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Author Topic: Gov't and education
Toecutter
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posted 06-17-2000 03:26 PM     Profile for Toecutter   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Sorry Enzyme for mah tone. You`re clearly not stupid, quite the contrary, just still believe in wide reaching solutions. I don`t. I believe the problems. They are here to stay simply because they are the result of human nature, the laws of the universe as we define them, the survival of the fittest(or richest, since the genetic lottery is fairly often topped by birth privilages).
The toppic is EXTREMELY valid, interesting tho and don`t let burned out a-holes( ) to dampen your enthusiasm -as we defanately need solutions...otherwise we`ll go down in history just like all the great empires b4 us in history that failed adopting to new circumstances.

The problem - as I see it - is, that while the constitution gave us the power to change, evolve with times, we have developed an "aristocracy" that would not hear any of that, or even just respecting the constitution - since things are just fine and dandy(as far as they are concerned anyway) as they are...

Kinda reminds me of the role the US plays in international politics: Whatcha gonna do `bout it bubba?

Someone needs to call the bluff...
ME? No Sir....not yet...

[This message has been edited by Toecutter (edited 06-17-2000).]


Posts: 1724 | From: States | Registered: Sep 1999  |  IP: Logged
Enzyme
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posted 06-18-2000 02:46 AM     Profile for Enzyme   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
No need to apologize. You are quite right. The point is that I "believe" there are solutions to "problems." Insofar as you or Big-Stick or any others don't "believe" the solutions then all there is is my belief. Just because I have the belief don't make it right and thus if a critical majority do not share it then it is not really tangible. It is difficult to accept that I am wrong on this issue but I still believe that equal education is something that should be important enough for us to pursue. Common people, we still ought to be able to believe in somethings, some grand ideas other than just what the constitution says.
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Big Stick
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posted 06-18-2000 11:33 AM     Profile for Big Stick     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Seems that we simply have a fundamental disagreement about the role of the Government. I share the beliefs of the framers of the Constitution. The Government is a necessary evil, and as such, it needs to be constantly watched and restricted by the people.
To you, the Government is a provider and a "problem solver". I reject this notion with a passion. I don't want the Government to solve my problems, they can't, but in order to try, they'll usurp more and more power over the people, which in the end will lead to a tyranny and a totalitarian state.
Unfortunately (for me), most of the people see the Government the way you see it. Our children will be hungry unless the Government provides them with a free lunch at school.
We actually got to the point that no one objects that more than a half of our income is stolen, and given to others. The only issue is "how much should it be".
Trading liberty for a promise of security, what a pathetic choice. It's like volunteering to be a slave. "At least I won't have to worry about my lunch".

Going back to the equal opportunity issue, I don't believe that there is a solution. I don't even think that there is a problem. We all get different opportunities in all aspects of our lives, we take some and miss some. Why would the education be any different?


[This message has been edited by Big Stick (edited 06-18-2000).]


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Jussi Saari
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posted 06-18-2000 01:50 PM     Profile for Jussi Saari   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Big Stick:

To you, the Government is a provider and a "problem solver". I reject this notion with a passion. I don't want the Government to solve my problems, they can't, but in order to try, they'll usurp more and more power over the people, which in the end will lead to a tyranny and a totalitarian state.
Unfortunately (for me), most of the people see the Government the way you see it. Our children will be hungry unless the Government provides them with a free lunch at school.
We actually got to the point that no one objects that more than a half of our income is stolen, and given to others. The only issue is "how much should it be".
Trading liberty for a promise of security, what a pathetic choice. It's like volunteering to be a slave. "At least I won't have to worry about my lunch".

Going back to the equal opportunity issue, I don't believe that there is a solution. I don't even think that there is a problem. We all get different opportunities in all aspects of our lives, we take some and miss some. Why would the education be any different?


I wonder if the governmentfobia evident in so many Americans is partly because in your country the government isn't a parliamentary organ whose members must have been elected to parliament by the people, like it is in most democracies?

To me the thought that government trying to solve problems like equal opportunity in education would automatically mean the first step in path towards tyranny seems absurd, because anything that the government does that seriously goes against the will of people will simply mean that that government won't survive the next parliamentary elections and the people will replace those with people with better ideas of where to lead the country. The only way how that could lead to tyranny is if the people *want* that, and then all you can say is you get what you deserve... Never happened in an established western democracy, though. Of course, some will consider the British choice to ban handguns tyranny, but then if that's what the people wanted (which the vast majority clearly did), then what can you say?

As for equal opportunity, I guess part of this is simply a matter of values. To me the fact that we cannot give everyone a level starting point does not mean that we shouldn't try to make every attempt at making it as level as possible, especially where it comes to things like money. I suppose that's something that you'll never agree with, but that's not all there is to it. It should also be obvious that it's in the best interest of the nation to get the most talented and/or hard-working individuals to the best education, rather than make the same selection just from the economically most successfull part of population which has the money to educate their kids well, over sometimes more talented but poorer families' kids. But then, I guess if government is a necessary evil to a person that needs to be watched and it's powers limited, then probably the best interest of nation doesn't really even enter to the equation . . .

Finally, on trading liberty for security. We all approve of it to some extent. Total liberty means anarchy. It's just a question of how much liberty we are willing to trade for how much security, and since we live in a democracy, we get what the majority wants. And if the constitution has to be changed to allow taking away certain liberties for increased security, then that should be possible in a democracy as well. And about "stealing" your income, taxes have been taken as long as there have been countries because you cannot run a country without tax income. Do you prefer a system where it's every man for himself, no police, face starvation if you lose your job, and die if you get ill and can't afford to pay for health care? And of course if the neighbouring country decides to assimilate you, resistance is futile because there is no army... I sure hope not.


Jussi, a university student who couldn't afford 10% of the real cost of his education cost and thus grateful for the government that pays for it...


Posts: 249 | From: Lappeenranta, Finland | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged
Toecutter
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posted 06-18-2000 03:26 PM     Profile for Toecutter   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
"I wonder if the governmentfobia evident in so many Americans is partly because in your country the government isn't a parliamentary organ whose members must have been elected to parliament by the people, like it is in most democracies?"
Xactemundo Jussi! We have built ourselves a gvmnt that is out of control. There is NO way into it unless you`ve alredy proved to the incumbants that you`re committed to sell your soul in order to hold up the party line. Literally. The ole principle "for the people, by the people" is almost laughable at this point. If you`re not a lawyer, industrial giant or have some sort of entertainment industry fame - get ready to acquire one of those traits, `cos there is just no other way around. Education comes in at this point in an ironic twist: The average american does believe in the media. It`s power over public oppinion is mindbolggling. If you get no TV time(xpensive) you`re nobody. Period. For TV time you need money, heaps of it, otherwise you have no credibility. 99% of these elections over here are verbal diarrhea between the democrats and republicans, while both those parties seem more and more like carbon copies of each other, supported by the same moneys - since the financiers of those campaigns don`t wanna end up on the wrong horse: they put money on both runners. It`s ***ed.
Anything that the government touches becomes an opportunity for "legal" theft, corruption(contracts, subsidies, committees, posts on companies boards of directors ETC, you name it. All to pay back the favours for campaign contributions...and I haven`t even touched on defence contracts...
Shite man, China gets better representation by the way of their lobbying mechanisms(which is just another way to say corruption) then the average american. These monkeys at the helm are results of generations powercircles inbreading: the Bushes - 3rd gen. oil magnate, the Gores 3rd gen. Washington. How do you xpect them to relate to the rest of us?
There will b no change till we have a campaign finance reform, and since all the incumbants wanna stay in office they are the least interested in change.
I say the start was noble, but we have drifted. I, to this day don`t see a better place to live in this planet, dunno, maybe it`s in human nature to *** everything up...

To me the answer is revolt...education is just not gonna do it anymore...the head is rotten to the core...


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Big Stick
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posted 06-18-2000 07:16 PM     Profile for Big Stick     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Jussi Saari:
...because anything that the government does that seriously goes against the will of people will simply mean that that government won't survive the next parliamentary elections and the people will replace those with people with better ideas of where to lead the country...

Not if you have more takers that producers. And this is what takes place in this country right now.

quote:
...that we shouldn't try to make every attempt at making it as level as possible, especially where it comes to things like money.

Your property and your income is a measure of your value to the society. Your income is not a result of the lottery, it is a reflection of your productivity in a society. There are poor people and there are rich people. And that's the way is suppose to be.

quote:
But then, I guess if government is a necessary evil to a person that needs to be watched and it's powers limited, then probably the best interest of nation doesn't really even enter to the equation . . .

There is no "best interest" in a society. It's a concept used by tyrants, to control their people. Stalin, Hitler, and many others, used this notion of the "best interest" to accomplish their goals. And yes, their respective nations did support them in a name of what's best for the society.

quote:
Total liberty means anarchy.

