published Sunday, November 14th, 2010

Rock!

about Clay Bennett...

The son of a career army officer, Bennett led a nomadic life, attending ten different schools before graduating in 1980 from the University of North Alabama with degrees in Art and History. After brief stints as a staff artist at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Fayetteville (NC) Times, he went on to serve as the editorial cartoonist for the St. Petersburg Times (1981-1994) and The Christian Science Monitor (1997-2007), before joining the staff of the ...

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AndrewLohr said...

Since people are living longer and healthier than in A.D. 1935, raise the retirement age when SS gets into financial difficulties. Instead of making promises and then looking around for tax money to keep them, adjust SS to reality. And rather than show the imagination and flexibility of a rock, consider privatization, which has worked for other countries.

November 14, 2010 at 5:27 a.m.
EaTn said...

Andrew- you need to change news channels since the one you're watching is making you go blind. The SS funds have been raided to fund other programs for years. And for privatization, how many private pension funds have or are nearly broke because of a downside to investments? The Tea Party shouts will sound like the squeaking of a mouse compared to the uproar if the right-wing nuts start messing with SS.

November 14, 2010 at 5:54 a.m.
Clara said...

Musicman,

I just found your answer to my question about the music/kazoo cartoon and am glad I took the time to go back.

All I could guess was that it was not a jazz or contemporary piece, but a classical something far beyond my musical ability to read.

Thank you much for your trouble and answer.

I apologize for being off-topic but I didn't think anyone else was going back that far. I have no idea why I did return. I'm glad I did.

I'll do some research elsewhere. Still curious, and thanks again.

November 14, 2010 at 6 a.m.
Tax_Payer said...

Social Security is the 3rd rail. Whoever attacks it will lose votes!

November 14, 2010 at 6:05 a.m.
woody said...

Wildman, I looked over your ideas and found several of them to have merit. However, most of what you asked for could have been covered under one other point.

  1. Tell congress to keep their 'money-grubbing' hands off SS.

Just like a lot of great ideas. FDR's attempt at taking care of the elderly when they could no longer work was brilliant. So much so, that when congress could not find enough money to fund their respective 'pork barrel' projects they just dipped into SS funds..and, of course, always with the intent of paying it back once the time was right.

The problem was and is, the time never got right.

What I have written, up to this point, is pure assumption on my part, but it would likely come as close to being right as any other opinion.

The thing is this..we still need to do whatever we can to ensure that the "baby-boomers" who paid in the bulk of what made up SS are taken care of. Then, if the majority of the 'working class' of today decide they want to handle their own retirement..let them.

By that time us "boomers" will be far beyond caring, I'm sure.

Have a great day, Woody

November 14, 2010 at 7:22 a.m.
Dumbledore403 said...

Andrew- May I point out that the original intent of the Social Security was to be a help in meeting the needs of the older citizens. At least as far as I can remember from my long ago lessons from school. The funds were never meant to be used to pay other things in the Government. From what I read privatization has not worked all that well Scripture teaches that we as believers need to help the widows and the orphans in their affliction. That we as believers need to help those who are in need. There would be not be as much need if we as believers in our churches help our fellow believers as much as we are able. Could it be that God allowed Social Security to come into being because we who claim God as our God have failed to do this?

November 14, 2010 at 8:09 a.m.
LibDem said...

Increasing retirement age is certainly a funding solution. The moral problem, of course, is that the population sector pushing life expectancy upward may not be those who most need early social security, those who perform the physical, lower pay work. The accountant may well outlive his gardener. I like wildman's suggestions (which might be a little meanspirited). It's already true that when one's income exceeds a maximum, a portion of SS benefits become income taxable. Not quite the same as denying benefits above a particular ceiling but recognizing that the benefit is less a necessity for those who have other income.

November 14, 2010 at 8:55 a.m.
GreenKepi said...

This ‘so-called’ Social Security was originally a safety net for those that had absolutely no money and would catch those fortunate enough to live past life expectancy. Then here came the "improvements" and "additions"…which made it more and more for the “down and out”…making it more and more expensive. I don’t think any of us are against a safety net…but shouldn’t we all be against what we have now - a tax with a false promise.

November 14, 2010 at 9:06 a.m.
lkeithlu said...

"This ‘so-called’ Social Security was originally a safety net for those that had absolutely no money and would catch those fortunate enough to live past life expectancy."

There is probably not a wealthy retiree that would look at it as a safety net. They will consider it an entitlement that they have paid into all their working lives without a choice and therefore have every right to collect it. Virtually no one recognizes it as a source of funds for those who can't otherwise support themselves. It is viewed as mandatory government retirement.

The combination of the boomers retiring with good health and longer life expectancy with the increase in younger folks who will be disabled early due to health problems tied to obesity will bankrupt the system.

November 14, 2010 at 9:16 a.m.
mmlj said...

Stat of the day: Ida May Fuller was the first recipient of monthly social security checks. She paid $24.75 into the system, contributing over the last three years of her career as a secretary. She died in 1975, having received $22,888.92. That's a pretty good investment.

November 14, 2010 at 9:32 a.m.
mountainlaurel said...

The so called “deficit hawks” who are attacking Social Security are being less than straightforward with the American public, and they should hide their heads in shame. The bottom line is that Social Security is not responsible for our country’s current fiscal problems, and these people know it.

If they want to reduce the deficit, they need to force themselves to face what caused the deficit in the first place, which - as any honest and responsible adult knows - is primarily the Bush tax cuts and the two costly wars that so many of these people opted to conduct and continue to conduct in the Middle East.

To play around with and to promote benefit cuts for tens of millions of middle class Americans who are dependent on Social Security for their retirement income, in lieu of honestly dealing with the real causes of the fiscal problems they've created, is callous, cowardly, dishonest, irresponsible and unacceptable.

November 14, 2010 at 9:38 a.m.
EaTn said...

mountainlaurel--I couldn't have said it better (otherwise I would have).

November 14, 2010 at 10:43 a.m.
acerigger said...

Before you mess with Social Security, here's a few thoughts from the old "cutter and paster"; The US has over 100 military bases in Germany alone. These bases may have made sense when we feared a Soviet attack on Western Europe, but the Cold War ended 20 years ago. Why is American taxpayers' money being spent on bases that stimulate the economy of Germany, while defending NATO against a threat that no longer exists? #

Since 2001, the US has spent over $55 billion on Afghan reconstruction. Much of this money has been wasted and has fueled corruption in Afghanistan. For example, USAID earmarked $100 million of American taxpayers' money on the Khost-Ghardez Highway, but, due to a militant attack, opted to abandon the project halfway through until security improves. The Army spent $5.5 million to build seven police headquarters, five of which were not completed. And if you want a "bridge to nowhere," the Army built a million-dollar suspension bridge in Afghanistan, but it is useless since no road leads to it. Further, under the $2.2 billion Host Nation Trucking contract, the Pentagon pays protection money to corrupt Afghan security companies that, according to the New York Times, gives some of this money to the Taliban to assure safe passage of American supplies

The Pentagon cannot account for $2.6 billion that it spent in Iraq. According to congressional investigators, Halliburton overbilled American taxpayers by as much as $1.4 billion PDF for services in Iraq. This included $45 for cases of soda, and $1,000 for VCRs. According to Fox News, Halliburton overbilled the taxpayer $61 million for gasoline. The $708 billion defense budget proposed for 2011 is, in constant dollars, the highest it has been since World War II -- 36 percent higher than it was at the height of the Vietnam War in 1968, and as much as all other discretionary programs in the federal budget combined. Astonishingly, a half of all military spending in the world comes from the US taxpayer. The average American family gives $5,615 of its hard-earned money to the Pentagon every year Inexplicably, some national politicians seek to protect this outrageous waste of your money. John Boehner has said that we should raise the retirement age to stretch the social security budget, but that the military budget should be off-limits to budget cutting.. The founding fathers were suspicious of standing armies. They would be horrified to see how their beloved country has become a government of the people for the defense contractors. If you want to take your country back, you have to take it back from General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman, Lockheed, Halliburton, Bechtel, and their errand boys and girls in Congress, too. ht;Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

November 14, 2010 at 10:43 a.m.
Clara said...

Thank you all for your input. It's really saved me the trouble of having to dig up facts today.

I've already erased 3 other comments I tried to make.

Have a peaceful day, and hope that some sense can overcome the top 3% of the nation and our representatives.

Sigh!

November 14, 2010 at 11:11 a.m.
Clara said...

mmlj wrote-"Stat of the day: Ida May Fuller was the first recipient of monthly social security checks. She paid $24.75 into the system, contributing over the last three years of her career as a secretary. She died in 1975, having received $22,888.92. That's a pretty good investment." ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It was indeed, a good investment. It probably enabled her to live longer and help others.

Where did you get THAT fact?

When did she start working?

How old was she when she died?

November 14, 2010 at 11:57 a.m.
alprova said...

Andrew wrote: "Since people are living longer and healthier than in A.D. 1935, raise the retirement age when SS gets into financial difficulties."


But of course. Because politicians on both sides of the aisle view funds collected for one purpose, as a means to buy votes, rather than to use them for the purpose intended, let's make those who are looking forward to retiring in their 60's now wait until they are in their 70's.

Even better, maybe they'll drop dead of a heart attack before they collect their first check. That is what the Republicans are betting on.


"Instead of making promises and then looking around for tax money to keep them, adjust SS to reality."


Would you like some reality Andrew?

The problem with the system, is that the rates we pay into the system are artificially low. I've paid nearly $200,000 into both Social Security and Medicare over my working years, thus far.

If everything stays on course, and I retire with full benefits 3 months prior to my 67th birthday, I will only have to live another nine years to receive every penny I paid into the system.

And that does not include one penny being paid on my behalf by Medicare. One good hospitalization for a serious medical issue, and it could cut that timeline in half or more.

The ONLY answer to restoring the system to total solvency is to raise those taxes on everyone, and to tax every cent of income that one makes. And THEN, those funds should be left alone and only used for the purpose they are collected.


