Populist Disconnect and the Whittling Away of IP Rights

By Gene Quinn
July 29, 2014

In Joe Allen’s recent column Does Innovation Lead to Prosperity for All? he ended with a quote by Alexander Fraser Tyler from The Decline and Fall of the Athenian Republic, which suggested that a democracy cannot continue to exist once the majority realizes they can vote for candidates that promise a never ending stream of benefits. Eventually, the result of politicians handing out money and benefits for votes leads to a collapse as the result of unsustainable fiscal policy.  Allen quizzically ends by stating that this couldn’t ever happen in the United States, could it? Sadly, we know it is happening in America.

As of the writing of this article the U.S. national debt is over $17.6 trillion, which if you write out in long form is $17,600,000,000,000.00. To put this into perspective, if you wanted to count to 1 trillion and you counted a number ever second non-stop without sleep it would take you 31,546 years, which means that to count to 17.6 trillion would take you over 555,209 years. Explained another way, the height of a stack of 1 trillion one dollar bills measures 67,866 miles, which means that 17.6 trillion one dollar bills would be nearly 1.2 million miles. To put this into perspective the Earth is only on average 238,855 miles away from the moon.

Saying the United States has a spending problem is an extraordinary understatement, but spending continues. The public demands spending and so many people now erroneously believe that the way to improve the economy is for the government to spend ever more sums while at the same time regulating business like never before. Taking the foot off the throat of the private sector and reducing government spending has been a time tested and effective way to stimulate activity, create jobs and improve the overall economic condition of the U.S. economy. So there is an extreme disconnect between historical reality, what the people want and the policies America is pursuing.

A populist disconnect is hardly anything new. Most people will always say they want more government spending and lower taxes, which simply cannot happen while job killing policies are pursued and nothing serious is done to bring high paying manufacturing back to the U.S., which could be accomplished despite popular mythology to the contrary.

Increasingly this new brand of disconnected populism is found within the intellectual property world. Indeed, the Tyler quote above about a democracy falling when the majority realizes they can vote themselves free stuff is profound, and fits very neatly with what we are seeing play out with respect intellectual property policy. Copyrights are no longer respected at all and people believe, or convince themselves to believe, that stealing the original content of others is their god given right.


For example, over the last several months I have had to send DMCA takedown notices to the same person repeatedly. He is under multiple mistaken beliefs, including the belief that if something is freely available to be read on the Internet it is also freely available to be copied and published by anyone. He also believes my only recourse is to send him DMCA notices and that he is somehow immune from copyright infringement liability through lawsuit as long as he takes down infringing articles when he is notified. Of course, neither views are true, nor is his belief that his business insurance will protect him against what is clearly repeated, willful copyright infringement; virtually all insurance policies exclude coverage for willful and intentional acts. Still, as utterly ridiculous as these misperceptions of copyright law are they are sadly commonplace. Either people really don’t know, they are blissfully ignorant, or they have convinced themselves that what they are doing isn’t a problem and/or that there will be no consequences for their actions. The indifference of the public who ostensibly wants original content is working to make it very difficult to profit from creating original content.

Stealing originally created content is extremely problematic, whether it is a blog article, a newspaper article, a book, painting, photograph or movie. If you search the Internet for practically anything you will be inundated with the same text over and over without really finding useful answers. Of course, the websites that engage in widespread plagiarism, which is just a less judgmental way to say “widespread copyright infringement,” are reaping the economic rewards of their stealing while making it increasingly difficult for those who actually create original content to survive. The infringer business model is frequently to simply copy from others who don’t have the means or ability to seek redress, and Congress is held hostage by protesters who don’t want to have to pay for free original content.

The sad reality is that if you create original content it is not easy to police what others do with your content. The law says you don’t have to do anything to prevent copying, but if you don’t you will find yourself resorting to an increasingly ineffective DMCA notice campaign, hosts that refuse to terminate the accounts of repeated copyright infringers, and ultimately you have to sue. But if you didn’t file for a federally registered copyright you are prohibited from suing for infringement, and if you didn’t register your copyright within three months of creation or publication you cannot seek your attorneys fees from the entity that stole your work and forced you into the courtroom.

