Manhole Eunuchsbane

U.S. Politics: One NothingBurger with 100% Mos-Cow, Side of Orange Slices and a Banana Daiquiri, Please

418 posts in this topic

Posted (edited)

 

So cool. The foxes and the hens are teaming up for greater security.

Edited by Manhole Eunuchsbane

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1 hour ago, Mlle. Zabzie said:

I daresay part of the problem is that many peoples' first-hand experience with government in their lives is profoundly negative (whether DMV, cops, taxing authority, whatever).  Even though there are plenty of indirect positive experiences (including use of roads, maybe schools, etc.), they don't overcome the impact of the bad experience.

I would not describe those as positive experiences. They might be if we weren't paying for them, but as it stands, the government is effectively acting as a general contractor which is tasked with certain critical tasks and gets them done, but almost always in a way that is expensive, sub-optimal and/or inconvenient.

To take your examples, in most places, it is quite rare for the government to build new roads or other infrastructure. There was undoubtedly a time when it did this and I think people might have felt differently towards the government of the FDR or Eisenhower eras, but that time is long gone (in fact, I'm pretty sure it ended before I was born). Nowadays the government mainly does maintenance with the occasional replacement and pays an absurd amount of money for either one as well as taking an absurd amount of time and thus inconveniencing the population. Similarly, despite being really expensive, public schools in the US are mediocre at best and everybody knows it.

Other critical services provided by the government also have well-documented issues and on the whole one would greatly prefer to avoid being in situations where one interacts with them -- even if their role is to help! In fact, even when the government is supposed to give one money (via Social Security, welfare, etc.) they usually somehow manage to make the experience a negative one. And of course there are the outright negative experiences which you mentioned.

There are a few exceptions (e.g. refugees who have recently arrived in the US), but for the vast majority of taxpaying Americans, any interaction with the government is always a bad experience.

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^^^^^ I think you're scope here is really narrow, and more than a bit jaded.

So you're going to take away the Interstate Highway System as being a plus because it wasn't built recently? Not sure how that tracks. It's a monument to what our government can achieve at the very least.

The G.I. Bill was instrumental in creating the Middle Class. The Federal Housing Authority, Medicare, The CDC, and National Institute of Health are all successful programs that have bettered the lives of many if not all Americans.  

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If you would start electing idiots, and expect them to have any real knowledge of how to actually run a conference, book hotel rooms in advance of such,  not be a serial bankruptee,  then hey, your experience with government will not be the best. 

 

 

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Is this taking a meme too far?  Oh well.

 

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Posted (edited)

@dmc515

Quote

Of course, there's also the famous quote "We are all Keynesians now," attributed to Nixon but actually remarked by Milton Friedman in 1965.  Friedman later qualified the statement as, "In one sense, we are all Keynesians now; in another, nobody is any longer a Keynesian." "

Just wanted to add something here: While certainly I'm not a fan of everything Friedman had to say, I'd argue that his approach to managing the economy was a fairly radical departure from what many "classical liberals" were saying. Here is his own words:

Quote

That is a very general statement that has very little content. I think the Austrian business-cycle theory has done the world a great deal of harm. If you go back to the 1930s, which is a key point, here you had the Austrians sitting in London, Hayek and Lionel Robbins, and saying you just have to let the bottom drop out of the world. You’ve just got to let it cure itself. You can’t do anything about it. You will only make it worse. You have Rothbard saying it was a great mistake not to let the whole banking system collapse. I think by encouraging that kind of do-nothing policy both in Britain and in the United States, they did harm.

Friedman's argument, I do believe, wasn't so much that Keynes was wrong, it was his cure was not necessary because the velocity of money was relatively stable.

And the odd thing, is Rand Paul, whose supposed to be an Austrian, said he'd like to have Milton Friedman as Chair of the Fed. Did Rand Paul even have one iota of clue what Friedman was about? Evidently not. 

