Taxing Arteries

This idea came to me in one of the comment strings last week. Would you want Barak Obama for a thorascic surgeon? Probably not.

In my island analogy from last weekend I presented a somehwat tounge-in-cheek metaphor to illustrate how the use of politics can confuse the process of wealth creation. This week I want to compare taxation for the purpose of producing a more just society to jury-rigging the human circulatory system.

Surgeon Obama has considered it carefully. Why should the arteries have so much blood? Do they need all of it? Of course not. Arteries could live just fine with far less, even only tiny fractions of the great volumes of blood they have. He has determined these "rich" arteries should have the volume of their blood reduced, and the excess redistributed to * what he considers* more needy parts of the body.

What's more, Surgeon Obama says, arteries themselves have no real need for such luxuriant, multilayered structures. Some worried arteries, muscles, bones, and nerves downstream might suggest such meddling could cause a failure of the system since the multilayered structure is a response to the highly variable pressures the arteries must deal with. Surgeon Obama, however, reassures them that doing this will equalize pressures and more intelligently manage the blood supply. Besides, don't you muscles wish the arteries had to work as hard as you do for all that blood?

Next, Surgeon Obama makes some determinations of what is a "fair" distribution. Fairness is, after all, the most important consideration, and the ultimate justification for redistribution of blood. He shunts some blood to the nervous system, especially regulatory structures, emotion, and pleasure centers. He sends blood to those poor peripheral fat cells that are so maligned and mistreated by the 'fatists' among the muscle cells and the circulatory system. He has friends in the pericardium. He permits some blood to leak between the heart and them, to keep the heart in line. He makes sure some parts of the body that have been badly maligned as "tumors" get additional blood as well. Finally, he sets up a system in which other organisms around the body can take a little blood out, because our body has a lot and they could use more.

Just to be sure the fairness he seeks is properly done he sets up additional regulatory structures inside the arteries that will represent the fat cells, as well as extra platelets to be certain no blood leaks out of the system. He also puts structures around the arteries by which they can be clamped down when the body feels pain.

Now, admittedly, I have put Obama's name on a number of things that are simply metaphors for liberal actions, so you'd only be able to hang things like this on him if he were very liberal.

Well, what happens as a result of this fine tuning of the circulatory system? Fortunately you will never have to know. No human being would be stupid enough to do this to their own bodies would they? Well, would they?

*indicates late addition*

Posted by Lee Emmerich Jamison at October 18, 2008 2:02 PM
Comment #267372


Somehow the thought that we might all be in this together has become a mere footnote.

You made a remark in your previous thread about how groovy it was that China is catching on to capitalism and how the Chinese folks in the cities are becoming more wealthy as the folks in the countryside aren’t.
Granted my experience in China was 12 years ago, but at that time a common laborer in the cities of China made the equivalent of $2 a day American. I doubt that these same laborers have made much headway in the raise department since then.
The Chinese, among other Asian countries that have a much lower standard of living, also made a killing off of the flight of American manufacturers desperate to lower the cost of their labor, and as a result what we can now expect in America are products that are crap.
Do you need to be reminded about the recent milk products scandal in China?
This is what happens when capitalism is allowed to run rampant, and when companies will do almost anything to goose the bottom line.

Perhaps Obama recognizes there is now a caste system in America.
Those that have only begrudgingly share their largess with those that have not, and only when if they perceive it of “value” to do so.

You guys on the right rail about how you are being taxed to death to support the have nots of our society. Taxes are a reality. Lowering them hasn’t helped to change where America is today.

I see the taxes I pay as the price of admission to the American Dream.


Posted by: Rocky at October 18, 2008 4:27 PM
Comment #267375

What happened to straight talk, what you really believe? Why freaky made-up stories? I’m pretty sure I know your take on these things, the stories are pretty far-fetched and not examples of anything.

We here at watchblog would be much better served if you state your ideas and facts directly, and not links to 10 or 20 articles. JMHO.

Posted by: womanmarine at October 18, 2008 4:38 PM
Comment #267379

What I love about this analogy is that the body is made up of the same basic elements, cells, that stand on their own as bacteria. We share about half of our genetic structure with the lowly amoeba. Our cells, though, have chosen specialties that allow the whole body to work together.

I’m not against a form of collectivism. What I’m against is human beings deciding that they will make a better body by dishonestly defining away the collectivism that already exists and attempting to remake society as though there should be no pain in life.

What you blame on “capitalism” in China happens because of corrupt members of the Communist Party. As the country becomes more capitalist its mines, industries, and products become SAFER, not less safe. I saw a news report stating that the death rate in chinese mines had recently fallen dramatically, such that only 1600 miners had died in the last seven months.

