Where Is Our “Good Shepherd?”

A “TAXING” HISTORY LESSON …  || By FITSNEWS ||  We were burning the midnight oil this weekend when one of our sources offered up an interesting quote – one we have to admit we’d never heard before.  It’s a remark attributed to Tiberius – who is perhaps most famous in our culture…


|| By FITSNEWS ||  We were burning the midnight oil this weekend when one of our sources offered up an interesting quote – one we have to admit we’d never heard before.  It’s a remark attributed to Tiberius – who is perhaps most famous in our culture for providing the middle name to fictitious Star Trek commander James T. Kirk.

In real life Tiberius was a Roman emperor – albeit a reluctant one.

The adopted son of Augustus – who founded the empire in 37 B.C. and ruled it until his death forty years later – Tiberius begrudgingly took over as emperor in 14 A.D. at the request of his mother and at the urging of the Roman Senate.  A great general and remarkable fiscal steward (he left the Roman treasury bursting at the seams upon his death), Tiberius was also noted for his prudent foreign policy – fortifying the frontiers of the empire as opposed to getting drawn into costly foreign interventions.  He was also known for his fair treatment of Rome’s provinces, which leads us to the quote attributed to him.

“It is the duty of a good shepherd to shear his sheep, not to skin them.”

Very nice …

In other words, Tiberius knew there was a point at which government’s “taking” took away the ability of its subjects to provide.  Basically he was articulating an early version of the “Laffer Curve,” the famous economic theory postulated by Arthur Laffer which holds that there is an optimum rate of taxation beyond which “revenue enhancements” actually cost more than they are worth.

Where are we on that curve in America?  Yeah … look around.

Obviously the purpose of this post isn’t to romanticize Tiberius – who was of dubious sanity (and who bailed on his people during the later years of his life).  It’s simply to highlight an important historical perspective as a contemporary debate on taxes reaches its climax here in the Palmetto State.

The point?  Raising taxes has consequences …


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syntwistsuglydog June 1, 2015 at 11:27 am

“Somewhat apocryphal stories tell of Augustus pleading with Tiberius to stay, even going so far as to stage a serious illness.[25]Tiberius’s response was to anchor off the shore of Ostia until word came that Augustus had survived, then sailing straightway for Rhodes.[26] Tiberius reportedly regretted his departure and requested to return to Rome several times, but each time Augustus refused his requests.[27]”

Wiki…He appears to have been a traitor and coward.

Guest June 1, 2015 at 11:34 am

Please raise our taxes? Higher higher higher! I still have a few dimes in my pocket so the tax isn’t high enough! Screw all you tax-haters, you must be stinking Democrats! LMAO!!! LMAO!!!

You Know My Name June 1, 2015 at 12:10 pm

Guest is one of the few who gets it.


lower limit June 1, 2015 at 11:36 am

Laffer also postulated that there was a minimum tax threshold necessary.

Laffer Curve June 1, 2015 at 12:06 pm

Laffer didn’t postulate what the optimum tax rate is, that is completely subjective. You have to remember, he drew this on a napkin just to explain a general concept to some morons. Conservatives treat this on the same level as the ten commandments and yet the concept of the curve itself is just general theory, and the theory itself has its flaws.

The Laffer Curve is a simple theory that conservatives can teach morons and then trick into thinking the optimum rate is always “less taxes” no matter what the tax rate is. Revenue goes down, spending on unnecessary stuff goes up, thus we get the deficits starting from Reagan and running up until now. Supply side economics just does not work, no other country does this for this very reason.

FastEddy23 June 1, 2015 at 1:04 pm

The Laffer Curve is so misunderstood. The same answers are found in Nature and are called “Bell Curves”.

The Laffer Curve can be applied to Big G’ment or to Small G’ment. It is just dependent on what the customer orders.

If you consider Biggest Possible G’ment to be the ideal, go to the very top of the curve, not the far right or left.

If you want Optimized or Smaller G’ment, find a place on the curve that is that goal.

