The Road to Hell is Paved With Good Intentions

We call it minding your own business. It does not mean you have no opinion or don’t care. It just means that you spend your time and energy working where you are most effective. If you mind your business well enough long enough, your ability to be effective widens & grows. If you obsess about things you can do little about you become an impotent buffoon.

If you take a strong interest in something, it implies you will do something about it. Unfortunately, we too often substitute concern or sensitivity for action.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions. On the surface this simply means that you don't succeed in doing the good things you intend. But on a deeper level it means you don't succeed in creating the capacities to do the things you should.

For example, what if you goal is to be generous, but you lack the will power or wiliness to sacrifice to produce the capacity to BE generous? You hear it all time. "I would like to help, but I am really strapped myself." It depends on WHY you are strapped. Maybe if you had been a little more circumspect in the past you could be more generous now. Of course, you have to judge whether or not the cause deserves help and if it is "your business" but if you decide it is and if you waste your resources so you have nothing left to share, you get no credit for good intentions, or maybe your intention are just part of the pavement on the road to hell.

Speaking of generosity, it is impossible to be generous with someone else's property. It is like the guy who thinks he is "generous" by letting his friend cut into line. Actually the only way he can be generous is to give up his place in line entirely. Otherwise all he is giving is someone else's place. He is not generous, just rude.

Liberals who claim to be generous - because they are liberals - annoy me. Some are generous, just as some conservatives are generous, but what counts is how much they give of their OWN time and money. Advocating programs paid for with higher taxes on somebody else is not generosity.

We are lucky that most people still take care of their own business most of the time and we should pay closer attention to their contributions. A man who works and saves to take care of five children is a man who works and saves to take care of five children. If he is taking care of his own family that means somebody else - or the state - does not have to do it. It is a big contribution. He is keeping five people off the public dole or private charity. Who is more "generous" this guy or somebody who advocates using somebody else’s tax dollars for the support of children?

Being generous and helpful to our fellow human beings is a good thing. But let's understand the mechanism. Intentions are good, but intention without capacity is pathetic. If you want to be good, you have the duty to be effective. Othewise, see you in hell.

Posted by Jack at October 29, 2006 12:00 PM
Comments
Comment #191246

Jack-
It is our money, too. I think as long as we pay as we go, we can legitimately call ourselves more generous.

The real trouble here is that your party’s supply side economics is inherently stingy: we’re taking our money back, you say, we can spend it better ourselves, you say. Perhaps you can, but most of the time these tax cuts are put into the hands of folks who don’t spend as much as they make as it is. You folks are willing to give bunches of tax breaks to corporations to encourage them to do or not do certain things…

If I’m going to go to hell, it might as well be on account of good intentions, rather than those cynical and corrupt. The real meaning of that old phrase is about ego- You have to be humble enough to realize you can’t do everything, and that not everything done in the name of good is itself a good, or contributes to the good one seeks. Those are worthy lessons for anybody.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 28, 2006 10:22 PM
Comment #191250

I find it extraordinary that a Republican who supports this administration, and this administration’s war in Iraq, can write an article about how DEMS need to learn to take care of their own business. Seems that Republicans don’t have a problem being generous and sticking their noses in the business of others, even other sovereign countries, as long as it’s future generation’s money and other people’s lives they’re generous with.

Posted by: Jarin at October 28, 2006 11:04 PM
Comment #191251

Jack, the goal is to have a society that is good for as many people as possible. The idea that not just a select few reap the majority of the economic benefits is relatively new. Government responds to money and power; when both are concentrated in the hands of a few, government necessarily safeguards the interests of a few.

You know that.

The statistics on wealth distribution in this country have been posted many times on these boards; please don’t play a sorrowful tune for the most privileged among us.

By the way, the adage in your title: it applies to much more than just economics.

Posted by: Trent at October 28, 2006 11:10 PM
Comment #191255
Otherwise, see you in hell.

If you wanted to send a personal message to Eric Simonson, you could have just sent him an email. No need to broadcast it here.

Thanks for being so generous with my kids’ money by putting them into debt to pay for your worthless war. Your good intentions have indeed paved the road to hell, Jack.

Posted by: Burt at October 28, 2006 11:29 PM
Comment #191258

Trent (and Stephen)

We might want to have government programs as a matter of public policy. I suspect we would advocate different levels of involvement, but we would not disagree on its necessity.

My complaint is about people who feel virtuous advocating giving away other people’s money.

Stephen

I do not see how WE can legitimately call OURSELVES generous. If I take $100 of my money and give it away, I am generous to that extent. If I take $100 out of your pocket and give it away I cannot.

I do not know if it was your intention, but you confirmed a fear many people have re liberals. THey think that all the money in American belongs to the government (it is OUR money) and the government is generous when it lets people keep some of it.

There is also a moral hazard here if people substitute government generosity for their own or similarly to blame government for their failings.

I have often addressed a particular variation of this pathology right here on this blog when talking about fuel prices. We have a very simple line of responsibility. If you burn more gas, you are more part of the problem then if you burn less gas. Yet so many want to shift the blame, saying something like if the government would just make others do the right thing, I could do what I want.

Posted by: Jack at October 28, 2006 11:41 PM
Comment #191260

Burt

It was a good joke, but it also illustrates the point. You also seem to equate politics with virtue and assume Republicans are greedy.

You know that most of us do not make much on those tax cuts. The reason we support cuts is because we feel it is better for the economy, better for our country and in the medium and long run better for the poor, since it encourages economic prosperity and lowers unemployement.

If I was greedy, I would be a liberal and figure out ways to get a piece of that government action and then I would feel guilty, but I would be able to shift my share of blame by advocating giving more to everybody else too.

Posted by: Jack at October 29, 2006 12:03 AM
Comment #191261

Jack, I’ve enjoyed your discussion, but I’d like to add that competing economic theories, in and of themselves, don’t either lack or have a monopoly on “good intentions.”

People themselves have good or bad intentions. The theories themselves are simply different ideas of how to achieve the most good for the most people.

Either a supply-sider or someone who wants to redistribute wealth can, in practice, act out of bad faith and use their pet theory as an excuse for bad behavior.

What I mean is that for every greedy and corrupt corporate villain willing to sacrifice the greater good for their personal bottom line and justify their behavior with economic theories, there is someone else who is greedy, corrupt but also envious and lazy and who thinks that the world owes them a living.

Personally, I think that the idea of “generosity” is a wonderful private virtue, but a potentially devestating public one. Economies organized around enforced generosity quickly devolve into a situation where there’s very little left to be generous with.

Posted by: Neo-Con Pilsner at October 29, 2006 12:18 AM
Comment #191268

Jack, it seems the government just cant win with the repubs.If they tax and help they are redistributing wealth. If they start their own corporation and compete or get a good value for our resources they are commies or socialist. So the only thing they can do is go away. or spend the tax dollars they receive only on things that benefit those already most blessed in this Country. Oh yeah they can defend the interests of those most fortunate and spread democracy with bullets. Greedy at best huh?

Posted by: j2t2 at October 29, 2006 1:09 AM
Comment #191269

Jack,

Your post makes some really excellent points about pseudoaltruism. What you said, for the most part, is a truth which applies to all people, not necessarily those of one political persuasion or the other. It’s a shame you had to ruin it by making it another ‘why liberals suck’ piece.

You are one of the most even-handed writers on all of Watchblog, it’s too bad that you give in to more plebian pursuits.

Posted by: beijing rob at October 29, 2006 3:05 AM
Comment #191273

beijing bob

You know I have to be partisan to some extent or I lose my partisan credentials. In this particular case, I am more on the liberals anyway. Conservatives rarely feel they are being generous when the government sets up a program.

j2t2

You got the point. Government should enforce contracts, regulate lightly for practical purposes, ensure the rule of law, defend the country from threats foreign and domestic BUT geneally let the people themselves through the market mechanism take care of everything else.

The Constitution defines the powers of the Federal government narrowly and specificially leaves the rest to the states and the people themselves.

So government has very general responsibilities. The metaphore is that they build the road, but do not determine which individuals can use it. Government has no business taking from some to give to others. Enough redistribution will take place in the normal course of government. When they build that road, the rich will pay for most of it and the poor will drive for free.

Re corporations, the government cannot run one correctly. If it simply owns the firm, it will be run like other corporations and the political class will cry. If it runs it like government it will be inefficient and get unfair subsidies.

BTW - government is inefficient by nature. We create it to be that way so that it is less of a threat to liberty. We do not want government to run as efficiently as a private firm. The political part - the checks and balances - will prevent that, which is why government should stay out of business to the extent possible.

Posted by: Jack at October 29, 2006 6:47 AM
Comment #191279

Jack;

Its amazing to me that you make such a salient argument about a concept and then the lambasting begins. The concept—-that it is impossible to be generous with someone else’s money or property— is an obvious one.

You also show that many of us have good intentions, but we don’t follow through. You might have two people walking past a homeless person: the first says, “Boy I wish I could help but I just don’t have any money” and the second storms past thinking, “Stupid bum on the street, get outa my way”.

The reality of the situation is that the homeless person is still in the same situation—no money, no food. Nothing has changed for him/her.

In an old gym locker room was a quote: “It is not the wine, but the pouring.” One can have a wonderful bottle of wine, but if in his lifetime, he never pours it, it becomes worthless. So too are our intentions, if we never act upon them.

I have had much good wine, and I have poured a fair measure of it, but not enough. Your post, along with other issues, has gotten me thinking about my contribution to society, and I intend to act more than I have been.

My solutions will still differ from others’ solutions. I won’t give the homeless guy on the corner any money, but I might buy him a sandwich or offer him work…the proverbial hand UP over the hand OUT. I will still prefer tax policies I think will boost the overall economy over policies that help individuals. I will still favor life over personal choice in the areas of abortion and embryonic stem cells, but I will look more for being involved in favorable options to solve the problems in those issues.

Jack, thanks for your post. Its enlightening, or should be to anyone who reads it. Anyone who wants to argue it should look first in the mirror and determine whose money they are generous with, and whether their own good intentions actually accomplish more than just making them feel better about themselves.

Posted by: joebagodonuts at October 29, 2006 7:31 AM
Comment #191281

If you live in this society, you should pay equally to take care of it - or leave. That’s called fair. Having a country where poor and middle-Americans can hardly get by and pay disproportionate taxes is stupid. Bush’s policy of tax cuts for the rich at the expense of a debt every citizen of this country will have to pay interest on was sheer neglect.

