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The Roll of Government?
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Joined: 10 Jul 2005
Posts: 3598

PostPosted: Thu Jun 17, 2010 6:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You know the new saying
" Give a man a fish and you can have a BBQ on the beach.Teach him to fish and you can give him a job on your boat at minimum wage until you lay him off because another big Corporation poisoned the water."
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Joined: 29 Oct 2002
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 17, 2010 7:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

stevenbard wrote:

With regards to the democrats feeding the poor, the conservatives were too busy creating jobs.


This would be my political philosophy in a nutshell.

You're either out of your mind or have spent the last ten years on the moon.

Conservative Government is about redistributing wealth - towards those who pay off that government. QED. Read the paper.

No liberal expects handouts from their tax-paying peers. That is a blatant lie and misrepresentation.

What a liberal government does - in theory - is level the paying field to allow everyone to compete. For food, for a living wage, for a piece of the big pie that everybody's working on.

Now, where is that liberal government? I only see a center-right guy who for some reason is labeled a Marxist by the lunatic, illiterate right.

florian - ny22
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Joined: 24 Jun 2008
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Location: Connecticut, USA

PostPosted: Thu Jun 17, 2010 8:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

stevenbard wrote:
Now back to the courteous questions from Dan....

I do not trust big government. Our founding fathers didn't trust big government. What happened in the white house yesterday is a perfect example of why I don't trust government. $20 billion slush fund to be administered by the white house. Doesn't that sound more like Venezuela? What did Obama say to BP? What are they going to do with the money? Hand it out to their political friends?

We didn't even have an income tax in our country until 1930. How did we survive up until then.

I'm tired of 60% of the people getting more from the government than they give. Everyone in our country should make a positive contribution to our government. Even if only a few dollars. This welfare state has destroyed any hope or desire to acheive. Millions of people just don't try anymore.

With regards to the democrats feeding the poor, the conservatives were too busy creating jobs. And like the old saying goes. "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime."

This would be my political philosophy in a nutshell.

Wow. That's better. Thank you.

I'll offer a response in the form of this question. What form of US culture that actually existed prior to 1914, when the US attempted to define the dollar by grains, do you wish to replicate 85 years later?

I can't comment about today's news as I spent the day with my daughter, off from school to celebrate Bunker Hill Day. I hope to get back to you on the BP thing.

Otherwise, we share dissatisfaction with too many people receiving more from the government than they give, but I suspect for very different reasons. "We the People" speaks to a culture about families, individuals and the collective will. Your statement that you are "tired of people" not paying into the system suggests your beef is with the people rather than the system that allows you and I to also take advantage of the tax code, albeit likely through more itemized deductions than the average welfare recipient. My neighborhood includes public "project" housing, lots of Section 8 rentals, many very well-off homeowners and lots somewhere in between the fiscal ends. I see many who I know to use food stamps or WIC give to their community in a way that directly reduces taxes.

For example, my neighbor, a young widow who lost her husband to a health problem (along with all of their savings and credit) spends her free time fixing a wall owned by the City. She plants flowers and cares for the spot even though the road crew does come by every month or so to tidy up. The wall is right in the line of site of drivers coming around a curve, and she says she wants people to see her government in action. She means herself.

Not every person who pays no taxes but takes a check deserves ridicule or even criticism. That includes hundreds of thousands of disabled and abject poor.

I'm not sure why you say that conservatives create jobs. You claim to be conservative and might produce some jobs but what does that prove in the grand scheme of things? Some of the most progressive people I know have created hundreds of jobs employing the left-most methods. The more appropriate analysis is whether the jobs created enable people to meet today's financial obligations. The GOP balks on raising the Federal minimum wage, to what end? The claim that keeping the minimum wage as low as possible will create jobs is a pretext for employers to keep payroll low. What really can be achieved by a $0.70/hr. increase? How many more full time employees can be hired by the savings compared to a $2.30;/hr. increase? Assuming a 40 hour week with 3 weeks unpaid vacation, the employer saves roughly $4,500 per year. Adjusted for employer contributions, let's say that rises to $7,000/yr. 10 employees at the lower increase reduces the cost of employment by $70,000. Not small money for the individual, but how many actual min. wage jobs would that fund at $7.25/hr?

In any case, the argument is false for another reason. Hiring is a function of revenue, not payroll. If the revenue demands it, every employer will add another employee almost regardless of the cost to gain that additional revenue. My career is living proof of how that happens: lawyer has too much business to handle on his own, so I'm hired to take care of it, but employer made a margin for every minute I billed even though he increased his fixed overhead. I became overwhelmed with the workload that included my own clients, so I "hired" an associate to work on both the boss's and my matters. Point is, I wouldn't have found employment if I had offered to accept 50% or even work for free if the business wasn't banging down the door. Nobody hires anybody because of the minimum wage. People are hired only if work needs to be done.

The old saying about teaching a person to fish instead of just giving them to fish is often employed to mean, "Don't give them a fish, give them a way to fish." This misstates the meaning. At no point does the chance to teach another to fish require one not to continue giving fish. I think people condensed that old statement into its essentials but lost some logical nuance based on compassion. The complete meaning is, "Don't merely give fish to a person, but ALSO teach them to supply their own fish." It's not a strict alternative.

