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this is a discussion within the Everything Else Community Forum; Originally Posted by jcp026 But, to be fair Romney said the same thing. I think there's a misconception out there. A misconception about what liberals "want." There's a narrative that going back to a 39.6% tax rate for income over ...

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Old 07-26-2012, 12:27 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by jcp026 View Post
But, to be fair Romney said the same thing.

I think there's a misconception out there. A misconception about what liberals "want." There's a narrative that going back to a 39.6% tax rate for income over $250K (from 35%) is somehow a step down the slippery slope to socialism and then fascism is bogus. When Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower (I almost put Howard) maintained a 90%+ tax rate for the highest earners because he thought the debt was important. He's the last Republican president to have balanced budget also. All, I think, liberals want right now is an acknowledgement that our nearly $16,000,000,000,000 is a problem and we can't JUST cut our way to fiscal sanity. What liberals want is a government that is, at least, top 5 in the world in education. An EPA that has the tools to actually protects the environment and an MMS that isn't in the pocket of the oil industry.

I think I'll be branded "a liberal" for wanting those things, but how do they differ from conservatism? An efficient, effective government that is responsible to ALL THE PEOPLE instead of the wealthiest of the wealthy, sounds like conservatism to me and I doubt any of you disagree with it. A balanced budget, or even a budget surplus, if it goes to paying down the debt. Real Liberty for everyone, in the sense that the the government can't tell you who you can/can't marry. If we ban same-sex marriage...or even polygamy for that matter, it IS on religious grounds and IS religious persecution. Any disagreement there?

If anyone remembers my posts from a different thread, you know I know you know I know we can fix this. And we don't need solutions that fit neatly under the umbrella of big government and we do not need solutions that jive completely with the mantra of slash and burn. Effective. Efficient. Responsive.
I share a number of views with my liberal friends. We disagree on plenty though. Remember I'm not a card-carrying member of either party. I used to be. Then I got wise. Here's a sample of a conversation I had recently:

Me: Section 8 is being abused and that abuse should stop.
Friend: How are you going to stop it?
Mr: If you're on the dole, you are responsible to the people paying your way. If, for example, you're benefiting from section 8, you have no business with 52" 3000 dollar televisions, cell phones (the expensive 'smart' ones), fancy Rims on your BMW and stereos that cost more than my mortgage.
Friend: Hey, that's wrong. You can't judge people like that.
Me: The hell I can't. Why can't I?
Friend: Because you don't know where they got that stuff. Maybe their Uncle bought those things for them.
Me: Cool. Then they can go live with their Uncle and get off my taxes.

I have a neighbor who's section 8. Consider too that my electric bill is 350 dollars a month. I keep the thermostat on 78 or above to keep the damn thing from running all the time. My neighbor's system NEVER...STOPS...RUNNING. And when you stand on their porch and someone opens the door, the polar bears come out and start grazing. That's how cold it is in there. They are all obese too, not that it matters. But here's the rub. I am subsidizing that for them. PG&E charges me more as I cross usage thresholds through the month. They do this so my neighbors can get their electricity at a cheaper rate.

My liberal friend thinks I have no right to complain. I, on the other hand, think that if a customer is on a reduced rate they should install 'smart' thermostats that can be locked in at a given temperature. This will force them to use less, which will (maybe) ease my bill because I won't have to fund quite so much of theirs.

Friend: You can't do that. That just isn't right.
Me: The hell it isn't. I don't mind helping those who help themselves, but if I'm paying for your electricity, I have every damn right to enforce policies that control how much of it you use.

Now, to me, that's the biggest difference between me and liberals. To me, what I'm saying makes perfect sense. In my opinion, the only reason things aren't right is because, in my opinion, the politicians market hard, and I mean HARD for the 'poor' vote.

No. I don't mind helping. I don't think most people mind. We have a generation of people who have grown up satisfied to milk the program for all they can. If Obama truly want's to fix the budget, I can give him a thousand places to start that don't have a damn thing to do with placing an even heavier burden on people who in many cases risked everything they had to succeed.
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Old 07-26-2012, 01:29 PM   #22
 
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Originally Posted by ScottF View Post
Here’s the full context of what he said:


We’ve already made a trillion dollars’ worth of cuts. We can make some more cuts in programs that don’t work, and make government work more efficiently…We can make another trillion or trillion-two, and what we then do is ask for the wealthy to pay a little bit more …
For those that actually believe there have been trillions in cuts should look no further than the national debt and deficits! If we were to retreat to 2008 spending levels, which are still outrageous by themselves, we probably would not be in the dire mess we find ourselves in. You could confiscate every single penny from the wealthy "1%-ers" and still not be able to pay off our debt and balance the budget. Spending by a democratically controlled Congress during Obama's first two years has increased in excess of 25%. We are not even mentioning that Senator Reid has not even had the balls to pass a budget in the Senate going on 4 years now!

