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Article: Sean Hannity's Ridiculous War Against Socialism
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goMac
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Feb 19, 2009, 10:42 AM
 
"Therefore, I'm calling upon Sean Hannity to use his prime time television program as a platform to rally Republican politicians, cable news hacks and citizens alike to refuse delivery of not just recovery bill spending, but all so-called "socialist" government programs. Send it all back. End American socialism now! All of it.

Refuse to send your kids to socialized public schools and universities; refuse to use socialized roads and highways; refuse to call upon socialized police and fire departments; shut down the socialized air traffic control; refuse to visit socialized national parks; tell grandma that her Social Security and Medicare will have to be sent back to the government; demand the immediate dismantling of our socialized American military. Sarah Palin and her supporters in Alaska should refuse all forms of "redistributed wealth" by sending back their checks from the socialized oil program there.

Send it all back. I'm sure the entire roster of Neo-McCarthyite pundits enumerated above -- Limbaugh, Scarborough, Hannity and the like -- have already forgone their usage of these socialist services so we can assume they've figured out a ways to get by. How hard can it be really? I mean, who needs roads when there are hot-air balloons and jet packs. Socialist fire departments? A house fire will eventually burn itself out, won't it? As for the pre-socialist 50-percent poverty rate for the elderly? If we can put a man on the Moon (also a socialist program), we can invent some bootstraps that'll fit over grandma's therapeutic stockings."

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bob-ce..._b_168033.html

I myself plan on installing a septic tank in my apartment. Enough with this socially managed sewer system!
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BadKosh
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Feb 19, 2009, 11:05 AM
 
Nice you are using all the labels. Do you know what they really mean? Why didn't you use 'Facsism'?
     
Chongo
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Feb 19, 2009, 03:38 PM
 
Originally Posted by BadKosh View Post
Nice you are using all the labels. Do you know what they really mean? Why didn't you use 'Facsism'?
The entire post is a quote from the linked article.
     
goMac  (op)
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Feb 19, 2009, 03:52 PM
 
Originally Posted by BadKosh View Post
Nice you are using all the labels. Do you know what they really mean? Why didn't you use 'Facsism'?

Hilariously, this is something talked about in the linked article...
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Chongo
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Feb 19, 2009, 04:15 PM
 
CNBC host's take
Video - CNBC.com
     
goMac  (op)
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Feb 19, 2009, 05:26 PM
 
Ah yes, a floor of day traders... a cross section of America.

: rollseyes :
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BadKosh
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Feb 19, 2009, 06:18 PM
 
I read the slanted opinion piece in the link.....


How about some FACTS:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lr1M1T2Y314
     
besson3c
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Feb 19, 2009, 06:41 PM
 
BadKosh: how about summarizing the facts that you want to talk about here so that we have something to discuss? Your video is captioned something about liberalism being a mental disorder, which certainly suggests that your attempt to post the video is simply reactionary partisan football.

Make an argument.
     
shifuimam
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Feb 19, 2009, 06:58 PM
 
This is such a ridiculous argument that has been brought up time and again.

Let's look at how your average conservative Republican actually defines a government policy, program, or earmark as socialist:

That which provides free or severely discounted products, services, and concessions to people based on income.

I think that's pretty clear, don't you? So that would be things like free healthcare, free housing, free schooling, free food, free money, free childcare, and just about anything that falls under the umbrella term of "welfare".

Republicans operate under the belief that the government cannot and should not be responsible for the individual well-being and happiness of its citizens. Rather, the government holds responsibility for protecting its citizens as a whole, and operating and maintaining infrastructure necessary to facilitate a society.

This would include military, public service such as fire and police departments, roads, highways, municipal buildings, parks, airports, utility systems, road maintenance, etc.

I'm fine with public universities, since taxpayer dollars account for a small percentage (15% or less in most cases) of the annual budget; most of the money comes from tuition, donations, and endowments.

Public primary schools, however, are primarily funded through tax dollars (in Indiana it's based on revenue from property taxes), which means that people who choose to send their children to private schools are punished and forced to pay for the education of others. I'd be fine with public schooling if it meant that, as a homeowner, I got a nice big check back from the tax revenue used to fund schools.

I get tired of people who take this stuff to an extreme. Socialism is not all-encompassing of all things that are funded by tax dollars. Of course 100% privatization won't work. Any idiot with half a brain and an ounce of common sense knows that. Conservatives are generally against government programs that force those of us with actual incomes and money to involuntarily give up that money so that people who don't fend for themselves don't have to...you know...fend for themselves.
     
besson3c
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Feb 19, 2009, 07:14 PM
 
I think people like Hannity are what is wrong with the Republican party now. You guys need to do away with the anti-intellectual reactionary emotional blow hard types like Coulter, Hannity, etc. and start listening to people like ebuddy who can put together reasonable arguments. Part of what has helped Obama is him coming across as cool, level headed, and reasonable.
     
besson3c
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Feb 19, 2009, 07:17 PM
 
Originally Posted by shifuimam View Post
This is such a ridiculous argument that has been brought up time and again.

Let's look at how your average conservative Republican actually defines a government policy, program, or earmark as socialist:

That which provides free or severely discounted products, services, and concessions to people based on income.

I think that's pretty clear, don't you? So that would be things like free healthcare, free housing, free schooling, free food, free money, free childcare, and just about anything that falls under the umbrella term of "welfare".

Republicans operate under the belief that the government cannot and should not be responsible for the individual well-being and happiness of its citizens. Rather, the government holds responsibility for protecting its citizens as a whole, and operating and maintaining infrastructure necessary to facilitate a society.

