estonia 26

    8= Mexico 25

    8= Austria 25

    8= Portugal 25

    11 Spain 24

    12= Switzerland 23

    12= Japan 23

    12= Slovenia 23

    12= United Kingdom 23

    12= Czech Republic 23

    17 Ireland 22

    18= Belgium 21

    18= Canada 21

    18= New Zealand 21

    18= Slovakia 21

    18= Denmark 21

    23 Italy 20

    24= Israel 19

    24= Hungary 19

    26= Iceland 18

    26= Luxembourg 18

    26= Australia 18

    26= Turkey 18

    30= Norway 17

    30= Poland 17

    32= Chile 16

    32= United States 16

    34 Netherlands 15

    I’m not surprised by these stats since I believe a large segment of the US population has always been somewhat hostile towards science– believing that it is a threat to their fundamental religious beliefs or their back to nature political philosophies.

    But while countries like South Korea and Germany have approximately twice as many graduates with science and engineering degrees– per capita– than the US, America still produces a lot more scientist and engineers than either of these nations for the simple reason that the US has the third largest population on Earth: nearly four times the population of Germany and six times the population of South Korea. The US, of course, also attracts a lot of immigrant scientist and engineers from other countries and has some of the top science and technology universities in the world.

    But could you imagine how incredibly wealthy and technically and scientifically advanced the US would be if we produced as many scientist and engineers– per capita– as nations like South Korea or Germany do! Twice as many scientist and engineers than we already have!


    1. Another very interesting stat …

      An even more interesting stat, I think, would be the percentage of American graduates with law degrees compared to other industrialized nations.

      … I believe a large segment of the US population has always been somewhat hostile towards science — believing that it is a threat to their fundamental religious beliefs or their back to nature political philosophies.

      Nah … I don’t buy it. I know plenty of people in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) who are devout Christians, Jews, Muslims, etc. If someone is a Young Earth Creationist, then that means he or she will probably not choose to be an evolutionary biologist, but why should it prevent this person from becoming a civil engineer or a statistician?

      The “back to nature” folks, if they are interested in science, tend to go into the environmental sciences. Who do you think is publishing all of those “it’s worse than we thought” climate studies or signing up to be students of Mark Z. Jacobson? Of course, there are plenty of these folks who have no aptitude or interest in science. When I encounter them, they are usually liberal arts professors or artists.

      The real situation in the US is that there is just not that much interest in STEM and there are plenty of other good opportunities. I remember my experience in college at a Top-20 university and many of my classmates were in programs that led to medical school or law school, because … well … that’s where the money is. Those who couldn’t cut it in my particular program, which was quite rigorous, seemed to almost always parachute into the School of Commerce, and they are probably making much more money than than I do today — not that I care in the slightest.

      Those embarking on a career in STEM can expect to be well paid, but the prospect of being very well paid is not as bright.

      But could you imagine how incredibly wealthy and technically and scientifically advanced the US would be if we produced as many scientist and engineers — per capita — as nations like South Korea or Germany do!

      It’s more complicated than that. First of all, there are diminishing returns as a country depletes its talent pool. Those who are only marginally interested in STEM might qualify as a “scientist” or “engineer” for the statistics, but they usually do not make good scientists or engineers.

      Next, it depends what these STEM professionals are doing. You can have all of the STEM people in the world, but if the only thing that most of them are doing is writing up Environmental Impact Statements, then they’re not accomplishing any real work. These days, technological progress in the US is constipated more by government interference and abusive regulation than it is by a lack of scientists and engineers.

      There are plenty of fields in which those with STEM degrees have a very hard time finding jobs in the line of work that they were trained in. Although people like to talk about STEM people as a group, they are not a fungible resource. This is a line of work that depends heavily on knowledge, and the good ones tend to be specialized in their field. You can’t just throw them at any old job and expect to get the same results that you would get if they were working in their own sub-discipline.

      So let’s not worry about how many there are. Let’s worry about what they are doing.

      1. That is an interesting thread. Lots of creationists become doctors (Ben Carson) but I doubt they have a high % of them that do. They take the classes and pass them and then don’t have go around arguing about it. Evolution is lost to the actual practice of medicine.

        The problem more generally is the scientific method. This method which is evidence base is simply ignored in their personal life and they compartmentalize the belief in invisible super beings (God, Goddeses, any creation mythology). I think this most people who go into science who, even in their majority still believe in diety of some sort.

        The problem there are not Fundamentalist Christians who are geologists. That would be stretching it a bit.

