Government Problems & Problem Governments

You cannot accomplish anything without resources, but resources are effectively used only when they are well managed. Providing more money to poorly managed operations can be worse than doing nothing. I do not think there is much controversial about what I just wrote. However, all of us, left, right & center, tend to forget it when we are talking about our favorite goals. What we want blinds us to what we can have.

In another thread I have been carrying on an interesting conversation about education funding. Some people are making the valid argument that IF funds are used properly, then more funding produces better results. I do not dispute that, but it is also true that IF proper management is not in place, funding makes little difference.

This does not apply only to school systems. How many of you who think increasing funding for education regardless of management would have supported doubling FEMA's budget with Brownie still in charge and making no changes in procedures?

Many of our disagreements resolve themselves to management issues. I do not trust that government CAN properly manage many parts of the economy whether you or I want it to or not. Governments are good at putting together big things, but private individuals and firms can almost always be more flexible and more nimble than government. This is especially true as governments get farther away. There are things that local governments can do well that the Federal government cannot do at all because local officials are closer to the situation and enjoy a flatter organization. Scale also makes international comparisons difficult. Things that work in a small homogeneous country might not work in a large diverse one. Many things are just not scalable.

Before we call for government action, we need to determine not only whether government action is desirable, but whether it is POSSIBLE. IF government is desirable & possible, ask the same question for federal, state and local government and always choose the one closest as possible to the people affected.

It is important to use the right tools to address particular problems but we also need to recall that some problems cannot be solved with the tools we have currently available and some problems cannot be solved at all. They must simply be managed. We should really call them situations, not problems. And many problems can be reframed as opportunities.

Posted by Jack at January 8, 2007 12:14 AM
Comments
Comment #201967

Jack,

When I was in the corporate world, Six Sigma, Total Quality Management, ISO 2000 and other methodologies were all the rage. (Fads come and go; perhaps they are still in vogue, perhaps not.) They may have been useful to some degree, but they also involved some silliness. For example, we were supposed to memorize our company’s Quality Statement in case an auditor asked us to recite — and to prepare us, we were given mousepads with the statement. We laughed ourselves silly over that. Need I say that the company’s sole motivation was to impress clients with various certifications? When it came down to it, we did our jobs as we always did them.

Posted by: Trent at January 8, 2007 12:49 AM
Comment #201971

Good point Jack. No doubt the government needs to administer our health care as private for profit health plans aren’t working.

Every other industrialized country has a public health plan with as good or better outcomes at almost half the cost.

This one is a no brainer.

Posted by: muirgeo at January 8, 2007 1:49 AM
Comment #201972

Jack, when you say “some problems cannot be solved at all. They must simply be managed.”, I assume among other things you are talking about the redistribution of a nation’s wealth amongst its people such that unwarranted suffering does not take place, and ruling aristocracies do not rise up again forcing citizen’s to fight another Revolutionary War. Right?

If so, should that redistribution be local, state, or a federal responsibility? Which has the authority to manage the nation’s resources? You do realize that until the latest giveaway by the IRS mandated by the Republican Congress and President, the IRS was the most efficient run organization of its size, consuming the smallest share of revenues collected in overhead for its function.

(By giveaway, I refer to the program of collecting back taxes from those owing $10,000 or more by offering amnesty and repayment at rates as low as 20 cents on the dollar owed. Only Republicans could be so inventive as to create a scam on the public in favor of big spenders and business owners, such as this, forcing honest law abiding tax payers to underwrite the wealthier tax dodgers and deadbeats.)

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 8, 2007 1:54 AM
Comment #201973

Trent

It is often difficult to define what good management is w/o a specific case. It is also true that we can usually recognize the results of good management, but may not be able say how it came about. But it is clear that some individuals, firms and organizations do a better job than others.

One of the reasons I favor private over government enterprise is precisely this problem of determining success. In a politically based environment (as all government is), the metrics of success will be exactly those things you mentioned, but not free from influence of politics. At least in the private sector if nobody buys your product, you lose money. In government, if nobody wants what you are making, you may get a bigger budget.

If the dogs won’t eat the dog food, eventually a private dog food maker will either change the formula or go out of business. A government organization will just keep getting more money to study the problem and subsidies to keep supplying it. In fact, many of the ingredients will be mandated by law.

Remember too that the government we get will often NOT be the government any particular group of us want at least half the time, so when you think of government enterprise, think of it in the hands of the opposition party, not your own loyal, true and brave leaders.

Muirego

We have managed to cobble together the worst of both worlds. There is no doubt that Americans healthcare is the best in the world when it is applied. That is why rich foreigners come to the U.S. There is also no doubt that it is not applied to all. We have mixed the legal system with the medical system way too much and most of us ask too much of medicine.

I have experienced socialized health care. There are waiting lines and lots of things you just cannot get. It eliminates the high end of our health care. This is not a bad thing necessarily. Most health care is NOT high tech. You also cannot sue so easily in a socialized system. If you could transplant this to the U.S., I would be satisfied. But I expect that instead we would get an entitlement to the best care for everybody, which for most people would be an impossibly high standard.

Psalms 90:10 “The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.”

Life spans have not changed that much since then. We spend most of our health care dollars on people above three score and ten (70 years old BTW) and more generally on people during the last years of their lives. Maybe a little less heroism in medicine is in order. In socialized medicine, you are likely to die a couple of days or weeks earlier than you might with the BEST care private care could offer. That is probably a good thing.

Do be careful of international comparisons, however. The populations are often not comparable for various cultural & behaviorial reasons. Compare Americans to Scandinavians and you get one set of numbers, but if you compare Scandinavians to Scandinavian Americans, you do not find much difference that cannot be attributed to differing rates of obesity.

David

I do not consider redistribution of wealth a desirable goal and would not carry it out even if I thought it was possible. Government should provide a safety net and I think it can carry out that function IF we do not try to make it into a general wealth redistribution.

BTW - I think we need to look at wealth in the proper way. Wealth is created. It does not exist in such as way that we can actually divide it up. It is possible for you to double your wealth w/o taking anything away from anybody else and it is possible for you to lose all your wealth w/o anyone getting anything more. The mental model of a fixed wealth pie ready to be cut up is a pernicious misconception.

Re the IRS - It depends on what you want the IRS to do. I try every year to pay my taxes honestly, but nobody is ever sure if he has done that. The tax codes are too complicated and subject to interpretation. I do not want the IRS to come like an avenging angel and punish simple error.

The U.S. has a very high rate of tax collection. I attribute some of that to the IRS, but a lot of it is U.S. culture and the fact that rates are not very high.

Posted by: Jack at January 8, 2007 2:50 AM
Comment #201974

Jack,

Just as an example of how taxpayer funded programs work when they’re privatized try to “google” the quality control results of the dozens of Medicare part D plans over the past year. You can find it but it’s hard to do. Why?

Humor me please. Find it, then tell me where you found it and how long it took.

Posted by: KansasDem at January 8, 2007 2:53 AM
Comment #201976

Kansas

I do not know what medicare part D is. I figure to learn more about it when I need to. My father went to the doctor only once between the time he got out of the Army in 1945 and when he died in 1996. I already cannot match his record, but I prefer also to avoid doctors and medicines as much as I can.