This would include military, public service such as fire and police departments, roads, highways, municipal buildings, parks, airports, utility systems, road maintenance, etc.

I'm fine with public universities, since taxpayer dollars account for a small percentage (15% or less in most cases) of the annual budget; most of the money comes from tuition, donations, and endowments.

Public primary schools, however, are primarily funded through tax dollars (in Indiana it's based on revenue from property taxes), which means that people who choose to send their children to private schools are punished and forced to pay for the education of others. I'd be fine with public schooling if it meant that, as a homeowner, I got a nice big check back from the tax revenue used to fund schools.

I get tired of people who take this stuff to an extreme. Socialism is not all-encompassing of all things that are funded by tax dollars. Of course 100% privatization won't work. Any idiot with half a brain and an ounce of common sense knows that. Conservatives are generally against government programs that force those of us with actual incomes and money to involuntarily give up that money so that people who don't fend for themselves don't have to...you know...fend for themselves.

This makes the assumption that the average Republican supporter is reasonable (not to put you on the defensive, I don't think the average Democrat supporter is reasonable either). What you have said here is reasonable. When you have people like Sarah Palin and John McCain leading the party by invoking the Socialist label absent of an actual argument in a calculated way that is designed to invoke knee-jerk reactions, this generally doesn't bode well to reasonable Republicans such as yourself.
     
shifuimam
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Feb 19, 2009, 07:21 PM
 
I can agree with that. I don't really listen to the pundits from either side. I spend more time reading news articles, blogs, and just observing what's going on around me.

I'm a conservative Republican and a Christian to boot, but I completely support the legalization of gay marriage. Why? Because I have seen no rational, logical argument against it.

Then again, I think that if everyone thought rationally, they'd all be republicans.

[edit]
To your other post Besson, I do assume the average Republican supporter is reasonable, but that's only because 99% of the Republicans I've personally discussed issues with are reasonable.

There are militant idiots on both sides, although I've met far more militant/reactionary Democrats than I have Republicans.

The thing is, I don't think that anyone is saying that the government shouldn't fund things like the military, police and fire departments, and infrastructure (roads and utilities). The only people who pull that card are Democrats screaming that Republicans who are really against socialism somehow have no right to use any government-funded services.
     
besson3c
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Feb 19, 2009, 07:30 PM
 
Originally Posted by shifuimam View Post
I can agree with that. I don't really listen to the pundits from either side. I spend more time reading news articles, blogs, and just observing what's going on around me.

I'm a conservative Republican and a Christian to boot, but I completely support the legalization of gay marriage. Why? Because I have seen no rational, logical argument against it.

Then again, I think that if everyone thought rationally, they'd all be republicans.
Maybe, but not Neocons or whatever we should be calling the Republican party as it stands now (I personally like "Taxcuticons" I kind of wish I came to America in a different era so that I'd get to know the more reasonable side of older, core Republican values (i.e. the ones that are actually about fiscal responsibility, that are for advancing freedoms, etc.), but alas I'm here now in a time where the loudest voices seem to be the lunatics.

[edit]
To your other post Besson, I do assume the average Republican supporter is reasonable, but that's only because 99% of the Republicans I've personally discussed issues with are reasonable.

There are militant idiots on both sides, although I've met far more militant/reactionary Democrats than I have Republicans.

The thing is, I don't think that anyone is saying that the government shouldn't fund things like the military, police and fire departments, and infrastructure (roads and utilities). The only people who pull that card are Democrats screaming that Republicans who are really against socialism somehow have no right to use any government-funded services.

To be honest Shif, and this goes for many of your other posts too, with all due respect I think you make the mistake of coming to generalizations too often based on your own personal life experiences.
     
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Feb 19, 2009, 08:32 PM
 
Probably. I blame it on the idealism and naivete that come with my young age.
     
ebuddy
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Feb 20, 2009, 07:31 AM
 
Originally Posted by goMac View Post
Refuse to send your kids to socialized public schools and universities...
Yes because they are failing children. While we spend more per pupil the US is ranked 18th out of 24 nations in terms of the relative effectiveness of its educational system. Private schools produce exponentially more successful students.

refuse to use socialized roads and highways;
Analysis of our roadways, bridges, and transportation infrastructure have defined them as being in crisis. By all means, let's privatize them. If money is going to be squandered, I'd rather it was the foreman for road projects who lives next door as opposed to a veritable team of know-nothings and do-nothings sitting in leather chairs in an office I've paid for.

refuse to call upon socialized police and fire departments; shut down the socialized air traffic control;
Police, fire, and air traffic are all matters of civil and national security. Now I'm convinced this article intends to pit socialists against anarchists which is great except for the fact that the overwhelming majority of people; yes even Hannity, are somewhere between these two ridiculous extremes. Still... it'd be interesting to know what would happen if everyone were suddenly over 40% more wealthy tomorrow. Hmm.

refuse to visit socialized national parks;
Trump for example is convinced that if the rebuilding of the trade towers area were left in the hands of commercial interest as opposed to government bureaucracy, hand wringing, and paralysis there'd be four towers standing there by now. This notion that somehow the government can always do it better is founding on... well... nothing at all really.

tell grandma that her Social Security and Medicare will have to be sent back to the government;
Tell grandma that due to mismanagement at the Federal level, she may experience a sharp cut in benefits payout regardless of what she's paid in. Tell her that she has no savings account at the Federal government and remind her to explain to her grandchildren why it won't be available for them. Remind her that as of 1997; The assets of the Social Security "trust fund" of $656 billion which were invested in government securities, have been borrowed by the government to pay for other government spending and will have to be paid back by the government. A government that is now embarking on the single largest spending measure in history with more projected in as little as 4 months. This trust fund will continue to be raided for everything, but Social Security. This is just how the gub'ment rolls.

demand the immediate dismantling of our socialized American military.
National security should be nationalized if anything at all. Again, if we're framing this as anarchists against socialists, we're just being moronic.