"And rather than show the imagination and flexibility of a rock, consider privatization, which has worked for other countries."


Given that Wall Street has been so 'responsible' with our private investments entrusted them for our future, that makes perfect sense.

By all means, let's hand 'em some more money to siphon off and to put in the hands of a few at the top, who are on the other end of that hose.

You might as well be working in a factory that manufactures those golden parachutes.

And please, cite any countries with successful, privatized retirement systems. I've heard that thrown out many times, but have yet to have heard the name of one country mentioned, ever.

November 14, 2010 at noon
Reardon said...

I have the solution.

Allow everyone to decide for themselves whether or not they want to be apart of the social security system.

November 14, 2010 at 12:24 p.m.
alprova said...

Acerigger and mountainlaurel, you get my vote for the comments of the day, even if Acerigger's may have been cut and pasted. By no means does that discount the truth and the facts contained within it.

The only thing I would like to add to those amazing posts, is that as it stands today, the true and correct percentage of Federal outlays to fund our military's expenses, both for current 'needs' and for those of the past, represents 54% of every tax dollar collected.

U.S. military spending – Dept. of Defense plus nuclear weapons (in $billions) – is equal to the military spending of the next 15 countries combined.

The United States accounts for 47 percent of the world’s total military spending, however, the U.S.'s share of the world's GDP is about 21 percent.

The U.S. outspends Iran and North Korea by a ratio of 72 to one.

But Social Security and Medicare are the problem?

Please...

November 14, 2010 at 12:27 p.m.
alprova said...

Reardon wrote: "I have the solution.

Allow everyone to decide for themselves whether or not they want to be apart of the social security system."


That is no solution. That will only make things worse...much worse.

Your proposal is akin to giving credence to those who refuse to purchase insurance for any number of catastrophic losses that can happen at any time.

Right now, everything in your life can be perfect. Tomorrow, all that can change. No one that I am aware of has a functioning crystal ball that can determine what your financial circumstance will be ten minutes in your future.

With that fact established and irrefutable, do you think that society in general, other than perhaps those who care not a whit for the lives of others, once they are downloaded from the womb, is going to allow people to sign a contract that would essentially exempt them from any measure of assistance, should they truly come to need it?

It isn't going to happen.

Thus, everyone is in or everyone is out. And because there are too many who need to be in, don't expect that your idea will gain acceptance, essentially leaving people to simply die because they chose at some point in their past to opt out of the system.

Generally speaking, the only people who cry foul louder than those who depend on Social Security and Medicare for their very existence, whenever proposals are made that impact the amounts they either receive directly or that are paid on their behalf, are those who have plenty of cash on hand during their retirement years.

You know, I may be wrong, but the people who complain all the time about paying too much to the Government in taxes, seem to be the people who would be least affected if they were taxed at a higher rate.

In other words, if they write a bigger check for taxes, regardless of any and all arguments, their standard of living will not be affected to any degree, that they will have to make any life or death decisions as a result of it.

I'd love to be proven wrong on that one.

How many Americans at the moment ARE making those kind of decisions, for any number of reasons or life circumstances?

Greed and selfishness in this nation is at an all-time high, and it's going to be responsible for sending more people south of the border when they meet their maker, than all other sins combined.

November 14, 2010 at 1:12 p.m.
Francis said...

good suggestion reardon.......but, unfortunately..too devoid of sophistry and too much freedom for the libs on this site.

alprova..."greed and selfishness", huh...

elaborate on that...reveal who is greedy and who is selfish.

how are they greedy and selfish...what is selfishness and greed to you.

enlighten me.

what you libs call "greed and selfishness"..can be something as basic as wanting to keep the money you earn...or, wanting to leave something for your kids that you've worked your whole life for.,...or not wanting to be told what to buy, what not to buy and how much you can buy.

reardon..anything that involves anyone making their own decisions or being empowered by keeping more of their money...is poison to liberals.

November 14, 2010 at 2:30 p.m.
Reardon said...

Ponzi schemes only continue when new dupes are bagged into the system.

I'll comment on Al's post later.

November 14, 2010 at 2:33 p.m.
Francis said...

there're is no larger group of ingrates, elitests, entitlists, hedonists, narcissists, than exists in the federal government..which is composed of beurocrats and politicians. selfishness and greed have been redefined by todays' federal govern ment.

a boulder with the word reaction written on it , with obama under it clutching a paper with his agenda on it would have been a perfect cartoon for the morning of november 3rd.....

you libs need to trust people, stop trying to control us and assume you know what's better for us than we do....you need to chill and allow people to make their own decisions and not assume everyone is greedy and selfish.

you're so desperate to tell everyone what do......you're ingrates and don't appreciate freedom.

November 14, 2010 at 2:45 p.m.
Dumbledore403 said...

Francis- If people were able to be trusted there would be no need for police, locks on doors, or for that matter legislature to make laws and lawyers. Fact is we have to have laws because we have to have some control in charge..

Maybe we do appreciate freedom, but with such freedom maybe we are aware that there has to be some control placed.

Also little or no regulation sure did not do anything to save us from nearly putting us in a depression

November 14, 2010 at 3:18 p.m.
Clara said...

Francis,

You insist on making general declarations such as the one above at 2:45 p.m., and which follows the mental script you are defending in accusing the Liberals and the President and all bureaucrats and representatives.

It's very boring and no help at all in solving our/your problems.

I wonder, if you, personally, were in control,you would permit this free expression of my opinion and others you would disagree with.

November 14, 2010 at 3:22 p.m.
hambone said...

Francis, you screwed up! your post of 2:30 did not rant against Obama. However your 2:45 one did.

I'm sure that even Francis pays into SS and as one who draws SS I want to thank you very much, Francis.

Please keep your nose to the grindstone and keep that money coming, I need it!!

November 14, 2010 at 3:30 p.m.
Reardon said...

Hi Al,

First, allow me to express what I actually DO agree with you on...

You as well as others mentioned the bloated size of the military -- hundreds of bases worldwide, spending blunders that would rival the incompetence of TARP -- if I had my choice between allowing choice in SS or pulling back our military spending by 50%, I'd choose to gut the military all day long.

Now back to your most recent comment:

"That is no solution. That will only make things worse...much worse."

Tell me why we need forced, total compliance in the SS program?

"Thus, everyone is in or everyone is out."

"And because there are too many who need to be in, don't expect that your idea will gain acceptance, essentially leaving people to simply die because they chose at some point in their past to opt out of the system."

Do you honestly think that without forced social security, that society's goodwill would immediately disintegrate, and all compassion to help the poor would vanish?

Government is not the creator of man's ability to provide good will -- there are millions of compassionate, caring Americans who would voluntarily (key word) donate their money towards charitable causes to help those out in need. Even if social security didn't exist.

"In other words, if they write a bigger check for taxes, regardless of any and all arguments, their standard of living will not be affected to any degree, that they will have to make any life or death decisions as a result of it."

Strawman argument -- the justification for social security is not based on how it will or will not affect one's standard of living -- it's based on the argument of, wait for it, freedom and property rights.

Which comes to my point. Even if social security worked perfectly, it still violates the principle of freedom -- that each individual should have control over his wealth he fairly accumulates, and thus has the right to decide for himself how he wants to manage it.

And finally here's my challenge to you and anyone else who supports social security:

Right here, right now, justify how it is ethically correct to forcefully, without choice, confiscate another's wealth, for the welfare of another.

November 14, 2010 at 3:35 p.m.
EaTn said...

Francis-- What makes us libs different? We feel real freedom is when the unfortunate around us is more important than our own possessions. That happiness can't be bought but can be found by sharing with the needy.

November 14, 2010 at 3:37 p.m.
softnotes37 said...

Yes, “rock beats scissors” but something is going to be cut with the debt being were it is. We can’t live with this much debt for long with out some kind of a bigger problem.

I’m very happy with this President and was with all of those who came in with Him. If I was in control and I read a comment about an editorial, I would see it as just that; a comment.

November 14, 2010 at 4:15 p.m.
moonpie said...

Given that social security is the largest expenditure by the United States government and given that we are deeply in debt, I think debate over social security is essential.

I am open to change in this system. I need a compelling solution, though.

Reasonable things to debate are: 1) Is social security the best answer to the problem(s) it is trying to fix?

2) If not, what is? What are the pitfalls to that solution?

3) If so, how can we make it better, or more affordable?

The purpose of SS is to prevent people from falling into poverty. SS is not perfect on this front, as there will be people who fall into poverty. I've seen estimates that SS currently keeps about 30-40 million Americans from falling into poverty.

One of the major problems facing SS is that the baby boomers are entering SS age and this will be a burden for the current work force to support.

Of course, if we bankrupt our government, we will have big problems for everyone. Some estimates I've seen say the current funding of SS is going to leave the program short by nearly 4 trillion dollars within the next 70 years.

If we keep social security, I don't think it's in the interest of our national security to keep paying out substantially more than we owe.

To my way of thinking, we either need to fund it at a higher level. Currently SS payments are capped and once you make past a certain dollar amount, you make no more payments. One compromise would be do not have an actual cap: pay one % for the first 100K you earn, then a reduced % in each subsequent 100K you earn.

Another alternative is to reduce payments from it or tie them to investment vehicles so that we only pay what the market allows.

I have yet to see a compelling argument to allow people to opt out of the current SS system. Privatizing offers significant advantages to people like me who have good incomes. I could likely do a lot better personally. And while I am fairly generous with my time and money to what I consider worthy causes, I am seriously doubtful that I would ultimately give all my gains back to help those in need.

I certainly understand people's frustration into paying for a system which costs them money and which is losing money.

My final question becomes what is the cost of not doing it?

Police departments cost money. What's the cost of abandoning them?

Ok, so I've offered no solutions here... but I do understand the frustration.

November 14, 2010 at 4:22 p.m.
moonpie said...

Reardon,

Your argument is a classic Neo-Randian one. It sounds good on paper. The problem is, we don't live on paper. We live in a community.