If you want Minimum G’ment, go the the far left or far right of the curve, because Excessive, Maximized Taxation Will Not ultimately produce More G’ment, but less. The same with Minimized Taxation, that will not ultimately produce more G’ment either (of course).

One of the best places to apply the Laffer Bell Curve is to the size and costs of g’ment agencies. More g’ment employees in an agency do not necessarily produce more results. The agency should strive for an optimized work force size. (Military has known this since before Napoleon. The optimum platoon size depends on the goals and job at hand. “Too many chefs spoil the broth.”)

There is an axiom in the software business that goes something like this: “If a woman will produce a child in nine months, it does very little good to hire three pregnant women to try to produce a child in three months.”

(This is the heart of my master’s thesis in economics.)

Bell Curves June 1, 2015 at 2:13 pm

“During Tiberius’ time, the Roman taxation rate was one part in twelve … about 8%”

The Roman government did not have near the level of complication that modern societies deal with. Just comparing military costs between the two is enough to illustrate that point. Having ten thousand decked out in metal armor is far cheaper than having ten fighter jets. That level of complexity can be applied to near everything. Roman roads did not have to account for the tonnage of 18-wheelers or the wear and tear of daily rush hour traffic. Roman doctors did not have to figure out how to distribute the cost of an MRI to his patients.

“The Laffer Curve is so misunderstood. The same answers are found in Nature and are called ‘Bell Curves’.”

Wisdom is knowing which side of the curve you are on before you decide to increase or decrease the tax rate. Conservatives claim we are still on the far right of the curve, and that lowering taxes will allow us to see even more revenue. Every time they lower taxes, our receipts drop and our outlays increase, resulting in even greater deficits than their predecessors, but that is by (their) design. After all, “deficits don’t matter.”

Conservatives will continue to drive up our debt with their bad tax and spend policies until it bankrupts us. There is no such thing as a free lunch, and they have run up the tab for far too long.

Uh huh June 1, 2015 at 4:58 pm

“The Roman government did not have near the level of complication that modern societies deal with”

Well then, as the complexities of society will continue to increase for the foreseeable future, let us be prepared for a 100% tax rate sometime down the road.


I think Occam’s razor might apply here, but if you want to write pages of diatribe justifying more taxes, feel free I suppose.

Rich Dem evaders June 2, 2015 at 8:23 am

Last I heard, George Soros owed some back taxes along with the Clintons. They must have determined they were at their limit. Proponents of Laffer or tax cheats?

FastEddy23 June 6, 2015 at 5:46 pm

Most of George Soros’ wealth is stashed offshore.

FastEddy23 June 6, 2015 at 5:43 pm

“… Conservatives claim we are still on the far right of the curve, and that lowering taxes will allow us to see even more revenue. …”

The curve stays the same, whether the vertical axis is g’ment revenue, consumer confidence, private sector productivity. Too far to the lower end of the scale is an intangible … Government generated grief.

For the old Romans, the optimized tax rate put them somewhere on the horizontal scale closer to the origin. Way back then, increasing taxes from ~8% brought on tons of grief, for example, the Citizens of Egypt and “arabia”, as in the outlying districts the local Roman High Commissioners/taxsuckers/Legions added “value” and added taxes on top of the Roman tax base line, arbitrarily.

John Belushi June 1, 2015 at 12:14 pm

There was a wealthy Greek man who moved to a small town. He had been prosperous and wished to simplify his life. But he would not rest on his laurels and set a bad example for his sons so he knew he must start a business. He chose to open a restaurant and sell cheeseburgers.

Well, he opened the largest restaurant in all the land. He hired hundreds of people to work in the restaurant. The floors were spotless, the restrooms were immaculate, the food was delicious. But to no avail business was not good. His parking lot was full everyday. His workers were happy and smiled all the time. Everything seemed perfect.