Sarah Palin and her supporters in Alaska should refuse all forms of "redistributed wealth" by sending back their checks from the socialized oil program there.
Ahh here's the rub. Sarah Palin... of course. I should've seen it coming. The new Bush.

Well... we're going to have to withhold a great many "redistribution" schemes then including those with Democratic constituencies. It was a good idea while it lasted. Does that mean we can forget about helping California? It gets annoying having to peel those little labels off things saying it's known to cause cancer for Californians.

Send it all back. I'm sure the entire roster of Neo-McCarthyite pundits enumerated above -- Limbaugh, Scarborough, Hannity and the like -- have already forgone their usage of these socialist services so we can assume they've figured out a ways to get by. How hard can it be really? I mean, who needs roads when there are hot-air balloons and jet packs. Socialist fire departments? A house fire will eventually burn itself out, won't it? As for the pre-socialist 50-percent poverty rate for the elderly? If we can put a man on the Moon (also a socialist program), we can invent some bootstraps that'll fit over grandma's therapeutic stockings."
Actually now that you mention it; seems to me this article does a great job of pointing out all the failures of "socialism". Maybe we should give anarchy a chance after all.
ebuddy
     
besson3c
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Feb 20, 2009, 08:49 AM
 
ebuddy: what's with the smokescreen argument? Nobody is saying that there aren't problems with the programs that GoMac listed, but I think you'd have great difficulty making the argument that we'd be better off if each of those programs were a part of the private sector, so what is the purpose of this post? GoMac is not trying to advertise the virtues of socialist programs in general, but is pointing out the totally irrational and bizarre stigma that is attached to the very idea of socialism.

I think Americans are a bunch of pussies if they really think that their Democracy and capitalism is being threatened to the point that these bizarre cover ups of the fact that we rely on some socialist programs is necessary. It's sort of like avoiding baby carrots because you think that eating them will make you gay. What are we so afraid of?
     
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Feb 20, 2009, 09:07 AM
 
Originally Posted by shifuimam View Post
I think that's pretty clear, don't you? So that would be things like free healthcare, free housing, free schooling, free food, free money, free childcare, and just about anything that falls under the umbrella term of "welfare".
Free military protection. The American military is the largest and most expensive socialized service there is.
     
dcmacdaddy
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Feb 20, 2009, 11:09 AM
 
Originally Posted by shifuimam View Post
Republicans operate under the belief that the government cannot and should not be responsible for the individual well-being and happiness of its citizens. Rather, the government holds responsibility for protecting its citizens as a whole, and operating and maintaining infrastructure necessary to facilitate a society.

This would include military, public service such as fire and police departments, roads, highways, municipal buildings, parks, airports, utility systems, road maintenance, etc.
Are you talking about government at the federal level--which is what Sean Hannity is railing against--or government at the state and local level. Because, only the military* is a legitimate task at the federal level. All these other tasks are to be left to the states and as such, it is up to the individual states to decide what is a legitimate use of tax-payer money. Some states might think lots and lots of parks are legitimate while other states (I am looking at you Delaware**) might think interstate highways deserve the most funding.

So, maybe Republicans in Massachusetts think publicly funded breakfasts for poor kids is a benefit while Republicans in Wyoming think public schools should just teach and not provide any other services. (I am not saying these are actual positions, just positing some hypotheticals.) In other words, ALL Republicans don't march in lock-step to the positions you outlined above; ALL Republicans don't think helping an individual achieve a better well-being is bad nor do ALL Republicans think "roads, highways, municipal buildings, parks, airports, utility systems, road maintenance" are legitimate uses of taxpayer funds.

My point is that you are using ridiculous generalizations to define the terms of your argument.



*Ask vmarks how many of those things are mandated in the Constitution to be performed by the federal government? In fact, only one of those "Republican-approved" items you listed is mandated to be performed at the federal level, the military. All the rest of them, according to a strict Constitutional interpretation, should be left up to the states.



**The cost-per-mile to drive across I-95 in Delaware is the highest per-mile toll of any road in this country. And for years the state was known for collecting exorbitantly high tolls while having incredibly crappy roads. Although, in that state's defense, over the past two years they have widened and re-paved I-95 through the whole length of the state. It is much nicer now.
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shifuimam
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Feb 20, 2009, 11:14 AM
 
Originally Posted by Wiskedjak View Post
Free military protection. The American military is the largest and most expensive socialized service there is.
Would you prefer there be no military, or less military?

It works in small countries to minimize military forces (e.g. Iceland), but from a purely logical and statistical perspective, you can't compare the United States to, say, countries in the EU. The United States is the third largest country on the planet in population quantity, only behind China and India - which both have such deep-rooted economic problems that they're not really on a comparable level of existence at this point. No matter how much a liberal may hate it, we are the biggest superpower on Earth. This means that we're going to be a bigger target for anti-country sentiment than other countries.

The same works in other situations. Why do so many people bash Microsoft and target Windows for malicious software and the like? It's not just because they release products that are viewed as sub-par. A much bigger reason is because they have a massive majority holding in the operating system market than all the competitors combined. Mac users like to think that OS X is more secure by virtue of its inherent "better-ness", but the fact is, there is something to be said for security through obscurity.

