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Old 01-16-2002, 04:02 PM   #16
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Amusing...

My point is that, inasmuch as Bubba parades conservatism, particularly in his own professed and admitted admiration for Rush Limbaugh, these issues go against the core of conservatism in practice. Basically, if I were looking for God, I wouldn't be courting Satan in the process.

That is not to say that I'm not blind to fluidity. I am torn in my beliefs regarding abortion, although I lean towards my disgust. However, I am not naive to believe that I will ever see abortion ended under a Democrat nor any liberal entity. Likewise, if you are looking to see individuals taxed less, if you are opposed to the V-chip, and, in a more unclear extent, if you are looking for the promotion of democracy over business interests, you are barking up the wrong tree with the Republican Party under the current and past leadership. If moderate Republicans in Congress someday get a backbone and speak up, then maybe we'll be able to talk. As it stands, moderate Republicans have a better chance following suit with Sen. Jeffords.

Also, you have to keep my response in mind with the original post, which implicitly strokes the ego of conservatism and paints liberalism as subversive. Talk about painting neat little ideological boxes? And then Bubba goes into the points about individual taxation and the V-chip, and I could only laugh at the irony. If the initial message weren't so obviously meant to provoke extremist responses, then, perhaps, my responses would have been more tempered.

My point is not about ideology. It is about the real state of partisan politics and the ideologies they exploit. Inasmuch as you'll never get abortion ended under a Democrat, you'll never see the points Bubba listed above accomplished by a Republican. That is, unless, a lot of things change, but I don't see these changes coming anytime soon.

Melon

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"He had lived through an age when men and women with energy and ruthlessness but without much ability or persistence excelled. And even though most of them had gone under, their ignorance had confused Roy, making him wonder whether the things he had striven to learn, and thought of as 'culture,' were irrelevant. Everything was supposed to be the same: commercials, Beethoven's late quartets, pop records, shopfronts, Freud, multi-coloured hair. Greatness, comparison, value, depth: gone, gone, gone. Anything could give some pleasure; he saw that. But not everything provided the sustenance of a deeper understanding." - Hanif Kureishi, Love in a Blue Time
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Old 01-16-2002, 04:23 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally posted by Achtung Bubba:
A brief reply, Melon:

I wrote it myself, thank you very much. I do not plaguerize.
Like I said, I was just curious. Some of the posts in this forum often look like they were cut-and-pasted, and I wondered about this one. It was not about plagiarizing.

Quote:
I don't believe the issue is whether we're being lied to. Most of the threads that I'm responding to seemed to take the news story (or op-ed) as factually true - and then proceeded to decry the U.S. for killing civilians, using other countries' armies, etc.
True, but I still think that is a valid issue. We assume that certain stories are 100% factually true, but, knowing the source, I question it.

Quote:
My point was that there are very few people on this forum (if any) who agree with every action of the U.S. government while there ARE those who criticize EVERY aspect of U.S. foreign policy.
Agreed, but this contingent is small enough that I would think that posts like these are unnecessary. You certainly cannot convince everyone.

Quote:
Here are my only real rebuttals to your points are these:

* You can't tax corporations and not harm individuals. Corporations get their revenue (and thus pay their taxes) through the prices they charge consumers, and the individual consumers essentially pay corporate taxes through higher prices. Thus the somehow-magical ratio of coporate-to-personal taxes is irrelevant.
Ah, but this I disagree with. The trend of passing on losses, rather than absorbing them, was started en masse during the Nixon Administration. You could easily reregulate this aspect, and prevent this.

But here is what my point was: we have lots of expenses, including military ones. So, let's say that we ended all corporate taxation. The government would still need to amass trillions in taxes to run the government, whether it be social programs or to pay for the hundreds of billions we spent on bailing out corporations for September 11th, the war on terrorism, or the $200 billion in new fighter planes Bush wants to create. And who is going to pay for it? If it isn't the corporations, it is going to be individuals.

Quote:
(In fact, corporate taxes may hurt the poor more than income taxes, in which you can lower rates for the very poor. Let's say we raise the taxes on McDonald's, Inc. They decide to pay for those taxes by raising the price of Big Mac's. Since everyone pays the same amount for a Big Mac, a poor man will pay just as much as a rich man - or he'll pay more if you look at the cost as a percentage of income.)
Well, let's say that the poor were exempt from paying taxes and we raised the corporate taxes proportionately to make it up. Do you really think that the poor will just end up paying more? Not in any stretch of the imagination.

But, just for my personal amusement, when Steve Forbes proposed the flat tax at a flat 17%, while everyone was going to see tax cuts, with the wealthy seeing a dramatic cut, the poorest would actually have seen a 2% tax increase. Republicans...Republicans...

Quote:
* The ratio is bogus on another level: it doesn't speak on how much is actually going to the government, either in terms of billions of dollars, or as a percentage of the GNP. Either way, conservatives generally believe that the nation is taxed entirely too much, regardless of whether Reagan (and the Democratic Congress; don't deny their importance in this) was able to accomplish.
Well, where shall we get this money to keep the government running? Shall I plant a money tree? The money has to come from somewhere, and government isn't spending less, regardless if there is a Democrat and Republican in office. So, if corporations pay no taxes, then individuals will have to make up the difference.

Quote:
* While I don't know whether liberalism is the same way (I suspect it is not), conservatism is not monolithic. Even if most conservatives agree that there's too much violence and sex on television, some thought the medium should be legislated (via the V-chip), some didn't. Most are for the free markets domestically; some are for global free trade, a few are isolationists. And many conservatives believe the setting up of Third World dictatorships was wrong, though most believe that the U.S. should have acted one way or another. Disagreeing on the details doesn't make me less a conservative, or somehow "on the wrong ideology".
I should have stated the "wrong party," as in Republican, rather than the "wrong ideology," as in conservative. I was attempting to think of a precise term, and that was the best I could come up with at the time. So, for this muddled argument of mine, I apologize. However, if you substitute "wrong ideology" with "wrong party," I still stand by what I stated.

Quote:
Finally, I've noticed that, amusingly, when I say something that matches mainstream conservatism, I'm accused of parroting Rush Limbaugh; when I say something that doesn't match, I'm apparently "on the wrong ideology".
See above with "the wrong party." I do give you some credit...interesting points on your part.

Melon

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"He had lived through an age when men and women with energy and ruthlessness but without much ability or persistence excelled. And even though most of them had gone under, their ignorance had confused Roy, making him wonder whether the things he had striven to learn, and thought of as 'culture,' were irrelevant. Everything was supposed to be the same: commercials, Beethoven's late quartets, pop records, shopfronts, Freud, multi-coloured hair. Greatness, comparison, value, depth: gone, gone, gone. Anything could give some pleasure; he saw that. But not everything provided the sustenance of a deeper understanding." - Hanif Kureishi, Love in a Blue Time
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Old 01-16-2002, 04:58 PM   #18
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Originally posted by Achtung Bubba:


And we should never, ever judge other countries and cultures.


[This message has been edited by Achtung Bubba (edited 01-15-2002).]
Does this include the United States? Everyone seems to judge us...I don't quite understand the arguement. I am a reasonalble, logical person. I am I not free to judge the cultures in Africa that practice female circumcision(sp?) on young girls? I am not supposed to think this is barbaric? Please explain what you mean.
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Old 01-16-2002, 05:53 PM   #19
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Melon:

As is usually the case, I am torn between two desires, the desire to respond in detail to every point I disagree with and the desire to keep the posts short so that I can do other things in the real world.

I will split the difference, and hit three main points:


I. I am a conservative.

My point is that, inasmuch as Bubba parades conservatism, particularly in his own professed and admitted admiration for Rush Limbaugh, these issues go against the core of conservatism in practice. Basically, if I were looking for God, I wouldn't be courting Satan in the process.

And from another post...

Likewise, if you are looking to see individuals taxed less, if you are opposed to the V-chip, and, in a more unclear extent, if you are looking for the promotion of democracy over business interests, you are barking up the wrong tree with the Republican Party under the current and past leadership.

No, my positions on the V-chip, U.S. foreign policy, and taxation do not go against conservatism.

On the issue of V-chips, I remind you that conservatism is not monolithic. Specifically, conservatism seems to be split quite often between libertarians and the Christian Right; libertarians embrace the idea that the institutions that "govern least govern best", and the Christian Right believe that the United States is a nation "under God" and should be governed as such.

(Saying that libertarianism is truly distinct from conservatism simply doesn't hold up. Libertarianism simply idolizes the conservative ideal of limited government at the expense of the other ideals - such as military readiness and Christian ethics.)

While the idea of the V-chip sounds great to the Christian Right, it sounds suspiciously like "big government" and more regulation to libertarians. I happen to agree with them on this point.

I agree with libertarians, and they are part of the conservative movement. Ergo, I'm not "against the core" on this issue.

