Moderator: Mod Squad
Mathias wrote:Why can't the government just moderate it like alcohol?
Riz wrote:why isn't it funny
Rough Giraffe wrote:I believe that it is perfectly fine for our leaders to use our taxes to deliver aid in the event of a natural disaster. And while I agree that we should not have to borrow money in order to do it, I'm not sure that presenting the argument that "if we don't get these budget cuts there will be no disaster relief" is in the best interest of the people.BeeAre wrote:I Wonder What Ruff Draft Will Say About This Legitimately!icha_icha_paradise wrote:http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2012/08/28/759151/raul-labrador-disaster-funding/
Liberal bias, wacky republicans at it again, ignore this statement in it's entirety
Also, Raul Labrador has a giant fucking nose.
Let me make sure I have this crystal clear here. You argue that total government size has decreased under Obama. I prove at the very least that the size of the Federal government (which Obama actually has control over) has increased. Your new argument is that although Obama is not responsible for the size of state government, his goal was to prevent layoffs, and now you're crediting Obama for reducing the size of "total" government because people at the state level lost their jobs? In other words, by your own admission, Obama failed at the job he set out to do during a time when it was critical that he succeed, and you think that this supports your argument? I don't see that as decisive evidence.Valhallen wrote:And yet state and local governments are part of "the government" often criticized for being too big and intrusive (and they're the ones that interfere more with day to day actions). Even though Obama isn't responsible for it (and rather wanted more aid to fill budget shortfalls that resulted in state and local layoffs), the fact of the matter is that "the government" employs fewer people than it did before Obama took office.
Even if that is true, it's completely and utterly irrelevant. All you're doing is taking an extremely bad situation and trying to make it sound not so bad. Why would the rate of spending increase from year to year have anything to do with how much spending there has been overall?Valhallen wrote:And while spending has increased, it has been slower than during other recent administrations, enough so that spending as a percent of GDP has gone down.
Not sure how you want me to explain that. Might as well ask me to explain why a fox and a dog, being different animals, are still related. Someone on the Right can make a decision that a "Leftist" would normally make (like raising taxes) and still be on the Right. Are you suggesting that Nixon was actually a Democrat?Valhallen wrote:But by what yardstick? Policies as implemented? The direction he steered things? How have you reached that conclusion?RuffDraft wrote:But to answer your question, Yes, Nixon was, and is, to the Right of Obama. No doubt about it.
That seems like a very difficult thing for you to prove, considering that the labels of "Liberal" and "Conservative" did not really exist back then, or else people didn't define themselves that way. I don't think you really understand what it means to be a Conservative. It's not about some kind of effort to prevent societal change. Even so, Republicans "of the time" wanted to abolish slavery, not continue it, or "maintain the status quo." It was the Democrat party that desired to prevent Republicans from changing that way of life and destroy the "cultural institution." Are you suggesting that Democrats "of the time" would be recognized as Conservatives by today's standards?Valhallen wrote:I'm suggesting that it was a liberal thing for Lincoln to have abolished slavery and freed the slaves, seeing as it overthrew a long-standing cultural institution to correct a perceived wrong. The conservatives of the day wanted to maintain the status quo.RuffDraft wrote:So then, what are you trying to imply by calling him that?
Conspirators who were trying to assassinate the President, secede from the Union and continue the abomination of slavery for years to come. I would do the same thing in his place. If that makes either of us dictatorial, then just call me Hussein.Valhallen wrote:Lincoln suspended habeas corpus (and did not reinstate it after a court ordered him to do so) and incarcerated thousands of US citizens without trial.
Citation? I don't remember ever hearing about that in school. Of course, I learned about much of Lincoln's history through public education. *rimshot*Valhallen wrote:He also spent money independently of Congress.
How about the fact that, in an election year when the problem he is supposed to be solving is unemployment and problems with the economy, he finds it more important to make sure that none of our immigration laws are enforced? He came out and suddenly declared that the US would no longer deport any illegal immigrants. Surely you don't think Obama wants us to be the only nation without enforceable immigration laws?Valhallen wrote:Obama has so far displayed fewer dictatorial tendencies.
