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False dichotomy: conservative vs. liberal
Posted: 07 April 2005 04:02 AM   [ Ignore ]  
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I'm tired of this whole false dichotomy of "conservative vs. liberal". Anyone who disagrees with any item in the republican agenda is arbitrarily labelled a liberal. But people who are so labelled are not a homogenous group! While conservative republicans all seem to agree, at least in the open, about every single item on the republican agenda, there are very few people lumped into the "liberal" category who agree on all of the things that have been identified as "liberal" positions. A more appropriate label, if we must have a label, would be anti-republican or anti-conservative.

This false dichotomy, this "left or right" mentality assumes that there are only two possible viewpoints. This is over-simplistic nonsense! It is easy to find two conservatives who agree (or openly profess agreement) with everything it is supposed to mean to be a conservative, because they are a highly homogenous bunch. Trying to find two people who have been lumped into the "liberal" category who agree on everything that it is supposed to mean to be a liberal is nearly impossible. Indeed, I'm not sure such a creature really exists which agrees with every idea that has been labelled "liberal".

The way liberal has been defined (or re-defined), i.e. any idea contrary to the conservative viewpoint, produces an inherently inconsistent and self-contradicting hodge-podge of ideas. How much do you think NOW and the NAACP agree on? How much do you think GreenPeace agrees with those two groups? How about the AFL-CIO? Do you think their positions agree with the other three on very much? Nevertheless, they are all labelled as liberal organizations because they have opposing positions on one or more issues which are central to the conservative movement. Now, according to republicans, even the AARP is a "liberal" organization!

WAKE UP! The world is not "black, white and shades of gray". The world is made up of all colors. Conservatives would have you believe that there are only two colors and that every idea they have not painted their color is necessarily "the other" color, or must exist somewhere on some narrowly defined continuum between them. The commonly accepted conservative viewpoint is but one possible collection of positions on the broad range of issues that we are confronted with in our world today.

This whole rant was inspired by the move in Florida by republicans to institute a so-called "academic bill of rights" and the accusation that conservative republicans are under-represented in academia. Conservatives would have you believe that in order to have fair representation in academia, then 50% of professors would have to identify themselves as conservative and/or republican. The implication of the above argument is that, if such a thing came about, then the conservative republican point of view would be horrendously over-represented!

- Bulldog

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Posted: 07 April 2005 05:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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[quote author=“bulldog”]I’m tired of this whole false dichotomy of “conservative vs. liberal”. Anyone who disagrees with any item in the republican agenda is arbitrarily labelled a liberal. But people who are so labelled are not a homogenous group! While conservative republicans all seem to agree, at least in the open, about every single item on the republican agenda, there are very few people lumped into the “liberal” category who agree on all of the things that have been identified as “liberal” positions. A more appropriate label, if we must have a label, would be anti-republican or anti-conservative.

This false dichotomy, this “left or right” mentality assumes that there are only two possible viewpoints. This is over-simplistic nonsense! It is easy to find two conservatives who agree (or openly profess agreement) with everything it is supposed to mean to be a conservative, because they are a highly homogenous bunch.

Bulldog, you have severely warped and ignorant view of of the conservative movement.  It is this kind of uninformed stereotyped view that is contributing to the accelerating demise of liberalism in this country. 

If you took the time to actually read conservative publications, you would know how rediculous your rant really is.  There are huge disagreements within the overall conservative movement “tent” and they are on public display every day!

It is coincidental that the following op ed piece by David Brooks appeared in the NYT on Tuesday.

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/05/opinion/05brooks.html?

Brooks’ thesis is that the strength of the conservative movement is its very fragmentation and internal disagreement.

Conservatives have not triumphed because they have built a disciplined and efficient message machine. Conservatives have thrived because they are split into feuding factions that squabble incessantly. As these factions have multiplied, more people have come to call themselves conservatives because they’ve found one faction to agree with.

For example, I disagree with virtually the entire agenda of the religious right wing of the conservative movement.  However, I agree almost completely with most of the conservative positions on national security, taxes, welfare, healthcare, social security, and a host of other issues.

From the conservative perspective, it appears that unless you are an extreme left-wing, anti-war, pro-abortion, anti-Bush, Michael Moore/Howard Dean moonbat, there is no room for you in the Democrat party (e.g. Lieberman, etc.)