I'm not arguing for no government, I'm arguing for the small and restricted government. Just like the one envisioned by the Framers.


quote:

since we live in a democracy, we get what the majority wants.

We live in a Republic (not the Democracy), in order to prevent just that, the majority trampling on minority's rights.

quote:
taxes have been taken as long as there have been countries because you cannot run a country without tax income.


that is simply not true. The income tax was introduced in 1915 (I think), before that, the governemnt was runing just fine without it. But of course there were no free school lunches and free condoms then.

The income tax is the most unfair and immoral way to fund the government.

quote:
Do you prefer a system where it's every man for himself, no police,


property tax and sales tax is collected for this reason.

quote:

face starvation if you lose your job,


why would I starve? I'll get another job

quote:

and die if you get ill and can't afford to pay for health care?

How much is your life/health worth to you? Would you sell your house and placed you family in debt to prolong your lfe by 6 months? I doubt it, but you'd probably gladly sell my house.

That's why you (and only you) have a right to decide whether to spend your money on your healthcare.

quote:

And of course if the neighbouring country decides to assimilate you, resistance is futile because there is no army... I sure hope not.


again, I'm no arguing for no government, but for the small on. The national defense is one of the very few obligations the government has.
Our national budget is over 2 trillion, of which only 300-400 billion go to the defense. We could scrap the entire tax system, replace it with a flat fee of $1500/year, and still have the best military we can have.

quote:
Jussi, a university student who couldn't afford 10% of the real cost of his education cost and thus grateful for the government that pays for it...

The government does not pay for it, your fellow citizens do.

Your lunch was not free, you simply left the restaurant without paying for it.

[This message has been edited by Big Stick (edited 06-18-2000).]


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Jussi Saari
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posted 06-19-2000 05:24 AM     Profile for Jussi Saari   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote

Well well Big stick... didn't realize what a extreme right wing case you were. Probably wasting my breath with you but let's go over you post piece by piece anyway:

You said:
"Your property and your income is a measure of your value to the society. Your income is not a result of the lottery, it is a reflection of your productivity in a society. There are poor people and there are rich people. And that's the way is suppose to be."

Interesting viewpoint. No, income may not be the result of lottery, but it may not be the reflection of productivity, either. Nor does simple productivity=income necessarily have to be any better principle of running a society than the Marxist "to each what he needs" way where productivity is non-issue for income... Free, unrestricted market economy is likely to eventually lead us back to the early days of industrialization where you've got your workers (every bit as vital to the outcome as the owners and leadership, mind you) making 14-hour days for a wage that barely keeps them alive. Because if one decides this isn't fair pay for my job, there's another one in line who thinks it may be damn unfair pay but at least it might keep his family alive for another month. That's why most people in most countries see minimum wages, money transfer from rich to poor in the form of progressive income tax, etc. as a good thing. But then there are some extremists like you who believe that if someone can't feed himself he's supposed to starve apparently?

Next comment:
"There is no "best interest" in a society. It's a concept used by tyrants, to control their people. "

This is getting downright ridiculous. Best interest of a nation a concept of tyrants? It is not in the best interest of the nation to get the most talented as opposed to richest people to universities? Is it even in the best interest of the nation to have universities at all then, if it's not worth getting the best people in ther?

Your comment that you don't want to live in a democracy certainly explains a lot, you would seem to prefer a right-wing semi-anarchy with the laws of jungle where money rules...


Then you wrote:
"that is simply not true. The income tax was introduced in 1915 (I think), before that, the governemnt was runing just fine without it. But of course there were no free school lunches and free condoms then.
The income tax is the most unfair and immoral way to fund the government."

And what's the big difference if it's your income, property or what you buy? In the end it's the same thing, government takes what was yours to cover it's expenses. As for what's unfair, I'd say unfair is if we get back to the early industrialized way of unrestricted market economy where the poorest are on the brink of starvation, simply because they are not useful enough.

But then I guess you don't mind those useless subhumans starving - as long as you don't by chance suffer a serious health problem for example that would make you one?
(Btw, may I suggest next time you go to the local library, pick up say "Grapes of Wrath" or "In Dubious Battle" by Steinbeck, and read it... you may find it educating experience about the marvels of unrestricted capitalism...)


Then, on medical care:
"How much is your life/health worth to you? Would you sell your house and placed you family in debt to prolong your lfe by 6 months? I doubt it, but you'd probably gladly sell my house.
That's why you (and only you) have a right to decide whether to spend your money on your healthcare."

My life is worth every penny I have, and worth a whole lot of other peoples' money as well. And other peoples' lives are worth a whole lot of my money. You see, good medical treatment is EXTREMELY expensive these days, and if you don't happen to be rich and have to pay all for it yourself, then you won't get that health care. But as before, I suppose you don't see people dying as a problem as long as it's not rich people that die due to lack of health care...


And finally:
"The government does not pay for it, your fellow citizens do.

Your lunch was not free, you simply left the restaurant without paying for it."

Yes. My fellow citizens pay for it. And in a couple of years I will become the one who does the paying, and software engineers' wages being pretty good these days I'll be paying about 50% of a pretty decent sum of money most likely. And paying for the education of the next generation and for the pensions of those who paid for my education I consider good use for that money, since they certainly need that part of my wage a lot more than I will by then.

Rather than me leaving the restaurant without paying for the lunch, I'd say the restaurant owner is teaching a useful cook out of me while paying for my house and food in the meanwhile.

Jussi


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Tornado
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posted 06-20-2000 11:20 AM     Profile for Tornado   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Well I suppose this would be an appropriate time for me to chime in with my thoughts on the subject. Like big-stick, I’m apprehensive about a big & powerful government, but on the other hand, I do believe that Government does have a role in "equal opportunity" and education.

FYI I’m going to be framing this argument in economic terms a la Adam Smith, an economist and Classical Liberal (read: something akin to Libitarian).

As I see it, one of the roles of government is to ensure costs to the society as a whole (i.e. use of natural resources, pollution, etc.), are accurately reflected in the private sector. To take pollution as an example, dumping of toxic wastes causes all kinds of problems, but companies are libel to do it anyway, because the costs of it are, to be blunt, not their problem. This forces other people to shoulder these burdens (i.e. citizens who are sick, (private or public) health care organizations that have to pay more etc.), and this is neither fair nor economically beneficial for the society. Therefore the government must step in (either through the courts or the EPA) to ensure that the company causing the societal costs is responsible for them financially.


To take natural resources as another example, overuse of local resources can be beneficial in the short term, but in the long term it is harmful to society (as we would then be dependent on foreign resources, causing economic loss to local mining/forestry companies, and increased costs to production companies). Therefore it is the role of the Government to regulate the use of national resources, to ensure that the long term effects are taken into account.

The other main role of Government (IMHO) is to proactively do things that will benefit society in the long term. To take education as an example, a well educated population results in private companies paying less for training, thus increasing their profits, allowing (hopefully) the company to increase the wages of the workers. Additionally, there is some thought that education can reduce future crime rates, allowing communities to spend less on police forces, but this is somewhat tangential to my argument. Free/reduced lunch programs at schools are an outgrowth of my societal benefit argument. Students learn more/better if they’re not constantly hungry, so providing food to the students results in a better work force which, as demonstrated earlier, is beneficial to the private sector.

In short, as I see it, the purpose of Government is to ensure that costs incurred to society by the private sector are paid for by the private sector, and to act proactively to benefit the private sector in ways that they (being rightfully concerned about their bottom line and the money of their investors) might not consider.

As far as equal opportunity goes, I feel that if the Government undertakes to do something, it is obligated to do it in such a way as to provide equal benefits to everyone who participates in the program, though (before you jump down my throat) there are different degrees of participation in any program. My point is that each student should have access to the same quality of teaching/instructional technology/whatever, and from there it is the student’s decision of what to do with that opportunity.

If a parent chooses to invest more in the child’s education (i.e. private school), then that is the decision of the parent, and dividends will (hopefully & unless the kid’s an ungrateful wretch) be paid upon the parent’s retirement by having a well educated (and hopefully successful) child to turn to for any financial assistance that may be needed at that time. But it is a private investment, and with all private investments… some don’t pay back dividends, and in that case the risk is incumbent on the parent.

As I see it, I’m trying to walk a fine line between Big-stick’s conservatism and Jussi’s liberalism (both opinions with which I have a great deal of sympathy). Perhaps I’m being successful, perhaps not, but at least I’m trying to be rational about the subject

[This message has been edited by Tornado (edited 06-20-2000).]