Socialized medicine is not something I fight too hard about. I lived in Norway. I kind of liked the socialized medicine there. One of my sons was born is a Norwegian hospital. You get the care you NEED, but it leaves a lot out and does not baby the recipients. I just cannot picture my wimpy, litigious fellow Americans tolerating it.

BTW - the Norwegians as a group have the most healthful habits and are the most honest people I have encountered anywhere in the world. It will not work any better than it does there.

Posted by: Jack at January 8, 2007 3:05 AM
Comment #201980

Jack,

Good post. I still think Reagan had it right when he said that the scariest thing one can hear is “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” I think that a big part of the problem is that the government has gotten into a lot of jobs it simply shouldn’t have, or should have only on a temporary basis. For example, SS was a good idea when millions of elderly Americans, through no fault of thier own, had their life savings wiped out by the Depression. However, I don’t think its the government’s business to be a retirement/healthcare provider. Another big problem is that people in government seem to operate on the assumption that if money is there, it must be spent. This is foolish.

David Remer,

Couldn’t disagree with you more. Redistributing wealth is a horrible idea. Jack’s management argument can go to the micro level as well. If someone can’t manage their own money well enough to not live in the ghetto, what makes you think that giving them more money will result in any less problems. When Bush cut the capital gains tax, it resulted in huge increases to government revenues as rich people took profits at a lower tax rate. I think we can both agree that the rich have the ability to use accountants to hide as much of their wealth as possible. Higher tax rates are what drove most corporations to outsource their HQs overseas. Raising tax rates on the wealthy will do nothing more than drive them to more and more creative ways to hide their wealth and end up paying nothing. Personally, I’d prefer a national sales tax and the abolition of the all income taxes. I don’t like their idea of a rebate to people for food expenses etc as the government still keeps tabs on you. Income taxes make people nothing more than assets to a government that will then look on them as nothing more than a teat to squeeze to the last drop. A national sales tax, with higher rates for luxury goods etc, would probably be the best for all. The rich already pay the majority of taxes, trying to squeeze them more will most likely only drop tax revenues.

Posted by: 1LT B at January 8, 2007 3:48 AM
Comment #201988

1 LTB,

Some redistribution of wealth is necessary. Otherwise, the plebs may revolt.

Jack,

I was just being light hearted!

Posted by: Trent at January 8, 2007 8:19 AM
Comment #201989

Trent

I know it is a joke about the Plebs, but I would point out the changed paradigm.

In the recent past, the plebs did most of the useful work in society. They no longer do. The lowest 20% of the population does very little work and by far most of the actual work of our society is done by the upper half of the population. Hours spent at work increases with income. This is a radical departure from all previous history and in fact is not the world many of us were born into. We have not yet adjusted our thinking to this.

Actually, your analogy is not so bad, on second thought. If you are referring to the plebs as in the Roman mob demanding bread and circuses but not actually producing very much, you probably are right on.

Posted by: Jack at January 8, 2007 8:56 AM
Comment #201991

Trent,

Maybe the plebs would be more happy if they actually earned the money rather than having it given to them. Its been my experience that people who earn what they have not only appreciate it more but also are more likely to treat what they have with the proper respect that comes from earning it. I’m not a fan of egalitarianism for several reasons, but the main reason is this. It offers no reward for positive behavior and choices, and almost no consequences for poor behavior and choices. I liken it to a lawnmower, it cuts down the best and does nothing to raise the least.

Jack,

Good point about the changes in society. As we continue to become more and more services based, the actual value of work is becoming increasingly divorced from labor. Further, differences in wages most often reflect differences in educational level and the desirability/danger of the work being done. Some highly skilled construction workers make 6 figure incomes with no college at all, but not all do. By the same token, I don’t know how many millionares in the US are not college graduates, but if one factors out entertainers, I’ll bet its a very small percentage. Also, that last line was good stuff.

Posted by: 1LT B at January 8, 2007 9:15 AM
Comment #201994

Jack,

Good post. I still think Reagan had it right when he said that the scariest thing one can hear is “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” …………….. For example, SS was a good idea when millions of elderly Americans, through no fault of thier own, had their life savings wiped out by the Depression. However, I don’t think its the government’s business to be a retirement/healthcare provider.

Posted by: 1LT B


You hit my rant button with this, Reagan saying, “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” is to me like saying , “You people aren’t capable of governing yourself democratically…so here let me do it for you”. The government is US….or in fact it is supposed to be us but IT IS often screwed up and manipulated by corporate interference. Some of the biggest failures of government have been and continue to be when we let the corporate camel nose under the tent as in the Medicare drug bill disaster. Reagan’s sound bite is catchy and quaint but it is hollow. Merely a sound bite that sounds good but overlooks the best military ever, the Manhattan project, The Apollo Project, The Panama Canal, The Internet, The best educational system in the world (in fact declining do to the likes of Reagan), …..while over looking massive failure and corruption in the private sector. The likes of the Medicare Drug bill part D, Enron, Tyco, Worldcom, Halliburton, Blackwater ect…. Oh and maybe the function of FEMA under Clinton vs under Bush.

The Republicans modus operands is to come in and screw up government organizations and then say, “See! They don’t work”.
In fact they do work as this here internet shows.

And I truly hope the next Republican candidates for office in 2008 take your advice and run on a platform of abolishing SS and Medicare.


Here’s a good rule of thumb. If you have people who believe government doesn’t work, like Reagan, THEN DON’T LET THEM RUN IT!!!

Posted by: muirgeo at January 8, 2007 9:33 AM
Comment #201995

Jack,

You make it sound as if the massive un- and underemployment in Rome was the fault of the plebs! If those shiftless bums would just get a job, they could contribute as much as, say, Tiberius or Caligula! Perhaps the Romans weren’t ruthless enough. Get a few legions in, round up everyone without a job, and then, well, solve the problem!

Seriously, though, we have a legitimate interest in preventing the uberwealthy from owning everything. Right now 1 percent control 33 percent of the wealth in this country. Should we shoot for 50 percent? Or 75 percent? The nice thing about a democracy is that it’s not only the privileged who have political power.

Maybe we should revise our tax policy to target wealth instead of income. (I know estate/gift taxes do that to some degree.) Then we could dole the money out on cool stuff. I wouldn’t insist on circuses, though I do like bread.

—-

Jack, the hardest work I ever did was when I was a teenager unloading grocery trucks. Most of my working life I sat in the comfort of an office. It’s true I worked longer hours later in life, but it was much easier work for much greater pay. I’m just pointing out that there are other ways to determine the intensity of “work” or “productivity” than salary.

My advice? Do what you love. If that makes you a fortune, that’s a nice bonus, but if it doesn’t, at least you get to enjoy life.

Posted by: Trent at January 8, 2007 9:33 AM
Comment #201996

I do not consider redistribution of wealth a desirable goal and would not carry it out even if I thought it was possible.

Posted by: Jack


I think the facts show that policy does determine how wealth is distributed. Typically with increasing Gini indexes in Republican lead era and decreasing during Democratic regimes. The same is seen in other countries and across history. You see high indexes where democracy is subverted and corruption rules.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Gini_since_WWII.gif

My proposition is that democratic government is ALL ABOUT HOW WE DISTRIBUTE WEALTH. (caps for emphasis not shouting..well maybe a little).

Remember that there is no such thing as “free markets”. Corporations, even businesses exist through the welfare granted from the very governments they operate under. They are subservient to the rules We The PEOPLE lay down for them and they are NOT to mess with our democracy.