BTW, I do think that there should be a better balance between left and right viewpoints on publicly funded college campuses……….However, that will probably never happen in my life time.

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Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful…..Lucius Annaeus Seneca, Roman (3 BC - 65 AD)

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Posted: 07 April 2005 05:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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[quote author=“bulldog”]I’m tired of this whole false dichotomy of “conservative vs. liberal”. Anyone who disagrees with any item in the republican agenda is arbitrarily labelled a liberal. But people who are so labelled are not a homogenous group! While conservative republicans all seem to agree, at least in the open, about every single item on the republican agenda, there are very few people lumped into the “liberal” category who agree on all of the things that have been identified as “liberal” positions. A more appropriate label, if we must have a label, would be anti-republican or anti-conservative.

Bulldog you have hit the nail on the head.  Question to ponder: Why does there seem to be so much homogeneity in the republican party than in the democratic party?  Why do the republicans seem to be in agreement on so many issues, as you say, at least publicly?

At some future time I am thinking of posting a speculative hypothesis (can be tested scientifically!) regarding brain lateralization (you know the old left vs. right hemisphere stuff but more in line with what we actually know about lateralization of functions) and the tendancy toward conservative thinking and behavior vs a tendancy toward progressive (read exploratory not liberal) thinking and behavior.  I agree with your observation.  The reality is that everyone is a mix of these two tendancies but as with all things biological there will be those that lean more strongly in one direction or the other.  The ideal is a good balance between the two, not one or the other.  But I’ll elaborate in the future.

[quote author=“Bulldog”]
This whole rant was inspired by the move in Florida by republicans to institute a so-called “academic bill of rights” and the accusation that conservative republicans are under-represented in academia. Conservatives would have you believe that in order to have fair representation in academia, then 50% of professors would have to identify themselves as conservative and/or republican. The implication of the above argument is that, if such a thing came about, then the conservative republican point of view would be horrendously over-represented!

- Bulldog

If you trace the history of this national movement for so-called academic bills of rights, you will find it is not just a conservative agenda, but was instigated and promoted (and I might add this is being done very much out in the open) by the conservative christians.  Look at the whole package. They lost on evolution in schools so now its intelligent design, no child left behind (BTW: those last two words do not just coincidentally sound like a popular fiction series) and now academic freedom.  Yes they are whining about under representation of “conservative” viewpoints in acadamia, but the impetus is much more insideous than supposed conservatism.  Thats my rant and $0.02 worth!

g

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Posted: 07 April 2005 06:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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[quote author=“gman”] ..........no child left behind (BTW: those last two words do not just coincidentally sound like a popular fiction series)........!
g

Come on, gman, you can do better than that!! 

The No Child Left Behind Act was authored by Ted “the Hero of Chappaquiddick” Kennedy…....not known to be a right wing, rapture-enthralled Christian conservative!

I am as suspicious of the Christian Right as anybody on this planet but, even I can’t subscribe that particular paranoid conspiracy theory.

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Posted: 07 April 2005 07:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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That the national debate in America has been largely reduced to an almost reptilian pseudo right vs. pseudo left is fairly obvious.  Both parties do disagree on a lot of things (internally) however.  I think that, when one party has ascended to dominance (as is now the case), but percieves the hold on power as tenuous, they are more strongly motivated to “tow the line” in public, especially on key talking points.

I don’t see eye to eye with Chomsky on everything by a long way, but I do believe that he is on the right track when he talks about the fundamental flaw in the way that the American political debate is framed.

Neither party is pushing for vote reform (which would be good for Americans, but bad for Democrats and republicans.  Neither party is seriously talking about how to get a grip on out of control corporations.  Neither party is asking if our economy is built on flawed principles which need fundamental alteration.

Furthermore, both parties actively betray their supposed ideals.  Republicans are supposed to be anti-big government and pro states rights, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at their actions recently.  Democrats are supposed to be internationalists (read pro UN), but they were rattling their sabers enough to openly support a war which (despite anything else one might think about it) was certainly not approved by the international community.