Posts: 61 | From: New England | Registered: Jun 2000  |  IP: Logged
Big Stick
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posted 06-20-2000 03:59 PM     Profile for Big Stick     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
quote:

Nor does simple productivity=income necessarily have to be any better principle of running a society than the Marxist "to each what he needs" way where productivity is non-issue for income

…and you have economic successes of former USSR, Cuba, China, Cambodia, Vietnam and many more to prove that the Marxist principles are as good as a free market.

quote:

... Free, unrestricted market economy is likely to eventually lead us back to the early days of industrialization where you've got your workers (every bit as vital to the outcome as the owners and leadership, mind you) making 14-hour days for a wage that barely keeps them alive. Because if one decides this isn't fair pay for my job, there's another one in line who thinks it may be damn unfair pay but at least it might keep his family alive for another month.

No one decides how much your work is worth, the market does it. If you don’t make enough money, it simply means that your qualification are too low.


quote:

That's why most people in most countries see minimum wages, money transfer from rich to poor in the form of progressive income tax, etc. as a good thing.

A good thing, let’s see…

1. it’s a theft
2. only 10 cents for each dollar actually goes to the recepient
3. creates an army of useless bureaucrats whose only job is to perpetuate the system
4. kills work ethics
5. creates a class of people dependent on the state, and therefore easily manipulated and controlled
6. makes sure that single mothers remain single, because if they marry, they lose their “free” lunch.
7. make sure that poor people are not trying to find a job, because again, they’ll lose their “free” lunch
8. creates generations of people who never worked in their lives (just like Clinton)


When I came to this country, I had a family to feed and I was in debt. At the same time I was insulted by the offers of handouts the social workers were trying to push on me. I never took a penny from them, and all the money I’ve ever borrowed, I paid back.
But again, it’s just me. Other people I know, had no problems in taking “loans” which they never re-paid. They also had no problem with cheating, double dipping or collecting unemployment while working on a side (and thus not paying taxes)

quote:

But then there are some extremists like you who believe that if someone can't feed himself he's supposed to starve apparently?

OK, finally we get to a typical discussion with a liberal. In an absence of a rational argument, name calling suppose to do the trick.

“So, you don’t want to give me half of your income, huh? You are a selfish extremist who wants my children to starve.”

Look, in order to implement my vision of the society, all I want from you is to live you life and leave me alone. I don’t want your property and/or rights, and you stay away from mine.

To have it your way, you have to steal my property and take my right away.

And you call me an extremist? Just be honest and think about it.

quote:

This is getting downright ridiculous. Best interest of a nation a concept of tyrants?

Would you care to explain, how Hitler, Stalin Pol Pot, Mao, Fidel and others were successful in convincing their respective societies to support totalitarian, murderous regimes? Were these societies simply stupid, so what happened to them will never happen to us because we are smart?

quote:

Your comment that you don't want to live in a democracy certainly explains a lot, you would seem to prefer a right-wing semi-anarchy with the laws of jungle where money rules...

It’s not really my choice, is it? The Republic has been established by the Founding Fathers as a system of Government in this country. They did not flip the coin, they did consider the Democracy, but rejected it in favor of the Republic.

quote:

And what's the big difference if it's your income, property or what you buy?

There is a fundamental difference. When the government is funded by the sales tax, everybody pays, including those who do not report their income (like criminals). Those who consume pay more, those who save pay less.

An income tax is explicitly designed to extort more from the producers, and exempt those who do not produce. I see it as fundamentally unfair and immoral. A loaf of bread or a stick of butter costs the same for everybody, so should the Government.

quote:

… and worth a whole lot of other peoples' money as well. And other peoples' lives are worth a whole lot of my money.

and this is where we differ. I do not feel entitled to indebt my family (or my fellow citizens) to pay for my healthcare. You obviously do.


Posts: 571 | From: | Registered: Oct 1999  |  IP: Logged
Envelope
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posted 06-20-2000 05:28 PM     Profile for Envelope   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Big Stick, there are a whole parade of problems in your arguments that are pretty transparant, but the notion that dictatorships gain their legitimacy by convincing the public that they are for the good of the state is the strangest.

You said, "Would you care to explain, how Hitler, Stalin Pol Pot, Mao, Fidel and others were successful in convincing their respective societies to support totalitarian, murderous regimes? Were these societies simply stupid, so what happened to them will never happen to us because we are smart?"

Do you really believe that these societies are ordered based on the popularly held conviction that the dictatorships are good for the state? They are not, they are ordered by state terror. This is why we are taught to despise the places that were ruled by these people. It is very curious that you should go out of your way to fault socialism just short of pointing out the brutality of the dictatorships that ran your "socialist" states. It suggests that maybe there is a soft spot in your heart for dictatorships. Not all dictatorships are socialist, you know. Argentina comes to mind.


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Big Stick
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posted 06-20-2000 06:37 PM     Profile for Big Stick     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
I'm not singling out socialist dictatorships.

My point is that all dictatorships start as either

1. a foreign aggression (in which case the puppet government is enforced by the foreign army) Example, states of the Easten Europe after WWII
2. a civil war or a military coup where a significant part of the society supports the dictatorship and shoves it into the rest of the people's throat. Chile, Cuba, China, USSR etc.
3. legitimately elected goverment where most of the society supports it and give the governmanet the power to deal with "some problem". Nazi Germany, Rome on many occasions

In all cases except #1, The dictatorship is supported by a significant part (if not the majority) of the nation, and is always justified by the "higher cause", like getting rid of those horrible comunists or getting rid of those horrible capitalist kulaks.

I'm not willing to let the Government to decide what's good for me or to the society. It should be a result of interaction between individuals.


[This message has been edited by Big Stick (edited 06-20-2000).]


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Big Stick
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posted 06-20-2000 07:14 PM     Profile for Big Stick     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Envelope:
Big Stick, there are a whole parade of problems in your arguments that are pretty transparant, You said, "Would you care to

let's have it. No name calling, arguments please.

quote:

Do you really believe that these societies are ordered based on the popularly held conviction that the dictatorships are good for the state?

yes I do.
Who was running Lubianka prison? Greeks?
Who was shooting demonstrators on a Tiennamen (Spelling) Square? French?

You don't mean to say that Fidel alone holds his nation under his boot, and after he dies, the Cuban nation will return to democracy, do you?


Every nation is responsible for the government they have. Including ours.

quote:

They are not, they are ordered by state terror.

who is terrorizing them?

quote:

It suggests that maybe there is a soft spot in your heart for dictatorships.

why would you say that?

quote:

Not all dictatorships are socialist, you know. Argentina comes to mind.

yes, but I'm not sure what your point is. I would not accept the government run by mulahs just like I don't accept the socialist one.

[This message has been edited by Big Stick (edited 06-20-2000).]


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icebrain
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posted 06-20-2000 07:27 PM     Profile for icebrain   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
You guys are making me use the apartment analogy again, aren't you?

Oh well, here it goes...

Let's say you live in apartment A. Your neighbor Joe is in B, and Frank is in C. Joe did not put away money for health insurance, because he didn't think that he would need it yet. But one day, he has a mild heart attack. After he comes home, you decide to go help him out, so you go over and give him $200. A month later, you find out the money has been spent on the dog track, beer, and cigarettes. Now you go to Frank, who has insurance and has been working hard to pay for his daughter's college education. Do you have the right to go into his home and force him to give money to Joe? No. You can try to convince him with words, but you have no right to hold him at gunpoint and threaten to take away his posessions if he doesn't pay up. So why is the government allowed to?


ok, now that that's over, its time to explain some other stuff.

"You see, good medical treatment is EXTREMELY expensive these days, and if you don't happen to be rich and have to pay all for it yourself, then you won't get that health care. But as before, I suppose you don't see people dying as a problem as long as it's not rich people that die due to lack of health care..."

See, health care used to be good and cheap. It was only the introduction of GOVERNMENT regulation, such as HMOs isurance and stuff like that that caused prices to skyrocket.

The idea that everyone can go to college is wrong. Some just cannot hack it. I (and, I suspect, many others) do not want my money being spent trying to put someone through college that is not dedicated or disciplined enough, or that just doesn't care one way or another.

"Do you really believe that these societies are ordered based on the popularly held conviction that the dictatorships are good for the state? They are not, they are ordered by state terror. " Ok, Hitler and Moussolini were fascists. They came to power legitimately (through charisma and political manipulations, like hitlers 3 principles of truth "1 tell the truth 2 tell partial truth 3 outright lies" that develop from one another). Look at Lenin. He got support not by killing but by promises of "peace, land, and bread". Only after he got some power did the bad stuff happen.

Personally, I am not against assisting the poor or homeless. However, I believe that doing this should be the responsibility of PRIVATE charities, religious organizations, or even (gasp!) INDIVIDUALS, not government. I would trust a church a lot more than I would the social services beaurocrats.