In this particular context, it is then true we did not do this by ourselves (get ourselves in this much debt, for those in Rio Linda). Are you ready for another round of raising the debt limit discussions right prior to the elections?

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Last edited by SmashMouth; 07-26-2012 at 01:33 PM..
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Old 07-27-2012, 08:32 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by saintfan View Post
I share a number of views with my liberal friends. We disagree on plenty though. Remember I'm not a card-carrying member of either party. I used to be. Then I got wise. Here's a sample of a conversation I had recently:

Me: Section 8 is being abused and that abuse should stop.
Friend: How are you going to stop it?
Mr: If you're on the dole, you are responsible to the people paying your way. If, for example, you're benefiting from section 8, you have no business with 52" 3000 dollar televisions, cell phones (the expensive 'smart' ones), fancy Rims on your BMW and stereos that cost more than my mortgage.
Friend: Hey, that's wrong. You can't judge people like that.
Me: The hell I can't. Why can't I?
Friend: Because you don't know where they got that stuff. Maybe their Uncle bought those things for them.
Me: Cool. Then they can go live with their Uncle and get off my taxes.

I have a neighbor who's section 8. Consider too that my electric bill is 350 dollars a month. I keep the thermostat on 78 or above to keep the damn thing from running all the time. My neighbor's system NEVER...STOPS...RUNNING. And when you stand on their porch and someone opens the door, the polar bears come out and start grazing. That's how cold it is in there. They are all obese too, not that it matters. But here's the rub. I am subsidizing that for them. PG&E charges me more as I cross usage thresholds through the month. They do this so my neighbors can get their electricity at a cheaper rate.

My liberal friend thinks I have no right to complain. I, on the other hand, think that if a customer is on a reduced rate they should install 'smart' thermostats that can be locked in at a given temperature. This will force them to use less, which will (maybe) ease my bill because I won't have to fund quite so much of theirs.

Friend: You can't do that. That just isn't right.
Me: The hell it isn't. I don't mind helping those who help themselves, but if I'm paying for your electricity, I have every damn right to enforce policies that control how much of it you use.

Now, to me, that's the biggest difference between me and liberals. To me, what I'm saying makes perfect sense. In my opinion, the only reason things aren't right is because, in my opinion, the politicians market hard, and I mean HARD for the 'poor' vote.

No. I don't mind helping. I don't think most people mind. We have a generation of people who have grown up satisfied to milk the program for all they can. If Obama truly want's to fix the budget, I can give him a thousand places to start that don't have a damn thing to do with placing an even heavier burden on people who in many cases risked everything they had to succeed.
I don't have any problem with "smart thermostats" for people getting government assistance, but doesn't that sound like the government control and infringements on liberty that republicans are afraid of?
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Old 07-27-2012, 12:50 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by jcp026 View Post
I don't have any problem with "smart thermostats" for people getting government assistance, but doesn't that sound like the government control and infringements on liberty that republicans are afraid of?
No, because in my perfect world such a device is implemented or imposed on people receiving government assistance or are being subsidized on my dime.

Now, If I'm paying my bill straight up and big brother wants to impose some limit on where I set my thermostat because the global warming people think I'm killing seals at 75 degrees versus 78, then yeah, I have a problem with that.

But those two things are clearly separate. My liberal buddies disagree.
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Old 07-27-2012, 09:46 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by saintfan View Post
No, because in my perfect world such a device is implemented or imposed on people receiving government assistance or are being subsidized on my dime.

Now, If I'm paying my bill straight up and big brother wants to impose some limit on where I set my thermostat because the global warming people think I'm killing seals at 75 degrees versus 78, then yeah, I have a problem with that.

But those two things are clearly separate. My liberal buddies disagree.
Where's the line, though? We bailed out banks and Wall Street, so what kind of limits can we impose on them? So far, none that I see. What about farm subsidies, public schools, and student loans? If you get insurance through you employer, it is subsidized. It seems like the only time we can attach strings to public funds is when it goes to poor people. That might not be the case, but it does look that way.