“One of President Bush’s be-very-afraid lines this campaign season is that Democrats, if elected, will raise taxes. What he doesn’t say is that if you are one of tens of millions of Americans who make between $75,000 and $500,000 a year, your taxes are already scheduled to rise starting next year — because of laws that Mr. Bush championed and other actions he failed to take.

The higher taxes stem from the alternative minimum tax, a levy that is supposed to snare multimillionaires who would otherwise get away with using excessive tax shelters to wipe out their tax bills. But these days, the alternative tax is snaring many upper-middle-income filers.

Mr. Bush set the trap in 2001 — and in 2003, 2004 and 2006. In each of those years, he flogged for new tax cuts without requiring corresponding long-term changes in the existing rules for the alternative tax. It was well known that failure to update the alternative tax would create perverse interactions with the new tax cuts, causing filers’ tax bills to drop because of the cuts, only to shoot back up again from the alternative levy.

Mr. Bush said he would vanquish the problem through tax reform. Didn’t happen. Congress never wrestled with lasting solutions. The truth is, the president and lawmakers are paralyzed. To fix the alternative tax while keeping the Bush tax cuts on the books would result in the loss of some $800 billion in revenue over 10 years, blowing a hole in the federal budget and exposing how utterly unaffordable the tax cuts of the last five years really are.

The taxpayers wrongly afflicted by the alternative tax are not tax dodgers. For the most part, they are couples with children who have broken into the ranks of six-figure earners, and who live in high-tax states like New York and California. They are being penalized, in effect, for claiming everyday deductions — like write-offs for dependents and property taxes — which, under the alternative tax rules, are viewed as excessive shelters.

Meanwhile, multimillionaires are not being snared at nearly the same rate as other filers. In part, that’s because much of the income of the superrich comes from investments. The tax breaks for investments — the grail of the administration’s tax-cutting crusade — are not counted as shelters under the alternative tax the way, say, children are.

For the past few years, Congress has papered over the mess by passing temporary relief measures to shield most — though not all — upper-middle-income taxpayers from having to pay the alternative tax. The latest stopgap expires at the end of this year, leaving taxpayers exposed at ever lower income levels. Congress could pass another temporary stay, and it will probably do so.

But stopgaps do little to protect the families already being unfairly clobbered by the alternative tax. And they make the nation’s underlying budget problems worse. Like the Bush tax cuts themselves, they result in less tax revenue than is needed, requiring the government to borrow heavily. The mounting debt of the Bush years — all of which must be paid back with interest — makes tax increases or budget cuts, or both, inevitable.

The president wants to push off the day of reckoning until he leaves the White House, while whipping up voter fear of future tax increases. But the reality is that he and his supporters have laid the groundwork for higher taxes and hamstrung government, no matter who is in office in the months and years to come.”

Posted by: Max at October 29, 2006 8:01 AM
Comment #191284

Jack,

You made some good points. I wish you had made a comment to the kind of thing that you most likely support such as Social Security and so forth.

I take it that what you find offensive is the extremes that the democartic party goes through to pass out your and my money in their socialist schemes to have big government be all things to all people and also claim they are party of gerocity and compassion and their political opponents are not.

I wish that you had touched on the fact that most of us on both sides of the isle do support a limited safety net in various areas. We want all children to have the opportunity to have an education. We want everyone to have at least some sort of basic health care. We want a number of things.

Unfortunately so many times the hyper politicized will resort to such statements as “We care about the poor and the children and others do not” to use their emotional sledghammer to push their latest spending bill.

Fortunately we now have earmarks. You can send thousands of spending bills through on the back of one critical bill. Corruption flows and both parties are taking advantage of the giveaway and easy money to be made for those politicians willing to put their hands out.

One good first step would be to stop the earmarks which in my opinon (and others) would go far toward the goal of stopping the giveaway and stopping the corruption.

Whoever wins the next election should be held to that standard, END EARMARKS, Balance the Budget, Fix Social Security, Fix Medicare, create an AFFORDABLE BASIC national health care for those who have none, and Stop Illegal Immigration.

If the democrats win either house, I’m going to pound these issues in every day they are in congress for years. IF the Republicans win, I intend to do the same thing. Lets hold them all responsible.

Posted by: Stephen at October 29, 2006 8:22 AM
Comment #191285

Max, are you saying that there has not been a push to set the tax cuts established by Bush perminent? If this is your take, then you need to do a little research. It is dis-information like yours that is faulty. All atempts to extend these cuts as well as change the alternative tax has been halted in congress by the Dems… You need 60 votes, Dems as a general rule, vote as a block against anything the President/Congress attempts on tax revision. We all like to refer to the rich as the true benifactors of all tax cuts, but it is well documented that over 80 percent of all taxes are paid by the top 5 percent of earners. As for the 40,000,000 low income earners, the only taxs they pay are Social Security and Medicare. Do you believe in the death tax? Do you believe in 35-40 percent Capital Gains tax on your 401k. These are just two taxes tou will see increase or at least be proposed should the Dems retake both houses…

Posted by: Lacy at October 29, 2006 8:27 AM
Comment #191286
You also seem to equate politics with virtue and assume Republicans are greedy.

No, Jack. You assume liberals and/or Democrats like to take money from rich Republicans and redistribute it to poor people who will vote Democrat. I’d say it was a severely outdated idea, but it was never really true in the first place. Liberals are truly committed to fiscal responsibility in government. Clinton made it his mission to pass welfare reform and made it happen - reducing the welfare rolls by nearly 60% not to mention the reduction in federal debt levels.

Bush’s big social program was to have the government pay inflated prices for drugs to give to seniors. Very generous to the seniors and especially the drug companies - not so much to those of us who have to pay for it.

You know that most of us do not make much on those tax cuts. The reason we support cuts is because we feel it is better for the economy, better for our country and in the medium and long run better for the poor, since it encourages economic prosperity and lowers unemployement.

You’re certainly entitled to your opinion, but how can you advocate tax cuts that have resulted in enormous federal deficits? The economy has indeed expanded, but it has done so on the back of massive borrowing from China and elsewhere that our children and grandchildren will have to pay off. The deficits are real and they drag down the economy enormously.

Even if you don’t make much personally off of a Bush tax cut, it is still greedy to pursue them time and again no matter how far into the red they push this country’s future. During a war that you support, which has cost this nation hundreds of times more money that the Bush administration claimed it would, it is greedy to ask other people’s children to pay for it. And that’s what you are doing.

You may consider yourself generous, but asking others to pay for your mistakes hardly fits the definition.

If I was greedy, I would be a liberal and figure out ways to get a piece of that government action and then I would feel guilty, but I would be able to shift my share of blame by advocating giving more to everybody else too.

Nonsense. You really want to claim that there are no Republican voters doing all they can to get their piece of “government action”? From poor rural voters to CEOs of government contractors there are plenty.

Posted by: Burt at October 29, 2006 8:35 AM
Comment #191287

Jack,

You make some outstanding points here!

This is one of your best thoughts yet.

Thanks!

Posted by: Jim at October 29, 2006 8:51 AM
Comment #191288

Burt, did you happen to read a posting just a day or so ago by one of your liberal friends which showed the intrest on the national debt? I found it to be interesting in that from the time the figures commenced, (approx 1998) the intrest was approximatley the same. Even under the Clinton Administration. I also noted that during several years of the current administration that the cost had dropped somewhat. The national debt is an animal that has grown over many adminstrations, both Dem and Rep. Even in the so called Budget Surplus Years of the the last administration, the national debt (intrest) was little changed. Yes we need honest politicians both Dem and Rep. However, we seem to Condon the infractions of the Dems or just ignore them. My state recently sent a Dem Congressman to presion for corruption. Little was ever publicized about this. We have a LA Dem with 90,000 cold cash in his freezer but looks like he will be re-elected… So to state one party is worse than the other in corruption is like the pot calling the kettle black! We need good honest politicians to do the peoples work reguardless of party.

Posted by: Lacy at October 29, 2006 8:53 AM
Comment #191289

Let’s say I use a road in town that a company also uses to ship goods, and it comes time to pay to upkeep the road.

Me: Well, you make millions of dollars on this road. I’ll contribute my fair share, but honestly, I think you should contribute more money. (How ungenerous of me)

Company: We’ll contribute equally. You pay a thousand, we’ll pay a thousand.

Me: But that’s not enough to maintain the road, and I can’t afford any more.

Company: Move.

Me: I don’t have the money. I don’t understand. You make millions off the road. You don’t want to pay to upkeep it? You sure get a lot out of it…

Company: Your government can just borrow the money from China. Why should we pay when we don’t have to?

Me: That doesn’t seem right. Won’t I have to pay for that borrowed money eventually? At interest?

Company: You might, but when the road is in disrepair we can simply move our shipping and jobs to China, who will have plenty of money of credit based on the money you owe them, btw. It’s more cost-effective for us.

I know we could argue morality in circles forever Jack, but the truth is your scheme of the rich and companies paying the same monetary amount as everyone else simply doesn’t work (besides being a raw deal for this nation, imho). We need money to keep our roads in repair, and if we don’t have it, we’ll have to borrow it.

Something conservatives like to forget is that during the Reaganite heydey, that is, under “trickledown” economics, the total federal deficit went from $900 billion to $300 trillion in just a few short years. Luckily, the 90’s happened, and we bailed ourselves out, but that was total luck. Conservatives remember the seeming economic prosperity, but ignore the fact that it was only because we were in debt. Remember, Cheney said Reagan proved “debts don’t matter”.

It’s a fantasy position, like saying the war is going well. I wish just saying it over and over again would make it true, but it won’t. Your morality conveniently ignores the reality that we have to find a way to pay for our roads, and that in order to do that, those that make more money have to pay disproportionately. This is reality. I am not preaching.

If you can think up a realistic system to pay down our debts and keep the country running while having me and Paris Hilton pay the same taxes I would like to see it. But me, I am sick of the borrowing. Sick of the debt. Sick when I think about the future and all of the social security benefits that need to be paid.

The problem with your party is that we are facing real problems and they refuse to get real about solving them. Promising to not raise taxes at this point is pure fantasy and completely irresponsible.

Posted by: Max at October 29, 2006 8:54 AM
Comment #191290

Tax money belongs to both liberals and conservatives as they have both contributed! LOL

Would Jesus help out a man with five children who needed it? Yes, we help each other, but the government needs to help also. One person cannot do it alone.