Additionally, both parties entertain asinine policies for no purpose other than to get votes.  Take minimum wage, for instance.  Both parties talked about competing MW proposals, but neither party had the guts to talk about the ugly truth, which is that MW increases are not the workers paradise that people want them to be.  MW increases unfairly burden companies which hire MW employees, increase outsourcing, decrease insourcing, and in general front load the benefits, as workers temporarily feel like they have more money, until the economy finishes adjusting.  It would be far better to simply institute a wage suplemtation program (wellfare, negative income tax, whatever) than to raise the MW.

If something seems to good to be true, then it probably is, or so the conventional wisdom goes.  Athletes who decide not to take steroids know that there are serious long term consequences, and have decided that those consequences are not worth the short term benefits.  Athletes who decide to take steroids anyway, generally know this too, but they will gravitate towards “experts” who assure them that steroids are not as bad as the press that they get.  The American voter is like the second athlete.  In the dim recesses of their mind, they know that the American economy, the disparity of wealth, and the entire way of life is not sustainable without radical alterations, but they are adicted to the perks, and prefer to buy the lies of smooth talking con artists and hope they get lucky.

-Matt

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Posted: 07 April 2005 07:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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[quote author=“Conservative Atheist”]
Brooks’ thesis is that the strength of the conservative movement is its very fragmentation and internal disagreement.

Are you seriously suggesting that David Brooks is representative of the republican party viewpoint? I find that absurd. Compared to the real leaders and proponents of the republican party (Frist, DeLay, Hastert, Gingrich, Limbaugh, Hannity, Hume, etc.), David Brooks is a tree-hugging, birkenstock wearing hippy.

[quote author=“Conservative Atheist”]
From the conservative perspective, it appears that unless you are an extreme left-wing, anti-war, pro-abortion, anti-Bush, Michael Moore/Howard Dean moonbat, there is no room for you in the Democrat party (e.g. Lieberman, etc.)

This is exactly my point. From the conservative perspective, anyone who associates with the democratic party or identifies themself as a “liberal” is assumed to support all of these positions. While all of these positions are labelled as “liberal”, you don’t have to believe all of these things to be a “liberal”. That’s the point I am trying to make.

[quote author=“Conservative Atheist”]
BTW, I do think that there should be a better balance between left and right viewpoints on publicly funded college campuses

You are completely missing the point, CA. There is no “left” and “right”. There is “conservative republican” and NOT “conservative republican”.

- Bulldog

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Posted: 07 April 2005 08:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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[quote author=“Conservative Atheist”][quote author=“gman”] ..........no child left behind (BTW: those last two words do not just coincidentally sound like a popular fiction series)........!
g

Come on, gman, you can do better than that!! 

The No Child Left Behind Act was authored by Ted “the Hero of Chappaquiddick” Kennedy…....not known to be a right wing, rapture-enthralled Christian conservative!

I am as suspicious of the Christian Right as anybody on this planet but, even I can’t subscribe that particular paranoid conspiracy theory.

get your facts straight. Kennedy was a cosponsor in the interest of bipartisanship.  the concept came from GWB’s texas. and there are fundies out there who are boasting about the name (in fact someone tied to delay in one of the current ethics investigations!)

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Posted: 07 April 2005 09:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
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[quote author=“bulldog”][quote author=“Conservative Atheist”]
Brooks’ thesis is that the strength of the conservative movement is its very fragmentation and internal disagreement.

Are you seriously suggesting that David Brooks is representative of the republican party viewpoint?

Of course not.  I was merely using his op ed piece to refute your fallacious argument that there is no disagreement within the conservative movement (the contention of your original post).  I said nothing at all about the Republicans or David Brooks’ spokesman ship for them or lack thereof.

Please try to read what I write and not what your liberal “anti-republican” or “anti-conservative” bias wants to read into my words.

[quote author=“bulldog”]Compared to the real leaders and proponents of the republican party (Frist, DeLay, Hastert, Gingrich, Limbaugh, Hannity, Hume, etc.), David Brooks is a tree-hugging, birkenstock wearing hippy.

Again, if you were to pay any attention at all to the pronouncements of the people that you identified above as the “leaders and proponents of the republican party”, you would find them to be in frequent disagreement with the President, the Republican Congress and each other on a wide range of issues every day of the week.

The idea that somehow conservatives are a monolithic, mindless, message machine is a liberal myth…….. which I frankly hope will continue well into the future.