Two years ago, when we had the mine accident that killed sixteen at one time, Chinese mines were killing sixteen miners every working day.

Posted by: Lee at October 18, 2008 4:55 PM
Comment #267381

Lee, I like metaphors, the bible is full of them.

Posted by: Oldguy at October 18, 2008 5:02 PM
Comment #267382


First, it’s a little bit of fun. I like, when I can, to mix humor into discussions of heavy subjects.

Second, it speaks to an audience that can be jaded by political writing spiced with all the style of birch sawdust.

Third, it is a form of illustration, much like the parables of Jesus, targeted to people who aren’t sure why we fight over these things.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at October 18, 2008 5:03 PM
Comment #267383


Posted by: janedoe at October 18, 2008 5:09 PM
Comment #267386

Lee, I had a heart attack a few years ago.

Let me explain arteriosclerosis. When the cardiac or other vital centers don’t get enough blood, you die.

Like government, a cardiologist pushed a catheter through my arteries and used an artificial stint to maintain the blood flow. That is much like the Treasury intervention today. Without this intervention, I’d be, quite naturally, dead. Our economics conditions today would be headed into oblivion.

Where you make the mistake is you assume arteriosclerosis is an artificial process. It isn’t. Much like market bubbles aren’t a just creation of government. Can they exacerbate bubbles and deepen contractions? Sure. Often cardiologists fail in their attempts to intervene. After all, we still don’t know the cause of arteriosclerosis, much like we don’t entirely understand market forces and psychology.

You want us to live a natural life, without modern medicine. You want the Fed to go away.
Fortunately, medical schools listen more to cardiologists, and smart people listen to lessons from economists familiar with the depression, without an axe to grind. Will it always work? Probably not. But it’s better than magic answers or misconstrued parables.

Freidman loved to criticize the Fed. He had a problem though, either he thought it was ineffective in the 20’s or too effective. He could never seem to decide which. Tha Austrian school nuts, are just plain out there, they don’t bother with history at all.

The wonderful lesson we are watching unfold is that many of these trickle down, free marketers are really more akin to religious freaks who refuse medical treatments, than buttoned down economists.

Posted by: googlumpugus at October 18, 2008 5:45 PM
Comment #267390


I made, and so labelled, a late change, for you. I want it to be clear that these interferances are ones based on subjective opinion, not ones intended to keep the ‘body’ from dying (which we are really in no danger of doing prior to liberal intervention.)

Posted by: Lee Jamison at October 18, 2008 6:49 PM
Comment #267391


“What you blame on “capitalism” in China happens because of corrupt members of the Communist Party.”

I specifically didn’t “blame” capitalism.

These were my words;

“This is what happens when capitalism is allowed to run rampant, and when companies will do almost anything to goose the bottom line.”

Corruption happens in all systems, just ask anyone who just lost all of their life’s savings in our recent Wall Street debacle.


Posted by: Rocky at October 18, 2008 6:49 PM
Comment #267392


Lee - look again at what you posted:

As the country becomes more capitalist its mines, industries, and products become SAFER, not less safe. I saw a news report stating that the death rate in chinese mines had recently fallen dramatically, such that only 1600 miners had died in the last seven months.

Two years ago, when we had the mine accident that killed sixteen at one time, Chinese mines were killing sixteen miners every working day.

Corruption aside, Lee, China (along with most of the rest of the third world) has a FAR greater degree of unregulated capitalism than does America or Western Europe.

How many third-world countries have you been to? I’ve been to several - and own a house and a business in one of them - and I can tell you that what most third-world countries have is much closer to true capitalism than what we have, for theirs is unbound, unrestrained by any enforced law, uncontrolled by any enforced regulation.

Which country has more regulation of their industries? China??? Dude, if that’s what you think, then you ain’t been there. What little regulation there is of Chinese industry is ONLY enforced when headlines of danger and death hit the headlines outside of China! You might find regulations ‘on the books’…but thanks to the corruption FAR more deeply entrenched than anything here in the States, these are not enforced.

OUR mining industry (like every other industry in America AND Western Europe) has FAR more ENFORCED regulations than does China…or (with few exceptions) anywhere else you care to name in Asia or Africa.

BUT WAIT! LESS regulation leads to MORE prosperity, right? That’s the Republican way, right?

So here’s two questions for you:

(1) With the sole exception of North Korea, WHY are the general populations of the MORE regulated countries generally MORE prosperous than the general populations of the LESS regulated countries?

(2) With the sole exception of North Korea, WHY do the economies of the LESS regulated economies generally have a GREATER degree of corruption?