It should be simple enough for everyone to see, even the most ignorant members of the general public and clueless Members of Congress, that if we want more original creation those who are engaging in the creation of original content must be adequately protected. They system to seek redress cannot be unworkable. It is also time to realize that content creation is increasingly being done by individuals and small businesses. Furthermore, the fact that large movie studios and so-called evil corporations will benefit from an update of the copyright act cannot be relevant. Streamlining copyright laws and giving content creators of all sizes adequate rights and meaningful tools to protect the creative fruit of their labor is essential if we want to actually have original content created.

This populist duality has also fueled the academic push against patents. Some academics ignore the overwhelming evidence that supports a strong patent system (see here and here), and despite the facts that conclusively demonstrate the effectiveness of Bayh-Dole (see here, here and here) they question whether we should return to the days when universities did not own patents and that practically and realistically meant it was impossible to license innovations created by universities. How those academics can call themselves academics when they have such disdain for the truth, facts and history is beyond me, but sadly these academics who obviously have an ideological agenda are working feverishly to destroy the patent system.

These academics characterize every discovery and innovation as something that would have happened soon enough and hardly worthy of protection. Of course, the very purpose of the patent system was to prevent that “wait around, its inevitable” approach to innovation. The purpose of the patent system was initially and has been until at least recently to foster innovation, which patents undeniably do, by encouraging investment. They system is set up on capitalistic principles to provide economic incentive to achieve innovation faster than it would have happened at whatever lethargic and unpredictable pace it may have happened absent incentive. So these false academics complain about the very purpose of the patent system and then pretend that they are not challenging the system as a whole, which is extraordinarily intellectually dishonest.

Further, many academics and the liberal groups that support them, such as the ACLU, will challenge patents 10, 15 or even 20 years after the patent application was initially filed and at a time the innovation is now ubiquitous. Rather than celebrating a ubiquitous innovation, which became so widespread because it was transformationally important, they pretend that the fact that everyone uses the innovation means the innovation was inevitable and obvious. Once upon a time we actually encouraged paradigm shifting innovations that would one day become ubiquitous because that is the type of innovation we specifically and undeniably want to reward. The Supreme Court has even clamped down on the law of obviousness over the last decade with express intention on preventing minor advances from being patented. Yet, many academics argue that not only should minor advances be obvious, but important, major, paradigm shifting innovations shouldn’t be patentable either. Such a position would be laughably comical if the Supreme Court weren’t being duped into following this path like lemmings off a cliff.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if spending every penny you have in your bank account and maxing out your credit cards would lead you to economic prosperity! We openly laugh and mock religious cults when their leaders require cult members to turn every penny over to the “church,” yet the majority of people in America seem to think that spending more and more means that things will all work out and the debt will never need to be paid.

Similarly, the average Joe and supposedly learned academics think that they can remove all useful exclusive rights and original creation, whether in the form of copyrighted creations or patented inventions, and creation will still simply happen. We know from history that countries without exclusive rights based on a capitalistic foundation experience no domestic creation of any kind. Why would anyone every think that adopting solutions that have failed everywhere they were ever implemented would lead to success in America?


The Author

Gene Quinn

Gene Quinn is a Patent Attorney and Editor and President & CEO ofIPWatchdog, Inc.. Gene founded IPWatchdog.com in 1999. Gene is also a principal lecturer in the PLI Patent Bar Review Course and Of Counsel to the law firm of Berenato & White, LLC. Gene’s specialty is in the area of strategic patent consulting, patent application drafting and patent prosecution. He consults with attorneys facing peculiar procedural issues at the Patent Office, advises investors and executives on patent law changes and pending litigation matters, and works with start-up businesses throughout the United States and around the world, primarily dealing with software and computer related innovations. is admitted to practice law in New Hampshire, is a Registered Patent Attorney and is also admitted to practice before the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. CLICK HERE to send Gene a message.

Warning & Disclaimer: The pages, articles and comments on IPWatchdog.com do not constitute legal advice, nor do they create any attorney-client relationship. The articles published express the personal opinion and views of the author as of the time of publication and should not be attributed to the author’s employer, clients or the sponsors of IPWatchdog.com. Read more.

Discuss this

There are currently 25 Comments comments.