You look at what happened on 9/11, and regardless of how it was handled in its aftermath and following years, had our military been too small, underfunded, or ineffective to do anything about it, you can be just about guaranteed that the United States would have been victim of another major terrorist attack.

Also, for the record, the military budget is a tiny portion of the annual federal budget. Social Security and Medicare account for a much larger proportion of the budget. It would be much more accurate to say that these two socialist programs are the most expensive socialized service (combined) available in the United States.

Originally Posted by dcmacdaddy View Post
My point is that you are using ridiculous generalizations to define the terms of your argument.
...yet the original article quoted made the exact same generalizations:

Refuse to send your kids to socialized public schools and universities; refuse to use socialized roads and highways; refuse to call upon socialized police and fire departments; shut down the socialized air traffic control; refuse to visit socialized national parks; tell grandma that her Social Security and Medicare will have to be sent back to the government; demand the immediate dismantling of our socialized American military.
Public primary schools are largely funded by the state. Most road infrastructure is supported by states or counties or cities. Fire and police departments are funded by counties or cities. State parks are funded by states.

That particular person's reaction to Hannity's disapproval of federal social programs is just as generalized as my response.

The bottom line is that government-funded programs on any level (municipal, city, county, state, country) that objectively benefit the collective society as a whole are far different than those aimed at benefiting individual qualified members of society. Welfare attempts to benefit individuals. Military, roads, public service departments, parks, libraries, and even schools attempt to benefit the society as a whole unit, through protection or maintenance or providing services that are equally accessible to all.

Public education is equally accessible to anyone who wants it, regardless of race, gender, or income. Libraries and parks are much the same. Welfare, however, is completely dependent on your existence as what amounts to a degenerate who contributes little to nothing to benefit society.
     
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Feb 20, 2009, 11:19 AM
 
Originally Posted by shifuimam View Post
I get tired of people who take this stuff to an extreme. Socialism is not all-encompassing of all things that are funded by tax dollars. Of course 100% privatization won't work. Any idiot with half a brain and an ounce of common sense knows that. Conservatives are generally against government programs that force those of us with actual incomes and money to involuntarily give up that money so that people who don't fend for themselves don't have to...you know...fend for themselves.
This sounds like a statement regarding what your taxes "deserve" to be spent on. that your taxes deserve to be spent on things that have a supposedly collective benefit (roads, schools, parks, airports) while your taxes don't "deserve" to be spent on things that have individual benefits (like helping someone pay for their rent, or get food, or get medical care). Am I reading you right?
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shifuimam
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Feb 20, 2009, 11:27 AM
 
Originally Posted by dcmacdaddy View Post
This sounds like a statement regarding what your taxes "deserve" to be spent on. that your taxes deserve to be spent on things that have a supposedly collective benefit (roads, schools, parks, airports) while your taxes don't "deserve" to be spent on things that have individual benefits (like helping someone pay for their rent, or get food, or get medical care). Am I reading you right?
Yes, you are. I'm sure that you're aiming to manipulate the conversation in a way that makes me out to be a coldhearted bitch, but I'll bite anyhow.

I absolutely have an opinion about what the income dollars that I have worked to earn should be spent on. Plain and simple, I am disinterested in my tax dollars being distributed to irresponsible citizens who spend more than they make and are now begging the government to help them pay their mortgage or rent or health care bills.

A former friend of mine was diagnosed with Chron's disease when he was a kid. When he was in college, as a financial independent with no health insurance, his Chron's flared up and induced a severe case of pancreatitis that landed him in the hospital for three full days (roughly 72 hours). The end result? Over $10,000 in credit card debt to pay his bills. He makes, at the very least, the minimum payment on his card every month. His FICO score was 830 the last time he checked it.

Even though he has a crap-ton of debt, I have assloads more respect for him than I do for someone who believes that the government should be personally responsible for their medical expenses. Guess what? Sh!t happens. You fall off a ladder at your house, break your spine, and end up in traction for six months. It sucks ass, but that doesn't mean that the government should be responsible for footing the bill. If you're like my example, where the guy was in college full time and working and couldn't possibly have saved up ten grand in a few years of part-time employment at $11 an hour, the fact is that you're just going to have to deal with some debt for awhile. He'll get it paid off. He'll live. If he's not an irresponsible fool, he can budget around his debt and eradicate it more quickly than someone who demands a new car every five to six years or a home before they can truly afford the mortgage, insurance, and maintenance costs.

I'm sick to death of seeing more and more of my income stolen by the government and distributed to people and programs that don't benefit me by any stretch of the imagination. It just about makes me physically ill to look at my W-2 each year and see just how many thousands of dollars I've been forced to dump into Social Security (entirely against my will - wouldn't it be much better if I could keep all that money and invest it in an IRA and - gasp - take full responsibility for my own retirement and financial future?), when I can be all but certain that this particular program will be bankrupt and gone before I come close to being able to benefit from it. Instead of being fully accountable for my long-term financial future, I have to be responsible for that (given that SS is going to be long gone before I retire, I've been investing heavily in my 403(b) since graduating college) and lose an ungodly amount of money to ensure the stability of other people who were too stupid, ignorant, selfish, or lazy to take care of their own futures.