On the issue of propping up dictatorships, I must clarify my position. I believe that, while supporting friendly regimes instead of building a true democracy is politically and militarily expedient, it ends up being more costly than it's worth. I suggest that if we must deal with a totalitarian government that threatens our existence, we should instead obliterate the regime and help rebuild the country in the Western tradition of political and economic freedom. Germany and Japan of the 1940s, and present-day Afghanistan, are excellent examples of how to deal with tyranny.

Here, I support military actions like the rebuilding of Japan and Afghanistan, actions that most other conservatives also support. Hence, I'm not outside conservatism.

(Also, the spread of freedom, both democracy and capitalism, DOES help business interests - if not an individual industry, than American business interests in general; larger markets for producers, lower prices for consumers. So the choice is not an either-or.)

Finally, on the issue of tax cuts, you suggest that "if you are looking to see individuals taxed less... you are barking up the wrong tree with the Republican Party under the current and past leadership."

That's frankly absurd (and another instance where you jump from the ideals of conservatism to the political realities of the Republican Party). Reagan, Buckley, Limbaugh, and both Bushes have been for lower taxes, PERIOD. Reagan and the elder Bush have both made the mistake of agreeing with Democrats to raise taxes later in their terms, but they were agreeing with liberal Democrats first.

Hell, look at the events of the past two weeks: Daschle (a liberal Democrat) has said that Bush's tax plan (which involves lower taxes, not higher taxes) is a mistake, and Ted Kennedy has now proposed repealing them, essentially re-raising our taxes.

You need to let go of the fallacious mantra of "tax cuts for the rich" and accept the fact that lower taxes across the board are part of the conservative ideology.

And again, on this issue, I'm right in the middle of conservatism.


II. Basic economic analysis tears your "corporate tax" idea to shreds.

Essentially, corporate taxes DO and MUST harm individuals.

The trend of passing on losses, rather than absorbing them, was started en masse during the Nixon Administration. You could easily reregulate this aspect, and prevent this.

First, "reregulation", in this instance can ONLY be price fixing, keeping the price at some arbitrary low level so that corporations can't "pass on the losses". Price fixing is, in a word, bad. In two words, very bad.

* It's against the principles of capitalism and the invisble hand of supply and demand, a force that maximizes consumer satisfaction.

* It's a disincentive to suppliers, since they can only make so much money selling their wares, and an incentive to buyers, since prices are artificially low. The result? Invariably, a shortage.

* It pays no mind whether the corporations want to raise their prices to account for tax increases or other reasons (inflation, higher operating costs, etc.). It ignores the fact that there are legitimate reasons to raise prices.

Beyond that, how the FUCK do you think they "absorb costs"? Some magical pencil-pushing in the accounting department?

No, they absorb costs by hurting other individuals - maybe not the consumers, but others involved in the industry.

* They could return a smaller profit, which hurts individual investors, including middle-class investors and those who depend on investing for the IRA's (retirement benefits).

* They could cut wages, which hurts individuals who work for the company, from the CEO all the way down to the guys who scrub the toilets.

(Hell, even if the CEO was the only one hurt, he/she was going to do SOMETHING with that money; now that he can't, that hurts the companies he was going to invest in or buy a yacht from, and that IN TURN hurts the individuals who work for THOSE companies.)

* They could cut other operating costs, which hurts individuals who work for those related companies.

And so on.

Ultimately, all taxes harm individuals. It is unavoidable.


Finally, the government doesn't need so much of our money.

In response to the question of "where does the government get the money?", I say, they shouldn't, at least not the trillions they take out of our pockets. They should learn to be responsible with their cut of our money, as we are responsible with ours.

To say that conservative Republicans don't want to cut spending is again absurd (and I don't know how listening to moderates - that is, those who are relatively more liberal - will help).

It didn't take *that* much to balance the budget, if you recall. The Republicans pushed (and the Dems resisted the effort) to cut the rate of increase on government spending from THREE TIMES the rate of inflation to just TWICE the rate, and that was enough to balance the budget.

Beyond that, we have a surplus. That means that, even with all the spending government does, it still got too much of our money. It is, after all, our money, and the fuckers should give it back - as conservative Republican George W. Bush is suggesting.
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Old 01-16-2002, 05:54 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally posted by WildHoneyAlways:
Does this include the United States? Everyone seems to judge us...I don't quite understand the arguement. I am a reasonalble, logical person. I am I not free to judge the cultures in Africa that practice female circumcision(sp?) on young girls? I am not supposed to think this is barbaric? Please explain what you mean.
I was being ironic, mocking the people who simultaneously villify the United States and suggest that we shouldn't judge other countries.
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Old 01-16-2002, 06:11 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally posted by Achtung Bubba:
[B]
* the establishment of a Afghan provisional government that won't be nearly as tyrranical.

[B]
Apparently you haven't heard about the "not nearly as tyrannical" regime in Afghanistan now:
http://forum.interference.com/u2feed...ML/000989.html



[This message has been edited by radiodivision (edited 01-16-2002).]
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Old 01-17-2002, 12:31 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally posted by Achtung Bubba:
On the issue of V-chips, I remind you that conservatism is not monolithic. Specifically, conservatism seems to be split quite often between libertarians and the Christian Right; libertarians embrace the idea that the institutions that "govern least govern best", and the Christian Right believe that the United States is a nation "under God" and should be governed as such.

(Saying that libertarianism is truly distinct from conservatism simply doesn't hold up. Libertarianism simply idolizes the conservative ideal of limited government at the expense of the other ideals - such as military readiness and Christian ethics.)
Specifically, libertarianism is about fiscal conservatism and social liberalism. Conservatism is about fiscal conservatism and social conservatism. You cannot start changing definitions.

Quote:
While the idea of the V-chip sounds great to the Christian Right, it sounds suspiciously like "big government" and more regulation to libertarians. I happen to agree with them on this point.
Heh...I just hate it.

Quote:
On the issue of propping up dictatorships, I must clarify my position. I believe that, while supporting friendly regimes instead of building a true democracy is politically and militarily expedient, it ends up being more costly than it's worth. I suggest that if we must deal with a totalitarian government that threatens our existence, we should instead obliterate the regime and help rebuild the country in the Western tradition of political and economic freedom. Germany and Japan of the 1940s, and present-day Afghanistan, are excellent examples of how to deal with tyranny.
Call me crazy, but we agree. How's that for weird? But, of course, I don't see how this is a necessarily "conservative" issue. Germany and Japan were rebuilt starting with Harry Truman, a Democrat. Since you know your history, Republicans have never been much in the business with nation building.

Quote:
Here, I support military actions like the rebuilding of Japan and Afghanistan, actions that most other conservatives also support. Hence, I'm not outside conservatism.
I think you are being premature with Afghanistan still. The rebuilding of Japan took 10 years, and we still don't know if the U.S. will actually rebuild Afghanistan or cut it free soon. Let's wait and see before we start praising or condemning.

Quote:
(Also, the spread of freedom, both democracy and capitalism, DOES help business interests - if not an individual industry, than American business interests in general; larger markets for producers, lower prices for consumers. So the choice is not an either-or.)
Oh yes. Yet another nation we can build American sweatshops.

Quote:
Finally, on the issue of tax cuts, you suggest that "if you are looking to see individuals taxed less... you are barking up the wrong tree with the Republican Party under the current and past leadership."

That's frankly absurd (and another instance where you jump from the ideals of conservatism to the political realities of the Republican Party). Reagan, Buckley, Limbaugh, and both Bushes have been for lower taxes, PERIOD. Reagan and the elder Bush have both made the mistake of agreeing with Democrats to raise taxes later in their terms, but they were agreeing with liberal Democrats first.

Hell, look at the events of the past two weeks: Daschle (a liberal Democrat) has said that Bush's tax plan (which involves lower taxes, not higher taxes) is a mistake, and Ted Kennedy has now proposed repealing them, essentially re-raising our taxes.

You need to let go of the fallacious mantra of "tax cuts for the rich" and accept the fact that lower taxes across the board are part of the conservative ideology.
Well, let's see the reality. Reagan did cut taxes dramatically for the wealthy, that's for sure, but he certainly didn't stop spending. Thanks to him, we racked up something like a $7 trillion debt.

Bush I did make his famous "read my lips" speech, but he made quite a few new taxes. And the Democrats made him do it?? Poor George.

And you don't like to give Clinton credit, but he actually did cut spending.

And let's look at Bush II here. His "tax cut" made terrible assumptions that the prosperity of the past decade would stay constant, but the economy fell apart. Then we have the whole "war on terrorism," where we handed the airline industry hundreds of billions, we gave New York a hundred billion, and then spent $200 billion on fighter jets. Such spending reductions! And it's not that I'm complaining about the spending here as much as I'm complaining about the reckless tax cut. Daschle and Kennedy are damn correct in demanding the repeal of his tax cut, because it was reckless to begin with. I wouldn't imagine a business doing this. Democrats aren't "raising taxes"--much of Bush's tax cut hasn't gone through yet, so you'd never know the difference. They're trying to prevent Dubya from racking up another several trillion debt that will eventually cost us more in the long term with all the interest payments and higher interest rates. It's almost ironic that, under Clinton, the Republican Congress demanded a Balanced Budget Amendment. How quickly that memory fades away.