Posted by: Susan B. at October 29, 2006 9:00 AM
Comment #191291

Lacy,

Again, the money must come from somewhere. It would be irresponsible to repeal the alternative tax at this point, because we would just have to borrow $800 billion to replace the revenue it generates. What we need is a better proposal than just cutting taxes and borrowing money - that’s what I’m saying. And the fault for no intelligent proposal existing is squarely Bush’s.

Posted by: Max at October 29, 2006 9:06 AM
Comment #191294

Max the problem is that when Bush took over, this country was slidding into a recession and the tax breaks were needed to get our economy going again. I agree the national debt is a problem, but it is a NATIONAL problem and with out fysical restrain of both parties, the national debt will never be drawn down. There is two much frivilous spending in Congress on both sides. It has come to past that Congress is a give and take place to do the nations business without true reguard to the good of the nation… Someone mentioned eliminating earmarks, this is a good start. But good ideas are not the sole responsibility of the man or the party at the top. Have yet to hear any platform from the Dems, I am willing to give them a shot if they are willing to lay out a platform before the election… history has lead a bad taste in my mouth and pocketbook when I have just blindly trused a politician..

Posted by: Lacy at October 29, 2006 9:19 AM
Comment #191297

Jack-
Liberals pay for this generosity, too.

If such generosity is approved by Congress and the President, who are elected by the people, it is our generosity, not merely the liberals.

Even in the midst of the Republican Majority, even with a president who had the blessing of a majority victory (though small), your party hasn’t dared to do away with many of what you call the liberal’s generosity.

Why? Simply because the GOP knew that the will of the people would be against it. In fact, in your party’s own bumbling way, you tried to be generous, too. Unfortunately for all involved, your party neither endeavored to pay for it, nor kept its eye on the ball in regards to who it was supposed to be generous to.

As for the money the government gets, it’s still our money, so long as we make sure to remind our elected representatives of the fact. To think of the government’s money as belonging to anybody but the American people is to encourage the neglect that comes with it being somebody else’s affair to sort out. No rich man with sense would idly stand by and let his employees spend his money the way the Republicans have spent it.

We should be generous as a nation, but not with, or out of debts. Democrats like myself believe in the virtue of a pay as you go system. You can be generous, but be generous with money you’ve had the guts to ask for.

You criticize us for our generosity, but at least our generosity would be open. The generosity of the Bush administration giving people back their money is marred by the incovenient fact that debts are being taken out in the people’s name in order to finance Bush and his fellow politician’s generosity. In short, we will eventually pay for getting our money back by getting it taken back from us with interest.

I’m not against Social Security reform, or balanced budgets. I think they form the fundamental basis for a healthy, generous future for liberalism. I’m not against keeping taxes at moderate rate, nor for radical redistribution of wealth, though I can’t grieve too much for those who are subject to the inheritance tax. After all, it may end up being the most they ever pay in income taxes.

I want liberalism for the long term, not just for a brief idealistic phase that soon fizzles out. I don’t want us to get into the corrosive games of trying to keep power we’re not doing what it takes to earn that continued tenure. I look at what’s happening to the Republicans here, and I see a cautionary tale.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 29, 2006 9:43 AM
Comment #191298

Lacy-
As long as Bush runs deficits, his tax cuts means he’s being generous to us with somebody else’s money, somebody who’s going to want to be payed back by we the taxpayer.

The way you stimulate the economy is that you finance progress in important fields. You build infrastructure, you encourage innovation and high standards, you punish those people whose behavior, if permitted, would eventually lead to catastrophe in one form or another.

You don’t build up massive debts and go spending out of control knowing you don’t have the money. Bush knew what he was signing, he was told what the economic consequences would be if this nation went back into deficit. Don’t blame this on liberalism, blame it on yourselves.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 29, 2006 9:48 AM
Comment #191301

Stephen D,

In that case, a democratic congress has NEVER passed a balanced budget, only the Republican congress has. You must be advising people to vote for a Republican congress….because irresponsible democrats never pass balanced budgets when they control congress!?

Don’t forget the democrats handed Bush a recession and 9-11. Bush has two wars going on. As a percent of GDP the democrats ran up MUCH HIGHER debt in WWII than Bush has now. Does that mean the democrats who were in power in their war, WWII were irreseponsible?

Sorry, your logic doesn’t cut it.

Posted by: stephen L at October 29, 2006 9:55 AM
Comment #191302

Lacy,

The interest on the debt has been the same or lower, simply because interest rates had fallen sharply during the early years of the Bush administration. But with interest rates climbing again, those payments will be heading through the roof. Don’t kid yourself. Regardless of what the interest rate is, we still need to pay off the much higher principal as well.

As for the debt being a national problem, you are correct. We all are subject to it. However, with a Republican in the White House and Republican control of both houses of Congress, no matter how much you would like to, you can not blame Democrats for the spike in deficit spending we have seen since Clinton left office.

Posted by: Burt at October 29, 2006 10:10 AM
Comment #191303

Neo-Con Pilsner,

Nice post. I think we need to assume unless proven otherwise the good intentions of others. Personal virture and vice exist quite independently of political views. As a young man, I didn’t think that, and thought all Republicans were greedy bastards who didn’t give a damn for the less fortunate. It was a childish, self-serving view. Likewise, labeling liberals as hypocrites on generosity is self-serving too. Some are, I’m sure, just as some Republicans no doubt are greedy bastards, etc.

Jack, you like to say that process is more important than outcome. That is used to justify policies that demonstrably increase the gap between the have and havenots. I disagree. I think we need to judge economic policy by outcomes, and for me, the outcome most desired is a growing middle class. I have no problem with people becoming wealthy; I hope to become wealthy myself. The problem with broadbased tax cuts is that they tend to shift the burden to the middle class. Republicans like to point out the the most wealthy pay the most taxes, which is true, because they have the most wealth. Tax cuts that have the illusion of fairness often shift that burden to the middle class.

I favor Clinton’s approach to tax cuts. Find ways that benefit the middle class. Deductions for childcare expenses are a good example. OF course the very wealthy have children too, and can claim these deductions as well, but because there are so many more middle class people, the overall effect is to lessen the middle class tax burden.

Posted by: Trent at October 29, 2006 10:14 AM
Comment #191305

The repugs have had 12 years..12 count them. And all we get is scarey ads and FEAR FEAR FEAR. They will raise your taxs good somebody has to because I sure didn’t get any tax breaks under the bush. But my sons collage cost went up 75 percent. My health care cost went up 100 percent. No raise they say the have no money for the working people but ceo’s now thats another story. Iraq is BAD BAD BAD 100 brave soldiers dead just this month. And on and on….

Posted by: Jeff at October 29, 2006 10:23 AM
Comment #191310

Jack, You overlooked 1 point, it used to be the rich paid for the road and the poor drove for free, now thanks to the repub revolution, its the middle class and China that pay for the road and the rich and poor drive for free.

Posted by: j2t2 at October 29, 2006 11:00 AM
Comment #191327

Btw, Jack a majority of the money given to charity in this country comes from your average joe. The poor give the most of their earnings.

Posted by: Max at October 29, 2006 1:10 PM
Comment #191334

Stephen

It is our money, too.

I hope your talking only about the money that’s collected in taxes which is to much. And that’s my money too. And I don’t like my money going to pay for failed liberal programs that only keep folks down and dependent on government anymore than I like it going to pay for the corporate welfare that the so called conservatives like so much.
The rest of the money belongs only to the person that’s earned it and it’s nobodies business how they spend it.

Jack
Just because someone would like to help someone but can’t isn’t always that persons fault. There are times someone is doing what they can with what they have and would like to do more. But finances and or time won’t let them. I wouldn’t say that this person is pathetic.

Posted by: Ron Brown at October 29, 2006 2:49 PM
Comment #191335

BTW Stephen, I think that folks on the dole should account for how they spend our money. And that is our money sense they didn’t earn it.

Posted by: Ron Brown at October 29, 2006 2:52 PM
Comment #191338

I think the issue of liberals wanting to be generous with other people’s money brings a couple of interesting questions:

What makes for a successful society?

I would argue that it is not pure socialism nor pure capitalism but a combination of the two. I am offended when I go into a business and see a sign that tells me what a charitable organization they are (e.g. Target “we give %5 of our profits back to the community”) I want business to do the thing they do best, that is, make money for the owners of the business, be it private or corporate. What the community needs in support should be taken in taxes not in some charitable contribution and should be given as their obligation and duty. If businesses/wealth were to operate without obligation or oversight we would very quickly devolve into a third world country. Look at what’s happening to Mexico, the land of billionaires and what? Certainly not a robust middle class.
I am a small business owner. I am also an investor. I regard the monies I pay in taxes (fed, state, local) to be just about the best money I spend.
(to those who argue that government is inefficient compared to private enterprise I would say, as a person who has worked for several large corporations, GOD HELP US if that is true!)
Government provides a measure of justice and where you have justice you really don’t need charity. Regards

Posted by: Charles Ross at October 29, 2006 3:15 PM
Comment #191339

Jack wrote: “If you obsess about things you can do little about you become an impotent buffoon.”

Sometimes, doing so leads to seeing a path to actually doing something with effect. Look at the Republicans. They obsessed liked impotent buffoons over not being in power for 40 years. They finally saw the path in 1991 and came into power in 1994, and total control of power in 2002.

Just because one obsesses and lacks the ability to change what they obsess over in the present, in no way insures that one will remain an impotent buffoon. Continue obsessing and learning, and a path to change what one obsesses over may present itself.

That however, reminds us of the wisdom: “Be careful what you wish for, you might just get it.” (and not know what to do with it once you have it). The GOP is a case in point.

If one uses corrupt individuals, money, bribery, blackmail and cover-up to achieve power, those same forces will be pervasive in the exercise of power, which means the seeds to losing power were sown before power was achieved.

Posted by: David R. Remer at October 29, 2006 3:17 PM
Comment #191340

I would like to make two points.

If I earn a dollar than I have the right to see that dollar and every other dollar I make and so does anyone else who earns their money. It is reasonable to expect that a (very)small percentage of that would have to be paid to cover the expenses of government, but only for a government which limits itself to the powers specifically enumerated in the constitution.