Consider this: last year, I paid nearly $3,000 into Social Security for my current job (I changed jobs in April). Let's say that this stays at $2,000 for the next 41 years, until I retire at 65. At that point, not accounting for inflation, changes in tax withholding percentages, or inflation, I will have paid over $100,000 in a system that will return absolutely nil to me. Does that seem fair to you? Does that seem like a good idea? Don't you think I would have been much, much better off taking that $100k and sticking it somewhere where I could control the investments and the return to ensure a comfortable financial state in retirement?
( Last edited by shifuimam; Feb 20, 2009 at 11:53 AM. )
     
dcmacdaddy
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Feb 20, 2009, 11:34 AM
 
Originally Posted by shifuimam View Post
Yes, you are. I'm sure that you're aiming to manipulate the conversation in a way that makes me out to be a coldhearted bitch.
No. While I am a jackass--just ask anyone who knows me--I prefer to let logic rule my debating style. I have no interesting in attacking you personally, only the arguments you put forth.
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Feb 20, 2009, 12:56 PM
 
Originally Posted by shifuimam View Post
Would you prefer there be no military, or less military?
I'm just sayin', if one were to follow the prescribed course of action and refuse all socialized government services, then tax-payer funded military protection *must* be at the top of that list.
     
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Feb 20, 2009, 12:59 PM
 
Originally Posted by dcmacdaddy View Post
This sounds like a statement regarding what your taxes "deserve" to be spent on. that your taxes deserve to be spent on things that have a supposedly collective benefit (roads, schools, parks, airports) while your taxes don't "deserve" to be spent on things that have individual benefits (like helping someone pay for their rent, or get food, or get medical care). Am I reading you right?

While I would probably agree with shifuimam WRT redistribution of wealth, I think it's equally important to assess what government is good at. Completely independent of who deserves what, government is just simply better at building roads than helping people pay their rent.

P.J. O'Rourke came up with a good metric: the likelihood government will **** something up is in direct proportion to the sexiness of the goal.
     
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Feb 20, 2009, 02:46 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
While I would probably agree with shifuimam WRT redistribution of wealth, I think it's equally important to assess what government is good at. Completely independent of who deserves what, government is just simply better at building roads than helping people pay their rent.
Why is this the case? Why is the government better at "building roads than helping people pay their rent"? What is it about government-organized road-building that makes it more efficient/economical* than government-organized rent paying? Is there something inherent about the process of road-building that makes it more suitable a task for government to accomplish than with paying rent for poor citizens? What is it about the process of the two sets of actions (road building vs. rent paying) that makes one set of processes seem better use of government time and money than the other set of processes. Like you, I am not interested in a question of who deserves what. I am interested in why you, and anyone else who cares to responds, thinks government is better suited to provide some services and not others.


*I am assuming that when you use the term better you are referring to ability to do something more efficiently/economically than a private business. If this is not what you mean by better, please let us know what you do mean by better. Thanks!
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Feb 20, 2009, 05:47 PM
 
Originally Posted by dcmacdaddy View Post
*I am assuming that when you use the term better you are referring to ability to do something more efficiently/economically than a private business. If this is not what you mean by better, please let us know what you do mean by better. Thanks!

I thought I understood the body of your post, but then this question throws me for a loop.

I said the government can build roads better than the government can pay rents.

I'm using better to mean the government can do something more efficiently/economically than the government can do something else. Where did private business enter your assumption?
     
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Feb 20, 2009, 06:29 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
I said the government can build roads better than the government can pay rents.

I'm using better to mean the government can do something more efficiently/economically than the government can do something else. Where did private business enter your assumption?
Well, what are you using for your reference in the analogy above if not private business? Simply stating that government building roads is better than government paying rents is not a logical comparison without a referent. The government has to be better than something else at building roads just like it had to be worse than something else at paying rents. Otherwise, your analogy is a simple comparison of unlike things.
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Feb 20, 2009, 06:39 PM
 
Just to clarify, if one wants to say the government is better suited at providing some service, it has to be better than something else at doing the same thing. Better than is a comparison and a comparison requires comparing like with like. Is this confusing to anyone?

government > something (at providing a specific service)
government < something (at providing a specific service)

NOT

government > government (at providing two different classes of services)
[This argument construction is not logical.]
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Feb 20, 2009, 07:04 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
ebuddy: what's with the smokescreen argument? Nobody is saying that there aren't problems with the programs that GoMac listed, but I think you'd have great difficulty making the argument that we'd be better off if each of those programs were a part of the private sector, so what is the purpose of this post?
There were two purposes besson;
1) to indicate that the debate is not between two philosophical fringes. Invoking the word "socialist" is as effective as invoking the word "depression". Hannity et al. is not opposing socialism at its pinnacle, they're opposing socialism at its inception; a perceived move toward socialist philosophy. Imagine there are two teams engaged in a tug of war and this stimulus bill steps in to pull, which direction is the rope moving? Is this the desired direction?

2) to illustrate why his examples of those programs currently managed by the government fall flat IMO. As if a shift in the opposing direction would prove an abject failure.

GoMac is not trying to advertise the virtues of socialist programs in general...
IMHO if you're going to use specific examples to illustrate why the notion of moving from public to private ownership is absurd, you should be prepared to advertise the virtues of those examples. I personally think his examples fell short of a good illustration.

but is pointing out the totally irrational and bizarre stigma that is attached to the very idea of socialism.
I don't think the concerns are unfounded or irrational besson. I would agree that there is a stigma, but that stigma is the irrational and bizarre dogma of socialism.

I think Americans are a bunch of pussies if they really think that their Democracy and capitalism is being threatened to the point that these bizarre cover ups of the fact that we rely on some socialist programs is necessary. It's sort of like avoiding baby carrots because you think that eating them will make you gay. What are we so afraid of?
I rather prefer baby carrots.

