US Presidential Primaries - discussion

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Who would you vote for?

Barack Obama
94
54%
Hillary Clinton
3
2%
John Edwards
7
4%
Mike Huckabee
3
2%
Rudy Guiliani
2
1%
Mitt Romney
5
3%
the Ronpaul
14
8%
John McCain
8
5%
I am a whiny person and vote for Bill Richardson
4
2%
Thompson, Fred Thompson
1
1%
other
7
4%
otter
25
14%
 
Total votes: 173

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Re: US Presidential Primaries - discussion

Postby fjafjan » Sun Jan 06, 2008 7:19 am UTC

UmbrageOfSnow wrote:
fjafjan wrote:Well the republican race is more "open", it's not some kind of "fairness" competition in how many candidates they get on the poll. Also the otter option is tradition, do not mock it.

Yes, I'm such an iconoclast.
I'm just saying, you have the Ronpaul on the list, who doesn't have a serious chance of winning overall either, and you also don't have Fred Thompson, who is a more "serious" candidate. The Otter option really wastes valuable space here. Why stick to tradition when it no longer makes sense? (Also, come on, no one laughs at that any more, at least where it is typed straight up like that.)

Dodd and Biden have dropped, if you had Thompson and Richardson, other would have to be someone really obscure, like people writing in Bush for a third term or whatever.

The otter isn't wasting space, I could fit the candidates that have already dropped out on that list TOO I just wasn¨t bothered.

Thompson I had actually forgotten, but the Ronpaul is likely to get inflatedly many votes since this is the intertubes and there are bound to be some Rondroids floating around.
And others can mean you would have voted for Al Gore because you want him to run, or that you will vote blank or whatever.

I'll add Richardson though, since you're being so whiny about it.
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Re: US Presidential Primaries - discussion

Postby lesliesage » Tue Jan 08, 2008 4:44 am UTC

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Last edited by lesliesage on Sat Oct 09, 2010 10:26 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: US Presidential Primaries - discussion

Postby N.K. » Tue Jan 08, 2008 5:13 am UTC

I hate Huckabee with a passion.

23% sales tax for the goddamn lose.

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Re: US Presidential Primaries - discussion

Postby btilly » Tue Jan 08, 2008 5:21 am UTC

lesliesage wrote:I'm 100% a Clinton supporter. It makes me giddy to think about her strong chance of winning the primary. She's the only one with an actual plan to bring US healthcare coverage up to a standard achieved by the every other industrialized nation. This is, bar none, my priority. Living in the UK where every single person is entitled to the highest standard of care, which costs less in tax than Americans pay per capita to cover only a fraction of the population. This is because we have hundreds of insurers, each spending about 20% of your insurance on figuring out how not to offer insurance to the people who need it most. It's a disgusting system and it shames me.

I'm the opposite, and because of the same subject. I'm old enough to remember the debacle that was Hillary's 1994 attempt at universal health care.

I'm dismayed that none of the Democratic candidates has been willing to look North for a simple legislative solution for universal health care. No, I'm not talking about single payer (though that would be great). Instead I'm talking about how Canada got it.

What happened is that one Canadian province created universal health care. The federal government decided this was a good thing and passed a bill saying that any province that implemented universal health care would get large transfer payments. Within 5 years, all of the provinces figured out universal health care.
lesliesage wrote:She is a powerful advocate for gay rights and pro choice. I mean, this is basic. She's such a pragmatic economist; she speaks with unmatched precision and intelligence. It's exciting to hear. And the respect she gives to voters, you know? Over and over, she refuses to buy in to the oversimplification begged by reporter after reporter, won't give soundbites without stipulation, and discusses at every turn the complexities and nuances of her domestic and foreign policies. And it irritates stupid people- they want someone to talk like a southern preacher. Well, the president isn't supposed to be a fucking cheerleader for how we feel about ourselves. She'll do her fucking job, and engages anyone intellectually who will listen. I mean, no one else has even convinced me that they fully understand the myriad issues concerning an Iraq withdrawal.