So one day the old Greek was sitting in one of the empty booths by the front door to greet any customer who might arrive when the mayor appeared. He waddled into the establishment and saw the old Greek sitting in the booth looking depressed. He squeezed his fat ass into the booth across from the wise old wealthy man and inquired, ” what is wrong old man?”. You look as though you are penniless.

The Greek sighed and complained that he had failed his sons by running a failed business. “What have I done wrong Mayor, where is the error in my way? Please, tell me”.
“Well, you dumb old bastard, you hired all of your customers. Everybody in town works for you and they eat your food for free. Now, get me my free cheeseburger plate.”

MashPotato June 1, 2015 at 2:53 pm

A lousy anecdote about an idiot who can’t read an income statement.

VernaBMontero June 2, 2015 at 1:02 am Reply
euwe max June 1, 2015 at 1:29 pm

“A shepherd’s gotta *eat*!” – Republican

FastEddy23 June 1, 2015 at 1:44 pm

Eat what? … LOL

SYNTwist June 1, 2015 at 2:49 pm

“Population growth outstripping food supply resonated quite a bit with India’s elites, with the middle classes, they much preferred to believe that the poor were poor because of too many children rather than being poor because of an unfair and unequal economic system,” says Gita Sen, a development economist at the Centre for Public Policy in the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore.”


SYNTwist June 1, 2015 at 2:49 pm

“So why isn’t overpopulation on everyone’s minds today? Because most people have come to realize that it’s not food production that’s the problem. We can make enough food for the entire world to eat well. The problem is our economic system, which stands in the way of people having enough to eat.”

syntwistsuglydog June 1, 2015 at 4:06 pm

I don’t know what was fucking dumber…your original post with the ‘link’ OR your reply to YOURSELF! :)

SYNTwist June 1, 2015 at 4:09 pm

Or perhaps the cold shadow who read it?

The Buzzman June 1, 2015 at 4:16 pm

“cold shadow.”

Good choice of words.

SYNTwist June 1, 2015 at 4:26 pm

I’ve gotta get my snark on, it’s just a matter of time before Max pops me really good – ha! My shadow is nothing more than shoddy target practice at best ;)

FastEddy23 June 6, 2015 at 5:48 pm

That is not the farmers fault. That is not AgriBusinesses’ fault. That is not the distribution networks fault … Mmmmm … wonder whose fault that really is?

“… some animals are more equal than others …”

SYNTwist June 6, 2015 at 5:55 pm

Wow – you are really on a roll today. Where did that economic mind go? I’d like to talk to him ;)

FastEddy23 June 9, 2015 at 12:55 pm

“… The problem is our economic system, which stands in the way of people having enough to eat. …”

Hungry? Me neither. Know anyone who is so hungry they are losing weight? Me neither.

Have you heard about any children in this country going hungry? Really hungry? Not me (except for the poor kids suffering under the malnutrition of Michelle’s school “lunch” program.)

I know, I know, we all see the ads on TV and in the slick magazines for the supposed charities that supposedly feed starving African kids. And that has been going on for decades, the poverty pimps make a big deal about this … and of course Gruberment claims that they give all of those kids “foreign aid” and the UN (UNESCO) constantly pleading for more and more, year after year to fix a problem that obviously can not be fixed … by Them.

SYNTwist June 9, 2015 at 5:58 pm

We may not be, but there are hungry here. They had a tent city in Greenville, but it became such a nuisance, I think Greenville bought their way out out of that. There is the pastor in FL who was arrested for feeding the homeless because it occurred at a “public” park and was considered a nuisance to those who wanted to play there. There are hungry all around.

I agree, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” – Maimonides

However it is difficult for American’s who are hungry to watch our tax dollars feed hungry in other countries. There is a case to be made in both scenarios, but I do feel we could do a better job at feeding our own. I don’t disagree with feeding the world if that helps with diplomacy, but when you pay (subsidize) farmers not to plant when there are so many hungry – difficult to understand. Because out one side our mouth we scream – no hinge babies, no immigrants, no free anything. Out the other side our the mouth is – we have no food while we feed members of other countries, they have no food, so we bomb other countries.