To answer your question; historically failed ideology waiting on a series of unfortunate circumstances leading to an unprecedented infringement on US sovereignty, civil liberties, and free enterprise. Three principles that comprise the most successful model of peace and prosperity.
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Feb 20, 2009, 07:21 PM
 
Originally Posted by dcmacdaddy View Post
Why is this the case? Why is the government better at "building roads than helping people pay their rent"?
I think it's because of maintenance. People don't make any effort not to sh!t all over things the government owns. Who keeps that from happening to the roads? Police. Who keeps it from happening in government housing? No one. We're fine with police on the roads but we're not fine with them in our homes, even if they're government-paid homes. Until that changes, government-paid homes are going to be a losing proposition.
     
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Feb 20, 2009, 10:55 PM
 
Originally Posted by dcmacdaddy View Post
government > government (at providing two different classes of services)
[This argument construction is not logical.]

Are you sure? Why can't you just compare the same variable?

Uncle Skeleton provided an example of one variable that can be analyzed (the means of punishing people who **** on the project in question), I'll give you another: which one (building roads/paying rent) more easily facilitates the creation of an objective barometer of success?
     
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Feb 20, 2009, 11:22 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Are you sure? Why can't you just compare the same variable?
You can compare the same variables. But the terms you were trying to compare (building roads vs. rent payment) were not variables but rather outcomes. Uncle Skeleton's example of ability to punish people who negatively effect the outcome of a government action IS a variable that can be used to compare the outcomes.

Originally Posted by subego View Post
I'll give you another: which one (building roads/paying rent) more easily facilitates the creation of an objective barometer of success?
Uncle Skeleton's criteria for success is quite a powerful variable for determining efficacy or usefulness of spending (assuming that the government "owns" the housing it is paying for and not just paying rent on it). His argument breaks down if the government is not the owner of a property but rather simply a provider of funds for renting a property. In this latter case, the owner of a property who receives the rent from the government for specific tenants does have recourse to law enforcement to keep people from "sh!tting all over" the rental property.

As for your suggested criteria, I think it needs some more specificity. What do you mean by objective barometer of success? What criteria would you suggest is an objective barometer of success? How about timeliness? Would you consider that an objective barometer of success? If so, then as long as the roads get paved on time and the rents get paid on time--rents paid to a non-government property owner--then how is one better suited than the other for government responsibility? As long as both tasks are accomplished in a timely manner than they both meet the timeliness criteria of success. What other variables do you think we could use to evaluate the effectiveness of government involvement in these two outcomes (road paving vs. rent paying)?
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Feb 21, 2009, 10:38 AM
 
Whether the government "owns" the house itself or it "owns" the rental agreement is just semantics. Whatever influence the resident has by virtue of holding the purse strings is gone if the government pays. Because what is the resident going to do, call in the government to back them up? No one is going to do that, for the same reason I already said: we don't want government or police in our homes if it can be helped.
     
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Feb 21, 2009, 11:24 AM
 
Originally Posted by dcmacdaddy View Post
As for your suggested criteria, I think it needs some more specificity. What do you mean by objective barometer of success? What criteria would you suggest is an objective barometer of success? How about timeliness? Would you consider that an objective barometer of success? If so, then as long as the roads get paved on time and the rents get paid on time--rents paid to a non-government property owner--then how is one better suited than the other for government responsibility? As long as both tasks are accomplished in a timely manner than they both meet the timeliness criteria of success. What other variables do you think we could use to evaluate the effectiveness of government involvement in these two outcomes (road paving vs. rent paying)?
There is a basic difference at the core of this that seems to be missing IMO. Private interests will invest (gamble) their own capital in a venture and the merits of that decision can be measured using a wealth of metrics, but evidenced primarily by profitability and survival. Unless they are waiting at the table for a handout, their success or survival is contingent upon good stewardship of resource. Government does not invest its own capital in a venture, but invests your capital. It is always at the table. Its "survival" is only contingent upon maintaining your level of contribution and the overall success or failure is not directly tied to stewardship of resource.

The two entities are entirely different in scope and purpose. It follows logically that the metrics for gauging the efficacy of these two must relate to that scope and purpose. For example, we aren't contributing to the government to "grow the business" and use our collective resources to compete against ourselves. We contribute to our government under the guise of the general welfare of a collective, be it national security, safe highways, good schools, and even helping a guy who's down on his luck. These are lofty goals and the argument could be made that you need the collective resource to address these goals. However, we should still be actively involved in measuring the efficacy of the various projects and be open to different ideals. We can measure the success or failure of our investment in the stated scope and purpose of the venture. How is the state of our roadways and our schools, etc... and in the case of the guy who is down on his luck; is there long-term improvement and are there more or less people down on their luck requiring more or less of our collective resource? You would think then that we'd be arguing the merits of the two different entities using these metrics, but it seems we're not.

I might be at odds with everyone in this because I'm personally not proud of the state of our roadways. Repairing a chuckhole after it has eaten my vehicle is not timely. There is a wealth of evidence to suggest we've not been good stewards of resource in the overall ranking of our public education system and yet we've been at this for some time as well. In the case of the renter, yes paying February rent with the help of the government prior to March is timely and is a good thing. Problem is, the renter has to use the money to actually pay his/her rent and the overall goal should be less people requiring government housing/rent paying. The goal should be to create more payers not payees. As a private investor, I can examine the operations of a board of directors. If I see them in constant disagreement, subsequent paralysis, and/or one ideology has permeated the business model leading to failure; I can bail out. I can invest more, I can invest less, or I can invest nothing at all. I can choose an entirely different company for that venture. In the case of government I can vote individual board members in or out, but I cannot change companies and I cannot invest less until a majority of the board agrees that I should.