First of all, people are reading the Citizens United ruling and taking it to mean something other than its actual decision. It was not that Corporations Can Spend As Much Money On Political Ads As They Want; it was regarding a stipulation in the 2002 McCain-Feingold Act (A.K.A., the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act or BCRA) that said releasing a movie about a political candidate within 60 days of a general election or within 30 days of a primary constituted electioneering (paraphrasing) and that spending money on a communications that were considered to be electioneering was outlawed by the FEC. The ruling was that this provision of the McCain-Feingold Act was Unconstitutional. According to Wikipedia, "The case did not involve the federal ban on direct contributions from corporations or unions to candidate campaigns or political parties, which remain illegal in races for federal office."Valhallen wrote:A secondhand statement that Obama's campaign manager proposed a Constitutional amendment to "stifle any and all free speech that challenges Obama" when what he actually proposed was an amendment to overturn the Citizens United verdict (Democrats have their own superPACs which would be outlawed too).
I am describing Progressives. Communists want public ownership of the means of production, rather than allowing private ownership while letting the government have the ability to control and influence the economy to give the illusion of a free market (which seems to be what is happening nowadays), which is what I'm trying to get at when I describe Progressives. Their solution to everything seems to be to throw money at their favored organizations (Solyndra), rather than letting the people take care of it themselves.Valhallen wrote:You're describing Communists, not Progressives.RuffDraft wrote:One thing about Progressives is that they almost always seem to think government can do a better job than the private sector in every way given the chance,
Did you read what I linked earlier?
Perhaps. I should probably take a step back and rethink that a bit.Valhallen wrote:I think what you're doing here is identifying problems with Bush, labeling those problems as "Progressive" to identify Bush as one, and using that identification to judge "Progressive" policies as bad (and conversely, "Conservative" policies as good). ... If you want to use your definitions, you should first specify that they are different from how the terms are used in modern politics.
How exactly does Reagan's economic profile match up with that of a Keynesian? Keynesian economics run on a demand-stimulus method, not a supply-side. According to Wikipedia, "The four pillars of Reagan's economic policy were to reduce the growth of government spending, reduce income tax and capital gains tax, reduce government regulation of economy, and control money supply to reduce inflation." This is nothing close to Keynesian economics, and in fact is in opposition to it. Where in the world did you get that Keynesian economics was supply-side?Valhallen wrote:I mentioned this before, but the supply-side policies of Reagan and Bush rely on Keynsian-based models.RuffDraft wrote:Progressives seem to believe staunchly in Keynesian economics and/or tend to advocate spending more than we take in over a longer period of time.
In either case, the Keynsian response is for the government to apply targeted stimuli to address the market imbalance. Then (in the part ignored by most real-world policy), once the imbalance is corrected, the government should raise taxes, end the stimuli, and run a surplus to do two things: maintain its fiscal soundness, and prevent the extra money injected by the stimulus from triggering a bubble as people speculate beyond what the fundamentals of the market can bear out.
Why would economic growth naturally go with a 60-70% tax rate? Because high taxes and strong economic growth always go hand-in-hand? I would like to see what evidence you have (and if you've showed me this before, I apologize but I can't remember exactly) that leads you to that conclusion.Valhallen wrote:Can we agree that we are on the low side of the Laffer Curve? Do I have to bring out that regression that shows the best economic growth at a 60%-70% top rate?
That's not a directive for something the government can DO, that's a guideline to the formation of the government system. So, sure, the Constitution is really more or less a guide to a better way of governance. But it's core principles are about not restricting the rights of its citizenry and ensuring individual liberties.Valhallen wrote:The Constitution CONTAINS a list of thing the government cannot do, but it also has a bunch of stuff explaining what the government can do and the means it should use to go about doing them. Like, say:RuffDraft wrote:I'm talking about excessive regulation. That's why the Constitution is a list of things the government CANNOT restrict, and not what the government can DO. The Founding Fathers wanted to avoid excess regulation.And just before that, the Preamble outlines a bunch of stuff that the new Constitutional government is supposed to achieve. The Founding Fathers wanted the right amount of laws and regulation.Article I, Section 1 wrote:All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.
