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RonRagusa
10-06-2009, 09:13 AM
In a society such as ours where economic stratification is built into the system is it our collective responsibility to insure that all citizens have a minimum level of guaranteed food, shelter, clothing and healthcare?

Ron

David Orange
10-06-2009, 10:01 AM
In a society such as ours where economic stratification is built into the system is it our collective responsibility to insure that all citizens have a minimum level of guaranteed food, shelter, clothing and healthcare?

Not if your ultimate god is Money. You can see all around us where that leads.

If you have some other moral compass than pure self-centered greed, you have to realize that your own well-being is supported by the well-being of all those around you. If you build an island of luxury in the midst of a sea of misery, you're bound to find the miserable crawling ashore. And soon, they will over-run your island.

The samurai realized that they had to enrich the farmers and merchants under them to keep themselves safe.

The paranoid view would be that you help a guy get wealthy and he uses his wealth to overthrow you.

But if all the people under you are in constant misery and hunger, they'll be just as glad to see you overthrown.

So it is to the benefit of the better-off to ensure that even the lowliest are helped--especially those that cannot (literally cannot) help themselves.

You will, of course, always have some who won't lift a hand but still want to be well-fed and have money. They will lift a hand to take from someone else. That's not the same thing. The truly underprivileged must have some support and opportunity or they will turn to crime. Now in America, we have far more people in prisons than any other industrialized nation on earth. We are bigger imprisoners than the old Soviet Union. I think China has more prisoners than the US, but not proportionally to their size. I think, relatively, they have a smaller prison population per capita than the US.

I think this is because we not only punish criminals severely, but we will classify you as a criminal on very general priniciples, mostly based on denying people's basic needs and rights for the benefit of the upper classes. This has seriously affected our society to the negative. It's very sad when a community sees a prison as "jobs and economic opportunity."

Best.

David

Marc Abrams
10-06-2009, 10:49 AM
If society is only as strong as it's weakest links, then the society as a whole should focus on it's weak-points.

Built-in economic stratification involves re-distribution of wealth. Those people who whine so loudly about the re-distribution of wealth downward (strengthening the weakest links) are absolutely silent when the re-distribution of wealth goes upwards. Then, they reserve their whining when the consequences of the disenfranchised spill into their most sheltered lives.

Marc Abrams

Aikibu
10-06-2009, 11:21 AM
In a society such as ours where economic stratification is built into the system is it our collective responsibility to insure that all citizens have a minimum level of guaranteed food, shelter, clothing and healthcare?

Ron

Yes... Under our system of government it specifically states that we "Provide for the General Welfare" of our fellow citizens...

Besides the fact that Folks have to remember that Jesus, The Buddha, and Muhammad were basically all "Socialists" LOL :)

William Hazen

Shadowfax
10-06-2009, 11:39 AM
Timely thread. David your post nailed exactly what I have been trying to put into words in a discussion I was having with someone else.

I find the selfish, greedy, me first and us vs them attitudes of the general public today very hard to understand and quite sad.

dps
10-06-2009, 12:51 PM
In a society such as ours where economic stratification is built into the system is it our collective responsibility to insure that all citizens have a minimum level of guaranteed food, shelter, clothing and healthcare?

Ron

Hi Ron, What do you mean by "economic stratification is built into the system"?
Are saying the system determines where the individual is at in our society economically?

David

dps
10-06-2009, 01:14 PM
Now in America, we have far more people in prisons than any other industrialized nation on earth. We are bigger imprisoners than the old Soviet Union. I think China has more prisoners than the US, but not proportionally to their size. I think, relatively, they have a smaller prison population per capita than the US

In the former Soviet Union millions were imprisoned and died without the outside world knowing about it.

Read "The Gulag Archipelago" by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GULAG

"The Gulag or GULAG was the government agency that administered the penal labor camps of the Soviet Union. The term is infamous for its association with remote places where prisoners were kept and sometimes disappeared. The camps housed all types of criminals, but are well known as mechanisms for repressing political opposition and for holding political prisoners.

(snip)

There were at least 476 separate camps, some of them comprising hundreds, even thousands of camp units.[1][2] The most infamous complexes were those at arctic or subarctic regions.

(snip)

"It was the branch of the State Security that operated the penal system of forced labour camps and associated detention and transit camps and prisons. Though it imprisoned millions, the name became familiar in the West with the publication of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's 1973 The Gulag Archipelago, which likened the scattered camps to "a chain of islands."[4]

David

RonRagusa
10-06-2009, 01:32 PM
Hi Ron, What do you mean by "economic stratification is built into the system"?
Are saying the system determines where the individual is at in our society economically?

David

Hi David -

Determines? No. Guarantees that there will be stratification along the lines of accumulated wealth ... yes. There will be, by definition, those that have a lot, those with some, those with less and those with none. And within our system there is the ability to move both up and down the hierarchy.

My question goes to whether or not in a system that is predicated on an uneven distribution of a finite supply of "wealth" society has a responsibility to provide its citizens with a baseline of survivability in terms of basic needs.

Ron

dps
10-06-2009, 01:49 PM
My question goes to whether or not in a system that is predicated on an uneven distribution of a finite supply of "wealth" society has a responsibility to provide its citizens with a baseline of survivability in terms of basic needs.


If society " has a responsibility to provide its citizens with a baseline of survivability in terms of basic needs", which
I agree with, doesn't the individual have a responsibility to society to try to move up within their capabilities?

David

RonRagusa
10-06-2009, 01:55 PM
If society " has a responsibility to provide its citizens with a baseline of survivability in terms of basic needs", which
I agree with, doesn't the individual have a responsibility to society to try to move up within their capabilities?

David

It does cut both ways IMO.

Ron

dps
10-06-2009, 02:12 PM
It does cut both ways IMO.

These are a few questions that I ask myself.

How do you determine when to help and when stop?

What do you do with the people who will not but are capable of fulfilling their responsibility to society?

David

Mark Freeman
10-06-2009, 02:19 PM
=Ron Ragusa;242311

My question goes to whether or not in a system that is predicated on an uneven distribution of a finite supply of "wealth" society has a responsibility to provide its citizens with a baseline of survivability in terms of basic needs.

Ron

Hi Ron,

if that society wants to be seen as 'civilised' then it absolutely must. Food, shelter, education and healthcare, these basics should be available to all, regardless of how much each individual owns. When these basics are taken care of, each person can then focus on their contribution to the collective well-being.

In a world as rich as ours, it is our collective failure that there are so many people without even the basics needed to survive and prosper.

Just the thoughts of an idealistic old hippy:o

regards

Mark

Hogan
10-06-2009, 02:34 PM
In a society such as ours where economic stratification is built into the system is it our collective responsibility to insure that all citizens have a minimum level of guaranteed food, shelter, clothing and healthcare?

Ron

You have no 'right' to food, shelter, clothing or health care. Are you, by chance, a supporter of The Constitution in 2020 movement?

RonRagusa
10-06-2009, 02:50 PM
You have no 'right' to food, shelter, clothing or health care.

Hi John -

Apropos of my initial post I believe that you do; and since I'm not interested in changing anyone's mind I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree on that point.

Are you, by chance, a supporter of The Constitution in 2020 movement?

First I've heard of it.

Ron

Hogan
10-06-2009, 03:47 PM
...
First I've heard of it.

Ron

Check it out - search in Google for Constitution 2020. It is a progressive movement to try to incorprate many of the 'progressive' ideas such as 'right' to health care, etc.. in a new Consitution. You might like it.

David Orange
10-06-2009, 03:56 PM
In the former Soviet Union millions were imprisoned and died without the outside world knowing about it.

Yeah...well, the soviet union is gone, so now the land of the free is the biggest imprisoning society on the earth.

Hogan
10-06-2009, 06:44 PM
Yeah...well, the soviet union is gone, so now the land of the free is the biggest imprisoning society on the earth.

Don't think so - any communist / totalitarian / dictatorship imprisons their entire population. Try again.

David Orange
10-06-2009, 07:00 PM
Don't think so - any communist / totalitarian / dictatorship imprisons their entire population. Try again.