Social Welfare programs are not constitutional. The Supreme Court said as much in 1933. Unfortunately, President Roosevelt threatened to introduce a bill into congress which would allow him to pack the courts. He had enough votes in congress to pass the bill. In order to prevent the president from usurping their power entirely, the Supreme Court refused to hear the case when the second New Deal was challenged. The 2nd new deal was implemented in 1935 although the economy had been improving steadily since the latter part of 1933.

In case you are all wondering, I am not rich. In fact I am at the bottom of the Food Chain. I made less that $5000 last year and have never made more than $16,000 in any given year.

Posted by: Julie at October 29, 2006 3:36 PM
Comment #191341

Speaking of redistribution, here is a nice map showing the “beggar states” and “donor states”.

http://jonathanjo.castleblack.net/archives/000092.html

If Republican politicians really believe what they say, they should tell their constituents in the South and West to get off the federal teat. Self-reliance is good for you, right?

Posted by: Woody Mena at October 29, 2006 3:37 PM
Comment #191345

Woody Mena
Where the hell is all that money that your liberal website says GA is getting? The state sure as hell ain’t seen it. Maybe the liberals are diverting it to their campaign war chest.
Besides don’t y’all want to share the wealth? So why are you gripping about the ‘rich states’ sending their hard earned money to the ‘poor states’? After all y’all want me and anyone else that has a job, the ones y’all call ‘rich’, to send their hard earned money to the ‘poor’, the lazy.

Posted by: Ron Brown at October 29, 2006 4:18 PM
Comment #191348

joebagodonuts (from this morning) -
Enjoyed your post!

Max (from 8:01am) -
cut and paste articles don’t work well on blogs. And you are wrong…the poor don’t pay disproportionatly higher taxes.

Stephen D -
You “want liberalism for the long-term”. I can’t imagine why! We had that for 40 years…it failed!

Posted by: Don at October 29, 2006 4:54 PM
Comment #191355

Julie, interesting post. All I can say is Thanks again FDR for creating a middle class in this Country and educating us.

Posted by: j2t2 at October 29, 2006 5:51 PM
Comment #191359

Many good points made by all the lefties here. As a change, I feel the need to focus on this one line in Jack’s transparently disingenuous post:

“Who is more “generous” this guy or somebody who advocates using somebody else’s tax dollars for the support of children?”

What Jack is saying is that Selfishness is far more important than supporting America’s CHILDREN. Think about that for a moment.
The Republican Party, the party of “Christians” and “family values.” The party who doesn’t believe in raising the minimum wage, or in the idea of our workers getting a living wage. The party against government subsidized healthcare, against medicare, against Social Security. The party of more and more tax breaks that only benefit the wealthy. The party who continues to LIE about the efficacy of Trickle Down Economics when it has proven over and over again to be a failed policy. The party who has spent like drunken sailors over the past six years, killing our children and our grandchildren’s futures by piling an insane amount of massive debt on them. The party who doesn’t believe in Planned Parenthood, or contraceptives, or abortion wants to say that it’s no ones business whether America’s children are supported or not.

This assinine party that took us into an optional pre-emptive war based on lies — a nightmare of spending — and who now cannot account for where our tax dollars have gone no longer has the right to even MENTION tax dollars:


Audit finds missing U.S. weapons in Iraq

Nearly one of every 25 weapons the military bought for Iraqi security forces is missing, a government audit said Sunday.
The Pentagon cannot account for 14,030 weapons — almost 4 percent of the semiautomatic pistols, assault rifles, machine guns, rocket-propelled grenade launchers and other weapons it began supplying to Iraq since the end of 2003, according to a report from the office of the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction.
The Pentagon spent $133 million on the weapons

We can add this to the 9 billion in reconstruction money that went missing, I suppose. Not to mention the cost of the entire UNNECESSARY WAR.

How DARE any Republican even mention selfishness toward America’s children? And how DARE you even mention fiscal irresponsibility when it comes to what you think the opposition party will do when and if they take the reins of power in the House and Senate.
Democrats can and will do far better by American tax payers and by America’s children. Simply because NO ONE could ever do any worse than the Republican Party has done.

Posted by: Adrienne at October 29, 2006 7:09 PM
Comment #191360

Although I wouldn’t have phrased it just that way, she’s right.

Posted by: Trent at October 29, 2006 7:18 PM
Comment #191372

Julie,

I’m assuming that you never leave your home. Surely you wouldn’t use a road that was built and maintained via tax dollars would you? Because in my copy of the Constitution, road building is not mentioned. Of course, we could always just have private companies build and maintain roads and then just put up a toll booth every 2 miles. That would be much more efficient.

Of course, I could go on and on with many functions that the government provides that aren’t spelled out in the Constitution that would be ridiculous to hand over to private companies, but you get the idea. Furthermore, even if the Government’s sole function was limited to defense, you still would have to pay more than a “very small” percentage of your income to cover those costs.

And finally, for someone living on the income you’ve stated, I can’t imagine you would survive very long without a few of those dreadful social services that you despise.

Posted by: Burt at October 29, 2006 9:03 PM
Comment #191377

Adrienne -

“The party against government subsidized healthcare, against medicare, against Social Security.”

Blatently untrue. Anyone saying such outlandish things may sound foolish (although I wouldn’t call you that).

The Republican party is not against any of these things, it just has different priorities (like solvency) than the Dem party. Anyone saying such outlandish things may sound foolish (although I wouldn’t call you that).

“…the party of ‘Christians’ and ‘family values.’”

You are against Christians and people with family values. Do you speak for the Dems or just yourself?

Posted by: Don at October 29, 2006 9:47 PM
Comment #191378

Burt -

You are attacking the person, not the ideas.

Posted by: Don at October 29, 2006 9:50 PM
Comment #191379

Sorry,
I didn’t mean to repeat myself in post to Adrienne.

Also, “solvency” refers to the programs mentioned, nothing else.

Posted by: Don at October 29, 2006 9:52 PM
Comment #191381

Adrienne, abortion is good for our children? Talk about cognitative dissonance.

“Selfishness” is not just a feature of trickle-down economics. Selfishness (as well as envy) is also part of the philosophy of those who think that they should have the right to live on other people’s dollars.

The difference is that the “selfishness” of those who start businesses, invest money, and hire the poor, giving them the chance to move upward on the economic ladder, benefits everybody. When government takes our money, it doesn’t go to the children. Government is in fact extremely wasteful and inefficient.

Let’s keep as much of our money as possible out of the hands of the government. Let’s do it so our children can have a future instead of just a handout.

Posted by: Neo-Con Pilsner at October 29, 2006 9:59 PM
Comment #191383

Don, hilarious joke! Pilsner, you too. Priorities like SOLVENCY!!! HA!!!
Solvency is the LAST PRIORITY your party is concerned with these days.
Do wake up! You are both deep in the midst of a conservative dream, but the reality is an American nightmare.
Now that you have rubbed your eyes, I have some grave news that may be hard for you to acknowledge: the sad truth is, your party has now forfeited any right to the fiscally conservative label. Furthermore, any mention of the wasting of tax dollars will now be met with a smirk, a shake of the head, and an ironic bark of laughter.

“You are against Christians and people with family values.”

No sir, I am not. Not only am not against the majority of the American people, but I also love the people in my family.

“Do you speak for the Dems or just yourself?”

I always speak for myself — and in this case, I felt the need to speak for America’s children — who Jack, in defense of the weathy, is showing a callous and shameless disregard for. These children should no doubt be in their beds right now (for the most part). Unlike yourselves, I wish each and every single one of them peaceful dreams, and a very good nights sleep.

Posted by: Adrienne at October 29, 2006 10:23 PM
Comment #191384

That’s right. Any children who haven’t been aborted should now be in their beds and dreaming sweet dreams about a socialist republic.

Posted by: Neo-Con Pilsner at October 29, 2006 10:44 PM
Comment #191385

Burt

Clinton triangulated. He appropriated many conservative ideas and those were the best things he did. Most liberals opposed welfare reform very noisily and most Dems voted against it.

Re being greedy - my point remains that you can not be generous with someone else’s money. A politician is not generous when he gives away government money. It may or may not be a good idea to spend it, but there is no generosity involved.

The same goes for being greedy. You cannot be greedy with someone else’s money. Like all American taxpayers, I saved money due to the tax cuts, but I did not save that much and I do not vote because MY taxes are cut. BTW - if Dems want to be not greedy in this respect they can pay more in taxes. Just don’t take a couple of deductions and you can raise your own taxes if you want.

I do not want the Federal government to get too big. Taxes support the Federal government. I am not interested in raising taxes to support spending. I prefer to cut spending to reach taxes. I know the Republicans are spending too much. No Dem congress has ever done better, however. They really aren’t looking to cut anything.

I heard Howard Dean today on Face the Nation. When asked what the Dems would do about Iraq, he pulled the same old trick. Even if Dems retake the House, he said, Bush would still call the shots so Dems would still not be responsible. They will say the same for everything.


Max

The rich pay almost all the Federal taxes. This is how it should be. But don’t pretend you are paying so much (unless you are rich). I am upper middle income. I pay all my taxes and have no special deductions. MY taxes are not enough to buy a nice car or keep a government office running for even a day. Even if you multiply my household by a million, it is not that much money. The poorer half of the population pays almost nothing and the poorest quintile actually pays negative tax (they get more in credits than they pay) You may wish to take more from the rich. That is a possible public policy goal. But remember where most taxes come from already.

Stephen

Government cannot be generous. It is not my generosity and it is not yours. It is a public policy. There is no virtue in it. Policy can be smart or dumb, but only people can be good or bad.

But let me play by your rules. IF the government can be generous and this generosity it expressed by taxing, that much mean the rich are really generous. That should make you happy.

There is an additional problem with government generosity. Government cannot decide who is really deserving. It is a rules based system and many people have learned how to game the system.

Trent

Both process and outcomes are important. You just need to study the process to make sure the outcome resulted from what you did. You could just be really lucky, or not. Studying process is just trying to use the scientific method.

Inequality is a growing worldwide and has been since 1970s. Inequality grew faster under Clinton than under Bush.

J2T2

The rich pay almost all the taxes in the U.S. You may want to charge them more, but the poor are not paying for them.

Re FDR., he was a great man. Many of his polices worked at the time (other not). A problem for any reform is that they can achieve their goal but their proponents want to go on to new things. If you look at the level of government in the New Deal and the percentage of the economy taken in by taxes (not during the war years) he would not qualify as a liberal today.