The fact that you obviously chose to ignore and leave unaddressed the points about conservative diversity of opinion made in the Brooks op ed, makes my point better than anything I could say about the liberal head-in-the-sand mythology!

[quote author=“bulldog”][quote author=“Conservative Atheist”]
From the conservative perspective, it appears that unless you are an extreme left-wing, anti-war, pro-abortion, anti-Bush, Michael Moore/Howard Dean moonbat, there is no room for you in the Democrat party (e.g. Lieberman, etc.)

This is exactly my point. From the conservative perspective, anyone who associates with the democratic party or identifies themself as a “liberal” is assumed to support all of these positions. While all of these positions are labelled as “liberal”, you don’t have to believe all of these things to be a “liberal”. That’s the point I am trying to make.

Again, you seem be having some difficulty in reading and understanding the English language.  I clearly acknowledge that there are people (e.g. Lieberman) “associated with the democratic party”, but who do not support all of the wacko left-wing positions.

However, you must admit that the extreme left-wing of the Democrat party is in control and has relegated any remaining “moderates” to the far back of the bus.  Of course there are some people who have not yet consumed all of the liberal “kool aid” but they are largely ignored within the modern Democrap party.

[quote author=“bulldog”][quote author=“Conservative Atheist”]
BTW, I do think that there should be a better balance between left and right viewpoints on publicly funded college campuses

You are completely missing the point, CA. There is no “left” and “right”. There is “conservative republican” and NOT “conservative republican”.

No, YOU are completely missing the point…….

What if I said……..”There is only “liberal democrat” and “NOT liberal democrat”?

You would correctly point out that such a concept is silly and naïve (but no more so than your stereotype which you refuse to acknowledge in spite of more than ample objective evidence to the contrary).

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Posted: 07 April 2005 09:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
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[quote author=“Anonymous”][quote author=“Conservative Atheist”][quote author=“gman”] ..........no child left behind (BTW: those last two words do not just coincidentally sound like a popular fiction series)........!
g

Come on, gman, you can do better than that!! 

The No Child Left Behind Act was authored by Ted “the Hero of Chappaquiddick” Kennedy…....not known to be a right wing, rapture-enthralled Christian conservative!

I am as suspicious of the Christian Right as anybody on this planet but, even I can’t subscribe that particular paranoid conspiracy theory.

get your facts straight. Kennedy was a cosponsor in the interest of bipartisanship.  the concept came from GWB’s texas. and there are fundies out there who are boasting about the name (in fact someone tied to delay in one of the current ethics investigations!)

Kennedy was FAR more than a courtesy co-sponsor in the name of bipartisanship.  He was the principle author of the bill and was eager to claim that position at the time that the bill was passed and signed. 

Kennedy and the Democrats were falling all over themselves to make sure that he and they were given the lion’s share of the credit for crafting the legislation………and Bush was generous in his praise and acknowledgement of Kennedy’s leadership role.

The fact that some crazy fundi boasts about a phrase in the title of the bill is totally irrelevant.  I’m sure that The Champ sees it as proof positive that the rapture is upon us and that the whole thing was predicted in Revelations!

You’ve got to be as crazy as they are to pay any attention to that BS.

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Posted: 07 April 2005 09:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]  
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[quote author=“Conservative Atheist”]
[quote author=“bulldog”]Compared to the real leaders and proponents of the republican party (Frist, DeLay, Hastert, Gingrich, Limbaugh, Hannity, Hume, etc.), David Brooks is a tree-hugging, birkenstock wearing hippy.

Again, if you were to pay any attention at all to the pronouncements of the people that you identified above as the “leaders and proponents of the republican party”, you would find them to be in frequent disagreement with the President, the Republican Congress and each other on a wide range of issues every day of the week.

I call bullsh*t on that, CA. Give me some specific examples if this “frequent disagreement” from any of these guys. I want details. If its a common as you say, you should have no trouble.

- Bulldog

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Posted: 07 April 2005 10:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]  
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[quote author=“bulldog”][quote author=“Conservative Atheist”]
[quote author=“bulldog”]Compared to the real leaders and proponents of the republican party (Frist, DeLay, Hastert, Gingrich, Limbaugh, Hannity, Hume, etc.), David Brooks is a tree-hugging, birkenstock wearing hippy.