Quote:
Essentially, corporate taxes DO and MUST harm individuals.

The trend of passing on losses, rather than absorbing them, was started en masse during the Nixon Administration. You could easily reregulate this aspect, and prevent this.

First, "reregulation", in this instance can ONLY be price fixing, keeping the price at some arbitrary low level so that corporations can't "pass on the losses". Price fixing is, in a word, bad. In two words, very bad.
Hmm...lower consumer prices. Doesn't sound so bad to me.

Quote:
* It's against the principles of capitalism and the invisble hand of supply and demand, a force that maximizes consumer satisfaction.
And so are all these record-breaking mega mergers too. Last I heard, oligopolies and monopolies aren't the pinnacle of competition. "Supply and demand," though, was always a nice buzz phrase.

Quote:
* It's a disincentive to suppliers, since they can only make so much money selling their wares, and an incentive to buyers, since prices are artificially low. The result? Invariably, a shortage.
When we did have a Price Commission, there wasn't any shortages. Nice try.

Quote:
* It pays no mind whether the corporations want to raise their prices to account for tax increases or other reasons (inflation, higher operating costs, etc.). It ignores the fact that there are legitimate reasons to raise prices.
Shall I cry for them? They sure didn't care when they slashed everyone's wages in the 1980s.

Quote:
Beyond that, how the FUCK do you think they "absorb costs"? Some magical pencil-pushing in the accounting department?
"Absorb costs" as in "fewer profits." Big business isn't hurting. It just is crying because it can't have its "record-breaking" profits like in the past.

Quote:
No, they absorb costs by hurting other individuals - maybe not the consumers, but others involved in the industry.

* They could return a smaller profit, which hurts individual investors, including middle-class investors and those who depend on investing for the IRA's (retirement benefits).
Cry me a river yet again. And for those who have plunged their retirement into the stock market, you're playing with fire. And it appears that many have been burned already. Oh whatever happened to the good old days, when you could simply stow your money away into banks? But that's right. Banking was deregulated, and savings rates are now shit. We'll certainly never see 10% APR CDs ever again that's for sure.

Quote:
* They could cut wages, which hurts individuals who work for the company, from the CEO all the way down to the guys who scrub the toilets.
What are you talking about? They've already cut wages. Here we have all this "record" prosperity, and, when adjusted for inflation, we make less than we did in the 1980s. In fact, we make just as much now as the people in the 1950s when adjusted.

Quote:
(Hell, even if the CEO was the only one hurt, he/she was going to do SOMETHING with that money; now that he can't, that hurts the companies he was going to invest in or buy a yacht from, and that IN TURN hurts the individuals who work for THOSE companies.)
I'll keep that in mind the next time a bankrupt company successfully petitions the court to allow "reorganization bonuses" of over $1 million to their executives. And I'm sure cutting a CEO's salary from $150 million to $50 million won't be putting a dent into his spending habits.

Quote:
* They could cut other operating costs, which hurts individuals who work for those related companies.

And so on.

Ultimately, all taxes harm individuals. It is unavoidable.
Let's plunge into anarchy then. Then none of us will pay taxes. But, alas, who will be there to fight the "war on terrorism"?

Quote:
Finally, the government doesn't need so much of our money.

In response to the question of "where does the government get the money?", I say, they shouldn't, at least not the trillions they take out of our pockets. They should learn to be responsible with their cut of our money, as we are responsible with ours.
I agree. I'd first eliminate corporate welfare. Hundreds of billions of dollars fed into already wealthy companies.

Quote:
To say that conservative Republicans don't want to cut spending is again absurd (and I don't know how listening to moderates - that is, those who are relatively more liberal - will help).
Have you seen the Republican Congress' pork record? Trent Lott makes a "liberal" look more conservative than Jerry Falwell.

Quote:
It didn't take *that* much to balance the budget, if you recall. The Republicans pushed (and the Dems resisted the effort) to cut the rate of increase on government spending from THREE TIMES the rate of inflation to just TWICE the rate, and that was enough to balance the budget.
Well, Dubya most certainly threw that out of the window.

Quote:
Beyond that, we have a surplus. That means that, even with all the spending government does, it still got too much of our money. It is, after all, our money, and the fuckers should give it back - as conservative Republican George W. Bush is suggesting.
We have "a surplus" that is now projected into going back into a deficit, thanks to the Bush tax plan. Remember Bob Dole in 1996? Economists studied his tax plan and compared it to actual economic data during Clinton's term. While Clinton gave us a surplus, Dole would have given us a deficit.

.....

Regardless, I have yet to understand why people continue to worship that non-living entity we call "business." It is "business" that has made us now the most worked nation in the world. Remember all those jokes on Japan? We work more than them now. I am also not blind to the reality that they are now attacking health insurance plans, forcing people on oppressive HMOs or telling people that they must now "co-pay" something like $45 a week if they wish to keep their old and better insurance. I'm not blind to the fact that we give tax breaks to businesses, so they can simply close down their American operations and send their work to Mexico or Asia for near slave wages. And I'm also not blind to the fact that business has done everything in its power to make our lives living hell, so we can make some stockholders fatter than ever.

I'm not blind to the fact that fifty years ago, my grandparents paid for their house in cash. Fuck...now we have $250,000 mortgages that take half of our lives to pay off. Hoo-ray for capitalism.

I'm not blind to the fact that 30 years ago, my parents paid cash for their cars. And now people are forced to lease cars that they can't even afford to buy in the end. But hey...it makes the auto industry make more cars. Who the fuck cares if you never really own a car? Hoo-ray for capitalism.

I'm not blind to the fact that 30 years ago, my doctor was able to work a summer to pay for an entire year of private university. Fuck...I spent my entire summer working to pay for 3/4 of one semester of public university. And then, by the time I'm done, I'll likely spend 10 years paying all those loans off. Don't like it? Fuck you. Hoo-ray for capitalism.

Oh? The NYSE threatens to move to New Jersey? Let's hand them $1 billion, so that their new building can become obsolete in the days of internet stock trading. Oh? You lost all your retirement, because Enron wouldn't let you sell your stock? Well, fuck you...that's the glory of capitalism.

And, yet, we still worship that non-living entity we call "business" with that hollow promise that someday its wealth will "trickle-down" to us, so we can look disdainfully at our lazy blue-collar neighbors and go to church and praise God for all the wealth He thrust upon me. Yes, I must truly be part of the elect.

Fuck all those who got laid-off. I'm now rich and "I" am all that matters. Oh and look at all those dumb French with their summer vacations and those stupid Germans with 4 day, 35 hour work weeks. I'm finally rich with my 6 day, 70 hour work week and fuck everyone else. Hoo-ray for business.

And now, I am supposed to cry over the fact that business pays too many taxes? Where have they been for us? Bribing politicians to stack the deck further in their favor. And all I can say is to hell with them.

Melon

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Old 01-17-2002, 01:14 PM   #23
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Specifically, libertarianism is about fiscal conservatism and social liberalism. Conservatism is about fiscal conservatism and social conservatism. You cannot start changing definitions.

If you mean by "social conservatism" the idea that the nation should more-or-less follow Judeo-Christian ideals, than I agree with you: mainstream conservatives are more socially conservative than many libertarians, who more fully subscribe to the idea of people doing whatever they want, moral or otherwise.

But if you mean that conservativism demands the passing of laws to enforce even personal aspects of Judeo-Christian morality (i.e., V-chips), I have to disagree.

Why? Your overly strict definition of conservatism conveniently excludes my views, but it also excludes the views of Rush Limbaugh and, I believe, William F. Buckley, Jr.

Sorry, I refuse to believe that the two most influential conservative voices of the second half of the Twentieth Century are not in fact conservatives - and are not conservatives for the very reason that they object to "big government", a more pervasive government that writes and enforce laws like the V-chip regulation.

Buckley, Rush, and I are not conservative because we're not for big government? Bullshit.

Since you know your history, Republicans have never been much in the business with nation building.

And since you read my post, you should know that I am not for nation building in most circumstances, certainly not in so many circumstances that we become the police for the rest of the world. As I said, we should "nation-build" in the cases where we are dealing with countries that threaten our existence. True enough, the U.S. government hasn't done that too much, and Republicans haven't pushed too hard for such actions, but there have been valid reasons for not doing so:

* There is undeniably a faction of isolationists within both the conservative movement and the Republican Party, those who think we should never leave our borders, even when it's in our best interest.

* Republicans have had to fight Democrats to enact foreign policy. Many of the Democrats oppose using the deadly force that our military so effectively wields to destroy a regime (after, a nation must be destroyed before it is to be "rebuilt"), and they suggest such silly and dangerous actions as sending U.S. troops to the middle of nowhere to guard food trucks - and not have the supplies and orders to successfully defend themselves.