    2. You need to “Adjust” these percentages by compensating the USA for those from foreign countries working in the USA and reducing that countries “percentage.” The numbers of foreign born “STEM”workers has steadily increased over the last 60 years, from around 1% of the workforce to well over 20% (Personal observation of my career in engineering).

      1. Rich – That’s a very good point. There is no indication in these statistics about where these graduates work.

        Your experience is similar to mine (although mine does not span 60 years). I would also add that I have observed that the number of STEM professionals in the US who are women has steadily increased substantially over the past 30 years.

    1. “Even in a perfect world where energy companies didn’t make mistakes, nuclear power is and always has been a dangerous idea because there is no good way to store nuclear waste,” Sanders said. “That is why the United States must lead the world in transforming our energy system away from nuclear power and fossil fuels.”

      Well, Rod, that pretty much takes the air outta your sails, eh? Even if you run a light air chute you’d be hard pressed to fill it. So now what? About that garden…..

      1. @poa

        That quote comes from the groupthink Sanders who hasn’t yet been disturbed by opposing thoughts from his own supporters. I remain convinced that he has learning potential and may change his mind when approached by allies offering good reasons.

        1. Good luck Rod, but set a limit on the number of excuses you’re willing to find for him, because my money is on a continued anti-nuclear Sanders.

          Following the Indian Point declaration there, I think he’s likely to get even more explicit in beating that tribal drum. He’s willing to go against reality on pipelines; why not nuclear power too? And at Indian Point he has the perfect storm of safe energy options that he can demonize.

          1. I like most of what Sander’s supports, he is simply wrong on energy. I also think his energy policies are regionally planned, NY with IP being discussed and the primary next week. He shut about it prior to the Illinois primary with 50% of it’s power from nukes.

            He will be no worse that Obama and Clinton would be no better than Bush.

            The fact is, without a massive/majority public outpouring for nuclear energy, no President is going to change the situation with either R&D (SMRs) or new builds. With the whole system run for profit companies can willy-nilly remove investment and shut plants. This is why it has to be part of a truly national energy policy which no Presidential candidate or campaign is willing to really talk about.

            Until science is really put at the forefront generally and energy specifically, the paradigm of making it up as we go along with continue and plants will slowly close over the next decade or so.

            I’m very pessimistic. I think overseas we might see more push (in many areas of atomic energy) and this will spur some real assertive even competitive responses here. But I’m not holding my breadth.

          2. @Joffan

            I am not making excuses for Sanders. I am explaining what I believe are the roots of his current stance. I also want to make it clear that ts not acceptable for me for a president to be opposed to nuclear and I will not cast a vote for one who does not acknowledge its value.

            My effort, starting, but not ending with posts on Atomic Insights, Facebook and Twitter, is to try to encourage others who are expressing their support for Bernie’s message to realize that they can help their hero if they can shift his position on nuclear energy.

  19. @Brian,
    Fifteen years ago the utility i retired from finished a 600 MW coal fired power plant. During the plant ceremony for the press when declared “operational” management announced that due to the economic growth they had decided to build another unit on the site. The Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the first unit took less than 5 years, The EIS for the second unit, on the same property, took over ten years and was twice as thick. Two environmental “Engineers” had to be added to the Environmental Affairs department in addition to two “engineers” contracted for the duration of the project. And this is for a Coal fired plant burning some of the cleanest coal in the USA. The days of four to five years from concept to power for coal plants are gone. Another reason there are so many new CCTG units being built, many of which are turn-key cutting overhead even more.

    1. Now look at the map of potential wind energy – Google “Cost of Wind Energy in the U.S. AWEA” Pick “Cost of Wind Energy in the US. – There are three main links. pick “GO TO Cost of Wind Energy… You will see contracts paying from $0.02 to $0.12 per kWhr for electricity. WHY? I guarantee you that it is NOT because that “Wind is Free.”

      Any competent electrical power purchaser will tell you that the reason that wind power, in some areas, is SELLING for $0.02 to $0.10 per KWHr is because that is the most that they will pay for that UNRELIABLE product that the State mandated Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) regulations force them to purchase. The RPS requires the increased usage of energy from renewable energy sources.

      But, as shown in the above referenced webpage, this artificially low price is used as propaganda bragging about how inexpensive “wind” power is.

  20. Rod,

    I don’t too often comment on your posts, mainly because I find much to agree with . As is the case with this post. I would offer one word of warning about language, however. . .

    “Hydrocarbon” isn’t a bad word. In theory, nuclear energy could be used to produce carbon-neutral Hydrocarbon fuels (e.g. synthetic gas or diesel, or simpler compounds like methanol, or DME, etc).