And around 2000 Friedman said:

Quote

In 1989, the Bank of Japan stepped on the brakes very hard and brought money supply down to negative rates for a while. The stock market broke. The economy went into a recession, and it’s been in a state of quasi recession ever since. Monetary growth has been too low. Now, the Bank of Japan’s argument is, “Oh well, we’ve got the interest rate down to zero; what more can we do?”
It’s very simple. They can buy long-term government securities, and they can keep buying them and providing high-powered money until the high powered money starts getting the economy in an expansion. What Japan needs is a more expansive domestic monetary policy.
The Japanese bank has supposedly had, until very recently, a zero interest rate policy. Yet that zero interest rate policy was evidence of an extremely tight monetary policy. Essentially, you had deflation. The real interest rate was positive; it was not negative. What you needed in Japan was more liquidity

And what did the Republican Party do? They threw Friedman under the bus, cause after all playin' team Republican is the most important thing in the world, after arguing tax cuts for the rich will solve all our problems.

The Republican Party managed to turn Milton Friedman from a right wing icon into comrade Milton The Red. Truly amazing. Turns out he just wasn't conservative enough.

Edited by OldGimletEye

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On 7/7/2017 at 8:03 PM, maarsen said:

If you would start electing idiots, and expect them to have any real knowledge of how to actually run a conference, book hotel rooms in advance of such,  not be a serial bankruptee,  then hey, your experience with government will not be the best. 

Conservatives say government can't get anything right. They then proceed to get elected and then prove it.

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On 7/7/2017 at 8:31 PM, Nasty LongRider said:

Is this taking a meme too far?  Oh well.

 

What's Putin doing there? Putting Christie in a headlock? LOL.

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1 hour ago, Altherion said:

I would not describe those as positive experiences. They might be if we weren't paying for them, but as it stands, the government is effectively acting as a general contractor which is tasked with certain critical tasks and gets them done, but almost always in a way that is expensive, sub-optimal and/or inconvenient.

Yeah, 'cause the private sector is always cheap, optimal and convenient, right ? 

Sarcasm aside what can you expect when the dominant ideology in your country  has been claiming that "government is the problem" for the past thirty years? Throughout the world, or history, government is actually pretty damn efficient. But of course, the moment people lose faith in it it is dismantled by those who have an interest in dismantling it. It's almost as if it was synonymous with democracy...

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12 minutes ago, OldGimletEye said:

The Republican Party managed to turn Milton Friedman from a right wing icon into comrade Milton The Red. Truly amazing. Turns out he just wasn't conservative enough.

Yep Yep.

1 hour ago, Altherion said:

<"content">

The United States Federal Government has been, by far, both the largest corporation in history, and one of the most longest running.  It's been going on 80 years at this point.  Three programs account for over half its budget, and both Social Security and Medicare are incredibly popular, plus it turns out Medicaid is too for the states that actually enjoy it fully.  Moreover, the first two were able to keep the programs out of the red for many years until the baby boomers started retiring.  

Fact is, without the federal bureaucracy this country would have collapsed upon itself a over a century ago.  Beginning with the Pendleton Act, bureaucrats began providing both expertise and a devotion to their mission as public servants.  Now, it's true there's nuances to this argument - the right mix of politicization and careerist bureaucrats tends to yield the best performance from agencies - but this is a discussion that is well beyond your juvenile perspective.  It's pathetic that someone that otherwise seems as well informed as you can swallow such a line of bullshit that you just spewed out.  Then again, agencies aren't given much funds for comms departments to explain it to you.  That would be an extravagance.

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1 hour ago, Manhole Eunuchsbane said:

^^^^^ I think you're scope here is really narrow, and more than a bit jaded.

So you're going to take away the Interstate Highway System as being a plus because it wasn't built recently? Not sure how that tracks. It's a monument to what our government can achieve at the very least.

The G.I. Bill was instrumental in creating the Middle Class. The Federal Housing Authority, Medicare, The CDC, and National Institute of Health are all successful programs that have bettered the lives of many if not all Americans.  

As I said, there undoubtedly was a time when government acted differently from the way it does today and it was probably regarded differently too. However, that time is long gone -- every one of the agencies, laws or projects you list was created more than half a century ago. Some of them continue to function today (albeit usually with some bloat over time), but this is hardly the achievement of modern politicians.

