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Old 01-19-2020, 11:19 AM
 
7,440 posts, read 4,109,751 times
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Hopefully this won't end up in P&OC, but may fit either in Economics or Psychology, so I'll try here.

I spent about 14 years working with a guy who had some shall we say contradictory beliefs. Not here to criticize him because he was a great guy and we worked together about 14 years. In that time we had a lot of conversations.

To sum it up, politically he would be an extreme liberal socialist. Believing heavily in the nanny state and the use of government policies to regulate behavior. He regularly railed against big business and corporate profits. Yet at the same time economically he was an extreme libertarian. In his personal life he invested heavily in the same corporations he railed against and followed the stock market on a daily basis. His net worth was a couple million by his mid 30s.

He lived an extremely spartan existence (one of the reasons for his divorce) and believed everyone should live that way. To the extent he believed the government should enforce his chosen lifestyle on everyone. His chosen enforcement mechanism was through tax policy to apply punitive, almost confiscatory, taxes on anything greater than what he considered appropriate. IE property square feet, fuel use, electric, water, etc. For example, he believed there should be a $10 per gallon tax on gas to force people to not own cars. Though interestingly he didn't believe they should tax investments, where he had his money.

At the same time however he believed the government should not build roads. That all roads should be privately built and paid for by tolls. So in one conversation we had on this, when I asked "what about rural areas and farmers? There won't be public transportation out there and what about the impact fuel taxes and lack of transportation would have on farmers?"

His response was, then they'll have to move to the city, whether they want to or not. OK and what about the cost of food? If you put $10 per gallon tax on fuel and force farmers to pay for toll roads to bring food to market, the price of food will go up.

His response to that? Government should institute price controls.

Seriously. Confiscatory taxes, the free market prices, and government price controls all in the same conversation. Self contradictory and mutually exclusive beliefs. I've always wondered about the psychology behind such a belief system and it confounds me even today.
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Old 01-19-2020, 11:34 AM
 
Location: East Coast of the United States
18,415 posts, read 20,464,479 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tnff View Post
Seriously. Confiscatory taxes, the free market prices, and government price controls all in the same conversation. Self contradictory and mutually exclusive beliefs. I've always wondered about the psychology behind such a belief system and it confounds me even today.
People often have strange beliefs, especially about subject matter that is outside of their field of expertise.
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Old 01-19-2020, 04:14 PM
 
2,785 posts, read 1,621,514 times
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Talk to someone long enough and you will find that there are some very intelligent people that have some very stupid ideas about things they know little about.

Knowledge is specific, you can intricately discuss myeloid and lymphoid progenitors while having zero ability to balance a check book or be able to explain a concept central to economics. Just because someone has a bit of knowledge on one hand doesn't mean they have knowledge of economics, civics or anything which would actually support their opinion.

You see this a lot with politics and religion. Everyone has an opinion, when you start drilling down into it though you find that it is rarely more than a slogan or headline deep. Most were born into their beliefs and have never bothered to challenge them. Most don't want to be challenged.
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Old 01-19-2020, 04:24 PM
 
12,538 posts, read 7,486,923 times
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He is of course allowed to donate as much money as he wants to the US Government. If only these higher taxes talkers would get together and make a web page or something to keep track of their donations.

Imagine millions of liberals coming together to donate a huge chunk of their excess money to the government. Perhaps we could even have someone overseeing how these specific funds are allocated to those in need. Maybe Bill Gates could jump start things with a billion or so donation. Get some celebs to jump in too.

Allow each person donating to have the choice of having their name and donation made public. Let the donators publicly show how altruistic they are and get as much glory as possible.
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Old 01-19-2020, 04:29 PM
 
458 posts, read 195,210 times
Reputation: 1221
Quote:
Originally Posted by tnff View Post
Hopefully this won't end up in P&OC, but may fit either in Economics or Psychology, so I'll try here.

I spent about 14 years working with a guy who had some shall we say contradictory beliefs. Not here to criticize him because he was a great guy and we worked together about 14 years. In that time we had a lot of conversations.

To sum it up, politically he would be an extreme liberal socialist. Believing heavily in the nanny state and the use of government policies to regulate behavior. He regularly railed against big business and corporate profits. Yet at the same time economically he was an extreme libertarian. In his personal life he invested heavily in the same corporations he railed against and followed the stock market on a daily basis. His net worth was a couple million by his mid 30s.

He lived an extremely spartan existence (one of the reasons for his divorce) and believed everyone should live that way. To the extent he believed the government should enforce his chosen lifestyle on everyone. His chosen enforcement mechanism was through tax policy to apply punitive, almost confiscatory, taxes on anything greater than what he considered appropriate. IE property square feet, fuel use, electric, water, etc. For example, he believed there should be a $10 per gallon tax on gas to force people to not own cars. Though interestingly he didn't believe they should tax investments, where he had his money.

At the same time however he believed the government should not build roads. That all roads should be privately built and paid for by tolls. So in one conversation we had on this, when I asked "what about rural areas and farmers? There won't be public transportation out there and what about the impact fuel taxes and lack of transportation would have on farmers?"