If you are a member of a community, you have obligations to the community. You may not like the obligations you have to a community. You may act in a criminal fashion and not uphold your obligations. You can work to change these obligations, either working within the rules of the community or through forms of coercion such as revolution.

There is always a balance between beneficence and autonomy. Our community has decided that we have a duty to one another to a certain degree.

You are bound by the ethics of your community, until you convince others to change the ethic.

That's all for me today.

I'll give you and others the last words on this.

November 14, 2010 at 4:36 p.m.
Francis said...

eatn...you don't know the definition of freedom...

your definition is nonsense....liberal speak..socialist mumb jumbo..

charity and "sharing with the needy"...are the obligation of those who have prospered.....and i loathe those who have the means who sit by and do nothing to help those in need...but it has nothing to do with freedom.

you liberals are hypocrites...you say you want to help those in need to prosper, but when they do prosper all you can think about is taking what they have....as in the death tax. you can't help the poor to rise by punishing success..then what do they have to shoot for?

you liberals feel the government has the right to confiscate much of what someone has earned when they die rather than leave it all to their heirs. that's greed and has nothing to do with charity.

you liberals love class envy.....you assume because someone wants to leave stuff or money to their heirs that they're greedy and value possessions over helping others...nonsense...

you libs always feel the need to force...force people to volunteer, force people to cough up what they have ...

freedom is making your own choices...not having someone force them on you......some choices are good..some are bad..some are selfish ..some are not....

November 14, 2010 at 7:47 p.m.
Francis said...

yeah, clara..i don't believe in free speech..and would do everything i can to silence oppossing voices if i had the power......whatever you say

just because someone voices something strongly, doesn't mean theyr'e against free speech for all. that's a leap.

i stand by my view that the government is the greedist entity around...

i think beurocrats and politicians..and particularly this president...are about 'taking as much from the citzens as they can....viewing them as a source of revenue...

you can label it a declaration if you..want..i call it my opinion...

November 14, 2010 at 7:59 p.m.
acerigger said...

The right really, truly doesn't believe that rich people should pay taxes and the left really truly worries about destroying a system that served us well for several generations, has no immediate financing problems and isn't included in the deficit figures to begin with.There are two competing American political belief systems, period. People who vote for Republicans know very well that they are voting for low taxes for everyone, including the wealthy, and they believe sincerely that everyone would be better off if they fended for themselves and let capitalism sort it all out. (How that plays out in their own lives is different,of course, but they are persuaded that most of their tax dollars are wasted on people who don't deserve it and they aren't going to change their minds.) Democrats believe that taxes are a price you pay for a secure, upwardly mobile society and that the wealthy can easily afford to pay more for the privilege of of living in a stable country with a strong middle class. Republicans are hostile to social security, medicare and all government programs designed to help the less fortunate. They simply do not believe it's an appropriate or moral thing to do because it makes people dependent and lazy. Democrats believe in egalitarianism, social justice and social welfare.ht;digby

November 14, 2010 at 8:20 p.m.
Clara said...

Frankly, Francis. I'm in agreement that a great many of our "Leaders" are unfit for service as such, and have stated that in some previous posts. I alo think there are a lot of us on this blog can agree with that, though your whole list of anything but the right seems to be your target. But you address the libs and the President specifically!

As an "i I" I hope I can take the somewhat more broader view in that it is NOT all "libs", "democrats, bureacrats, that are the problem.

I happen to know a bureacat that was in my family, once upon a time, who claims to be a liberal, and is a sneaking, thieving, "republican" control freak. He has a high position in a "non" govt. office...privitized from a former trusted Federal Agency.

I have been treated with disdain by most, but not all bureaucrats I have had to deal with.

This is what I mean by your generalizations.

Greed and Power Hungry people exist, but I imagine I'm too insignificant to bother with.

I'm sure, even with opposition, I would maintain my free speech, and yours.

My statement was about you and my opinion that you would be against my, or anyone's free speech was a probable supposition. You are not really listening to what people, left and right are telling you.

And you, like a bureaucrat are switching, laughingly, to saying that I am against YOUR free speech.

As I remember, that's called projecting.

Have a Happy Whatever!

November 14, 2010 at 9:06 p.m.
reaganwasright said...

Clara, as a conservative, I'm as confused by Francis as you seem to be. He broadly denounces people he's against, but he fails to articulate a plan forward. Let's give him time . He's clearly enraged now. There is a possibility he will ultimately be able to promote a way forward rather than just bash the past.

I appreciate people like Francis. While he may be trying to wrestle his ideas into coherent arguments - I think he's capable of this- he's going to lead with the visceral.

While I do not approve of his tactics (he seeks to define others rather than engage and understand them) I think he is 100% sincere.

So keep posting Francis. While those one the right don't always get you, you clearly confound the left. You're like a scatter causer firework thrown into a crowd. No one quite knows where to run.

November 14, 2010 at 10:10 p.m.
hambone said...

Francis is a fake, a phony, just some idiot trying to get everyone's goat.

He's like a spoiled five year old making a lot of noise just to ruin things for those trying to hold a meaningful conversation!

November 14, 2010 at 10:49 p.m.
reaganwasright said...

I disagree Hambone. Francis is not likely a fake; although he fits a personality profile.

Franscis is 95% chance a Caucaisian, most likely Irish, Spanish or Italian.

Nearly 100% chane male.

Nearly 100% chane he is in his 50's and college educated.

There is about an 80% chance he's from the Midwest.

Chances are, he works in a job where he's lefts largely to his own devices. ( circular thinking thrives in this environment-- typical careers like this include radiologists, CAD artists, commercial draftsmen, and night watchmen- among others) of course all of these could be relatively accurate.

November 14, 2010 at 11:13 p.m.
mmlj said...

Responding to Clara:

It was indeed, a good investment. It probably enabled her to live longer and help others.

Where did you get THAT fact? Not sure where I stumbled upon it, but I used to lecture on that period of US history. Anecdotes were always effective in the Depression/New Deal era. Ida May Fuller stuck with me.

When did she start working? Not sure when she started working as a teacher, but switched careers to a legal secretary in 1905. She worked 34 years as a legal secretary before retiring in 1939.

How old was she when she died? She lived to 100; she died in 1975.

November 15, 2010 at 1:17 a.m.
alprova said...

Reardon wrote: "Tell me why we need forced, total compliance in the SS program?"


For the reason I previously stated. You cannot sit there and guarantee anyone that you will not need Social Security when you reach retirement age.

You could also step out of your car tomorrow and be hit by a bus, barely surviving that, but be totally disabled for the rest of your life. What will you do to survive when whatever you have on tap runs out?

That Social Security check could very well mean the difference between survival or becoming a total burden on your family, who themselves may not be in any position to support you.


"Do you honestly think that without forced social security, that society's goodwill would immediately disintegrate, and all compassion to help the poor would vanish?"


It's already all but vanished. Food banks in all the major cities are begging for food donations. Homeless shelters are closing by the dozens. Charitable organizations are reporting a 52% drop in revenue over the past two years. Most are also reporting at least a 25% increase in the requests for assistance.


"Government is not the creator of man's ability to provide good will -- there are millions of compassionate, caring Americans who would voluntarily (key word) donate their money towards charitable causes to help those out in need. Even if social security didn't exist."


I'm laughing as I write this, but I don't suppose that you could provide an ounce of proof to your assertion that if the Social Security and Medicare systems were shut down, that everyone who depends on those checks and needs them, would all magically receive funds equal to what they are receiving from the Government now, without prejudice or any disruption whatsoever.


"Even if social security worked perfectly, it still violates the principle of freedom -- that each individual should have control over his wealth he fairly accumulates, and thus has the right to decide for himself how he wants to manage it."


Well, let's see -- if all these people who amass all this "property" would be so generous in giving it away of their own free will to the needy, and that it would meet all the needs of those who would be unable to live without it, then why argue the point?

The Government in essence is collecting that which you claim would be donated and is distributing it as needed. All you have to do now to feel warm and fuzzy about it, is to consider the Government to be your charity of choice.


"Right here, right now, justify how it is ethically correct to forcefully, without choice, confiscate another's wealth, for the welfare of another."


That's been covered. I want you to justify how it is ethically correct for you to be allowed to make more than anyone else in this nation to begin with.

November 15, 2010 at 2:08 a.m.
alprova said...

reaganwasright wrote: "Franscis is 95% chance a Caucaisian, most likely Irish, Spanish or Italian."


Given that he was named "Francis," it is far more likely that at least one of his parents were of French or Latin origin.


"Nearly 100% chane male."


What's a "chane" male? That word does not exist, to the best of my research.


"Nearly 100% chane he is in his 50's and college educated."


I'm betting he's in his early 40's, and that he never completed college, if he ever attended college. No self-respecting college educated man would write begin to write the way he does.

Funny thing -- the first four posts he offered on the site were capitalized properly and included punctuation. After that, they steadily go downhill.

His school of higher learning consists of attending the University of Fox News. His professors are those who are known for pouring right-wing hate speech from their convenient, economy sized, 55 gallon drums.

He's without a doubt a Beckian. He's become very viscous with people who make any negative references to the man.


"There is about an 80% chance he's from the Midwest."


Close. He's almost assuredly from Chicagoland. It sheds a little light on why he is so enamored with the President.


"Chances are, he works in a job where he's lefts largely to his own devices."


He's dropped some clues, but not much else. He wrote in September that he moved his family here for a job that didn't last. He stated that he borrowed money to purchase computer equipment in 1998, that he now uses in his own "home-based business."

Lots of things come to mind as to how computers can be used to generate money, and I will not begin to speculate what his line of work may involve, but I think it's safe to say that he's not free-lancing as a speech writer for the President, or anyone else for that matter.

November 15, 2010 at 3:11 a.m.
REDneck07 said...

Here is a idea that I am sure that everyone here will enjoy, eliminate social security and medicare starting in 2040! I am saying 2040 so that it will not immediately affect anyone in the system now. The other reason, is because that would exclude me too. I will happily forgo mine for the better good of the country!