Uh...yeah. I think we were talking about the "free" world.

Funny all these countries you dis so readily have freer societies than we do, better health, longer life expectancy, etc.

Of course...it takes a little intelligence to recognize things like that and a little honesty to admit them...so I'm not expecting you to get it.

Carry on.

David

Aikibu
10-06-2009, 07:21 PM
As we like to say... Remember when you point a finger at something three of your own fingers are pointing back at you...

Simply put...rather than blather on about what role you think "society" should play in helping to promote the "common welfare" what are YOU doing personally to live up to your responsibilities towards "society"

Are you doing enough?

Can you do more?

What can you do?

How can you do it?

Me...Almost all my time is devoted towards helping others the best I can...Often at the expense of my own personal gain....

What about Yah All Dear Readers?

I would love to see at least one of these threads evolve into the spirit of collaboration as opposed to confrontation...

After why else practice Aikido unless you implement into your life outside the Dojo?

William Hazen

dps
10-06-2009, 07:31 PM
But Dave, you said this and it was wrong


We are bigger imprisoners than the old Soviet Union.

Your statement of fact that is a one of the basis of your arguement was wrong, then you said this,

Yeah...well, the soviet union is gone, so now the land of the free is the biggest imprisoning society on the earth.

Dismissing that you were wrong. It is foolish to argue reasonably or rationally with someone who is not willing or able to argue from a fact based premise or acknowledge they made an error in their supposition.

David

.

dps
10-06-2009, 07:33 PM
Uh...yeah. I think we were talking about the "free" world.

Funny all these countries you dis so readily have freer societies than we do, better health, longer life expectancy, etc.


Are you seriously arguing that Russia and Communist China are freer societies than the U.S?

David

David Orange
10-06-2009, 08:18 PM
Your statement of fact that is a one of the basis of your arguement was wrong....

Read that again slowly, David.

then you said this...Dismissing that you were wrong...

David Orange wrote:
"Yeah...well, the soviet union is gone, so now the land of the free is the biggest imprisoning society on the earth."

is foolish to argue reasonably or rationally with someone who is not willing or able to argue from a fact based premise or acknowledge they made an error in their supposition.

Which is why I seldom "argue" with you. Your lack or reasonable argument, facts and actual thought. You're not bad a pasting things you clip from people who actually do "think," but you don't do much thinking of your own.

The fact is, when the Soviet Union existed, they were one of the few societies with more prisoners than the US. Now that they are gone, among industrialized countries, only China, with 1 Billion people, surpasses the United States for the number of people in prisons.

David

David Orange
10-06-2009, 08:21 PM
Are you seriously arguing that Russia and Communist China are freer societies than the U.S?

David

I did say "the free world," didn't I? Meaning England, France, Canada, Belgium...the Netherlands. Almost all of them have better public health, better health care, longer life expectancy, lower infant mortality....you name it. We are essentially the property of the big corporations.

Sorry I keep having to explain these things to you, but if you read very well (or even just passably) you could understand what I'm saying.

David

David Orange
10-06-2009, 08:28 PM
Simply put...rather than blather on about what role you think "society" should play in helping to promote the "common welfare" what are YOU doing personally to live up to your responsibilities towards "society"

First, I'm trying not to be a burden on society.

Me...Almost all my time is devoted towards helping others the best I can...Often at the expense of my own personal gain....

Could you elaborate on what that entails?

would love to see at least one of these threads evolve into the spirit of collaboration as opposed to confrontation...

Well, when a big chunk of the community is busy just trying to destroy the country in their fury at their party's having been ousted from power, you're doing well just to get them to admit that the less fortunate deserve anything other than prison.

But say we can agree that "society" should make some provisions for those who have not yet managed to find a way, what would you say that provision should be?

Hearing you.

David

jonreading
10-06-2009, 09:05 PM
I believe that a [successful] society gathers a group of productive citizens. In a [successful] society structure, successful members are capable of supporting less fortunate members:
1. The dependency of less fortunate members upon more fortunate members is a relationship of charity, not right. No person has a right to demand of another. Any person may ask for charity from another.
2. Society members must contribute to overall productivity for society to function. Less productive members results in a less productive society.

With those two points in mind, I think civilized societies can support its less fortunate. I think those less fortunate have an obligation to replay their charity though by becoming more productive.

Since the thread starter is based in the US, I'll make my observations there:
> The economic burden of citizens (taxes) is carried by the elite class - Something like the top 25% provide almost 80% of the tax collection (http://www.ncpa.org/sub/dpd/index.php?Article_ID=15117).
> The lower members of society are not being productive. Collectively, the federal government spends crazy money on welfare programs (http://www.usaspending.gov/). In addition to financial support, we have many individuals in prision who are not productive; we also have 10% unemployment nationally.

At some point our need for charity will overburden those capable of providing that charity. That scares me.

So my answer - We should provide charity for those in need. We should limit that charity so as not to overburden the society.

dps
10-06-2009, 09:39 PM
The fact is, when the Soviet Union existed, they were one of the few societies with more prisoners than the US.

But that is not what you said originally, you said,

We are bigger imprisoners than the old Soviet Union.

So which fact are you using for the basis of your argument?

David

dps
10-06-2009, 09:44 PM
Funny all these countries you dis so readily have freer societies than we do, better health, longer life expectancy, etc.

The only countries I've dissed in this thread have been the former Soviet Union and Communist China and they do not have freer societies than the U.S.

David

Hogan
10-07-2009, 07:45 AM
...Funny all these countries you dis so readily have freer societies than we do,

Wow, you really think Iran & North Korea & all those other communist countries & dictatorships have a society more free than ours?? Wow.... Really???

...better health, longer life expectancy, etc.

Oh, okay, that makes living in slavery okay then. I see what you are all about now.

...Of course...it takes a little intelligence to recognize things like that and a little honesty to admit them...so I'm not expecting you to get it...

Spoken like a true liberal.

By the way, what is the life expectancy of someone living in North Korea? China??

Kevin Leavitt
10-07-2009, 07:57 AM
China: total population: 73.47 years
country comparison to the world: 105
male: 71.61 years
female: 75.52 years (2009 est.)

N. Korea: total population: 63.81 years
country comparison to the world: 170
male: 61.23 years
female: 66.53 years (2009 est.)

S. Korea: total population: 78.72 years
country comparison to the world: 40
male: 75.45 years
female: 82.22 years (2009 est.)

US: total population: 78.11 years
country comparison to the world: 50
male: 75.65 years
female: 80.69 years (2009 est.)

When you look at Communisim, there might be some truth to this.

However, it appears that countries with a socialist/democratic balance seem to do much better.

Canada, France, and Sweden 8,9,10 respectively. Germany #32, Spain #23.

I would argue that both the extremes of both Capitalism and Communism as economic ideologies hurt people in general.

Marc Abrams
10-07-2009, 08:24 AM
I believe that a [successful] society gathers a group of productive citizens. In a [successful] society structure, successful members are capable of supporting less fortunate members:
1. The dependency of less fortunate members upon more fortunate members is a relationship of charity, not right. No person has a right to demand of another. Any person may ask for charity from another.
2. Society members must contribute to overall productivity for society to function. Less productive members results in a less productive society.

With those two points in mind, I think civilized societies can support its less fortunate. I think those less fortunate have an obligation to replay their charity though by becoming more productive.

Since the thread starter is based in the US, I'll make my observations there:
> The economic burden of citizens (taxes) is carried by the elite class - Something like the top 25% provide almost 80% of the tax collection (http://www.ncpa.org/sub/dpd/index.php?Article_ID=15117).
> The lower members of society are not being productive. Collectively, the federal government spends crazy money on welfare programs (http://www.usaspending.gov/). In addition to financial support, we have many individuals in prision who are not productive; we also have 10% unemployment nationally.

At some point our need for charity will overburden those capable of providing that charity. That scares me.

So my answer - We should provide charity for those in need. We should limit that charity so as not to overburden the society.