    That’s why fossil fuel is a more accurate term – or maybe “geologic hydrocarbons” – that is, when we bring carbon up out of the ground, that’s a bad thing. That’s what we want to beware of.

    1. @Jeff S

      I like hydrocarbons; they are incredibly valuable chemicals and fuels regardless of their source.

      By taking aim at the “hydrocarbon establishment” I am not trying to demonize hydrocarbons, but to shake up the Establishment that has been created through both controlling their supply and keeping the economy dependent on them even after discovering an even more valuable and capable fuel source.

      We won’t stop using hydrocarbons in the next Atomic Age any more than we have stopped using stones in the millennia that have passed since the end of the Stone Age.

  21. “Here I need to give some credit to John C. Dvorak of the No Agenda Show Podcast. He frequently reminds people that taxing income isn’t the right way to tax wealthy people because they have ways to make their annual income appear to approach zero.”

    So, it seems to me that the problem isn’t an income tax, but that we allow them to get away with categorizing ‘income’ as something else. For example, why aren’t capital gains considered ‘income’? I mean, if you have capital gains, that means you have more money today than you did yesterday.

    That’s just one example.

    I’m a big supporter of the concept of taxing income, because, at the same time, I think there are other categories we currently tax that should NOT be. Property should not be taxed (however, if you sell it at a profit, the profit should be taxed as income). I detest property taxes, because they make all of us into renters who pay for our property once, then if you hold that property long enough, you will eventually pay for it a second time in property taxes.

    But more importantly, property taxes are hard on people like retirees who may have paid off their property, but no longer have income. Or, people who lost a job, and are having a hard time making ends meet, but their home is paid for – should those people be kicked off their paid-for property because they have no income?

    So, people should only pay taxes when they actually realize income, not just on the stuff they’ve already bought and paid for.

    I could be persuaded to go with sales taxes instead of income tax (because you can’t buy something unless you at some point had income, so it’s sort of a proxy for income-tax), although numerous studies have shown that sales taxes tend to be regressive, in that poor and lower-middle class people tend to spend more of their income (and thus would pay sales taxes), while the wealthy tend to invest more of their income.

    Also, another problem with sales taxes is that rich people can afford to go to other countries for large purchases (like a yacht, or a private jet, or a $20,000 wardrobe), and thus could evade sales taxes by realizing income in the US but spending the money outside the US – thus they can shift their purchases to the jurisdiction with the most favorable sales taxes on foreigners, and there are surely countries that would be happy to have very low sales taxes (say 1% or 2%) to essentially get free money by acting as a market where sellers and buyers can officially conduct a transaction in order to avoid taxes in either the sellers or buyers home country.

    1. Isn’t there an obvious solution to the “poor widow in a mansion” problem with property taxes (or land value taxes, which would be better) — allow the payment of the tax to be delayed until the property is either sold or bequeathed?

  22. So the problem is we haven’t figured out a way to soak the rich more.
    Wow pathetic
    Start thinking of ideas that create economic growth

    1. @Jim Doyle

      I have no problem admitting my desire to “soak the rich” and restore some balance to our taxation system. I’m not talking about a “revenue neutral” increase, but one that would allow the government to begin paying off its massive debts. The money sitting in government bonds and drawing interest isn’t doing much work right now, and there is a tremendous amount of work that needs to be done.

      I’m a guy who favors a society that gives its people a “hand up” that enables them to be productive citizens pursuing happiness rather than citizens who are locked by accident of birth into a life of drudgery or grinding poverty. I think the US was working better and growing better in the period between 1945-1973 than it has since that time. I am eternally grateful for the strong start in life I received by being lucky enough to have completed my education soon enough after the decline began that it didn’t affect me much.

      1. “The money sitting in government bonds and drawing interest isn’t doing much work right now, and there is a tremendous amount of work that needs to be done.” The truest statement you have made about the government to date. They (the US government) are not making that money grow. They are burning it on Solyndra, Ivanpah and now the Soda Mountain Solar Project, that no utility wants the power from. How many Nuclear Power plants could they have built with the money they “invested” in the “green” failures? How many if they just guaranteed loans for NPPs with hat money? The government is not a very good investment adviser.

      2. Rod,

        The taxation system is balanced? How? But you view income as owned by society not by those who earned it. So did Karl Marx. Otherwise you wouldn’t covet and claim ownership to other’s income. His economic system has historically been not so good. I’ll take our system which (at least so far) still kinda views income as private property although my tax return leaves some doubt.