What did we ever do before the gov't came in to save us from ourselves?

Oh, I remember we depended on GOD, our families, churches, and communities!

Now America has turned to the gov't to save us. Sad, but it is so true. We need to turn back to God and serve him as a nation. Everything else will fix itself. This life is very, very, temporary. Let's spend it obeying him!

November 15, 2010 at 4:19 a.m.
ITguy said...

Francis is the anti-Alprova

November 15, 2010 at 6:23 a.m.
woody said...

After looking back on all the 'posts' made after mine Sunday morning I only found one which I thought merited comment. Now that is not to say Francis' weren't worth a comment or two, but he certainly got those from several of you, so I'll just leave it at that.

Reardon, however, posted this comment at 12:24 Sunday afternoon, "I have the solution. Allow everyone to decide for themselves whether or not they want to be apart of the social security system."

Well, buddy, I found the 'flaw' in that "solution" real quick and thought I might share it with you.

It's the same reason we have ceased (in most states) to allow drivers to decide whether or not they wish to purchase vehicle insurance. The 'long and short of it' is this..those of us who are responsible enough to look ahead to the future usually wind up shouldering the burdon created by those who chose not to participate 'up front'.

Yes, believe it or not, there are those who would loudly proclaim (right now) that they can take care of themselves and their loved ones just fine if given the chance...the same ones who will come, with hat in hand, (later) requesting help because they chose to spend their hard-earned dollars on something else when they were given the chance to choose.

I just felt the need to attempt to clarify..still friends??

Smile on, Woody

November 15, 2010 at 6:56 a.m.
eeeeeek said...

REDneck07 at 4:19 wrote "Oh, I remember we depended on GOD, our families, churches, and communities!"

Yes redneck.. it was, but since "god" was such a failure, man had to take over it's slack in helping. Which was all of it, since gods don't exist in the first place.

November 15, 2010 at 7:39 a.m.
BobMKE said...

EaTn & acerigger have fallen into the lib-speak using the words fortunate and unfortunate in the wrong sense. "Fortunate" means bringing some good thing NOT FORESEEN as certain, some unexpected good. If we work hard for a living, save or invest our money then we have earned that money. That's not fortunate. If someone gives us money that we didn't expect then we are fortunate. The people who don't want an education, don't want to work and expect the government to take care of them are not the unfortunate. It wasn't unexpected that they got themselves into that position. Yes we should take care of people (Safety Net) who have problems beyond their control as we should be loving and caring people. The libs want class warfare to obtain votes and use the word unfortunate to get the votes. Give the "unfortunate" my work ethic, not my money.

November 15, 2010 at 8:39 a.m.
Francis said...

i think there're too many people on here wasting their time trying to pick me apart.

i don't spend one second wondering who the people are on here behind the posts. so, alprova..you must have a lot time on your hands.

i make a lot, a lot of good points.

my post in response to eatn definition of what freedom means is perfectly clear. i say he's confused and my points are good.

my point a couple of days ago,about liberals comparing bush to hitler, and the mission as evil and peppered with atrocities..was a good one. this has gone on for a decade...if you're going to insist that bush was hitleresque and the mission nazi-like...then how can you in good con- sience thank the troops? it makes no sense.....troops have to follow orders, no doubt..but the military is all volunteer and know full well since 2001 that they'll probably be involved in iraq or afghanistan. this is the information age, to believe all those volunteers don't know the debate involving our involvement over there is naive. they inlisted anyway. how many troops have volunteered since 9/11? you cannot thank someone for doing a good job at something you feel is wrong, immoral or evil....

liberal, conservative..whatever...i don't understand how anyone could disagree with me.

November 15, 2010 at 9:03 a.m.
Dumbledore403 said...

It was not God eeek. If we allow what God has set forth in His word...it will work. Problem is that us men(and I do mean humankind) generally think that we got a better plan, that God cannot possibly know what is best for us. As a poet said "We are the captains of our souls"....and that is not really the case. Francis- we can disagree with you because we can:).Instead of assuming that us who are on the leftward bent are wrong, maybe read what we are saying.

November 15, 2010 at 9:17 a.m.
Dumbledore403 said...

Bob- As bad as the job market is and I have been out there... we need the money also. From what I read and personal experience, the market is bad and not looking to get that much better.

November 15, 2010 at 9:21 a.m.
Clara said...

We supported, after 9/11, going to Afghanastan.

Most of us thought Sadam and sons should be taken down.

We did not believe that there were WMD's stashed away, as proposed by the Military/Industrial complex that seems to have profited and existed since WWII with their useless wars and expansionism. Wasn't it a fact that there was gold in them thar hills in Korea? Vietnam was fed to us by the French, and we continued to help the Military/Industrial complex by never sending adequate troops, just as we did in the Mid-East,for oil, prolonging the enrichment of the Industrialists.

I know that sounds 1960's but if anyone wants to argue, feel free to do so, because I am NOT going to take up my time with research for backup. I'm trying to live in the Present and the problems I must deal with in my own tiny corner of the world.

I'm a busy old lady with right now.

Bye for NOW.

November 15, 2010 at 9:27 a.m.
acerigger said...

Bob, "The people who don't want an education, don't want to work and expect the government to take care of them are not the unfortunate", Contrary to your Faux-Newz talking point, no liberal I have ever known has included those types in the "unfortunate" category. To try and denigrate what was said in my post @ 8:20 by calling it "lib-speak" only re-enforces the points made in that post.

November 15, 2010 at 9:30 a.m.
realityrox said...

Dumbledore403 said "If we allow what God has set forth in His word...it will work"

Are you talking about the bible? That god is always commanding the deaths of innocents. If that god was real.. we can't allow that kind of madness.

November 15, 2010 at 10:17 a.m.
Dumbledore403 said...

You know Reality you are right ...He did. I cannot presume to know all his reasons for this. But he also taught that those who believe him and of his people to help the poor...to help the widow and the orphans. And that was the point that I was trying to get to.

November 15, 2010 at 10:36 a.m.
lkeithlu said...

I would be all for private charities except:

Churches, unlike the government, can pass judgment, denying support to those that don't meet their qualifications based on religion or morals. Recipients can be made to declare a belief or may be denied because of some perceived moral failing. Government can certainly require that a recipient meet some criteria, such as a letter from a doctor showing that they have a condition that prevents them from working, but their beliefs would not be scrutinized. The poor, while deserving help, are not always likable. However, it is not a crime to be poor.

Some areas of the country have a greater need than others. I'm not sure that the generosity of a church in NY would extend to help folks in West Virginia. Yet areas have particular needs; poverty levels vary greatly from county to county. Richer counties have a fit when county funds are distributed to other counties for public schools; in their minds the money should stay local. Sometimes one event will affect a large percentage of people in a community, such as a plant closing and laying off all its employees. The area churches would be hit, not only by the unemployment, but the loss of revenue to area businesses. It takes a larger entity to cover the needs.

Finally, churches have a tendency to spend money in ways that non-members find peculiar. Missions in other countries, mega churches with TV studios, large cathedrals with stained glass windows. Who is going to tell churches how much they should set aside to help those in need? That's government interference in religious matters.

No, looking to churches is not a solution.

November 15, 2010 at 10:41 a.m.
eeeeeek said...

Helping others is humanitarian act, an early stage of humanism. If it hadn't existed, humans would have been extinct long before the gods were created.

If the god of the bible was real.. the bible was just the beginning of the mass murders. If it was real, it is still killing and must be stopped.

If it was real.. perhaps it is drawing it's strength from worshippers. If that is the case, it is the worshippers that is responsible for the many deaths and destruction around the world.

Shame on you for reveling and praising a fictional character.

I guess that's why Dexter is such a popular show.

November 15, 2010 at 11:21 a.m.
hambone said...

Do away with Social Security and let Santa Clause and the Easter Bunny take care of it ???

November 15, 2010 at 11:26 a.m.
Clara said...

A lot of the answers on God, were from the Old Testament.

Try the New Testament as a philosophy.

It also ocurred to me that when the problem of homeless people popped up, years ago, no one mentioned using the myriads of Army camps that were shut down.

As far as I know, only one dorm in my area was opened in a base for abused women, men, and children.

Since this last Government debacle, although no one has mentioned it, why not house the homeless in these barracks!

Single men in one, single women in another, and families in a third, or as many barracks as required with the same rules and regulations that govern the rest of us who still have a home.

November 15, 2010 at 12:35 p.m.
Reardon said...

Hi Al,

Thanks for your response; allow now for my retort:

"For the reason I previously stated. You cannot sit there and guarantee anyone that you will not need Social Security when you reach retirement age.

You could also step out of your car tomorrow and be hit by a bus, barely surviving that, but be totally disabled for the rest of your life. What will you do to survive when whatever you have on tap runs out?

That Social Security check could very well mean the difference between survival or becoming a total burden on your family, who themselves may not be in any position to support you."

You're missing the point.

The fact that something horrendous like getting sideswiped by a bus, or the fact that I cannot guarantee a non-need for SS later in life, does not justify the government pointing a gun to my head and forcing me to comply with the social security tax.

Additionally, these are all circumstantial justifications, not moral/ethical justifications. You need to prove that forcefully taking money from another is justifiable FIRST before you can justify any type of Federal confiscation scheme.

"It's already all but vanished. Food banks in all the major cities are begging for food donations. Homeless shelters are closing by the dozens. Charitable organizations are reporting a 52% drop in revenue over the past two years. Most are also reporting at least a 25% increase in the requests for assistance."

Another strawman. Just because food banks and charities are suffering due to the economic turmoil, doesn't necessarily justify government's forceful intervention in welfare.

What would be interesting is to see how much more capital is invested in charitable organizations and how much more efficiently it's used if SS was dissolved completely.

"I'm laughing as I write this, but I don't suppose that you could provide an ounce of proof to your assertion that if the Social Security and Medicare systems were shut down, that everyone who depends on those checks and needs them, would all magically receive funds equal to what they are receiving from the Government now, without prejudice or any disruption whatsoever."