I would prefer a policy of destroying and rebuilding nations that threaten us, but against the isolationist branch of the G.O.P. and the misguided Democrats, Republicans have been able to generate the consensus needed for such a military action. In these circumstances, covert ops and setting up dictatorships is among the more reasonable options left.

Oh yes. Yet another nation we can build American sweatshops.

Sorry, but sweatshops appear where capitalism is practiced least, not most. Genuine capitalism would create competetive job markets overseas, allowing workers to find better jobs, make more money, and become consumers (for our products) with greater buying power.

Well, let's see the reality. Reagan did cut taxes dramatically for the wealthy, that's for sure, but he certainly didn't stop spending. Thanks to him, we racked up something like a $7 trillion debt.

Bush I did make his famous "read my lips" speech, but he made quite a few new taxes. And the Democrats made him do it?? Poor George.

And you don't like to give Clinton credit, but he actually did cut spending.


Now I think I should be asking if you cut-and-paste, because this is, almost word for word, the same mantra of distortions and misinformation that every liberal spouts. For someone who purports to be quite open-minded, these comments are suprisingly predictable.

In the entire summary, you ignore the power of Congress in order to make the Republican presidents look bad and the Democratic president look good. As much as you follow the news, you should know that Congress is JUST as responsible for laws as the president. Their power is found in the Constitution, perhaps you should read it sometime.

The truth about the last twenty years:

Reagan cut taxes for everyone. Tax rates dropped for EVERY bracket,, with the poorer brackets getting the larger cuts. Reagan did cut taxes for the rich (God forbid), but he also cut taxes for everyone else.

The Democratic-controlled Congress is at LEAST as responsible for the deficits as Reagan. Reagan proposed decreased spending (with the notable exception of defense spending, which had been gutted under Carter), but the Congress rejected it. THEY overspent, created the deficits, blamed Reagan taxcuts for the deficits, and made the deficits such a big issue that Reagan and the elder Bush agreed to tax increases.

Bush agreed to tax increases to cut the deficit. Yes, he did break his word about "no new taxes", but it's sad that you don't simultaneously give him credit for trying to eliminate the debt you think Reagan is so responsible for. The Democratic Congress suggested a two-step plan to cut the deficit: raise taxes and cut spending, in that order. Bush agreed to the taxes, and the spending cuts never came up in Congress, to the shock of absolutely no-one.

And Clinton?

Clinton cut spending* because the GOP Congress gave him no fucking choice.

*Again, it wasn't spending cuts, but mere reductions in the rate of increase.

Don't believe me? Look at Clinton's two completely different eras of governing: 92-94, when there was a Democratic Congress, and 95-00, when the American people put Republicans in control of Congress (the "Republican Takeover", as if they somehow circumvented the democratic process).

Before '94, Clinton proposed an egregious "stimulus package" of huge spending increases and Hilary's health care plan, which would have made the U.S. government responsible for one-seventh of the nation's economy. Both were halted by the Republican minority in Congress.

After '94, the Republicans had a majority in both houses and proposed three separate packages of reduced spending. Clinton villified all three (saying it would kill senior citizens and starve children), vetoed two, and reluctantly signed the third.

At every turn, he either proposed spending increases or resisted spending decreases. The decreases occurred despite his efforts, the budget was balanced as a result, and he took credit for it.

On George W. Bush's tax cuts...

(As an aside, he should be referred to as G.W. Bush, not Bush II - since presidents are royalty - or Bush Jr., because he's not; his father is George H. W. Bush.)

It seems to me that you're making this argument:

1. Bush proposed tax cuts taken from a projected surplus.

2. The economy then fell apart, so the surplus is reduced.

3. Thus we ought to repeal the tax cuts, which is somehow not a tax increase.

The problems with your logic is this: first, the economy was in bad shape before Bush became president; Bush even suggested it during the election, an idea that pundits scoffed.

Second, the tax cuts are not based solely on the idea of "we have a surplus, let's make tax cuts". The other ideas behind it are that the American people are simply being taxed too much and tax cuts would spur spending, reviving the economy.

Third, a repeal of a tax cut is a tax increase. Whether we "ever know the difference", the lower tax rates have been signed into law; they're on the books. Repealing them would then require an equivalent tax increase...

...or, by your logic, Bush is not trying to cut taxes, merely repeal earlier tax increases.

(Also, Daschle isn't suggesting repealing the tax cuts. As much as he thinks they're causing the recession, he doesn't have the balls to suggest new legislation.)

Finally, beyond the fact that a sour economy reduced the surplus, you completely ignore the bad economy. Historically, tax cuts help the economy, tax increases (or repeals of tax cuts; whatever) don't. Bush's plan is the only one that will help get the economy out of this funk.

And if my memory fades so quickly to forget the Balanced Budget Amendment, how much more quickly one's memory must fade to forget that Bush knew the economy was faltering DURING LAST YEAR'S ELECTION.


Now, let's move from a distorted view of history to completely idiotic economics.

Hmm...lower consumer prices. Doesn't sound so bad to me.

I'll make it real simple, Melon. Price-fixing is bad, ARTIFICIALLY low prices are bad.

An example: if lower consumer prices are so great, let's force cars to be priced at $50 each. What would be the effects?

Everybody can afford two or three cars (at least) at that price, and more people will try to buy more cars. DEMAND GOES UP.

No-one can afford to make cars for only $100 in gross revenue, so GM and Ford will simply stop making them. SUPPLY GOES DOWN.

If 200 million people each try to buy a car, and no-ones making any cars, you have a SHORTAGE OF A FIFTH OF A BILLION CARS.

How dumb are you to not get this?

And so are all these record-breaking mega mergers too. Last I heard, oligopolies and monopolies aren't the pinnacle of competition. "Supply and demand," though, was always a nice buzz phrase.

In one respect, I agree with you: monopolies decrease competition, and that doesn't help consumers. (In fact, I believe the government does have the responsibility to trust-bust; government should be hands-off, except when competition is threatened by monopolies or impossible in cases like utilities.)

But "supply and demand" isn't a buzz phrase. It's the way the economy works - not just the way it works optimally, but how people behave in the large scale.

When we did have a Price Commission, there wasn't any shortages. Nice try.

Unless you count power shortages, which I do.

Shall I cry for them? They sure didn't care when they slashed everyone's wages in the 1980s.

No, I suppose it's far better to have corporations sell things at a loss, collapse, and fire EVERYONE than cut some wages and fire some employees to stay afloat.

As horrible as it is, capitalism means that the employers are self-interested too; they hire in order for those people to perform tasks for them, not because it's good and noble to hire people. There are winners and losers in capitalism. Some companies succeed, some fold. Some people get raises, some are fired. In most circumstances, the workforce is fluid enough so that most people can find more jobs (and it is perhaps the local government's job to make the transistion easier and to make them more valuable as potential employees through training and education).

Either way, capitalism does have one HUGE group of winners: the consumers themselves, who are able to buy more of what they want for less. Prices are lower, quality is higher, and suppliers create what is in demand. In fact, consumers' desires are met optimally; any artficial controls on price, supply, and demand moves the net result away from the optimal.

Cry me a river yet again. And for those who have plunged their retirement into the stock market, you're playing with fire. And it appears that many have been burned already. Oh whatever happened to the good old days, when you could simply stow your money away into banks? But that's right. Banking was deregulated, and savings rates are now shit. We'll certainly never see 10% APR CDs ever again that's for sure.

Two GLARING errors here.

1) Let's say that individuals pull out of the stock market, stop investing in businesses, and put the money in banks. What do you think banks do with the money?

THEY FUCKING INVEST IN BUSINESS! What, you think the money magically increases? No, they invest, and the lost profits would still hurt the individual who put the money in the bank.

2) Here you said, "We'll certainly never see 10% APR CDs ever again that's for sure." But earlier in this same post you said Democrats are "trying to prevent Dubya from racking up another several trillion debt that will eventually cost us more in the long term with all the interest payments and higher interest rates."

Those are the same interest rates, genius. Which is it? High interest rates are good or bad?

What are you talking about? They've already cut wages. Here we have all this "record" prosperity, and, when adjusted for inflation, we make less than we did in the 1980s. In fact, we make just as much now as the people in the 1950s when adjusted.

I was simply saying that one way corporations would "absorb" losses is through lower operating costs, which could include lower wages - or, if it makes you feel better, wages that even lower than the already low wages.

Also, you said earlier in your post that the "economy fell apart". Now we're in a time of "prosperity". Which one is it, Melon?

I'll keep that in mind the next time a bankrupt company successfully petitions the court to allow "reorganization bonuses" of over $1 million to their executives. And I'm sure cutting a CEO's salary from $150 million to $50 million won't be putting a dent into his spending habits.

Um, yes, his habits do change, in so far that he has $100 million less to spend or invest. That's $100 million less going to other companies, either through building mansions or buying stocks. Those other companies suffer.