  1. step back July 30, 2014 7:16 am


    You leave out from reproach, the American journalists who have been equally culpable in creating the illusion of “inevitable innovation” without aid from individual inventors.

    It’s as if “the system” itself is the thing that automatically produces “innovation” by means of market forces and ordinary skill and “common sense” as SCOTUS puts it in the KSR decision.

    But none of that is true. The long and arduous paths that many an individual inventor takes to go from idea to possible (but usually failed) product is not reported on by the popular press. Instead the journalists have weaved a thin-clothed story about certain corporations (i.e Apple, Google, ,,,) being “innovative” in an inevitable success kind of way with the corporate identity subsuming the existence of the individual inventors.

    It’s not just a “whittling down”. It’s death by a thousand reformist cuts.

    By the time we wake up, it will be too late.

  2. Heard an even better illustration July 30, 2014 8:02 am

    I heard an even more breath taking (to me, anyway) illustration of just how big the national debt is (in an investment newsletter, of all places):

    If Jes us spent $1,000,000 per day, every day, from the day he was born until today, that amount would be $7.4X10^11. Our national debt, at 1.8X10^13, is thus more than ***twenty times*** the $1,000,000/day number! Seems almost criminal/unbelievable that so much could be borrowed!

  3. American Cowboy July 30, 2014 10:07 am

    Step, I read a Lemly article about inevitable innovation, and he went through some of the star inventions of history, including the light bulb, telephone etc. and showed that there was more than one worker in the field, so there is some evidence for that argument. BUT, I wonder if the evidence really proves that invention would have taken place but for the patent system. There is also the argument that there were multiple workers in the field because of the prospect of a patent reward. That reward motivated several inventors/innovators, just like we would like. The fact that the patent system provides exclusive rights to whoever gets there first inherently means we must single out a ‘winner’ to get the patent and history’s accolades.

    The fact that there may have been a rival snipping at his heels does not mean that the inventor and rival would have been doing that without the prospect of the patent reward.

    Countries that do not have a robust patent system produce very few inventions. If invention were inevitable, they would be just as inventive as the USA.

    In fact, the presence of the patent system creates a culture of innovation, so folks invent and innovate because it is a cultural norm, even if they do not go the patent office to get a seal and red ribbon.

  4. Gene Quinn July 30, 2014 10:26 am


    Yes, the media has been complicit (at the very least). I wonder though whether the media failing to actually engage in original content creation and news gathering is the result of the reality that those who actually spend time and money to great and gather news first hand only have it stolen by the “aggregators” and plagiarists (i.e., copyright infringers).

    I’m certainly not giving the media a pass and if they can’t take the time to understand the story then they shouldn’t cover the story, but I think these things are unfortunately related.

    Of course, ideology also plays a big part and most members of the media are extremely liberal, which as a group means they are generally speaking not real believers in capitalism despite the historical proof.


  5. Anon2 July 30, 2014 10:30 am

    Another very good article by Gene.

    Give a right-less man a shovel and ask him to dig a ditch for you, tell him that you will thereafter give him a gold colored sticker, but that he is to retain no value from the fruits of his own labor.

    Ask yourself if he will dig the ditch for you? Better yet ask yourself if he should, and finally whether you should have asked it of him in the first place.

    Innovation is not an ineffable property of reality which just happens. People innovate, and innovative people choose to innovate because it serves their lives in the long run: which is the only valid reason to do anything.

  6. Simon Elliott July 30, 2014 11:25 am

    The last nation that should be whittling away at IP rights is the USA, as it only encourages weaker IP rights overseas, which hurts the USA more than other countries.

  7. Patent person July 30, 2014 11:51 am

    $ 17trillion US debt on approx. 312million US inhabitants is just over $54000 debt/person.
    Still staggering if you calculate that on a Family with 2-3 children…

  8. Daver July 30, 2014 11:56 am

    Another good article, Gene. Sadly, it appears many of today’s “liberals” including many in very high and influential offices, both public and corporate, desire to cause and see the USA sink. Wrecking IP protection is among the items on their agendas. And too many members of the public still don’t understand the concept of IP, especially as pertains to items visible to them on the internet. Others do sufficiently understand, but choose to ignore the property rights of others. We in USA have a much wider and deeper societal problem, not just a copyright scofflaw problem.

