Thursday, March 15, 2018

Government Control

Jerry took issue with how a Nolan Diagram depicts government control.  In the following case there will be little argument that this is our elected government seizing control of a challenging issue.  By doing so they will place firm controls on businesses and individual citizens, for the good of citizens and tax payers.

VOX Nicotine Limits
Politco Trumps FDA Weighs Nicotine Limits

It is kind of odd that they did not do this earlier...  I mean nicotine is highly addictive, cigarettes are very deadly and for some reason we kept letting companies lace cigarettes with high levels of nicotine.



jerrye92002 said...

I'm not sure whether you have a really good example or a really bad one. On the one side, I have long known that nicotine is in the same chemical family as strychnine, morphine and heroin. It would make sense it would be regulated-- i.e. unlawful-- in a similar way. And everybody and their brother knows that smoking is hazardous to your health, since people in the 30s referred to them as "coffin nails" or "coughin' nails."

On the other hand, I do not trust government to control the use of a "natural" product. Addition of nicotine is perhaps not unreasonable, just the way we prohibit the addition of red dye #5-- a legitimate (even though questionable) function of the FDA, to protect the public health. But to say that the tobacco plant must be re-engineered is a bridge too far, IMHO.

So it is curious why government hasn't simply placed a prohibition on them. Obviously they are harmful when "abused." Oh, that's right, we tried it with booze and it failed, because people demanded the FREEDOM to do as they pleased with booze, and even resented government control of that choice.

The other curious thing here is the whole "tobacco tax" thing. Why would government continue to allow the "choice" of damaging "public health"? Because they PROFIT greatly from taxing it so heavily. They pride themselves for raising taxes to reduce smoking (controlling behavior), yet do not believe that raising the minimum wage or the gas tax or income taxes will alter behavior in the least. Oh, and are we still paying agriculture subsidies to tobacco growers?

John said...

Because “the government” is us... and enough of us apparently still want to smoke.

Your desire to treat government as some kind of dictatorship amuses me. :-)

I am on my way back to China right now. Now there is a third party government.

jerrye92002 said...

The "government is us" is another one of those simplistic statements that, despite endless repetition, remains as specious as "we get the government we deserve." We get the government that somebody else voted to have, on occasion, and even when "our side" wins the other side tends to gum things up and prevent progress.

Some time ago I was asked, since the tendency is for the USSR to become more capitalistic and the USA more socialistic, at what point they would "cross over" each other. My response was, "about one more Democrat administration."

Your linear chart is correct. Democrats seek more government control, Republicans seek less, with a wide bimodal distribution on that, both issue by issue and by general rule.

By the way, it is sometimes said that China is rapidly overtaking the US in economic freedom. The US is now #18.

John said...

So freedom is when your tribe can rule us all?

"when "our side" wins"

That is an interesting definition of freedom.

Now if you think citizens in China or Russia are more free than American citizens, I think you need to spend more time over here.

As for your obsession with "financial freedom", it is unfortunate that you worship money so. :-)

John said...

If this is your source... 18 is considered Mostly Free

Whereas Russia (107) and China (110) are Mostly Unfree.

jerrye92002 said...

But look at the term itself: "financial freedom" is the absence of government control, by definition. If your "personal freedom" is not intricately tied to how you acquire and use resources, then what is it?

jerrye92002 said...

Freedom is when "one side" "wins" and gets their cotton-pickin' hands out of the gin. Does reducing government regulation increase personal freedom, or not?

Anonymous said...

Does reducing government regulation increase personal freedom, or not?

It depends, I suppose. Reducing government regulation on corporations increases what they can do. Arguably, that makes them freer. Does it make you freer?


jerrye92002 said...

Yes, because I can more easily find work, get better returns on my investment, makes them more competitive and reduces the trade imbalance, helping us all, and probably means more efficient use of resources.

Anonymous said...

“Does reducing government regulation increase personal freedom, or not?”

That depends. If the air is too dirty to breathe, are we more free or less free? When people with guns terrorize schools, are we more free or less free? When the water is drinkable, are we more free or less free? When cars are safe to drive, are we more free or less free? When we can marry the person of our choosing, are we more free or less free?


jerrye92002 said...