        Taxation and a greater welfare net are not the solution. Stagnant economic growth is the problem. Greater growth, personal responsibility and an emphasis on education are the keys to success no matter your income level.

        I work for a large corporation, am part owner of a small business both of which struggle with over-burdensome taxation and regulation. They don’t help our growth and our ability to employ more folks.

        I also worked as a HS coach at a fairly mixed school as far as income goes. The welfare net is a trap that allows multiple generations to be ensnared. More hand outs so they can purchase the next iPhone upgrade is not the answer.

        But I think the issue is our background. Taxes are your businesses sales as a gov’t worker. I would think even given that that basic economic principles would sink in with age but I guess not.

        1. How about this angle?
          “Greater growth, personal responsibility and an emphasis on education are the keys to success no matter your income level.”

          Government can invest in the education of it’s young and sometimes in the not so young.

          Government can invest in new infrastructure, i.e. airports, highways, high speed trains, municipal water and electric works to encourage future development by private industry.

          Boondoggles or future boom-towns?

          Is this welfare? Seems like all the presidential candidates are promising infrastructure investment.

          1. Eino,

            Well that angle is not how our US federal gov’t is supposed to work since none of the “investments” are defined duties in the constitution. State and local gov’ts can take these projects up because all of what you mention have localized benefits.

            The government is not an investor. Investors take their personal capital at risk and invest it in a venture with the hopes of turning a return on investment. Government takes your money by taxation by force and then decides what to use if for. The term “pork” come to mind.

            So I have to fund Alaska’s bridge to nowhere? Why?

            Economic growth has to come from the private sector. Taking more out of that sector, even if you think you are selectively just robbing the 1%, is non-productive at this point.

            Our problem is not that taxes are too low or that some demonized group makes too much money. We need more IRS agents like a hole in the head. We could use more actual producers though.

            The reason the US economy is not growing is because the US is not business friendly. Business will thrive and grow where it is welcome. And growth means the demand for labor increases and besides employing more the law of supply and demand dictates that if the demand for something goes up so does its price. In this case wages.

    2. It’s largely because so much of the money is concentrated in the private fortunes of the hyper-rich (and in the central banks of mercantilist nations such as China) that there is insufficient demand to fuel economic growth in the first place!

      What I’d like to know is why the rich feel compelled to accumulate ever-more financial assets (which are of course not real wealth, but merely claims on wealth) — are they expecting the collapse of industrial civilization leading to a “only the richest will survive” scenario?

      1. Do you think that money is under the mattress? In a wall safe? In the local bank vault? They did not get that rich hiding that money. They invested it in IBM, Railroads, Trucking companies, Shipping companies, Microsoft, DOW, BASF, P&G, GE, and a thousands others.
        Are you implying that their investment in these companies is hurting the lower class? middle class? HOW/ How would you even have a job? Please explain how the government can do better by investing it in, oh, Solyndra, for example?
        Where would our (any) economy be if they had “concentrated their private fortunes” in a private vault with an army of armed guards as the Liberal – spread the wealth imply is happening with their fortunes?

        1. I expect the assets of the wealthy are mostly some combination of stocks, bonds and real estate, but it isn’t “investment” in any real sense when a wealthy coupon-clipper buys some company stocks from another wealthy coupon-clipper. None of that money ends up in the company itself, and therefore none of it could create any jobs!

          Real investment is spending with the intention of increasing productivity: for example a company may invest in some new factory machines, some improved computer software or some training to make its workers more productive. Or a government may invest in a freeway or in improvements to public education.

          When inequality is very high (like now) most companies don’t invest much because they are pessimistic about making sufficient additional sales to recoup the cost of the investment. (Of course, the small minority of companies which specialize in the far top end of the market may be a different story.) That’s why so many big companies are either awash with cash or buying back their own stock – because they cannot see any worthwhile avenues in which to invest it.

          Your rhetoric about the rich financing companies to create jobs sounds a lot like trickle-down economics to me. That kind of economic thinking works well in developing countries where there are lots of opportunities to increase productivity that are being foregone due to insufficient funds. In rich countries on the other hand good productive investments are rarely impeded by lack of funds (although they may often be impeded by risk-aversion or political interference) and puting more money in the pockets of the rich will serve only to bubble up the prices of existing financial assets (stocks, bonds and real estate).

    3. The wealthy have no problem influencing politicians to do their bidding. So the working people need to do the same! Workers would be fools not to do what is in their own best interest

      I’d immediately raise incomes for– all working people– in the US by simply Federally mandating up to six weeks of paid vacation for all employees: one week of paid vacation for every full year of employment.