  9. American Cowboy July 30, 2014 12:15 pm

    Daver is right that we have a wider and deeper problem.

    It is the sense of entitlement that many people have: I am entitled to free health care, free education, free housing, government subsidies to buy food, free music, free blogger’s text, etc.

  10. step back July 30, 2014 12:19 pm

    American Cowboy @3

    Good point.
    The story is that Alexander Bell and Elisha Gray were neck to neck in their race to the US Patent Office with their near simultaneous ideas for the telephone.
    One author (Shulman) alleges that Bell stole from Gray the details for a working telephone and he did so by bribing a crooked US patent examiner.

    The patent system does not directly cause inventions to be made.
    However, in fields where there are multiple workers at it and known to each other, it does become a race (winner takes all) and it does tend to hasten the pace of perfecting of invnetions.
    Which is exactly what the US Constitution says: To “promote” the progress … not merely to cause progress.

  11. Tim M. July 30, 2014 12:30 pm

    Government spending is a tried and true way of getting out of a recession and the United States is just now crawling out of the deep, historical recession created by the bursting of the housing bubble. In part, that delay is a result of the government failing to spend enough money and failing to spend the money it did spend on the right projects (ask UCLA about that). The patent system has granted more patents during that time than it has during any similar time frame in history, most of them related to computers. I’m not aware of any evidence suggesting that the extraodinary number of patent grants contributed in any way to the rate of recovery of the economy as nearly all patentees tend to be sufficiently well off that the effects of the recession were relatively painless. Most people without jobs who are struggling to pay their mortgages or rent and keep their families fed are not capable of gaming the patent system.

    But you’ll recall that during this same period some patent attorneys devised a scheme of sending out tens of thousands of threatening letters to businesses — including many small businesses — demanding that those businesses pay for the infringement of computer system patents that most people believe shouldn’t have been granted in the first place. How is that supposed to help the economy, Gene? It’s that type of activity that is leading to the changes in patent law that you dislike.

    I’m also not aware of any politician expressing the view that our patent system should be eliminated, by the way. It’s confusing to me why you’d repeatedly suggest that there is some existential threat to the patent system when, in fact, patents are still being applied for and granted at historical levels.

  12. Gene Quinn July 30, 2014 1:20 pm

    Tim M says:

    “Government spending is a tried and true way of getting out of a recession…”

    That is pure hogwash. The U.S. would have been out of the Great Recession far sooner without government micromanagement and ridiculous stimulus spending that went to fund every Democrat pet project rather than investing in rebuilding U.S. infrastructure.

    He also says: ” In part, that delay is a result of the government failing to spend enough money…”

    That statement is so ridiculous that it hardly deserves a response, but the reality is that this is just wrong. Government spending leads to more government borrowing and ever increasing entitlement spending. This requires higher than necessary taxes, which takes discretionary funds away from the private sector, both individuals and businesses, which are far more efficient. Money in the hands of individuals and businesses spurs economic activity, not ineffective, bloated, government spending. See:



    He also asks me how sending out fraudulent, misleading and abusive demand letters helps the economy, as if the framing of the question puts me into a box. All I can say is obviously he doesn’t know anything about me and he hasn’t taken the time to read any of my writings or thoughts on abusive patent litigation. Further, only one who is truly ignorant would throw out a system entirely to fix a problem created by a small handful of bad actors. District Court Judges are as much to blame as anyone since many of them, if not most, do not take an active role, pretend they don’t have the authority to do anything, and allow their courtrooms to be a part of an extortion-like shakedown. But this isn’t a patent problem at all, something that Tim M seems to miss. The problem is with abusive litigation, not with the patent system, patent rights or innovation. See:



    Finally, he says: “t’s confusing to me why you’d repeatedly suggest that there is some existential threat to the patent system when, in fact, patents are still being applied for and granted at historical levels.”

    And therein lies the problem. Tim M hasn’t taken the time to consider the broader ramifications of the developments of the past 10 years, which only chip away at patent rights. Because he cannot be bothered with informing himself, which could easily be accomplished just by reading IPWatchdog, he doesn’t think there is a problem. So his considered opinion is that although unknowledgeable about the system I don’t see any problems so there must not be any problems.