John:

The more important question is what is the "help" that is provided? Welfare and handouts do not work. In order to better understand how to answer that question, a person really does need to spend time working in those communities in order to understand where the communities are at and what might actually help. Those who typically "create" the help from Washington have the least understanding and many have a vested interested in writing in "poison pills" so that things really do not get better.

President Clinton had the right idea with "Workfare." The issues are deep and complex and should involve a lot more than charity and hand-outs. Solutions need to clearly identify problem areas that prevent healthy empowerment of the people so that they can help to create opportunities within their communities. Charity and handouts are kind of like throwing fish food in a pond every day. After a while, the fish simply adapt and wait for the handout. We can then call the fish lazy and unmotivated.....

Marc Abrams

jonreading
10-07-2009, 08:58 AM
Marc-

I think you are spot on. Right now the federal government spends significant money on aid programs and the results do not seem impressive. I am a small gov man and I do not believe the federal government should manage aid programs. I think aid programs should be run at the state level, county level, or even local/city level. The closer to the individual, the closer to seeing the problem - not to mention less waste in administration.

I prefer to directly support charities that are involved in implementing solutions on the ground. I also enjoy working through my church and local shelters. Toys for tots (http://www.toysfortots.org/) (although they may receive some kind of government assistance), Salvation Army (http://www.salvationarmyusa.org/usn/www_usn_2.nsf), Christmas gift assistance programs, etc. are all great programs that are not government funded. Not only do I get involved in something more than writing a check, I can see the results of helping others.

I guess the disspointing thing about these coversations is that when we talk about "rights" to things we see that as something that either comes from the government or does not exist. We sometimes forget about all the other non-government charities that work for those in need because charity is a bad word.

dps
10-07-2009, 09:20 AM
I found this comparison from an article written by Walter Williams (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_E._Williams)

It is a comparison of Gross Domestic Product per Capita a country has ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:GDP_PPP_Per_Capita_IMF_2008.png) and the amount of freedom a country has. (http://www.freedomhouse.org/template.cfm?page=363&year=2007)

Freedomhouse used the following parameters to determine freedom;

"The Freedom in the World survey provides an annual evaluation of the state of global freedom as experienced by individuals. The survey measures freedom—the opportunity to act spontaneously in a variety of fields outside the control of the government and other centers of potential domination—according to two broad categories: political rights and civil liberties. Political rights enable people to participate freely in the political process, including the right to vote freely for distinct alternatives in legitimate elections, compete for public office, join political parties and organizations, and elect representatives who have a decisive impact on public policies and are accountable to the electorate. Civil liberties allow for the freedoms of expression and belief, associational and organizational rights, rule of law, and personal autonomy without interference from the state."
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Notice that the countries with the highest Gross Domestic per Capita also has the highest degree of freedom.

David]

Marc Abrams
10-07-2009, 09:46 AM
Marc-

I think you are spot on. Right now the federal government spends significant money on aid programs and the results do not seem impressive. I am a small gov man and I do not believe the federal government should manage aid programs. I think aid programs should be run at the state level, county level, or even local/city level. The closer to the individual, the closer to seeing the problem - not to mention less waste in administration.

I prefer to directly support charities that are involved in implementing solutions on the ground. I also enjoy working through my church and local shelters. Toys for tots (http://www.toysfortots.org/) (although they may receive some kind of government assistance), Salvation Army (http://www.salvationarmyusa.org/usn/www_usn_2.nsf), Christmas gift assistance programs, etc. are all great programs that are not government funded. Not only do I get involved in something more than writing a check, I can see the results of helping others.

I guess the disspointing thing about these coversations is that when we talk about "rights" to things we see that as something that either comes from the government or does not exist. We sometimes forget about all the other non-government charities that work for those in need because charity is a bad word.

Jon:

Where I guess I begin to diverge from your perspective has to do not with the size of government, but with the corruption of government. A government is suppose to govern, regulate ...to protect the best interests of it's citizens (and not it's corporations or other legal entities). These entities have a vested interested in creating a government that fails to do it's job adequately. Could you imagine if the corporations were well regulated by our government? That is why their undue influence at all levels of government is insidious and destructive. If the argument now changes to smaller government because it cannot work well, then the corporations continue to unduly influence the process to their obvious benefit.

Al Gore, while he was a genuine A-hole, had the right idea in that we should demand that government run as efficiently and effectively as businesses should. That will not happen as long as the prostitutes, sorry "elected" officials are looking towards non-citizen entities to make their lives so nice and cushy.

I have no problem with a well-run, efficient and effective program being run at any level of government or private enterprise. Unfortunately, the higher up the chain you go, the more corrupted and useless our officials have become. That even includes our justices.

Marc Abrams

Rob Watson
10-07-2009, 10:03 AM
'Efficient govt program' ...

Interesting calculus for determination of efficiency. Dollars in versus dollars (or value) out-just how to measure efficiency? How many dollars going into a program is pretty easily found from many sources. Value is much more difficult to figure. How much value is obtained from dropping bombs? How much value is obtained from helping the unfortunate?

Our govt (in the US) is charged with providing for the common defense and the general welfare (amongst other things) but it is not stipulated how these are to be done nor in the relative 'weight' of each component so why complain about a lack of 'balance' when none is required?

Note that the common defense does not mean only the armed forces (note the constitutional limit of two years without continued congressional support).

David Orange
10-07-2009, 10:14 AM
So which fact are you using for the basis of your argument?

We "are" bigger imprisoners than the old Soviet Union. We "are" and they "were."

In any case, we are definitely bigger imprisoners now than Russia. So slice it any way you like: in today's world, "the land of the free" has more people in prison than any other industrialized 'free' nation on the earth.

David

David Orange
10-07-2009, 10:16 AM
The only countries I've dissed in this thread have been the former Soviet Union and Communist China and they do not have freer societies than the U.S.

I'm referring to the nations I mentioned: France, England, Canada, all of which have been widely disparaged for their "socialized" health care systems in defense of our corporate system.

David Orange
10-07-2009, 10:18 AM
Wow, you really think Iran & North Korea & all those other communist countries & dictatorships have a society more free than ours?? Wow.... Really???

France, England, Canada, Netherlands, Japan. Freer societies, longer life expectancies, lower infant mortality, mostly thanks to the American Republican Party.

Spoken like a true liberal.

No. Just true.

By the way, what is the life expectancy of someone living in North Korea? China??

You're the expert. I'm talking about free nations.

David Orange
10-07-2009, 10:26 AM
it appears that countries with a socialist/democratic balance seem to do much better.

Canada, France, and Sweden 8,9,10 respectively. Germany #32, Spain #23.

I would argue that both the extremes of both Capitalism and Communism as economic ideologies hurt people in general.

Exactly. I've always been a capitalist. I believe in the ability to make money freely, but not without limits. When capitalism pushes beyond all limits, as we saw during the Bush years, it's just like anything else that grows explosively, without control and without regard to the host organism in which it grows: cancer. Our problem in the US is that we've developed cancerous capitalism in the US and it has seriously eroded all areas of healthy life.

Some folks see which side the bread is buttered on and sycophantically serve the interests of the super-wealthy in the naive belief that they, too, will join those ranks by working hard at the car company or the airline or wherever they go in their cars with the W stickers on the back. And they vote as they're told to vote and the wealth of the nation concentrates even more thoroughly in the hands of the super-elite. Which what totally sank our economy and resulted in landslide victory for the Democrats in Congress and the White House.

The people are bound to swing back, eventually, to a more "conservative" position, but maybe only after the Republican party has been replaced by something a heck of a lot smarter and less corporate-owned-and-operated.

Thanks.

David

David Orange
10-07-2009, 10:28 AM
Charity and handouts are kind of like throwing fish food in a pond every day. After a while, the fish simply adapt and wait for the handout. We can then call the fish lazy and unmotivated.....

"Give a man a fish and he eats for a day. Teach him to fish and he eats for a lifetime."

True, but isn't it crazy how some people can only understand that in an either/or context?

If the man needs food, then give him a fish and teach him to fish.

Your deep insights are well appreciated.

David

C. David Henderson
10-07-2009, 10:29 AM
I wonder if this result to which David Skaggs cited reflects the definition of "freedom" and "rights."