      The United States is the only OECD country (Europe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand Japan, and the US) that does not require employers to provide paid leave for its employees.

      Americans have less vacation time than the workers of any other advanced country. And one out of four American workers get no paid vacation at all!

      Studies have shown that men and women who don’t take vacations for several years have substantially higher rates of heart disease than workers who do. Studies have also shown that workers that take frequent vacations are also more productive in the workplace.


      1. @Marcel — You should try running a business for awhile, before you come up with any more suggestions as to what “Federal mandates” you think would be good ideas.

        1. @Marcel, do you realize that when you have a small company, say 6 to 10 employees and you, that when someone calls in sick, and you have promised to deliver a product by the end of the week that in order to fulfill that promise you more than likely will have to hire someone from the local temp agency. That means that if you also are forced to pay for what everyone today calls “sick time” [I earned it and if I don’t use it I have lost it, and it is part of my pay, and I have to go to that concert. attitude] then delivery of that promised product means you have lost any profit. Multiply that by the ten employees and the 10+/- days and your personal income then becomes “zero.” or negative. three out of five years of that and the IRS calls your company a “Hobby” and you lose even more money. Same goes for Vacation. Every company that my three sons worked for chose those that had no sick time/vacation as “They pay me more Dad.”

          1. @Rich

            I’ve run a small manufacturing company. Our workforce was a bit larger, 17-28 people.

            Sick days were part of the package, but they didn’t result in the effects you describe. We didn’t run on such razor-thin margins. We probably lost some work to lower bidders, but the owner and I didn’t want work that didn’t pay. There are too risks when there aren’t margins that allow adjusting and flexing.

            There were a few times when he or I (or both of us) put down our office work to join the production workers when needed to make a timely delivery.

            There were other times when we made up for absent workers or lost production due to equipment outages or material delivery delays using overtime or additional shifts.

            Our turnover, even in a just slight above minimum wage shop, was quite low. Most of the core group was there before I arrived and after I left three years later.

          2. That’s why I believe that– paid sick leave– should come out of vacation pay. But if you’re a business that can’t afford to give your workers annual paid vacations– then you shouldn’t be in business.

            But you seem to think that American workers are lazy individuals that are grossly overpaid.

            They’re not!

            1. @Marcel F. Williams

              From what I gather in talking to a variety of people, more and more employers are offering something called “paid time off” that is accrued as a percentage of hours worked. It can be used for any purpose. A certain amount can be accumulated and even sold back if employment is ended for any reason, but the employer doesn’t allow the accumulation to keep going indefinitely because they really want to encourage people to schedule time away from work on occasion.

        2. There are very few businesses that you can run– without labor!

          So being economically fair to the people who work for you– is also important! And that’s pretty much the political reason for the rise of Sanders and of Trump.

          Hard working American people deserve paid vacations, IMO.

          People in the US use to work 12 hours a day, six days a week until they finally started to unionize and took to the streets.

          In Chicago, the business owners finally gave into the the 8 hour day, five day work week only after tens of thousands of organized workers marched into the neighborhoods that the wealthy actually lived in– and knocked on their doors! A suddenly the business owners saw the light:-)

          But there is a much simpler way to improve worker pay, IMO, and that’s by simply going to the ballot box and voting for measures or politicians that will improve worker pay.


          1. “In Chicago, the business owners finally gave into the the 8 hour day, five day work week only after tens of thousands of organized workers marched into the neighborhoods that the wealthy actually lived in– and knocked on their doors! A suddenly the business owners saw the light:-)”

            I love your choice of words, “gave.” Sounds more like they were dragged kicking and screaming into that light. That seems to fit better with history.


          2. @ Marcel, Please add the history of the mob involvement with that decision to give in. Include why it took so long to reduce their involvement, and why the unions are still as corrupt as the rest of Chicago politics.

  23. Not topic crashing but no other way to signal an alert that NRC seems to be dumping my comments to unchallenged overwhelmingly FUD-laden remarks to shut down Pilgrim and others in a gov’t blog which schools around the country check out and take for references and gospel. I need air support at


    while I try to register a feedback complaint to NRC. Thanks!

    James Greenidge

    1. @James Greenidge

      You — and any other reader — can always contact me to let me know of a topic you think needs to be addressed. However, an off topic comment is another functional means of communication.

      I submitted the following on the NRC blog.


      Can you please help me understand what Pilgrim did to deserve this exceedingly expensive “penalty box” treatment? The answer may require you to work your way up the chain of command for an answer, but please try to do so.