I see the problem. I should have said "reducing UNNECESSARY government regulation..." Laws which actually increase safety and security, like ALLOWING teachers to defend students rather than preventing it, like allowing power companies to produce power and emit a totally harmless gas-- CO2-- while limiting the harmful things like SO2 and ash. Things like letting you marry whom you please, but reserving government benefits to those who meet the requirements. Things like mandating specific auto technologies, rather than the pollution they produce makes us LESS free to buy a car that is both cheaper to buy and operate AND pollutes less. Generally speaking, we have gone FAR too far to the side of government regulating things they have no business regulating.

I guess the big argument here has to be, is any specific regulation something government SHOULD be doing, and is it being done in the most cost-effective and least restrictive manner? That consideration seems to be missing in most of the "do something" mentality of government today.

Anonymous said...

You’re too far gone to even have an argument with anymore. And I can argue with anyone. LOL


jerrye92002 said...

Well, then, your options are still intact. You can:
-- accept reality or invent your own
-- agree with me or be wrong
-- continue to prove that common sense has no bearing on the "argument"

Anonymous said...

Common sense says a person without a gun cannot shoot someone. You’ve never agreed.

Common sense says that cities can alert their citizens to Federal activities within their city. You disagree.


John said...

Your common theme continues... You consider freedom to be increased when you and your tribe mandate the rules of our society.

"reducing UNNECESSARY government regulation..."

Now since the "Conservative" tribe makes up only ~35% of American society, it is very unlikely that your tribe will be able to control the majority.

And since majority makes and enforces the rules in our society...

It seems that the majority will interpret their country as very free.

John said...

Now the corollary to this is that the minority may feel more controlled.

Just think of how controlled the LGBTQ and minority communities felt for the decades and centuries while the white heterosexual wealthy citizens made and enforced the rules...

Though I am against the wastes incurred by our huge governmental bureaucracies, public employee unions and wealth transfer with minimal personal improvement expectations. Even I can understand that freedom in America is near an all time high.

jerrye92002 said...

Hold up. Are we talking about the "rules of society" or are we talking about government laws and regulations? The federal register is at an all-time high for number of pages. Laws control people. The more laws, the more control. Some desirable, even necessary, but control nonetheless. Those laws that match the unwritten rules of society go largely unnoticed. Those that fly in the face of it, like a requirement that we address everybody by their "preferred pronoun," are simply too controlling and limit our freedom.

And if "my 35%" do not make laws, perhaps because we don't want them, then the other 65% DOES get to make laws that control all of us, sometimes exempting themselves. For example, the Hollywood poobahs crying for gun control while employing armed bodyguards. Or Congress exempt from Obamacare.

John said...

Now if your "my 35%" actually were anti-government control you may have a point.

However as noted above, the "white heterosexual wealthy citizens" have a long history of seeking to control the behaviors, incomes, beliefs, etc of other citizens.

How do they say that again... Karma is a bitch... :-)

jerrye92002 said...

So, is this accurately documented fact, or merely wicked prejudice on your part? Has it occurred to you that the "angry white men" may have a real grievance about being called "angry white men"?

John said...

Seems like history to me.
- slavery
- poll taxes
- Jim Crow laws
- men only voting
- laws against LGBTQ behavior
- laws against LGBTQ marriage
- laws against women obtaining birth control and first term abortions
- availability of land grants, loans, etc

And I did not write "angry white men"... Where did you get that from?

Is that a good description of how you feel now that everyone else is attaining some of the freedom and wealth that we have had all along?

jerrye92002 said...

Who ended slavery? A white man.
Who ended jim crow? Republicans, mostly white men.
Who voted to let women vote? White men.
Who passed the law allowing gay marriage? Liberal white men.
Who passed a law against birth control? Nobody I know.

How I feel? I feel as though everybody already has all of the freedoms I have, and the wealth that results from diligently exercising that freedom. What makes me unhappy is that certain of our "betters" in the ruling class demand that I have less freedom so that certain favored classes can have more. That is control that government should not have.

Anonymous said...

Who ended slavery? The people in power and an army.
Who ended jim crow? The people in power.
Who passed women's suffrage? The people in power.
Who passed the law allowing gay marriage? Nobody. The SCOTUS found laws against to be unconstitutional.
Who passed a law against birth control? Those who forced the government to carve out health care exemptions in the law.