Also, a lot of the health problems faced by our population are largely self-inflicted, like obesity, heart disease/attacks, AIDS, etc. I should not have to pay for your bad choices (like overeating, smoking, using prostitutes, etc).

If you are going to take whatever that percent is from me, then i should be able to go to thhe bank and withdraw that amount from your checking accout...


Posts: 589 | From: USA | Registered: Jan 2000  |  IP: Logged
Tornado
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posted 06-20-2000 07:36 PM     Profile for Tornado   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Just as a matter of interest, I'd like to know what the conservatives (icebrain and bigstick) think about my attempts to justify public education et al...

I really do want the Government to leave me to my own devices, but on the other hand, I am something of a liberal... what do you think of my attempt to reconcile the two.


Posts: 61 | From: New England | Registered: Jun 2000  |  IP: Logged
Envelope
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posted 06-20-2000 09:42 PM     Profile for Envelope   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Big Stick,

"1. it’s a theft"

Wage labor is also equally plausibly theft.

"2. only 10 cents for each dollar actually goes to the recepient."

Assuming that's true, there still actually is a recipient.

"3. creates an army of useless bureaucrats whose only job is to perpetuate the system."

Useless to who? Bureaucrats are capable of meaningful purpose, they are always put into place to at least perpetuate the system they are in. Bureaucrats also exist in the private sector where they are typically paid more for less work. The private sector is also capable of social engineering.

"4. kills work ethics"

Being artificially excluded from work kills the work ethic more then publically funded welfare.

"5. creates a class of people dependent on the state, and therefore easily manipulated and controlled"

The private sector also depends on the state, else it would not spend so much time and money to insure that elected officials do their bidding. Any wage employee is more manipulated and controlled by their employer than they are by the state and more dependent too. Again, the private sector is also capable of social engineering. Religion, for example, need not be excluded from the interests of the employer.

"6. makes sure that single mothers remain single, because if they marry, they lose their “free” lunch."

Welfare does not compel women to have children out of wedlock, religion does, and it is religion that makes the most noise when it is suggested that welfare not fund child bearing.

"7. make sure that poor people are not trying to find a job, because again, they’ll lose their “free” lunch"

Again, artificial exclusion from the workplace is what keeps poor people from trying to find a job, not welfare. Most employment provides easily twice what you can get from welfare, but this employment is partitioned out to certain people only. See the social engineering argument again.

"8. creates generations of people who never worked in their lives (just like Clinton)"

Life is work, even if you don't paid for it. Anyone who has grown up under welfare well tell you that.

Big Stick, if you can't see that the social mechanism of dictatorship is not popular support but state terror, you are clearly missing some elementary education on politics. Both Hitler and Lenin, for example, denounced democracy as decadent, a lower form of society. Hitler especially viewed the submission of people to authority as being the only legitimate moral order to society. Dictatorship is a lifetime vocation that can never depend on popular appeal, only popular submission. This submission is achieved through intimidation by an open and secret police force that terrorizes the population through violence and incarceration.


Also, icebrain, Hitler never came to power legitimately, he was appointed chancellor by the German crown after artificially creating a crisis in the country. Lenin was not responsible for the despotism of the Soviet Union, this was Stalin. And Lenin himself siezed power, he was never elected. There was a revolution, remember?


Posts: 2057 | From: Davis, CA, USA | Registered: Sep 1999  |  IP: Logged
Big Stick
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posted 06-21-2000 03:34 AM     Profile for Big Stick     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Envelope:

Wage labor is also equally plausibly theft.

Huh? explain that please. You get paid not what the employer arbitralily chooses (just ignore Jussi's 19-th century vision of Capitalism), you get paid what the market/competition decides your value to the employer is.

There in no such a thing as an intrinsic value. How much is my house (or anything else) worth? Exactly as much as the other people are willing to pay for it. No more, no less.

Why do people pay $148 for a share of YHOO? Is it because the Yahoo Inc. has enough gold/diamonds/products/condoms/oil/vitamin C/pirat treasure/ to cover (number of shares) * $148? Of course not, they pay $148 today, because tomorrow they can sell it for $200.

really (Enzyme), would like you to elaborate on that point (if you care).

quote:

Assuming that's true, there still actually is a recipient.

Oh yes indeed.You've hit the nail on the head. Once you create a State Department to care for the (say) homeless, they will do their best to make sure that there is never a shortage of the homeless. After all, their job depends on it. Don't make me elaborate who the most of the recipients are.

quote:

Useless to who?

to the achievers. The folks who really produce something of value.

BTW, you do know that the current tax system actually has a provision for a "negative tax", do you?. In other words, not only you are exempt from paying taxes, you are actually receiving a "negative tax" payment from the feds. Pretty nifty, huh?

quote:

Bureaucrats are capable of meaningful purpose,

How so? please elaborate.

quote:

they are always put into place to at least perpetuate the system they are in.

and this is good? how?

quote:

Bureaucrats also exist in the private sector where they are typically paid more for less work. The private sector is also capable of social engineering.

Yes, this is true and it is sad. But,... if you get the government out of their way, there is always going to be a young Bill Gates to squeeze IBM's balls, or some Joe Blow to squeeze Bill Gates'.

I'm an employee in a "used to be" a start-up company. We are not really big, but we are not a "hole in a wall" either. Trust me, there is not fat (read, the useless people) in my company. After all, the company is held accountable to it's shareholders (you can actually sue them for a breach of the fiduciary duty).

The government is not accountable for anything. You vote for the guy, and help him to get elected, and he owes you a diddly squat.

A digression, if you please. It has always amazed me, that most of the people are terrified of the "big corporations" and the "monopolies". It's not that I'm for it (I'm not), but given a choice, I'll always choose Gates over Clinton. Gates can't force me to buy his stuff, Clinton can. Better than that, Clinton (or his followers) can put me in jail, if I refuse to agreee with his/theirs vision of "what's good for me".

quote:

Being artificially excluded from work kills the work ethic more then publically funded welfare.

Huh again? The unemployment is the lowest ever and everywhere I go I see "help wanted" signs. I hope you are not trying to pull "an academic" argument here.

Show me a person who can't find a job today!!!!

quote:

The private sector also depends on the state, else it would not spend so much time and money to insure that elected officials do their bidding.

I completely disagree. They do not depend on the government, they take advange of the opportunity. If the Joe "the artist" exhibiting the excrement as art can get a grant, why shouldn't they.

There is a difference though. Joe "the artist" pays no taxes, he gets "free" money, whereas the corporate "Joe" just gets reduction in taxes "he" still has to pay.

Why is that? Because the Geniuses in the government created a "progressive (read Quantum/Undeterministic) tax system". In other words, anything you do can be punishable, or bring you a reward, depending what the Government decides is the "right" course of action.

The law is whatever they say it is.

And this gives them the ultimate control over the "peasants". Say you are an honest person, you do (as I do although it make me vomit) report all your income and and you hire a professional (the fee is not tax deductible) to honestly compute your taxes. Are you safe from the persecution?

I'll let you (Enzyme) to answer this question.


quote:

Any wage employee is more manipulated and controlled by their employer than they are by the state and more dependent too.

I reject this claim out right. I am an employee. Don't tell me that anyone would pay me a $1 if I would not produce more than $4 for them (yes, it does cost my employer $3 to pay me $1 in salary, thank you the fed gov).

Please elaborate. I would like to hear on what you are basing this statement.

quote:

Again, the private sector is also capable of social engineering.

yes, but only because of the pressure from the feds. No employer in his right mind would implement hiring quotas (it is just plain insanity), unless threatened by the feds.

quote:

Religion, for example, need not be excluded from the interests of the employer.

Please elaborate.

quote:

does not compel women to have children out of wedlock, religion does, and it is religion that makes the most noise when it is suggested that welfare not fund child bearing.

I did not say that welfare compels them to have children, I said that it compels them not to get married. Please do not imply statements I did not make.

quote:

artificial exclusion from the workplace is what keeps poor people from trying to find a job, not welfare.


Again, I dissagree (I addressed it above)

quote:

Life is work, even if you don't paid for it. Anyone who has grown up under welfare well tell you that.

I'm sorry, but this is a particularly weak argument. Are you implying that breathing, eating and waiting in line to get your wellfare check is sufficiently hard to count as a job? You are not really saying that, are you?

quote:

Big Stick, if you can't see that the social mechanism of dictatorship is not popular support but state terror, you are clearly missing some elementary education on politics.

With all due respect, I'd venture to claim that it is you who fail to see the facts.

Who is the "terror engine". Are you saying that all the dictator has to do is to announce "hey people, the terror is on" and everybody falls in line?

Answer this:

Who terrorized German people to follow Hitler?

Who terrorized Russians to obey Stalin?