This definition of freedom sound pretty much like the classical liberal model (now recast as libertarianism); freedom from political control by the state and freedom to associate with others for private, commercial, and public purposes.

At the time of their emergence in the Eighteenth Century, these concepts expressed the aspirations and grievances of European (and colonists abroad) who owned property. They struggled to prosper in an emerging capitalist economy still encapsulated in the cocoon of monarchical and often absolutist states.

These classical concepts remain central and crucial to the bundle of ideas that I would include under the aegis "freedom;" but I think some minimal freedom from want should and must be considered a societal commitment too. Not only from a moral perspective, but a self-interested one.

I know the idea at the heart of this thread must strike some as "socialist." Indeed, there are countries, including if I recall correctly China, that have defined "freedom" to include prominently the idea of freedom from physical want.

Irrespective of how well or poorly the Chinese government has provided this sort of freedom to its people (much less other sorts), the inclusion of this idea as a "human right" makes immanent sense if you understand a little about Chinese history beginning around the time of the Taiping Rebellion of the mid-Nineteenth Century, when whole swaths of the Country were depopulated by successive wars, famine, disease, and social disintegration.

I also believe that it's pretty clear what kind of society emerges when terms like liberty and equality are understood solely as those ideas originally were intended, including the right to resist any governmental infringement on property ownership and use. (Except, perhaps to protect other property rights or, as illustrated in the U.S. Supreme Court's "Slaughterhouse" case, in the legitimate exercise of limited "police powers" to protect the common good.)

History suggests such a society will develop great differences in wealth, influence and opportunity -- de facto social stratification.

Ironically, moreover, while the emergence of a stable middle class is critical to the political and social stability of advanced industrial or post-industrial capitalist societies, the emergence of the middle class has been midwifed in substantial part by governmental infringements against the classically defined "freedom" to own property.

Examples include laws, resisted in this country until the devastation of the Great Depression, surrounding issues such as minimum wage, working conditions, tax policy, governmental spending, and social welfare programs.

I hope this Country comes to appreciate again the value of these kinds of protections for our society as a whole, and moves away from the "lifeboat logic" of recent years that declares another person's physical survival to be none of my concern.

FWIW.

cdh

David Orange
10-07-2009, 10:42 AM
I guess the disspointing thing about these coversations is that when we talk about "rights" to things we see that as something that either comes from the government or does not exist. We sometimes forget about all the other non-government charities that work for those in need because charity is a bad word.

Plenty of good points, Jon, but who sees "rights" as "something that either comes from the government or does not exist"?

We are endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights. Among these are the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, but those are not all the rights our Creator has given us (and though this was written in the US Declaration of Independence, it was written as a statement of the universal nature of humanity).

The problem in the scenario you have given is that you attach no level of responsibility to those on the upper end of the economy and very little other than responsibility to those on the lower end. In other words, all rights for the wealthy and no responsibility. And while you protest the tax burdens of the super rich, you neglect to note that those people own virtually everything in the United States. Therefore, they accrue the far greatest benefits of the society to themselves and should pay the greatest price. And they still come out thousands of times better off than those on the lower end.

That super elite also has the greatest degree of control over the social structures within which the less privileged must live and operate. They control the laws, the schools, the courts, the businesses and they profit by everyone else's use of those systems. They also create the social conditions under which "the land of the free" has more people in prison today than any other industrialized "free" country in the world. Their policies separate families and condemn young people to lives without fathers in communities where very little evidence of hope and opportunity are to be found. Sure, some individuals can overcome that. Theoretically, any individual could, but mostly they languish.

So it's not a clean cut matter of personal choice to be rich or impoverished. As much as we know that an individual's choices can lead him to a better life, it's not at all surprising that millions of very poor people never learn that.

Best wishes.

David

David Orange
10-07-2009, 10:44 AM
Where I guess I begin to diverge from your perspective has to do not with the size of government, but with the corruption of government. A government is suppose to govern, regulate ...to protect the best interests of it's citizens (and not it's corporations or other legal entities). These entities have a vested interested in creating a government that fails to do it's job adequately. Could you imagine if the corporations were well regulated by our government? That is why their undue influence at all levels of government is insidious and destructive. If the argument now changes to smaller government because it cannot work well, then the corporations continue to unduly influence the process to their obvious benefit.

You leave nothing unsaid. Very well done.

Thanks.

David

David Orange
10-07-2009, 10:56 AM
I wonder if this result to which David Skaggs cited reflects the definition of "freedom" and "rights."

These classical concepts remain central and crucial to the bundle of ideas that I would include under the aegis "freedom;" but I think some minimal freedom from want should and must be considered a societal commitment too. Not only from a moral perspective, but a self-interested one.

Great post, David.

Especially that last bit above.

Look at economics as we look at health. It's in our best interests to prevent pandemic flu because if we don't, we and our families may die. How stupid is it to refuse to help someone else when his problem could so easily become our own?

Just the same, failing to educate our citizens and failing to provide opportunity (while taking fathers from the home and imprisoning them) guarantees that they will mostly fall into the lowest of ways and end up endangering everyone.

Many people have pointed out how it is in our best interest to fight AIDS in Africa because of the vast numbers of children left orphaned and homeless when their parents die of AIDS--not because we care about the orphans, but because we understand that they may well be swept up in militant causes and organizations such as Al Quaeda and Taliban.

Of course, it's not good to have people who live off the government entirely, but why only focus on the poor who live off the government? They have wretched lives at best and are targeted by right-wingers as the cause of all trouble, while the super-wealthy get even more benefit from government and use their advantages to further exploit and weaken the lower classes.

Thanks!

David

Keith Larman
10-07-2009, 11:08 AM
Assumptions...

I heard a commercial yesterday for Meg Whitman. She is starting up her campaign for governor here in California. Ms. Whitman served as CEO of Ebay beginning when it was a startup and helped "grow" Ebay to the powerful corporate entity it is today.

Anyway, the commercial I heard trumpeted her Corporate roots. How she can "run a business". I remember Romney running a similar campaign.

But it did get me to thinking... Where does the assumption come from that a state (or any government) *should* be run like a company. Sure, certain aspects I can agree with. Efficiency issues, issues of identifying wasteful activities. But is the overall model really the same? Or even remotely close?

It seems to me in the last few decades we've gotten onto a track of saying that government *should* run like a business.

The real question is "what is the role of government". Few argue about government providing law enforcement and various other "public services". So we have the military and provide them with health insurance coverage (which I think we should before anyone starts lobbing grenades at me). No one screams "socialism" at this. And few really question that such things are part of the responsibility of government. We also provide education for our children (although in many areas the quality of that education is severely lacking -- we work very hard to keep our one child in a private school due to the loud sucking sound that is the Pasadena Unified School District). We have a semi-government run postal system. Social Security. Medicare. And on and on. It seems almost patchwork at times.

So now we look for "business leaders" to fix our problems. And many run on these platforms of being successful "business people". But is the government really a business? Isn't government supposed to be about providing those things we feel *should* be done by government for our common good? Yes, rooting out inefficiency and redundancy is a good thing, but isn't the "bottom line" different here?

Anyway, just a random thought after hearing a political advert.

My position is that we as a society do have some responsibilities to our fellow citizens. Government is there specifically for the purpose of providing those things to society that we deem important to be done for the benefit of everyone. To me that means education. Infrastructure (roads, highways, schools, etc.). And it would mean providing a bare bones basic health insurance option individuals could choose to buy into (given the tremendous drain uninsured people have on the system in general).

Bah, this could go on forever. I'm gonna go work instead. Gotta pay my skyrocketing health premiums.

Aikibu
10-07-2009, 11:29 AM
Assumptions...

I heard a commercial yesterday for Meg Whitman. She is starting up her campaign for governor here in California. Ms. Whitman served as CEO of Ebay beginning when it was a startup and helped "grow" Ebay to the powerful corporate entity it is today.

Anyway, the commercial I heard trumpeted her Corporate roots. How she can "run a business". I remember Romney running a similar campaign.