Government is a lot like beer. The first few make you feel good. Too much makes you sick, but it is hard to know when to stop.

Ron

You have to plan for yourself and what you plan to give to others. Some people really are in trouble and presumably they would be the recipient of others generosity. But too many people manage poorly and then claim poverty.

Charles Ross

Yes, but you are talking public policy, not generosity. I support public schools because I think (when properly managed) they are a good thing for all of us. When I vote for the bond issue, I am not being generous, just trying to do what is best for my society and it is in my self interest.

David
It is a matter of being effective. If you want something to happen, work on figuring out ways to make it so, don’t just wish for it. My father used to quote the old peasant saying, “Hold a wish in one hand, crap in the other and see which weighs more.” It makes a good point. A wish w/o a plan to accomplish it is worse than crap.

Woody
We are talking public policy. Donor and beggar have nothing to do with anything. We subsidize agriculture in Kansas and people get cheaper food in New York. Whether or not it is a good thing is also a matter of public policy debate.

This states thing is silly anyway. People and firms pay taxes. States do not. The rich pay most of the taxes. I do not know if most rich people are Republicans of Democrats. Maybe you know.

Adrienne

Is it selfish to take care of your own children? Maybe a childless person should just pay for four or five kids of some poor person.

Re selfishness, I am just saying that you cannot count yourself generous with someone else’s money. If I give $100 and 5 hours of my time to worthy causes and you give $200 and 10 hours, then you are more generous. If the relationship is reversed, then I am. Politics are debates about public policy. You don’t get to feel virtuous by your voting patterns. I assume you give generously of your time and money. If so, you are generous. If not you can vote Dem from now until judgment day and you still are stingy.

Posted by: jack at October 29, 2006 10:50 PM
Comment #191388

Jack is right. If it’s the duty of those who have more to give it up for those who have less, let Democratic voters put their money where their mouths are.

Lots of children in Africa and South America need that money you spend on video rentals and your internet bills a lot more than you do. Write the checks, lick the stamps, and empty your bank accounts! It’s called fairness. Do it for the children!

Posted by: Neo-Con Pilsner at October 29, 2006 10:56 PM
Comment #191389

Adrienne -

“…your party has now forfeited any right to the fiscally conservative label.”

Two errors, one statement/question:
1) Not my party.
2) In the areas mentioned, they have not lost their conservative label…just on deficits.
3) Tagging terms like “party of ‘Christians’” is religion-baiting (kinda like race-baiting), and may have no place in these discussions. Since your response I can only wonder why you use such terms??

Posted by: Don at October 29, 2006 10:57 PM
Comment #191402
Clinton triangulated. He appropriated many conservative ideas and those were the best things he did. Most liberals opposed welfare reform very noisily and most Dems voted against it.

I agree. And some Democrats even have the ability to see what has worked in the past and support similar measures in the future - because those policies were valid and we’re not ideologically rigid like another party I know.

Re being greedy - my point remains that you can not be generous with someone else�s money. A politician is not generous when he gives away government money. It may or may not be a good idea to spend it, but there is no generosity involved.

Aren’t you attempting the generous act of “spreading democracy through the middle east” using other people’s money?

The same goes for being greedy. You cannot be greedy with someone else’s money.

Ha Ha! Like hell you can’t. It’s pretty much the definition of being greedy.

Like all American taxpayers, I saved money due to the tax cuts, but I did not save that much and I do not vote because MY taxes are cut.

No one ever claimed that all Republicans are wise enough to vote in their own self interest.

BTW - if Dems want to be not greedy in this respect they can pay more in taxes. Just don’t take a couple of deductions and you can raise your own taxes if you want.

No, thank you. I take the extra money and donate it to Democratic candidates and causes.

I know the Republicans are spending too much. No Dem congress has ever done better, however. They really aren’t looking to cut anything.

The Democratic controlled Congress in the 70’s with Carter as President had much lower Deficits than the Bush administration - even inflationally adjusted of course. Any other myths you would like to perpetuate?

I heard Howard Dean today on Face the Nation. When asked what the Dems would do about Iraq, he pulled the same old trick. Even if Dems retake the House, he said, Bush would still call the shots so Dems would still not be responsible. They will say the same for everything.

It’s true that Republicans have screwed up the situation in Iraq so badly that it will be difficult for anyone to repair, but the Dems will do their best.

Posted by: Burt at October 30, 2006 12:20 AM
Comment #191404
I support public schools because I think (when properly managed) they are a good thing for all of us. When I vote for the bond issue, I am not being generous, just trying to do what is best for my society and it is in my self interest.

But Jack, can’t you see that liberals also support programs because we feel they are best for our country and society - not out of some warped idea of voter loyalty or similar conspiracy theory?

Government is a lot like beer. The first few make you feel good. Too much makes you sick, but it is hard to know when to stop.

Reminds me of a joke. Martinis are like boobs. One ain’t enough, and three are too many.

Posted by: Burt at October 30, 2006 12:34 AM
Comment #191405
That’s right. Any children who haven’t been aborted should now be in their beds and dreaming sweet dreams about a socialist republic.

Neo-con, your desire to protect all those children would ring more true if your party didn’t abandon those children and their mothers after they are born - leading, of course, to more abortions.

Posted by: Burt at October 30, 2006 12:36 AM
Comment #191407
Lots of children in Africa and South America need that money you spend on video rentals and your internet bills a lot more than you do. Write the checks, lick the stamps, and empty your bank accounts! It’s called fairness. Do it for the children!

Neo-con, many of us do support charities that help children in those parts of the world. I doubt that anyone who has travelled to either of those areas - or merely had the slightest sense of compassion - would treat the issue as a joke.

Posted by: Burt at October 30, 2006 12:41 AM
Comment #191410

Burt -

I may be wrong, but your reference to Jack as a neo-con may be misguided. If I read Jack correctly, he is a traditionalist conservative, not a neo-con.

There are many neo-libs out there, as well. Howard Dean is one. The liberals of 10 years ago would not recognize him as anything like themselves.

Posted by: Don at October 30, 2006 2:18 AM
Comment #191411

Jack,

You still didn’t address my point. To get out of debt requires money and that money must come from somewhere. That’s balancing our budget as a society. It’s a conservative fantasy that you can balance the budget and not raise taxes. It’s irresponsible and the sham is, excuse me, immoral.

Jack is a neo-con. He believes that this government’s spending is where it should be. He believes on the whole the economy is doing well, despite being propped up by enormous loans with no plan for paying them. He believes the war has been worthwhile and doing well, despite the absence of any discernable reason for going to war in the first place and the outbreak of a civil war. He believes the government should do less and less for the people in an age of Katrina and 9/11 disasters. He even believes Bush has done a great job with the environment.

Posted by: Max at October 30, 2006 4:05 AM
Comment #191413
We are talking public policy. Donor and beggar have nothing to do with anything. We subsidize agriculture in Kansas and people get cheaper food in New York. Whether or not it is a good thing is also a matter of public policy debate.

Hmm, so people should not be embarrassed about getting massive federal subsidies, as long there is a good public policy reason for it. I basically agree, but then, I am basically a liberal.

What I don’t understand is how a CONSERVATIVE could make this argument. Don’t conservatives believe that the free market will work everything out?

Where the hell is all that money that your liberal website says GA is getting? The state sure as hell ain’t seen it. Maybe the liberals are diverting it to their campaign war chest. Besides don’t y’all want to share the wealth? So why are you gripping about the ‘rich states’ sending their hard earned money to the ‘poor states’?

Ron Brown,

I seem to have hit a nerve here. I don’t really have a problem with the more prosperous states sending money to the less prosperous states. That is consistent with my political ideology.

Conservatives should hope they don’t get their wish. Imagine what the South would look like if all that money stopped coming in from the Blue States.

Posted by: Woody Mena at October 30, 2006 6:35 AM
Comment #191422

Don,

I was refering to the individual “Neo-con Pilsner” in those posts.

Posted by: Burt at October 30, 2006 8:44 AM
Comment #191424

First lets clear some things up.
A government can be generous. What it represents is not the generosity of the Republican or the Democrat, but of the body politic that decides to give. America is the summation and the working out of the attitudes of all Americans.

Can the government have the same kind of intent that an individual can have? No, but neither can a corporation or any other group. The purpose of such organizations is to use the assembly as a means to coordinate decisions and actions.

The Republicans would have it that only when the individual will triumphs over the group can it be called generosity. At least they do this for government. I hear no such complaints when a corporation gives; there a stockhold may not agree with the choice of charity, but nobody seriously expects the corporation to stop being generous with the person’s money

This lack of such an expectation stems from the same reason: each side is part of a system where they trade autonomy for a piece of influence. In private business, a majority stockholder may be able to cut short contributions to a charity. So may a majority Congress do so with sufficient popular mandate. But short of that, each has agreed to abide by the decisions of the assembly of interested parties.

They can choose to protest, but Republicans are citizens of this country, and as such are bound to the social contract, and the giving that the government does has the legitimacy of power behind it.

Our tax dollars do not belong to individuals once they leave their hands. It belongs to no Democrat nor Republican. It belongs to the country, to be spent as the majority agrees to spend it. If we have a problem with how the majority does it, the only thing to be done for it is to change the majority.

Too many Republicans look at the government and omit that critical element of persuasion in their thinking. They try to use brute-force politics in order to force changes. In the end, they may succeed in doing damage to these institution they erode, but because they lack the popular will behind them to destroy these institutions, and they are too impatient and headstrong to develop sensible alternatives and a majority movement against them, they resort to this kind of denigration and hair-splitting.

The Republicans have gotten more serious about their politics than their governing, more serious about trying to grab power, rather than laying the foundations for it among the people. They perhaps rightly sense that though some of their ideas are widely acceptable (like fiscal responsiblity), others will be a tough sell to the public. Instead of accepting this fact and seeing what they can do to legitimately change things, they instead try and force changes past people, make them a fait accompli, and weather the controversies until people calm down.

What Republicans have failed to realize is that people’s passionate responses may attenuate, but their memory remains, and can be reinforced. Gradually, the poorly accepted changes build up, and people get easier to anger, easier to set off. Eventually, a stronger, more permanent disdain develops that hardens people’s hearts politically against the target.

Ultimately, the Republicans must realize that they are not entitled to power, not entitled to trample the opinions of the majority time and again. They must realize this, or the word Republican will continue to mean radical, irresponsible and self-absorbed, rather than reasonable and wise.