Again, if you were to pay any attention at all to the pronouncements of the people that you identified above as the “leaders and proponents of the republican party”, you would find them to be in frequent disagreement with the President, the Republican Congress and each other on a wide range of issues every day of the week.

I call bullsh*t on that, CA. Give me some specific examples if this “frequent disagreement” from any of these guys. I want details. If its a common as you say, you should have no trouble.

- Bulldog

This is way too easy!

Where should I start?

- Rush was totally against the Medicare Drug bill that was passed by the Congress and signed by the President last year
- “Ditto” with respect to the No Child Left Behind Act”
- Gingrich, Limbaugh, and Hannity are all highly critical (almost every day) of the President and Congress with respect to protecting the US Borders from illegal immigration.
- Gingrich has been a frequent critic of the President’s handling of the war in Iraq.
- Bush recently denigrated the efforts of the “Minutemen” volunteers on the southern border while the pundits were praising them from the rooftops.
- Most of the above commentators are all over Frist for his apparent willingness to compromise with the Dems on the filibuster of judicial nominees.
- They were also all over the Republican leadership for agreeing to split the committee power 50/50 when the senate was evenly divided.
- There is also lots of disagreement between the President and the Republican congressional leadership on SS reform.
- Almost all of the conservative pundits are critics of the current level of Bush budget deficits

These are just a few that come to mind immediately.  However, there are many, many more. 

In addition, the conservative print commentators, OP ED and editorial writers are very frequent critics of the president, the republican congress, etc. 

You might want to monitor the RealClear Politics web site…….

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/index.html

They provide links to most of the conservative (and liberal) commentators on a daily basis.  If you follow a few of those, you will find a wide diversity of opinion and frequent conservative criticism of the administration’s policies.

[ Edited: 07 April 2005 10:39 AM by ]
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Posted: 07 April 2005 10:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]  
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Thanks, CA. I’ve observed that your opinions are some of the more clear-headed in this forum from the self-identified “conservative” camp. I shouldn’t have been so hasty in challenging you. I retract my “bullsh*t” statement.

However, I think your list actually helps make my point, because, with the possible exception of the Medicare Drug bill, none of these issues falls into either the “liberal” or “conservative” category. With respect to the conservative platform, these people are in lockstep.

Thanks for the link. I’m always looking for new perspectives.

- Bulldog

[ Edited: 07 April 2005 10:45 AM by ]
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Posted: 07 April 2005 10:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]  
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By the way, CA, I don’t agree with everything on the democratic platform, although I identify much more closely with them than with the republicans.

In particular, I believe strongly in the 2nd amendment and oppose the democrat position on gun control. I’ve posted on this under another topic:
http://www.samharris.org/forum/viewtopic.php?p=3319#3319

I also believe in reducing taxes across the board, with two conditions:
  -  First and foremost, we have to pay off the national debt. That money doesn’t come from thin air, it is loaned to us from other countries. The interest we pay on the national debt is equivalent to billions of dollars in mandatory foreign aid, only it doesn’t appear as such in the budget. I happen to believe that the richest people in our country get the most benefit from a thriving economy, so they should carry the largest burden in paying off the national debt. But once that is off the table, I think the government should let us keep our money. I’d rather that than have them dump it all into the pockets of defense contractors.
  -  Second, if we are in a state of war, then we have to pay for it, like it or not. Tax reduction should only happen in times of peace, or at least when our troops are not actively waging war on, or occupation of, a foreign country.

There are other issues in contention that I am ambivalent about, but I won’t bore you with that at this time.

- Bulldog

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Posted: 09 April 2005 09:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]  
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[quote author=“bulldog”]By the way, CA, I don’t agree with everything on the democratic platform, although I identify much more closely with them than with the republicans

 

Obviously I don’t agree with a lot of the Republican platform either.  I am sure that no one is 100% in agreement with any party or politician.  I doubt that GWB agrees 100% with the Republican platform but must “bite his tongue” and go along in order to secure support from various voting segments. 