The right size, certainly. It was not intended to allow congress to pick winners and losers, which is what congress has been doing when they divvy up money to private companies (Solyndra, banks, etc.), which is something I'm strongly against.Valhallen wrote:The part often omitted in rhetoric is that they were also worried about giving the federal government too little power, which was why they replaced the Articles of Confederation with the Constitution, which gave the federal government a lot more power than it had before.RuffDraft wrote:The Founding Fathers were all worried about excessive government; things like the Proclamation of 1763, the Currency Act, Quartering Act, Stamp Act, Townshend Act, etc. were viewed as offensive encroachments on their personal liberties. They started to be regulated on far too much, and were really pissed that the government would support a monopoly on tea trade (the Tea Act). All of these things were a large part of why we decolonized from the British in the first place.
Do you think that the right size for the government to be is what the Founding Fathers worked with, or some other size to reflect the different jobs demanded of it today?
Excuse me, but what Jefferson was against was corruption. How many large cities do you know in America that have no corruption? And how many see a lot of corruption? That's what he was getting at, and there is some truth there. As for government intervention to protect rights, I can't find anything that says he was purely against that. The closest I can find is, "I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them." That's more along the lines of an economic intervention, e.g., using the "general welfare" as carte blanch to give near-endless government handouts, even to failing businesses (Solyndra).Valhallen wrote:Their opinions varied. Thomas Jefferson was against cities, banking, and government intervention to protect rights.RuffDraft wrote:Also, the Founding Fathers were against an income tax ["To compel a man to furnish funds for the propagation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical." -Thomas Jefferson].
Your own source has Adams talking about property interchangeably with money as a form of prosperity. He did not literally mean only property like fine silver, jewelery, furniture, horses, land, etc. After all, property can also mean "the money you have earned," as people's wealth is often judged by how much property and investments and/or liquid funds they hold (commonly referred to as net worth). I am not ready to believe I have misinterpreted my original quote.Valhallen wrote:Adams was referring to nationalization and redistribution of all real estate and private property in a Communist-style overthrowing of society.RuffDraft wrote:They saw it as an invasion of property rights ["The moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the laws of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence." -John Adams].
Are you saying my questions about the constitutionality of the 16th amendment are irrational? That strikes me as being dismissive of my concerns for no reason other than "It's The Law."Valhallen wrote:Taxation of property and transactions was widespread in the colonial era and continued through the Revolution to the present. The main problem with a national income tax was the requirement to divide revenue from certain kinds of income proportionately among the states (rather than just having a national tax code as today). This requirement was in place due to concerns that certain national taxes could be abused, but it did not cover all types of income (hence the constitutionality of a corporate income tax enacted before the Sixteenth Amendment). But that's rather moot apart from its historical significance, since we have the Sixteenth Amendment today, and there is no (serious) question about the constitutionality of federal income taxes.RuffDraft wrote:Until the early 1900s it was unconstitutional to have a federal income tax; that's why they needed an amendment to implement one. Prior to that, the government consisted on tariffs and sales taxes on a lot of popular goods such as alcohol, sugar, tobacco, and so on. But later on they did away with those sales taxes and funded the government almost entirely on tariffs.
I can't give you a real world example to my ideas because I don't believe that there's a good example of them anywhere. The best I can offer is to point out that our GDP is over $15 trillion and that even 20% of that (if it were a sales tax) is more than we take in in federal income taxes (income taxes account for only $1 trillion, the rest being excise taxes and so on). I realize that that's a very simplified way of explaining it, but if a flat national sales tax were to replace the federal income tax while still allowing a much smaller state income tax (but no state sales tax), and while still allowing a provision to give those below the poverty line (or those whose post-tax situation would place them below the poverty line) a "prebate" on the sales taxes they would spend, the situation moves from placing a burden on the lower-income families to allowing it to remain on the higher-income earners (as it already is and has been).Valhallen wrote:Can you describe a single example for each where, in the world, a modern government of the kind you would want for the US covers its expenses without an income tax and where a sufficiently privatized (for whatever standard you are getting at there) education system produces results comparable to modern socialized education? The main reasons for the near-universality of income taxes and public education are their economic incentives. People usually want more money regardless of how much they have, so (well-planned) income taxes introduce very little distortion of economic incentives for different behavior, letting market forces steer things to maximum efficiency despite bites that would wreck markets if implemented with different methods of taxation. They can also be made to target those who can most easily afford it better than other taxes, which helps the economy run better (poorer people spend more of their income, so a tax that hits richer people harder results in less lost economic activity). Education is a textbook case of large positive externalities resulting in private markets supplying less than is optimal for society as a whole. Education has enormous benefits for the entire economy, but few immediate benefits for students and their families. Private education has long been too expensive for the poor even though the expense pays off well over time. Since this payoff can't be captured well enough to be profitable by a single private company unless it sets up company towns or such, it falls to governments to make the socially-optimal level of investment of education.RuffDraft wrote:I think that proves a national Sales Tax, along with already-existing taxes on imports and exports, could work by them to fund a slightly smaller government as long as we put more power back into the hands of the people. I'm not talking about creating a civilian military; that's dumb. I'm talking about making education more privatized instead of relying almost exclusively on the government to provide a good education; things like that.