17 minutes ago, Rippounet said:

Yeah, 'cause the private sector is always cheap, optimal and convenient, right ? 

No, but at least with the private sector, one theoretically has a choice of whether to use it or not. When this is not the case (as, for example, happens with patents on medicine), the situation can be even worse.

21 minutes ago, Rippounet said:

Sarcasm aside what can you expect when the dominant ideology in your country  has been claiming that "government is the problem" for the past thirty years? Throughout the world, or history, government is actually pretty damn efficient. But of course, the moment people lose faith in it it is dismantled by those who have an interest in dismantling it. It's almost as if it was synonymous with democracy...

I am not sure that governments in general have been all that efficient. The current US one is far from being the worst of the lot even compared to those around today -- there are countries where bribery is practically routine.

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1 hour ago, OldGimletEye said:

What's Putin doing there? Putting Christie in a headlock? LOL.

Well yeah, who wouldn't want to do that?  Plus Pootie sure has some adoring looks going on at Trump's tiny, tiny hands.   Hands made for the finest Russian demitasse cups.  

 

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3 hours ago, Manhole Eunuchsbane said:

 

So cool. The foxes and the hens are teaming up for greater security.

Yes, what ever could go wrong with this stunning plan?

Quote

The Trump administration announced plans to keep voter roll data it has requested from all 50 states and the District on White House computers under the direction of a member of Vice President Pence’s staff, it told a federal judge Thursday.

:dunce:

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47 minutes ago, Manhole Eunuchsbane said:

Yeah, and on top of all that, the State Department just approved the visas of 150 supposed Russian spies. Getting a jump on that 2018 election?

https://www.dailykos.com/story/2017/7/7/1678545/-CNN-Trump-s-State-Dept-Grants-U-S-Visas-to-150-Russian-Spies

As long as they aren't Muslims, they should be A-OK!   :rolleyes:

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Apparently you are unwilling to respond to my comments.  Perhaps I was too mean.  I'll try to be nicer this time.

2 hours ago, Altherion said:

As I said, there undoubtedly was a time when government acted differently from the way it does today and it was probably regarded differently too. However, that time is long gone -- every one of the agencies, laws or projects you list was created more than half a century ago. Some of them continue to function today (albeit usually with some bloat over time), but this is hardly the achievement of modern politicians.

What agencies, laws, or projects are you referring to?  Please cite.  You mentioned Eisenhower building the IHS.  Ok, so how about roads.  I lived in Orlando, Florida for seven years.  The state road (Colonial) was perpetually in disrepair.  This was because the state would not put up the money to fix it, ever - I'm sure it's still under construction.  Instead, Florida has NO state income tax.  Great way to attract rich people!  For everyone else, it means your roads are shit and the interstate and even basic highways are gouched to the point that any city denizen has to pay more daily to get around the city than most people spend in a week.  This is the definition of a regressive tax.

2 hours ago, Altherion said:

No, but at least with the private sector, one theoretically has a choice of whether to use it or not. When this is not the case (as, for example, happens with patents on medicine), the situation can be even worse.

How can the situation be worse?  Where's the choice between coverage and not?  How is the private sector going to fix that?  Because last I checked, the health and drug industry will have no qualms providing nothing to high risk patients that really need it.  Show me the evidence otherwise.  Show me this isn't the absolute reality beyond your ridiculous "theories" that have no business in any adult conversation.

3 hours ago, Altherion said:

I am not sure that governments in general have been all that efficient. The current US one is far from being the worst of the lot even compared to those around today -- there are countries where bribery is practically routine.

K, what's your point here.  There are governments that employ bribery (and worse) as their raison d'etat?  Congrats, you've just justified your ideology over tyrants and worse.  Try harder.

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Posted (edited)

On 7/7/2017 at 9:48 PM, Altherion said:

No, but at least with the private sector, one theoretically has a choice of whether to use it or not. When this is not the case (as, for example, happens with patents on medicine), the situation can be even worse.

Actually, there is no theoretical choice about it. You will deal with the private sector. Most of us will be employed by the private sector. And most of will have to find services on the private sector to live.