I agree with conservatives that it is a slippery slope, but where does it start sloping?
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Old 07-27-2012, 10:52 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by jcp026 View Post
Where's the line, though? We bailed out banks and Wall Street, so what kind of limits can we impose on them? So far, none that I see. What about farm subsidies, public schools, and student loans? If you get insurance through you employer, it is subsidized. It seems like the only time we can attach strings to public funds is when it goes to poor people. That might not be the case, but it does look that way.

I agree with conservatives that it is a slippery slope, but where does it start sloping?
I know what you mean. I truly do. Common sense goes a long way. We'll never get there when special interests and lobbying interfere with the political agendas of our elected officials. Those things dictate nearly every aspect or action of the men and women in Washington. That has to stop. Being a Congressman (or Woman) or a Senator should NOT be a profession.
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Old 07-28-2012, 07:44 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by saintfan View Post
I know what you mean. I truly do. Common sense goes a long way. We'll never get there when special interests and lobbying interfere with the political agendas of our elected officials. Those things dictate nearly every aspect or action of the men and women in Washington. That has to stop. Being a Congressman (or Woman) or a Senator should NOT be a profession.
I think it's less about being professional politicians, because I think there is something to be said for experience, and more about who funds the campaigns. As long as it is special interests, big business, and the financial industry and not ALL OF THE PEOPLE, things won't change.
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Old 07-28-2012, 11:00 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by jcp026 View Post
I think it's less about being professional politicians, because I think there is something to be said for experience, and more about who funds the campaigns. As long as it is special interests, big business, and the financial industry and not ALL OF THE PEOPLE, things won't change.
Being a politician should not be a lifetime gig IMO. Term limits. When you're done, you're done. Get off the dole. SERVE, because you want to serve, then get out of the way and let the next man (or woman) up serve. These people get too comfortable.

In the end it's all our fault. The fault of the people. We have no one or no thing to blame. We are required to do something about a government that increasingly wants to dictate our freedom. Yet no one is doing anything. We gripe on web forums, but we aren't really doing anything.

Maybe the Hippies had it right, at least to some degree. I don't know. I see a lot more confounding stupidity in the decisions of our Government these days than I do common sense real-teeth efforts to fix problems.

For example, did we really need to turn health care into yet another social program? Of course we didn't. We need to FIX the problems, and we know what they are, but we don't have a single politician in Washington willing to put his or her neck on the line amongst the other wolves in the room to say it - to DO something about it. They aren't going to risk their reelection campaign and extend themselves into that abyss.

Term limits might just remove the career-minded approach. They might actually start functioning the way they're supposed to function. Then again, Americans have to be intelligent enough to filter out campaign rhetoric and, frankly, more and more I'm thinking the average American actually wants what's free rather than what's right.

I'm no poly-sci major, and for sure there are lots of things I don't understand about the process, but I can tell you it can't go on like this forever. American's have forgotten how to be responsible for themselves, and the government increasingly encourages this behavior. This isn't the hard-working do or die give your all pick yourself up by your bootstraps America my Grandpa grew up in. America is in a tail spin, and if the politicians are to blame, the people are ultimately responsible. We not only have a right to overthrow these self-minded buffoons, we have an OBLIGATION to do it.
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Old 07-28-2012, 11:41 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by saintfan View Post
Being a politician should not be a lifetime gig IMO. Term limits. When you're done, you're done. Get off the dole. SERVE, because you want to serve, then get out of the way and let the next man (or woman) up serve. These people get too comfortable.

In the end it's all our fault. The fault of the people. We have no one or no thing to blame. We are required to do something about a government that increasingly wants to dictate our freedom. Yet no one is doing anything. We gripe on web forums, but we aren't really doing anything.

Maybe the Hippies had it right, at least to some degree. I don't know. I see a lot more confounding stupidity in the decisions of our Government these days than I do common sense real-teeth efforts to fix problems.

For example, did we really need to turn health care into yet another social program? Of course we didn't. We need to FIX the problems, and we know what they are, but we don't have a single politician in Washington willing to put his or her neck on the line amongst the other wolves in the room to say it - to DO something about it. They aren't going to risk their reelection campaign and extend themselves into that abyss.

Term limits might just remove the career-minded approach. They might actually start functioning the way they're supposed to function. Then again, Americans have to be intelligent enough to filter out campaign rhetoric and, frankly, more and more I'm thinking the average American actually wants what's free rather than what's right.