First, the National Debt is above GDP right now. GDP is approx. $15 trillion right now. US National Debt broke $16 trillion just last week (which I believe was after you made the above argument, so I'm not going to really fault you for not including that here), and it is still climbing with no end in sight. Pres. Obama's own budget projections showed us taking on about $9 trillion in extra debt over the next 10 years---about $25 trillion by 2022. Assuming we're not close NOW, that will put us dangerously close to bankruptcy.Valhallen wrote:That was more to point out the difference in interpretation than to disagree. But if you want to look for fault, let's have a look:RuffDraft wrote:And yet I can't really find any general fault with anything he writes about them.Valhallen wrote:Each dollar on the ground has its own note which says something of the painter's ideas relating to monetary and fiscal policy.
1. The US is quite a ways form bankruptcy. The national debt is close to GDP, but that's not what matters for bankruptcy. US net worth and wealth are both quite a bit more. Also, most of the national debt is owed to US citizens. Also, interest on the debt was less than 5% of the budget last year, so the outlined scenario is not going to happen any time soon.
I disagree. The rate at which we are spending and borrowing, and with no plans to halt either, seems to me that the situation is almost completely out of control, and unless we do something NOW, that is the road we are headed down. To not be worried about it and actively trying to prevent it would be folly.Valhallen wrote:3.IF such an unprecedented panic happens, it would indeed cause trouble, but it would be moderated by the large wealth of the US and countries that use the dollar or currencies pegged to the dollar and by the Federal Reserve acting to reduce the money supply. Another difference with Weimar Germany is that the Treaty of Versailles forced Germany to try to pay war reparations that it could not, economics be damned, and the resulting printing of money caused hyperinflation. The US faces no comparable issue today.
The likes of which I do not see being enacted now, which is why we're having this discussion.Valhallen wrote:4. This is accurate, but comparable to the situation after World War Two, which was handled easily by reasonable fiscal and economic policies.
I do not. Reagan's policies nearly doubled revenues by the end of his term. Congress was largely responsible for the debt that took place during that time. If spending had stayed at the level of his first term, Reagan's policies would have reduced the debt by a considerable amount. And yet, you would not be wrong in suggesting that Reagan allowed it to happen, which makes it partly his fault. However, Reagan's policies of lower taxation were not responsible for ALL of the debt. Maybe in the first few years, but after that, after revenues increased past their starting point, congress increased spending, and didn't stop.Valhallen wrote:7. And what happened in the early eighties to cause that? Reagan began the era of "trickle-down" supply-side economics and high-income tax cuts where "deficits don't matter" except as an excuse to push policy. Do you think that reversing this trend could be accomplished by a return to preceding conditions like a high top marginal tax rate and demand-side stimulus?
Except that Andrew Jackson paid off the national debt largely by selling land and preventing an increase of spending for federal projects. At the beginning of his term, the national debt was $56 million. He paid it off in six years. No tax alone could have done that. Either way, they were debt free for a year and then they went into a six-year depression that forced them back into debt. We haven't been debt free since, despite congress keeping the top tax rate above 70% for most of the 1900s (it was above 90% between 1950 and 1963 and we still spent more than we took in).Valhallen wrote:8. Except that the Founding Fathers understood that such a debt could be paid down by increasing taxes, which they did. The debt was paid off in ~fifty years despite other wars over that period.