In the case of government I see all the "growth" you'd want to see in the entity, very little of the good stewardship that would get them there. This is why you'll see me continue to lobby for our board of directors to agree that we should invest less in their ventures. I don't want the government using my money to compete against me in the marketplace because when the government wins the contract, there is no longer a marketplace. For the sake of relevance, Sean Hannity may be using a buzzword for his lobby; "socialism" not unlike others who are using "The Great Depression" for theirs.

We can discuss the measurements of the two entities, but you'll quickly realize the disagreement has nothing to do with success or failure of the model itself, everything to do with defending philosophy.
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Feb 21, 2009, 12:56 PM
 
Originally Posted by dcmacdaddy View Post
But the terms you were trying to compare (building roads vs. rent payment) were not variables but rather outcomes.

Well, I thought it would be good to toss my conclusion on the table and see if you were interested in discussing it before I bored you with the specifics of how I arrived at that conclusion.


Originally Posted by dcmacdaddy View Post
What do you mean by objective barometer of success? What criteria would you suggest is an objective barometer of success? How about timeliness? Would you consider that an objective barometer of success?

I would. However, I would call it an extremely narrow criteria.

I don't want to seem like a jag, but I'd have to say it strikes me as intentionally so, as in the only purpose of using this criteria is that it puts building roads and paying rents on equal footing.

I think if one were trying to come up with a more "natural" criteria, while that would include timeliness, it would also involve things like quality of construction, time needed until repair, availability, etc.
     
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Feb 23, 2009, 01:11 PM
 
Originally Posted by ebuddy View Post
There is a basic difference at the core of this that seems to be missing IMO. Private interests will invest (gamble) their own capital in a venture and the merits of that decision can be measured using a wealth of metrics, but evidenced primarily by profitability and survival. Unless they are waiting at the table for a handout, their success or survival is contingent upon good stewardship of resource. Government does not invest its own capital in a venture, but invests your capital. It is always at the table. Its "survival" is only contingent upon maintaining your level of contribution and the overall success or failure is not directly tied to stewardship of resource.

The two entities are entirely different in scope and purpose. It follows logically that the metrics for gauging the efficacy of these two must relate to that scope and purpose. For example, we aren't contributing to the government to "grow the business" and use our collective resources to compete against ourselves. We contribute to our government under the guise of the general welfare of a collective, be it national security, safe highways, good schools, and even helping a guy who's down on his luck. These are lofty goals and the argument could be made that you need the collective resource to address these goals. However, we should still be actively involved in measuring the efficacy of the various projects and be open to different ideals. We can measure the success or failure of our investment in the stated scope and purpose of the venture. How is the state of our roadways and our schools, etc... and in the case of the guy who is down on his luck; is there long-term improvement and are there more or less people down on their luck requiring more or less of our collective resource? You would think then that we'd be arguing the merits of the two different entities using these metrics, but it seems we're not

SNIP

In the case of government I see all the "growth" you'd want to see in the entity, very little of the good stewardship that would get them there. This is why you'll see me continue to lobby for our board of directors to agree that we should invest less in their ventures. I don't want the government using my money to compete against me in the marketplace because when the government wins the contract, there is no longer a marketplace. For the sake of relevance, Sean Hannity may be using a buzzword for his lobby; "socialism" not unlike others who are using "The Great Depression" for theirs.

We can discuss the measurements of the two entities, but you'll quickly realize the disagreement has nothing to do with success or failure of the model itself, everything to do with defending philosophy.

Excellent points, as always. And yes, it is a disagreement of philosophies.

You express concern about "the government using my money to compete against me in the marketplace" amid fears that this would lead to the dissolution of a marketplace. But my philosophy is I don't want there to be a marketplace for "national security, safe highways, good schools, and even helping a guy who's down on his luck." So, I am quite content with the government having monopolistic control over these and other some areas. I don't want there to be competition for these services because competition always results in a least-cost approach* to a solution and I don't want the least-cost approach to our national security, roadways, school funding, and social services to win out. This does not mean that I want the most-cost solution to win out. Rather, it is simply an acknowledgement that the marketplace--which is all about finding the least cost for the exchange of goods and services--does not provide the best solution to some needs and therefore its methods of procuring services should not be used in certain contexts.


*The extent of what defines a least-cost approach and how it is measured is the subject for a whole other thread.
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Feb 23, 2009, 03:46 PM
 
People actually pay attention to Sean Hannity. It's depressing, I know.
     
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Feb 23, 2009, 05:35 PM
 
Originally Posted by shifuimam View Post
To your other post Besson, I do assume the average Republican supporter is reasonable, but that's only because 99% of the Republicans I've personally discussed issues with are reasonable.

There are militant idiots on both sides, although I've met far more militant/reactionary Democrats than I have Republicans.

Can't you see the ridiculousness of this statement? You are saying that 99% of the people who agree with you on the issues come off as reasonable while the people who disagree with you on most issues come off as militant and reactionary.

Uh, yeah. You don't say.

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Feb 23, 2009, 07:37 PM
 
Originally Posted by dcmacdaddy View Post
Excellent points, as always. And yes, it is a disagreement of philosophies.
One of the better discussions here in some time. You're good peepz.