I'm not suggested that whatsoever. Clearly that would happen.

But what I am suggesting is that addressing the subjective issue of "need" is better left to individuals and their charitable causes, rather than a bureaucratic, top-heavy government.

But, more importantly, the welfare provided would be done voluntarily, not forcefully at the barrel of a gun.

November 15, 2010 at 12:59 p.m.
Reardon said...

"Well, let's see -- if all these people who amass all this "property" would be so generous in giving it away of their own free will to the needy, and that it would meet all the needs of those who would be unable to live without it, then why argue the point?

The Government in essence is collecting that which you claim would be donated and is distributing it as needed. All you have to do now to feel warm and fuzzy about it, is to consider the Government to be your charity of choice."

"Trust The Government" -- that should be your bi-line, Al.

But seriously, who are you -- or more specifically, the bureaucrats in Washington -- to establish arbitrarily the standards for "need" and the specific amount of wealth one must give to satisfy such need?

There is no such way you can arrive at a correct level of "need," as centralized authorities routinely get it wrong, and even if you could, you still can't rectify the moral logic behind forcefully confiscating another's wealth via the government.

November 15, 2010 at 1:01 p.m.
Reardon said...

"That's been covered. I want you to justify how it is ethically correct for you to be allowed to make more than anyone else in this nation to begin with."

Firstly, there are plenty of new folks here who probably want to understand your ethical justification of empowering government to ransack one's bank account for a special interest group.

Please -- do tell us what your premises are. I have nothing to hide, neither should you.

Secondly, your question about a man's capacity to be productive.

Simply put, we more of less recognize an individual's natural rights, defined as something one has naturally. Thus, this implies that a right is something one does not need to enslave another to have, via physical or fiscal (taxes) slavery. Examples include freedom of speech, freedom of thought, freedom to acquire property -- basically, the freedom to do as he pleases.

Those rights end as soon as he commits an act of aggression against another -- fraud, deceit, violence; these actions violate the rights of another, and are punishable under accordance of the law.

A man who accumulates wealth (money, property) without harming another is only limited by his maximal productive capabilities. Meaning a man can and does have the right to become as rich as he damn well pleases, only if he does it fairly (defined above), and in return rightfully owes you and the rest of society nothing in return.

But ironically, a wealthy man who intends to accumulate more wealth, must hire and train others to carry out his tasks, whom in return gain a skill set that could one day challenge the wealthy man.

The point here is that unfettered capitalism always challenges the wealthy to stay on top of the game; otherwise, somebody with a better mousetrap will put them out of business pronto.

For a case study, see Barnes and Noble versus Amazon today. Battling for market share -- especially around Christmas, B&N is slashing prices and offering free shipping. Conclusively, B&N rightfully earns increased profits and market share, and consumers win too, as they get the same goods as they could from Amazon at a lesser price.

Sorry for the long explanation, but theres's nothing more honest, honorable, and right than a man to be rewarded for his ability to drive costs down and provide a good or service to the public at an advantageous price.

November 15, 2010 at 1:02 p.m.
alprova said...

BobMKE wrote: "..."Fortunate" means bringing some good thing NOT FORESEEN as certain, some unexpected good."


"Fortunate" is also defined as "Auspicious" -- or, showing or suggesting that future success is likely.


"If we work hard for a living, save or invest our money then we have earned that money. That's not fortunate."


Do you think that a certain amount of luck is not involved in all of the above?

People certainly have auspicious advantages in life that others are denied, by virtue of the fact that they are born into families who cannot pay for or assist their offspring in obtaining a college education. Thus, their job prospects are a bit more limited, and those that they do find pay far less.

Less money means that they will be less likely to be able to save money.

Investing is a crap shoot, don't you think? You certainly have no control over what you earn from your investments.

Clearly, being downloaded from the womb, of let's say a woman who is married to a millionaire, versus that of a woman who lives in a ghetto, is a rather auspicious advantage in life, wouldn't you agree?

Of course, there are exceptions to that rule, but they are few and far between.


"The people who don't want an education, don't want to work and expect the government to take care of them are not the unfortunate. It wasn't unexpected that they got themselves into that position."


Agreed, but the problem with that statement is that an assumption is made by far too many people, that people who are dependent on the Government for their basic needs, are there because they want to be, and that they didn't want to be more self-reliant.

That scenario is as true much of the time, as it is to say that someone who is rich -- lied, cheated, and stomped on people to get where they are in life, or that they had it all handed to them on a silver platter.

Examples of both extremes can be held up, but those examples by no means accurately describe all or even most contained in either class of people.


"Yes we should take care of people (Safety Net) who have problems beyond their control as we should be loving and caring people."


Uh huh...


"The libs want class warfare to obtain votes and use the word unfortunate to get the votes. Give the "unfortunate" my work ethic, not my money."


Oh...okay. Thank you for exposing why it is that the Government deems it necessary to force you to live up to your societal obligations, by taxing you for them.

November 15, 2010 at 1:08 p.m.
eeeeeek said...

Yes... the Philosophy of the Jesus character as edited by Thomas Jefferson is a prime example of good philosophy.

But christains don't follow that book.

Some random examples from Matthew, of the not so good philosophy Jesus.

Jesus strongly approves of the law and the prophets. He hasn't the slightest objection to the cruelties of the Old Testament and insists that its laws will be binding forever. (5:17) That negates the argument that the new testament is separate.

To avoid sin, Jesus recommends that we cut off our hands and pluck out our eyes. This advice is given immediately after he says that anyone who looks with lust at a women commits adultery. (5:29), (18:8)

He says that most people are going to hell. (7:13-14)

Jesus tells a man who had just lost his father: "Let the dead bury the dead." (8:21)

Families will be torn apart because of Jesus (this is one of the few "prophecies" in the Bible that has actually come true). "Brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death." (10:21)

Jesus says that he has come to destroy families by making family members hate each other. He has "come not to send peace, but a sword." (10:34)

Jesus condemns entire cities to dreadful deaths and to the eternal torment of hell because they didn't care for his preaching. (11:20-24)

"For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath." Sounds like something from the republic party platform? (13:12), (25:29)

Jesus mistakenly tells his followers that he will return and establish his kingdom within their lifetime. (16:28), (23:36), (24:34)

Abandon your wife and children for Jesus and he'll give your a big reward. (19:29)

November 15, 2010 at 1:18 p.m.
eeeeeek said...

Back on topic.. SS should be left alone by these scheming mofos.

Corporations that have sent their jobs overseas, should be required to put ss funds in the SS bucket for of each job they have overseas, but should match the average pay of an American doing the same job here in the states.

Corporations should bring jobs back to the states, or lose all tax incentives.

Each job funds the tax system and helps pay off the national debt. Corporations should be tried as traitors for not funding the debt they helped create.

Taxes and SS drawn on a check in America for minimum wage must far more than what they are paying their "slave" labor overseas.

If I manage to live to retirement with millions in savings and investments, where I can live comfortably, I'll sign my Social Security check back into the SS bucket.

November 15, 2010 at 1:31 p.m.
Francis said...

nobody is more qualified to decide what should be done with my hard earned money than me.

when i make more i can share more. when i make less i can't.

"the government deems it necessary to force you to live up to your societal obligations".............

and in the end you reveal yourself for what you are ..a soicalist/satist..

November 15, 2010 at 1:39 p.m.
alprova said...

Francis wrote: "i think there're too many people on here wasting their time trying to pick me apart."


No one is picking you apart. You're intriguing.


"my post in response to eatn definition of what freedom means is perfectly clear. i say he's confused and my points are good."


Francis, the one thing you are not, is perfectly clear. What you are, is a completely biased person, case closed.


"my point a couple of days ago,about liberals comparing bush to hitler,and the mission as evil and peppered with atrocities..was a good one. this has gone on for a decade...if you're going to insist that bush was hitleresque and the mission nazi-like...then how can you in good con-sience thank the troops?"

it makes no sense.....troops have to follow orders, no doubt..but the military is all volunteer ...(snipped)...you cannot thank someone for doing a good job at something you feel is wrong, immoral or evil...."


Francis, you can't begin to put words in our mouths, nor determine our assessments of the situation, in order to fit your convoluted definitions of a Liberal.

No one I am aware of, who participates in this forum on a regular basis, has referred to the former President in terms that you have offered.

An all volunteer military does not translate to any or all who enlist, agreeing to be shipped to a desert region halfway around the world, and being demanded to destroy the very fabric of that nation, in order to conform it and to mold it into some idealism that some nit-wit in Washington believed will work over there.

I dare offer that the atrocities committed are quite often instituted because of a deep-seated objection to the mission they are being forced to attempt to accomplish. Over a period of time, enemy and ally become one and the same.

Separating those who demand from those who are demanded is easy for those of us who know the difference. Very few of those men who have enlisted in the military joined BECAUSE they wanted to reform a new Government in Iraq.

Most have joined to hopefully survive their enlistments, the terms of which have been altered repeatedly during the past eight years, forcing them to be put in harms way for more tours of duty than what was originally agreed to, in order to achieve an advantage in life that they might otherwise not have. They want that education promised to them. They want to live.

Many ARE indeed on board with the plan. Two sons of a very good friend of mine are over there for their third tours, willingly.

Thanking the troops for their service comes easy and I pray daily for each and every man and woman to one day come home safe and sound.

It is also very easy for me to determine that the reasons for sending our men and women over there to risk life and limb, by our former President, were manufactured in large part, and that will forever be the case.

November 15, 2010 at 1:57 p.m.
hambone said...

Francis, I hope you prosper beyond your wildest dreams and contribute to Social Security for many years. I need it.

November 15, 2010 at 2:03 p.m.
alprova said...

Reardon wrote: "You're missing the point.

The fact that something horrendous like getting sideswiped by a bus, or the fact that I cannot guarantee a non-need for SS later in life, does not justify the government pointing a gun to my head and forcing me to comply with the social security tax."


Uh...yes it does.