But it did get me to thinking... Where does the assumption come from that a state (or any government) *should* be run like a company. Sure, certain aspects I can agree with. Efficiency issues, issues of identifying wasteful activities. But is the overall model really the same? Or even remotely close?

It seems to me in the last few decades we've gotten onto a track of saying that government *should* run like a business.

The real question is "what is the role of government". Few argue about government providing law enforcement and various other "public services". So we have the military and provide them with health insurance coverage (which I think we should before anyone starts lobbing grenades at me). No one screams "socialism" at this. And few really question that such things are part of the responsibility of government. We also provide education for our children (although in many areas the quality of that education is severely lacking -- we work very hard to keep our one child in a private school due to the loud sucking sound that is the Pasadena Unified School District). We have a semi-government run postal system. Social Security. Medicare. And on and on. It seems almost patchwork at times.

So now we look for "business leaders" to fix our problems. And many run on these platforms of being successful "business people". But is the government really a business? Isn't government supposed to be about providing those things we feel *should* be done by government for our common good? Yes, rooting out inefficiency and redundancy is a good thing, but isn't the "bottom line" different here?

Anyway, just a random thought after hearing a political advert.

My position is that we as a society do have some responsibilities to our fellow citizens. Government is there specifically for the purpose of providing those things to society that we deem important to be done for the benefit of everyone. To me that means education. Infrastructure (roads, highways, schools, etc.). And it would mean providing a bare bones basic health insurance option individuals could choose to buy into (given the tremendous drain uninsured people have on the system in general).

Bah, this could go on forever. I'm gonna go work instead. Gotta pay my skyrocketing health premiums.

This is an essential Republican Myth That Government run as a business is somehow "better" than government run as a "social obligation or civic duty."

The Author Thomas Frank specifically address this folly in his book "The Wrecking Crew"

Check out his interview with Bill Moyers:

http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/blog/2008/08/bill_moyers_talks_with_thomas.html

Meg Whitman WILL NOT be getting my vote...I am tired of the so called "efficiencies" of private business wogs running the government. All private business has done over the last 30 years is to vastly enrich themselves at taxpayer expense and almost completely destroy the faith Americans used to have in their system of Government.

William Hazen

David Orange
10-07-2009, 11:45 AM
Assumptions...
...My position is that we as a society do have some responsibilities to our fellow citizens. Government is there specifically for the purpose of providing those things to society that we deem important to be done for the benefit of everyone.

And the very word "govern" contains the concept of control and limitations. What are they supposed to limit? Not personal freedom, but exploitation. So there would be a level at which business would be left completely alone to do as it must.

However, as William Hazen also pointed out, business will eagerly go very far beyond that level and there is where some "government" is needed. And that is the function of "government." To protect the general welfare from the purely self-interested ones who will exploit others to death and poverty if they, themselves are not "governed" with limitations. Ergo, banking regulations.

Some dimwit recently claimed (again) people buying houses they couldn't afford caused the recent meltdown of our economy. But no person can buy a house they can't afford unless someone loans them the money. It was the mortgage brokers working for fees and commissions, then selling the mortgages to others, that inflated the bubble that burst and left us in free-fall. It was the investment houses paying multi-million-dollar bonuses to top people while selling poison investments to the public that really pumped it up. It was a whole incestuous writhing mass of greed from the top down that put us in such a bind. Otherwise, why did Stephen Green, head of HSBC, say this:

"Mr Green, in Istanbul for the annual meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, admitted the banking industry collectively owed the world an apology for the financial crisis."

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/8293981.stm

Healthy business is part of the community. A grocery store on the corner where local people can walk to get groceries, where the owner lives in the community and provides jobs to other people in the community, and maybe credit to his customers. That's a real win/win situation in which the business and community are interdependent. But in the modern world, business is corporate and "the community" is mostly defined by bank accounts and money flows, leaving no concern for the people on the little local streets living their daily lives. Such big businesses will shut down the little local grocery stores and hardware stores, etc., in an ever-progressing win/lose strategy that leaves them ever richer and real people ever poorer.

And then the corporations control the elections and the politicians and therefore the government. And that is Cancer Capitalism.

Thanks to you both.

David

SeiserL
10-07-2009, 05:24 PM
IMHO, societal responsibility is a two way street. Isn't it?

Toby Threadgill
10-07-2009, 05:51 PM
Hi,

Does this sound somehow relevant?

"The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism—ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power."

- Franklin D. Roosevelt

DH
10-07-2009, 06:23 PM
Hi,

Does this sound somehow relevant?

"The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism—ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power."

- Franklin D. Roosevelt
Hi Tobs
While true, I think the real dilemma we are facing is that the Senate and congress are for sale. I see no reasonable way to fix it either. I think nothing delights them more than seeing Conservatives and Liberals polarize every issue. Why? It keeps the issues divided and the money pouring in without anyone realizing both sides are on the take.
Due to the nature of my business I deal with wealthy people quite a bit. I had a client of mine (lets call him David) tell me a story once of being on his boat with two Senators and two Congressman. After they made their deal, The democratic senator said to him "David, if the people of this country ever knew what we were doing in D.C. they would come down and kill us all. Not long after; bing, bing, bing, three major projects occur benefiting him personally-one underwritten with state funds. Who got it done. It just so happens it was the the democratic Senator....this time.
What makes the situation so dire, is that there is no one group that is guilty and can be pointed to. There is a diversity of special interests both public and private, lobbying and/ or paying off the ones who are in charge, and who make the laws and approve the spending of our money. And they are the ones who are corrupt.
I don't trust anyone of them-as a group. A fool can can see $60M being spent to get a job paying $250K and know something is desperately wrong. But on it goes. I don't see the country ever coming together to jointly face the one overiding issue that continues to erode our countries best efforts.
I don't think we get a clear picture of just what we are capable of doing with the delicate balance of creating safety nets, and programs for support, while leaving enough incentive for those with creative energy and drive to be rewarded over those who do not sped as much effort to succeed.
Human nature is best revealed in rewarding hard work, striving and charity. The struggle is how to reward the one, support the other, and not remove incentive.
Cheers
Dan

DH
10-07-2009, 06:47 PM
Edit:
I don't think we get a clear picture of just what we are capable of doing with the delicate balance of creating safety nets, and programs for support, while leaving enough incentive for those with creative energy and drive to be rewarded over those who do not spend as much effort too succeed.
Human nature is best revealed in rewarding hard work, striving and retaining a charitable heart for those who need help.
But that is a very simplistic view. There are people who have great ideas and money to support the implementation of those ideas, for the public good-that get to "influence" (through advertising dollars) television, culture, politicians, public policy, not only to benefit them financially but any interests they may happen to hold dear.
And none of that is reserved for conservative or liberal politics. It's money politics.
The struggle to reward the one, while supporting the other, and not removing incentives nor offer unfair advantages to any one, select group will go on because our system is broken, and those who are supposed to fix it are the cause.

Cheers
Dan

Keith Larman
10-07-2009, 08:36 PM
Hey, Dan, no argument from me. I found this one today while surfing around on-line. It seems to me that things like this *should* be embarrassing to the politician when made public. But today it seems to be S.O.P.

http://www.opensecrets.org/news/2009/09/real-estate-transaction-with-p.html

And then the lists of just how much money is flowing into campaign coffers of both parties from corporate interests. I keep wondering when a politician is just going to be honest enough to run the way Stephen Colbert tried to in the presidential election and just say they're sponsored by "flaming hot Doritos...". Because it seems most of them are.

dps
10-08-2009, 07:12 AM
As much as we know that an individual's choices can lead him to a better life, it's not at all surprising that millions of very poor people never learn that.


Very poor people. Do you mean in the U.S.? Poor as compared to the rich in the U.S.? Poor as compared to the rest of the world?
Poor is a relative term. The poor in the U.S. have a better standard of living than then most poor in the world and they have better political rights and civil liberties too.