It is a good lesson for any political party to learn: government works best by consensus, and consensus can only really be won by persuasion and compromise.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 30, 2006 9:00 AM
Comment #191436

Jack,

Since you believe that that GWs GOP is full of good intentions, does this article mean you finally agree that he has managed to put us well along on the road to hell? Now it’s twice I agree with you.

Posted by: Dave1-20-09 at October 30, 2006 10:25 AM
Comment #191455

Jack, a very apologistic post on charity individualism.
I never see charity as a working model for a stable Society. Keep me an entry for hell. Thanks.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at October 30, 2006 11:32 AM
Comment #191459

Imagine what the South would look like if all that money stopped coming in from the Blue States.


Posted by: Woody Mena at October 30, 2006 06:35 AM

Evidently you aint never been in the South and are listening to Yankees that aint never been here either. True we do have our share of poor folks. But we have a whole heap of rich ones to. As well a a very sizable middle class. These last two pay taxes that goes to running their states.
True folks here don’t make as much as they do in NY, CA, IL and some other northern states but is don’t cost as much to live here as it does in them states.
I believe that if you come down and look around you’ll see that we’re doing a real good job of taking care of ourselves.

Posted by: Ron Brown at October 30, 2006 11:44 AM
Comment #191462

Stephen D -

As usual, you tell us all the things YOU think the Republicans have done wrong, but present no plan that the Democrats have to do right. That’s because they don’t have a plan and haven’t had a plan for the last 6 years. It’s tiring to hear the same old blame game. Stand up as a party and declare something you are FOR, for once.

Posted by: Don at October 30, 2006 11:54 AM
Comment #191464

Here’s the proof:

“Too many Republicans…” “They…” “…they”
“…they…they…them” “and they…them, they…” “The Republicans…their…their” “They…their ideas…” “…they…they” “What Republicans have failed to realize…, but their…” “Ultimately, the Republicans must realize that they…” “They must realize this, or the word Republican…”

Posted by: Don at October 30, 2006 12:03 PM
Comment #191474

Jack, it’s interesting you closed your post with “see you in hell”. Since I’m not theistic, I don’t plan on seeing anybody when I’m crispied in the kiln after the harvest of my useable organs, but I wonder what guilt drives you to believe you are hell bound. Repent. Give up your corporate shilling, and loathsome whoring for corrupt Republicans and there may be salvation for you yet in some church, imaginary as that may be…:-)

Posted by: gergle at October 30, 2006 12:32 PM
Comment #191475

Ron:

The statistics on the matter are very simple: http://www.mises.org/fullstory.aspx?Id=1677

The states which spend the highest amount of federal money compared to how much they contribute in taxes are primarily red states. The states which spend the least amount of federal money compared to how much they contribute in taxes are primarily blue states. Do you have any way to refute this data, other than your assertions that it just can’t be true?

Posted by: Jarin at October 30, 2006 12:40 PM
Comment #191479

Ron,

The point was, I believe, that pork flows to the red states. Rich people will continue to do fine without the pork, they always will. It’s everyone else who gets screwed.

Posted by: Dave1-20-09 at October 30, 2006 12:58 PM
Comment #191480
Evidently you aint never been in the South and are listening to Yankees that aint never been here either. True we do have our share of poor folks. But we have a whole heap of rich ones to. As well a a very sizable middle class. These last two pay taxes that goes to running their states.

They just don’t pay enough taxes to keep their states running….

Posted by: Max at October 30, 2006 1:06 PM
Comment #191481

Burt

Re triangulation. It worked okay. If you check my past postings, you will find I am broadly satisfied with Clinton as president. I say more good things about him than bad. The Dems running now and who will be in charge if the Dems win, such as Pelosi, Rangel, Conyers, fought against most of Clinton’s middle ground reach (they opposed welfare reform, NAFTA etc). I do not think they have learned a lesson. Clinton just kicked their asses into line. He is not in a position to do that job anymore.

Re taxes, you say “No, thank you. I take the extra money and donate it to Democratic candidates and causes.” So you admit that you do not want your taxes raised, just those of others.

Re Dean – listen to what Dean says. He is very careful to imply that nothing will change re foreign policy while at the same time saying a vote for Dems will bring big changes. He is preemptively weaseling out of responsibility. One of two things has to be mostly right if you elect Dems. Either they can make changes (in which case they are responsible) or they cannot (in which case why vote for them at all.) Of course, Dems are choosing a third option: complain loudly and do nothing.

Re public schools -I believe most liberals support policies they believe are best for the U.S. I disagree with their judgment, not their sincerity. My point is that when we make public policy choices, neither side is being generous or greedy, because you cannot be either with someone else’s money.

Max

I don’t mind being called a neo-con, although the exact definition is in the mind of the beholder.

Re debt, the deficit is a relatively small percentage of the GDP. We have not been debt free as a nation since Andrew Jackson, and I do not think we SHOULD be. There are smart reasons to use debt financing. The question is how much. I believe the Federal government is about as big as it needs to be. We could make it a little smaller and it would be better. I would not oppose targeted taxes to close the remaining gap. I have advocated taxes on fuel, for example. My fear is that if you raise taxes enough to eliminate deficits, politicians think of ways to spend that extra money and then they need more.

Re other things I believe. I believe the Federal government has done enough for the victims of Katrina. Federal, state and local governments failed in the initial disaster, but I do not see much scope for continued Federal involvement beyond the usual infrastructure building. We should NOT subsidize flood insurance.

The war is not going well. The alternatives are not good. The idea we can just leave is silly.

I write a lot about the environment. Bush is doing a good job. Environmental policy is established and bipartisan. My point is that the environment in the U.S. is cleaner now than it was in 2000 and will be cleaner in 2008 than it is today. I have written on many occasions to show this is true by every measurable method. Nobody has ever managed to prove it wrong, although they spit a lot of vitriol and show a lot of passion. Usually they find some area where things have gone worse and I have to tell them that when you are talking averages, some things may get worse, but overall improvements are made. The same, BTW, happened under Clinton with S02 and Nox reductions coming unevenly. This is how the world works.

Woody

If there is a good policy behind it, we should not criticize it from the public policy point of view. Maybe they should be embarrassed. When I was a young man, my wife discovered we were eligible for food stamps. Of course, we did NOT take them, but from if you agree with the public policy involved we were just being silly.

We would probably disagree about how much government should be involved.

Stephen

A corporation also cannot be generous. I suppose you could say the stockholders are being generous since they all own it voluntarily.

Government is not generous when it moves money from one group of citizens to another. It is just definitional. Taxes are coercive. So it is literally robbing Peter to pay Paul. We all like Robin Hood (although I bet the real person at the base of the story was less attractive) but he was not a generous man necessarily.

Re Republicans trampling on the majority, this is another definitional problem and you cannot have it your way. The Republicans got the majority of the votes in most recent elections. They represent the majority. If the Dems win more this time, they will represent the majority, but from 1994-2004 the majority liked what Republicans were doing, or at least liked the alternative less (sorry Dems).

Dave 1

I don’t know if they are full of good intentions or not. The good intention is not the problem; it is the execution or lack.

I am not happy with all that happened since 1994. There are plusses and minus. The economy is in good shape. Unemployment is low. We have not had another terror attack in the U.S. Iraq is not good.

But all these things represent choices among alternatives. Sometimes what we have is not so good, but the alternative is worse. That is my position on electing Dems.

Posted by: Jack at October 30, 2006 1:10 PM
Comment #191484

Trent

Both process and outcomes are important. You just need to study the process to make sure the outcome resulted from what you did. You could just be really lucky, or not. Studying process is just trying to use the scientific method.

Inequality is a growing worldwide and has been since 1970s. Inequality grew faster under Clinton than under Bush.

Jack, of course I agree with the first paragraph, but I’m not sure how it’s relevant. I was referring to the belief you’ve stated many times that a “fair” process trumps “fair” outcomes. Anyway, it seems we agree that economic policy should be judged by outcome. The outcome I favor is a growing middle class. Policies that lead to an increase in the vast disparity of wealth in this country I think are wrongheaded. That’s why cutting the estate taxes percentage point by percentage point, which of course represents a large shift in tax burdern to the middle class, is bad policy.

Interestingly, in getting my facts straight, I came across the following passage. I know you know the gift tax and the estate tax are related; I mention it only for those who don’t.

In 2000, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) said that 85 percent of large taxable gifts it audited shortchanged the government. Between 2001 and 2006, officials at both the IRS and the Treasury told Congress that cheating among the highest-income Americans is a major and growing problem.

In July 2006, the IRS confirmed that it planned to cut the jobs of 157 of the agency’s 345 estate tax lawyers, plus 17 support personnel, by October 1, 2006. Kevin Brown, an IRS deputy commissioner, said that he had ordered the staff cuts because far fewer people were obliged to pay estate taxes than in the past.

Estate tax lawyers are the most productive tax law enforcement personnel at the I.R.S., according to Brown. For each hour they work, they find an average of $2,200 of taxes that people owe the government.

Money, power, politics.

Your second paragraph. That’s one of those statements that while technicaly true are meaningless outside of context. The statement that only a Republican Congress in the last XX years has passed a balanced budget is another. (By the way, that statement has been put into devastating context in a recent blue column post; I should save it on my hard drive and pull it out everytime I hear the Republican Congress/balanced budget line.)

At any rate, I’m running out of steam, so I’ll save discussing your second paragraph for another time. You get my point, anyway.

Posted by: Trent at October 30, 2006 1:21 PM
Comment #191493

Adrienne said:

How DARE any Republican even mention selfishness toward America’s children? And how DARE you even mention fiscal irresponsibility when it comes to what you think the opposition party will do when and if they take the reins of power in the House and Senate.
Democrats can and will do far better by American tax payers and by America’s children. Simply because NO ONE could ever do any worse than the Republican Party has done.
—————————————————————————-
How DARE you try and make me pay for YOUR children. Here is a novel idea: Don’t have kids you cannot afford. And after you do anyway, don’t come to me and others to pay for your mistakes.
Last I looked America had no children. Individuals have children, countries do not. Hard to understand isn’t it? Well maybe not,you think the government should raise all of our children.