    When the computer software industry relocates out of the US and takes jobs, when the biotech sector relocated out of the US and takes its jobs, it will be too late to do anything about the growing storm that is there for everyone to see.


  13. Gene Quinn July 30, 2014 1:22 pm

    Daver says: “We in USA have a much wider and deeper societal problem, not just a copyright scofflaw problem.”

    I couldn’t agree more. At a time when countries all over the world are trying to become more like the former United States of America we seem to be accelerating our attempt to look like so many failed regimes from history. We are at a pivotal twilight zone moment I’m afraid.


  14. J July 30, 2014 5:44 pm


    If you want to cite to Joe Allen’s column, you should also take note his point that people who are rich have a tendency to horde. So do you believe that money in the hands of these people is always better than the government (who is more likely to spend it)?

    As far as Universities owning patents… yes, the patent system encourages innovation, but not all innovation. The patent system, for example, does not lend itself to pure scientific discoveries. Universities are better suited for that research than businesses. Putting aside 101 questions and narrowing our discussion to the patent system that we have, to what extent do we want to divert resources from pure scientific discoveries to applied technology? To what extent do we want large amount of government money that is given to universities to be spent on competing with private sector in obtaining patents? Feel free to give your thoughts, they are not rhetorical questions.

  15. MaxDrei July 30, 2014 5:59 pm

    Gene, you write:

    “countries all over the world are trying to become more like the former United States of America”

    That much might be self-evident to you, but not to me. Would that be indiscriminately all countries of the rest of the world (ROW), or only particular ones? If the latter, which ones in particular are trying hardest?

    For me, the former USA implies i) Constitution ii) Bill of Rights iii) Rule of Law iv) Democracy v) separation of powers. Wonderful ideals to aspire to. Which countries are trying hardest? Which countries are getting there? which should we admire and which should inspire us all? I should like to know.

  16. A Rational Person July 31, 2014 11:02 am

    Max Drei 14.

    Some examples of things in the US of the 2nd half of the 20th century that other countries have tried and sometimes successfully imitated: near universal secondary education, significant government investments in scientific research, a large number of high-quality public and private universities, a large single market, etc.

  17. Gene Quinn July 31, 2014 12:10 pm


    So if I want to cite someone I have to cite them for every point they make in an article. Interesting. That would seem to make for exceptionally boring reading requiring the entire article to be plagiarized before one could ever get to the point they want to make.

    The reality is that very few people actually hoard anything. There is a popular misconception that folks who are in the top 2 or 3% are rich, which is laughably false. People in the top 1% are rich, and even then it really may only be a subset of the top 1%. With housing prices what they are and were many people who qualify for the top 2 or 3% are hardly rich and struggle like everyone else. Until people who are in the top 10% start to feel wealthy enough to spend the economy won’t turn around. The reality is that the bottom 99% don’t horde, they spend.

    You say: “The patent system, for example, does not lend itself to pure scientific discoveries.”

    The only problem with that statement is that it is completely incorrect. Please read 35 USC 101. Don’t tell me what Justice Thomas says, or the Supreme Court agrees with, but read 101. You will see that Justice Thomas’ statement, which you parrot, is inconsistent with the explicit language of the statute that they are charged with interpreting.

    You ask: “To what extent do we want large amount of government money that is given to universities to be spent on competing with private sector in obtaining patents?”

    The question shows that you simply don’t understand university patenting or anything about Bayh-Dole. Universities partner with the private sector, they don’t compete with the private sector. Universities do basic research and then license that research to the private sector. The private sector, alone or in combination with university partnerships, engage in commercialization research and development. Please inform yourself of the basics. Opinions such as what you hold that are based on erroneous facts and erroneous understandings of reality are wrong.


  18. Gene Quinn July 31, 2014 12:32 pm


    The comment that other countries are trying to become more like the former United States of America was specifically relating to intellectual property. Countries all over the world, for example, are working to adopt something identical or very similar to Bayh-Dole legislation at a time when the U.S. continually questions whether we should go back to the previous regime which resulted in nothing being licensed.


  19. MaxDrei July 31, 2014 2:27 pm

    Ah-ha. So it’s specifically IPR is it Gene, and even more specifically your new observation that:

    “Countries all over the world, for example, are working to adopt something identical or very similar to Bayh-Dole legislation” .