Unless they figure out a way to do that and presumably win, in which case we're boned.Valhallen wrote:9. A couple of things here. Though China COULD cause trouble by calling its debt and pulling investments, it would cause trouble for them as well, since the Chinese economy relies on exports, about a third of which go to the US. If we assume that China does try to cut off its economic nose to spite the US, China can't foreclose on the US because the US is a sovereign entity. If a sovereign entity doesn't pay its debts, its credit rating falls, and that's about it unless someone wants to start a war. And if we want to propose that China is suicidal too, they could to that now.
In any economy, lending money to people who can't afford to pay it back is a problem. Didn't the government bail out the banks that lent that money as a result? In other words, the taxpayer paid for the business decisions of the nation's corrupt banks? How is that good?Valhallen wrote:11. In a healthy economy, what the Fed did would be problematic. However, in a financial meltdown and housing market crash, what it did countered deflation and acted to stabilize the economy.
I find your optimism in the act of borrowing a little troubling. It seems like you don't care when we stop borrowing to meet our alleged needs. In any case, what you seem to be doing is dismissing the concern because it isn't catastrophic yet. Is that really the right attitude to have?Valhallen wrote:13. That depends on how it comes about. Besides, there is currently plenty of domestic capital. The problem is that the holders don't want to spend it because of lack of demand to justify investment. If the time comes that this is a problem, the economy will probably be doing pretty well otherwise. Besides, demand can create its own supply (If the demand exists, people have money to spend. That money can be borrowed to pay for investments to meet the demand.)
I don't think he is confusing the exchange rate with its strength. The dollar is getting weaker because our economy is slumping and because we are printing more money and borrowing. Are you saying that the dollar is getting stronger? And if so, how do you define that?Valhallen wrote:14. This seems to confuse the exchange rate of the dollar with its strength as a currency. Look at the higher-valued Pound and the lower-valued Yen. The strength of a currency (especially a fiat currency) is based on the governments and economies backing it, and while the Dollar is declining as a percentage of world currency, it is growing in absolute terms.
So, what, we're not discussing this because the trade deficit is not as vastly huge as it was when the numbers supported his claim, despite the fact that they still do? How in the world do you consider this out of date, when the trade deficit is still $42.9 billion, down from $48 billion? Especially when you consider that much of the reduction of the trade deficit was from the drop in oil prices? Or are you dismissing it simply because the numbers are slightly less bad than he made them sound?Valhallen wrote:15. This is out of date.
Sigh... yes, he owned slaves. Are we going to have to get into a discussion of how humanely his slaves were treated or how his Will demanded that his slaves be freed? Do we have to go into how his perception of slavery changed over the years, or some of the other factors involved during that time period?Valhallen wrote:Except for the slaves thing.RuffDraft wrote:Even if that Cherry Tree story is false, Washington was known to be a man of remarkable wisdom and virtue.
Sure it is. You don't think Washington and the members Congress always got along as well as that, do you? I recall stories from the middle of the Revolutionary War where Congress refused to send Washington the pay for his troops. Washington was forced to let his troops make their own decision on whether to stay and fight or to leave and return to their families. Less than half of his troops stayed behind, and Washington bid the rest farewell.Valhallen wrote:Anyway, what I was getting at is that Washington was a real person who popular culture has mythologized (including the cherry tree bit). Sure, he did an admirable job setting precedent and running things, but he wasn't perfect, and his actions don't support all the causes that his idea has been invoked to support. For example, in the Whiskey Rebellion, the debt-ridden federal government decided to raise taxes, so it taxed whiskey (an unprecedented move intended to exercise the federal government's new power). Western distillers didn't like it for various socioeconomic reasons and because they didn't like taxes in general. Adding tensions on the border, they didn't think that the federal government was representing their interests. After protests and skirmishes, Washington arrived with an army and put a stop to things. So while Washington's government was very different from today's, Washington respected Congress's authority to decide what the government should be doing. So it's not very appropriate to invoke Washington to protest Congressional laws on ideological grounds like that.
Valhallen wrote:The Constitution may be supreme, but there are other written laws in force which constitute the Rule of Law in America, as decided by Congress and the States as outlined in the Constitution. Which actions have blatantly trod upon which parts of the Constitution?
Rough Giraffe wrote:inorite?
Rough Giraffe wrote:You wanted me to respond to that? :O