David

Marc Abrams
10-08-2009, 07:14 AM
Hi Tobs
While true, I think the real dilemma we are facing is that the Senate and congress are for sale. I see no reasonable way to fix it either. I think nothing delights them more than seeing Conservatives and Liberals polarize every issue. Why? It keeps the issues divided and the money pouring in without anyone realizing both sides are on the take.
Due to the nature of my business I deal with wealthy people quite a bit. I had a client of mine (lets call him David) tell me a story once of being on his boat with two Senators and two Congressman. After they made their deal, The democratic senator said to him "David, if the people of this country ever knew what we were doing in D.C. they would come down and kill us all. Not long after; bing, bing, bing, three major projects occur benefiting him personally-one underwritten with state funds. Who got it done. It just so happens it was the the democratic Senator....this time.
What makes the situation so dire, is that there is no one group that is guilty and can be pointed to. There is a diversity of special interests both public and private, lobbying and/ or paying off the ones who are in charge, and who make the laws and approve the spending of our money. And they are the ones who are corrupt.
I don't trust anyone of them-as a group. A fool can can see $60M being spent to get a job paying $250K and know something is desperately wrong. But on it goes. I don't see the country ever coming together to jointly face the one overiding issue that continues to erode our countries best efforts.
I don't think we get a clear picture of just what we are capable of doing with the delicate balance of creating safety nets, and programs for support, while leaving enough incentive for those with creative energy and drive to be rewarded over those who do not sped as much effort to succeed.
Human nature is best revealed in rewarding hard work, striving and charity. The struggle is how to reward the one, support the other, and not remove incentive.
Cheers
Dan

Dan has essentially elaborated on my previous post. To clarify an excellent point made by Keith, I am not talking about government running like today's businesses. I am talking more generally about having to run efficiently and effectively. As Dan has so clearly pointed out BOTH POLITICAL PARTIES HAVE PROSTITUTED THEMSELVES OUT! My father had as a patient a very famous political reporter. Before this person died, he told my father that if the American people knew just 10% of how Washington really operated, there would be a revolution in the streets the next day. This man died in the mid seventies!

I do not hold much hope out for government to fix itself. They have too much at stake in the corruption. If our country was serious about addressing this problem, we could "clean house" relatively quickly by enacting the following iron-clad rules:
1) Government funds any and all political campaigns equally. No personal funding or accepting of any outside funding is permissible. Any violation of this, both the giver and receiver go straight to jail and do not cross Go!
2) Any forms of lobbying and/or treats, political favors..... is treated like it is, bribery. Both sides go straight to jail and do not cross Go!
3) Except for security & national safety issues, total transparency in government. Open phone logs, visit logs....

Just imagine what it would be like if our elected officials were truly beholden to the people.

Marc Abrams

Toby Threadgill
10-08-2009, 10:58 AM
I do not hold much hope out for government to fix itself. They have too much at stake in the corruption. If our country was serious about addressing this problem, we could "clean house" relatively quickly by enacting the following iron-clad rules:
1) Government funds any and all political campaigns equally. No personal funding or accepting of any outside funding is permissible. Any violation of this, both the giver and receiver go straight to jail and do not cross Go!
2) Any forms of lobbying and/or treats, political favors..... is treated like it is, bribery. Both sides go straight to jail and do not cross Go!
3) Except for security & national safety issues, total transparency in government. Open phone logs, visit logs....

Just imagine what it would be like if our elected officials were truly beholden to the people.

Marc Abrams

Mark and Dan,

I agree. Both parties are corrupt and the access to corporate money for campaign finance is where the problem starts. What do you think the chance is that congress will ever enact true campaign finance reform? If it was seriously proposed by some rare creature ( an honest politician) the ensuing battle would make the nastiness surrounding healthcare reform look like a girl scout meeting. Imagine the propagation of lies and huge sums of corporate money dumped into defeating any restrictions on corporate influence.

We are standing at the edge of an abyss right now as the Supreme Court considers the concept of corporate personhood.

See: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/11/opinion/11tue4.html?_r=1

Toby Threadgill / TSYR

Marc Abrams
10-08-2009, 11:16 AM
Mark and Dan,

I agree. Both parties are corrupt and the access to corporate money for campaign finance is where the problem starts. What do you think the chance is that congress will ever enact true campaign finance reform? If it was seriously proposed by some rare creature ( an honest politician) the ensuing battle would make the nastiness surrounding healthcare reform look like a girl scout meeting. Imagine the propagation of lies and huge sums of corporate money dumped into defeating any restrictions on corporate influence.

We are standing at the edge of an abyss right now as the Supreme Court considers the concept of corporate personhood.

See: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/11/opinion/11tue4.html?_r=1

Toby Threadgill / TSYR

Toby:

The "Supreme" Court has already shot down some finance/bribery/corruption reform last session. This was suppose to be the last vestige of sanity. As to the odds of the our government enacting some real campaign finance laws that the Supreme Court will uphold, I ask you the question-> What are the odds of you drawing your sword and splitting a meteorite that is about to hit the earth :confused: ?

Regards,

Marc

jonreading
10-08-2009, 12:01 PM
Plenty of good points, Jon, but who sees "rights" as "something that either comes from the government or does not exist"?

We are endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights. Among these are the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, but those are not all the rights our Creator has given us (and though this was written in the US Declaration of Independence, it was written as a statement of the universal nature of humanity).

The problem in the scenario you have given is that you attach no level of responsibility to those on the upper end of the economy and very little other than responsibility to those on the lower end. In other words, all rights for the wealthy and no responsibility. And while you protest the tax burdens of the super rich, you neglect to note that those people own virtually everything in the United States. Therefore, they accrue the far greatest benefits of the society to themselves and should pay the greatest price. And they still come out thousands of times better off than those on the lower end.

That super elite also has the greatest degree of control over the social structures within which the less privileged must live and operate. They control the laws, the schools, the courts, the businesses and they profit by everyone else's use of those systems. They also create the social conditions under which "the land of the free" has more people in prison today than any other industrialized "free" country in the world. Their policies separate families and condemn young people to lives without fathers in communities where very little evidence of hope and opportunity are to be found. Sure, some individuals can overcome that. Theoretically, any individual could, but mostly they languish.

So it's not a clean cut matter of personal choice to be rich or impoverished. As much as we know that an individual's choices can lead him to a better life, it's not at all surprising that millions of very poor people never learn that.

Best wishes.

David

Hey David-

I am going to try to clear up some of your points...

1.Government rights. You cited one of the most importance government documents held by the US to draw to the fact people have rights - the next lines of the quote are:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — .
So we establish government to protect these rights. I think because we rely upon the government to protect our rights we dismiss those other "rights" that are not specifically outlined by the government.

2. Productivity burden. I cited a statistical comparison of the tax burden, identifying the stratification of socio-economic class. No where do I attach a responsibility to any of the socio-economic class; I simply reference the significant stratification in productivity and financial burden. Nor did I advocate who should carry the tax burden.
However, since we are on the topic, my stance is that financial burden in general should follow productivity. That is, those who produce more are capable of carrying a greater tax burden. I have concerns when the tax burden is carried significantly by the elite as the statistics indicate. I also have concerns when the tax burden deters productivity, which I believe in short time it will.

Aikibu
10-08-2009, 12:29 PM
Hey David-

I am going to try to clear up some of your points...

2. Productivity burden. I cited a statistical comparison of the tax burden, identifying the stratification of socio-economic class. No where do I attach a responsibility to any of the socio-economic class; I simply reference the significant stratification in productivity and financial burden. Nor did I advocate who should carry the tax burden.
However, since we are on the topic, my stance is that financial burden in general should follow productivity. That is, those who produce more are capable of carrying a greater tax burden. I have concerns when the tax burden is carried significantly by the elite as the statistics indicate. I also have concerns when the tax burden deters productivity, which I believe in short time it will.

The Productivity Burden is another Neo-Classical Economic Myth that was seized by Conservatives to further their economic aims and is in direct opposition to the realities of US economic life and that section of the Constitution you "interpreted" for David.

Just off the top of my head taxes for the rich in terms of percentage of income were at an all time high just after WWII and through most of the 50s and 60s...Considered by most to be a golden age of economic life for Middle Class Americans.

