Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Bernie Sanders for President?

MinnPost Bernie Sanders

The comments in response to that post brought me back to our past discussions regarding perceptions of where we as individuals stand on the political spectrum.  G2A Relativity  Thoughts?
"I Like Bernie, he is honest about who he is and what he wants.
DSA USA We Need Bernie " G2A

"Does it make people anxious here that you are cheering on a Democratic Socialist?

I am curious because whenever I bring up the DSA I am told that they are totally different from the Democrats, yet many comments here seem often to be aligned with the DSA's stated views. My readers often remind me that the Democrats are not as far left as the more Liberal commenters on Minnpost.

In a mixed economy, where do we cross the line from a Capitalistic leaning society into a Democratic Socialistic society? Thoughts?" G2A

"The battle is endless between "Right" and "Left" but you can look forever and not find any attempt in the popular discourse to define the terms coherently, aside from their lying either side of an imaginary "center" that is always being pulled Rightward by the messaging of concentrated wealth and the corporate media (see "Overton Window").

I have a conceptual framework that makes sense to me. One end - the far Right end - is no redistribution of initial endowments, no collective constraint on private transactions and no redistribution of the allocations resulting from those transactions. The other end - the far Left end - is full consensus of all society members on decisions as to the allocation of inputs to economic activity and the allocation of the resulting wealth. These absolute poles are heuristic and not meaningful as choices - the first ends in Totalitarianism, the second ends nowhere because it never gets started. By my framework, I'm squarely in the middle: the mix of balance of private and collective economic prerogatives that maximizes the capacity of people in the society to live decent and self-determined lives (i.e., "freedom").

So I don't know what a "Capitalistic leaning" society is nor do I agree that there's a boundary between "Capitalistic leaning" and "Democratic Socialistic." It's a continuum, and it's about finding the right place on the continuum. Mr. Sanders is certainly a lot closer to that center than any other of the candidates, though he still relies more on redistribution (a Right-oriented ameliorative) than on adjusting the structures so that the wealth allocations resulting from transactions doesn't require so much redistribution in the first place." Charles

""Mr. Sanders is certainly a lot closer to that center than any other of the candidates"

I am sure no one will find it surprising that I disagree. Especially since his view of good is Northern Europe. My readers and I took a shot at trying to put the continuum on a graphic. G2A Political Self Awareness

The measure I use is how much of the Total US GDP is collected and spent / redistributed by all aspects of our government. As you can see this particular measure started to the far right in 1900 and has been continuously moving Left ever since. That is why I find it humorous when Liberals say that it is the GOP trying to change things.

Thoughts?" G2A

36 comments:

Sean said...

Wouldn't it more worthwhile to discuss Sanders's actual positions on issues than bicker over what to label him? While I don't support Sanders, he offers specific proposals on a number of issues that are worthy of discussion.

Sean said...

For instance, he has suggested implementing a Wall Street transaction tax to fund free tuition at public universities. A provocative idea on many levels.

John said...

How is tax the rich and give to the not rich provocative?

Sean said...

OK, you don't find it provocative. Do you have any discussions on the merits of the proposal?

Laurie said...

a Wall Street transaction tax to fund free tuition at public universities sounds like a good idea to me.

John said...

Laurie,
I was so "not surprised" by your comment that I burst out laughing. :-)

Sean,
Rarely have I ever found it a good idea to give people things for free. History is showing that it is quickly turned into an entitlement and the gift is not appreciated / maintained / worked for. Remember the housing projects...

My daughter is great and often I think I am making her too comfortable in college. I think it very difficult for young people to prioritize and focus, I think being on the hook for the bill is a great motivator. And if the Parents and/or Grand Parents are helping, they are more likely to help steer the young person.

Can you even imagine the government trying to oversee free education, and working to ensure waste and/or fraud do not occur?

Bloomberg
Slate
The Nation

The disincentive to frequent trades sounds provocative, however the 50 cent loading sounds like a real bad idea since it would bite into the earnings of everyone who owns mutual funds, stocks, etc. Which of course is all of us who lived below our means, saved and invested in 401Ks, IRA's, etc.