    I’m still curious. I have some knowledge of how Germany and the UK managed the issues of ownership of Govt funded university research through the 20th century. Do you count Germany and the UK amongst the poor benighted countries all over the world that are crawling their way towards the shining light of Bayh-Dole?

    If I might ask, what are your primary sources of Information?

  20. A Rational Person July 31, 2014 3:08 pm

    J says “rich have a tendency to horde.” I think he meant the word hoard, so my comment is directed to his comment as amended to use the word “hoard.”

    By hoard, do you mean savings? Frankly, I don’t see a difference between saving and hoarding, with the possible exception of hoarding being saving to excess. What evidence is there that the rich save to excess?

    And, what does it mean to save? Most of the time it means to deposit the money in a bank, invest it in stocks or bonds or tangible assets, meaning the rich person turns his money over to another. If the other is a bank the bank lends the money in accordance with banking rules. If the other is a stockholder, that stockholder is enriched by the cash and can spend it any way he/she/it pleases. If the other is a corporation receiving a new investment, the corporation spends it to build a facility to help with cash flow or whatever. If the money is spent on tangible assets, the seller of the asset has the money to spend, like the selling stockholder.

    If the rich use their money to build big fancy houses, they pay laborers, material suppliers, closing attorneys, real estate brokers, etc.

    The only way you can really hoard money is to take that bunch of greenbacks and stuff it in the mattress or attic or bury it in the back yard. Those are NOT the things that rich people do with their money.

    This notion of the rich hoarding is another class warfare canard.

  21. J August 1, 2014 5:08 pm


    I did not say or suggest that you needed to cite every single point. But you should note every relevant point, and respond to those points that do not support your opinion.

    You summarily dismissed my point as unimportant, but I disagree. ‘Rich’ is a relative term, but let’s only take the top 1%. They hold 17% of the nation’s wealth. If Allen is correct and say they tend to hoard their wealth, then that’s a big chunk of money of the American economy that is not being spent. Furthermore, should we favor economic policies that give resources to the top and hope it goes down when the top tends to hold on to the money rather than inject it into the economy?

    I am not parroting anything. What I am saying is that, whether one agrees or disagree with the current state of 101, the system currently does not provide an incentive for the private sector to do pure scientific research. Do you disagree with me there? Are you saying that, at the current state of the law, the patent system incentives pure scientific research?

    Universities can partner with the private sector, and then compete in that sector. Read University of Pittsburgh v. Varian Medical that came out in April. The case says, on page 3 of the opinion, that the University is the assignee of the patent (your post would suggest that universities are always the assignor). Furthermore, looking at patent number 5,727,554, the first two inventors were Pitt employees. If you insist on saying that the University of Pittsburgh is not competing with the private sector, I invite you to write to Varian Medical Systems, Inc. 3100 Hansen Way Palo Alto, CA 94304-1038 and ask if they think universities compete in the private sector.

    Finally, I’m so glad you like the Bayh-Dole Act… you realize that the Act authorizes the Federal Government to grant funding for patents… stupid ineffective government spending, right?

    Rational Person:
    I’ve read too much Game of Thrones. The rich “hoard” money, and the Dothraki sack cities in “hordes.”

    I’m simply citing Allen’s column. I don’t know what he means by the word. However, to try to define the word as much as I can…

    Let’s say a rich guy has a choice. He can invest in a firm that invests in businesses. If successful, will produce jobs and help the economy ect ect ect. The catch is, it is not certain the business will succeed. This is a venture capitalist firm. He could instead invest in a firm that uses leverage buyouts, exploits buyout clauses, asset stripping… the nearest thing to a sure bet, money-wise. However, such investment cuts businesses down rather than builds them up.

    Let’s say he makes an investment in one but not the other… which investment is “hoarding”? I think the answer is easy. What is not hoarding… making relative risky, but high-reward, investments. What is hoarding… making investments that will almost certainly makes money, but nothing else.

  22. tifoso August 2, 2014 9:38 am

    Gene – Interesting rant with a clear political position. Whether government spending got us out of the Depression is something that is hotly debated to this day. In most cases, the debaters come out with the conclusions with which they went in. That debate goes way beyond the scope of this blog.