"Additionally, these are all circumstantial justifications, not moral/ethical justifications. You need to prove that forcefully taking money from another is justifiable FIRST before you can justify any type of Federal confiscation scheme."


These are the same arguments you made when you posted as "Duford." You're a brick wall and I'm not going to argue with a brick wall.


"Just because food banks and charities are suffering due to the economic turmoil, doesn't necessarily justify government's forceful intervention in welfare."


Uh...yes it does.


"What would be interesting is to see how much more capital is invested in charitable organizations and how much more efficiently it's used if SS was dissolved completely."


Well, that little test is not going to happen anytime soon, so why don't you accept what you cannot change, and have the wisdom to understand that as a citizen of this nation, and until you take the eternal celestial dirt nap, that you will be paying taxes to the Government, over and above your objections, unless that is, you make a conscience choice to join the poor in order to opt out of paying taxes.


"But what I am suggesting is that addressing the subjective issue of "need" is better left to individuals and their charitable causes, rather than a bureaucratic, top-heavy government."


Clearly, you haven't done a great deal of research when it comes to charities. But I'm not about to open that can of worms.


"But, more importantly, the welfare provided would be done voluntarily, not forcefully at the barrel of a gun."


And I suppose if I were to ask you what percentage of your income that you would "voluntarily" part with in order to help the poor and the elderly, that I would receive an honest response?

Not a chance. You have no desire to assist anyone at all, for if you did, you'd not be arguing the subject at all.

You'd be as agreeable in paying your taxes as I am, and supportive of the programs that are out there to assist the poorest of our citizens.

Here's an idea; Renounce your citizenship tomorrow. Declare yourself to be an illegal alien. Go buy yourself a false I.D. on the black market and have a wonderful and content life of being off the grid. Never file a tax return again.

Problem solved.

November 15, 2010 at 2:26 p.m.
alprova said...

Reardon wrote: ""Trust The Government" -- that should be your bi-line, Al."


I most certainly do trust the Government. They haven't bounced a check yet in all of their 234 years in operation.

November 15, 2010 at 2:30 p.m.
BigRidgePatriot said...

alprova, You are in for a rude awakening if big changes are not made soon. You are trusting a government that is now printing money to write those checks. As far as we know, that is a first in American history? Is your trust well founded?

November 15, 2010 at 3:24 p.m.
moonpie said...

Reardon,

Your assumption is that any wealth you create is created entirely on your own. This is simply not the case. It is created within a community, with many freedoms and assets derived from the community.

You don't make money in a vaccum, free of community assistance... much of which may not have been voluntary, either.

You seem to ignore that essential fact.

Pure Libertarianism is a form of fundamentalism. To the fundamentalist, it makes so much sense. Just as Marxism makes sense to so many fundamentalists.

People who argue one extreme, such as nature versus nurture, often miss the point that both contribute to an organism. Nature can alter genetics, genetics can alter nature.

Self-reliance is a good trait and a good personal aspiration, but taken to the extreme it's rather inhumane.

The ironic fact facing Neo-Randians is that to get your way, you'll have to convince a very diverse community to do everything one way. You will not likely be able to do this without tyranny. That's the curse of Libertarianism: you'll never get what you want without becoming what you oppose.

Bottom line... your brand of Libertarianism is not practical, it really only works on College essays as a thought experiment. This does not mean we can't adopt good aspects of it.

November 15, 2010 at 3:28 p.m.
BigRidgePatriot said...

alprova wrote, "Uh...yes it does".

That sums up the fundamental difference between alprova and a true constitutional conservative. The idea that it is a proper role of the government to systematically confiscate wealth and property from one individual or group of individuals for the purpose of giving to to someone that they deem more in need is a fundamental tenant of Marxism. It has no place in the politics of this country, except as the cancer that has grown to the brink of destroying it over the last few 90 years or so.

November 15, 2010 at 3:30 p.m.
BigRidgePatriot said...

moonpie,

Please explain to me how an individuals fundamental rights are eradicated by the existence of a community. Because a community exists there are no longer any individual rights?

That is a very slippery slope which has no limits.

November 15, 2010 at 3:34 p.m.
Francis said...

i repeat....it makes no sense to thank someone for doing a good job at something that's immoral, evil or unlawful. there's no dispute of that. you can post until you hurl, but the facts are what they are.

you libs have painted yourselves into a corner. labeling the mission as evil and the leader as hitleresque....nearly ten years worth of labeling.....i know you have trouble with history, but this is recent history.

you have no business thanking the troops....you just look silly..you just look like it's something you have to do.

regarding my comments on obama...... i stand by every one of them.

he's certainly a statist, either a socialist, a communist..or something..but he has no respect for this representative republic...or our constitution... he's a narcissist, an authoritarian, spoiled and uncomfortable with being asked a tough question...he's thin-skinned. this is what i see....i see no reason to change my mind. you can call it biased if you want...but that's my view of obama after two years of observing.

November 15, 2010 at 3:48 p.m.
BigRidgePatriot said...

It seems to me that some posters think that the corruption of the Constitution that has resulted in redistribution of wealth and government charity is all the evidence that they need to prove they are right.

They think they can respond to a challenge with, “Uh...yes it does”, presumably because today’s laws support their position. The current course that they so lazily defend has put the country on an immoral and unsustainable course. To defend it on the grounds that this is what it has come to and ignore where it is taking us is suicidal. Please do not presume that the rest of us should be so short sited and intellectually sloppy.

November 15, 2010 at 4:08 p.m.
mountainlaurel said...

Re Francis’s Comment: “you libs always feel the need to force...force people to volunteer, force
people to cough up what they have ... freedom is making your own choices...not having
 someone force them on you......”

Exactly what is the mission in Iraq from your perspective, Francis? Since the initial invasion, it seems to me there has been a dramatic shift in the mission. Now, it’s all about nation building, keeping the peace among the various political and religious factions, and providing security for the oil distribution contractors – all which incidentally reveals some interesting double-standards you have in regard to beliefs and the use of tax payer dollars.

When it comes to U.S. politics, you rant about “libs” infringing on your rights and freedom, but you appear to fully support policies, which essentially infringe upon the right and freedom of Iraqi citizens to form and operate their own government without U.S. involvement. You bitterly resent spending our tax dollars on basic “nation building” activities here in the U.S., but fully support spending our tax dollars on “nation building” activities in Iraq.

In the end, Francis, I don’t think you really believe in freedom. If fact, I suspect your beliefs are just the opposite. I’d think you’re more of a “don’t do as I do - do as I tell you” kind of guy. Probably one of those “authoritarian” types that John Dean writes about in “Conservatives with a Conscience.” I'm talking about the type described as mean-spirited, narrow-minded, intolerant, bullying, zealous, dogmatic, uncritical toward their chosen authority, hypocritical, inconsistent and contradictory, highly self-righteous, and severely punitive type of guys.

November 15, 2010 at 4:29 p.m.
moonpie said...

BRP,

I don't think fundamental rights are eradicated by a community. I'm calling advocating balance, not every man for himself.

Community rights in the extreme would be Marxism. I don't hold with that either.

So, you're right. It is a slippery slope.

I think fundamentalists are uncomfortable with slopes of any kind and that is why they try to make the world flat and less complex, as I noted above.

I think a fundamentalist point of view, such as Reardon's, is attractive to some people because it avoids ambiguity. It's a very simple idea that's easy to grasp, but one that avoids the reality of life in a community.

If you allow more people to slip into poverty, you will pay in many other ways. If this is what the community decides is acceptable... so be it. So far, our community has decided otherwise.

Like I said initially, I'm open to practical solutions.

As for fundamental rights... Since when does one have the fundamental right to all in one's own domain?

Have we ever?

I don't think so. Even your property, your wealth are not truly your own. You essentially rent your property from the government and it can be taken from you if you fail to pay your taxes or meet other obligations to your community.

Again, self-reliance is good. Duty to a community is good. There should be a balance. But balance is something Americans seem increasingly uncomfortable with. I fear compromise is becoming a dirty word -- as some fear it means weakness.

At any rate, you raise a valid concern. I hope I answered the question you were asking.

November 15, 2010 at 5:21 p.m.
Francis said...

i'm sitting here laughing ....i am living in your heads rent free..

typical stereotype...."the mean spirited" republican or conservative.... when conseratives strongly say what they believe they're "mean spirited"..when liberals do it they're passionate...yeah, yeah..whatever..

hardly original...but, like hambone, who thinks he has the right to make comments about my private life...you're assessment of me is worth about as much as obama's respect for the small businessman....zero

what you libs call 'basic nation building"..is really redistribution of wealth, and confiscation of what someone has worked hard for. you cannot support the death tax, redistribution of wealth, or the forcing of a citzen with threats of punishment to buy insurance and say you understand freedom.

November 15, 2010 at 6:08 p.m.
lkeithlu said...

May I ask you a question, Francis? Opposition to forcing people to purchase insurance is certainly not isolated, and you are not the first person to bring it up. Do you think that a person without insurance should pay up front for ER treatment? I am being serious with this question. Are those who choose not to buy (we're not talking about those that can't afford it-just those who choose not to) be barred from hospital emergency rooms unless they pay in advance? Or do you support what hospitals do now: treat without question and spread the cost to those that are covered?

If Francis won't answer, I'd be interested in hearing from someone else who feels the same way. I haven't heard anyone address the question before.

November 15, 2010 at 6:40 p.m.
Francis said...

so much time on here spent trying to put me in my place.....picking apart what i say..telling me what a rotten guy i am.......trying to imagine what i'm like in real life....."i feel sorry for anyone who lives with you?..to quote hambone..

really, mountain laurel....are you sure about your characterization of me? are you really sure? you must be pretty sure in order to write that.

by the way, my 16 year old daughter read your last paragraph and is still laughing. a psychic..you ain't.

November 15, 2010 at 6:55 p.m.
alprova said...

BRP wrote: "alprova, You are in for a rude awakening if big changes are not made soon."


The Sky Is Falling, The Sky Is Falling!!!

Thank you Chicken Little.