Ah yes. How it all comes back. Her conviction that she is smarter than everyone else which is immediately followed by her trying to micro-manage everything. Which turns into a bigger mess and means that the USA screws up another chance at universal health care. And the backlash helps give the Republicans control of Congress...

I'm sorry, I was having flashbacks to 1994. But everything that you're liking about Hillary reminds me of her worst features.
lesliesage wrote:The US would be getting such a bargain- getting a president who would have basically 16 years of experience of the innermost workings at the highest level. She wouldn't spend half her term having to learn from mistakes, learning what works to get stuff done and what doesn't. Ah, it makes me giddy just thinking about it.

Right. She would arrive with everyone already disliking her.
lesliesage wrote:I like Obama, I would back him with great fervor if he won the primary. I do resent, however, the frequency with which he touts his Christianity as his morality. I think if the democratic party starts taking this page from the republican playbook, there could be dangerous consequences for the future of secular morality in politics. He's also taking an easy road of saying, over and over, "change change new, idea idea change." This doesn't mean anything to me. He has a lot of great idea, fewer good plans, and very little experience in actualizing them.

One thing that I really like about Obama is that in head to head polls he does better against the Republicans than Hillary does.

But whenever people complain about not knowing what a politician stands for, I like to direct them to http://www.selectsmart.com/president/. Fill out the survey and find out who matches your position. Back when I did it about a year ago, Obama was my best match, and Hillary was the worst match I had among the Democratic candidates. YMMV. But whatever way it turns out, you can find out what they have actually said.
lesliesage wrote:But I think the democrats, collectively, are a fucking powerhouse to be reckoned with this year. Just imagine the Clinton/Obama ticket. Orgasmic.

Why on Earth would Obama, who is trying to portray himself as being able to reach out across party lines, pair himself up with the most polarizing Democrat in national politics? I can't imagine a worse pairing.
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Re: US Presidential Primaries - discussion

Postby TheTankengine » Tue Jan 08, 2008 5:37 am UTC

fjafjan wrote:
J Spade wrote:Quite frankly, the otter has my vote.

He does have a compelling platform.

Seriously, name ANY other candidate that has a platform that doubles as a stomach used for cracking open clams.

I dare you, masses!
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Re: US Presidential Primaries - discussion

Postby neon » Tue Jan 08, 2008 6:20 am UTC

btilly wrote:I'm the opposite, and because of the same subject. I'm old enough to remember the debacle that was Hillary's 1994 attempt at universal health care.


Digby has a great timeline of what really happened to Hillary's health car proposal and how the GOP undermined it through some very crooked politics.

One thing that I really like about Obama is that in head to head polls he does better against the Republicans than Hillary does.


That is because the media has been attacking her relentlessly while they've let Obama comparatively off the hook. I'm worried that he will fold when they turn on him assuming he gets the nomination. The media loves them some St. McCain! You have to remember that for all the sputtering from the wingnuts, the media is owned lock, stock and barrel by 'frothing-at-the-mouth' extremists like Scafie, Redstone and Murdoc and many others.
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Re: US Presidential Primaries - discussion

Postby The Mighty Thesaurus » Tue Jan 08, 2008 6:25 am UTC

neon wrote:Digby has a great timeline of what really happened to Hillary's health car proposal and how the GOP undermined it through some very crooked politics.


We'll just take your word for it, then.
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Re: US Presidential Primaries - discussion

Postby btilly » Tue Jan 08, 2008 6:38 am UTC

neon wrote:
btilly wrote:I'm the opposite, and because of the same subject. I'm old enough to remember the debacle that was Hillary's 1994 attempt at universal health care.

Digby has a great timeline of what really happened to Hillary's health car proposal and how the GOP undermined it through some very crooked politics.

A link would be appreciated. Those this is a pretty good summary.

You'll note that the plan was finally written and delivered on Nov 20, 1993, and was immediately criticized based on the content. I would be someone who disliked it at that point based on the content. The subsequent year of Republican shenanigans was opportunistic and self-serving, but it doesn't change the fact that the plan itself was bad.
One thing that I really like about Obama is that in head to head polls he does better against the Republicans than Hillary does.