Let's plunge into anarchy then. Then none of us will pay taxes. But, alas, who will be there to fight the "war on terrorism"?

Now you're being silly. Government has certain jobs to do, and must tax to fund those projects. I'm merely suggesting that even those taxes do hurt consumers and should be carefully weighed against the costs. Ultimately, the government must tax its people, but not nearly so much.

I agree. I'd first eliminate corporate welfare. Hundreds of billions of dollars fed into already wealthy companies.

I agree that corporate welfare is bad, as do many conservatives. Of course, many of us don't feel that the word "corporate" is the only thing bad about "corporate welfare".

Have you seen the Republican Congress' pork record? Trent Lott makes a "liberal" look more conservative than Jerry Falwell.

Really? The National Taxpayers' Union rates members of Congress on "the strength of support for reducing spending and regulation and opposing higher taxes... (an effort) to lessen or limit the burden on taxpayers." Scores range from 0% (high taxes, high spending) to 100% (low taxes, low spending).

The analysis of second session of the 2000 Congress, (found here as a pdf file) gives the terrible Mr. Lott a score of 74%, a "B" grade.

True, that's not great, but Kennedy scored an "F" (12%!) and Daschle scored an "F" with a shameful 10%.

Sorry to burst your bubble.

Well, Dubya most certainly threw that out of the window.

No, he didn't. By your own admission, the only spending increases are the direct result of 9/11, and that alone does not make Bush a spending fanatic, much less one that overturns the rate reductions of most programs or one that gets us back to record deficits.

The deficits, if they come, will come from the 9/11 spending, the tax cuts, and the poor economy. If the economy bounces back (and I think it will, in part because of the tax cuts) all we'll have to blame is the 9/11 spending.

Frankly, this too sounds like a Catch-22: had Bush done nothing in aid, he would have been labelled as heartless, and had Bush not increased military spending, he would have been (correctly) accused of not funding a wartime military with enough. Now that he has, he's apparently irresponsible.

Now, foolishness about "business":

Regardless, I have yet to understand why people continue to worship that non-living entity we call "business." It is "business" that has made us now the most worked nation in the world. Remember all those jokes on Japan? We work more than them now.

We're also stronger economically than Japan. God forbid, humans have to work to eat, but that's always been the case.

I am also not blind to the reality that they are now attacking health insurance plans, forcing people on oppressive HMOs or telling people that they must now "co-pay" something like $45 a week if they wish to keep their old and better insurance.

But you apparently are blind to the fact that businesses would still have to pay for health insurance from somewhere. They include it as the cost of labor, so they end up hiring fewer people to pay for their employee's health benefits. You're also blind to the fact that the entire concept of health insurance is what raised the price of health care - the fault of the government, not business.

I'm not blind to the fact that we give tax breaks to businesses, so they can simply close down their American operations and send their work to Mexico or Asia for near slave wages.

You apparently are blind to the fact that high taxes are one of the reasons that businesses run to other countries, and the fact that newly opened markets have given America more consumers to produce for.

And I'm also not blind to the fact that business has done everything in its power to make our lives living hell, so we can make some stockholders fatter than ever.

Again, those stockholders include people with retirement plans, and the businesses try to cut costs to lower prices, which helps consumers.

The misconception that the American workforce (or would you prefer "proletariots"?) are being economically oppressed is simply that, a misconception. Otherwise, we couldn't have that much buying power. Beyond that, you're apparently deluded by the idea that businesses are around to hire people. they exist to make money; labor is how they make money, for both themselves and the workforce.

I'm not blind to the fact that fifty years ago, my grandparents paid for their house in cash. Fuck...now we have $250,000 mortgages that take half of our lives to pay off. Hoo-ray for capitalism.

The cost of which is partially due to higher taxes and more regulations that, again, inflate prices.

Oh, and our new, $250,000 houses are far better than most houses from the 1950's. Capitalism rocks.

The same logic holds for cars and college. To the extent that college is overpriced (even factoring in inflation), you can point to the fact that student loans mean that individuals no longer directly and immediately pay for their goods and services. That has meant that A) more people can afford college and B) THE PRICE OF COLLEGE CAN BE INFLATED WITHOUT PENALTIES FROM THE DEMAND SIDE OF MARKET FORCES.

Same thing happened with health care. Disassociate prices and market forces, and bad things happen: prices drop, creating shortages, or prices skyrocket behind the layer of loans or insurance.

Oh? The NYSE threatens to move to New Jersey? Let's hand them $1 billion, so that their new building can become obsolete in the days of internet stock trading.

Just like new stadiums, these sorts of things require the cooperation of your precious government, and this is nothing more than an irrelevant tangent.

Oh? You lost all your retirement, because Enron wouldn't let you sell your stock? Well, fuck you...that's the glory of capitalism.

Another tangent, in which a business probably acted illegally and will be investigated. Not the general rule of "business".

And, yet, we still worship that non-living entity we call "business" with that hollow promise that someday its wealth will "trickle-down" to us, so we can look disdainfully at our lazy blue-collar neighbors and go to church and praise God for all the wealth He thrust upon me. Yes, I must truly be part of the elect.

What? We "worship" business because of the promise of success, the promise is apparently hollow (and false), and yet we still succeed? The lower middle class has cars, cable TV, refigerators, their own homes, and vacations in Florida, and this is a failure? The upper middle class become better off and the promise is hollow? What the fuck?

Besides, most of the wealthy in the U.S. are not people who inhereted wealth or got lucky in "life's lottery" (a phrase popular with Democrats and other economic imbeciles). Most of those who are wealthy were not bestowed with the wealth business "thrust" upon them. They earned it, asshole.

Fuck all those who got laid-off. I'm now rich and "I" am all that matters. Oh and look at all those dumb French with their summer vacations and those stupid Germans with 4 day, 35 hour work weeks. I'm finally rich with my 6 day, 70 hour work week and fuck everyone else. Hoo-ray for business.

Who do you think is gonna re-hire? Business.

And why should we emulate the Europeans? Their economy and their level of prosperity is still mediocre next to ours.

A nation has NEVER gotten wealthy working LESS than its neighbors. And if you want to work less, go to France yourself, work for less money, and see more of it go to the government. Don't fuck with our prosperity.

And now, I am supposed to cry over the fact that business pays too many taxes? Where have they been for us? Bribing politicians to stack the deck further in their favor. And all I can say is to hell with them.

No, you're supposed to recognize that EVERYONE pays too much in taxes. And, for all the stacking the deck they can supposedly accomplish, Enron sure tumbled fast.

Yes, capitalism isn't perfect, but it is still the closest that we have.

And it's certainly far more successful than the failed Communism of the former Soviet Union and the mediocre socialism of Western Europe.

It's the reason we not only feed ourselves, but the feed the rest of the world.

And when you have the time, I recommed reading Henry Hazlitt's Economics in One Lesson, which can summarized thus:

The art of economics consists in not looking merely at the immediate but at the longer effects of any act or policy; it consists in tracing the consequences of that policy not merely for one group but for all groups.

Read it, you know, the next time you're between re-readings of Das Kapital.

[This message has been edited by Achtung Bubba (edited 01-17-2002).]
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Old 01-18-2002, 05:06 PM   #24
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Let's see, I'm in an especially lazy and pissy mood today, and, as such, I am not going to reply to all this just yet. But let's show our viewers the highlights of the message, at least to me:

Quote:
Originally posted by Achtung Bubba:
They earned it, asshole.


Tsk..tsk. Such language. I see you've bought Rush's line about how "everyone" can become rich. But, you see, if every last person in America was an entrepreneur, no one would have money, because who would you exploit to do your grunt work?

And, no, I'm not demanding a classless society, as you so conveniently lump me in ("Das Kapital"). How typical of a right-wing fanatic to start resurrecting the Red Scare. Rather, call me a slave to my own Christian beliefs, but I won't be happy until I know there is no such thing as poverty in America, until I know that every last person in America has their health needs taken care of, until everyone has equal access to higher education regardless of income level, until I know that everyone receives a "living wage" (that doesn't mean everyone gets the same wage), etc. And if that means that business and stock prices have to be lesser, but still within profit range, then so be it.

And all you harp on is taxes. You know what? If I made $100 million a year, I'd happily pay 70% in taxes. I'd still have $30 million, more than enough to buy all the elitist trinkets I could ever fathom. And you talk about overtaxation of everything? Enron paid zero income taxes 4 out of the last 5 years and had a $350 million refund due on top of it. 30 other Fortune 500 companies shared this distinction. How much lower can you go beyond 0%?

If I became wealthy as a result of third-world child labor or by slashing everyone's wages and benefits, just so I could live high on my horse, then I would think of myself as a despicable man. It's only too bad that for such a "Christian" nation, more people don't believe this.

Quote:
And why should we emulate the Europeans? Their economy and their level of prosperity is still mediocre next to ours.
I see. Have you actually been to Europe? Or do you believe everything you hear in the media?