"You are trusting a government that is now printing money to write those checks."


And every one of those dollars will be worth the same as all the other ones currently floating around the United States and wherever they find themselves accumulated.


"As far as we know, that is a first in American history?"


Let's define what is going to happen. The Government is not printing money to pay it's bills. It is printing money to purchase securities, in the form of Government bonds.

The Fed bought $1.7 trillion in securities in 2008-2009, beginning while Bush was still in office. It was done to ease the impact of the stalled economy.

This time, $600 billion in newly printed money, in $75 billion increments per month, will be used to purchase government bonds. An additional $300 billion that the Fed is holding in mortgage purchases will also be converted to bonds.

Who's opposed to the idea? Banks. Why? Because it will most likely drive interests rates even lower than they are now. The hope is that with even lower interest rates, that you fine folks will go out and borrow some money for consumer goods, expand your businesses, or to hire some employees.

The banks, who have been holding their breath, waiting for the inflation shoe to drop, before they open the floodgates, are now going to have to either start lending, or get out the business. Fees for bounced checks are not going to sustain them and they know it.

So the Chicken Little brigade is cranking up the doom and gloom cries to convince gullible Americans that the Federal Reserve is going to cause massive inflation and is jeopardizing the value of the dollar, internationally. The latter is only partially true.

So what has been the fallout thus far? Well, the stock markets rallied the day it was announced, short term bond prices rose slightly, long term bond prices dropped, which opens up a favorable environment for those looking to invest domestically.

This will also give people a good reason to shift some of their investments to that which are U.S. based. This of course is ticking off those countries that are currently enjoying our investing in their companies through international markets.


"Is your trust well founded?"


You betcha!!

November 15, 2010 at 7:07 p.m.
SavartiTN said...

Clay, I think you summed up the subject very concisely.

For Francis:

"Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose." -Kristofferson & Foster

November 15, 2010 at 7:13 p.m.
alprova said...

Francis wrote: "you have no business thanking the troops....you just look silly..you just look like it's something you have to do."


Well, guess what Chump? Your opinions, much like everyone else's, are of little to no consequence.

Those of us who do not live in your little black and white world, will go on living our lives, determining our own values, and will continue thanking the troops for all the right reasons, despite your silly objections.

I hope that does not ruin the rest of your life.

November 15, 2010 at 7:21 p.m.
alprova said...

mountainlaurel wrote: "When it comes to U.S. politics, you rant about “libs” infringing on your rights and freedom, but you appear to fully support policies, which essentially infringe upon the right and freedom of Iraqi citizens to form and operate their own government without U.S. involvement. You bitterly resent spending our tax dollars on basic “nation building” activities here in the U.S., but fully support spending our tax dollars on “nation building” activities in Iraq."


Brilliant!!! Absolutely brilliant.

Is there a conservative out there who can begin to tear a hole in that exceptionally presented point?

That says it all.

November 15, 2010 at 7:33 p.m.
alprova said...

Francis wrote: "i'm sitting here laughing ....i am living in your heads rent free.."


A statement like that could be take a couple of different ways. It could mean that you are indeed trolling this forum for purposes of entertaining yourself.

It could be giving credence to previously offered assessments that you are simply interested in stirring the poop pot to see what odors will emanate, and towards whom, depending on the flow of the air in the room.

Me? I think you're absolutely and positively a legend in your own mind.

November 15, 2010 at 7:45 p.m.
lkeithlu said...

Once again Francis won't address a question. Why is that? It's a fair question, and would help me see what alternatives there are to requiring all Americans to purchase health insurance, something you and others say is a violation of freedom. You seem unwilling to elaborate beyond your original statements.

November 15, 2010 at 8:04 p.m.
sd said...

Francis has already admitted he's a troll. He's dewey sans the YouTube post spam. I'm wondering when people will tire of feeding him.

November 15, 2010 at 8:16 p.m.
Clara said...

I had to find out what a neo randian was.

It would seem that although I rather enjoyed reading the "Fountain Head" and "Atlas Shrugged", even at that young age of being still in high school, I think, I would be ineligible to become a Randian. I had no idea this existed in New York.

This comment/essay was written in 1972. It's rather lengthy but very interesting.

http://www.lewrockwell.com/rothbard/rothbard23.html

November 15, 2010 at 8:39 p.m.
SavartiTN said...

Oh, come on, you guys all know that Francis is a poet. He's just trying to express himself.

November 15, 2010 at 8:41 p.m.
Clara said...

I'm glad to say you've been exorcixed, Frncis, about 2 weeks ago. Bye Bye!

November 15, 2010 at 8:53 p.m.
Reardon said...

Clara, Ayn Rand was gifted in applying principles and relentlessly defending freedom, especially through her novels.

But, from what I've gathered, her following is nearly cult-like and very strange, to say the least.

I do and always will admire her ability to deflect those who criticize unfettered capitalism, and defend it with well thought-out principles.

November 15, 2010 at 8:59 p.m.
hambone said...

While I really like this forum and have learned a lot from it. I realize that it is open for someone to abuse. Someone to invent a bogus personal and post a constant, completely irrational rant. But I haven't seen too much of that on here, have you Francis?

November 15, 2010 at 9:06 p.m.
Clara said...

Reardon, you haven't read the essay!

November 15, 2010 at 9:07 p.m.
mountainlaurel said...

Re Francis’s Comment: “are you sure about your characterization of me? . . . my 16 year old daughter read your last paragraph and is still
laughing. a psychic..you ain't.”

Actually, from reading your posts I’ve always assumed you were a “she”, but since so many others referred to you as a “he,” I figured they knew something that I didn’t know. Anyway, if it will make you happier, I will edit the "guy" references in my last paragraph to say:

In the end, Francis, I don’t think you really believe in freedom. If fact, I suspect it’s just the opposite. I’d say you’re more of a “don’t do as I do - do as I tell you” type of woman. Probably one of those “authoritarian” types that John Dean writes about in his book “Conservatives without a Conscience.” The type described as mean-spirited, narrow-minded, intolerant, bullying, zealous, dogmatic, uncritical toward their chosen authority, hypocritical, inconsistent and contradictory, highly self-righteous, severely punitive type of woman.

November 15, 2010 at 9:20 p.m.
Reardon said...

Clara, no I haven't, I know I need to, as I respect Murray Rothbard even more (you know he's an advocate on Anarcho-Capitalism -- If you think my political principles are nutty, google him if you want a real trip on what they think is proper governance).

November 15, 2010 at 9:23 p.m.
Reardon said...

Al wrote...

"And every one of those dollars will be worth the same as all the other ones currently floating around the United States and wherever they find themselves accumulated."

If that was true, then why won't the Fed print $100 trillion dollars and all give us a couple billion?

Study monetary inflation from an Austrian economics perspective, read the criticisms of dollar holders (China in particular). And perhaps study Zimbabwe and the Wiemar Republic. You'll find out you're dangerously wrong.

"The Government is not printing money to pay it's bills. It is printing money to purchase securities, in the form of Government bonds.

Who's opposed to the idea? Banks. Why? Because it will most likely drive interests rates even lower than they are now. The hope is that with even lower interest rates, that you fine folks will go out and borrow some money for consumer goods, expand your businesses, or to hire some employees."

Wrong, wrong, wrong. The Fed buys treasuries to infuse the economy with more currency, which in turn encourages banks to do business to make loans.

What's the problem with this? It's that the government begins tinkering with the nominal rate of interest, which sends false signals to investors and businessmen to expand, thus creating malinvestment (like the subprime mortgage mess).

Additionally, the tinkering with interest rates screws savers and encourages people to put their money in higher-yielding, riskier assets like stocks to get a decent yield.

I suggest reading about the Austrian Business Cycle Theory, and why the Fed propagates if not outright creates all the financial bubbles and resulting economic downturns.

Also, speaking of inflation, look to hard assets of gold and silver, as well as commodities -- they are mostly all in bull markets and have gained tremendously over the past year.

And finally, probably one other reason why we haven't seen much inflation is that much of the money given to banks to loan is still sitting in reserves, as you suggested.

November 15, 2010 at 9:38 p.m.
Reardon said...

What's even cooler is that all this information on how the economy works according to an Austrian perspective is available completely free:

Murray Rothbard's "What Has Government Done to Our Money?" is a great primer, and it can be read totally free here:

http://books.google.com/books?id=ncZlw_H0FSgC&printsec=frontcover&dq=murray+rothbard&hl=en&ei=hPLhTIieAoGB8gbY0pyWDw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=10&ved=0CFUQ6AEwCQ#v=onepage&q&f=false

Another by Rothbard, "The Case Against The Fed" is good -- a stiff read, nonetheless: http://books.google.com/books?id=5rgJI0ya0JcC&printsec=frontcover&dq=murray+rothbard+fed&hl=en&ei=-vLhTIOlJsL-8Abgks3pDw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&sqi=2&ved=0CCUQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false

Don't take my word for it -- if you've ever been completely confused about how banking and money works, these two books will begin to unwind the mystery that is money and banking.

November 15, 2010 at 9:59 p.m.
alprova said...

Reardon wrote: "If that was true, then why won't the Fed print $100 trillion dollars and all give us a couple billion?"


You and I both know why, and that is all I am going to offer in response.


"The Fed buys treasuries to infuse the economy with more currency, which in turn encourages banks to do business to make loans."


I read an article last week that outlined the fact that the banks are sitting on about $3 trillion right now that they are refusing to loan to consumers. They don't need any more money, but by pumping more into the economy, it's going to force banks to get busy lending something to consumers or itchy depositors are going to be looking elsewhere to place their reserves to maximize what they can earn on their excess cash.


"What's the problem with this? It's that the government begins tinkering with the nominal rate of interest, which sends false signals to investors and businessmen to expand, thus creating malinvestment (like the subprime mortgage mess)."


Not even close. The worst thing that will happen is that people will refuse to borrow money, which will have little or no effect on inflation.

False signals to investors? Have you even been paying any attention to the markets over the past couple of months? The time is ripe to invest.