That is because the media has been attacking her relentlessly while they've let Obama comparatively off the hook. I'm worried that he will fold when they turn on him assuming he gets the nomination. The media loves them some St. McCain! You have to remember that for all the sputtering from the wingnuts, the media is owned lock, stock and barrel by 'frothing-at-the-mouth' extremists like Scafie, Redstone and Murdoc and many others.[/quote]
I'm fully aware of the media biases that exist. But that said, I think that the current media coverage of Hillary doesn't hurt her as badly as the several years of poor treatment before that.
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Re: US Presidential Primaries - discussion

Postby Kizyr » Tue Jan 08, 2008 3:33 pm UTC

btilly wrote:But whenever people complain about not knowing what a politician stands for, I like to direct them to http://www.selectsmart.com/president/. Fill out the survey and find out who matches your position. Back when I did it about a year ago, Obama was my best match, and Hillary was the worst match I had among the Democratic candidates. YMMV. But whatever way it turns out, you can find out what they have actually said.


Quoted for emphasis. That's a really good link; thanks.

I just took it. Obama was at the top for me (68%). Hillary was much lower--below McCain even (I suppose part of this has to do with my pessimism about the possibility of a universal health care system). Hell Hillary was even below the Ronpaul on that list.

Quickly changing the subject...

I think I've already said my reasons for strongly disliking Hillary in this thread already... Chief of which is the DPW controversy, where her opposition to DPW was pretty much just based on the fact that they were an Arab company. So, when it comes down to it, I think she'd pick siding with populist prejudice towards Arabs over doing what's right.

The second reason was the one I mentioned above, where she latched on quickly to the whole "either with us or against us" philosophy in 2001-2002, which helped to keep the Democrats cowed for the subsequent 3-4 years.

The number-one issue for me is equal protection under the law, regardless of race and religion. I find Obama to be the most sympathetic to that issue, and so far I haven't found any compelling reason not to support him. If he doesn't get the nod, though, I could see myself voting for a few of the other candidates, but not Clinton. KF
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Re: US Presidential Primaries - discussion

Postby SecondTalon » Tue Jan 08, 2008 3:54 pm UTC

N.K. wrote:Also, it pisses me off when everyone whines about how he saw a UFO. He saw a flying object he couldn't identify; that does NOT mean he saw aliens!


Who hasn't? I mean, aside from people who don't look up. And communists.
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Re: US Presidential Primaries - discussion

Postby neon » Tue Jan 08, 2008 5:21 pm UTC

btilly wrote:A link would be appreciated. Those this is a pretty good summary.


I didn't provide a link because it's my understanding that I have to make a minimum of ten posts before I can do that. If I'm wrong then here is the link.

Make It So - scroll down a page or so for what I am referring to.

You'll note that the plan was finally written and delivered on Nov 20, 1993, and was immediately criticized based on the content. I would be someone who disliked it at that point based on the content. The subsequent year of Republican shenanigans was opportunistic and self-serving, but it doesn't change the fact that the plan itself was bad.


Criticism of the Clinton healthcare plan was decidedly not based on it's content. GOP opposition was part of an overall strategy for wining back the majority.

"Kristol writes that congressional Republicans should work to "kill" -- not amend -- the Clinton plan because it presents a real danger to the Republican future: Its passage will give the Democrats a lock on the crucial middle-class vote and revive the reputation of the party." (emphasis is in the original)

They didn't oppose it because it was a bad plan, they opposed it because it would work.
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Re: US Presidential Primaries - discussion

Postby Vaniver » Tue Jan 08, 2008 5:39 pm UTC

fjafjan wrote:I'll add Richardson though, since you're being so whiny about it.
Classy.

You know, we don't need to go over RP's platform and the objections to it every time. Yes, he's for limited government. Yes, he's for hard currency (but not really!) and that's rarely a good plan.

neon wrote:That is because the media has been attacking her relentlessly while they've let Obama comparatively off the hook.
How many conservatives do you know? A lot of them hate Hillary, and not because of campaign media coverage.

neon wrote:Criticism of the Clinton healthcare plan was decidedly not based on it's content.
None of it? Ok.
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Re: US Presidential Primaries - discussion

Postby neon » Tue Jan 08, 2008 11:17 pm UTC

Vaniver wrote:
neon wrote:That is because the media has been attacking her relentlessly while they've let Obama comparatively off the hook.
How many conservatives do you know? A lot of them hate Hillary, and not because of campaign media coverage.