Posted by: muirgeo at January 8, 2007 9:44 AM
Comment #202003

Muirgeo

Tell me what welfare plans these companies operate under. I will keep it simple.

Pitney-Bowes

UPS

The list, of course is enormous. There are many businesses across the country that do not receive anything from government other that headaches.

Now for all those who want to re-distribue the wealth, what is morally right about that? If a person gathers wealth through honesty it is absolutely wrong for any government to take it away. And after you take the $$$, do you then split up his houses, cars, boats, etc.? Where does it end? The answer is behind door #0. It does not end.

Posted by: tomh at January 8, 2007 10:40 AM
Comment #202005

tomh,

It’s a balance. They say the first million is the hardest to come by, but at some point, wealth takes on a life of its own.

Say I inherit $10 million. I invest it in CDs and earn about $500,000 a year in interest. I take the advice of tax accountants and pay roughly 20 percent of that in federal taxes (that’s the average for the uberwealthy, I believe). Now, through no real work of my own, I’ve got a federally guarenteed annual salary many times greater than the poor slobs who actually have to work for a living. If I invest say half of my interest income after taxes in more CDs, then every year I invest some $200,000. You know, that starts to add up to real money!

The point? Wealth takes on a life on its own and with nothing to stop its growth, in no time it expands enormously. (In actual fact, countries fall, revolutions occur, etc. — otherwise, the same families who owned most of Rome would own most of the world by now.) How do you think that 1 percent ended up owning 33 percent of the wealth in this country? By the sweat of their brows?

As Jack said, the tax rates in this country are not very high. You don’t have to fear the uberwealthy becoming paupers as long as they are not idiots.

Posted by: Trent at January 8, 2007 10:53 AM
Comment #202011

tomh writes,

Muirgeo

Tell me what welfare plans these companies operate under. I will keep it simple.

Pitney-Bowes

UPS


Partial list;

A legal system to settle contract disputes paid for by taxpayers.

A highway infrastructure to drive their vehicles
paid for by taxpayers.

A patent system to protect their creations paid for by taxpayers.

A system of public legal tender notes made by the US Treasury Department paid for by taxpayers.

The right to incorporate granted and paid for by the U.S. government and its people.

UPS and PB both benefit from the pre-existing postal system as set up and paid for by the US taxpayer.

They benefit from a multitude of tax write offs.

They benefit from a country fought for by the blood of all those Americans who came before Pitney-Bowes and UPS ever existed.

Posted by: muirgeo at January 8, 2007 11:40 AM
Comment #202013

muirgeo

That is a very poooooor definition of welfare.

In your previous post you spoke of corporate welfare. Revisit your statement about corporate welfare and expand on that, not on necessary thing for existence.

BTW according to your definition of welfare, then that same welfare has been extended to you to use which you do use, therefore you are on welfare. See how that works.

Posted by: tomh at January 8, 2007 12:00 PM
Comment #202016

“tomh writes,

Muirgeo

Tell me what welfare plans these companies operate under. I will keep it simple.

Pitney-Bowes

UPS


Partial list;

A legal system to settle contract disputes paid for by taxpayers.

A highway infrastructure to drive their vehicles
paid for by taxpayers.

A patent system to protect their creations paid for by taxpayers.

A system of public legal tender notes made by the US Treasury Department paid for by taxpayers.

The right to incorporate granted and paid for by the U.S. government and its people.

UPS and PB both benefit from the pre-existing postal system as set up and paid for by the US taxpayer.

They benefit from a multitude of tax write offs.

They benefit from a country fought for by the blood of all those Americans who came before Pitney-Bowes and UPS ever existed.

Posted by: muirgeo at January 8, 2007 11:40 AM “

Are you telling me that you think the services you mentioned are WELFARE?

If so, will you please define welfare for me? If not will you please answer his question?

Posted by: tomd at January 8, 2007 12:13 PM
Comment #202017

Muriego

Conservatives believe in government, but we believe it should be smaller and stick to the things it does best. Government can marshal big resources, but it cannot manage small details. The Internet is an excellent example. The government built the backbone, but it wisely did not attempt to micro manage who used it and for what. The internet, BTW, contributed mightily to increased inequality by giving entrepreneurs the ability to buy and sell w/o much staff or infrastructure.

Your chart indicates one of the problems with equality. If you look at China, India, Poland etc, you see that inequality was less when most people were abysmally poor and oppressed. It increased with prosperity.

It is very important to assess the source of inequality. Wealth must be created. It is not just out there to be divided. If you create $100 of wealth, it may be nice of you to share it and they tax system will get some of it, but you may well not have taken it away from me.

It is possible for you to double your wealth w/o taking it away from anybody and it is possible for you to lose all your wealth w/o anybody getting any more.

Re democracy - yes all of us have to live by the rules set down. If people break the law, we should react. Some income redistribution is always happening. Great income redistribution has never been popular with a majority of the American people. Most of us would like more, but Americans are not that envious. And most Americans either already feel well off or expect to be that in the future. You have no constituency for redistribution of wealth.

Trent

I used to load cement bags – 94lb each twelve hours a day. It was very hard work. Most people cannot do it even if they want to. Do you know what happened to that job? Now a machine loads the number of bags in minutes what it used to take 8-10 of us hours. Some smart guys have figured out how to dispense with the bags altogether.

I was in the Long Shoreman’s Union. There used to be hundreds of guys on the docks, working hard. Now it is all in containers. Fewer guys are needed to unload it and less is broken or stolen.

Working hard is really not a good measure of value added. One stray thought on how to eliminate the need for a particular laborious step in a work process, can be worth more than the labor of 100 men.

Posted by: Jack at January 8, 2007 12:16 PM
Comment #202018

Jack,

You said that the lower 20% do not do much work. I strongly disagree.

Since by lowest, I assume you mean lowest in productivity, since short people often work harder than taller people.

Well, of course that is true by definiton of productivity. What I disagree with is value. The stuffed shirt pushing paper on his desk may be be more productive in our modern economic systems, but the guy cooking the tacos is prodviding an essential service. The Mexican workers in the U.S. early last year were promoting the idea of a day without Mexicans, to emphasize the vital role they play in the economy.

We don’t value child rearing in this country either. You supposition that the “lower” 20% don’t produce is pure economic fascist propoganda.

My favorite cartoon is a Gahan Wilson drawing of a crazed man pounding pencils into his desk with a claw hammer. A sign on the desk reads “more that just a pencil pusher”.

Value is a funny thing. If we nuked ourselves into the stoneage, I wonder how many middle managers and arbitragers would starve to death?


Posted by: gergle at January 8, 2007 12:22 PM
Comment #202019

BTW according to your definition of welfare, then that same welfare has been extended to you to use which you do use, therefore you are on welfare. See how that works.

Posted by: tomh


Yes I am too on welfare. I’m doing financially very well but I realize I could not do so with out the rules of society. I am no self made man….none such exist. We are all interdependent. No man is an island.


We are all on welfare indeed…remember the ultimate goal of our entire system is to encourage both government and the people to “promote the general welfare”—

Posted by: muirgeo at January 8, 2007 12:33 PM
Comment #202023

“We are all on welfare indeed…remember the ultimate goal of our entire system is to encourage both government and the people to “promote the general welfare”—”

Who told you this nonsense. The Preamble to the constitution clearly states that the goal of our government is to have a “MORE PERFECT UNION.”

