Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Freedom as Defined by Liberals

 I have run into moderation issues over there again, so I'll expand over here.
"Reagan Tax Cuts: We've seen a lot of comments about the Reagan tax cuts but one thing that's been overlooked is the over-all tax increases that resulted. The Fed rate bounced around but much of that revenue demand just got pushed out to state and local governments. We saw the same thing with the Pawlenty cuts where property taxes and local fees increased in response to ALG cuts. In the 80s the same thing happened on a national level when the Fed cut tax rates. This is why the cost of government never really goes down with these magic tax cuts, in fact it actually went up in many cases. Republicans like to pretend that they get more efficiency with tax cuts but all they really do is cut services, then someone else picks up the tab, they don't really reduce over-all cost.

It's really just math. If you have 50,000 people in your city, and your getting $1 million in state aid, that money is costing you 25 cents (1 million divided by 4 million people in the state). If you eliminate that state aid and have to raise a million in your city it will cost you $40. The state can brag that they've cut $1 million from the budget but that budget cut cost you $39.75. This is the problem with magic tax cuts. Depending on what level of government services get cut, they can end up increasing the cost of government for individuals." Paul

"Local is Better: Thank heavens for National and State spending cuts, when and if they actually occur. The closer the collect and spend decisions are to the citizen / tax payer, the better it is for all of us.

Now I agree that national defense, inter state rules/commerce, post office, etc belong at the national level. And I can even agree that SS/Medicare belong there since the benefits are delayed and a citizens often cross state lines.

However the idea that the Feds are involved in welfare, medicaid, etc is just wasteful. It seems to indicate that states are not capable of deciding how to best help their friends, neighbors, fellow citizens, etc." G2A

"Your third paragraph is absolutely correct: A number of states have decided NOT to help their fellow citizens (I assume they don't regard all citizens as their friends).

And of course Federal agencies such as the VA and Medicaid are far more efficient than most state agencies, so I don't see where the waste is in having the Federal government provide for "the general welfare". That's what the Constitution says it should do." Paul

"Wasteful?: Hardly. As it's been pointed out to you numerous times here, the Feds involvement in welfare, medicaid and other safety nets is crucial in maintaining continuity for those seeking help. Republican majority houses at the state level have already proven that they have virtually no capacity for empathy and no interest in helping anyone they deem unfit or unworthy. It would be tragic to those seeking help if people like you were making those types of decisions." Jason
"Jason and Paul, Per your comments, apparently you believe Minnesotans know "how to help" people that are thousands of miles away better than those citizens that live in that community?" G2A
Now Liberals continually say that they support freedom of choice.  Freedom to marry who one wants.  Freedom to abort a fetus. Freedom to form an employee union and blockade an employer until they meet terms. Freedom to work where your beliefs are not appreciated. And all other kinds of social freedoms.  And I am fine with most of these.

Yet Liberals apparently believe in denying the citizens of a state the simple freedom to choose how they care for their friends, neighbors and country persons.  Apparently the Liberals know how to help the poor folks in other states better than the residents do.  Or at least according to Paul and Jason.

Thoughts?

49 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Liberals apparently believe in denying the citizens of a state the simple freedom to choose how they care for their friends, neighbors and country persons."

I don't think this is the case. I pretty much believe you can care for your neighbors any way you like. What I see a lot of is the implicit belief that if you lose a political argument, if laws are enacted that you disagree with, you have lost your freedom. I just disagree with that. Freedom says we have a right to have and express our views. Freedom does not include a right to have them prevail.

--Hiram


Sean said...

I think the notion that local government is always better isn't supported by reality, either.

John said...

It seems Liberals want us to become one national democracy where they set the rules. Rather than a Republic of 50 somewhat unique States.

Republic vs Democracy 1
Republic vs Democracy 2

Personally I don't think that is a good idea. There is too much of a chance of the 51% ignoring the 49% and creating civil strife.

John said...

Sean,
Please expand on your rationale.

I know that bigger government isn't supported by local government, people care more what taxes are and where the revenue is spent. The better or worse seems a bit vague.

Is it better to buy people fish everyday, or pressure them to learn to fish for them selves? Which is "better"?

Which gives them self respect and hope, and which demeans them over time and takes away hope?