One last thing, since the tax payers are paying do we get to choose which majors will not be subsidized? Can we limit it to only for those that will increase the global competitiveness of the USA in the world? (ie technology, healthcare, genetics, teachers, science, math, mechanics, plumbing, electrical, etc) Or will we be paying for all degrees?

It would be a shame if we paid tax dollars for more lawyers, politicians, etc...

Laurie said...

Can you even imagine the government trying to oversee free education? yes, it is called E-12 public education and for the most part it works pretty well. Nearly all the students I know (my kids friends) apply themselves in high school so they can get into the college of their choosing. It seems like increasing their chances of landing a good job should be motivation enough to work hard in college.

If college tuition was free students and families would still need to have money for room and board for whatever fits their plan /budget. Both my boys have been very exited for the independent living / 4 yr college route, even though stay at home / community college is a better fit for our budget. I also wanted them to have the independent living college experience, even if it means they go into debt.

Maybe you would agree that college should be more affordable than what it is currently. Did you go $30,000 or more in debt to get your degree?

John said...

K-12 has a big advantage and they are performing somewhat questionably, the kids are forced into pretty much the same curriculum. (ie Reading, Writing, Math, Science, and maybe some Foreign Language) This would not be the case for college.

Yes I do think college should cost less. Have you been to a college campus lately? I am always amazed at how many buildings, exercise facilities, stadiums, research labs, etc they are building. I am thinking like K-12, they need to do some serious changes to improve effectivity / efficiency. Where as usual, you want to give them more money.

Thankfully my Parents and Grand relatives covered almost all of my expenses. They were very old and conveniently kept passing away.

John said...

"It seems like increasing their chances of landing a good job should be motivation enough to work hard in college."

Are you serious? The people you hang with must be very mature and disciplined at 18.

At 18 I was wondering when / where the next keg race was, and which college co ed would be interested in a geek like me. And I was a hard working HS honor student...

That is why the non-traditional students were often the curve wreckers in class. They actually listened and studied.

Laurie said...

Where as usual, you want to give them more money.

I would like for colleges to have a tuition freeze and for my son to be given more financial aid.

My older son and most of his friends have graduated in 4 years and many of them have jobs lined up already. You seem to have worked hard enough in college to have a successful career. Are you saying that you would have worked harder if you were paying for your education with student loans rather than have relatives pay your way?

Laurie said...

I wonder what Bernie would have to say about this:

Pink Slips at Disney. But First, Training Foreign Replacements.

to me it seems to be an example that we need more socialism and less capitalism when viewed as a spectrum as you suggest.

Laurie said...

Here is an issue on which you might agree with Bernie:

Poll Finds 80% Of REPUBLICANS Agree With Bernie Sanders On Citizens United

Also, about Bernie, I think many people think somewhat highly of him because he is a straight talker. I think Jessie Ventura got elected governor many years ago because he was a straight talker. (not that I think Bernie will be elected, though I will likely make a small contribution to support his campaign for as long as it lasts.)

John said...

If you want them to have tuition freezes, demand that they cut spending, stop tenure and make better use of the buildings and resources they have.

After about 3 semesters I started limiting my drinking to weekends and started pulling mostly A's and B's. The first thing I told my daughter was to not let that GPA start low... It is bugger to pull up.

I don't know if I would have been more motivated, however since my much more mature parents were closely involved, they straightened me out.

That Disney story is a real bummer, would it have been better if they had just sent the jobs to India? So what can we do to make American employees more cost competitive? Maybe reduce our taxes and reduce the money we spend on government programs?

Please remember that I believe American consumer purchasing choices have off shored far more jobs than cold calculating managers. Most American consumers don't care as long as they get the product / service they want for the lowest price. So should we force American consumers to only buy American products and services?

As for money in politics... Even a broken clock is correct 2 times per day. I wonder if the survey participants would agree regarding the "preferred reforms".

jerrye92002 said...

Just a couple things. John, recent studies confirm that Americans would much prefer to "Buy American" but that has become a terrible puzzle. Where we should be concerned is not the off-shoring of cheap labor but of capital-intensive manufacturing and technical innovation that SHOULD be a US strength, but isn't because government gets in the way-- i.e. too much socialism already. Second, we keep trying it here in Minnesota, where we increase taxpayer-funded tuition support for our college students, and the universities and colleges raise their tuitions and add another layer of administrators. Perhaps if our state university students had to pay the full boat, tuitions would get reduced, or fewer "Women's studies" majors would be enrolled.

jerrye92002 said...