Posted by: Glenn Contrarian at October 18, 2008 6:50 PM
Comment #267398


You miss the point. It’s a nice tilted parable that shows your lack of understanding of both coronary heart disease and economics. I’m not arguing over the flip flops of your imagination.

Posted by: googlumpugus at October 18, 2008 7:56 PM
Comment #267399

From the definition.
obtrusion, n..
[L. obtrusio. See Obtrude.]

1. The act of obtruding; a thrusting upon others by force or unsolicited; as, the obtrusion of crude opinions on the world.

2. That which is obtruded. Milton.

Did I do the above to you? Or, as seems more likely, were you voluntarily at this website?


You are making my points for me. In China the means of production are far more directly controlled by the government. The military, for example, owns much of the heavy industry, and nothing, absolutely nothing, that runs afoul of the Communist Party continues to do so unfettered.

When people in America want more government “regulation” they really don’t know what they are authorizing the government to do. Governments, when they are taking over economies, always promise to run those economies for the people’s benefit. I pointed out to Stephen Daugherty last week that in the Mad Cow scare of the year 2002 or ‘03 it was the far more regulation friendly British economy that staggered with seventeen Human deaths from Kreutzfeld-Jakob, while the supposedly hideously unregulated American beef industry found only one bovine case of spongiform encephalitis, an animal that had originated in CANADA, and only one enigmatic human case.

Weighted for population, America, with the purported “wild west” attitude, did more than 100 times better at protecting its people than Britain, with the very civilized regulatory attitude.

Furthermore, this regulatory paradise will be instituted by people who are very, very hard to fire, even for cause, though the population of them is just as littered with ordinary venal, lazy, human types as the rest of the population.

There is quality control for you.

Why, if you can’t demonstrate that the system works better where it has been tried, should we buy the silly thing? and why, when the British Auto industry was nationalized, weren’t we overrun with fabulously well-built, inexpensive, British imports?

Posted by: Lee Jamison at October 18, 2008 7:56 PM
Comment #267415

British imports at least from the 1960s and early 1970s the Lucas Ignition and carbs were a pile of junk, and the second gears were not Synchronized IE they would grind. Much better off with a good old VW BUG.

Posted by: Rodney Brown at October 18, 2008 10:23 PM
Comment #267432
Well, what happens as a result of this fine tuning of the circulatory system? Fortunately you will never have to know. No human being would be stupid enough to do this to their own bodies would they? Well, would they?

To answer your question, no they wouldn’t. Which is why Democrat’s are proposing returning to a system back to something more in lined with the 1990’s, and to retract the present administration and Republican policies that have done exactly what your metaphor predicts.

Posted by: cube at October 19, 2008 9:43 AM
Comment #267439

What an entirely ridiculous, inapplicable analogy.

Would you want McCain to be your THORACIC surgeon? No, because he would merely prescribe tax cuts and letting the free market take care of your illness. He would say something along the lines of “Thoracic surgery is not the solution, thoracic surgery is the problem. I don’t want to do away with thoracic surgery, all I want to do is reduce it to the size that can be drowned in the bathtub.” Would you want your thoracic surgeon to propose that? Of course not.

It’s funny that while you’re stating with certainty all these terrible things you think Obama would do if he became president, such as a luxury tax, to my knowledge he has never proposed such a thing. Where’s your proof of that?

As for more capitalism leading to more safety, I have only one word for you: Melamine. Try googling that and see what it says about China.

I too recently had a heart attack, which was successfully treated with heavy medical intervention. There’s no way you’re going to convince anyone who’s had a heart attack that McMoreOfTheSame’s lassaiz faire, deregulatory, tax-cutting plans are the way to deal with any of the issues 8 years of Duhbyanomics have wrought.

Better luck next time.

Posted by: EJN at October 19, 2008 12:21 PM
Comment #267460

Lee E J, bleeding is recommended if you have high blood pressure. Leeches can help siphon off some of the excess.

Posted by: ohrealy at October 19, 2008 3:02 PM
Comment #267485

Someone wrote; “I see the taxes I pay as the price of admission to the American Dream.”

I wonder why our founders made no mention of individual taxes being the price its citizens would be required to pay to enjoy the benefits of the Bill of Rights.

A ballpark paid for by the fans that then charges scalper prices to get in is hardly the American Dream. When government begins to take more than one-third of the countries GDP in taxes it also begins to stifle economic freedom.

Any fool can understand that as more is taken by government in taxes less remains for those being taxed to spend as they wish for their individual dreams and aspirations.

Did our founders dream and write of an America where group rights were granted, or individual rights? Is freedom of speech only a right for groups or for individuals? How about liberty and the pursuit of happiness? Group rights or individual rights?