[quote author=“bulldog”]In particular, I believe strongly in the 2nd amendment and oppose the democrat position on gun control. I’ve posted on this under another topic:
http://www.samharris.org/forum/viewtopic.php?p=3319#3319

Actually, although I am not an avid gun control advocate, I would feel considerably safer and much more comfortable if there were fewer guns and more controls and restrictions placed upon them.  I think that registration, licensing, and required safety education would help but am not sure that goes far enough.  I think that I am much closer to the Democrat position on gun control than I am to the NRA or the Republicans. 

[quote author=“bulldog”]I also believe in reducing taxes across the board, with two conditions:
- First and foremost, we have to pay off the national debt. That money doesn’t come from thin air, it is loaned to us from other countries. The interest we pay on the national debt is equivalent to billions of dollars in mandatory foreign aid, only it doesn’t appear as such in the budget.

I agree that taxes should be reduced.

However, paying off the national debt would be counterproductive for a number of reasons.

First, where do you think that the money (nearly $ 8 trillion) that would be needed to pay off the debt currently resides at this point in time?  Hidden under a bunch of millionaire’s mattresses?  Of course not, it is invested (mostly in the US economy) and would have to be pulled out (through taxes) and transferred to the current holders of US Bonds. 

Rather than stuffing the proceeds under their own mattresses, those bond holders would immediately seek other comparably safe investments and would most likely invest them in Euros and the bonds of other developed nations (i.e. in the European economy but NOT back into the US economy!)  Remember, the US would no longer be selling bonds to risk-averse investors. 

The most important factors in the economy of any nation are capital formation and liquidity both of which would be SEVERELY IMPACTED by pulling $8 trillion out of the US economy that is currently generating less than $12 trillion in annual GDP and where the total market capitalization of the US stock market is only around $20 trillion! 

Secondly, the US is paying less than 2% (most recently 1.89%) in real inflation-adjusted long term interest on debt and the economy is growing at an inflation-adjusted rate of between 3.5 and 4% annually.  If you could personally borrow money at less than 2% and invest the proceeds at 3.5 to 4%, how long would you continue to do so?  I expect that your (correct) answer would be…… “FOREVER!!” 

I believe that the way to reduce taxes is to reduce the responsibilities and consequently the size of government.  There is no need for the federal government to perform many of the functions that it has taken on and must now tax us in order to perform.

Government should only do those things that cannot be done effectively or efficiently by individuals, private enterprises and/or non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and should strive to do those things with as little impact on the lives of individual citizens as possible.  In my mind, these legitimate governmental roles include the following:
• National Defense and International Relations
• Maintenance of Law and Order
• Maintenance of Public Safety
• Creation, Maintenance and/or Oversight of Essential Infrastructure (including highways, airports & air traffic control, water, sewer, energy, and communications)
• Provision of a Basic and Minimal Humanitarian Social Services “Safety Net” to Temporarily Assist Individuals Who are in Need Through No Fault of Their Own. (Not to support the lazy or people not willing to work)
• Public education (although, beyond setting national standards and monitoring compliance, the federal role should be minimal)
• Management of Public Assets (including rivers, parks, public lands, buildings, airwaves, etc.)

To the extent possible, the actual work of performing these functions, delivering services and directly carrying out government responsibilities should be competitively contracted through the private sector.  This is because without the pressure of competition, efficiency, effectiveness and innovation will not be achieved. 

In my opinion, government agencies, their employees and the unions that represent them have no incentive to be either efficient, effective or innovative.  In fact, there are significant political, bureaucratic and financial incentives to do just the opposite. 

[quote author=“bulldog”]I happen to believe that the richest people in our country get the most benefit from a thriving economy, so they should carry the largest burden in paying off the national debt.

Prior to the 2000 election, when Donald Trump was testing the waters for a possible run for President, he floated the idea that if all of the people in the US with net worth of greater than $10 Million were to be taxed on a one-time basis at the rate of 25% of their net worth, the national debt could be paid off.

Again, these people do not have their money stuffed under their mattresses, they have it actively invested in the economy. 

What would be the market value of Microsoft stock if Bill Gates suddenly had to liquidate 25% of his holdings?  It would almost surely fall much more than 25%........possibly as much as 75 to 90% because there would be insufficient buying demand for the shares being offered for sale.  What if every other rich person had to do the same thing with their investments?  What would be the impact on the overall economy, the remaining net worth of the very wealthy and (most importantly to you) your 401K? ………… They would all be DECIMATED!!

