The Widdershins

Shifty scofflaws…

Posted on: April 18, 2014

Good Good Friday Widdershins. I hope all your egg laying bunnies are particularly productive this weekend.

This past week there were a couple of events that unequivocally demonstrate the primary economic theory of the One Percenters and those “Trickling from on High”. It is cost-shifting.

Cliven Bundy -- freedom is never having to follow the law.

Cliven Bundy — freedom is never having to follow the law.

There’s no one who illustrates the concept better than a one Mr. Cliven Bundy. Mr. Bundy is a successful Nevada rancher (I guess Cliven is plural for Cloven). Old Cliven hasn’t paid public land grazing fees for his cattle since 1993. He owes the Bureau of Land Management (that’s us) about a million dollars. Cliven disputes this and in some convoluted logic proclaims he’s never going to pay the $300,000.00 he owes. Go figure.

The stories about Cliven and his extended family are annotated here and you can read about the twenty years of legal travails trying to get him to pay up. There is a slight hiccup — Cliven doesn’t believe in the federal government although he does believe the recent “blood moon” was an Obama conspiracy.

This Sagebrush Rebellion redux is playing out in and around places called Bunkerville and Battle Mountain. Fitting since Bundy’s primary supporters are armed out-of-state militiamen who are yearning for the good old days of Ruby Ridge and Waco. Of course, the right-wing echo chamber, much to the chagrin of his law-abiding neighbors, portrays him as some sort patriotic hero. This is an actual, aired quote on Faux News from a Bundy supporter:

We are actually strategizing to put all the women up front. If they are going to start shooting, it is going to be women getting shot and televised around the world.

All those who have been covering Cliven, his armed thugs, his trespassing cattle, and the Bureau of Land Management have centered their stories on an angry old white guy who thinks freedom means not having to follow the law. That’s one angle, but I think there’s a better learning.

With visions of Waco dancing in his head, Idaho militiaman Eric Parker points his high-powered, telescoped First Amendment instrument...

With visions of Waco dancing in his head, Idaho militiaman Eric Parker points his high-powered, telescoped First Amendment instrument…

What Cliven is doing puts him squarely in the saddle of Mitt Romney’s 47% of takers. Of course, Cliven would consider those “fightin’ words”. Never mind that the successful Bundy ranch ships their livestock to market over the interstates someone else pays for. Not for a second does the Bundy family consider there is a market for their beef courtesy of consumer confidence in the food supply because of USDA inspectors. What really tans the hide of Cliven is his fanatical belief he can use public resources to make a personal profit — sounds downright Putinesque to me.

Mr. Bundy is employing cost-shifting — shifting the cost of grazing to the taxpayers to give Cliven an advantage over other ranchers who are law-abiding enough to follow the law and pay their grazing fees.

This week we also saw the annual high church sermons about new methods of cost-shifting since it was the 15th of April. Every year around tax day the hue and cry for a simpler tax code makes the rounds. Here’s a news bulletin, taxes are pretty simple for the vast majority of Americans who take a standard deduction. Taxes only get more difficult when the One Percenters, who bought and paid for exemptions, deductions, and special treatments, actually employ them.

We hear cries for a flat tax, a value added tax, or a consumption tax. Each of these are merely “cost-shifting” the tax burden away from the wealthy to the poor and middle class. Someone like Malcolm Forbes trumpeting a flat tax is as outrageous as fitting an elephant with Spanx — the whole elephant is still there just crammed in differently. These regressive tax plans are nothing more than eradicating progressive tax rates and increasing the burden on those less financially endowed.

All raised amongst copious amounts of cow manure...

All raised amongst copious amounts of cow manure…

The same cost-shifting concept is true for the constant cries for deregulation or tort reform. You won’t see many One Percenters driving accelerating Toyotas or catastrophically decelerating Chevy Cobalts. You won’t see many one-footed lawn care professionals or man-boobed twenty-somethings touting the merits of consumer deregulation. Neither will you see the families of victims of the latest pharmaceutically induced schizophrenia calling for tort reform.  All forms of cost-shifting.

The saying goes, “There is no such thing as a free lunch,” that is unless you are enjoying the view from the top of Defecation Mountain where, with the help of gravity, the effluent is rolling downhill upon the unwashed masses. Defecation Mountain is where the concept of cost-shifting is gospel and those enjoying its rewards are kings.

So if Cliven and his cattle taught us anything this week, it’s that shifty scofflaws of whatever ilk, be they shiftless Wall Streeters or ranchers, should be fenced in so that societal costs are shifted less.

This is an open thread.

 

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12 Responses to "Shifty scofflaws…"

If this works out, I may move into a national park – maybe in the Keys. Or a National monument – I’m fond of the Lee-Custis home at Arlington.

Well he’s probably not gonna pay his fees, no matter what. So that being said, and me being the ornery s.o.b. I am at times, why not just have some fun with this group of nuts.

I’m not saying replicate this in its entirety, but have a little bit of fun with the wingers. Just get about 10 helos and we have much better sound equipment these days.

Use a few of these Kiowa recon helos with the “big eye” on top. It’ll drive em nuts although they are probably halfway there already.

No longer a drive – more like a really short putt;

The next time Faux runs an hour long special about the societal decay caused by a Callie surfer dude who happens to qualify for SNAP and his onerous law-breaking, I just hope someone has the presence of mind to remind Roger Ailes of Cliven.

@1, Chat, while I’m not particularly fond of classical Georgian architecture, moving into Mt. Vernon might not be too much of an imposition.

@2, Fredster, have you heard the former FBI guy talking about and distinguishing Waco and any comparisons to Bundy’s ranch. I had no idea what a loathsome creature, I mean totally satanic, David Koresh was. His price of salvation for those entering the compound were for parents to offer up their daughters, 10 or 11 years old, for his pedophilia obsession.

And this is the high water mark for these “patriots?” Honestly, do these people not have a shred of decency?

@7: Oh yes, I recall reading some things about that (his sexual proclivities) some time ago. He was indeed a sick f*ck. Think of Jonestown.

So…is anyone surprised by this? The rich get richer and live longer.

Annie, if you come by, check your email.

This story really get my goat! I mean, talk about government subsidized housing! And rent controlled too! I’d love some property like that, courtesy of the US government!

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