Posted by: tomd at January 8, 2007 12:43 PM
Comment #202026


muirgeo,
After second thought I can’t just dismiss what you said. “We are all on welfare indeed…remember the ultimate goal of our entire system is to encourage both government and the people to “promote the general welfare”—” I guess it depends on what system you are talking about. I assumed you were talking about out system of government.


Posted by: tomd at January 8, 2007 12:54 PM
Comment #202028

The government is so ridiculously bloated and corrupt, that it can no longer focus on the simple basics.
Too many voters have their pet projects, and fail to realize that none of it will matter if they allow government to continue to grow and grow to nightmare proportions, allowing the nation’s most pressing problems to grow in number and severity, threatening the future and security of the nation.
Provided the voters don’t wait too long, they will get their motivation (of their own making) to finally do something about it (and rewarding irresponsible incumbent politicians by repeatedly re-electing them is not the solution).

Posted by: d.a.n at January 8, 2007 12:59 PM
Comment #202029

Muriego

Conservatives believe in government, but we believe it should be smaller and stick to the things it does best.

Posted by: Jack

I believe most conservatives believe that. I think most liberal do as well.

But in practice many CEO’s and Conservative politicains don’t practice what they preach.
This is best said by a review I read on Kevin Philips book Wealth and Democracy;

“Most American conservatives take it as an article of faith that the less governmental involvement in affairs of the market and pocketbook the better. The rich do not, whatever they might say—for much of their wealth comes from the “power and preferment of government.”


And the biggest enablers have been the Republican controled politics of the last 255 years…worse so the last 6.

Posted by: muirgeo at January 8, 2007 1:03 PM
Comment #202038

Jack said: “Government should provide a safety net and I think it can carry out that function IF we do not try to make it into a general wealth redistribution.”

That is like saying “OK, I am all for eggs as long as we agree to not call them eggs.” It’s a logical fallacy many Republicans and Democrats love to engage in as an expeditious way of speaking publicly without being honest. Wealth is finite. Too much wealth in too few hands of necessity results in a great many suffering poverty and loss of power which middle class lifestyles and incomes enable.

I give you the reign of Saddam Hussein as a perfect example. Do you really want to argue that Saddam’s hording of wealth did not result in the impoverishment of his people both in terms of quality of life and empowerment? Get real.

The same principle applies to all societies and forms of government - if they allow accretion of the nation’s wealth to become controlled by a small minority, the rest of the people of the nation will suffer both politically and financially and in quality of life. 45 million Americans without health care insurance is just one of a myriad examples in America.

The Republican strategy of growing debt in favor of enriching corporations as a means of making safety nets like Soc. Sec. and Medicare unaffordable is another prime example.

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 8, 2007 1:42 PM
Comment #202039

Who told you this nonsense. The Preamble to the constitution clearly states that the goal of our government is to have a “MORE PERFECT UNION.”

Posted by: tomd


tomd,

The constitution was written because we wanted to escape the rule of Kings and Oligarchs.

Per Trents argument above. How would your system of total hands off government NOT return us to such a state?
Get rid of the estate tax, get rid of progressive taxation and you are guaranteed to see all wealth and power concentrated in a small ruling Oligarch.

You think you are the fair minded one but your policies would destroy democracy and return us to 1775 as far as I can see.

Posted by: muirgeo at January 8, 2007 1:55 PM
Comment #202040

Its not total hands off govt that many people desire. Its govt abiding by the Constitution that we want and nowhere in the Constitution does it say that govt will forcefully steal from one and give to another.

Posted by: kctim at January 8, 2007 1:58 PM
Comment #202045
Its govt abiding by the Constitution that we want and nowhere in the Constitution does it say that govt will forcefully steal from one and give to another.

kctim, that notion is embedded in the very concept of taxation itself (which is a Constitutional power, after all). Our nation was carved out of territory we rather forcibly “stole” from others. Argue that we should give the land back and I’ll grant you moral authority on this issue.

Posted by: Trent at January 8, 2007 2:53 PM
Comment #202046

kctim,

Who is stealing? We are democratically setting up rules for business and society. You can either follow the rules or go set up business in another country or democratically try to change the rules.

All other 32 developed nations currently have progressive tax systems and rules by which business must be conducted.

You can’t point to another society in place or in history set up by the rules you would like that is not/ was not a Oligarchy or a Kingdom.

The closest thing currently to what you all would like for our government exist in Brazil or Mexico.
Where in the constitution does it mention business or corporations.

Posted by: muirgeo at January 8, 2007 2:56 PM
Comment #202048

Its not total hands off govt that many people desire.

Posted by: kctim

Of course it’s not. Businesses, businessmen and corporations can’t expect society to set up rules to protect them and get nothing in return.

Progressive taxation may seem inherantly unfair but its the only thing that will prevent the “Return of the King”.

You can choose rule by Kings or rule by the people…We’ve already had that fight. The Kings got their sorry behinds kicked and will never return if the will of the people is served.

Posted by: muirgeo at January 8, 2007 3:01 PM
Comment #202049

The government is so ridiculously bloated and corrupt, that it can no longer focus on the simple basics.

Posted by: d.a.n

But a big reason it’s corrupt and bloated is because people/corporation with lots of money have bought politicains and set it up as their cash cow.

See the Medicare drug bill part D, see the military industrial complex, see for profit Health insurance plans..ect

The superwealthy LOVE big government!

Posted by: muirgeo at January 8, 2007 3:04 PM
Comment #202051

To those who want to use the Robin Hood principle, let us carry it a bit further that just take and give to even the scale. What happens to those who cannot manage their newfound wealth and squander it, while the wealthy continue to use their skills and knowledge to gain more wealth. It is sad that the use of the word wealth is generally applied to dollars. Bill Gates’s wealth is not in cash, it is in the value of his stock, which changes on a daily basis. Many people have invested their cash into goods and services which are known as assets and therefore their wealth is determined on a different plateau. Taking from the wealth and giving to the less fornutate has no redeeming value and should be placed on the trash heap of bad ideas.

Posted by: tomh at January 8, 2007 3:10 PM
Comment #202057

Trent
“kctim, that notion is embedded in the very concept of taxation itself (which is a Constitutional power, after all).”

It was a “limited” Constitutional power.

“Our nation was carved out of territory we rather forcibly “stole” from others. Argue that we should give the land back and I’ll grant you moral authority on this issue.”

We did not “steal” it, we took it. To the victor go the spoils. To the conqueror go the riches.

Posted by: kctim at January 8, 2007 3:31 PM
Comment #202059

Taking from the wealth and giving to the less fornutate has no redeeming value and should be placed on the trash heap of bad ideas.

Posted by: tomh


I’m guessing were you around in 1776 you would have been one of the Conservative Tory Loyalist taking sides with that King George as well??

Besides it’s not transefering wealth from rich to poor but putting some of the profits back into society in general in order to form a more perfect union and all that preamble stuff.

Posted by: muirgeo at January 8, 2007 3:33 PM
Comment #202060

It is such a contradiction that republican conservatives are so smitten with the notion of social darwinism (economic survival of the the fittest) as being the natural state of man’s relationship to one another, and so opposed to the scientific theory of natural selection, which proposes essentially the same concept.

