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What would Qatar do?

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April 28, 2009 – Comments (8)

From a statement written b y GM bondholder's representatives. 

We are deeply concerned with today’s decision by GM and the auto task force to offer only a small, inequitable percentage of stock to its bondholders in exchange for their bonds.

We believe the offer to be a blatant disregard of fairness for the bondholders who have funded this company and amounts to using taxpayer money to show political favoritism of one creditor over another.

Today’s posturing makes it clear that the company and the auto task force would rather discount the thousands of individual investors and retirees who own GM bonds than undergo earnest negotiations.

The current offer is neither reasonable nor adequate. Both the union and the bondholders hold unsecured claims against GM. However, the union’s VEBA would receive a 50 percent recovery in cash and a 39 percent stake in a new GM for its $20 billion in obligations; while bondholders, who own more than $27 billion in GM bonds and have the same legal rights as the unions, would only receive a mere 10 percent of the restructured company and essentially no cash

And article 5 of the Qatar Labour Law:

The sums due to the worker or his heirs under this law shall have priority over all movables and immovable properties of the employer and shall have a privilege over all other debts including the debts due to the State.

Option1307, I guess that means workers rights in Qatar rank ahead of investors rights. I'll put that in my model "big" Government.

8 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On April 28, 2009 at 2:34 AM, DaretothREdux (36.24) wrote:

devoish,

It seems to me that while you attempt to argue against "small" government you only futher prove the libertarian point of view.

You attack Qatar on the premise that it isn't as "small" a government as David claims, yet the problems with the government that you present are just that: problems of too much government.

Regardless, David's single issue has been the income tax in Qatar v. US, and that a zero % income tax on individuals actually spurs economic growth (as well as a very low corporate tax).

You have yet to prove this point wrong with any of your attacks on the size of Qatar's government.

I myself am not for the abolishment of the US government, just a massive scaling back. The best way I see to do this is to let people keep the fruits of their labors (businesses and individuals) with smallest amount of taxes possible (0% is possible). The government would still have plenty of money to screw things up without taking it from the productive (e.g. The People).

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#2) On April 28, 2009 at 7:12 AM, devoish (96.42) wrote:

My point is there is no model of a succesful "small" Government and David's example of Qatar is not one. You have not delivered one either, neither has Option. I am surprised your empty promise collects any "recs" at all.

David has written many posts and has covered many issues. He offered Qatar when I asked for an example of a "small government".

His small government nationalized over 50% of the economy, its only profitable industry at the time and uses that income to hand out money to his zero% income tax economy and keep it alive. Step one of following his model is therefore the nationalization of over 50% of our economy. Neither he nor you is taking that step so the trip to fantasyland never begins, and your small government model fails.

Step two is to create a populace dependent upon the Government for its livlihood.

Another step you are against.

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#3) On April 28, 2009 at 11:34 AM, LawfordCap (99.74) wrote:

DaretothRedux:

why don’t you give us some of your Qatar libertarian point of view on Easter Island that will really be a great post?

Actually maybe the zero government sorts could all just go there and prove to the unenlightened that competition without an eye for the "long view" can do just fine in fragile environments.

if you need some history “Collapse” by Jared Diamond will be nice and lite for you

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collapse_(book)

 

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#4) On April 29, 2009 at 12:51 AM, Option1307 (30.16) wrote:

devoish

Nice to hear from ya, and thanks for the shout out...

1) First off, I see your point here but don’t you think it is a tad irrelevant? Yes, article 5 of the Qatar Labor Law does seem to give more rights to workers, but so what? Do we not have many laws written down that are equally as well intentioned, but simply get ignored? I say yes, so I find this point to be rather weak. Come on Devoish, you’re better than this!

2) I realize that David provided the example of Qatar and you have been discussing with him the validity of it as an example; however, I feel as though you’ve taken it to an extreme. Ok we get it, you don’t buy Qatar as an example, can we move on?

I think it would be much more productive, and a better argument, if you would share and expand upon your desires of a “large government”. Instead of simply refuting others’ ideas, provide some of your own to show and exemplify how your ideas are so much better. Honestly, maybe I am completely off base with my desire for a smaller (not an elimination of) government. However, I will never know if you don’t expand your thoughts. Fair enough?