Now, you'd have to ask yourself why the people in power for much of our history have been white men, but that would require not being oblivious.


jerrye92002 said...

what was the point of this discussion again? To determine if government had too much power and control? who makes up the government has no particular bearing on that question, especially since most of those corrected ills were corrected by old white men, and only recently has government power been increased to create new ills.

John said...

Actually it started with me complimenting some more government control.

"In the following case there will be little argument that this is our elected government seizing control of a challenging issue. By doing so they will place firm controls on businesses and individual citizens, for the good of citizens and tax payers."

John said...

Then you made some silly comment comparing the USA freedoms to China and Russian freedoms... As if they are in any way similar.

jerrye92002 said...

And yet there SHOULD be argument, and it is built into your "compliment" itself. You pride the government for "seizing control," go from there to stating, with zero evidence, that this is "good [for] citizens and taxpayers" while ignoring the fact that government has not already banned this "addictive drug" because of the huge windfall from cigarette taxes. If the product was banned, taxpayers in general would have to pick up the difference-- not good. If the product is NOT banned, government doesn't have the evidence or gumption, or both, to trample on individual freedoms. At a time when "local control" is being exercised to ALLOW marijuana, does it really make sense to exercise FEDERAL control over another optional recreational drug?

China is treading that fine line between fully linking economic and political freedom and the impossibility of delinking the two. The government directly controls things like the power and steel industries-- about 50% socialist, in other words-- while allowing a lot of raw entrepreneurship capitalism to work. That the government has not already been forced to change is, I believe, a matter of Chinese culture that puts value on small-C "communism." I think if you asked, they would place themselves much higher on the "freedom" scale than we would.

John said...

There you go again talking like "government" is some third party very unique from the will of us citizens. It is interesting.

My friends in China have an interesting life:
- they don't know their actual tax bill
- they don't know what the government spends
- they have no say in what laws are passed
- they have no say in who is in charge
- they have some significant air and water pollution issues
- the normal people struggle along while some people get very rich, often because of political connections
- the press is not allowed to investigate and report on corruption
- they can only have so many children
- they can not officially live in a city and obtain services until they meet that cities criteria

Thankfully with all their lack of freedom, their government acts like a benevolent dictatorship and invests a lot into the infrastructure and keeping the people peaceful.

John said...

Again... How did you come to a point in life where money is so important to you that you equate it with personal freedom?

You can buy what you want, vote how you want, go where you want, complain when you want, have the children you want, etc... And yet you feel highly controlled... It is very strange.

Sean said...

"How did you come to a point in life where money is so important to you that you equate it with personal freedom?"

Isn't that the whole point of your "33% of GDP" threshold?

jerrye92002 said...

Where did you get to the point that having no money was not a concern for you? Is my freedom to complain really worth 33% of my pay?

Sure, I have the freedom to vote, but government controls the voting process to allow fraudulent votes to cancel out mine. Even when they control something they SHOULD control, they do it incorrectly, so why should they have control of things they should NOT be doing?

John said...

Please remember that I value both the Personal Freedom axis and the Financial Freedom axis of the Nolan Diagram. It is Jerry who is insisting that in reality there is only one axis.

As for 33%, it seems as good of a number as any other...

It needs to be high enough to run the government and assist unlucky /irresponsible citizens...

And low enough to convince lucky / responsible citizens to work hard, take risks, learn, invent, etc...

We could go to a higher number if we got rid of public employee unions and found someway to keep our bureaucracies from acting like inefficient / ineffective monopolies. Unfortunately without competition that is very hard to do.

Anonymous said...

"Sure, I have the freedom to vote, but government controls the voting process to allow fraudulent votes to cancel out mine."

Now you seem to know exactly who these phantoms are voting for, as well.

And I thought clairvoyants were fake.


John said...

"voting process to allow fraudulent votes to cancel out mine"


You know you would be happier if you focused on how free you truly are...

Instead of focusing on the few loose strings that bind you....

If you were at a reception with a free bar, it seems you would be the one complaining that they did not have the "right brand of whiskey"... :-)