Posted by: charles Ross at January 8, 2007 3:46 PM
Comment #202061

muirgeo,

“Republican controled politics of the last 255 years…worse so the last 6.”

That statement isn’t totally accurate.

1 - The democrat party of today didn’t exist until the slave owners of the south were forced north, took over and reformed a prior party to such. So everything prior to the end of the civil war the Dems didn’t exist.

2 - Until the 1850s, Lincoln was their second candidate. Everything else before than was neither.

3 - This is not the first time the Dems have had a majority. In fact they have had majority many times in the 20th century.

The on aspect of that statement that is indeed factual is that in the last 255 years the Republican party has been the only party to have total control scenario, i.e. House, Senate, Executive branch.

The Democratic Party has though, had more control over the state governments through out history. Especially in the north.

Also, as an added tidbit to all, the reason the Republicans still hold the south is because the older black community in the south still remembers that it was the Republicans who finalized Amendments 13,14, and 15.

Mind all of you who research it that the Republicans at the time were not called so and the Democrats then were not the Democrat party of today.

You are very correct on the fact that wealth benefits from big government though.

Those numbers are fairly firm and accurate and even if they had a give or take of 20% they would still prove you right in the worse case scenario.

=)

Posted by: Bryan AJ Kennedy at January 8, 2007 3:49 PM
Comment #202063

muirgeo,

First I am not trying to debate your opinions, just making them concrete, I agree with the majority of what you are saying.

“Besides it’s not transefering wealth from rich to poor but putting some of the profits back into society in general in order to form a more perfect union and all that preamble stuff.”

That is the purpose of taxes. The irony is that taxes is also the means for corruption. There is no other way to insure that the people recieve a benefit from the progress of society.

Might I suggest this:

We make all records in relationship to all those who are elected officials public. Including their financial records and their travel records.

Then all those who don’t want there stuff out in the open can just “not run for office” ever.

Then I will gladly run for office, all of you can dig through all my reciepts and records and know that I am acting fairly and in the best interest of the public!

Sound good?

Posted by: Bryan AJ Kennedy at January 8, 2007 3:54 PM
Comment #202064

“Who told you this nonsense. The Preamble to the constitution clearly states that the goal of our government is to have a “MORE PERFECT UNION.‎

Posted by: tomd


tomd,

The constitution was written because we wanted to escape the rule of Kings and Oligarchs.

Per Trents argument above. How would your system of total hands off government NOT return us to such a state?
Get rid of the estate tax, get rid of progressive taxation and you are guaranteed to see all wealth and power concentrated in a small ruling Oligarch.

You think you are the fair minded one but your policies would destroy democracy and return us to 1775 as far as I can see.

Posted by: muirgeo at January 8, 2007 01:55 PM”

And you STILL didn’t answer the question. Without backing up what you are saying, it is only an opinion and my 5 year old grandaughter has one of those.

Posted by: tomd at January 8, 2007 3:55 PM
Comment #202065

“Per Trents argument above. How would your system of total hands off government NOT return us to such a state?” Again you are assuming things. Can you show me where I have EVER advocated for a total hands off government? I only challenged you to back up your assertions. I don’t think you can.

Posted by: tomd at January 8, 2007 4:05 PM
Comment #202067

Muirgeo
I am hardly a fan of big businesses, but I do not fear them as many of you seem to. Wal-Mart is a lot less intimidating to me than a big brother govt.
You fear corporations, I fear govt tyranny.
Govt is not the answer. The American drive for success and freedom is. If you take away a persons drive to succeed, they become dependent and then you control them.
I do not wish to live that way.

You are very outspoken in your support of govt paid Universal Healthcare. A system which must force the beliefs of some onto others, in order to function.
So tell me then, if we keep giving govt the responsibility over businesses and power over them, are we not making govt nothing but another huge business type corporation that you fear?

Whats the difference between paying a business for its products or services or govt taxing you the same amount for those?

Posted by: kctim at January 8, 2007 4:06 PM
Comment #202068

“Who is stealing? We are democratically setting up rules for business and society. You can either follow the rules or go set up business in another country or democratically try to change the rules.”

If we democratically set up rules that we would all go to your house on the first Thursday of every month and have sex with your wife, Is it still rape? You can either follow the rules or move to another country.

Posted by: tomd at January 8, 2007 4:13 PM
Comment #202070

kctim said: “It was a “limited” Constitutional power.”

And it still is. The voters of America still have the power to vote out politicians who abuse the power to tax. The only peaceable substitute for this democratic remedy built into our Constitution, is to transition to an authoritarian type government where the few may mandate to the many regarding taxes.

The latter being the choice of a large number of Republicans when their opinions are examined for their underlying assumptions such as: the people are too dumb to know what they want and must be led for their own good - especially non-Republicans. That is the philosophy of kings and tyrants and dictators, and a large number Republicans are all for it.

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 8, 2007 4:33 PM
Comment #202071

It is such a contradiction that republican conservatives are so smitten with the notion of social darwinism (economic survival of the the fittest) as being the natural state of man’s relationship to one another, and so opposed to the scientific theory of natural selection, which proposes essentially the same concept.


Posted by: charles Ross


This is a great point. I’ve made it before in debate elsewhere with a person of the conservative persuasion only to be asked what I meant by Social Darwinism.

Posted by: muirgeo at January 8, 2007 4:43 PM
Comment #202075

David
We have long passed the point where we the people could vote out those who abuse the power to tax. The people have grown to accustomed to their freebies and having no responsibility.

“the people are too dumb to know what they want and must be led for their own good”

That is the explanation liberal Democrats use to justify social programs such as SS and welfare.

Muirgeo and Charlie
Surely your not suggesting Conservatives and Republicans are the only ones who contradict themselves, are you?

Posted by: kctim at January 8, 2007 5:08 PM
Comment #202078

David,

Thanks for being much more eloquent then me. But you are exactly right. If you look to the origins of conservative thinking they basically admit that they do not believe in democracy. They feel that an upper elite needs to set policy for the masses.

“The occupation of a hair-dresser, or of a working tallow-chandler, cannot be a matter of honour to any person - to say nothing of a number of other more servile employments. Such descriptions of men ought not to suffer oppression from the state; but the state suffers oppression, if such as they, either individually or collectively are permitted to rule.”

Edmund Burke

Posted by: muirgeo at January 8, 2007 5:30 PM
Comment #202080
We did not “steal” it, we took it. To the victor go the spoils. To the conqueror go the riches.

Hehe, ok. We scummy lefties don’t steal your money, we take it.

Wow. Moral problem resolved!

Posted by: Trent at January 8, 2007 5:56 PM
Comment #202081

muirego,

You can praise and agree with others all you wish. You can give your opinion as much as you wish also, but you still havent answered the questions asked of you and you still haven’t backed up anything you’ve said.

Posted by: tomd at January 8, 2007 6:00 PM
Comment #202085

“If the overgrown wealth of an individual be deemed dangerous to the State, the best corrective is the law of equal inheritance…”)

Thomas Jefferson

“I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies.”

Thomas Jefferson.

Posted by: muirgeo at January 8, 2007 6:07 PM
Comment #202086

muirego,

You can praise and agree with others all you wish. You can give your opinion as much as you wish also, but you still havent answered the questions asked of you and you still haven’t backed up anything you’ve said.

Posted by: tomd


Sorry… What Question?