Elizabeth Warren explains what happened between then and now despite the huge tax cuts given to the Rich over the last 50 years and the easing of the "Productivity Burden".

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/10/08/AR2009100800778.html?sub=AR

Enjoy....

William Hazen

Aikibu
10-08-2009, 12:39 PM
Ooops my Bad...Here is the interview...

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/video/2009/10/05/VI2009100503010.html?sid=ST2009100800781

William Hazen

Toby Threadgill
10-08-2009, 02:57 PM
Hi,

I'm with William here. During the Eisenhower administration the top income tax rate was almost 90%. It was JFK who first suggested that this rate of taxation was too high and lowered it. In 2009, the highest tax rate is 35%, but listening to Rush Limbaugh, you'd think it was 95%. The taxation rate differential between the middle class and wealthiest Americans is only 7% today. Also, when you consider that a majority of wealthy Americans can shelter huge percentages of their income, you realize their "real" taxation rate is far below 35%. Therefore, claims of "overtaxation" are downright disingenuous. One wealthy investor I know bragged to me about his new Porsche, bought with his GW Bush tax refund for the rich. This trillion dollar tax cut to the rich was sold as an economic stimulus that would trickle down to everyone in the economy. Did his tax refund "trickle down" to other Americans like GW's "Laffer Curve" cronies claimed it would? Heck no.... His new Porsche was bought in Grand Cayman, where he shelters his money to avoid paying US taxes. This is reality folks, not BS theory like "productivity burden".

I've never begrudged the current progressive tax structure which insists I pay a larger overall percentage of my income in taxes than those in the middle class. I live in a country that gives me wonderful opportunity and quality of life. I will not take it for granted by bitching about paying more in taxes than an American citizen who is installing phones, working on my car or employed as a nurse in a hospital. These middle class American workers are the engine that make our nation great. They have been economically bullied and taken for granted in Washington for decades. Why? They have no high paid lobbyist twisting arms and bribing their legislators.

I don't know how the concept of social responsibility was trashed and individual greed substituted for it, but greed will be our undoing unless we rediscover that we are all best off when we have a thriving, healthy and productive middle class, Something that has been shrinking in size since 1980.

Toby Threadgill / TSYR

C. David Henderson
10-08-2009, 05:00 PM
I totally agree.

cdh

Aikibu
10-08-2009, 05:27 PM
Thanks guys,

I don't want to misconstrue this as a particular dig on George W Bush...but he is the only President to cut Taxes during a time of War...

The fact that Alan Greenspan supported these Tax Cuts shows just how bankrupt both Neo-Classical Economics and The Reagan Revolution have become. With disastrous results.

After 30 years of consistent attacks...The greatest fear the Conservative Movement has is... That our current President may make the Ideology of Government as a Public Service and a Social Responsibility relevant again.

William Hazen

C. David Henderson
10-09-2009, 08:48 AM
If you're so inclined, take a look at Paul Krugman's op-ed in the Times today, regarding the rise and fall of American public education. I think it's an example of what happens when the commonweal is shortchanged too long.

Marc Abrams
10-09-2009, 09:04 AM
The fact that Alan Greenspan supported these Tax Cuts shows just how bankrupt both Neo-Classical Economics and The Reagan Revolution have become. With disastrous results.

William Hazen

William kindly eluded to the role that Alan Greenspan played in the buildup and collapse of our economic "house of cards." I frankly place a lot of blame directly on his shoulders. He is a well known libertarian who has said on many occasions that government regulations are not necessary in the market place because the greater good of people will outweigh the potential for greed so that the marketplace will self-regulate for the greater good of society.

Alan Greenspan actively fought against regulating the emerging derivatives market, he actively fought against those who wanted to keep the leveraging amount the same with banks, he actively fought against banks entering into more speculative arenas......... Well, the best that we could get out of him when the financial house of cards collapsed was when he said that MAYBE, some of his philosophical beliefs were not accurate. He has yet to step up to the proverbial plate and say, my philosophical understanding were naive, bordering on psychotically wrong. I allowed my philosophical believes to prevent me from accurately assessing reality, and as a direct result of that, I helped to create a financial house of cards that had to collapse upon itself.

I would not hold my breath waiting for that one. He, like many others, walk away from a financial debacle that hurts a gross amount of American citizens to this day, financially secure.

Just another day in paradise.....

Marc Abrams

jonreading
10-12-2009, 10:59 AM
Nowhere in any post to which I have contributed have I mentioned anything other than my opinion. "The Productivity Burden is another Neo-Classical Economic Myth that was seized by Conservatives..." This is now the second time my opinion has been politicized and used to launch into a tangental partyline political statement.

I guess I misinterpreted this thread as asking for opinions to a question. Unless the answer to the question is Alan Greenspan, I think the thread is not focusing on the discussion:

"In a society such as ours where economic stratification is built into the system is it our collective responsibility to insure that all citizens have a minimum level of guaranteed food, shelter, clothing and healthcare?" "Alan Greenspan destroyed our economy."

Hmmm, nope, just partyline blather; in this case pro-democratic. I'll bow out here.

David Orange
10-12-2009, 11:43 AM
After 30 years of consistent attacks...The greatest fear the Conservative Movement has is... That our current President may make the Ideology of Government as a Public Service and a Social Responsibility relevant again.

That sums it up perfectly.

Thanks.

David

Aikibu
10-12-2009, 11:45 AM
Nowhere in any post to which I have contributed have I mentioned anything other than my opinion. "The Productivity Burden is another Neo-Classical Economic Myth that was seized by Conservatives..." This is now the second time my opinion has been politicized and used to launch into a tangental partyline political statement.

I guess I misinterpreted this thread as asking for opinions to a question. Unless the answer to the question is Alan Greenspan, I think the thread is not focusing on the discussion:

"In a society such as ours where economic stratification is built into the system is it our collective responsibility to insure that all citizens have a minimum level of guaranteed food, shelter, clothing and healthcare?" "Alan Greenspan destroyed our economy."

Hmmm, nope, just partyline blather; in this case pro-democratic. I'll bow out here.

With all due respect I think you misread my post....I was blathering about Economics and it's not my fault the Conservatives tried to make Libertarian Free Market Ideas work in the real world...

Neo-Classical Economics is a school of Economics and not to be confused with Neo-Conservatism which is a school of Political Thought.

The fact you read into this as a "tangential party line statement" means you had an agenda to begin with...After all ...The oldest Political Debate in our 250+ year history is what role Government should play in people's lives...This discussion began with the Federalist Papers and I doubt it will end anytime soon. Indeed I feel it's a sign of just how vibrant our Democracy is that there is more than one answer to this "question".

Of course this is just my "opinion" too. :)

William Hazen

Aikibu
10-12-2009, 04:27 PM
The Productivity Burden California Style...

A great example of how Neo-Classical Economic Theory compares with California's Fiscal Reality. :)

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-hiltzik12-2009oct12,0,4419598.column

William Hazen

lbb
10-13-2009, 06:38 AM
I don't want to misconstrue this as a particular dig on George W Bush...but he is the only President to cut Taxes during a time of War...

That's called the "Guns and Butter for my buddies and to hell with the rest of you" policy. Works great as long as you're a crony of the guy in charge, otherwise not so much.

DH
10-15-2009, 12:41 PM
I just loved one of the headlines this morning
Pelosi admits to wanting to "get back" at private Ins companies by partially funding the Governments competitive Ins plan with 6.7 billion dollars in service fees on to the private Ins companies cost of doing business.
You never try to accomplish everything in one step in government. The trick is to draft legislation to get your foot in the door. As government agencies never go away it is the first step to funnel future monies into this new money pit. In the end we will see an agency that absorbs 50% of our dollar to produce 50% where it is needed,
There is no incentive for efficiency in government as there is in the private sector.

