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A public conversation about our worlds.

  • Monday: Morgan J. Locke
  • Tuesday: Madeleine E. Robins
  • Wednesday: Maureen F. McHugh
  • Thursday: Bradley Denton
  • Friday: Steven Gould
  • Saturday: Caroline Spector
  • Sunday: Rory Harper

Brain Activity



The Previous Model

November 11th, 2008 by Steven Gould

Taxpayer:  Excuse me, my government, but I was laid off months ago and I haven’t been able to find work and my savings are gone and you’ve cut my unemployment benefits and my family is getting hungry.  How about a hand here?

Government:  If we gave the money to you it would be socialism.  We will now give millions of dollars to the industry that laid you off.  It will trickle down.

Taxpayer:  Uh, that industry took your money and distributed it to its executive golden parachute program with a little bit for its shareholders, then relocated overseas to avoid paying US taxes.

Government:  It’ll work out.

Giving millions to the rich who keep on being rich:  Supply-Side Economics

Giving anything to the poor and middle-class who’ve been pillaged by the rich:  Socialism

Brought to mind by this astonishing comment from a dimension that doesn’t resemble mine.

Posted in Politics, Steve | 9 Comments »

9 Responses

  1. Scamp Says:

    The national government shouldn’t have billions to give away. If the money were left in the hands of people that earned it or taxed by their supposedly sovereign state goveernments, they wouldn’t be dependent on the evils of the national government.

    The Federal (more correctly, National) government is inherently wasteful and enormously inefficient. The type of people drawn to government service are looking for a job from which they can’t be fired. They are not hard charging go getters. And being as removed from the taxpayer as they are, not much can be done about it. As much as possible, government services should be pushed down to the level closest to the people being served. Local and state government should be the ones taxing more and doing more for their taxpayers. Alas, true federalism was killed years ago.

    So now I’m going to sit on my butt and let the glorious First Comrade take care of me. I have no responsibility for anything now that he and his people were put into place by the inredible stupidity and unacceptable abuses of the other side.

    As things are nowdays, whichever party wins, individual liberty loses.

  2. Madeleine Robins Says:

    Be sure to let us know how paving your own roads and putting out your own fires works out for you,

  3. Stuart Says:

    I think Heinlein’s notion of Coventry is exactly right. All people who view the fruits of human co-operation as socialism should be allowed to reinvent civilization from scratch somewhere out in the wilderness.

    They should not be allowed to sully their virtue by having access to anything they haven’t made with their own hands from the materials at hand. If they should fall ill or go hungry we will not offend their independence by providing help.

  4. Caroline Spector Says:

    Ah, c’mon Madeleine, who needs thing like Rural Electrification, the CDC, Social Security, the FDA, or regulations of ANY kind?

    Hey, the last super-fabulous eight years of of complete hands-off, laissez-faire, let-the-market-regulate-itself, let-’em-eat-cake tax cuts for the rich happiness has yielded all the miraculous joys that “Scamp” believes it should have.

    Yes, in Scamp’s world if only that mean old goverment would just get out of the way, why business men would always do the right thing because that would make good business sense. I’m surprised that Scamp is whining here at all given that the last eight years should have made him happy as a pig in shit.

    Oh, and Scamp, my favorite part is where you assume that people who go into government do so because they don’t want to be fired. Please explain to me why Republicans and Libertarians keep running for office if they don’t believe in goverment. Seems like the perfect set-up for an epic-fail.

  5. Rory Harper Says:

    There’s actually possibly an interesting conversation buried in here somewhere, though I’ll be surprised if we have it.

    I think Scamp has gone not-so-quietly insane with all this ‘Comrade’ stuff, which is very much the latest Wingnut attempt to poison sensible discourse about changes in policy by finding new simplistic attack labels to replace the old simplistic attack labels that don’t seem to be working any more.

    That said, there’s lots of places where I can fellow-travel with Libertarians, especially regarding the desire to get government out of the business of regulating our private lives. And I’m all about local control and revenue for local issues, assuming that this doesn’t include stuff like making it okay to lynch black folks again in East Texas (as an example.)

    But we very much part ways on a couple of the major tent-pole issues of hard libertarianism.

    First is the demonstrably flawed concept that unrestrained capitalism is the universal fix that will create paradise. There isn’t, hasn’t been, and never will be unrestrained capitalism, because the players that get on top immediately start using their power and wealth to change the rules in their favor. Until human nature changes, that experiment then dies, well before nay long-range benefits can come to stable fruition.

    In other words, you have no way of getting to unrestrained capitalism from here, and you’d be unable to stay there if you somehow did.