Who was shooting Chineese disidents?

Who methodically killed millions of Cambodians?

My answer (in all cases) is, the fellow citizens. Why? "for the greater cause".

What is yours? Please do answer

BTW,
attacking my statements and/or ideas will get you much further in a reasonable discussion than questioning my spelling ability, education, morals, intelligence, appearenc, salary and/or my sexual prowess etc.

Please don't pull a "Jussi" on me, and we'll remain friends.

quote:

Hitler especially viewed the submission of people to authority as being the only legitimate moral order to society.

I agree, but the point is not what Hitler though/wanted, the point is that most of contemporary Germans had the same views.

As I said before:

Every nation is responsible for the government they have.
In other words, every dictator/tyrant is a product of his own society.

Do you, or do you not agree with this statement?

quote:

This submission is achieved through intimidation by an open and secret police force that terrorizes the population through violence and incarceration.

you keep reviving this argument. I consider it a fundamentally faulty one.

Who are the jailers? who are the secret police? who builds the concentration camps?

You keep refusing to answer this question, and keep alluding that some sinister force out of nowhere did that to the people.

quote:

Also, icebrain, Hitler never came to power legitimately, he was appointed chancellor by the German crown

Close, but no cigar. You are right, Hitler was not elected as a Chancellor of the Reich. He was appointed by Hindenburg (after some ball squeezing), but it was perfectly legal and legitimate..

quote:

after artificially creating a crisis in the country.

BINGO. Now, I have you right where I wanted.

You are absolutely right. He was appointed (with a significant disgust), "for the greater cause and for the best interest of the German Nation".

My point exactly, (if you care you read a couple of posts up).

Hey Jussi, are you still here? Can you say B-I-N-G-O? Envelope sure can...

quote:

Lenin was not responsible for the despotism of the Soviet Union, this was Stalin.


Again, close but no cigar. Lenin was shot and was paralized before he had a chance to "spread his wings" (he died in 1924 I believe, but I'm a software dweeb, not a historian I mind you). There is a plenty of indications that Lenin (had he survived longer) would be as murderous (if not more) as Stalin.

BTW, this is exacly one of the points I was making.

The name of the dictator does not matter, it is the compliance of the society that matters. Russian people (not all of them them, but most of them) did support the Revolution and German people did support Hitler.


quote:

... There was a revolution, remember?

Yes, I do remember. This is the #2 case in my list above, but how does it change my argument?

[This message has been edited by Big Stick (edited 06-21-2000).]


Posts: 571 | From: | Registered: Oct 1999  |  IP: Logged
Jussi Saari
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posted 06-21-2000 07:33 AM     Profile for Jussi Saari   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Others have already given some good replies, I'll add some more points here. Hopefully I got these UBB things right...

I wrote:

Nor does simple productivity=income necessarily have to be any better principle of running a society than the Marxist "to each what he needs" way where productivity is non-issue for income

-------------------------------------------
Big Stick:
…and you have economic successes of former USSR, Cuba, China, Cambodia, Vietnam and many more to prove that the Marxist principles are as good as a free market.

Don't put words into my mouth, I never said Marxist principles are economically sensible. I was only trying to say that if one extreme is total economical failure, it does not follow that the other extreme is paradise on earth.



... Free, unrestricted market economy is likely to eventually lead us back to the early days of industrialization where you've got your workers (every bit as vital to the outcome as the owners and leadership, mind you) making 14-hour days for a wage that barely keeps them alive.

-------------------------------------------

No one decides how much your work is worth, the market does it. If you don’t make enough money, it simply means that your qualification are too low.

First of all, you assumption works only if the amount of available labour does not exceed the available work. Second, as I said before, if the productivity of some individual is very low it should not follow that he ought to live at the brink of starvation merely because he's not useful enough.

That's why most people in most countries see minimum wages, money transfer from rich to poor in the form of progressive income tax, etc. as a good thing.

------------------------------------------

A good thing, let’s see…

1. it’s a theft
2. only 10 cents for each dollar actually goes to the recepient
3. creates an army of useless bureaucrats whose only job is to perpetuate the system
4. kills work ethics
5. creates a class of people dependent on the state, and therefore easily manipulated and controlled
6. makes sure that single mothers remain single, because if they marry, they lose their “free” lunch.
7. make sure that poor people are not trying to find a job, because again, they’ll lose their “free” lunch
8. creates generations of people who never worked in their lives (just like Clinton)

1. Is it really anymore theft than property tax or VAT? Definition of theft is "to feloniously take something that is not ones own", meaning 1) technically nothing that law allows is theft, and 2) if we disregard the legalistic side, regardless of who doe the most paying, those who buy, those who earn, etc., it is just as much theft. You may use as much inflammatory and intentionally incorrect definitions as yo wish, but it doesn't make that them true or correct description.
2. If that is the case in America, you have a problem with highly inefficient bureaucracy. That is a problem of implementation, not idea.
3. Yes, it does cause some additional bureaucracy. One of the inevitable down sides admittedly.
4. Why does minimum wage and income tax kill work ethics? I hope it's not because the poorest don't then have the fear of starvation to motivate them...
5. Heh... "Easily controlled and manipulated..." Those people who live on welfare and with the poorest-paying jobs, rarely show up to vote. The proportion of people that become practically dependant on welfare are also a very small minority even in a society like ours which by American standards is probably downright communist with the heavy taxes and welfare.
6. Again, if this is the case in America it merely shows poor implementation (very poor indeed if it's true) in that particular case.
7. Again, poor implementation. This is something of an issue here in Finland, and I for one would favour a system which guarantees that the income is *always* improved if one takes a job, no matter how poor one it is. Currently taking a poorly-paying job actually might reduce the income, which is not a good way to run the welfare system and leads to exactly the problem you said.
8. No comment.


But then there are some extremists like you who believe that if someone can't feed himself he's supposed to starve apparently?

---------------------------------------

OK, finally we get to a typical discussion with a liberal. In an absence of a rational argument, name calling suppose to do the trick.

“So, you don’t want to give me half of your income, huh? You are a selfish extremist who wants my children to starve.”

Look, in order to implement my vision of the society, all I want from you is to live you life and leave me alone. I don’t want your property and/or rights, and you stay away from mine.

To have it your way, you have to steal my property and take my right away.

And you call me an extremist? Just be honest and think about it.

Ok, I admit that and a few other comments I made might have been better left unsaid. But I tend to get a little upset when someone says I shouldn't be allowed to study in a university because I'm not rich enough and I effectively stole my free lunch there...

And yes, I do consider you an extremist. It is not that I want to steal your money for myself. I suspect that when our "life cycle costs" are compared, at the end of our lives we'll both have been net payers for our societies. I have no problem giving up considerable amount of my income to taxes for the fairly large running expenses of the sort of society I and the majority of my compatriots want to live in, but I do not want that if my money is used for a useful public purpose, others with possibly more to give refuse their responsibilities and grab their money shouting "everything is for me! me! me!".

Btw, in your ideal society, suppose a person has an accident that renders him practically incapable of productive work. If he does not have family or friends either at all or unable/unwilling to take care of him, does the society have any responsibility to ensure he can live a reasonably good life with his disabilities? Or is it totally the responsibility of church and charity and if they don't have the funds to take care of all that need it, then tough luck?


Would you care to explain, how Hitler, Stalin Pol Pot, Mao, Fidel and others were successful in convincing their respective societies to support totalitarian, murderous regimes? Were these societies simply stupid, so what happened to them will never happen to us because we are smart?

Naturally they had to convince a large enough proportion of their societies that this is for the best of the societies. However once they had established their power, it no longer really mattered what the public thought of them, a very small minority could control the reluctant majority with terror. Also the natural selfish individuals who always emerge in totalitarian societies to exploit the system for their own benefit can uphold the regime against the silent majority's will. But as for proving that the whole concept of "best interest of the nation" being a concept of tyrants just because they have used it is as silly as saying that building roads, schools and hospitals is a communist idea since every communist system has built those.

(Btw, I've noticed that your entire line of argument seems to be centered on the idea that anyone who wants a society where state performs money transfer from rich to poor is a thief who wants to get his dirty hands on the hard-earned money of the better rich people. Of course it makes your argument sound nice when you label the other side a bunch of thieves, but you know, it goes both ways... it is not just "stealing" money for health care, it is also paying for others' health care. And pensions. And the army, police, national parks, education, research, road network, ... And it doesn't work if one pays alone, that is why everyone has to contribute, and humans being the selfish bastards that we are , everyone contributes only if it's demanded by law.)

Jussi


Posts: 249 | From: Lappeenranta, Finland | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged
Jussi Saari
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posted 06-21-2000 08:29 AM     Profile for Jussi Saari   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by icebrain:
You guys are making me use the apartment analogy again, aren't you?