Quote:
A nation has NEVER gotten wealthy working LESS than its neighbors. And if you want to work less, go to France yourself, work for less money, and see more of it go to the government. Don't fuck with our prosperity.
You are fucking mad. I'm sure you won't work 6 day, 70 hour work weeks, but, if, God forbid, you ever form a business, I'm sure you'd be a nice tyrant. We were "wealthy" when we worked 40 hour work weeks. All we have now is people working the jobs of two people with a half a person's salary, when compared to 50 years ago. And for what? So we can prop up stock prices that fall into oblivion on the drop of a rumor. Such a healthy economy we have.

Quote:
Read it, you know, the next time you're between re-readings of Das Kapital.
*insert sarcastic laugh here*

I'm sure you've dog eared "Mein Kampf."

Before I will argue with you further, I want you to locate the documentary "American Dream" (1991). Watch it. Pay attention to it. Then, let's talk.

Melon

------------------
"He had lived through an age when men and women with energy and ruthlessness but without much ability or persistence excelled. And even though most of them had gone under, their ignorance had confused Roy, making him wonder whether the things he had striven to learn, and thought of as 'culture,' were irrelevant. Everything was supposed to be the same: commercials, Beethoven's late quartets, pop records, shopfronts, Freud, multi-coloured hair. Greatness, comparison, value, depth: gone, gone, gone. Anything could give some pleasure; he saw that. But not everything provided the sustenance of a deeper understanding." - Hanif Kureishi, Love in a Blue Time

[This message has been edited by melon (edited 01-18-2002).]
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Old 01-18-2002, 05:20 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally posted by Achtung Bubba:
And it's certainly far more successful than the failed Communism of the former Soviet Union and the mediocre socialism of Western Europe.
What are you talking about? If the countries in Western Europe were even half as large as the USA in capital, labor supply, market structure and enterprise culture they would be just as succesful if not more.

Don't start throwing rocks at something that is totally different from USA's economy, what is so wrong with the socialism adopted in Western Europe? You're assuming that the countries in Western Europe have the same resources as the USA, which they do not, how can you compare success on that basis? If one had to, I would say Germany has been far more succesful than USA in a large number of ways because of their past (and to an extent present) quasi-socialist structure, but it would not be a sound argument, just as your statement about capitalism being far more succesful in a large economy than socialism in a vacuum; its a sweeping statement. It won't do.

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Old 01-18-2002, 07:40 PM   #26
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where is the fun in agreeing with something
Bin Laden probably has also said a lot of things in his life so far that I would have to agree with (nobody can be a total asshole 100% of the time), but to post about that here ...

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Old 01-19-2002, 04:16 AM   #27
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Tsk..tsk. Such language. I see you've bought Rush's line about how "everyone" can become rich. But, you see, if every last person in America was an entrepreneur, no one would have money, because who would you exploit to do your grunt work?

I apologize for the language. Again, it appears that you did not READ what I WROTE, that you're replying to someone else's posts and inexplicably quoting mine.

I never said nor implied...

(As an aside, I'm getting damn tired of saying "I never said nor implied." It's the simple result of you apparently and terribly misunderstanding what I wrote. As you continue to do that, you continue to demonstrate your that you have no grip on the English language.)

Anyway, I never said nor implied that everyone can become rich - as far as I know, neither has Rush. I *do* believe that most Americans are able-bodied and able-minded enough to provide for themselves and their families, but that's beside the point.

My comment ("they earned it") was in response to your sarcastic comment that "we still worship that non-living entity we call 'business' with that hollow promise that someday its wealth will 'trickle-down' to us, so we can look disdainfully at our lazy blue-collar neighbors and go to church and praise God for all the wealth He thrust upon me."

Again, in most cases, wealth is not thrust upon the wealthy (except through inheritance or lotteries). They earn it; many wisely invest increasingly larger sums of money into profit-making enterprises, sometimes their own businesses, sometimes into other businesses. They do this at great risk to their investments, and sometimes they fail. When they succeed, they rightly reap the rewards of their investments.

And I find it quite sad (but no less predictable) that you apparently honestly believe that employees are always "exploited", never hired.

And, no, I'm not demanding a classless society, as you so conveniently lump me in ("Das Kapital"). How typical of a right-wing fanatic to start resurrecting the Red Scare.

Well, I apologize if I mischaracterized you, but you've clearly shown a lack of understanding when it comes to even elementary economics, an ignorance of capitalism that I've most often seen in Marxists and closet Marxists.

If your wrong-headed economic solutions are different, great; it means that my insinuation was way off-base. But you're still making the same basic mistakes about capitalism.

Rather, call me a slave to my own Christian beliefs, but I won't be happy until I know there is no such thing as poverty in America, until I know that every last person in America has their health needs taken care of, until everyone has equal access to higher education regardless of income level, until I know that everyone receives a "living wage" (that doesn't mean everyone gets the same wage), etc.

"A slave to your Christian beliefs"? If I'm wrong for trying to associate you and Karl Marx, your much more mistaken to attempt to disassociate me and Christ.

In the first case, I was attacking your politcs; you, my religion. Beyond that, capitalism is not antithetical to Christianity.

Capitalism doesn't demand that individuals act selfishly, it simply recognizes that most people do most of the time - and it recognizes that self-interest is often quite helpful in generating wealth for the entire society.

If capitalism suggests anything about taking care of the poor, etc., it suggests perhaps that government is not the one to do it - the taxes required to do so may needlessly hamper the free flow of capital.

Personally, I believe that capitalism (and democracy) need to tempered with Christian morality - not that the government needs to provide a welfare state, but that individuals should give to charities.

IN FACT, between the two (welfare and charities), charities appear to be the more attractive, Christianity-wise, because it involves the free will of the person giving, as opposed to the confiscatory taxation of the "donor".

Beyond that...

Those desires of yours ("until... I won't be happy") sound quite noble, but we should carefully consider the suggested solutions to see if they actually work. As far as I know, you've given very few solutions, and - given your ignorance in basic economics - I would be very suspect of any quick fix you suggest.

Further, the desire to see "everyone make a living wage" (a favorite phrase of Clinton, if I recall correctly) seems unnecessary, especially because most teenagers at supermarkets don't need to make enough to feed a household of four.

(And, instead of forcing wages up, we could lower taxes - the individual would still see more money come home.)

And as a final observation, your desires seem very difficult to attain - and certainly not something that government can achieve, regardless of how much money it spends.

It seems to me that you're immanentizing the eschaton.

And all you harp on is taxes. You know what? If I made $100 million a year, I'd happily pay 70% in taxes.

You know what? Whenever you make more money than you think you need, just write a big fat check to the IRS - they'll certainly take it, and you won't have to wait until they change the tax code.

Most people would be furious paying 70% of their income to the government, regardless of the amount they made. Why? Well, it's a pretty big reason, one you should take to heart:

IT'S NOT THE GOVERNMENT'S MONEY.

I also think it isn't good when the tax code has so many loopholes as to allow companies to, in the end, pay so little. The obvious solution would be a simpler code.

If I became wealthy as a result of third-world child labor or by slashing everyone's wages and benefits, just so I could live high on my horse, then I would think of myself as a despicable man. It's only too bad that for such a "Christian" nation, more people don't believe this.

...

I see. Have you actually been to Europe? Or do you believe everything you hear in the media?


Taking those two paragraphs at one time, I can see that you're at LEAST no better. You apparently believe that everyone in corporate America is pure evil. Nothing I can say will convince you otherwise, but I do believe you're talking out of your ass.

You are fucking mad. I'm sure you won't work 6 day, 70 hour work weeks, but, if, God forbid, you ever form a business, I'm sure you'd be a nice tyrant.

Yes, and if Bob Cratchit ever asks me for another piece of coal for the stove, I'll fire him.

(sigh)

No, I wouldn't be a tyrant. I know you find it hard to believe, but I would be a reasonable man; I just don't want government telling me what to do, what they find reasonable.

We were "wealthy" when we worked 40 hour work weeks. All we have now is people working the jobs of two people with a half a person's salary, when compared to 50 years ago. And for what? So we can prop up stock prices that fall into oblivion on the drop of a rumor. Such a healthy economy we have.

We're also propping up a bloated government. Slash taxes in half, and you wouldn't have people working for "half a salary".

I will ignore the Mien Kamph comment if you will forgive the Das Kapital comment. Again, just because you're ignorant of basic economics doesn't necessarily mean you're a communist, and I wrong to think so.

Before I will argue with you further, I want you to locate the documentary "American Dream" (1991). Watch it. Pay attention to it. Then, let's talk.

You promise?

If I don't watch this film, you won't argue with me any more?

Fine.

I won't watch it.