Posted by: muirgeo at January 8, 2007 6:08 PM
Comment #202087

kctim said: ““the people are too dumb to know what they want and must be led for their own good”

That is the explanation liberal Democrats use to justify social programs such as SS and welfare.”

No, that is the underlying assumption of Republican policy to circumvent the will of the people to sustain safety net programs like S.S. and Medicare.

The majority of Americans want S.S. and Medicare safety nets made sustainable and preserved. Republicans refuse that will of the people - ERGO, Republicans don’t govern in accordance with government of, by, and for the people or democratic principles which you just admitted can’t be trusted as evidence by the people wanting those programs preserved.

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 8, 2007 6:22 PM
Comment #202088

Man, I bet you guys just hate, hate, hate the 16th Amendment! Another victory for communism; to the victor goes the spoils!

Posted by: Trent at January 8, 2007 6:25 PM
Comment #202090

muirgeo,

“Get rid of the estate tax, get rid of progressive taxation and you are guaranteed to see all wealth and power concentrated in a small ruling Oligarch.”

Actually, non of the above stated taxes existed a 100 years ago and the economy was flourishing more so then it has since.

and Edmund Burke was a Whig, the Whig Party is here today as the Liberal Party. He is also stating that a hair dresser is so lowly below him that no one in their position could be happy with it. This is a facist view, my grandma’s best friend is a hair-dresser and she loves her job and does it seven days a week for free now that she is retired, so it is also false.

As for social darwinism and actual darwinsim, they are both true. Something that is more capable will be more successful. That is just common sense, no matter what you apply it to. If no one other than the two of us understand this than that just goes to show whose genes will still be around a century from now. =)


David,

I don’t think any ONE group is oppressing our entire nation. It would take the unity of nearly all groups to oppress such a complicate entity as the United States.

Really now, which is more likely that just Republicans are tyrants, or that both parties are tyrants.

Neither has ever, as a whole, ever proved to be anything, but damaging, to the American public.

One wastes money, the other denies it’s use all together. Both are equally poor.

I would be more open to the idea that through a lack of educated voting, unreliable people have made unreliable laws and governance, creating the perception of oppression. Either way, we elect them, it is our fault, or the fault of lesser intelligent Americans, in which case you just joined me and muigeo on the whole social darwinism thing.


tomd,

The rape comment is getting a little close to being offensive.

It is a good point though.


kctim,

I like where your head is at. Are you a Libertarian?

Posted by: Bryan AJ Kennedy at January 8, 2007 6:28 PM
Comment #202092

I thought Darwinism went in the toilet decades ago. It was theory then and is less than that now.

Posted by: tomh at January 8, 2007 6:32 PM
Comment #202093

Muirgeo

Tell me what welfare plans these companies operate under. I will keep it simple.

Pitney-Bowes

UPS


You answered with a list of basic services that government provides. Hardly welfare.


Are you telling me that you think the services you mentioned are WELFARE?


No answer


If so, will you please define welfare for me? If not will you please answer his question?

No answer


So tell me then, if we keep giving govt the responsibility over businesses and power over them, are we not making govt nothing but another huge business type corporation that you fear?


No answer


If we democratically set up rules that we would all go to your house on the first Thursday of every month and have sex with your wife, Is it still rape? You can either follow the rules or move to another country.


No answer


These questions.

Posted by: tomd at January 8, 2007 6:33 PM
Comment #202096

“tomd,

The rape comment is getting a little close to being offensive.”

I certainly don’t mean to offend. The concept is obviously absurb. The point it illustrates though is valid.

Posted by: tomd at January 8, 2007 6:41 PM
Comment #202098

“Probably the most harm done by vast wealth is the the harm that we of moderate means do ourselves when we let the vises of envy and hatred enter deep into our own natures”

Theodore Roosevelt

Posted by: dolan at January 8, 2007 6:51 PM
Comment #202100

Sorry you don’t get Teddy Roosevelt. He’s on my side. He was known as the TrustBuster.

“We stand for a living wage. Wages are subnormal if they fail to provide a living for those who devote their time and energy to industrial occupations. The monetary equivalent of a living wage varies according to local conditions, but must include enough to secure the elements of a normal standard of living—a standard high enough to make morality possible, to provide for education and recreation, to care for immature members of the family, to maintain the family during periods of sickness, and to permit a reasonable saving for old age”.

Theodore Roosevelt

“The big bosses of the political field, the beneficiaries of privilege in the field of industry, the men who represent that sinister alliance between crooked politics and crooked business, which has done more than anything else for the corruption of American life, are united as one man against the genuine rule of the people themselves. The privileged classes, the representatives of special privilege, of special interests, can always make terms with a boss or bosses. They can make terms with the bosses who dominate the Republican party, they can make terms with the bosses who dominate the Democratic party, but they can’t make terms with the people. They can’t make terms with the men who honestly and genuinely represent the popular will.” Theodore Roosevelt

BACK OFF Teddy’s MINE!


“My concern is this larger concern that the advocates of absolute unrestrained laissez-faire capitalism, of allowing corporations to get infinitely large to the point where they essentially can begin to corrupt the market place and corrupt science, corrupt government, that’s the point at which I think we have a real serious problem.” Presidents, including Republican Teddy Roosevelt,

Posted by: muirgeo at January 8, 2007 7:00 PM
Comment #202103

I thought Darwinism went in the toilet decades ago. It was theory then and is less than that now.

Posted by: tomh


Oh no Darwinism is with out a doubt true. Me and you are actually related through a long distant common Great Great Great ….Grandmother who was actually an amoeba…weird huh?

Posted by: muirgeo at January 8, 2007 7:18 PM
Comment #202106

“A young man who does not have what it takes to perform military service is not likely to have what it takes to make a living”

John F. Kennedy

Posted by: dolan at January 8, 2007 7:44 PM
Comment #202108

Jack,

It was a valiant point to try to carry on a good discussion of the issue of governance as it relates to governing. Unfortunatley, your thread got hijacked by those that want to shout more than listen. Come back to the Virgina threat. It is more insteresting over there.

Posted by: Rob at January 8, 2007 7:54 PM
Comment #202111

sorry Rob,Jack I will comment here no more.

Posted by: dolan at January 8, 2007 8:29 PM
Comment #202114

David

There is a big difference between providing a safety net and redistributing wealth. I suppose you can call it redistribution, but that is not useful. Let me be clear. We should provide a minimum safety net. We should not equalize outcomes.

The Saddam Hussein is an example of the old fashioned way of wealth. Saddam did not produce anything. In fact his country in general did not produce its own wealth. It was entirely resource based and produced by somebody else. He also took all his money through government.

Yes, I will stipulate that it is possible for government to take wealth through coercion to the detriment of society and I will firmly oppose their right to do that to a great extent. Avoiding such tyrannical governments is pretty much is the basis of conservative thought.

Muirego

The corporate tax rate in Ireland is 12.5%.

Check out the Index of Economic Freedom. The U.S. is not at the very top. We could do better, maybe be more like Ireland, Singapore or Estonia.

Many developed countries no longer have any capital gains tax at all and some are now going for flatter taxes. The U.S. enjoys a fairly low level of general taxation, but others are catching up.

Most developed countries now have a lower corporate tax than we do. They learned that the high taxes ended up making their countries poorer. The Euros are learning faster than we are in some things.