Oh well, here it goes...

Let's say you live in apartment A. Your neighbor Joe is in B, and Frank is in C. Joe did not put away money for health insurance, because he didn't think that he would need it yet. But one day, he has a mild heart attack. After he comes home, you decide to go help him out, so you go over and give him $200. A month later, you find out the money has been spent on the dog track, beer, and cigarettes. Now you go to Frank, who has insurance and has been working hard to pay for his daughter's college education. Do you have the right to go into his home and force him to give money to Joe? No. You can try to convince him with words, but you have no right to hold him at gunpoint and threaten to take away his posessions if he doesn't pay up. So why is the government allowed to?


I'd say this seems like a purpose-buit example that does not try to show what the welfare is meant to be and 9 times out of 10 is, but what it becomes if all the poor ones are immoral, the rich ones are good, and there is not a slightest attempt to control the criminals who want to abuse the system.

How about if instead, in flat D lives Chief Ungabunga, a refugee from Uganda who came to the country without a penny of savings and no useful skills and has worked his butt of to put food on the table but hasn't been able to make much savings. Then he gets that mild heart attack. Is it right to collect 67 USD from each occupants of flats A,B and C and send it directly for the hospital treating Ungabunga, leaving the chief not even a theoretical option to spend the money on beer and smoking? And, when C-flats daughter goes to college, she buys her own books but the rest of the expenses are covered by the occupants of flats A-C and a smaller amount by the miraculously cured but still quite poor Ugandan in flat D? This at the same time making sure that Franks smart daughter goes to college because he's smart and can go there wheter his daddy managed to save enough money or not, while the dumb, arrogant but filthy rich son of the neighbouring mansion's Pierre Louis Le Grande will have to forget about college because he hasn't got the brains for it...

quote:

"You see, good medical treatment is EXTREMELY expensive these days, and if you don't happen to be rich and have to pay all for it yourself, then you won't get that health care. But as before, I suppose you don't see people dying as a problem as long as it's not rich people that die due to lack of health care..."

See, health care used to be good and cheap. It was only the introduction of GOVERNMENT regulation, such as HMOs isurance and stuff like that that caused prices to skyrocket.


Government regulation does all too often tend to have a result of economical inefficiency which I readily admit. Personally I would like to keep the government away from everything that does not require it's participation, but unfortunately there are many areas of society where the down sides of it's non-participation often become greater than the economical inefficiency that it's participation often causes. That said, there are good ways and bad ways of arranging government-sponsored health care, and a system where neither the government, the hospital nor the patient pays most of the expenses is one of the worst ways of doing it, IMHO.

As for government participation being the sole or main contributor to increasing medical expenses, I strongly disagree. IMHO to say that the fact that a treatment requiring high-tech instruments and highly skilled personnel is expensive only because government stuck it's dirty hand into it ignores the main issue. It's just a fact of life that modern medicine requires increasingly complex and expensive instruments and expensively trained doctors and nurses, and the only way you can decrease those costs is by decreasing the quality of health care.

If you ask me, it's the health insurance that does the most damage to the economical yet good-quality health care, since it puts the bill on the insurance company and removes the need to be cost-effective from the hospital and the patient. IMHO if the bill was split by tax-funded state portion and the patients' portion (with the very poorest patient being able to get 100% state-funded, cost-free care if they otherwise could not afford it even then), the result would be a far better-working, much cheaper system that would still be reasonably affordable to the patient.

I strongly believe that state participation is something that is needed in many areas of society, but it has to be implemented in such a way that it doesn't remove the motivation to be effective and sensible from the workers or the customers/patients/students/whatever. It may never be as cost-effective as optimally-working totally private systems, but it doesn't have to be a USSR-style system where the employee pretends to work and employer pretends to pay, either...


quote:

The idea that everyone can go to college is wrong. Some just cannot hack it. I (and, I suspect, many others) do not want my money being spent trying to put someone through college that is not dedicated or disciplined enough, or that just doesn't care one way or another.

Absolutely agreed. The chance to go to college should be dependant on ability proven at high school and university entry exams, and that alone.


quote:

However, I believe that doing this should be the responsibility of PRIVATE charities, religious organizations, or even (gasp!) INDIVIDUALS, not government. I would trust a church a lot more than I would the social services beaurocrats.

Only problem is that if I pay a sum I feel is suitable to the charity, it won't change the fact that 9 people out of 10 won't. Frankly I have to admit that I myself might not have the self-discipline to consistently contribute enough if it was entirely voluntary. And certainly if I saw 9 people out of 10 choosing the rest in their laurels while I do the paying, my willingness to contribute would quickly take a drop.

As for those self-inflicted diseases you mentioned, they are actually (to a large part at least) funded by the smoking, drinking people themselves, as they pay for the very heavy tax that a cigarette box or beer bottle includes. The purpose is exactly to make sure that since lung cancer is a predictable result from smoking, smokers themselve pay proportionally the most for their own possibly self-inflicted lung cancer treatment.


Jussi


Posts: 249 | From: Lappeenranta, Finland | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged
JFA
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posted 06-21-2000 10:15 AM       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Icebrain and Big Stick - the "examples" you use in your arguments are so grotesquely caricatured that it is sometimes difficult to take them seriously..."Why should I give up half my income to pay for some crack-smoking prostitute's breast implants...". What if people attacked high military spending in the same way? "Why should I give up 75% of my income so that some overpaid receptionist at Lockheed Martin can take yet another 'personal day' off and drive to the mall in her SUV". What does that tell us about the merits of funding THAAD or the F-22? Nothing. That would count as an "argument" on local talk radio, maybe, but nothing more.

You consistently attribute utterly base motives to those who support these ideas and select "urban legend"-style examples of the failures of government policies. If you really believe in principle that universal healthcare and compulsory public education are wrong, you need to attack its best cases, not its worst. You need to demonstrate why it is wrong that you sacrifice a tiny fraction of your income so that poor grade-schoolers whose parents cannot afford private school can learn how to read. All of this is assuming, of course, that you are actually trying to convince those who disagree with you and not simply making a public show of the intensity of your commitment to libertarian ideas.


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Envelope
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posted 06-21-2000 01:31 PM     Profile for Envelope   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Big Stick, the mechanisms of state terror are based on a small population that are armed and submissive to the dictator. These subjugate the rest.

As for the rest, you are engaged in simple sophistry and rhetorical pencil whipping. If you want further elaboration, I refer you to your encyclopedia, if you can stand it. I am not in the entertainment industry.


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icebrain
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posted 06-21-2000 02:32 PM     Profile for icebrain   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
OK, look. Government has no right to take money from you and give it to someone else. That's the point. They HAVE NO RIGHT to force you to help someone else. That is something that should be left up to you, the other person, and God.
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Tornado
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posted 06-21-2000 02:56 PM     Profile for Tornado   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Ice, if that's the case then how can you have a government? If the gov't builds highways, they're taking away money (ie taxes) and giving it to construction workers. Same w/ the army (et al). How is that neccessarily different from finacing education? Both are beneficial to the society as a whole (as you've not responded to my earlier post I'll assume you conceed those points unless you start to argue them), and both involve taking someone's money and giving it to another. Where's the difference?
Posts: 61 | From: New England | Registered: Jun 2000  |  IP: Logged
Big Stick
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posted 06-21-2000 04:22 PM     Profile for Big Stick     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Envelope:
As for the rest, you are engaged in simple sophistry and rhetorical pencil whipping. If you want further elaboration, I refer you to your encyclopedia, if you can stand it. I am not in the entertainment industry.

this kind of ends the conversation, doesn't it?

See ya


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Enzyme
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posted 06-21-2000 05:30 PM     Profile for Enzyme   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Big Stick---I wish you quite accrediting to me what I did not say. Make certain that you read the poster of a comment before you reply about the post.


I think that Tornado has made excellent points. And nobody paid any attention. Tornado please if I may, I shall re-iterate what you said. But I shall try to massage it a little bit first.


It is becoming clear that there are two lines of thoughts creeping up in this discussion. One that thinks that things that are good are worth pursuing just because they are good. I put myself in that category. And the other school thinks that something ought to be done if and only if there is an obligation to do it. Do you think that that is the case? That means, you have to engage in a socialist regime if and only if there is an obligation to do so. And the other team thinks that you should engage in such a regime precisely because it is a good regime. I think that we cannot agree if we are boxed into these two separate thought processes. Why? Because there is no one right way to think about these things. Therefore, We (those who think of equal opportunity as a worthy goal) cannot convince Big Stick and friends unless we get out of the "goodness" business and show that they (Big Stick and friends) are obligated to shoulder this responsibility. Showing that Big Stick and friends are obligated to shoulder the responsibility of equal opportunity is a tricky and difficult business. Their "live and let live" philosophy is at least on the surface so fundamentally obvious and strong and would thus require a big effort to replace. Likewise, inorder for you, Big Stick and friends to convince us that "live and let live" is appropriate for all possible scenarios, you must show us that it is a "good" philosophy for all possible scenarios. I think this is the only way we can get something going--by getting out of our confining box of one single thought process. This is why I think Tornado's point is excellent, superb.