I agree that a straight-talking candidate is always to be appreciated, but voting for that candidate requires that such straight talk not be of the Looney Left (or Looney Middle) variety.

Anonymous said...

...or the Crazy Right (think Michele Bachmann) variety.

John said...

Here is a related story..

CNN Scandanavian Dream
Agenda for Growth

jerrye92002 said...

Ah, see, that's where that political spectrum thing comes into play. Michelle Bachmann, from where I stand, is part of the Sensible Center.

John said...

That does explain a lot... :-)

Anonymous said...

I'm with John on this one. That's the scariest thing I've heard all day.

jerrye92002 said...

I was going to make the observation out of thin air, but reading the Roosevelt Institute report convinces me it is the correct one. Start with the knee-jerk objection to Michelle Bachmann based on who she is, rather than what she actually says or how (deliberately provocatively) she says it. Perhaps looking at the political spectrum as Left-Right or Socialist-Libertarian is all wrong. Maybe we should be looking at the spectrum as Rational-Irrational. The Roosevelt piece is a masterpiece of high-sounding phrases signifying nothing, with no evidence that they will operate in the real world and ample evidence they do not. They're socialist utopian cant, and can't work. For example, they claim "the 1%" have created all of this terrible income inequality, but the fact is that Obama, Democrats and leftist ideology are responsible, and it can be proven with facts and logic! That is, when economic growth is lowered because of government interference in the marketplace (taxes, particularly on capital, regulation, uncertainty, etc.) those whose income derives from investments do better and those whose income derives from labor (think unemployed) do worse and income inequality grows. Economic growth lowers the inequality as in "A rising tide lifts all boats" as JFK said. The Roosevelt people (and I'm guessing Bernie Sanders) think you can solve the problem with more of the poison that caused it. Irrational.

Anonymous said...

I don't care who she is. It's the crazy 'stuff' that comes out of her mouth, most of which has been factually incorrect.

Anonymous said...

Start with the knee-jerk objection to Michelle Bachmann based on who she is, rather than what she actually says or how (deliberately provocatively) she says it.

Kind of an odd thing to say. Apart from her politics, Michelle is pretty much like everyone I know. It's what she says that differentiates her. She is quite intentionally a provocateur, and speaking as one who has some of those tendencies myself, provocateurs really are in no position to complain if people are provoked. Indeed, they are and should be disappointed when they are not.

--Hiram

Laurie said...

about the Disney story, maybe corporate leaders and shareholders should be less greedy. Who knows, maybe in a few years they will find an engineer from somewhere in Asia who could do your job, John, for a lot less money. I think the solution to this corporate / share holder greed is to raise taxes on the wealthy and fund more jobs in construction, education, healthcare, etc.

jerrye92002 said...

"... most of which has been factually incorrect"? Really? Politically incorrect I would believe. Sometimes liberals mistake political talking points for facts, so I suppose I could ask you to name two or three examples?

jerrye92002 said...

Laurie, I appreciate the sentiment, I do, but I just find it hard to square with what goes on in the real world, with real people in it. I really worry about the teaching profession, because right now there are millions of highly educated Indians who could, for about 2/3 less than the MEA demands, do remote teaching in US classrooms. It's even worse in private enterprise with no government and union protections. Let's imagine for a minute that you are one of those "greedy" corporate leaders, making millions, and the government decides that a 100% tax rate is appropriate (as was proposed when Wall Street bonuses came out a few years back). I took the average value of those bonuses and determined that I could live in seaside luxury for the next 25 years, in Belize, if I refused to pay and went to live there. A more modest plan, to simply "tax the rich" would result in some combination of the following: reduced capital investment, slowing economic growth; more off-shoring of jobs to keep profits up, added incentives for foreign competition to American businesses and, perhaps most importantly, a great reduction in tax collections because rich people can afford very good tax lawyers. It's been tried many times, reducing taxes and seeing total tax collections go UP. By the way, I have a solution for this "corporate greed" you talk about. Tell the Koch brothers to quit funding PBS, and their several major art and science foundations. They wouldn't have to make so much money if they didn't give so much of it away. :->

Laurie said...