    Second problem is the lack of truthfulness regarding what happens to the Commons that Carolyn has referred to — the areas that we must all share and maintain in order to survive as a society and a species — when you take away all the over-arching governmental regulations. The idea that Randite enlightened self-interest will lead to a common Eden is, again, demonstrably wrong. Enlightened self-interest for humans leads to what we’ve seen in the real estate and banking industries of late — ‘Fuck you all, in the most creative ways possible, I got mine.’

    Third, all of the libs I’ve ever talked with seem to share the delusion that in a pure Libertarian dog-eat-dog world, they’ll be the top dogs. They can’t all be right.

    Frankly, one way to tell how well they’ll do is to look at how they’ve been doing in the past 8 years, when a lot of controls were removed.

    Have you gotten wealthy and powerful under the recent regime, Scamp? Because it’s been a lot softer environment than the classic lib one.

    Of course, you might not be a Libertarian, just a cranky old man like me, trolling a left-wing site.

    In which case, I’d like to offer my last argument — My personal values are that we need to better take care of each other, be kinder to each other, help out each other in times of trouble. Sometimes good government can facilitate that. I’m willing to give up some of my money, some of my autonomy, in hope that some of my brothers and systems might benefit.

    Basically, the whole argument that people are going to have their hard-earned resources taken from them and re-allocated to undeserving parasites contains the grain of truth that obscures the larger truth — that’s gonna happen in any human system, and ours has just lately been exclusively feeding the parasites at the top.

    I’d rather have my money, AND YOURS, taken to feed, clothe, and educate kids and disabled people, and old people. Even if some Welfare Cadillacs get bought as a result of the processs being imperfect.

    If you don’t like that, you get to practice your freedom to bitch and obstruct. And we get to see whose ideas win in the real world. As has always been the case.

  6. Madeleine Robins Says:

    Third, all of the libs I’ve ever talked with seem to share the delusion that in a pure Libertarian dog-eat-dog world, they’ll be the top dogs. They can’t all be right.

    This is the same sort of thinking I used to find, in my romance writing days, among the readers who loved the Good Old Days and wished they’d lived then. They were always imagining that they’d be the daughters of dukes and kings and not the daughters of peasants and abusive layabouts, disfigured by unpleasant diseases and dying early. Someone, as my mother once said, had to pick up the shit (and I’m sadly certain it would be me).

    I don’t want my money taken to provide golden parachutes for the already-wealthy, but I’m happy to pay taxes to support roads, firefighting, public safety, education and health–if nothing else, I want the next several generations heartily indebted to me for their education and early well-being, so that they decide it’s a good idea to change my IV and oversee my care when I’m in The Home.

  7. Scamp Says:

    State and local government do a lot of the roadbuilding now. They should do all of it. What I was saying is that the national government is inherently bloated and wasteful and that power should be pushed down to the lowest level of government – state, county, other municipality.

    Government should not be the Societal Steward. It is the servant of society.

  8. Stuart Says:

    Scamp,

    Do you know how and why the interstate highway system got built? Would you like to get rid of national food and drug standards?

    Do you really think you would be better off if you didn’t know whether the the meat and vegetables you eat might kill you? What if you died of a heart attack because the drug you took harmed your heart instead of helped it.

    Give me some proof that national government is less efficient than state or local government. I grew up in Oklahoma in the fifties when the state government was more corrupt and inefficient than anything the federal government has ever managed.

    I’ve worked for many different companies and I have never observed the high level of efficiency that free enterprise champions claim for business.

    The bottom line is that all organizations depend on the performance of human beings. Some days we do pretty well and other days we phone it in. There isn’t any utopia to be had if we just changed society to match your model.

  9. Scamp Says:

    I’d give the interstates to the states. I’d slam shut the departments of HUD, education, agriculture, and labor – there is no constitutional basis for the national government to be meddeling in these affairs. They should belong to the sovereign states or lower levels of government.

    The flimsy constitutional basis for the Interstate Highway Act of 1956 was national defense. In fact there are still bridge building laws on the books based on the width and weight of cold war era tanks. Since then, the federal government has used its entry into the highway system to dictate and control much of the infrastructure that should be run by the states.

    While state and local gvts are not without their massive flaws, the closer the money and control are to the people, the easier it tends to be for them to control it. It also limits how widespread the damage can be from a single governmental body. If Mass is corrupt or wasteful, it won’t hurt TX. But If Comrade Pelosi gets her way, people will lose individual liberties in all 50 states, just like when that dingaling Bush signed the Patriot Act.

    Finally, as someone who has been a consultant to national government departments and agencies for 30 years, I’ve seen the waste. We could acommplish twice as much on half as much if not for the built in bureaucratit waste of the national government. I’d be far more willing to see my state government take on the responsibilities and be that inefficient. We wold be able to see it much more clearly and the politicians would be much closer at hand for throttling.

    No utopias – just less interference in my life.

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