I was already coming close to severing lines of communication (since such discussions are so very futile), so I might as well:

melon, you think "supply and demand" are mere buzzwords, and you think that price fixes do not cause shortages. You clearly do not have even the most basic understanding of economics. Until you do, there's no sense debating at all.
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Old 01-19-2002, 05:39 PM   #28
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This is a thoroughly engrossing and enjoyable debate, if I may say so.

Melon, as always when concerning economics and most other topics, I agree with you fully. Not because of the political leanings in your actual commentary (which are more liberal which translates to my political leanings as well - ie. Labor), but really your interpetation of basic economic theory, which is more Keynesian than anything else, I would like to think.

I myself am not totally ignorant of Economics, as I am actually qualified in it at University level, and have always been a classic Keynesian at heart which deals with demand-management principally. However, it isn't simply the recognition of demand and its relationship with supply, as you accurately observed Melon, economics is far more than mere supply and demand, and AchtungBubba, if I could just say so, I don't think Melon is ignoring that phenomenom and fundamental of economics, he is merely recognising that there is more. And of course there is!

Far be it from me to comment on your country's own economic dealings a la Republican or Democrat, however, at the heart of it it all comes to bear, these economic and political policies are universal. From BOTH arguments of Achtung Bubba AND Melon, I can recognise the same economic battle that is always taking place in any country; is capitalism working? And if it isn't, what can be done to improve it?

I am not an extreme socialist and I never have been, and while I'm willing to accept that capitalism is the closest thing we have to anything remotely efficient, I do recognise the need to improve all the time, and the fact is there are some economics that are simply 'bad'.

Yes, its a broad and very imprecise description, but let us not mince words; economics is bad when it fails to allocate resources to everyone as efficiently as possible, efficiently NOT meaning excluding those that are too inconvenient to provide for. Forgive the inevitable return to basic economic principles, but we must all be aware that economics has to be efficient as well as equitable; equity is a
theoretically fundamental component.

Obviously this is NOT the case, and it never has been; therefore there is an obvious conclusion to be drawn; capitalism as we know it does not work. Nevermind USA alone, you have millions in other countries starving to death; economics is failing and why, because modern economic systems have forgotten the necessity to spread economic wealth evenly, as opposed to pockets of concentrated wealth, which is essentially what we've got.

I too came from a working class family and I knew what it meant to be 'discarded' when supply side policies deemed you to be sunk costs or an inefficient allocation of resources as far as profit maximisation was concerned.

Economics of the Thatcher era were OBSESSED with supply-side policies, in her attempt to reduce inflation, she came up with the idea of increasing unemployment wherever she thought it to be applicable, therfore taking care of demand. Yes Achtung Bubba, Lady Thatcher was very much aware of supply and demand, however, that didn't save the country's economy or the millions that lost their jobs and were dumped into a cycle of poverty. She thought she could cure the patient by cutting off half of his body, so that he wouldn't feel any pain there, not exactly the best way to go about it. She privatised everything, deregulated nearly all the nationalised industries that were left, cut taxes on industries and started regressive taxation; DECREASING the level of taxation as your income increases.

Well, to cut a long and complex story short, it was all doomed. Many people were affected (including my father, who, thanks to the glories of capitalism had to find work in the Middle East and leave his home country)and many people despaired into poverty.
I for one believe that the richer you get the more you should pay to the state, and the less you earn the less you pay, it stands to reason, doesn't it? I don't agree with the notion that all people who earn high wages deserve it, it is simpy not true. Don't tell me that footballers and people in the entertainment business deserve the high wages they get, not to mention politicians and the fat cats of industry.

It is not as simple as enterprise culture, more often than not their fortune has been at the expense of others; capitalism has always been of the 'survival of the fittest' essence, and, while it provides an incentive to succeed and become more efficient, it also forgets the first economic fundamental; equity. Another thing that is thoroughly disagreeable about Coservative/Republican economics is their dealing with the Welfare State, they believe in removing the welfare net in order to motivate or starve people into work, how can any other theory possibly lose touch with the humanity of the people its trying to serve? Of course there will always be spongers, but people voluntarily work as oppose to suck the resources of the government, it is simple common sense.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that a lot of what is being discussed between the two of you is applicable to any country in the world that suffers and benefits from capitalism, and I agree with the notion that capitalism needs to change, if not scrapped. Capitalism itself may not be the problem, but the manipulation of such. And while there seem to be two extremes of such a manipulation, personified by Achtung Bubba and Melon, I agree with Melon's views wholeheartedly.

Ant.

[This message has been edited by Anthony (edited 01-19-2002).]
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Old 01-19-2002, 06:29 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally posted by Anthony:
I can recognise the same economic battle that is always taking place in any country; is capitalism working? And if it isn't, what can be done to improve it?
since I have studies economisc and my work is closely related to it I thoroughly enjoy reading this discussion

re Anthony's remark I've quoted I wanted to add that I feel we (at least over here in Europe) are finally getting to the point the we not only realise that it's about time but also start to act politically on the notion that the time has come that social welfare and ecology should have a higher priority then the ideals of pure capitalism

its'a slow process but I do feel it is finally starting to happen
even our prime minister pointed out last year that the insane amounts of money CEO's make really are an insult to the working man and should be dealt with
the new tax plan introduced over here this year (though far from perfect) is another little step in trying to have people who can afford it pay more taxes so we can increase the quality of health care, public safety, education and ecology
the huge support the Kyoto treaty got over here definetely had to do with the growing awareness that the time has come to give ecology a higher priority then finances

I really support all these changes
they will capitalism a more humane face
and we have gotten to a point that this is nesecary

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Old 01-19-2002, 09:51 PM   #30
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It is almost interesting how all of our arguments inevitably come to this.

Almost as interesting as how often you DO misunderstand my posts.

I was not bemused when I found that labor was lumped in the same category as machinery, because people should not be so easily expendable like an obsolete machine.

But do you realize the effects of a more rigid workforce?

1. Capital (machinery, etc.) must NECESSARILY be more rigid, too. If an employer must somehow keep from firing anyone, ever, he will not be able to change much of his capital, since so much of it revolves around labor. He can't move the factory to another location, and he can't replace equipment with machinery that requires fewer operators (stifling those secondary industries).

2. If jobs become more guaranteed, one almost invariably sees poorer performance from those who have the jobs.
And you may in fact see worse conditions for those looking for new jobs, since companies may be too busy keeping employed those already on the payroll. It's kinda like rent control; great if you have a place, terrible if you don't.

3. Since both labor and other capital must become more rigid, the business itself will become more rigid. Generally speaking, a company that cannot quickly adapt to its environment does worse. That may mean that the company doesn't do quite as well, and it may ultimately mean that the business collapses. And unless you're willing to prop up businesses themselves, the end result is everybody is fired. You basically prevent a company from firing a few now, causing them to possibly fire everyone down the road.

Again, in an effort to focus on the immediate results on the individual labor, you've failed to consider the long-term effects for all involved.

Very banally, you continue to mention "supply and demand." Once again, I do not disagree, but certain conditions are required to allow for true "supply and demand," which, most simply, is sufficient competition. But that is what America has always--and continues to--lack in most key industries.

"Once again"? Funny, the only comment about supply and demand I've found you make in this thread is this: "'Supply and demand,' though, was always a nice buzz phrase."

At any rate, I do agree that competition is a good thing, and - as I've said before - I recommend government intervention to trust-bust. One problem is, the European models you love so much don't seem very competitive, either. The bigger problem is that almost everything you suggest - price fixing, making labor more rigid - tends to go against the principles of supply and demand.

Your concern for industry workers is justified - in so far as their plight should not be ignored - but it seems quite similar to the complaints against industrialization in the 1800's, and the complaints people in the carriage industry had against automobiles.

Rather than require industries to keep employing workers they genuinely no longer need, I do think that re-education and other assistance in finding a new job is the better solution. That's not to suggest that blue-collar workers are "stupid and lazy", but to remind you that a fluid job market is better for both employers AND employees.

I fully well know theoretical capitalism, perhaps more so than you. While you've simply regurgitated every line fed to you in your economics curriculum, I've applied it to reality. With theoretic communism, it was obviously very different in practice. It is the same way with theoretical capitalism, and the simplistic "supply and demand" argument shows real ignorance to all the factors that shape a capitalist marketplace.

As far as I can tell, you haven't been recognizing "supply and demand" in either case - simplistic or with provisos. You've continued to focus on JUST the direct effects on JUST the person most obviously involved, utterly ignoring the long-term effects on all.

Hoo-ray. Now I can do my own "I never said, nor implied" statement.

I never said, nor implied that your beliefs are anti-Christian. I was talking about my Christian beliefs.


I believe that you *were* implying that your beliefs were at least more Christian. I may have been wrong, certainly, but, hey, at least my inference had some basis in what you said - which is something that doesn't often happen in the other direction.

In the 1920s, during the last fundamentalist revival before the present, it was Christianity that disdainfully evoked predestination to state that the poor are poor because it is God's will and the rich are rich because of God's will. Hence, they felt that aiding the poor was going contrary to God's will. How quickly that all changed when the nouveau riche fell flat on their ass during the Great Depression.