Socialist stances are extremely tiresome. Tell us of the current Shangri La of socialism on the planet.
While you are at it, show how the current admin has cut ANY program having to do with “The Children” I mean real cuts, not a reduction in the rate of increase. Do you know the hysterical person that always yells “What about the children” ? Just wondering.

Work hard everyone, those that choose not to depend on your efforts.

Posted by: Realist2 at October 30, 2006 1:46 PM
Comment #191502

Realist2,

“While you are at it, show how the current admin has cut ANY program having to do with “The Children” I mean real cuts, not a reduction in the rate of increase. Do you know the hysterical person that always yells “What about the children” ? Just wondering.”

Does the much ballyhooed, yet underfunded, “No child left behind” program count?

Posted by: Rocky at October 30, 2006 2:06 PM
Comment #191514

Jack,

Some people are a little tired of good intentions. About time Blair came around:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20061030/ap_on_sc/britain_global_warming

Posted by: Max at October 30, 2006 2:53 PM
Comment #191516

Jarin,

Thanks for your imput.

Posted by: jrb at October 30, 2006 3:10 PM
Comment #191517

I wonder if this is wagging the dog….oops we blew up a bunch of school kids instead of Zawahiri, so much for the Karl’s October surprise.

Posted by: gergle at October 30, 2006 3:12 PM
Comment #191526

Whatever happened to “Compassionate Conservatives?” Just wondering, is there a new catch phrase? Or, are we to stay the course?

Posted by: jrb at October 30, 2006 3:30 PM
Comment #191529

Jack,

I just don’t get it. You know as well as anyone the shallowness of the statistics you’re quoting yet you’ll still support a “president” who makes Tommy Flanagan look like Honest Abe and Hank Fielding as the smarter brother, the reason being the other guy’s worse???

Posted by: Dave1-20-09 at October 30, 2006 3:36 PM
Comment #191542

I have not had the time, nor inclination, to read thru all the posts, so if the following points have been covered, so be it
1) I always love the Howls of Tax protest for the poor little rich people who managed to get rich “on their own” — conveniently forgetting the system—the PUBLIC SYSTEM — in place that allows them the opportunity to get rich and provides the protections they need to not only get rich, but stay rich.
Let’s see Patent Office, Copyright protections, trade sanctions, Judicial system, Tort System, roads and bridges, Defense Dept., the Foreign Service Diplomats, electrical power grids, highway system, healthy, educated population that is able to innovate and create and be productive.
Yea, they did it ALL ON THEIR OWN and they don’t OWE ONE CENT to the society in which they have been able to flourish — or help pay for the public system that allows them to be richer than many countries!!

Bull crap.
Cheap, ungrateful greedy buggers.


2) If you rack up debt — you need to pay for it.
So just how is the 8.5 Trillion debt supposed to be paid?? and who, if not us, seeing as how WE (the electorate) allowed this debt to be accumulated? —
Are you suggesting we party on the tax breaks and let future generations pick up the tab??

(and the idea that Tax Breaks are helping to increase revenue???/ — that is Snake Oil remedy if I have EVER heard one — what a total joke)

Posted by: Russ at October 30, 2006 4:29 PM
Comment #191545

Jack,

I’m aware of your position on Clinton. But just to set the record straight, Pelosi voted for NAFTA. Any other false positions you’d like to pin on her?

Re taxes, you say �No, thank you. I take the extra money and donate it to Democratic candidates and causes.� So you admit that you do not want your taxes raised, just those of others.

I said no such thing. I’m happy to have my taxes raised along with everyone else in my tax bracket if it will bring fiscal sanity to the federal budget. But simply raising my own taxes without raising those with similar incomes won’t accomplish much will it, despite the fact that I am in a high tax bracket.

My point is that when we make public policy choices, neither side is being generous or greedy, because you cannot be either with someone else’s money.

So your position is that Republican Congressman Duke Cunningham, convicted for selling votes for bribes, is not “greedy”? Interesting way to parse words, sir.

Posted by: Burt at October 30, 2006 4:42 PM
Comment #191548

Trent

On of the books that made a big impression on me was not a very deep or a very long one. It was a simple short book called Decision Traps. I read that maybe 15 years ago. It has some simple ways to improve decision-making based on quantitative analysis and human behavior. The thing that impressed me was the simple statement that in order to improve you have to have a process you can study. You can then experiment and improve. It works. That is why HS athletes today are better than the Olympic champions of the 1950s. Results are important, but it is imperative to understand IF the results came from the process or are the result of something else. If you want to bet that you can flip an honest coin ten times and get heads ten times in a row, I will take that bet. If you subsequently flip ten head, I still was not wrong and I do not think people should hire you as a coin-flipping consultant.

It is always very easy to see mistakes after they happen, but we still need to study the process that went into them and look at the conditions at the time the decisions were made.

When we are talking tax policy I am not an expert. I agree that building a strong and prosperous middle class is important, but I am not sure which tax policy would best achieve it. Economic incentives are full of paradoxes. Inequality grew faster in the 1990s before the tax cuts than it did after. I do not think the tax cuts caused this, but they certainly did not contribute to inequality. Inequality has been growing worldwide since around 1970. It is not particularly American nor is it something done by George Bush. Much of it seems to be related to globalization. With a more integrated world, skills are worth more. This leads to inequality. Technology also leads to inequality. In a low tech world, the output of one person cannot be too much above average. One man can load 16 tons of #9 coal. Another might only do 12. But in a technological universe one person might be able to produce millions of copies of his slightly better software and get really rich.

So Dems say, inequality has grown therefore taxes on the rich should be raised. But a look at the history shows that inequality has been growing all over the world under various kinds of systems. The only way to create more equality seems to be to slow the economy and oppress people.

Max

I have written re global warming on many occasions. I support the things needed to counter it, such as higher energy prices and more nuclear power. Please read some of the squishy responses I get. Most people seem to want to complain about the issue but not take the necessary actions. Signing treaties, BTW, is not the necessary action. If the treaty is to be effective it will HAVE TO increase energy prices and use more nukes.

See, that is the difference between intention and action. Making agreements signals intention. Carrying them out is the harder part.

Dave1

I assume you are talking about my stats on pollution. I know Dems just want to say that Bush has made the environment worse. They are just wrong. All the statistics we used to measure show this. If you have a new way of doing it, please let me know. SO2 is down. NOx is down. CO is down. CO2 is up. That is true. It also was going up before Bush and it rose more in the EU than the U.S.

So the Dem line is that there is less pollution in our air and water than there was in 2000. Besides that, everything is worse.

Posted by: Jack at October 30, 2006 4:47 PM
Comment #191549

Burt

Sorry about Pelosi and NAFTA. How did she vote on welfare reform and how did those other guys vote?

Individuals such as William Jefferson and Duke Cunningham are greedy and ungenerous. Individuals can be both. Government as an institution cannot. Pointing out their sins does says nothing about the proposition.

If you are taking for yourself, you can be greedy. If I advocate lower taxes only so I personally can get money, it might be greedy. If I advocate it as a public policy, it is not greedy or if I want to raise taxes and give the money away, it is not generous.

You are confusing individuals with government. It is common liberal mistake.

Your comment on taxes was instructive. You want to pay more taxes only if you can make others pay more taxes. I give to various charities. It has never occured to me to withhold my donation until I can make others pay as much or more.

Posted by: Jack at October 30, 2006 4:59 PM
Comment #191631

Jack,

Pollution? Simple replies deserve a simple, ummm, nothing. Maybe next time.

Posted by: Dave1-20-09 at October 30, 2006 8:41 PM
Comment #191642

“Socialist stances are extremely tiresome.”

Yeah, so are the stances of Facsists.

Rocky:
“Does the much ballyhooed, yet underfunded, “No child left behind” program count?”

No Rocky, because: “America has no children.” We all know how inarticulate Bush is, well it seems that was nothing but a big mistake, the program was actually supposed to be called “No children. No Behind Left.”

jrb:
“Whatever happened to “Compassionate Conservatives?”

Personally, I don’t think they ever actually existed. Bunch of hot air that just sounded good — you know, like “Mission Accomplished.”

“Just wondering, is there a new catch phrase?”

Hmmm, how about:
“Spendthrift Losers?”
“Rotten Liars?”
“Abject Failures?”

“Or, are we to stay the course?”

Right over the cliff? I sure hope not. I think it would be horribly unfair to all those children America doesn’t have. ;^)

Posted by: Adrienne at October 30, 2006 9:20 PM
Comment #191658

Yeah, so are the stances of Facsists.

You wouldn’t know a fascist if they came up and bit you on the rear end.

Let me help:

A system of government marked by centralization of authority under a dictator, stringent socioeconomic controls, suppression of the opposition through terror and censorship, and typically a policy of belligerent nationalism and racism.

Maybe a trip to the library once in a while might help you in your quest for knowledge.

Tell me where the constitution mentions me taking care of YOUR child? Be specific if you can. You might try to take the emotion out of your argument. Maybe logic would help? Emotion seems to cloud your judgement a bit. Just trying to help. No hard feelings.

Posted by: Realist2 at October 30, 2006 9:53 PM
Comment #191659

Adrienne

Fascists and socialists are overlapping categories, heresies of the same religion. There has never been a fascist leadership that did not try to use government to manage the economy and none that permitted anything like a free market.

You will recall that the National Socialist Workers Party that ran Germany from 1933-45 sent many of its most skilled business leaders and richest investors to concentration camps.

Posted by: Jack at October 30, 2006 9:55 PM
Comment #191665
You are confusing individuals with government. It is common liberal mistake.

No, sir. I am not. Your original article talks about the ability of individuals to be greedy or generous. You are the one switching the basis of your own argument.

Your comment on taxes was instructive. You want to pay more taxes only if you can make others pay more taxes. I give to various charities. It has never occured to me to withhold my donation until I can make others pay as much or more.

You are confusing charity with taxes. It is a common conservative mistake.

Posted by: Burt at October 30, 2006 10:17 PM
Comment #191667

Realist2,

“Tell me where the constitution mentions me taking care of YOUR child?”

I would never presume to speak for Adrienne, but I just have to speak up on this.
Nowhere in the Constitution does it say that you “have” to take care of my child.
Nor does it say in the Constitution that I “have” to take care of yours.

That said, all of our children together are the only hope for the future of this country, therefore it behooves all of us to raise and give our children the best education, and the best life, we all together, can afford to give them.
Separately, a good education can be pretty expensive.
Together, we can do more with less.
Now, for instance, you may want to have your child educated at a private school, and that is your right, but the goodly portion of Americans can’t afford to do the same. That is why we all have an interest in each others children.