You have to create wealth before you can distribute it. Our tax regimes should be designed to create the best climate for wealth creation within the constraints of raising revenue. Taxing in order to equalize outcomes puts a country on the road to penjury and serfdom.

Posted by: Jack at January 8, 2007 9:18 PM
Comment #202117

We should not equalize outcomes.

Jack, seriously, is anyone talking about equalizing outcomes? I think David R. has a point. Providing a safety net is wealth redistribution. In this country, the political parties are not radically different. We find tiny differences and use language that often tends to emphasize those differences.

Our debate on education funding is a good example of this phenomenon. Fundamentally, we agree.

Posted by: Trent at January 8, 2007 9:32 PM
Comment #202121

Jack, like Trent said, wealth redistribution means equalizing outcomes in your mind. But no one else but deceptive Republicans would say that S.S. and Medicare is an attempt to equalize outcomes.

These programs are wealth redistribution wherein those who can afford are taxed so that those who can’t may maintain a modicum of dignity in the face of misfortune. I will reiterate, when too much wealth is accrued into too few hands, large numbers of the citizenry begin to suffer.

Wealth redistribution via programs like S.S. and Medicare are intended to insure that the society at large does not suffer as a result of too high a concentration of wealth into too few family’s hands.

Wealth redistribution can take many forms, The Bill Gates Foundation is an example of voluntary wealth redistribution. Soc. Sec. and Medicare are examples of majority and democratically created mandatory wealth redistribution.

What many of your Republican fear mongers want to convince the public of, is that support for S.S. and Medicare are tantamount Mao Tse Tung’s form of socialism in which wealth concentration is forbidden. No one that I have ever heard, save for a few in the Socialist Parties, have ever advocated for that kind of absolute wealth redistribution.

In America, everybody wants an opportunity to become wealthy - therefore, the fear of the masses installing Mao Tse Tung type wealth redistribution is an utter and complete fabrication and lie by some on the right, intended to scare folks away from any kind of wealth redistribution regardless of how many 10’s of millions may have to suffer.

America has lived through the era of Industrial magnates and barons who gave little, to no concern for the masses, and they trashed this nation right into the greatest depression our nation has ever experienced.

Then came an enlightened industrialist, Henry Ford, who committed economic heresy for his day, by promulgating the concept of increasing wages and the well being of workers as a guarantor of a much greater consumer base within the existing population which, in turn, would support growing business sales and production as well as economic GDP.

The Ford philosophy actually held out the potential for a homeostatic balance between worker quality of life and consumption and wealthier capitalists, in which both sides could reside comfortably along side each other with a sense of American equality for all without equality of wealth. (Certain ethnic groups excepted, of course, at that time.)

Around the time of Reagan, a new philosophy was adopted by Republican ultra conservatives which promised they could have their cake and eat it too. By importing ever more and cheaper labor, undercutting American born wages and quality of living standards, but maintaining increasing demand by increasing the population in perpetuity, they could short change workers and increase profits at the same time. Added to this was widening markets overseas to compensate for greater numbers of American workers unable to afford their products. Following that was the wholesale export of classes of American jobs altogether to foreign soil.

All of these Republican led efforts (and partially Democrat as well for differing motives) intentionally and by design cut the cost of labor and diminished the ability of American workers to accrue wealth in their workplaces.

That new philosophy in practice results in diminishing wealth for the masses and aggregation of enormous wealth in the hands of domestic and foreign investors and corporate owners and management. Not to mention the incredible increase of social costs for the nation via diverse and complex problems brought on by increasing population demands on environments, government, law and order, and the long term viability of the economy.

As demands on government grow as a DIRECT result of population growth, and an ever more politically powerful wealthy class refusing to share in those costs, including cutting their own taxes and shifting the tax burden to the working classes and their children when they enter the workforce, the greed of the wealthy appears to have no bounds, loyalty to nation or future of her citizenry. If America goes to pot, the wealthy can move into their second homes on the Italian Riviera or Resort in the Caymen Islands. No worries, mate, for the super rich if our nation fails as a result of their greed.

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 8, 2007 10:22 PM
Comment #202122

David

By the time Reagan arrived, the post war model had run out of steam. You may recall in 1980 we managed both double digit unemployment and double digit inflation. Regulation was chocking our economy. I do not know what you want to go back to.

We started to import “cheap labor” after 1965 immigration reforms. It was only around 1980 you starting really noticing it. Immigration has changed America. I think it has been generally good, although I think we need to control our borders better.

We evidently do not disagree that much in practice. I suspect I would tolerate a lot more ineqaulity in my “ideal” system than you might.

I think it is good policy and the right thing to do to help many people have opportunities. Our system provides that to the broad number of people. I am evidence of this and you probably are too. I am not saying it is “fair”. I had more trouble getting ahead than many others I know. On the other hand, I was better off than some. So what? It is important to provide opportunity.

Equality is harder to define, much less achieve. People come with different gifts. Some people are smart. Others are rich. Some are healthy and strong. Others have a great temperment. No two people are equal and an adaption that works wonderfully in one situation may cause failure in another. It is just too hard to figure and no government can assure it.

I do not think government should try. Get the broad brush right and forget the details.

Posted by: Jack at January 8, 2007 10:50 PM
Comment #202124

Jack said: “You may recall in 1980 we managed both double digit unemployment and double digit inflation. Regulation was chocking our economy.”

Regulation only a small piece of the problem. Bailing out Chrysler was bigger piece. It should have been allowed to be bought out by the highest bidder. But, Republicans just can’t turn their backs on a corporation with their hand out.

Other factors included the costs of the Viet Nam war and its opportunity costs, downsizing the military (unemployment), the immense waste on the Drug war, which created the largest underground economy and tax evasion since the bootlegging days of Al Capone. Also, there was the unprecedented flood of foreign imports undercutting the sales of American made products. There were many causes Jack to that period, including global recession and fears pervading markets regarding that new global competitor in its infancy called the European Union which most Americans believed was a hoax or impossible dream at the time.

I have no desire to return to those contextual events. I do have an immense respect for the Henry Ford philosophy with stipulated that what was good for the workers was good for corporate profits. It was a philosophy which had a shelf life of about 15 years, hardly long enough nor pervasive enough to have even been considered a trial run, before Democrats went off on their welfare gig, and Republicans went off on their Corporate welfare gig, and truly began using the public as pawns in game of power and influence losing sight of the reality that they should have been working for those people as their first and foremost responsibility.

Democrats in 2007 are trying to recapture some of that priority. Most Republicans will fight them tooth and nail - the gall of trying to put the people, the majority of the people first on their list of priorities. By 2008, Republicans will have found ways to halt any progress by Congress and call that smart political strategy for their 2008 election chances. But, it will be just a dream.

Vote Out Incumbents Democracy is not going away and organizations like it are popping up everywhere from Pa. to Fla. to Oh. to Ca. The American public is growingly demanding that the public interest replace private interests in our halls of government - and they are recognizing that it is incumbents and wealthy political party donors who are standing in the way.

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 8, 2007 11:48 PM
Comment #202130

Jack,

Some of your articles really bring your genious to the forefront! I agree 100%!

I have always said that 5,000 calls to your Congressman usually accomplishes less than 5 calls to your Mayor. Mayors are much closer to the people, and take a lot less votes to remove from office!