      I realize that the NRC carefully avoids taking its imposed costs into consideration during decision making, but I still fail to understand how a small number of unrelated, minor issues add up to the need for heightened attention that causes a plant owner to spend tens of millions of dollars in extra contract labor and overtime.

      Is it that all the remaining plants in the US are performing so well that expectations of unattainable perfection have shifted even higher?

      Unless your organization is completely isolated from reality, I’m sure that you are aware of the following facts:

      – Even without the heightened attention from headquarters, every nuclear plant has at least two on site inspectors. No other industrial facility in the US has such close inspection by its regulator, even those with far more risk of harming the public.
      – Each of our operating nuclear power plants avoid the production of millions of tons of CO2 each year compared to the fossil fuel that would need to be consumed to replace their power output
      – Natural gas prices lower than any seen in the past 20 years as a result of a massive drilling campaign and an historically warm winter have reduced the sales price of the electricity nuclear plants produce.
      – That loss of revenue puts plants in a situation of tight profit margins or even financial losses.
      – Added costs that do not marginally improve safety may flip the plant into the loss column and result in pressure to close a facility that is still safely and reliably producing emission free electricity.
      – Closure decisions are permanent. The clean output will be lost for at least the 10-15 years required to plan and build a replacement facility.
      – That invariably makes it even harder to address climate change, which may be a distant threat, but it is quite real for those of us with children or grandchildren to protect.

      Rod Adams
      Publisher, Atomic Insights

      I’ll give it a few hours after the beginning of the work day to show up before posting this on the front page of Atomic Insights.

      1. Rod,

        The NRC is only concerned about safety. $$’s don’t figure into it. Certainly climate change and the price of natural gas don’t either. The first bullets has relevance as to whether they are unfairly being punished.

        Very possibly they are. My experience with the NRC is that consistency is not one of their strong points. Do you have any details on why they are in the penalty box?

        1. @Jim Doyle

          According to the Reactor Oversight Program page, Pilgrim had a White (low to moderate safety significance) finding in Q32013, another in Q42013 and a third in Q12015. Apparently that tripped the NRC’s definition of repeat offenses.

          The NRC may repeatedly claim that they are concerned about “safety” but the reality is that they only care about compliance. There is a tenuous relationship between the two, especially when you know how limited the technical capacity of the regulation writers and reviewers is. For 40 years, there has been a strong prejudice against hiring anyone from the commercial nuclear industry, which begs the question of how much operational knowledge can possibly reside in the entire agency.

          By my reading of their mission statement, the NRC should care about more than just protecting the public FROM radiation and radioactive materials.

          “The NRC licenses and regulates the Nation’s civilian use of radioactive materials to protect public health and safety, promote the common defense and security, and protect the environment.”

          Abundant use of nuclear energy can make huge contributions to protecting public health and safety, providing for the common defense and security and protecting the environment. Pushing operating nuclear plants into a closure decision harms all three mission areas.

          1. Rod

            Agree they care more about compliance versus safety

            They think that compliance equals safety but not always

            When compliance is overkill it’s very hard or impossible to get them to return to sanity

            We are struggling with requirements for Digital I&C with them now

            1. @Jim Doyle

              Good luck. The NRC has been struggling with Digital I&C for at least 25 years.

              Interestingly enough, one of the tasks I completed as Engineer Officer on a nuclear submarine was converting our protection and alarm system from analog to digital.

              My service in that role was from Oct 1987 – Dec 1990. Why in the world is it so flipping hard for the NRC to decide when something is safe enough?

        2. @Jim Doyle. Read the definition of a “white” finding.


          From my experience in the Licensing department at a NPP, it is usually the result of a “self Identified” deficiency, e.g, failure to follow procedures as written with no resulting or potential safety significance. Similar to the airline pilots “self identifying violations” program. [For which they receive no punitive action whatsoever. Period Training, new procedures, YES, but not a multi-million dollar “Corrective Action Program” and a regulatory “Oversight” inspection.]
          Do you drive to the police station and turn yourself in after you accidentally/absentmindedly drive through a red light and have not caused any harm whatsoever? [No vehicles in the cross street within sight.]Would you report yourself again if they took away your license for a month, fined you $1,000 and it took another $5,000 in lawyers fees to get it back? And you claim they are interested in “Safety?” Don’t think so.

          1. Rich

            Thanks for the info
            I agree
            Self reported findings without an actual safer significance?

            Very harsh.