Sean said...

I would argue that as currently constituted, local government is frequently more susceptible to corruption and graft and more likely to populated by people who are incompetent than higher levels of government.

That *does not* mean that I advocate for moving all decision-making up the chain, so don't even go there. I'm merely saying that some people reflexively say that all decision-making should be as local as possible, and I don't think that's always true.

John said...

My primary frustration is Federal vs State roles and responsibilities in this case. This kids learning site keeps it simple.

Govt Roles

National Government
Coin money.
Declare war.
Conduct foreign relations.
Oversee foreign and interstate trade.

State Government
Ratify amendments.
Manage public health and safety.
Oversee trade within the state.
Education

Shared Responsibilities
Make and enforce laws.
Tax.
Borrow money

Somehow certain groups of citizens who want to enforce their will across all Americans keep trying to grow the role of the National government.

Anonymous said...

"Liberals want us to become one national democracy where they set the rules."

Actually, we want things like health care. And ask any conservative, they will tell you they want to be able to buy health insurance across state lines, certainly a position, whatever it's other merits, would be part of a national change toward democracy. I suppose we want to set the rules, but so do conservatives. That's why they try to win elections and judicially legislate.

Rather than a Republic of 50 somewhat unique States.

Whether a state based as opposed to a nationally based government is better is certainly a disputable issue, but one that isn't disputed much. Lots of problems we face aren't state based. Getting sick in Florida is much like getting sick in Minnesota. Should our treatment options be state based?

--Hiram

jerrye92002 said...

The ultimate in local control, of course, isn't your village council, it is the individual, and any authority not specifically granted to the federal government, or to the states, belongs to the people. Or that's the way it was set up, and ought to be.

The "general welfare" of the populace was NEVER intended to mean that money was to be coerced from one individual to care for another. That's simply a bad trade. And the claim that government is more efficient in these matters simply means they are really good at sending out checks. Now, actually accomplishing the purpose for which those checks are cut, well... That's why we know that, if we simply cut checks to all the "poor" in this country, they would all move immediately to the upper middle class. Somewhere, the efficiency is lacking.

John said...

Hiram,
What do you think state and local governments should be responsible for?
Or should we get rid of them and get rid of a lot of politician cost?
The Feds could just assign regional administrators,

We wouldn't need that new state senate office building.

Anonymous said...

I think government should respond to the needs of society. Pretty much what it does is provide things that are necessary, but which for various reasons, the private sector does not provide. Health insurance market places are one example. Capitalism needs markets. But businesses don't find it profitable to create them so they don't happen, and the government steps in.

The country is organized politically the way it is for various historical reasons that have long since lost their relevance to our modern society. While that's something that can't be changed now, neither should that system of organization be accorded any undue reverence, especially when dealing with issues of national scope. Corporations, for example, although creations of states, should be allowed to do business nationally, and yes, even internationally.

--Hiram

John said...

Please explain further.

"long since lost their relevance to our modern society"

Anonymous said...


"long since lost their relevance to our modern society"

For example, boundary lines in the original thirteen colonies were drawn up because of various political issues in 16th and century English Parliamentary politics, having to do with the mediation of interest among various property holders who controlled tracts of land back then. Those landholders and the estates they established have been gone for hundreds of years now. In New England state boundaries were affected by religious disputes which in England resulted in their Civil war. Of what relevance is the conflict between the cavaliers and the roundheads to today's boundaries between Rhode Island and Massachusetts? Does anyone consider Oliver Cromwell's views of 300 hundred years ago when considering health care policy today?

--Hiram

John said...

So are we back to my other question...

And I will open it up to all:

What do you think state and local governments should be responsible for?

Or should we get rid of them and get rid of a lot of politician cost?

The Feds could just assign regional administrators.

We wouldn't need that new state senate office building. And imagine not having to hear about the MN Legislative / Governor issues every year.

Sean said...

I already talked about that in the last thread. You seem to want to paint this issue in broad stereotypes (both here and at MinnPost), so I don't see a whole lot of reason to engage further.

John said...

I'll go back and look when I get a chance.

When running projects I need to take 2 perspectives:

1: This is a very detailed tactical perspective where I need to make sure every task is identified and completed to satisfy internal partners and the customer.