3) My point is there is no model of a successful "small" Government and David's example of Qatar is not one. You have not delivered one either, neither has Option.

To be clear, I’ve never claimed that I could or would provide an example of a small government society that we could use as a model, I’m not so sure there is one. Just as I am not so sure there is a large government society we model ourselves after either.

 David and you have both provided examples; however, I find them all unrealistic and unattainable. David mentions the US in the 1800’s and you mention the US post WWII, both may be decent examples but they both have huge limitations as models, i.e. they were possible because of unique situations that are likely never to materialize again. While I have not done much reading on Qatar, I agree with you that it is likely not a shining example of small government, but what’s the point, you can’t provide a stunning example of large government either.

I do not want to speak for David or Dare, but what I am advocating for is smaller government, a reduction from its current form, not the complete elimination of government all together. I don’t base this desire from watching other countries thrive in a small government utopia, hardly. I have come to the conclusion that smaller governments are better simply from my interaction and observations of the world we live in.

I see a government that is overloaded with bureaucracy and pure and simple, waste. This overlap often leads to inept regulators with little intent on enforcing our current laws and rules. I want the government to be scaled back and simple enough for Americans to understand. When common people do not even understand what certain agencies are responsible for, much less supposed to oversee, how can we expect an effective government? We can’t.

I am a realist and understand that some things do require government, and I am supportive of that. However, I just don’t see the need, nor do I understand, why there must be so much overlap.

 

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#5) On April 29, 2009 at 7:56 PM, whereaminow (< 20) wrote:

devoish,

You're the kind of dude that I'd love to sit around the bar with, have a few beers, play a round of cards and talk politics till we're s*itfaced drunk, and I really mean that. You remind me of a couple of my buddies.  Keep that in mind as I retort.

If we go back to my last post on Minimum Wage Laws, something struck me. You haven't once actually questioned whether a policy I have presented would work or not work, or whether a policy I have attacked works or doesn't work.  You only seem to be concerned as to whether or not someone else supports it.

"Show me a country that has done this," sums up your standard reply. Now we can show you countries that have done something in the past... "Nope! Not good enough! I want to see how it works now. Today!" you exclaim. We can show you examples of how things today don't work. "Nope! Doesn't matter. Everybody is doing it so it must work!"

Now, there is a name for that type of person.  You know, the person that won't support a position or policy unless everyone else supports it.  We call that person a follower.  It's kinda like the woman that sees a neat pair of shoes at the mall, but first wants to know which celebrity wears them or how Cosmopolitan rated them.

It's possible that you feel arguing policy with me is an exercise in futility. Maybe you think I won't listen. I contend that I will, since I was a steadfast defender of the State for many years (how can you be an Embassy Guard and not love the State?) and my conversion to Libertarianism was a painful process for those who chose to debate me.  Or maybe you think I'll rig the argument and stack the deck against you. Instead you'll just declare victory by pointing out how stubborn we are.  That would be the tactic of the General that commands his battalion to lay down their arms on the eve of the big battle, claiming Victory, since the other side was just going to cheat anyway.  In other words, it's not a particularly effective strategy.

You've referred to Mises.org as a propaganda campaign, but I have the sneaking suspicion that you would feel differently if the DailyKos suddenly turned all Austrian School on you and Obama started cracking down on the Federal Reserve.  Suddenly you'd have a model for limited government, as the Fed's inability to create credit out of thin air would restrict government revenues.

Then again, I wouldn't want you aboard on our campaign, since the fickle sunshine patriots are the worst kind of company in a long drawn out battle with tryanny.

Now, I'm happily willing to concede the point that Qatar is not limited government as you view it.  That's not even debatable.  I would however, request that you represent my position accurately.  I don't think I could make it any clearer:

I support the financial freedom provided in Qatar, including 0% taxation for all residents and 10% corporate tax. I have advanced that, and only that (financial freedom) as something I would like to see in the United States. 

I do not support limited government (or the Qatari government), but rather no government at all.  Choosing between the lesser of two evils is still choosing evil.