Liberals continue to find “new group rights” in our founding documents and with each new group right we loose another individual right.

Some would call these new group rights socialism. That seems to be a “bad” word today and shunned by liberals of today much as they shunned the very word “liberal” not long ago. As being labeled a liberal has become more acceptable as their numbers and voices have grown it won’t be long before they are proud to be called liberal socialists following the lead of their commander Mr. Obama.

Posted by: Jim M at October 19, 2008 5:11 PM
Comment #267496

I notice in your link titled “structures around the arteries” which references a discussion of the $700B Wall Street bailout, you neglected to mention that McCain supported the very same legislation.

I guess that makes McCain a liberal as well, along with quite a number of Republicans.

That completely blows your cred, pal.

Posted by: EJN at October 19, 2008 7:06 PM
Comment #267501

Lee Jamison-
You know, it’s just such a shame arteries never get back the blood that pumps through the capillaries. It just goes off somewhere and blood magically appears in the heart.

In case you hadn’t notice, our taxes only change the direction of the money temporarily. It all comes back, as long as you don’t have some corrupt institution funnelling it only to rich folks.

I use the circulatory metaphor to make a point: When the circulation doesn’t get out to the extremities, when policies and taxes are set up in a way that keeps the economy top heavy, the folks who need that money to do things with, who would pass that buck along instead of sticking it in a bank, don’t get it. Things stagnate. You can’t sell something to somebody who can’t buy it, and you also can’t get as much productivity out of that person, if they’re worried sick or just plain bottomed out on morale.

The Republican’s economics are elitist. They depend upon the upper class to have the class to, noblesse oblige, create jobs and pay good salaries. But when everybody gets the idea that it’s more advantageous to short-sheet people, what do you think happens. If you’re so enamored of the idea of letting average people decide what to do with their money, give them more.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 19, 2008 7:34 PM
Comment #267523


Read the Constitution.

“Article 1 section 8;

Clause 1: The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

Clause 2: To borrow Money on the credit of the United States”

This country seems to be doing more of the later than the former lately.


Posted by: Rocky at October 20, 2008 8:43 AM
Comment #267524


The point of the circulatory metaphor is not whether the blood gets back to the heart or not. It is whether it gets to those places that use the resources of the blood to accomplish work, to make the organism more viable.

This metaphor actually works very well because it illustrates how the muscles, bones, peripheral nerves, and vital organs are slighted for the sake of tissues that do not substantially contribute to the capacity of the body to provide for itself.

The grossly obese person who can’t rise from their bed may have very happy fat cells, but if the artifice of their food “dealer” goes away they will die of renal failure before they can get over the heavy burden of all that good feeling.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at October 20, 2008 9:18 AM
Comment #267555

Rocky read me the the constitutions authorization of taxation of individuals by writing; “but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;”

Sorry Rocky, but that hardly supports your contention that, ““I see the taxes I pay as the price of admission to the American Dream.” Is Rocky paying duties, imposts and/or excise taxes or is he paying income and payroll taxes?

What position will Ricky take when the price of admission is 100% of GPD? Won’t happen you think? Why not, if Sweeden at 50.1% is such a paradise certainly liberal socialists in the U.S. can do better with 100%.

Posted by: Jim M at October 20, 2008 1:01 PM
Comment #267564


So what you’re saying is that it is OK to ignore the first part of the clause in order to make your point with the second part?

I thought you guys over there on the far right fringe took the Constitution literally.


Posted by: Rocky at October 20, 2008 1:49 PM
Comment #267571

Lee: Which of these treatments would you recommend?

Should liposuction be performed on the body to eliminate the undesirable tissues?

Should blood be denied to the non-working tissues, allowing them to rot and fester in the body?

Should the body provide just enough charity to keep the unproductive tissues alive but unhealthy, as an incentive for the lowly worker tissues?

Should the body be creative and experiment to find ways to change and incorporate as many of the non-productive tissues as is bodily possible into productive tissues that make the body healthier in the long run?

Posted by: jlw at October 20, 2008 2:15 PM
Comment #267603

Rocky, the taxes authorized are listed and then repeated…Duties, Imposts and Excises.

I can’t locate my copy of the founding documents but if I remember correctly, wasn’t the income tax added to the list by an amendment much later.

Posted by: Jim M at October 20, 2008 5:53 PM
Comment #267605


The 16th Amendment specifically has the words “income tax” in it. It was ratified in 1913.

The first line of Article 1, Section 8, includes the words “taxes, duties, imposts and excises”.
The second line only includes “duties, imposts, and excises”, not taxes.



Posted by: Rocky at October 20, 2008 6:27 PM
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