    However, you make claims that this undefined group you tag as “liberals” have caused all manner of evil upon the commonweal. Then you cite various SCOTUS decisions which have muddied the waters of patent rights. Take a look at who wrote those decisions. KSR, for example, was from a unanimous court. You do not seriously contend that Roberts, Scalia, Allito, and Thomas are liberals, do you?

    As to the Joseph Allen citation of a bogus quote he attributes to Tyler, maybe you need to check that reference. The Scottish jurist blamed for the quote on the Athenian republic was named Tytler. The problem is that there is no record that he wrote any such thing. The content has been traced to comments of a right wing writer about the 2000 election here.

    As to your comment that the press is liberal, we are sure Beck, Limbaugh, Hannity, and their Fox News ilk, along with those on the Washington Times and WSJ would be shocked to know they are liberal.

    At the risk of taking a quote (without permission. Ahem.) from H. L. Mencken, “Explanations exist; they have existed for all time; there is always a well-known solution to every human problem — neat, plausible, and wrong.” To blame all the ills of mankind or of the country on some group, in your case, “liberals”, smacks of Germany in the Thirties. For many on the right, liberals are the present equivalent of the Jews. (The left is equally guilty.) The mess we are in took hard work by people on both sides of the aisle.


  23. Tim M. August 2, 2014 4:54 pm

    Gene: “The U.S. would have been out of the Great Recession far sooner [if it had invested] in rebuilding U.S. infrastructure.”

    Indeed, there were tons of “shovel-ready” projects and there still are. That’s why I wrote: “Government spending is a tried and true way of getting out of a recession and the United States is just now crawling out of the deep, historical recession created by the bursting of the housing bubble. In part, that delay is a result of the government failing to spend enough money and failing to spend the money it did spend on the right projects (ask UCLA about that).” My reference to UCLA was a reference to the water main that burst earlier this week.

    Of the two major political parties, Gene, can you tell everyone which was more resistant to the idea of the government helping the average person cope with the Great Recession (and its aftermath) by funding massive , important infrastructure projects (creating jobs) and, say, extending unemployment benefits?

  24. Gene Quinn August 4, 2014 10:10 am

    J says: “I did not say or suggest that you needed to cite every single point. But you should note every relevant point, and respond to those points that do not support your opinion.”

    Your point was irrelevant, and an article is not a thesis. That you would have preferred to have read a different article doesn’t make this article defective in any way. It merely means you would have preferred me to have a different, and in fact incorrect, opinion. You would have also preferred me to chase an irrelevant tangent and turn this article into a book chapter.

    J says: “‘If Allen is correct and say they tend to hoard their wealth, then that’s a big chunk of money of the American economy that is not being spent.”

    Please prove that the wealthy hoard their wealth and remove it from the American economy. You are assuming something that is simply not factually correct. Even if they keep their money in banks what happens to that money? Do you know where banks get money to loan for cars, homes and to businesses? Obviously not. Do you know what happens when someone rich invests in a start-up company as a VC or Angel? Obviously not. It is ridiculous to simply assume your position is correct because it is flat wrong.


  25. Wayne Borean August 4, 2014 8:28 pm


    I’m going to disagree with you. In Canada we ran nearly twenty years of surpluses, and in my (not so humble) opinion, Canadian democracy is far stronger than American democracy.

    By your argument, we would have been voting for ‘Bread and Circuses’ and that didn’t happen.

    What did happen was a party that was heavily indebted to the corporate block eventually came into power. That party reduced corporate tax rates, which then put the country into debt. They stated argument for reducing corporate tax rates was jobs, however the expected jobs never appeared. When this was pointed out, and that the policy was a failure, the party in question refused to roll back the tax decrease.

    Needless to say, that party has some severe problems, and isn’t likely to win the next election.

    In the United States, the ‘Corporate Welfare Bums’ are in control. Take the Pentagon for example. Several times the Pentagon has stated it didn’t need more ships/tanks/fighters, however money was voted to buy the ships/tanks/fighters that the Pentagon said it didn’t need. The Corporate lobby got what they wanted.

    There are a variety of American companies that earn over 75% of their sales from the government. That’s why your country is in debt.