            The industry needs to push back . In my business I&C there are efforts to reign them in an effort to provide reasonable regulations

            They are difficult to deal with

        3. @Jim Doyle. “Do you have any details on why they are in the penalty box?”
          Could it be the fact that “Entergy” has decided to shut down rather than to implement the needed modifications and countermeasures to mitigate the ridiculous un-probable Fukushima event mandates? Thus they are punishing them or hastening the shutdown.

  24. “Bernie believes that solar, wind, geothermal power and energy efficiency are proven and more cost-effective than nuclear—even without tax incentives,” his platform goes on

    No one asked the obvious follow-up question regarding whether he believes in the Easter bunny.

    1. Yeah, its amazing how fairy tales are woven into the fabric of governance, huh?

      “They’ll greet us in the streets as liberators”

      “Their oil will pay for it”

      “He’s got WMDs and we know where they are”

      “It’ll be over in months”

      Oh, wait a minute! Thats the red Easter Bunny. He really does exist! Right, Jim?

      1. Poa

        That quote is from his campaign manager

        Your response is? Who knows as usual

        But go Bernie

        Try writing him a letter on nuclear. That will straighten him out

        1. Have you seen me endorse Sanders, Jim? Is it your contention that pushing fairy tales is just a Sanders thing?

          Get off your high horse. You really are a pretentious bore.

          1. Poa

            Try replying without name calling. Just once I know you can do it.

            So you are not pro Bernie? What are you for then?

            I guess Rod’s code of conduct doesn’t apply to you or possibly it doesn’t apply when you are attacking and name calling someone who disagrees with Rod.

            I think that may be it.

          2. “So you are not pro Bernie? What are you for then?”

            I’ve answered that question a coupla different times on this thread, and others.. You’re just so struck in love with your own BS that you don’t really consider what others are saying. You’re rght, and they’re wrong. Thats how you think. Its a very obnoxious trait. Theres nothing worse than an inflated ego thats fat with hot air.

  25. Rod question

    Apparently Bas has been banned before and poa has not?

    Based on your desire to have a civil discussion on AI how is this possible?

    Bas is obviously very pro wind/solar but not abusive.

    1. @Jim Doyle

      Bas was banned for repetitively posting references to “studies” that produced bizarre and incorrect conclusions about the effects of low level radiation. I warned him to stop contaminating the discussion; he persisted. I acted.

      1. In Rod’s defense, I should point out that the key word here is repetitively. Although the content of the references was dubious, Bas got in trouble for essentially spamming this site. Junk posted once is unfortunate, but forgivable. The same junk posted 100 times is a problem that should be fixed.

    2. “Based on your desire to have a civil discussion on AI how is this possible?”

      Egads. For such a high and mighty commenter, you sure don’t get what the definition of hypocricy is, do you? You came on this site, and almost immediately started attacking and insulting the host. Now you wanna snivel and whine when someone hands it back to you.

      You’re acting like a spoiled child, Jim. Besides, I thought you were going to “do your best” to ignore me. Have a bit of a problem with self control, do you?

      1. You came on this site, and almost immediately started attacking and insulting the host. Now you wanna snivel and whine when someone hands it back to you.

        Wow! After hearing this directed at him for several years, he’s finally learned how to repeat it back.

        1. I didn’t come here insulting Rod. In fact, I came here, ignorant about NE, full of FUD, and was immediately attacked by YOU. If theres any one thing about this site that puts people off from having an open mind, its your kind of BS, Brian.

          The depth of your hypocricy, and conceit, is astounding, Brian. You are unrelenting in how obnoxious you are with people that dare disagree with you. And this pathetic need you have to suck other people into your little self imagined cartel is sadly revealing.

          You and Jim are peas in a pod. Pretentiously self adoring, grossly opinionated, and obnoxiously partisan.

          1. POA – You are a master of projection, but sorely deficient when it comes to facts.

            You want to revisit history?

            Let’s look at your first comment ever on this blog. You started off by asserting that “this site seems to just waving [sic] pom poms, and its [sic] no mystery who they’re cheering for.”

            You quickly (in about a day) moved on to calling everyone (including Rod, the host, presumably) “bats–t crazy.”

            With such refined manners, you were obviously making friends quickly, so that’s when you got into a fight with just about everyone but me. Far from “immediately attacking” you, I hardly interacted with you. Out of 301 comments on that article, including 17 by you, I replied to you exactly 3 times.

          2. Well, Jim, I’ve been known to be wrong, of course. So, I just went over this thread, and read each exchange you’ve had with Rod. And if you don’t think you have treated him in an insulting manner, you are more conceited, and removed from reality, than even I imagined. You and Brian seem to have a remarkable inability to egage in any sort of constructive introspection.