It is currently possible for American students to get a free university education, they just need to be willing to move to Germany.

How US students get a university degree for free in Germany

Seems to work pretty well over there.

jerrye92002 said...

Laurie, if you add up: the amount the taxpayers subsidize State university tuition, the amount of money government spends funding university research, the amount spent on worthless classes, and the wastes such as excess administration, it could probably be done here, too. It would just mean a radical mind-shift from "hallowed halls of ivy" where we send our kids to "grow up" while completely shielding them from the real world and competing ideas, into something like a trade school, where they will become productive members of the society-- the way the Germans justify their program. I sympathize, I really do, because I was able to work my way through college until senior year. Then I borrowed from my folks and repaid it out of my third paycheck. Can't imagine anybody doing that today.

Anonymous said...

Here you go, jerry. And remember, these are only the most egregious examples.

Liar, Liar

Sean said...

" It's been tried many times, reducing taxes and seeing total tax collections go UP."

Have you looked at Kansas lately?

Sure, tax revenues go up a lot of times after you cut taxes. That's because America has a growing population and even in the bad times -- generally a growing economy. Government revenues increased faster in the Carter Administration than they did in the Reagan administration, though. There's not a tax cut in the world that has paid for itself.

jerrye92002 said...

"There's not a tax cut in the world that has paid for itself." I question that statement but, more importantly, I point out that it is not the purpose of tax cuts to provide more money to government. It is the purpose of tax cuts to let people keep, and spend according to their own needs and wants, more of THEIR money. All money does NOT, as some liberals apparently believe, belong to the government first, so that we should be thankful for any pittance they allow us to have.

As for Carter v. Reagan, I would point out that rampant inflation increased tax revenues substantially under Carter, while after the Reagan tax cuts federal revenue still went UP.

jerrye92002 said...

Thanks for the citation--"Liar, liar" Sorry, but the "Politifact" organization is to some degree misnamed, IMHO. In some cases Bachmann's quote is hyperbole for effect, granted, but Politifact then makes the counter-assertion without substantiating it and uses that baseless counter-assertion to label the original statement a lie. If you skip the hyperbole and put the remark in context you will see that Michelle almost always has a strong underlying point.

Anonymous said...

For example...

Sean said...

You're the one who touted tax cuts' ability to create growth of government revenue into this, not us.

"As for Carter v. Reagan, I would point out that rampant inflation increased tax revenues substantially under Carter, while after the Reagan tax cuts federal revenue still went UP."

Even if you adjust for inflation and population growth, it's still not good.

Krugman on Revenue

jerrye92002 said...

OK, take the first one: "The president … by executive order" could grant voting rights to illegal immigrants who are newly legalized under pending legislation."-- MB
"The president can't; only states can."- Politifact

Real facts. Obama's executive order not only deferred deportation but conferred PR status. He can't legally do that, though the courts have yet to rule. If he succeeds, considering the number of illegals who are registered and vote NOW, it is a pretty straight line between the two parts of her statement.

And another:

Michele Bachmann: President Barack Obama "has virtually no one in his cabinet with private-sector experience."
Politifact: Wrong in 2009, and wrong today.

That is an assertion without basis. They should have quoted numbers. I suspect they are stretching the definition of "private sector," but Michelle perhaps should have said "business experience." Again, her underlying point stands. The worst you can claim here is that she repeated solid data from another fact-checking organization-- Accuracy in Media, or from Forbes magzine, both of which carried the story.

Look, some people don't like Michelle Bachmann; I understand that. But does that make her an extremist, or YOU? Kinda depends on where you stand, doesn't it?

jerrye92002 said...

"You're the one who touted tax cuts' ability to create growth of government revenue into this, not us." Really? In response for Bernie Sanders' ideas to massively increase taxes to increase government spending (stated or unstated), what should the correct response be? I understand that trying to correlate tax rates, government revenues, the economic and political cycles can be cross-referenced any number of ways to prove almost anything. Again, what is needed is to consider what SHOULD happen under broad swaths of public policy decisions, like Bernie Sanders might make. Pure socialist economies don't generally work, and pure capitalist societies have their drawbacks. I believe we have gone too far left in our current "mixed economy" and Bernie Sanders would take us further. No deal.