Tornado tried to show that the government is required to step into some situations where if left to the private sector could be disastrous. Market failures essentially is what he pointed to. Market failures occur when there are externalities associated with the production or consumption of goods and services--that means, where demand and supply occur beyond the extent of the market. The most extreme cases and therefore uncontested cases of market failures occur with indivisible goods, e.g military, infrastructure etc. These under-estimate demand as the benefits accrue to others beyond the purchase. The example Tornado used is pollution, an excellent example. The cost of production may spread beyond the producers.

What is all this about? I think the point is that if you consider that the market system is a fair way of distribution of goods, then you consider that fairness is a valuable characteristic. If you consider that fairness is a valuable property, then shouldn't you be "OBLIGATED" to assure fairness? If you are "OBLIGATED" to assure fairness, then you are "OBLIGATED" to step in (usually through a governing body)to correct market conditions that cause unfairness. Now the argument I have made is that yes somehow you are sometimes obligated to correct such things as market failures and you carry out your obligations--infact you do that now by paying for the military, social security, veterans benefits etc.

What is left finally is to convince you( Big stick and friends) and I that equal opportunity through education is an obligation because education is one of those goods that are associated with market failures. I'm spent now but I look to Tornado to put forth a good argument that convinces us that education indeed is a good with great externalities that can lead to market failures.

As you see Big Stick, it ain't over yet. Now it is up to you to convince us that "live and let live" is "GOOD" everywhere all the time. Then, we shall be done.


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Toecutter
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posted 06-21-2000 07:40 PM     Profile for Toecutter   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
What we have here Gentleman is a simple misunderstanding between:
Idea v Implementation
Theory v Reality
Enabling softness v Tough love

-Those of you that support this notion of a kindler/gentler/smarter nation by the way of spending/surrendering your income/social engineering by this "government" seem to be in the corner of being the recipient of those funds.

-Those that argue with the above notion are generally losing tens of thousands of $$$ every year due to income taxes - of which 10% MIGHT end up at the "right(?)" place, the rest is hmmm...liberated? Legally...

Don`t worry, give it a few years and see, how strange it will feel to remember that u used to be on the other side in these arguments, you see - you`re bargaining for a loan...
Talk is cheap.... but payback is a bitch!

I`d love to argue withya Big Stick...nah really, I live for that **** ...but I can`t...

As for what I`d xpect the federal government to do?
Maintain a killer military! Period!

Leave the farkin` states, cityes, municipalities, school-districts alone!!!

The ones that do manage their affairs the best will have consuming inhabitants/voters in them, the ones that don`t won`t.
Let the natural selection begin!


Posts: 1724 | From: States | Registered: Sep 1999  |  IP: Logged
icebrain
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posted 06-21-2000 08:37 PM     Profile for icebrain   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
What I meant was welfare, subsidies, and income redistribution, not paying people for actually working.
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Envelope
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posted 06-21-2000 09:40 PM     Profile for Envelope   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Toecutter, you said,

"As for what I`d xpect the federal government to do?
Maintain a killer military! Period!

Leave the farkin` states, cityes, municipalities, school-districts alone!!!

The ones that do manage their affairs the best will have consuming inhabitants/voters in them, the ones that don`t won`t.
Let the natural selection begin!"

You have it exactly backwards, Toecutter. It is the private sector that is preventing natural selection from taking place. Cities, states, municipalities, school-districts and the rest who can manage their affairs the best should be able to keep "consuming inhabitants/voters" out of them. This is not occuring. Instead states like ours in California are already starting to break down under the pressure of baby-spewing burb-rats. Brown outs and traffic jams are routine along with other breakdowns indicitive of a failure to thrive. There is the associated begging for more infrastructure to bail out the idiots who buy real estate in flood zones or places where there aren't enough schools for their spawn. Already on the radio, we are hearing these "public service" announcements where we are being advised that if we "work together" we can make California a great state again. Of course in the name of real political correctness we'll never call such things government handouts. And we'll always have folks like Big Stick trying to explain to us that the reason these people are demanding more government is because there is too much government.

Natural selection implies Nature which has been put on hold by explosive growth and technology. Natural selection has always been in effect, however, and is not nearly as sentimental as you are, Toecutter. Natural selection has given human beings intelligence and we are sacrificing intelligence for superstition, shiny objects and big buildings. The unspinnable consequences remain to be seen.

[This message has been edited by Envelope (edited 06-21-2000).]


Posts: 2057 | From: Davis, CA, USA | Registered: Sep 1999  |  IP: Logged
Toecutter
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posted 06-22-2000 12:19 AM     Profile for Toecutter   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
hhhbmbmbull...it Envelope. Had it not been for social services most of the problem population would`ve moved back to wherever tha hell they came from. There wouldn`t been such an xplosion in the numbers of the not quite up to the 21...or even the 18th century standard "homo erectus" in the first place.
If you have lived in Cali through the 70s and 80s you`ll know xactly what I mean.

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Jussi Saari
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posted 06-22-2000 04:58 AM     Profile for Jussi Saari   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by icebrain:
OK, look. Government has no right to take money from you and give it to someone else. That's the point. They HAVE NO RIGHT to force you to help someone else. That is something that should be left up to you, the other person, and God.

And that is our difference. I believe the government has not only the right but the obligation to ensure that people like Big Stick give up a good proportion of their income to prevent excessively uneven income distribution. Since neither you nor Big Stick replied in length, I suppose at this point what needs to be said has been said and misunderstandings have been cleared, and all that is left is to agree to disagree.

Just one more thing though after the welfare and education issues though; out of curiosity (not a flame bait, just questions out of curiosity), how do you conservatives feel about the military? Does the government have the right to draft, or should military service be entirely voluntary in your opinion? Do you consider military service a duty, or Evil Thing that luckily there are enough voluntaries for, or somewhere in between? And, with effectively a mercenary army for which war and violence is a paid-for profession, do you see a risk that the professional army could be used either as a tool of oppression by the government or might take matters in it's own hands if they at some point get unhappy about the government?


Jussi, a Flanker-flying Red Devil and Godless Commie (tm)


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Tornado
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posted 06-22-2000 09:40 AM     Profile for Tornado   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by icebrain:
What I meant was welfare, subsidies, and income redistribution, not paying people for actually working.

But even paying people for 'actual work' as you put it, when done by the government is indeed 'income redistribution' to put it bluntly. You still have yet to show me that there's any quantifiable difference between the two.

Enzyme: Thanks for the support, and I'll make an effort to reframe my argument in terms of market necessities.

I'll start w/ an analogy (yes I know all analogies are inherently suspect, but they're useful as illustrations). Saving for one's retirement is good and (given the fact that the Government’s been looting Social Security for decades) necessary. Public education is a society making the same sort of investment for it's future. In order for an economy to grow, it needs skilled workers... the US has moved beyond the point where we need hordes of unskilled workers (that can be found cheaper, whatever the relative morality of it, in Mexico, the Philippines or China).

If we are to have these skilled workers in the future, we need to invest in public education (and IMHO 2 year technical colleges). And because this is something that will benefit every member of society, the government has not only the right, but the duty to make this investment. (aside: I tend to think that this is pretty much the only area in which the government is justified in intervening... that is, when it will benefit (potentially) every member of the society.) Because the investment is being made on behalf of every member of society, the government is justified in taking money from every member of society.

Now, I'm not a complete dyed-in-the-wool liberal. I'm not entirely convinced that a progressive income tax is a good thing, though there are arguments for it. First among these arguments would be that the rich tend to take advantage of government spending more than the poor, so why shouldn’t they pay more. Illustration: tax money funds national parks, wildlife refuges, and many theater companies, things of which the poor are at best unlikely, and at worst unable, to take advantage. (sorry, I’m a slave to grammar) This, however, is somewhat off the topic at hand…

So there you have it… If the economy is to continue to grow (thus averting a market crash) the government needs to make an investment on behalf of society (and with the money of that society) in the skilled workers necessary for the future. The method that the government has enacted for this is the public education system, which, despite all it’s faults, is infinitely preferable to entirely privately funded education which would spell disaster for the entire economy by creating a shortage of skilled workers in the future.