Furthermore, these very wealthy people have clearly demonstrated their ability to manage and invest money in order to create (even more) wealth, jobs, innovative products & services and to drive the overall growth of the economy.  Why would you want to reduce their ability to do this by 75 to 90% or more?

Who do you think creates the most jobs and economic value?  Entrepreneurs or government?

The liberal appeal to capitalize on the natural “wealth envy” inclination of the masses and to “tax the rich” is counterproductive and a shortsighted detriment to the economy.

[quote author=“bulldog”]But once that is off the table, I think the government should let us keep our money. I’d rather that than have them dump it all into the pockets of defense contractors.

(In the interests of full disclosure, I must reveal that I spent much of my career as a greedy defense contractor lining my pockets at the expense of the poor downtrodden taxpayers.)

First, it is largely because of the innovation and skill of defense contractors that your liberal a$$ is currently defended and protected by the most powerful, efficient and technologically advanced military force in the world.

Second, as a direct result of the innovation and skill of defense contractors, our military (volunteers) were able to quickly and soundly defeat the most powerful military force in the Middle East (twice) within days and with minimal loss of American lives.  Saddam would have given anything to have had our defense contractors supplying his military!

Third, the technological prowess of the US defense contractors was a key reason for the collapse of the Soviet Union (they could not compete technologically and ultimately bankrupted their economy trying).

Fourth, because of the obvious and clearly demonstrated, defense-contractor-provided technical superiority of the US military, it will probably not be necessary to fight too many more wars in the Middle East.  Libya, Syria, Iran and the rest of our potential opponents in that region have done the calculations and recognized that they cannot win militarily and must seek diplomatic solutions to resolve our differences.

Finally, almost all of the money spent on defense contractors flows directly back into the US economy through good well-paying jobs, product purchases and innovative technical advances that spawn commercial products and services (e.g., the Internet) as well as through federal, state and local tax contributions.

The US taxpayer has gotten far more value and, more importantly, significantly better RESULTS from defense contractor expenditures than, for example, from the “War on Poverty” or the “War on Drugs” to name just a couple of very expensive and totally ineffective federal government boondoggles.

[quote author=“bulldog”] -  Second, if we are in a state of war, then we have to pay for it, like it or not. Tax reduction should only happen in times of peace, or at least when our troops are not actively waging war on, or occupation of, a foreign country.

In general, I would agree.  However, if the economy is in the tank at the same time, we must keep taxes low in order to stimulate job growth and recovery.

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Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful…..Lucius Annaeus Seneca, Roman (3 BC - 65 AD)

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Posted: 09 April 2005 03:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]  
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[quote author=“Conservative Atheist”]Secondly, the US is paying less than 2% (most recently 1.89%) in real inflation-adjusted long term interest on debt and the economy is growing at an inflation-adjusted rate of between 3.5 and 4% annually.  If you could personally borrow money at less than 2% and invest the proceeds at 3.5 to 4%, how long would you continue to do so?  I expect that your (correct) answer would be…… “FOREVER!!”

I’m not an economist. I just believe that the soundest fiscal policy is always cash on the barrelhead. I’m not interested in arguing the numbers you are giving. I don’t doubt you can argue circles around me on that score, so I can only assume that your numbers are correct.

Nevertheless, I can’t believe that you are telling the whole story. By this logic, we would be crazy if we’re not borrowing as much money as possible, since we would be making twice as much in profit from the loan as we are paying in interest. There has to be something you aren’t telling me.

- Bulldog

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Posted: 09 April 2005 03:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]  
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[quote author=“Conservative Atheist”]Prior to the 2000 election, when Donald Trump was testing the waters for a possible run for President, he floated the idea that if all of the people in the US with net worth of greater than $10 Million were to be taxed on a one-time basis at the rate of 25% of their net worth, the national debt could be paid off.

Don’t be absurd. It has taken decades to run up the national debt to the current level. It would be nice to be able to pay it off overnight, but you have stated the obvious fact that it would incapacitate the US economy (albeit temporarily). Also, you’re talking about people’s net worth, not their annual income. The only sane solution is to pay it off the same way it was acquired, in incremental chunks.

- Bulldog

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