          3. Yes Brian, and I subsequently apologized to this blog for my antics and ignorance I exhibited when I got here full of FUD and resentment. When have you ever shown anything resembling integrity in the ability to recognize your own part? I am sure you have selectively picked through the exchanges between us to cast yourself in the best light.

            Fine. Now go away. I have not the slightest bit of respect for you. You are everything Rod won’t allow me to accuse you of being .

          4. Poa you amaze me
            In any one post you insult and name call times ten the sum of any implied insult that I posted

            It went back and forth

            There was a little Atlas Shrugged and debate about the the IRS scandal .

            We disagree on Bernie

            Did I say he was obnoxious or stupid or everything he said was BS

            Nope that’s you

          5. “Poa you amaze me….”

            Well, Jim, if you’d exercise a little self control, and ignore me like you said you’d “do your best” to do, you coulda saved that amazement to apply to your own self adoration.

          6. “Did I say he was obnoxious or stupid or everything he said was BS”

            Well, Jim, heres a few examples of the respect you showed Rod…

            Opening salvo…

            For an engineer it seems your politics are emotional not logical.”

            “I tried to have that discussion earlier but you responded with what best can be described as envy or jealousy”

            “I don’t believe my prosperity is based on getting my neighbors income confiscated and distributed to me by my favorite politician. Apparently you do”

            Subsequent polite and courteous comments….

            “We won’t come to agreement but it would be nice if there would be a substantive counterpoint. You express wealth envy and poa just claims the above is just right wing media propaganda.”

            “So as usual your reply is non-relevant”

            “I would hope that you have changed your will to make the IRS a heir correct? You do walk the talk right?”

            “But we could actually debate if you made a counter-point. But you don’t”

            “So snarky Daily Kos type commenting is OK here as long as you agree with Rod. How noble.”

            “But logic does not win out with the electorate and surprisingly not here either”

            So yes, Jim in a sleazy, cowardly, and indirect manner, you called his comments BS, as well as accused him of being stupid. But if course, you probably don’t see it that way, because you’ve allowed your ego to become your king. And everyone knows, the king is never wrong.

  26. The tiresome Jim Boyle says “If you want your technology to win out because its the best you want government out of the way as much as possible”
    There is quite a lot of evidence that this statement is diametrically wrong. Britain’s nuclear power was doing quite well until Maggie Thatcher sold it to “the private sector”.
    Even more successful was the outright socialist origin of Électricité de France, right up until the EU private energy barons urged the French government, on pain of expulsion, to privatise it.
    EDF, which now owns what was once British Energy, now goes after wind turbine subsidies in Scotland and other nefarious activities, and seems to have lost the best brains in its nuclear design teams.
    The Chinese government, for all its tyrannical unpleasantness, nevertheless includes brains enough to know the the USA’s MSR technology is the energy of the future. China was civilized when Europe wasn’t. I’m not certain which is the most oppressive, Saudi Arabia, the Vatican, Exxon, or the PRC.

    1. Is it just me, or does anybody else notice that every one of these examples is a case of the government screwing something up?

      Whether it is Thatcher or the EU bureaucrats in Brussels or the British government offering the “wind turbine subsidies” in Scotland, the common theme seems to be that government knows just how to make the wrong decision.

      1. Btw….doing a bit of woodwork for the owner of KSI, a moderate sized oilfield maintainance company with operations in Cal, Wyoming, and N. Dakota. We were talking the other day, and he confided that his work force has been pared down to 1200 compared to the 2800 he had working two years ago. He’ll weather it, bevauae he’s shrewd, and well respected in the industry. But the moderate to small companies are dropping like flies. Its a hard go in the oilfields right now.

      2. I think he is just trying to get nominated now. On the Republican side its been wall to wall, unelectable and ridiculous far right social conservatism. The extremes of both sides are their own worst enemies and their mistakes and failures don’t seem to have a positive influence on well thought out individual topics and policy. Not that I can see.

        The reality of everything is its complicated. Something like around 49 percent of US oil output is due to advances in fracking and 54 percent of Natural Gas. ( http://blogs.wsj.com/corporate-intelligence/2015/04/01/how-much-u-s-oil-and-gas-comes-from-fracking/ )

    1. Jumped the shark ??

      Not yet.

      Coming next week: Bernie Sanders Proposes National Ban on Energy

      Quote (in Brooklyn accent): “You don’t need a choice of 23 mid-size sedans or of 18 different makes of SUVs when children are hungry in this country. If horses were good enough for Washington and Lincoln, they’re good enough for you too.”

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