Posts: 61 | From: New England | Registered: Jun 2000  |  IP: Logged
Envelope
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posted 06-22-2000 12:30 PM     Profile for Envelope   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Not so, Toecutter. Immigration to this country has been based on either persecution or labor trafficing and both under the less visible motive of global gerrymandering. Social services along with public education were originally driven by the desire to confound these efforts. Another bitter lesson on how difficult it is to protect human institutions from corruption.
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icebrain
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posted 06-22-2000 01:49 PM     Profile for icebrain   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
"Do you consider military service a duty, or Evil Thing that luckily there are enough voluntaries for, or somewhere in between?" more towards a duty. Personally, the military doesn't seem too attractive, but I'm going to feel real guilty if I don't at least join the reserves or nat'l guard.

There is a difference between welfare and paying for work. If you pay a person to go fix a road or serve in the military, that person has earned the money (also called "compensation"). If you pay some jobless street guy, or if you pay some people money just because they don't make as much as you, that is another thing entirely. The person did not earn or work for the money. This is fine if you are doing it on your own behalf, but if you do it forcibly with others' money (some against their will) it is wrong.


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Envelope
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posted 06-22-2000 03:27 PM     Profile for Envelope   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
icebrain, the fact that people are payed at all for work in order to survive suggests the need for welfare. If we were all living directly off the land in an agrarian or hunter gathering type society, then we could not afford to have people just sitting around idle. (Well, unless they were the religious class, but we need not go into that. ) Since labor is a marketable commodity, a certain amount of the available work force are bound to be idle else the price of labor may become too high to justify investment. Especially when it is organized as it is now. Since some people are going to be put on hold as far as labor is concerned - and who these people are is another problem altogether - you cannot just toss them out on the street and expect them to survive. The skills and environment no longer exist for subsistence survival.

On the other hand, government provisions for welfare should not be available as a tool for private interests to create societies or subcultures or as any other kind of social engineering. Welfare should be to prevent social engineering. People should be encouraged to particpate in the economy even as they are being artificially excluded from it.

Personally, I think that any citizen of the United States who thinks they can live on welfare should be allowed to do so as long as they have no other resources at hand and as long as they are not having children. I think our standards of living take more out of our taxes that welfare ever will. Everybody gotta have this, everybody gotta have that ... for what? The economy has become a big ugly, pointless, artless mess.


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bob671
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posted 06-22-2000 06:19 PM     Profile for bob671   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Since some of you people seem so set against an income tax, how do you feel about a consumption tax?
Posts: 263 | From: Canberra, Australia | Registered: Jun 2000  |  IP: Logged
icebrain
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posted 06-22-2000 08:53 PM     Profile for icebrain   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Sales tax? im all for it. But it wouldnt apply when purchasing investments or bonds and stuff like that.


My point is that the money that I earned should not be forcibly taken from me and given to someone else who did not work for it. In other words, I am under no obligation to give you my money if you haven't done anything for me (excluding family... and not even them sometimes).

I have an idea. How about we make it so that welfare and subsidies do not draw funds from the general tax revenue. The basic flat tax that should be implemented would go down. There would be a little box on the tax form that you would check if you wished to voluntarily give money to welfare. there would be others for social security and maybe medicare too.


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Toecutter
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posted 06-22-2000 11:02 PM     Profile for Toecutter   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
"Another bitter lesson on how difficult it is to protect human institutions from corruption."
Thank you. Down with them!

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Envelope
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posted 06-22-2000 11:23 PM     Profile for Envelope   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Well, which is it you enjoy the most, Toecutter, corruption or inhuman institutions? Is there no part of institutions that you don't like? Does that include religious institutions?
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_ALEX_
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posted 06-23-2000 04:34 AM       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Just my 2 cents.

Education
To a high school level (16 y.o.) it should be available free. Realistically, there is no better way around. I can't see anybody arguing it after thinking alternatives through (no ethics, morals, greater ideas etc please - just plain simple cause and effect).

University should be paid for. Probably, state should give interest-free loans for it, but it should not be free of charge.

Lenin's rule. IMHO, this important part of russian history is not properly understood by many russians, let alone foreigners. Lenin, gentlemen, had ample opportunity "to spread his wings" and that was what he did. "Proletarian terror" campaign against "class enemies" was launched just few months after he and his companions came to power. And it was far worse than anything Stalin ever did, because it was the first blood. In a sense, Stalin's repressions were a necessary consequence. Karma, if you want.

USSR economic failure. Here comes from somebody who was living there. Economic failure came AFTER Gorbachev attempted to "improve" the system. Beforehand, it was quite agreeable living, actually, if not exactly luxurious. Nobody was going to riot about it.

At the same time, the country was re-built from scratch in 30-s, devastated in 40-s, rebuilt again in 50-s (simultaneously building up nuclear arsenal) and contributed a great deal to third world well-being and fundamental projects (space exploration, nuclear physics etc) after.

In other words, it was NOT inefficient economy that killed USSR.


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Envelope
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posted 06-23-2000 12:27 PM     Profile for Envelope   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
_ALEX_, I guess I am corrected about Lenin. Perhaps you can give us a characterization about how the terror was conducted. Was it civil war? Were there mass executions? What happened?
Posts: 2057 | From: Davis, CA, USA | Registered: Sep 1999  |  IP: Logged
Tornado
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posted 06-23-2000 01:21 PM     Profile for Tornado   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
quote:
If you pay some jobless street guy, or if you pay some people money just because they don't make as much as you, that is another thing entirely. The person did not earn or work for the money. This is fine if you are doing it on your own behalf, but if you do it forcibly with others' money (some against their will) it is wrong.

That depends entirely on what you consider work icebrain. If I could show you that children raised with a parent at home were more likely to be successful non-criminal members of society, would you accept that parenting is work (there’s no question about the amount of energy expended)? What about paying someone enough to survive while he pursues job training of one sort or another. This person is actively attempting to remove himself from the dole… does that make what he’s doing work?

And as far as supplemental income for those who don’t make enough, as you put it, you’ve already admitted that the government can pay those who are working. Doesn’t it make sense that the people supplement the income of those who are working to prevent them from requiring complete financial assistance from the government or a charity?

The other thing you’ve overlooked is the societal cost of homelessness and poverty. First of all, if someone cannot find a legitimate job (for whatever reason) and there is no safety net in place, he or she has no other option than to turn to crime. I contend that it is both more economically sound and fair to provide social assistance than to force people into criminality.

Secondly, there is the economically depreciating nature of homelessness and poverty. These people have no money to reinvest in local businesses (grocery stores and the like), you seem to forget that people who receive welfare generally aren’t building up enormous savings accounts with this money. They’re spending it on rent, groceries, and possibly furniture, clothes, and/or alcohol. Their local merchants benefit from this, any you’ve already admitted that it is permissible for the government to give money to those who do work… how does it matter if it’s delayed a step from the local businesses by going through someone else’s hands?

By the way, am I to assume from your silence on the subject that you’ve accepted that public education is an acceptable destination for your money?

On the subject of having the government entirely funded by a sales tax, I have to point out a few things. First of all, I would contend that a sales tax is even more regressive than an income tax. A government that was to be funded entirely by a sales tax would require an incredibly high tax rate. This would encourage people to spend as little as they could possibly get away with, and that would be disastrous for an economy. Even though banks would have more money to lend (due to an increased savings rate) they would be less likely to lend it to manufacturers, retailers or development companies, because the profits of those companies would be drastically reduced. This would mean that existing companies would be less likely to expand, and start-up companies would virtually disappear, and the economic growth of the country would come to a screeching halt.

Furthermore, because the citizens would be saving more, they would be more likely to vacation overseas, and as a result even more US dollars would be invested in foreign economies. So foreign companies would grow, and American companies would shrink, and probably be bought out by foreign investors who could then replace/relocate them outside of the US. This would create even greater unemployment, with fewer opportunities for those people to get work, causing an even greater drain on national resources, and an increased dependency on Government funds for survival. I think that we can all agree that this would be bad.

Back to the subject of welfare… personally I agree that there are some problems with the implementation, but from what I’ve seen those problems are far less common than those of you who are against welfare seem to think. I do agree that it seems strange and unnatural to give away my hard earned $$$ to someone who hasn’t worked for it. However, I feel that the long term benefits of support so that a woman (especially a single mother) can stay home and raise her kid(s) properly so that they won’t become criminals is completely worth it.

As far as money to the jobless, I’m a little more hesitant. I feel that there should be more oversight to make sure that these people are indeed trying to find work and/or receiving training to be in a better position to find work in the future. Furthermore, I’d tend to think that people who don’t do these things could still receive benefits by working at a local charity. This way they’d be demonstrating that they are indeed willing to work, and they’d be doing something beneficial for society. Any thoughts on this idea?


Posts: 61 | From: New England | Registered: Jun 2000  |  IP: Logged

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