2. This is a very general strategic perspective where I need to figure out how I correctly balance my focus and efforts across all of the projects, internal partners, customers, etc.

Another saying I have heard is: Managers make sure Trees are Harvested very effectively and efficiently, Leaders make sure they are working in the correct forest.

John said...

You call them "broad stereotypes", I call it a high level perspective and evaluation of long term goals.

What do you think "success" looks like to Democrats, DSA, Liberals, etc? Can you articulate and quantify it?

The Liberals at MinnPost seem to think "Conservatives" want to take taxes back to 10% of GDP. (ie1900) I think this is incorrect. I think most would be happy if we got it back into the low 30's.

Thoughts?

John said...

By the way, here is my MinnPost stereotype / Liberal vision comment.

"Please tell me about this enlightened view that they (Conservatives)are resistant to?

From my understanding, you believe that it is best for Americans and the country if the government collects a much higher percentage of the fruits of our labors. Possibly up to 60% of the GDP. And you support giving our enlightened politicians and bureaucrats the power to determine what each of us will receive in the way of education, healthcare, retirement funds, etc. This will not necessarily be based on good choices, saving, investing, continuous improvement, work ethic, risks taken, etc, but on what is "fair".

Thereby relieving us citizens of the burden of choosing, saving, investing, thinking, etc.

Am I close? How would you correct the paragraph above?" G2A

Sean said...

You continue to provoke by linking Democrats and the DSA, even after it's been repeatedly shown they have widely disparate platforms.

Sean said...

I'd also be curious how you arrive at your desired percentage of GDP as being optimal? What is the objective research that supports your opinion?

John said...

Now even you must agree that a subset of the people who vote Democrat are card carrying members of the DSA.

Just as I must admit that a subset of the people who vote Republican are members of the Tea Party or worse.

So embrace your groups diversity.

John said...

By the way, I don't think I have ever been shown the difference between the platforms. When I read the DSA site, they seem pretty similar.

By the way since socialism is such a loaded term... I am starting to call the far Lefts view the "government controlled GDP collection and "fair" redistribution" model.

Sean said...

We went through this DSA nonsense a week ago. I'm not humoring it.

Anonymous said...


And I will open it up to all:

It's not an issue I am interested in. For one thing, it's one of the issues decided in the Civil War.

"From my understanding, you believe that it is best for Americans and the country if the government collects a much higher percentage of the fruits of our labors."

Bear in mind, the government in this case is a driver who benefits by a road the government built, or a child whose health care, the government paid for. Or the website, the government created so that private insurer could have a market place in which to sell their wares. It's not as if we were paying for vacations the government is taking to Tahiti.

--Hiram

John said...

"the government in this case is a driver who benefits by a road the government built, or a child whose health care, the government paid for."

What are you saying?

Anonymous said...

Presumably government is where the money goes. And it goes to pay for things like health care, education, and public safety. If you define the size of government by the amount of money it spends, every time, a child enters a school, or a senior gets Social Security, government gets bigger.

--Hiram

John said...

As I said...

"And you support giving our enlightened politicians and bureaucrats the power to determine what each of us will receive in the way of education, healthcare, retirement funds, etc. This will not necessarily be based on good choices, saving, investing, continuous improvement, work ethic, risks taken, etc, but on what is "fair"."

I never said that the money disappears from our economy.

An example, the reality is that ~15% of my compensation goes to FICA now days. That means I no longer have control over where that money is invested or what rate of return it will earn. We have turned that money over to the politicians and bureaucrats for better or worse.

My family may have appreciated a cabin to enjoy on weekends, or I could have used it to start a business that would hire employees. These are no longer choices since we gave that freedom up. Now how much more do we want transfer over?

Anonymous said...

That means I no longer have control over where that money is invested or what rate of return it will earn. We have turned that money over to the politicians and bureaucrats for better or worse.

Actually, that money goes to retirees, many of whom are not politicians.

--Hiram

John said...

The money goes to who the politicians and bureaucrats decide.

Not to who individual citizens decide.

This not a black or white issue, some amount of government redistribution and control is required in a functioning society. The question is where is the sweet spot?

My thought 1/3 society, 2/3 citizens. Where do you think it is?