Of course I know that conservative extremists hate Hillary. Why do yo suppose that is? Does it come out of nowhere? I don't believe that. Hillary has been relentlessly attacked in the media. (I am an Edwards supporter BTW.) There is no question that media has the ability to form and shape conventional opinion. In fact, they see it as their duty to lead us poor rubes to the correct opinions so that we don't make the mistake of electing the "wrong" person.

Media is a powerful instrument to control and manipulate the masses.

Vaniver wrote:
neon wrote:Criticism of the Clinton healthcare plan was decidedly not based on it's content.
None of it? Ok.


GOP opposition was based on the fear that the Clinton healthcare plan would revive the Democrats and that the middle class would see them in a favorable light. This is documented above. Digby is by far one of the best political bloggers out there, right up next to Greenwald, you should read her.
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Re: US Presidential Primaries - discussion

Postby Vaniver » Wed Jan 09, 2008 1:41 am UTC

neon wrote:Of course I know that conservative extremists hate Hillary. Why do yo suppose that is? Does it come out of nowhere? I don't believe that. Hillary has been relentlessly attacked in the media.
You know, it's possible to dislike someone based on content. Someone saying "I want universal health care" is seen negatively in many corners, and not because the evil conservative media brainwashes people to hate it.

neon wrote:Media is a powerful instrument to control and manipulate the masses.
Do you consider yourself part of "the masses?"

neon wrote:GOP opposition was based on the fear that the Clinton healthcare plan would revive the Democrats and that the middle class would see them in a favorable light.
Ok. But some people don't like socialized health care because they think socialized health care is a bad idea. Some people don't like Clinton's health care plan because they their her health care plan is a poor way of going about socializing health care.

neon wrote:Digby is by far one of the best political bloggers out there, right up next to Greenwald, you should read her.
I try to get my news from people with editors, and on paper. Call me old-fashioned.
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Re: US Presidential Primaries - discussion

Postby btilly » Wed Jan 09, 2008 3:45 am UTC

neon wrote:
btilly wrote:A link would be appreciated. Those this is a pretty good summary.


I didn't provide a link because it's my understanding that I have to make a minimum of ten posts before I can do that. If I'm wrong then here is the link.

Make It So - scroll down a page or so for what I am referring to.[/url]
Ah. Then similar to the link I already came up with.
neon wrote:
You'll note that the plan was finally written and delivered on Nov 20, 1993, and was immediately criticized based on the content. I would be someone who disliked it at that point based on the content. The subsequent year of Republican shenanigans was opportunistic and self-serving, but it doesn't change the fact that the plan itself was bad.

Criticism of the Clinton healthcare plan was decidedly not based on it's content. GOP opposition was part of an overall strategy for wining back the majority.[/url]
Sorry, that's wrong. The plan was criticized on both sides of the aisle based on content. The GOP then saw an opportunity for a kill, and their opposition firmed around electoral politics. But if the content was better, they wouldn't have had that opportunity.
neon wrote:"Kristol writes that congressional Republicans should work to "kill" -- not amend -- the Clinton plan because it presents a real danger to the Republican future: Its passage will give the Democrats a lock on the crucial middle-class vote and revive the reputation of the party." (emphasis is in the original)

They didn't oppose it because it was a bad plan, they opposed it because it would work.

One Republican strategist thought it would work. Others did not. On the Democratic side there was also controversy both ways.

Speaking personally, as someone who votes pretty solidly Democratic and grew up in Canada (which has universal health care), I thought it was shockingly bad. As horrified as I was (and still am) at the poor state of health care in the USA, I did not (and still do not) like that plan.

I'll also note that Hillary's plan had another big long-term effect besides the Republican electoral gains. And that is that her extended role for HMOs did a lot to popularize HMOs in the business world. And how has that worked out, hrm?
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Re: US Presidential Primaries - discussion

Postby neon » Wed Jan 09, 2008 4:04 am UTC

Vaniver wrote:You know, it's possible to dislike someone based on content. Someone saying "I want universal health care" is seen negatively in many corners, and not because the evil conservative media brainwashes people to hate it.