The bill is meant to help some 50M uninsured
What I find interesting is that the uninsured are taken care of in ER's all over. My wife can prescribe drugs and tests for uninsured people far in excess of what she can for those with plans. Who absorbs the cost of that now?
We do?
How?
Hospitals are reimbursed for some; they write off others as overhead and bill it to the private sector as a rate charge. So for most "the problem" is already being taken care of for the poor.
The ones who are hit the hardest are the people with assets who are forced to pay.
That is the meat of the argument
Lets say that ALL of the 50M uninsured are going to now get $15K a year to buy their own Ins (roughly the cost of a first rate family plan in the private sector). That would bring the total bill to us-the taxpayer- to only $75B out of pocket plus government admid. costs.
If we factor that in; build offices, hire directors, hire sections chiefs, and managers, then hire staff and pay for vacations and health benefit and retirement packages, lights, heat, furniture and eventually the pen to write the checks. Let’s say that is going to cost more than the money paid out to actually help someone, let's call it $100B
That’s $175B to solve a problem.
Where does the $1.6 trillion that got reduced to $800B get justified?

This new tactic is incredible. It is a ploy, a first step in a virtual take over of a private industry.
The government wants to start a new widget factory to compete with widget manufacturers, and they are going to fund it by forcing the widget industry to absorb the cost of the government’s competition. This is more very dangerous behavior from a congress out of control.

No, I do not care whether it is conservatives or liberals in office, I hate them both equally for the whores they have become.

William Hazen wrote:
I don't want to misconstrue this as a particular dig on George W Bush...but he is the only President to cut Taxes during a time of War...
And for the next three years we had largest income from income tax (in adjusted dollars) in the history of our country

Governer of Massachusetts. "We raised taxes, but recieved $245M less than last year..I dunno what happened?" Same thing happend in RI.
I've never expected we were hiring exceptionally intelligent and honest people, but niether did I expect we were electing idiots.

You can tax corporations with the largest rate world wide and sit there as perplexed as these governers when everyone leaves or refuses to invest here. What has happened is the governement now wants to make it illegal to be an American firm and operate offshore. No small wonder- various companies are opening foreign divisions and are going to just simply- leave.
What is going to happen is so obvious its embarrasing.
Dan

mathewjgano
10-15-2009, 01:59 PM
There is no incentive for efficiency in government as there is in the private sector.


I don't think incentive for efficiency is based on whether or not someone is working for the government or for themselves. A person isn't necessarily more dedicated to maximizing efficiency just because they're operating in the private sector and accountability isn't necessarily better either.

RonRagusa
10-15-2009, 02:21 PM
That's $175B to solve a problem.
Where does the $1.6 trillion that got reduced to $800B get justified?

Hi Dan -

The $800 billion is over a ten year period, $80 billion per year, less than half of your calculated figure.

Best,

Ron

Aikibu
10-15-2009, 02:29 PM
And for the next three years we had largest income from income tax (in adjusted dollars) in the history of our country
Dan

While this may true on it's face... The fact is That Both War's actual costs were kept off the Books (They were voted on as "supplementals" to the Federal Budget) Again without "disparaging" Bush another first...The Bush Administration could thus claim to have a huge increase in tax revenues while hiding the Actual Real Cost of the War and the equally huge increase in the Federal Deficit...I'll leave it up to you as to their political motive for being fiscally dishonest. LOL :) So using their figures The Tax Cuts "worked"... We have a name for accounting method in the industry I work in. Hint It starts with "Hollywood". LOL

The REAL result of the "Tax Cuts" being the National Deficit DOUBLED IN EIGHT YEARS.

This Statement Also ignores the Huge Credit Bubble created by The Fed (at one point it was estimated that there was 50 TRILLION US DOLLARS in excess capital/credit world wide) A large part of this can be attributed to the Both the Housing Bubble and the Financial Services Bubble.
This gave Joe Six Pack the (and this is important) appearance of greater wealth due to all that cheap credit/debt aka 'The Wealth Effect." For our Legislative Bodies During that time It made even so called "Fiscal Conservatives' spend like drunken sailors...( a good read on this debacle is Arianna Huffington's book "Pigs at the Trough")

In the 80's it was Greed is Good

This day and age it (still!) is Greed is Good for me and Debt is really good for you aka "Privatize Profit and Socialize Loss."

It goes without saying we're paying the piper and it may be a generation or more before this disaster plays itself out. The Current President may have backed us off a cliff (indeed Private Economic Life is still being destroyed) but as some have argued unless the Government spends money propping up the Private Economy for the next six months Economic Life for most Americans will completely collapse.. We are no more than a step away from the edge of that cliff.

Thank You Alan Greenspan and George W Bush

Mr. Greenspan for at least admitting his Neo;Classic Economic and Libertarian Theories in practice "might" have been wrong and President Bush for proving the Pet Conservative Theory that Government does not work by devoting his entire Presidency to wreaking it. Talk about a circular argument on steroids! :eek:

So you may ask What does this have to do with the thread topic? Well...

IF you were way too busy back in the "old days" buying Hummers and Flipping Houses on the (granted... unbeknown to you.) Taxpayer's dime... You had better help us clean up the mess you made...It's a BIG ONE..So big It affects everyone...Like it or not Today I am my brothers economic keeper. :)

William Hazen

Aikibu
10-15-2009, 02:46 PM
I don't think incentive for efficiency is based on whether or not someone is working for the government or for themselves. A person isn't necessarily more dedicated to maximizing efficiency just because they're operating in the private sector and accountability isn't necessarily better either.

Another Neo-Classical Economic Myth shattered...Example One There is still 12 BILLION DOLLARS on Money given to Private Firms under Government Contracts in Iraq that is/was "lost".

Example Two. The Senate Voted last week not to award government contracts to those private companies who would not allow rape victims due process under the law but force them instead into company sponsored 'arbitration hearings"...A direct violation of Fifth and Sixth Amendments of the Bill of Rights.

As fantastic as it sounds... 30 (!!!) Conservative Senators voted AGAINST the Amendment...

William Hazen

RonRagusa
10-15-2009, 09:09 PM
The Guardian Life Insurance Company today canceled every health insurance policy in New York State resembling a policy held by one of their customers who suffers from MS. They would have preferred to cancel just the one policy but had to cancel everyone in order not to run afoul of anti-discrimination laws.

FWIW

Ron

mathewjgano
10-15-2009, 11:22 PM
The Guardian Life Insurance Company today canceled every health insurance policy in New York State resembling a policy held by one of their customers who suffers from MS. They would have preferred to cancel just the one policy but had to cancel everyone in order not to run afoul of anti-discrimination laws.

FWIW

Ron

Why did they have to cancel someone's policy in the first place? I'm guessing it wasn't because of a lapse in payments.

RonRagusa
10-16-2009, 05:26 AM
Why did they have to cancel someone's policy in the first place? I'm guessing it wasn't because of a lapse in payments.

Hi Matt -

They didn't have to cancel, they wanted to because they didn't want to live up to their obligation to pay for his care which would have cost them about $1 million. They are an ~ $35 billion company with $8 billion in revenue in 2008.

This is the health insurance industry at its all to often worst.

Best,

Ron

mathewjgano
10-16-2009, 10:15 AM
Hi Matt -

They didn't have to cancel, they wanted to because they didn't want to live up to their obligation to pay for his care which would have cost them about $1 million. They are an ~ $35 billion company with $8 billion in revenue in 2008.

This is the health insurance industry at its all to often worst.

Best,

Ron

That's a serious shame. But at least they can afford to pay millions (billions?) to advertize how they're just there to help and give us piece of mind.:rolleyes: :grr:
I recall my dad's business insurance was dropped after a single incident (he was a plumber, and to be fair, water damage is pretty bad). He had a clean record for about 15 or so years leading up to that incident though.
My wife's sling that was provided after her shoulder surgery was listed at about $80 and yet we found the exact same one for about $8 sold retail at rite-aid. Insurance ate the cost, but I gotta wonder why they're not putting that much interest in cutting costs in that arena. Seems if they just started shopping at rite aid they'd make some serious savings.
My wife's dad was a family practice doctor who actually had to operate at a cost in order to help certain patients because the insurance was too high on the proceedure. He seemed to think it was warranted while other doctors simply refused to help due to the costs.
Something definately needs to be done to fix this bloated industry. I'm inclined to think profit shouldn't mitigate health care.