Sean said...

What is the economic evidence that backs up that ratio as being optimal? Or does it just sound good?

John said...

Mostly it just sounds good.

We know that the early 20th century was too little. And we know that France, Sweden, Greece, Spain, etc are too much.

That leaves us with a sweet spot somewhere in the mid 30's.

G2A Continuum

What is your rationale and proof that a different number is better.

Reminder:
Carrots and sticks are necessary to deal with the reality of human nature. We need enough incentive for people to want to learn, work, invent, take risks, etc if we want to keep America strong and influential.

However we still want to be compassionate and take care of those who are truly unfortunate and in need.

Sean said...

"We know that the early 20th century was too little. And we know that France, Sweden, Greece, Spain, etc are too much."

How do we know that? Is that just something else that "sounds good"?

"What is your rationale and proof that a different number is better."

We've already discussed this point. I don't believe in picking an arbitrary number because it "sounds good".

It's fascinating that whenever a liberal expresses an opinion or makes a claim, we're asked to back it up.

But when it's you, if it "sounds good", then that's enough.

Sean said...

So, to clarify, you spend most of your time on this blog railing against "liberals" who aren't opposed to spending more money as a percentage of GDP than a number you picked because it "sounds good". That's some top-notch analysis there.

John said...

Don't forget... I also rail against Conservatives. Apparently that is what it means to be a moderate.

Here is some more qualitative rationale that one of the Pauls reminded me of.

The USA is overall the best and most unique country in the world. We are wealthy and powerful and willing to use that to help others all around the world. We have destroyed aggressive nations and then helped to rebuild them. Millions of citizens from around the world would love to come live here and die trying, even though many of our own citizens take it for granted or complain that it still is not good enough for them.

And we did that with a governmental system that cost 33% or less of our GDP.

With that in mind why do you think we should screw with the most successful country in the world? Rationale and cost anaysis expected.

Sean said...

"Don't forget... I also rail against Conservatives. Apparently that is what it means to be a moderate."

Your criticism runs about 90-10 against liberals. I criticize liberals, too, but that doesn't mean I'm not one.

"With that in mind why do you think we should screw with the most successful country in the world?"

Times change, and what was done in the past doesn't always work in the future. (And I would argue a lot of what we did in the past didn't always work.)

John said...

You are doing an excellent job of being critical of me, how about you start describing what you think "success" is?



What is your rationale and proof that a different number is better.

Reminder:
Carrots and sticks are necessary to deal with the reality of human nature. We need enough incentive for people to want to learn, work, invent, take risks, etc if we want to keep America strong and influential.

However we still want to be compassionate and take care of those who are truly unfortunate and in need.

If I find time this weekend I may try to create a summary list of where I disagree with the far right and far left. It could make for an interesting tally chart.

And I am sorry that I pick on Liberals more when it comes to economics... The problem is that they seem to want to just to use the government take money from one group citizens and give it to another in the name of "fairness". And that just collides with my definition of fairness.

As I said before, should I take money from my hard working saver daughter and give it to my less motivated spender daughter once a year in the name of "fairness"???

What will that teach of them?
How will their behavior change after a few years of this?

Once Liberals are willing to discuss the downsides of government mandated wealth distribution, I will be interested in discussing it.

Sean said...

"As I said before, should I take money from my hard working saver daughter and give it to my less motivated spender daughter once a year in the name of "fairness"???"

The world is far more complicated than this example. That's your problem, you can't boil everything down to hard working versus lazy. And I refuse to play along with such simplistic scenarios.

I don't think any liberals disagree that there can be some negative side effects of the safety net. But, empirical data shows that the great majority of people on such programs would much prefer not to be on them and they don't waste what they get from them. For instance, the rate of drug use among people on welfare is lower than in the general population.

You downplay the impacts that generations of discrimination have had on some communities in our society. If your ancestors had been prohibited from owning quality farmland and treated like second-class citizens, don't you think it's likely that your family would have developed quite differently than it did? Maybe you'd look at "fairness" a little differently then.

Laurie said...

Instead of picking some random number for percent of GDP that should be spent by government. You should suggest some major changes to the federal and state government.