Both statements can be true. In some individual cases sure, There are many who form their opinions based on the available evidence. I like to think that I am one of those. At the same time it is also true that propaganda works on large masses of people. It really does work remarkably well. When you add to that the consolidation of media ownership into a few hands I think you then have a very serious problem. One that threatens our very democracy. BTW, I don't think the media is conservative so much as it is status quo and corporate.

Vaniver wrote:Do you consider yourself part of "the masses?"


Yes, I do. I takes effort to inform yourself on any issue. Most people do not even try to keep themselves informed on politics. Hell, most people can't even find North America on a globe. Most people believe in angels and in some form of creationism.

Vaniver wrote:Ok. But some people don't like socialized health care because they think socialized health care is a bad idea. Some people don't like Clinton's health care plan because they their her health care plan is a poor way of going about socializing health care.


I can't imagine why anyone would think that socialized healthcare is a bad idea. Do you think that socialized (i.e. public) police is a bad idea? Socialized (i.e. public) fire departments? Socialized (i.e. public) schools? One of the major points the Michael Moore makes in "Sicko" is that corporate for profit healthcare companies are not "evil" when they deny care to people. They are just doing what corporations do, maximizing their bottom line. Unfortunately when it comes to healthcare that means that people die.

I don't think that's a good thing and neither does the rest of the civilized world.

Vaniver wrote:I try to get my news from people with editors, and on paper. Call me old-fashioned.


Digby isn't a source for news, she a liberal blogger. She gives her opinion on the days events, but she's very good. I don't read newspapers anymore and I don't watch TV either. The best writing and the best creative media is on the internet. I don't miss it a bit.
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Re: US Presidential Primaries - discussion

Postby xooll » Wed Jan 09, 2008 4:28 am UTC

btilly wrote:But whenever people complain about not knowing what a politician stands for, I like to direct them to http://www.selectsmart.com/president/.

This is really helpful. My best matches were what I expected--Kucinich first with Obama a close second.
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Re: US Presidential Primaries - discussion

Postby Vaniver » Wed Jan 09, 2008 4:08 pm UTC

neon wrote:I can't imagine why anyone would think that socialized healthcare is a bad idea.
I do. I'll try to explain myself shortly.

neon wrote:Do you think that socialized (i.e. public) police is a bad idea? Socialized (i.e. public) fire departments? Socialized (i.e. public) schools?
No, no, yes. Look up the "free rider" problem. Police and fire departments both represent free rider problems that are (generally) best solved by government taxing individuals in a region and providing the service to that region. Those things are regional goods- the military can't selectively protect a region from invasion; it's either everyone or no one. Some regional services (such as police protection and putting out fires) can be selective to a minor extent, but there are still deterrence effects that are regional (strong police in a region will deter crime, even if they don't investigate crimes that happen to Joe Smith, the tax deadbeat).

Public schools are better represented as a positive externality- that is to say, the education of a child benefits individuals who are not that child. The optimal solution is to tax the individuals (not more than the benefit to them, though) to subsidize the edication of the child.

But education is still an individual good. A school doesn't serve a region (like a military, police force, or fire department); it serves the students that go to the school. A home-schooled student, for example, gets no benefit from having a school down the street. So, there's no reason to have the government provide schools, but there is a reason to have governments fund them (but as much as the education is worth, not how much it costs).

Health care is essentially similar to education. The positive externality of someone being cured of / treated for a disease is lower than that of a child being educated, though (with an exception I'll get to in a bit). I would claim it's not significant enough to justify subsidizing health care by any significant amount (but am not philosophically opposed to, say, a few thousand dollars a year in a health care account extended to everyone, provided a solid justification for the dollar figure chosen).