You express concern about "the government using my money to compete against me in the marketplace" amid fears that this would lead to the dissolution of a marketplace. But my philosophy is I don't want there to be a marketplace for "national security, safe highways, good schools, and even helping a guy who's down on his luck." So, I am quite content with the government having monopolistic control over these and other some areas. I don't want there to be competition for these services because competition always results in a least-cost approach* to a solution and I don't want the least-cost approach to our national security, roadways, school funding, and social services to win out. This does not mean that I want the most-cost solution to win out. Rather, it is simply an acknowledgement that the marketplace--which is all about finding the least cost for the exchange of goods and services--does not provide the best solution to some needs and therefore its methods of procuring services should not be used in certain contexts.
This is probably where our discussion hits that inevitable impasse dc. I understand your concern with the least-cost approach at the surface as this implies "cheap" materials and/or shoddy craftsmanship; general lacking in quality overall. I'm a firm believer in "you get what you pay for". However, included in the least-cost approach is process efficiency and often has nothing to do with materials and/or craftsmanship or overall quality. This I'd say is where the government is sorely lacking and IMO is the more guilty of the two in employing the least-cost approach. Thing is, you wouldn't know it from the overall cost. Substandard materials used in roadways quickly decays under environmental strain, antiquated technology at DMVs for example (dot matrix printers-no kidding) and slow adoption of technology in general. We pay more per pupil in the US than many industrialized nations yet rank 18th of 24 in overall effectiveness of our system. We've got a problem here. We're not getting what we're paying for and many are asking that we pay more. In this we have multiple programs to address singular issues and too many hands involved in the process. I won't bore you with the details as I've given the laundry list of overlapping programs in other threads. Personally, I'm ready for someone to come in and actually employ a least-cost approach in its most effective forms.

I'd like to choose another company with regard to our school system, our roadways, and a new broker for the Social Security trust fund, new managers for Medicare/Medicaid, and less people down on their luck. When Warren Buffet invests in a company he uses a simple litmus for the risk; the business model must be sound enough that a moron could run it because at some point a moron will.
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Feb 23, 2009, 07:55 PM
 
Originally Posted by ebuddy View Post
We've got a problem here. We're not getting what we're paying for and many are asking that we pay more. In this we have multiple programs to address singular issues and too many hands involved in the process. I won't bore you with the details as I've given the laundry list of overlapping programs in other threads. Personally, I'm ready for someone to come in and actually employ a least-cost approach in its most effective forms.
I could not agree more. We spend far more than we need to (per capita) on government-funded services compared to other developed countries.

Originally Posted by ebuddy View Post
I'd like to choose another company with regard to our school system, our roadways, and a new broker for the Social Security trust fund, new managers for Medicare/Medicaid, and less people down on their luck. When Warren Buffet invests in a company he uses a simple litmus for the risk; the business model must be sound enough that a moron could run it because at some point a moron will.
My philosophical objection is that you seem to be of the opinion to say "screw it, government doesn't work so let's get an outsider to do the work". (Please correct me if I am wrong.) Whereas, my opinion is "the government doesn't work so let's force them to work better". I don't think we have tried my approach (demands for improvement) as often as we have tried your approach (outsourcing government services).

I am continually amazed at how people take to the streets in other countries to protest government action far less often than in the United States. You almost never see major protests over government policy. Yet look at how many people are up in arms about the financial bailout as compared to how many people have taken to the street to make their voice heard. I would like to see more citizens participate more directly in letting our government know what is and is not acceptable policy.


Having said all that. I think it is likely that your approach will win out in the long run. We contracted out a bunch of our fighting force in Iraq to Blackwater and others, we've got states selling the rights to build highways in exchange for regular payments, and in some communities private charter and religious schools compete with public schools for government funds. I am fairly sure you will get your wish as well in regards to Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid.
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Feb 23, 2009, 09:44 PM
 
Originally Posted by dcmacdaddy View Post
My philosophical objection is that you seem to be of the opinion to say "screw it, government doesn't work so let's get an outsider to do the work". (Please correct me if I am wrong.) Whereas, my opinion is "the government doesn't work so let's force them to work better". I don't think we have tried my approach (demands for improvement) as often as we have tried your approach (outsourcing government services).
We've demanded they "work better" every couple years since 1789. I may come off as "screw it" out of a modicum of frustration, but I'm not really as hostile to the government as I might seem. They have a purpose under their respective document and live up to it arguably better than most while not really living up to it very effectively. Of course, "what it is" remains in debate to some.

I am continually amazed at how people take to the streets in other countries to protest government action far less often than in the United States. You almost never see major protests over government policy. Yet look at how many people are up in arms about the financial bailout as compared to how many people have taken to the street to make their voice heard. I would like to see more citizens participate more directly in letting our government know what is and is not acceptable policy.
Make no mistake, their phones were jammed on this one. Most people prefer the more civilized approach to communicating with legislators. Environmental rallies and peace rallies for example are a celebration of free speech, but too often end up in conflict with the ideals they're espousing by engaging in massive littering and violence against those who espouse contrarian views. They are really more useful for exhausting youthful angst than in making any meaningful statement.

Having said all that. I think it is likely that your approach will win out in the long run. We contracted out a bunch of our fighting force in Iraq to Blackwater and others, we've got states selling the rights to build highways in exchange for regular payments, and in some communities private charter and religious schools compete with public schools for government funds. I am fairly sure you will get your wish as well in regards to Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid.
I'm not so sure. This most recent stimulus package is littered with funding for all of the above using the exact opposite philosophy, with more proposals on the way. As far as taxes and social spending is concerned, there have been ups and downs historically, but the trend shows a relatively steady incline overall. There's nothing to suggest this will stop IMO.
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Feb 24, 2009, 10:34 PM
 
Originally Posted by goMac View Post
Refuse to send your kids to socialized public schools and universities;
Better yet, refuse to have kids! Families are socialist! Children do not contribute and yet they get all this free sh!t while the parents go to jail if they don't provide.
     
   
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