"Additionally, the tinkering with interest rates screws savers and encourages people to put their money in higher-yielding, riskier assets like stocks to get a decent yield."


Now you're thinking. Savers will now pressure the banks to start lending, or else.


"I suggest reading about the Austrian Business Cycle Theory, and why the Fed propagates if not outright creates all the financial bubbles and resulting economic downturns."


Reardon, I've been working in investments and tracking money for others, for quite a few years now.

I am very familiar with that theory, and that's all it is.


"Also, speaking of inflation, look to hard assets of gold and silver, as well as commodities -- they are mostly all in bull markets and have gained tremendously over the past year."


If you're talking about buying precious metal derivatives, then a fool and his money will soon be parted.

If you're speaking of taking actual possession of those metals in some form, and you don't know when and how to buy and/or sell them, then you're still going to wind up with an over-priced asset at some point, becoming the victim of an elaborate Ponzi scheme.

Investing in metals is not for amateurs, but you will not hear that from Glenn Beck.


"And finally, probably one other reason why we haven't seen much inflation is that much of the money given to banks to loan is still sitting in reserves, as you suggested."


That is a fact. The weeding out of all the banks in trouble is not over yet. The biggest one in the pack may be out of the game before all is said and done.

November 15, 2010 at 11:17 p.m.
Clara said...

Have a peaceful night, all!

November 15, 2010 at 11:25 p.m.
Dumbledore403 said...

Same to you Clara and the rest of you

November 15, 2010 at 11:39 p.m.
BigRidgePatriot said...

Username: moonpie | On: November 15, 2010 at 5:21 p.m.

"I don't think so. Even your property, your wealth are not truly your own. You essentially rent your property from the government..."

That statement is kind of shocking to me. It is one of two basic ways that you can approach the problem I suppose. No time now, but I will get back to you later.

November 16, 2010 at 3:40 a.m.
reaganwasright said...

BRP, it was shocking to me when I woke to that realization, too.

It occured to me when I first became a home owner and realized that although I "bought" the property, could sell the property or offer as an inheritance, it would never be free and clearly mind. I would always owe the government payment on it.

November 16, 2010 at 6:58 a.m.
BigRidgePatriot said...

moonpie,

Let me be certain that I am understanding where you are coming from. It is so damn easy to misinterpret intent in these forums!

Is, "you essentially rent your property from the government," a statement of how it is today or how you think it must be, a necessary consequence of government in this post agrarian world?

November 16, 2010 at 8:16 a.m.
BigRidgePatriot said...

alprova, Your thinking is so upside down I don't even know where to start with you. Wait and see. If you are around for the next time we go through this kind of cycle maybe you will remember and know better.

November 16, 2010 at 8:23 a.m.
moonpie said...

BRP,

When I use the word rent, I don't mean that in the legal term. I think it's what we do in all practicality.

As long as their are taxes owed on a property, as long as I am beholden, my ownership is limited. So, for argument sake, I will concede that I might have used a term like limited ownership, or conditional ownership or something along those lines, rather than rent.

Of course, none of these ideas mean we don't have great protections, just that ownership has its limitions.

It essentially means if you are not contributing in some specific ways to your community, you can lose your property.

For example: let's say I inherit my family farm or some massive amount of acreage which is now in a resort area. If I don't or can't pay the assessment on that farm or property, I must sell it or forfeit it.

The community has set a standard that says that even if I am a low utilizer of surrounding roads, schools, police etc, I have an obligation just based on the fact that I own land in the community.

Furthermore, if I break certain laws (sever an obligation to the community) I may forfeit my property.

My property rights extend to the point that I meet community expectations. Of course, not all failures to meet community expectations will result in the loss of property, but there are some that do.

This relationship offers clear advantages and disadvantages to individuals and communities alike.

The advantage to you and your offspring is that even as we run out of land, there are some assurances that property will be available to future generations and not accumulated in the hands of the very wealthy.

If we eliminate property taxes, services will be cut. Your property values will decline if roads to your property can't be maintained or other essentials aren't met.

If people are allowed to amass property without obligation to a community, eventually, all property would wind up in the hands of a relatively small number of people, akin to a feudal system.

If you had no property obligations to a community, then you might be one who amasses a great deal of land and become more like a feudal lord. To you this would be an advantage.

So where do I stand? I think we do need some taxes. I think we do need a balance between self-reliance and duty to a community.

Do I wish I owned my property free and clear. Yes, I do. But I see the downsides of that, too.

I always enjoy discussing things with you. I can't imagine that you asking for clarification would get you a negative vote! I, for one, appreciate the fact that you are trying to understand me.... even if we ultimately never agreed on a thing. Afterall, aren't we supposed to try to understand each other?

November 16, 2010 at 11:29 a.m.
mountainlaurel said...

Re Big Ridge Patriot Comment: "Is, "you essentially rent your property from the government," a statement of how it is today or how you think it must be, a necessary consequence of government in this post agrarian world?"

Early Native Americans believed the earth and its land belonged to everyone and we are simply stewards of the land rather than owners. Interestingly, a number of Biblical passages make the very same point. In the big picture, I believe both are right, and feel it’s sort of a waste of time to dwell on these kinds of “government rental VS individual ownership” arguments.

Let’s face it, the land has already been here for millions of years and each of us are going to be living on it for such a short period of time, that it would probably be far more productive and more beneficial for everybody’s children, grand-children and great grandchildren if everybody – individuals and government – just worked together to clean up the land we all share - as well as our air, our polluted rivers, and contaminated groundwater.

November 16, 2010 at 12:42 p.m.
BigRidgePatriot said...

moonpie, That certainly sounds like a pretty darn good description of how things are structured today. As I understand it, both Income taxes and Property taxes were sold as taxes on the rich. In both cases, wealth envy was used to compromise personal property rights. The will of the majority was used at the expense of a small minority. Now we are all subject to the taxes and the affront to our rights, all in the name of envy.

Personal property rights should be vigorously defended if we want to maintain liberty and so I cannot accept the status quo and would like to see us move in a different direction. Income and property taxes are a direct attack on personal wealth.

I hear the “participation in society” argument as a justification for taxation and in turn for income and property taxes all the time. Taxes could be restructured to accomplish the funding needs of government without destroying the concept of individual private property rights.

The Federal income tax could be replaced with the FairTax. This would allow people to keep all of the rewards for their labor but still impose a tariff on societal participation when retail purchases are made. The poor would be protected from taxation by the “prebate” AND by being able to by-pass retail sales taxes by purchasing second hand items.

What if an individual’s property up to a certain inflation adjusted value was exempt from property tax? Local governments could easily adjust retail sales taxes to maintain revenue. The low-to-middle-income retired could live in their homes without the threat of property tax increases.

I suppose this sounds way too ambitious, but look what the groundwork that progressives laid over the last 90 years has come to. In order to get to a place worth going you best figure out where you want to go.

November 16, 2010 at 1:45 p.m.
moonpie said...

Those are all reasonable thoughts and worthy of debate and consideration, BRP.

Our tax code is ridiculous. I can't lay blame at one party, but rather the political machine.

The Fair Tax is an intriguing idea with theoretical ups and downs. It's appeal to me is that it taxes actual consumption and utilization, at the same time discouraging consumption and utilization. (The ecnomy may not grow, but wreckless spending may be kept in check.) These are all theories. It would also protect your stock investments from taxes.

Of course, this would virtually decimate an entire industry of tax accounting. However, I do believe that people who are good with numbers and finance will likely have easier times finding jobs such as office managers, than would people with less transferrable skills.

Regarding wealth and property rights, there certainly may be fairer ways to protect them, while still insuring people pay their fair share of community dues. There are many issues to be considered in this arena, especially for people who own a lot of land. As an example, stormwater fees, fire protection and other issues could be arguably assessed by the amount and type of property owned.

However, I'm sure we'll have time to take up all these issues another time. Who knows, you might convince me. I'm convinced I can't be right about everything, so I'm willing to consider alternatives.

November 16, 2010 at 4:10 p.m.
BigRidgePatriot said...

mountainlaurel,

I don't think that joint ownership of land necessarily helps the plight of the earth at all.

For example... It seems like every beautiful piece of land I know of around Chattanooga that has uncontrolled public access is a full of garbage. I see Beauwater (sp?) pocket wilderness is now closed to the public. I wonder if that is because of the littering problem in there. Disgraceful.

I have taken 100's of pounds of garbage out of the "community areas" in my subdivision while walking the dog. Funny, I don't see all that garbage on the privately owned lots.

Putting a slice of the earth under private stewardship seems to give it a much better chance of being taken care of than if the public has general access to it.

November 17, 2010 at 12:17 p.m.
mountainlaurel said...

Re Big Ridge Patriot: “I don't think that joint ownership of land necessarily helps the plight of the earth at all.”

Believe there may be some kind of communication gap here, Big Ridge Patriot. When I referenced “lands that we share,” I was referring to the "little blue planet" we all share. Clearly, the phrase brought something else to mind for you, which appears to have been the "public" lands we all share. In hindsight, I probably should have been more specific to prevent any kind of confusion.

I commend you for the awesome amount of garbage that you’ve taken out of the “community areas” in your subdivision. Indeed, 100s of pounds garbage seems like an incredible amount to me. I also clean up other people's trash, but my efforts do not compare with yours. Your point about garbage being left behind in pubic areas is well founded, and is something that I’ve never understood. I suppose it reflects a general laziness and inconsideration of others in the end.

The other kind garbage issue that I feel the public should be paying close attention to - a little blue planet issue – is the poisonous kind of garbage being created by and left behind by the for-profit business sector. An example that comes immediately to mind is mountain top removal. The reality is mountain top removal always brings about selenium contamination, which causes irreparable harm. It poisons fish, pollutes streams, pollutes ground water, and, ultimately, threatens entire food chains. From my perspective, debates about this type of “land” issues is far more critical and important than a debate about “does a man really own his land if he has to pay taxes on the land.”

November 17, 2010 at 5:46 p.m.
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