I would not trust the welfare of our nations on the highly judgmental and highly discriminatory Christian religions. If anything, you should learn that the mixing of politics and religion is a dangerous combination, whereas morality is often compromised in favor of power and money. Hence, you see why the Reformation happened in the 1500s.


Three things:

1. Those who did believe that poverty is the will of God were indeed wrong, though I'm not sure it was "Christianity" en masse.

2. I'm not suggesting the improper mixture of church and state. I'm suggesting that taking care of the poor may be the job of private orginizations (churches and others) solely. Taking the job back from the government isn't a First Amendment infringement - at least, it's no more an infringement than the government seizing the role in the first place.

3. The United States is the most giving country in the world, by dollars.

How often do you give to charities, Bubba? How often do most people you know give to charities? Even with 9-11, a lot of people pledged blood donation, but not even half actually went through with it. The only way you can assure the welfare of our citizens is through government, and the only way government can run is through taxation.

You know, it's none of your business what I do in my private life, asshole.

But since you asked: I've given blood twice since 9/11, a remarkable achievement given a deeply rooted fear of needles.

How many times did you give?

Moreover, if government knows best, how much money have you given to government above and beyond your tax burden? How many times have you looked at your wallet, decided you have too much money, and given it to Washington?

Beyond that, while it *is* true that government can more completely guarantee charity, it's ALSO true that government-run programs are easily abused and difficult to reform. It's clearly a difference of priorities and concerns (I value freedom over security, you apparently don't), but I would only give government those jobs that the private sector clearly cannot handle, and I'm not convinced charity is one of them.

Ultimately, a difference of opinion and priorities.

But let's say that taxation ended tomorrow. Business would see this, and likely lower your wages proportionately in due time. Hence, we'd really be no greater off, now would we?

Let's assume that both happens - a huge assumption, but I'm willing to indulge it. Businesses keep more money, but end up giving the same wages to its workers. Well, what happens to the money that the businesses now have?

They either reinvest it in themselves, hiring more, buying more machinery, etc.; or give larger profits to stockholders. Those stockholders, at least, now have a greater income to also invest in other companies or simply "buy stuff". The economy improves, prices of products drop, and the BUYING POWER of those with the same take-home wages INCREASES.

So there!

Well, considering that over 45 million Americans are without health insurance and that the most jobs created in America in the last twenty years were low paying (stuff like McDonald's, etc.), I would say that our current system is not working.

I agree that the current health care system is screwed up, but that isn't an indictment of capitalism. If anything, a system where prices are set almost entirely separated from the effects on the consumers' pocketbook is about as far as an American gets from supply-and-demand.

Further, I question the stats about the low-paying jobs, specifically: does it include teenagers and college kids who aren't trying to raise enough money to feed a family? And does it also account for the fact that low-paying jobs are also very transient - that most people don't keep those jobs for any extended period of time? If it doesn't (and I suspect it doesn't), the statistic is meaningless.

See, now you are being silly. Thirty years ago, the average family could survive on one income, usually from the father figure. The average family now uses two incomes, and it is not that the second income is just for luxury and greed factor. It is just to survive. And then, here we had all this "family values" talk from Republicans. But, when your "family" is working most of the day, how can it function properly?

And when your family is working half the year to write a check to the IRS, how can it function properly?

Business would likely lower wages proportionately. The Federal Reserve would see the added income, signal the "inflation" flag (remember, the primary indicator of inflation over the last twenty years is wages), and drive down wages.

Two things:

1. If businesses lower wages, the Fed won't see the added income.

2. If the Fed's reaction is what hurts individuals, you're still not indicting capitalism. It may just indicate that government has too much control over the economy, not too little.

And, once again, there is that issue of who is going to pay for the government functioning? Who is going to pay for all those hundreds of billions in new military toys Dubya wanted? Who is going to pay for when that hurricane comes and destroys whole areas of land? You think that all government does is waste money, but I'm sure if that disaster ever comes, you'd decry for the government to help you.

Again, I'm not an anarchist who believes that government has no role. It has a very limited role, which justifies limited taxation.

I don't believe that government does nothing but waste money (which it does, and it does need to cut) - and mentioning military and emergency spending isn't enough.

You're ignoring the big one, intentionally, I believe:

SOCIAL PROGRAMS.

The federal government has spent something near a TRILLION dollars since 1930 in its unsuccessful effort to defeat poverty. It's created a welfare state and supressed the economy. Dismantling those programs will be difficult, but I think it's necessary.

Of course, the wealthiest only pay about 36% in taxes in America. But, in France, it is about 70% for the wealthiest, with the less you make the dramatically less you pay in taxes. A novel concept, isn't it?

No, "progressive", punitive taxes are nothing new, but they do provide a huge disincentive to create wealth.

But think of all that you get with taxes over there--health care, efficient public transportation, etc. Hence, you would require fewer expenses, and not have to worry about your health care system or transportation declaring bankruptcy due to a worthless stock that plunged over a rumor.

And you also deal with generally mediocre services, a stagnant economy, and, most importantly, drastically less economic freedom. It's not all roses.

"Simpler codes" lead to the common man paying more in taxes, with the wealthy getting off big time. Steve Forbes' flat tax plan, for instance, actually had the poorest paying 2% more of a tax rate and the wealthiest paying a rate that was 19% less. How fair is that?

See, this is the big difference between you and me. You see the rich paying less than they are now, and say that's not fair. I see that, under Forbes' plan, the rich is STILL paying more as a percentage, still paying more in absolute numbers, and is less likely to find loopholes to pay less.

I find that more than fair for the poor.

According to the corporate world, the South--where you live--is a bastion of cheap labor in America. No unions and lots of right-to-work states. So, what happens is that every time there is a "recession," they close plants in the North and send them South, where they can pay you fools much less. Maybe it is because it is cheaper to live there, or maybe it is because you just take more corporate bullshit down there.

So it's not only the U.S. vs. Mexico, it's the North vs. the South? Are you honestly suggesting that companies should be unable to move their plants to ANOTHER PART OF THE UNITED STATES?

I suppose that if you lived in City X, and a company moved to the suburbs because of lower taxes, you'd ask the federal government to prevent that too.

...or, are you suggesting that the federal government should make all economic decesions, including tax laws and labor laws that have traditionally been the states' domain?

Why even have a Tenth Amendment?

That's bull. Do you need a course in mathematics now too?

I overstated, just as you seem to think that taxes have NO effect on a person's buying power.

The prime buying power of the American working class was around 1970, where many auto workers could actually afford Cadillacs and country clubs like the wealthy. The prime tax burden was on corporations, rather than individuals (like now). Prices were regulated to prevent going too excessive. Excessive corporate profits were discouraged under the windfall profit tax; hence, it was more advantageous to give higher salaries to your labor to avoid that government penalty. Workers were happy, America was prosperous, and the world didn't implode.

All that got deregulated in the early 1980s, and look at the world we have now. The average worker cannot remotely afford those luxury items, there is no incentive to raise wages (the incentive is actually to keep them low now), consumer prices go unchecked, and more wealth is concentrated in the upper 1%. Would you say we are better off now or then? Knowing you, you'll say now, and you are a fool if you believe that.


Wasn't there a recession between the glorious early Seventies and the early Eighties? What caused that, hmm?

And which decade do you think was the most prosperous since WWII? The Seventies, or the Eighties?

(I'll give you a hint: REAGAN.)

Bubba, there is more to economics than "supply and demand," and, thus, you clearly do not have an understanding of true economics. Under most basic science, you could say that a bowling ball and a feather will fall to the ground at the same rate. But then you wouldn't have taken into account a whole number of factors, including weight, aerodynamics, etc. That is your problem regarding economics; you don't take everything into account. "Supply and demand" is the same as assuming we live in a vacuum, where a bowling ball and a feather have the same advantages, but, clearly, we don't live in a vacuum and your simplistic "supply and demand" scenarios don't work.

To use your analogy, you're still ignoring the basic physics rather than acknowledge the basic phyisics THEN recognizing the provisos.

And, since we're being nit-picky, "weight" isn't a factor.

Weight is merely the effect of gravity on mass, and even then, mass doesn't have an effect on the rate of fall - much less an effect that would SLOW the fall.

Price fixing always causes shortages? Look at the deregulated electricity of California. The power companies simply cut output and cried "shortage" as an excuse to raise prices.

And the "deregulated" companies can't build more plants, despite the HUGE increase in demand, thanks to environmental regulations. In this case, limits on production directly lower supply, creating the same damn shortage.

Finally...

Until you get something called "real life experience," which I was attempting to give you some with "American Dream," so you can get beyond the simplistic pretenses you learn in university, then there is no point debating with you either.

And you still haven't shown the basic understanding from which you can begin factoring, which is why I suggested "Economics in One Lesson."

But if you want to stop debating, great. I'm not going to reply again. If you want to follow suit, please do.
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