JD

Posted by: JD at January 9, 2007 12:35 AM
Comment #202135

“Wealth redistribution via programs like S.S. and Medicare are intended to insure that the society at large does not suffer as a result of too high a concentration of wealth into too few family’s hands.” I was under the impression that SS and Medicare were intended to HELP THE NEEDY.

Posted by: tomd at January 9, 2007 3:58 AM
Comment #202138

David
“No, that is the underlying assumption of Republican policy to circumvent the will of the people to sustain safety net programs like S.S. and Medicare.”

Then why didn’t they when they had the power?
As you said, the majority of Americans want to keep their freebies and most Republicans are part of that majority.
Saying they want to get rid of it all together, when all they want is a little tweaking, is not being honest.

Posted by: kctim at January 9, 2007 9:27 AM
Comment #202139

Bryan AJ Kennedy
I’m not real big on picking a party to be a member of.
I believe our Constitution made our country great and I think we are screwing it all up by tossing it aside.

Posted by: kctim at January 9, 2007 9:40 AM
Comment #202140
d.a.n wrote: The government is so ridiculously bloated and corrupt, that it can no longer focus on the simple basics.
muirgeo wrote: But a big reason it’s corrupt and bloated is because people/corporation with lots of money have bought politicains and set it up as their cash cow.

No doubt about it.
Government is FOR-SALE.
Most politicians are bought-and-paid-for.
83% of all federal campaign donations come from a tiny 0.15% of the 200 million eligible voters.
That is an amazing figure. That means only 300,000 people donated 83% of all federal campaign donations.
How can the remaining 199,700,000 eligible voters compete with that ?

Yet, we (voters) keep rewarding irresponsible incumbent politicians by repeated re-electing them.

Therefore, the problem is not just corrupt politicians.
It is also the voters that empower them; and reward them with 90% re-election rates.

When does it end?
It ends when the corruption becomes too painful.

In a voting nation, an educated electorate is paramount, and the voters will get their education one way or another.

However, the sooner the better. The longer it takes, the worse it will be later.

Posted by: d.a.n at January 9, 2007 9:57 AM
Comment #202152

kctim,

Right on! I agree the party mentality creates a bias that can blind us from obvious truths.


Jack,

“maybe be more like Ireland”

Very interesting you brought that up.

I was just looking at the Irish economy the other day.

They are grabbing a market that has been neglected for a couple decades now.

Software… the millions of lines, scripting, programming language, etc… needs to be typed by someone.

What Americans get paid to do this kind of work is more than what it is worth. So the Irish get the contracts.

That is why XBox360 games, new, cost nearly the same as XBox games cost, new, a couple of years ago.

Sorry, I got off subject.

Posted by: Bryan AJ Kennedy at January 9, 2007 12:05 PM
Comment #202157

kctim, Bryan AJ Kennedy,

Absolutely.
Unfortunately, too few understand what you already know.
Partisan warfare is a powerful mechanism that politicians and their hacks use to distract voters and divide them so that a majority can never exist to vote them out of office (which is why they enjoy a 90% re-election rate, no matter how irresponsible and corrupt they are. Education is needed to help voters recognize it and understand how powerfully effective it is by tapping into the voters’ own laziness, seducing voters into a circular, distracting, divisive pattern of behavior that allows themselves to be controlled and manipulated, pitting voters against each other (the same way politicians are pitting Americans and illegal aliens against each other), and somehow, simultaneously convincing the voters to also reward politicians repeatedly by re-electing them.

Posted by: d.a.n at January 9, 2007 1:01 PM
Comment #202165

David

The Chrysler bailout was in 1979. As I recall the Dems controlled the presidency, the Senate and the House. You cannot possibly blame that on Republicans.

The other factors you mention were also present in the 1980s, but the economic reforms, which began in all fairness under Ford and Carter, began to be accelerated. In the 1980s, we totally restructured American industry and redid all the management. It was one of the biggest and most effective revolutions in history, and hardly anybody really noticed.

In any case, I do not think the post WWII arrangements were wrong. The regulated, unionized economy was good for those days. WHen I say it ran out of steam, that is just what I mean. All good things must come to an end, and by 1975, the post-war world needed big changes.

Posted by: Jack at January 9, 2007 2:09 PM
Comment #202196


All good things must come to an end. So long corporate capitalism, your time has come.

Posted by: jlw at January 9, 2007 5:26 PM
Comment #202207

Jack
..desirable or possible.

Exactly. Apply that standard to the Iraq war and the answer demands a rapid withdrawel

Posted by: BillS at January 9, 2007 6:40 PM
Comment #202208

Corporate capitalism was more or less what we had until 1980. It’s time had come. What we have now is a much less structured freer market with much more turnover.

How many of the leading firms of 1979 are still the leading firms of today?

Posted by: Jack at January 9, 2007 6:43 PM
Comment #202209

“Providing more money to poorly managed operation can be worse than doing nothing.”

Another call for withdrawel. Thanks Jack. There is hope for you.

Posted by: BillS at January 9, 2007 6:43 PM
Comment #202226

BillS

Yes. If you believe the war in Iraq is lost, you should advocate immediate withdrawal.

In the case of Iraq, we have fewer alternatives. If you shut down bad schools, the students may go to a better one.

Posted by: Jack at January 9, 2007 8:43 PM
Comment #202629

Some great points made in the lead up to and the execution of the war….totally ignored!


“No goal, no objective, not until we have those things and a compelling case is made, then I say, back out of it, because innocent people are going to die for nothing. That’s why I’m against it.”

“Why should one U.S. airman give up his life when our national security is not in imminent danger?”-
“But if you know - every mistake we’ve made up to this point, there’s no stated goal. There’s no definition of success. All these important things. There’s no exit strategy. One mistake after another. Why would you go in deeper when we have not been successful up to this point? That seems to me to be folly.”


Oh wait those were quotes referring to the Bosnian war….my bad….but really….seriously we should listen to conservatives like Sean Hannity when they talk.

Posted by: muirgeo at January 11, 2007 4:32 PM
Comment #202630

oops! mis-post. Sorry.

Posted by: muirgeo at January 11, 2007 4:33 PM
Comment #204187

What is the nature of international responses to health problems? What assumptions and intentions underlie aid programs? WBR LeoP

Posted by: Leo at January 20, 2007 6:27 PM
Comment #204977

Conservative politics through the theory of free trade appear to be heavily invested in social darwinism in weighing the economic scale of impact upon America. In fact, it’s probable that the entire theory of supply side economics is rooted in, and used to, justify social darwinism, or the concept that successful elites will spend so that the rest of society will benefit.

That could be true is there was no upper limit upon what elites spend, but there exists no unlimited consumption theory upon which to base such a premise. In fact, studies show that the wealthy actually consume less than those not wealthy because consumers fill needs as well as wants. Poor people have more needs but also have wants, double the demand of the wealthy.

Rich people fill their needs, but have the option of when, how, and in what form to fill their wants. For consistent spending, it is the non-wealthy that America must depend upon to provide the consistent turnover of funds that spreads throughout the nation, and provides the constant infusion of cash that creates prosperity. Hoarding cannot do it, and the wealthy always hoard.

Serving the wealthy makes sense on paper, but only on paper; by practice, the masses are “your man” for creating national wealth because his demand is so strong and consistent.

Posted by: Pat R. at January 25, 2007 12:08 PM
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