His response was, then they'll have to move to the city, whether they want to or not. OK and what about the cost of food? If you put $10 per gallon tax on fuel and force farmers to pay for toll roads to bring food to market, the price of food will go up.

His response to that? Government should institute price controls.

Seriously. Confiscatory taxes, the free market prices, and government price controls all in the same conversation. Self contradictory and mutually exclusive beliefs. I've always wondered about the psychology behind such a belief system and it confounds me even today.
Sounds like someone with perhaps a considerable amount of school taught knowledge, but very little real life experiences other than the narrow views he acquired through his own upbringing. He is clearly someone who has zero empathy for anyone who lives differently from what he thinks is right. He has no ability to put himself in someone else's shoes and look at things from their point of view. To him, his point of view is the ONLY point of view. I'm not surprised that he couldn't get along with a spouse.
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Old 01-19-2020, 09:35 PM
 
7,440 posts, read 4,109,751 times
Reputation: 19807
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chas863 View Post
Sounds like someone with perhaps a considerable amount of school taught knowledge, but very little real life experiences other than the narrow views he acquired through his own upbringing. He is clearly someone who has zero empathy for anyone who lives differently from what he thinks is right. He has no ability to put himself in someone else's shoes and look at things from their point of view. To him, his point of view is the ONLY point of view. I'm not surprised that he couldn't get along with a spouse.
I would believe this is fairly correct. What I don't understand however is how he, even within his own view, consider that the free market should drive cost and price yet at the same time believe gov should dictate market behavior through tax policy. Seem like completely contradictory belief systems.
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Old Yesterday, 05:48 AM
 
Location: Western Washington
9,844 posts, read 9,024,098 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tnff View Post
I would believe this is fairly correct. What I don't understand however is how he, even within his own view, consider that the free market should drive cost and price yet at the same time believe gov should dictate market behavior through tax policy. Seem like completely contradictory belief systems.
I think your friend had extreme and contradictory views, but regulation and the free market are not completely contradictory.

We have a certain amount of regulation now, such as tax rates, criminal and civil laws, environmental regulation, etc. Within those regulations, we have a relatively free market that does set wages and prices. Doing away with all regulation would lead to anarchy or strong man tribal politics, while too much regulation tends towards totalitarian regimes.

The fact is governments need a certain amount of tax revenue to function. Assuming that they are going to collect that revenue, the decision as to how the tax burden is allocated inevitably drives market behavior to some extent.

Currently we have a tax policy that favors capital over labor, in that capital gains taxes are at a lower rate than income taxes for the same amount of earnings/income. This makes people act on certain ways, where if the tax rates were the opposite, we would get a different set of behaviors. Within those rules, we still have a free market, albeit not completely unfettered.
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Old Yesterday, 07:27 AM
 
7,440 posts, read 4,109,751 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fishbrains View Post
I think your friend had extreme and contradictory views, but regulation and the free market are not completely contradictory.

We have a certain amount of regulation now, such as tax rates, criminal and civil laws, environmental regulation, etc. Within those regulations, we have a relatively free market that does set wages and prices. Doing away with all regulation would lead to anarchy or strong man tribal politics, while too much regulation tends towards totalitarian regimes.

The fact is governments need a certain amount of tax revenue to function. Assuming that they are going to collect that revenue, the decision as to how the tax burden is allocated inevitably drives market behavior to some extent.

Currently we have a tax policy that favors capital over labor, in that capital gains taxes are at a lower rate than income taxes for the same amount of earnings/income. This makes people act on certain ways, where if the tax rates were the opposite, we would get a different set of behaviors. Within those rules, we still have a free market, albeit not completely unfettered.
I agree. They don't have to be self contradictory. What I'm trying to understand though is the mindset of someone holding positions that are mutually exclusive. As in the example of his views that there should be extreme taxes on fuel, which would naturally drive prices of various goods, including farm product up. Where upon he stated the government should institute price controls to prevent those prices from going up. That doesn't even work mathematically, regardless of political belief.

That was just one example. Taken together all his beliefs would be, to use your example above which is very eloquent, he simultaneously believed in anarchy AND totalitarianism. That's what I trying to figure out.
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Old Yesterday, 07:35 AM
 
Location: Pennsylvania
5,636 posts, read 10,175,991 times
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People tend to focus on what is important to them. Political ideologies like conservatism and liberalism are often presented as binaries or absolutes, but they are so broad that people can be hard to classify. For example, an avowed free-market supporter may feel strongly about the environment and favor stricter regulations or controls on certain industries.

Maybe this guy has approached his lifestyle as a cafeteria of choices, and has sorted out the seeming contradictions. Or maybe he's oblivious to them. But I don't think he's unique, by a long shot.
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Old Yesterday, 08:55 AM
 
Location: Chandler, AZ
2,790 posts, read 1,405,388 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tnff View Post
To sum it up, politically he would be an extreme liberal socialist. Believing heavily in the nanny state and the use of government policies to regulate behavior. He regularly railed against big business and corporate profits. Yet at the same time economically he was an extreme libertarian. In his personal life he invested heavily in the same corporations he railed against and followed the stock market on a daily basis. His net worth was a couple million by his mid 30s.
Virtue signalling.
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