Qatar is an example of a country where the government becomes a smaller part of the lives of its citizens each year.  America is an example of a country where the government becomes a larger part of the lives of its citizens each year.

Now I don't how to make that any easier to you than it reads, and I'm not going to bother trying. I just want to make it clear that I have never purposely misrepresented your positions.

Here's hoping we can have a Guiness together the next time I'm Stateside.

David in Qatar

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#6) On May 01, 2009 at 12:05 PM, devoish (96.42) wrote:

I do not support limited government (or the Qatari government), but rather no government at all.  Choosing between the lesser of two evils is still choosing evil.

Qatar is an example of a country where the government becomes a smaller part of the lives of its citizens each year.  America is an example of a country where the government becomes a larger part of the lives of its citizens each year.

David,

America is an example of what happens when a Gov't becomes a smaller part of its citizens lives each year since Ronald Reagan in the eighties. Americas citizens need to become a bigger part of the Government and not relinquish their authority to corporate interests, which would be all that is left after there is "no government at all". We are currently facing the problems of having made gov't smaller, not larger. We shrunk the sec and lost the economy, we marginalized the EPA and pollution has sickened us, We disabled the FDA and we got drugs that don't help.

By spreading the "small" gov't propaganda we have neglected to support the decent, competent people in Gov't agencys and allowed them to be replaced with corporate supporters who failed to value their country and their neighbors. 

People walked out of the EPA due to the corruption of Bush's small gov't values and we supported the corruption being led to believe that a big gov't was our enemy. But now we learn the Gov't had been right. the Gov't officials warned of pollution and the corporate self interest denied it. America is awake again, and we know that our vote and our phone calls can still make a difference. We did not defeat the self interest of banking executives yet, but we will. We have progressed from the lie that Gov't is our enemy to knowing that Gov't is the tool we use to help ourselves. NIMBYism is real Americans protecting themselves from a history of corporate polluters, and the lies told to keep profiting from being able to pollute and kill.

I have no interest in supporting your movement toward the destruction of America and leaving myself and my neighbors vulnerable to the motivations of a few individuals and her political enemies.

I cannot make myself any clearer than that.

 

Option, you are a fool to help him.

I repeat myself now. I have provided Denmark, Sweden, Qatar, Germany, Switzerland as examples of larger Governments we could model after. Unfortunately the Qatar model breaks down unless you wish to nationalize 57% of the economy so you can avoid an income tax to fund the Qatar Government spending on healthcare, education, high speed rail, etc.

The other models are a better starting point.

The only thing not raising taxes has gotten us is debt. The only thing keeping them low will do is increase that debt. Whether that debt is monetary or just the loss of the SSI or the continued decline of our healthcare that was paid for in advance. Free Market ideology is the surrender of the vote to individuals. This is not Qatar and we will not Nationalize the entire economy to fund our spending. Instead we must tax. It is time to return to the value that All men are Created Equal and recognize that no one American deserves to be rewarded with one hundred times the buying power of another. No one American can be trusted with the buying power to buy politicians. And no one American can be trusted to resist the greed of that opporunity. In fact it may very well be time to recognize that America no longer has unlimited resources and since the seventies it has been time to offer greater reward to those who conserve, not those who consume.

Mises understood what the end of the unlimited growth opportunity meant. Unfortunately his solution was awash in a delusion that self interest was the best answer. He was and is wrong. He is less able than the Gov't to understand where greatness comes from. Greatness and progress come when people have the time and opportunity to create. Not from the desperate chase of survival. Americans can and do understand what needs to be done to secure their future. They can plan for the future. Free Markets cannot. Small Governments cannot execute a plan. As I have said before, a large Government might fail. A small Government has failed.

I am listening to Larry Kudlow on CNBC whine that there is unprecedented Gov't intervention into the Treasury and I say it is about time for Gov't to check and balance the interventions of the investment industry. That Geithner is not the best man for that doesn't change that it needs doing. The more CNBC whines, the better President Obama is doing.

Steven, in America.

 

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#7) On May 03, 2009 at 6:29 PM, Option1307 (30.16) wrote:

Option, you are a fool to help him.