I am curious what percentage cut would be required if this were to be done across the board. My number sense tells me the cuts would be very large, but now that I am back in school don't have the time to attempt the math myself(I don't think my math would be very accurate either.)

John said...

Laurie,
Actually no cuts are required at all. We just need to slow government spending increases to a rate that is 1% per year slower than GDP growth for about 5 years.

That is how we created the problem. That is how we can eliminate the problem.

John said...

Sean,
Besides being born in America, my biggest advantage was having 2 parents who demanded I do great in school, show respect to adults, work hard, go to church, strive for continuous improvement, save, invest, etc.

And I do feel for kids who do not have that support or those stable solid role models. However I am pretty sure cutting checks to them and their single parent is not the answer.

Do you?

They were victims just as many of our ancestors were. That is why many of us are here and still not in the old country. How long do you want to label them victims? Personally I don't think it is helping them move ahead and work for success in this new and improved country. Remember, there are a whole lot of people in Central America who would love to have their opportunities.

Laurie said...

Your plan sure sounds like a cut to me. If it was applied to social security I am pretty sure people would be getting a smaller monthly check than they receive currently.

Here is my attempt at math (after I have had a couple glasses of wine)

1% of GDP = $150 Billion

Federal spending =$ 3.7 trillion per year

.150/3.7=4% cut

but that does not consider the need to increase funding due to inflation and increasing population, which makes actual percentage cut larger.

Anyhow, my math is very likely wrong and the cut would be much bigger and your plan is dumb.

Sean said...

My Norwegian ancestors came here voluntarily, and they weren't subject to discrimination once they got here. They were able to settle where they wanted, buy any land that was available to them, and vote for who would represent them in government.

That doesn't compare to the conditions that many others came here under, nor does it reflect the experience that many of them had once they got here. We've systematically subjugated whole groups of people to generations of discrimination -- which despite the progress we've made still exists in many forms today, as the events of the last two weeks have emphasized yet again -- but you find it easy to take the product of that process and solely blame them for their own circumstances.

John said...

US GDP History

John said...

If not theirs...

Who's fault is the huge incidence of single parent households in that population group?

This Single Parent Homes by Race is a bit dated but it defines the problem.

And this defines the consequence pretty well.Poverty and Single Parent Households

Anonymous said...

Desolation by words

It is rare that man is content to keep his emptiness of heart a secret. When that inner discord breaks forth in words, we have the sin of contention. Obviously, this does not constitute a prohibition law against discussion. Not every dispute is a sin, even though someone must be at least partly wrong, even though some disputes are never settled. A very great many arguments are positively virtuous, such, for example, as those against attacks on God or men. The difference between contention and defense of the truth is the difference between a man who will not lose an argument because his envy or pride cannot admit defeat, and the man who cannot lose an argument because he has hold of truth.

Still, even in perfectly legitimate disputes, there are limits. Somehow we do not expect a nun to descend to altercation over a taxi-fare; though we would not be so much surprised if an excited cab-driver expressed himself forcibly. We are quite right, For discussion should be suited not only to the subject-matter, but also to the person engaged in the discussion. A bishop, for example, has not the same possibilities in rough and tumble argument as has, say, a top sergeant; in fact, the bishop has no business getting into that kind of argument. In other words, this act of virtue, like any other, must be placed in fitting circumstances, the very circumstances must be in accord with reason. When discussion, however worthy its end, does not keep within fitting limits, then, as St. Paul insisted, it “not only does no good; it does serious damage to those who are listening.”

John said...

"The difference between contention and defense of the truth is the difference between a man who will not lose an argument because his envy or pride cannot admit defeat, and the man who cannot lose an argument because he has hold of truth."

The questions is how does one know the difference?

That is worth pondering.

Sean said...

"Who's fault is the huge incidence of single parent households in that population group?"

It's a combination of many factors -- a significant one being the systematic discrimination African-Americans have faced. When society breaks something, it has an obligation to help fix it.

John said...

We probabbly disagree regarding root cause.

So what is the DFL's plan for fixing it?

Sean said...

I don't think either party has a strategy. Democrats have a better understanding of the problem, but their solutions are to mild. Republicans don't accept what the problem is, so they can't address it at all.

John said...

See the Christian Values post for my response to Laurie about your comment here...