We all have a stake in all of us taking care of each others children.
It is in all, of even our most selfish, separate self interests, to do so.

Posted by: Rocky at October 30, 2006 10:25 PM
Comment #191672

Rocky, that was wonderfully well said. Let me just add that the Preamble of the Constitution does say “Promote the General Welfare.” I guess that’s not supposed to count?

Jack, Please. You and I both know the Nazi’s were about as Socialist as George W. Bush is Compassionate or Conservative. The actual Socialists in Germany were shipped off to die in the camps.

Realist2, I am tired of being called a Socialist when I am not a Socialist. Instead, I am a Liberal. But I have now decided that whenever this false label is attached to me, I will automatically return the favor by affixing the Fascist label. And, since I’ve never had any interest in arguing with Fascists, I really have nothing more to say.

Posted by: Adrienne at October 30, 2006 10:42 PM
Comment #191673

Jack-
That’s one kind of majority, but it’s not the only one operating. A majority can be any coalition of people who choose to believe or support the same thing. People who form part a majority on a certain subject can be on different sides of a different position.

Indeed, the shape of such majorities, in the communities and in the nation at large, can shape the majorities you speak of. This is the critical failure of the Republican party at this point. One one issue after another, this party finds itself in the minority. All that keeps your hold on things is the distrust you’ve managed to brew for people against the Democrats. That, though, is coming into conflict with their growing distrust of you, and unfortunately, you’ve done too good of a job lowering expectations for us. If we do even halfway well at thing, we may be able to keep a long term majority.

Don-
I’m not the guy to accuse of lacking plans and views on things.

Your trouble is, you don’t believe we mean exactly what we say. Your other trouble is, you believe that Bush has any other plan but to follow Rumsfeld’s lead.

Your challenge is a red herring, meant to distract attention from your party’s failures. That’s the only reason to accuse the other side of not having a plan: to pre-empt people from giving us a try.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 30, 2006 10:46 PM
Comment #191772

Adrienne

How about Liberal/Socialist? You want me to pay for your child, and that is not creeping socialism? Look at a graph of your political beliefs and see how close you are to socialism and how far away libertarians are. Yes, we are closer to anarchy. But you and your kind are on a slippery slope. When you espouse the kind of views you do here on a regular basis, one can conclude that you have inherent socialist leanings. Calling youths “Americas children” is one of these leanings.

Rocky

If we had true school choice without the teachers unions trying to control education, maybe everyone could “afford” private school. Funny how many that complain about the high cost of private schools seem to drive nice cars, have vacation homes, etc. Afford is a tricky word. Do you agree? I have no stake in taking care of your children. Or is it from each according to his ability, to each according to their needs?

Posted by: Realist2 at October 31, 2006 10:15 AM
Comment #191803

Realist2

“If we had true school choice without the teachers unions trying to control education, maybe everyone could “afford” private school. Funny how many that complain about the high cost of private schools seem to drive nice cars, have vacation homes, etc.”

I don’t complain about the “high” cost of private schools because I attended private school during the ’50s and ’60s, and I know what it takes.
Both of my parents worked (and it was rare that mothers worked during that time) so that I and my siblings could all attend the same schools.

A private school education is a privilege, not a right, and some parents don’t seem to get that part.
Public schools have to take everybody, private schools get to pick and choose who they admit.
I had to take entrance exams to be admitted to the boys high school I attended, and the standard was high, and it should be.

I don’t begrudge the teachers union for trying to get everything they can get to babysit our children.
Some private school teachers make less than their public school counterparts. This isn’t surprising as they have to put up with less crap from their students.
Private school students are usually better prepared to learn, because their parents are actually involved in the education process and actually give a rat’s ass about their children’s progress at school.

Could that be because they have more invested in their child’s education?

The same can’t be said of most public school students, and parents.

I am willing to help you put your children through public school, or you can live out there on your “I don’t have a stake in other peoples children” island, but don’t expect me to help you put your children through private school, as that requires you to make a special effort to be part of your childs education, and at the moment I can’t depend on you.

Posted by: Rocky at October 31, 2006 11:26 AM
Comment #191816

Adrienne

The Nazis did not believe in free markets and did not allow enterprise by individual firms. They regulated everything. They shipped both socialists and free market people off to camps. They called themselves socialists and represented a subgroup of socialism.

Stephen

You just don’t want to admit that Republicans won elections. It is an old problem. I remember when Ronald Reagan was president. He won almost 60% of the vote, yet liberals talked about the real voice of the people. It seems to me if most people vote for something, it might be what they want, or it might be the best of a bad choice. Dems forget that even if people are unhappy with Republicans, they may like Dems even less.

In our democracy, we assume whoever gets a majority of the vote represents the people. It is very simple.

Sort of like the definition of fascism, above. Liberals like to complicate the simple because they don’t like the answers they get.

BTW - if the Dems win a majority of the vote next week, I will assume they represent the majority for the next two years. That does not mean any individual has to agree with them, but it does mean that we cannot say they are not the majority. The same goes (and went) for the Republicans since 1994.

Posted by: Jack at October 31, 2006 12:04 PM
Comment #191891
In our democracy, we assume whoever gets a majority of the vote represents the people. It is very simple.

That is simple. Too simple. It ignores that politicians lie and distort, that fraud determines some elections, that eligible voters get stricken from rolls.

That’s the problem with reality; it’s often more complicated than a simple statement can capture. If I had the mind to, I could pass off this paraphrase of one your sentences as my true sentiment: Republicans do not like to look deep into a question because they do not like the answers they get. That kind of empty partisan slam contributes nothing to debate.

No president who approves torture and violates the Constitution represents me, no matter what his party. Ideally, a president should strive to represent as many people as possible; I don’t see the Great Decider/Divider following that principle. This president is on your head, not mine.

Posted by: Trent at October 31, 2006 2:51 PM
Comment #192016

Trent

We really have no other option. If those who get the majority of the votes are not the representatives, who is?

The system is not perfect, but better than the alternatives. And you have to be very careful. Despots usually claim to represent the real will of the people.

Posted by: Jack at October 31, 2006 8:56 PM
Comment #192033

If I’ve been consistent about anything, it’s my abhorrence of authoritarianism. It’s one of the reasons I’m not a Republican.

Posted by: Trent at October 31, 2006 9:51 PM
Comment #192078

Trent

I meant no disrespect. But I am afraid that good people can fall into the antidemocratic trap. Usually it is because they are seeking a perfect result in a human system that cannot produce one.

Posted by: Jack at October 31, 2006 11:24 PM
Comment #192281

How about doing away with the dept of Education and using the money to subsidize zero interest loans for anyone in America who wants to go to private school or college? It would still require “investment” by parents to send kids to better schools, and then block grants can continue to help pay for public schools while, and an income tax exception for all school employees can help increase the pool of qualified candidates by giving a real incentive (ie. a 25% boost in take home pay).

This would eliminate beaurocratic waste, federal involvement in teaching, and would give people more realistic options. It is a start. We need to start taking education planning seriously in this country if we are to compete globally for generations to come.

Posted by: Kevin23 at November 1, 2006 1:40 PM
Comment #192939

I find fallacies in your argument Jack. Liberals who give tax money to those in poverty are being generous. You claim that they are not for because they themselves are not paying for it personally. Since when could one person take care of millions of people off his/her own paycheck? Generosity is a gift, an act of sharing, not hoarding. Minding your own business breeds stupidity and fails democracy
Caring for oneself is not being generous to society either. Ever heard of alms-giving? Being generous is not taking burdens off the government’s budget, but rather giving back to society with what you have.
Additionally, generosity begins with intentions. Without good intentions, there could be no generosity. People in this country need to be cared for, and all of you who pay taxes share in this. We are a society, a mighty fine society, we are Americans, and generosity is what defined our fore-fathers and is what seperates us from the terrorists.
But I agree with you on one thing..the road to Hell is paved…but with ego-centric and closed minded and selfish people…like yourself

Posted by: AE Gallileo at November 2, 2006 8:39 PM
Comment #192943

AE Gallileo,

I could not agree with you more on this one. It is for the sake of society that we should be generous. Generosity is not the result of complacency or keeping to ourselves. Generosity is what defines our country. The fact that we are civilized enough to actually care about the well- being of people we don’t even know tells a lot about who we are and the fullness of democracy.

Posted by: James at November 2, 2006 8:54 PM
Comment #192981

Gallieo and James

WE should be generous. It is a private virtue. I do my part and I assume you do yours. But if I take YOUR money and give it to someone else, I am not being generous.

One person taking care of millions with his own paycheck is not possible, but millions of people with their paychecks can.

It is very easy to pretend to be generous by the act of voting every two years. You can vote to take other people’s money if you want, but it won’t mean you are a good person.

The question is what are you doing with your time and money outside those 45 minutes you spend in the voting booth every two years.

There are generous liberals and generous conservatives. I have never seen any indication that generosity follows political lines. But the relatoianship between generous states and generous people seems to be reversed.

The most generous people were in Mississippi, Arkansas, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Alabama, Louisiana, Utah, South Carolina and West Virginia.

The 10 stingiest, starting from the bottom, were New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Wisconsin, Connecticut, Minnesota, Colorado, Hawaii and Michigan

Posted by: Jack at November 2, 2006 11:05 PM
Comment #192991

Think of the immunizations we could have provided across the world with the money we blew in Iraq.

Posted by: Trent at November 3, 2006 12:34 AM
Comment #193197

The road to hell is a bumper to bumper traffic jam full of liberals!

Posted by: Jimmy at November 3, 2006 7:58 PM
Comment #237809

The same can be said for Trickle Down Economics however. (The road to hell is paved with good intentions.)

Personally, I like America’s “two party system,” because I believe the optimum position for policy is in the center - somewhere in between both of these half truths.

Posted by: Jim G at November 7, 2007 11:28 PM
Comment #251408

I see the phrase, “The path to hell is paved with good intentions.” as identifying the liberal policies that always backfire. i.e.:
Welfare that impoverishes generations.
Gun control that increases crime.
Taxes that slow the economy and thus slow the tax base.
Ethanol that increases food costs.
ON and On and On and On and On……

Posted by: Rob at April 25, 2008 11:16 AM
Comment #378240

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Posted by: christian34q at July 24, 2014 12:07 PM
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