Wow Devoish, thanks again for the civil conversation and statements… Honestly, why do you always result to insulting and crude remarks? Is your case for a larger government really that weak that you must use insults to gain traction? 

I have provided Denmark, Sweden, Qatar, Germany, Switzerland as examples of larger Governments we could model after.

Ok, can we realistically model ourselves after these examples? I think not. They all have unique characteristics that we as a country will never be able to replicate.           

 Qatar: Tiny country with large oil reserves.   

Switzerland: Incredibly neutral country in terms of foreign affairs, safe haven for foreign capital.       

Denmark: What’s their population, 1000?      

Sweden: Again, the US has 30x the population.        

Germany: This is the only example you provided that even remotely makes sense. However, I have to say it comes with many caveats. 1)  It was devastated by 2 major world wars in 20 years, and the West rebuilt/financed much of the rebuilding. 2) It wasn’t even one united country until just recently. 3) It’s the largest exporter in the world, ya the US doesn’t make things so this alone kills the comparison.

I think you get my point. There are no realistic examples to model ourselves after. 

The only thing not raising taxes has gotten us is debt.

Hmm, so you want to raise taxes to deal with the debt? What about all of the out of control spending? The only way to truly tackle our debt load is to significantly slash spending, big time. So I will not even debate the tax issue with you until you agree that we need to greatly cut spending. If we don’t drastically reduce our spending, then arguing over taxes is an irrelevant point. No amount of tax increases will even make a dent in our debt load.

 It is time to return to the value that All men are Created Equal

Yes, I couldn’t agree more with you. 

no one American deserves to be rewarded with one hundred times the buying power of another.

Yes they do! If they work hard for it, they deserve more than the person who does not work hard. It’s as simple as that.

 Greatness and progress come when people have the time and opportunity to create.

This is the best support for a smaller government. People stop creating when they are unsure what new laws the government will pass, that will potentially destroy their industry/product/service. How do you play a game when the rules are constantly changing? 

we have neglected to support the decent, competent people in Gov't agencys and allowed them to be replaced with corporate supporters who failed to value their country and their neighbors. 

Yes, I agree. This is exactly what I want to focus on, and why I believe we do not need an expansion of government. We simply need to get the retards out and put into place people who are actually competent and not utterly worthless.

You seem to always complain about the “lack of competent people in Gov't agencys”, yet you are calling for an increase in government. How is this not contradictory or at the very least illogical? Why do you want to expand a government that you yourself admit is incompetent and does not actually do the job it is supposed to do? 

 

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#8) On May 04, 2009 at 9:27 PM, devoish (96.42) wrote:

Option, you are a fool to help him.

Wow Devoish, thanks again for the civil conversation and statements… Honestly, why do you always result to insulting and crude remarks? Is your case for a larger government really that weak that you must use insults to gain traction? 

I apologize. It is foolish to help him.

I have provided Denmark, Sweden, Qatar, Germany, Switzerland as examples of larger Governments we could model after.

Ok, can we realistically model ourselves after these examples? I think not. They all have unique characteristics that we as a country will never be able to replicate.           

 Qatar: Tiny country with large oil reserves. And huge gov't programs.  

America: Huge country with large renewable reserves. Plus agriculture and water. Strong export industry. It could work. 

Switzerland: Incredibly neutral country in terms of foreign affairs, safe haven for foreign capital.      

We could move toward being more neutral. We could not be the tax haven for the corporations of a much larger economic power. Instead the USA should collect the taxes being dodged in switzerland and fund our programs, not theirs. Multiply that by the many tax havens around the world that are supporting 1/100th the populations and 1/20th the taxes we do not collect, and pretty soon it is real money that could fund a lot of programs. We could take the neutrality part.

Denmark: What’s their population, 1000?      

Sweden: Again, the US has 30x the population.        

Germany: This is the only example you provided that even remotely makes sense. However, I have to say it comes with many caveats. 1)  It was devastated by 2 major world wars in 20 years, and the West rebuilt/financed much of the rebuilding. 2) It wasn’t even one united country until just recently. 3) It’s the largest exporter in the world, ya the US doesn’t make things so this alone kills the comparison.