It’s contradictory for anyone who just sits back and watches. Those who aren’t paid to spread any news, but observe.

There are a couple rotten things about our system, but the most rotten is people. Otherwise the system wouldn’t exist. This is not exclusive to America – I believe we have the best system in the world. Countries who have abused power and desire to harm us, who take in those that sell information to the highest bidder, who want nothing more than to see America crash – we still feed them. Not because we want to, not those who attack us, but because they steal from those who need food in their country and use it as a bargaining chip to be rationed out for carrying out the lords bidding.

Yes, hunger exists. I have seen much of it. More in Oklahoma City than in SC. Open your eyes, look around, you’ll see it. Some are too proud, some are lost, some are begging and some are abusing. But hunger does exist in US.

FastEddy23 June 10, 2015 at 12:22 pm

All anecdotal evidence.

Just because “homeless” seem to be everywhere in the big cities, does not mean that they are hungry.

In San Francisco there are 6,520 genuine homeless and that number has been steady to +/- 1/2% for a decade.
In San Francisco there are are more than 9,000 fed, state and City g’ment employees involved in “homeless” questions and services. … And that does not count all of the poverty pimps and party animals promoting homeless “charities”. … In The SF bay Area the “homeless problem” is a growth industry.

SYNTwist June 10, 2015 at 2:08 pm

In 2013, 85.7 percent of U.S. households were food secure throughout the year. The remaining 14.3 percent (17.5 million households) were food insecure. Food-insecure households (those with low and very low food security) had difficulty at some time during the year providing enough food for all their members due to a lack of resources. The change from 2012 (14.5 percent) was not statistically significant; however, the cumulative decline from 2011 (14.9 percent) was statistically significant. • In 2013, 5.6 percent of U.S. households (6.8 million households) had very low food security, essentially unchanged from 5.7 percent in 2011 and 2012. In this more severe range of food
insecurity, the food intake of some household members was reduced and normal eating patterns were disrupted at times during the year due to limited resources. Children and adults were food insecure at times during the year in 9.9 percent of households with children. At times during the year, these 3.8 million households were unable to provide
adequate, nutritious food for their children. The percentage of households with food-insecure children was essentially unchanged from 2011 and 2012 (10.0 percent in each year).


Additional sources show 1 in 6 or 1 in 7 in America face hunger, depending on which source you use. I’ll post a few for consideration:





FastEddy23 June 11, 2015 at 3:01 pm

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you have another liar.”

SYNTwist June 11, 2015 at 3:16 pm

Wow – you are just all over the board on economics. I saw they raised the minimum wage somewhere in CA to $15 today, wonder if they fish there?


FastEddy23 June 12, 2015 at 1:34 pm

Yes, and they have surfing here, too.

Out here in Taxifornia, businesses are leaving in droves and moving to better regulated, lower taxed states. The best destinations are the states with very little or no state personal income taxes. As Taxifornia continues to try to be a socialist-workers-paradise, the significant taxpayers are leaving.

Of concern: Taxifornia’s more recent tax increases have been aimed at the poor and middle classes … increases in sales taxes, fees for business startups (!), small business tax increases that don’t seem to “trickle on” the larger industries like Hollywood …

BTW: The least taxed group in Taxifornia? Trial Lawyers! … go figure …

euwe max June 1, 2015 at 4:20 pm


FastEddy23 June 6, 2015 at 5:50 pm


opengovernmentup June 2, 2015 at 2:48 am

It’s a law of nature…if you kill the sheep then there is nothing left..I suggest letting the sheep prosper and grow fat..shearing them once a year…too logical isn’t it?

Philip Branton June 3, 2015 at 11:42 am

Hmm…….you ask “where is our good Shepherd?” while burning the midnight oil…?

Wil…..maybe you need to have a contest via your FITSNEWS website to determine if anyone you “know” understands how to hit wolves with a “slingshot”…?

What is the difference between a full moon howl and a “weather report”…?

A “good” Shepherd would know…right..?


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