If you're lucky, you'll find a decent job (and not be discriminated against because you don't happen to be a white male) and not have to deal with a boss who is a jerk or work for a company that treats you unfairly. And when you look for services hopefully you will always have lots of choices(which doesn't always happen) and will be able to deal with people that are honest and aren't looking to screw you over, which doesn't always happen either.

I have had bad experiences with government before. But, I also have had bad experiences with the private sector too. There are lots of benefits to private markets. But lets not pretend that private markets and private actors don't have their warts either.

Edited by OldGimletEye

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Posted (edited)

1 hour ago, OldGimletEye said:

If you're lucky, you'll find a decent job (and not be discriminated against because you don't happen to be a white male) and not have to deal with a boss who is a jerk or work for a company that treats you unfairly. And when you look for services hopefully you will always have lots of choices(which doesn't always happen) and will be able to deal with people that are honest and aren't looking to screw you over, which doesn't always happen either.

This is the distinction between civil liberties and civil rights.  I apologize @OldGimletEye, I do not mean to talk down to you, but I feel this distinction needs to be clarified on here.  Civil liberties are protections from government action.  As in, the government will not infringe on my "free speech" (which has its own complications, but that's a whole other BOW).  Civil rights are protection for the government, or ones in which it's obligated to protect.  The latter begins with the process of incorporation, which - perhaps aprocyphally - started back in 1897.  

Point is, the idea was the federal government would protect one's basic rights no matter who was denying them.  It started with Eisenhower and Little Rock in 57, and it's dovetailed since.  The 14th amendment grants every citizen equal rights, clearly, and that's what the court has used for incorporation.  This will do for all, in terms of legal action.  Except LBGTQ.  They deserve that inclusion within the 14th amendment's EPC.

ETA:  I'm not trying to deny any rights - such as marriage - that have already been granted.  My thoughts lie within the reality that both women and others have yet to achieve societal equality.

Edited by dmc515

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Posted (edited)

9 hours ago, Altherion said:

No, but at least with the private sector, one theoretically has a choice of whether to use it or not.

But for many services this is actually not true. Everyone needs justice, healthcare and education at least, and a whole lot of other services (like infrastructure, bureaucracy, regulations...) will often turn out to be unavoidable in one's life.  The idea that there is a theoretical "choice" not to use the services currently provided by the government in most Western countries is pure fantasy.
And of course, the problem of turning to the private sector for any services that are really vital (like healthcare) is that they will systematically screw over the poor and the weak (the 99%) to make as much profit as possible. Because of course, it's laughable to believe the private sector really cares about the greater good.
I think the US is the only Western country where so many people genuinely believe that individuals should have a "choice" about getting someting like healthcare. And I mean no offense, but such sheer stupidity is the result of decades (at least) of propaganda. At the heart of it is a philosophical confusion about the definition of the "natural" rights of individuals. But I digress. The point is, there is no such theoretical choice. And even if there was, one could still have a "public option" for many services. I challenge you to come up with a solid reason why one should trust the private sector more than government for any vital service.

9 hours ago, Altherion said:

 When this is not the case (as, for example, happens with patents on medicine), the situation can be even worse.

I don't get your point here.

9 hours ago, Altherion said:

I am not sure that governments in general have been all that efficient.

It depends how you define the key word and phrase the question. Since the private sector is relatively new in human history, I would argue that almost all human endeavors and progress happened thanks to government. In my eyes, civilisation itself exists because of government.
As for the situation today, obviously you want to compare the US government with that of other Western nations. In which case it becomes obvious that the war against government waged by the Republican party has been terribly efficient (mind you, the war has started in Europe as well, so we're catching up... ).

But here also, the "choice" is theoretical anyway. Governments can exist without democracy, but democracy cannot exist without a government. Almost by definition, "big government" is a consequence of a functioning democracy. How else are the people supposed to deal with public affairs? To me it's mindboggling how propaganda has somehow convinced so many Americans that "big government" was a bad thing.
Inefficient big government might be a problem. In which case you want to make it efficient rather than get rid of it.

 

Edited by Rippounet

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