Being devastated and financed hurts, not helps. We could, and are now being forced to balance our trade better. It is a valid model to work with.

I think you get my point. There are no realistic examples to model ourselves after. 

I disagree with your point. There are many models to choose from and adapt to our situation. The fantasy of free markets stand in the way.

The only thing not raising taxes has gotten us is debt.

Hmm, so you want to raise taxes to deal with the debt? What about all of the out of control spending? The only way to truly tackle our debt load is to significantly slash spending, big time. So I will not even debate the tax issue with you until you agree that we need to greatly cut spending. If we don’t drastically reduce our spending, then arguing over taxes is an irrelevant point. No amount of tax increases will even make a dent in our debt load.

Small gov't, free marketeers consistently want to shrink the Gov't programs that provide for the poorest and enlarge the programs that provide for themselves. Finding and supporting the programs that defy them and send CNBC into a tizzy are the solution. The free marketeers are consistently not the right answer. I am not fooled by there attempts to rebrand themselves from "Conservative Republican" to "Libertarian".  I have written to Ron Paul and warned him it is happening. They will help him for a while, then persuade him someone else is more "electible" if libertarianism catches on enough. Then we will hear we elected peole who weren't "true" conservatives///libertarians.

 It is time to return to the value that All men are Created Equal

Yes, I couldn’t agree more with you. 

no one American deserves to be rewarded with one hundred times the buying power of another.

Yes they do! If they work hard for it, they deserve more than the person who does not work hard. It’s as simple as that.

I would like to qualify my statement. No one in America deserves to be rewarded with 100 times the buying power of another full time worker.

Especially the scam artists like Mozillo currently getting the highest rewards.

 Greatness and progress come when people have the time and opportunity to create.

This is the best support for a smaller government. People stop creating when they are unsure what new laws the government will pass, that will potentially destroy their industry/product/service. How do you play a game when the rules are constantly changing? 

You are completely incorrect. Creating requires only the creative mind and freedom from the desperate pursuit of survival. Truly creative people cannot help themselves. Government only interferes with scam artists. Without Gov't Hank Reardons steel would have been stolen from him by a thief. A large gov't protected him until it was weakened by hopeless uninvolved voters and then it was corrupted by the thieves it originally protected him from.

we have neglected to support the decent, competent people in Gov't agencys and allowed them to be replaced with corporate supporters who failed to value their country and their neighbors. 

Yes, I agree. This is exactly what I want to focus on, and why I believe we do not need an expansion of government. We simply need to get the retards out and put into place people who are actually competent and not utterly worthless.

It is a long hard task to select those people. They are not the ones who preach "small gov't" or "everybody is in it for themselves". The good ones try to help and succeed, but they can only succeed with voter support.

You seem to always complain about the “lack of competent people in Gov't agencys”, yet you are calling for an increase in government. How is this not contradictory or at the very least illogical? Why do you want to expand a government that you yourself admit is incompetent and does not actually do the job it is supposed to do? 

I seem to what!? Compared to Dare and David? Dare has called for arming against his fellow Americans. David for eliminating Government entirely. In a world of blind rah-rah Gov't bashing I have supported the good policys of HR 1207 and HR 676. I have encouraged support for the people who would stop gov't guarantees for nuclear power loans, and supported funding for nuclear research to solve the problems the "private" nuclear industry cannot. I have reminded people how private industries abuse of natural resources led to the large Gov't we need, and have supported the funding to protect the heavily mocked Pelosi water rat. It lives in the last remaining California wetlands and protecting it also protects the wetlands which are desperately needed as fisheries, and spawning grounds and to remove contaminants from water. And I was the first person on CAPS to post the Congressional switchboard number to call in and not bail-out the banks. And we were heard, until CNBC and FOX started broadcasting fear of financial meltdown and lost farm loans damaging the food supply and weakened the support for the politicians who stood in the way of the bailout. We got close and are still closer now than we were with the last President and the "small Gov't" "free market" supporters who helped him to the Whitehouse. If CNBC and Fox and the Free Marketeers are Obama Bashing, it is a good sign he is doing right.

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