For all our problems, the most significant aspects of life in the US have improved several fold because of the advancing social milieu. Jim Crow is dead. Formal segregation is dead. The desperate, urban poor now have a chance not to die of starvation for lack of a farm. Employees can freely meet to talk about working conditions and how to improve production. One can insist on reasonable accommodation for biological impairment as well as religious compunction.

That is today's society. None of these important rights existed for the majority of people prior to 1930.

Why do you seem to desire the return of some of the darkest times in US history?
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2010 12:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good response Dan. Since you have been in your daughter's school, you know how absurd Bard's claims are that no body goes hungry in America. Much less, than in the 60's, but hunger is far from gone. Bard's other claim that:
With regards to the democrats feeding the poor, the conservatives were too busy creating jobs.
, is equally absurd.

There have been tax cuts in American economic history, most notably under Kennedy, that created new jobs. There have also been federal interventions in the economy such as giving land to railroads to create a transcontinental system that created vast amounts of private wealth--but also vast numbers of jobs. The Bush cuts did not create the vast number of jobs, but instead accelerated the process of shipping jobs overseas. Whether the reason was simply incompetence--never a bad null hypothesis for a Bush initiative--or unbridled greed and arrogance more characteristic of Cheney--we can never know. But the beneficiaries of the greater protection of capital did not return that money to the economy in a way that created jobs for underemployed Americans. Instead, the money went disproportionately to a construction bubble that will still dog the economy for at least another two years. It also went to vast bonuses in the financial arenas. I see substantial investment in electronic toys--manufactured overseas--but little investment in technological advances in energy that will put the US ahead of the curve as the price of carbon-based energy rises. Instead, you see the energy companies, not just BP, invest heavily in the oil development side. As the spill indicates, if you can privatize the profit, and transfer the costs to the public, it is much more lucrative to look for oil than to actually refine it into useful products.

The right on this forum is sadly lacking in the ability to articulate any of the more thoughtful conservative concerns about big government. Such as, small employers are the most efficient creators of jobs, yet the most burdened by government regulations and subsdies that don't flow to their businesses. The large size of government, and the high cost of lobbying policy initiatives largely shuts out small business, and gives a disproportionate voice to big companies in Washington. We can see the evidence of this corporate power in the immense wealth oil companies are deriving from off shore lands, while only paying a pittance back in lease revenues. Bard's criticism of the TARP bailout runs in this channel--yet life is not so easy. Letting the banks fail would have done far more structural damage to the economy than the deficits anticipated, and we have found out that this was a damned good investment.

We can also make serious complaints about Federal efforts to fund education, where the shift in funding from local institutions to Washington makes course corrections more difficult. Although I don't doubt the sincerity of either Bush or Miller, there are serious structural problems with No Child Left Behind. And modifications will be difficult because a large number of people in the education businesses now have a financial stake in the status quo.

Yet walking away from trying to solve these problems, or continuing to think we live in an agrarian society that transports goods by horse-drawn wagon is patently irresponsible--much less politically infeasible. I am alive today because of car safety regulations--regulations that were fought as too expensive by car manufacturers. Air quality regulations save thousands of lives, and reduce the public cost of medical care--they were also fought as technologically impossible and too expensive. Education is perhaps most difficult--prior to Federal intervention in educational funding, states were willing to bias education funding to the well to do, and send that funding through religious and other organizations that were selective in who they would try to educate. I've spent 10-20 hours a week as a volunteer in classrooms for the past 5 years, and I can tell you that school is much more difficult than when we were young. Some of the teachers I work with are better than others, but all of them are working on their skills. Small innovations, based on research, are being implemented. Many of my fifth graders write as well as 8th and 9th graders did a generation ago. But it is not enough, and while skill (and the emotional state of the child) are most important, it cannot be done without money.

So bard can repeat the maxims of bad Hollywood movies endlessly. Most of the rest of us know that greed is neither good, nor particularly satisfying to the soul.
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2010 5:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

stevenbard wrote:
With regards to the democrats feeding the poor

That's just talk. Once again: liberals earn more but contribute less to charity than do conservatives.
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 19, 2010 12:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"That's just talk. Once again: liberals earn more but contribute less to charity than do conservatives."

Just another repeat of absolutely worthless nonsense from isobars. How often have we heard this particular line? One has to wonder which source was spewing this kind of empty blather? Must be from isobars' favorite neo-conservative right wing radio talk show.
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 25, 2010 9:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The tide is turning, thanks to sensible citizens and congressmen on both side of the aisle. "Jobs bill defeated by GOP", the AP headline blares.

1. The GOP is a minority in the senate; it can't kill a bill without the cooperation of rational Democrats.

2. The Jobs bill is absolutely nothing more than another stimulus package, like the one that already failed so miserably, under a new and misleading name.

3. The bill and article even admit the bill's purpose is to extend government jobs and monetary rewards for not working. I guess they both think we're too stupid to read or understand that part, or to remember Bill Clinton's success with motivating people to get back to work by cutting welfare.
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