I'm no poly-sci major, and for sure there are lots of things I don't understand about the process, but I can tell you it can't go on like this forever. American's have forgotten how to be responsible for themselves, and the government increasingly encourages this behavior. This isn't the hard-working do or die give your all pick yourself up by your bootstraps America my Grandpa grew up in. America is in a tail spin, and if the politicians are to blame, the people are ultimately responsible. We not only have a right to overthrow these self-minded buffoons, we have an OBLIGATION to do it.
Maybe they do get too comfortable, but I think that part of the problem is caused by gerrymandered "safe seats." If you're the Republican nominee for a Republican "safe seat" then you win. Doesn't matter what your views may or may not be.

The politicians have incentives NOT to fix the problems. Here's a hypothetical situation:
Here's a tax break for you Mr. Oilman, but I could only get it extended for two years, so you're going to need to give me and my party money and we'll see if we can get it extended when the time comes. Just so you don't get the wrong idea, Mr. Oilman works on Wall Street.

And there's, at least from my perspective, our biggest problem. Incentives FOR politicians to do a bad job. "Republic Lost: How Money Corrupts Congress and a Plan to Fix It" by Lawrence Lessig is probably the most important book I've ever read on anything...ever.

About the recent health care reform...it's really just health insurance reform. And besides that, it's not really socialized health care. Stay with me here. I feel like I'm losing you. Just hang in there.

So at the extreme right of the ideological spectrum is a Corporatist Fascism and people usually think Communism sits at the extreme left, but since real Communism (a utopia) cannot exist, how can it sit on this spectrum? At the far left is Extreme Socialism and if you go just far enough and try really hard to achieve a real communist state, you end up at what I call "Accidental Fascism." No more or less fascist than the Corporate Fascism on the right. So our spectrum should really sit on a closed loop.

With that being said, the President's health care law is closer to the Corporatist Fascism than the Accidental. The main object people have to the law is the "individual mandate." Unless you're poor enough to qualify for Medicaid or old enough to qualify for Medicare, you HAVE TO BUY PRIVATE INSURANCE. Corporatist all the way. Wall Street/bank bailouts...corporatist. Corporate welfare clearly corporatist.

So that slippery slop I talk about goes both ways. Picture a cone with a board balanced on top. The top of the cone isn't exactly pointy, there is a bit of a flat surface, but there isn't a ton of room to maneuver. We exist on that flat surface, but if we move too far left or right we lose our balance and slide down that slope. And either way it goes, the result is the same.

Part of the problem with the public, and I can blame them (or us) for this, is the way the human brain works. I'm reading "The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided By Politics and Religion" by Jonathan Haidt and I think he's nailed it. The reason there seems to be a different set of facts for conservatives and liberals, the reasons, for instance, why even though you may not be able to find anyone who could be considered a victim if gay marriage is legalized, you still oppose it because you feel it in your gut. I'm not doing a good job of explaining it, but trust me, he does.

Any way, another part of the problem, and it might stem from the previous paragraph, is how willing people on either side are to assume the worst about their political opposition. How can republicans be expected to work with a president who is actively trying to destroy the country and secretly pals around with terrorists, etc? And how can democrats be expected to negotiate with paranoid, gay-hating, racists that don't care for the poor?

It's too much to think we can change the way peoples' brains work. But it's not too much to push for some of the reforms I've mentioned. I'll mention them again. Districts set by independent outside organizations. Lessig-style campaign finance reform. The reforms of Congress that Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein talk about in "It's Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided with the New Politics of Extremism," as well as the reforms that they mention that would improve our election process. Um...the end.
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Old 07-28-2012, 12:23 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by saintfan View Post
Being a politician should not be a lifetime gig IMO. Term limits. When you're done, you're done. Get off the dole. SERVE, because you want to serve, then get out of the way and let the next man (or woman) up serve. These people get too comfortable.
I totally felt the same way, especially about U.S. Senators, until I came to the realization of why most democracies are set up the way ours is.

Congressmen usually have a shorter run in politics. Some have extended stays, but there's a lot more turnover in the House compared to the Senate.

Senators are technically expected to be in office for long periods of time, almost a career position. Senators balance out the House of Representatives with fewer Senators and longer runs. They are supposed to be the older, wiser group, less activist and wanting more peaceable consistency in overall governance of the country over time and through President after President.

So the House is faster, more activist, more extreme, and the Senate slower, wiser, and more "elder statesmen" type.

There is corruption on all sides of government, and anywhere there are human beings around - that will always be the case. But apparently without the long running "career" statesmen senators and representatives, both house and senate would really burn each other up and The People would be stuck with more "mess" from each administration than we would ever be able to solve or clean up.

Just a sidebar....
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