Infectious diseases, though, tend to be a regional problem instead of an individual problem. I can't catch my neighbor's diabetes, but I can catch his tuberculosis. Now we're back to a free rider problem, and so there's a strong economic argument for funding the CDC and similar programs. But, that's more for information and quarantine than treatement (except the cases when treatment is cheaper).

neon wrote:Digby isn't a source for news, she a liberal blogger. She gives her opinion on the days events, but she's very good. I don't read newspapers anymore and I don't watch TV either.
So... your only source of news is someone who flaunts their bias, instead of doing an (often imperfect job) of trying to hide it? That's only part a complete breakfast (and the incredibly sugary part, at that).
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Re: US Presidential Primaries - discussion

Postby neon » Wed Jan 09, 2008 6:45 pm UTC

Vaniver wrote:No, no, yes. Look up the "free rider" problem. Police and fire departments both represent free rider problems that are (generally) best solved by government taxing individuals in a region and providing the service to that region. Those things are regional goods- the military can't selectively protect a region from invasion; it's either everyone or no one. Some regional services (such as police protection and putting out fires) can be selective to a minor extent, but there are still deterrence effects that are regional (strong police in a region will deter crime, even if they don't investigate crimes that happen to Joe Smith, the tax deadbeat).

Public schools are better represented as a positive externality- that is to say, the education of a child benefits individuals who are not that child. The optimal solution is to tax the individuals (not more than the benefit to them, though) to subsidize the edication of the child.

But education is still an individual good. A school doesn't serve a region (like a military, police force, or fire department); it serves the students that go to the school. A home-schooled student, for example, gets no benefit from having a school down the street. So, there's no reason to have the government provide schools, but there is a reason to have governments fund them (but as much as the education is worth, not how much it costs).

Health care is essentially similar to education. The positive externality of someone being cured of / treated for a disease is lower than that of a child being educated, though (with an exception I'll get to in a bit). I would claim it's not significant enough to justify subsidizing health care by any significant amount (but am not philosophically opposed to, say, a few thousand dollars a year in a health care account extended to everyone, provided a solid justification for the dollar figure chosen).

Infectious diseases, though, tend to be a regional problem instead of an individual problem. I can't catch my neighbor's diabetes, but I can catch his tuberculosis. Now we're back to a free rider problem, and so there's a strong economic argument for funding the CDC and similar programs. But, that's more for information and quarantine than treatement (except the cases when treatment is cheaper).


Just a bunch of glibertarian BS.

"education is still an individual good." No, it is a societal good. For example see any third world country.

"A school doesn't serve a region" This will be news to your local school district. Public schools work just fine and have for many many years. They provide a high level of education at a very low cost. The reason nutcases like the Ronpaul and others oppose them is beacuse of race.

"Health care is essentially similar to education. The positive externality of someone being cured of / treated for a disease is lower than that of a child being educated"

Complete and utter nonsense.

Really, this is all just glib rationalization in the service of an extremist political ideology. The end result of which will be to destroy all that made this country great and reduce us to an oligarchical authoritarian state. We are on the verge of becoming that now.

You really sure you want to live in a world where everything is privatized? I sure don't. Though it would be interesting to see the look of dull surprise on your face when you try to purchase any services in such a society. You won't be able to afford them, just like the other 99%. Because in a libertarian wet dream what you will have is the top 1 or 2 percent owning everything and the rest in abject poverty with no middle class at all.

Vaniver wrote:So... your only source of news is someone who flaunts their bias, instead of doing an (often imperfect job) of trying to hide it? That's only part a complete breakfast (and the incredibly sugary part, at that).


umm... no, I never said that. Don't put words in my mouth. She is but one of several blogs that I read and I don't even read her on a daily basis. I get my news from various RSS feeds just like anyone else. I visit conservative blogs now and then, but mostly for laughs.

"your only source of news is someone who flaunts their bias" It's called reality. I get this same "you are biased!" crap from creationist and global warming denialist morons. Libertarians are little better. It is a glib and superficial fantasy masquerading as economic theory.
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Re: US Presidential Primaries - discussion

Postby Vaniver » Wed Jan 09, 2008 7:36 pm UTC

neon wrote:Just a bunch of glibertarian BS.
If the likes of Digby have convinced you that this is a quality argument, then I'm afraid I'm more resolved to not read them.

neon wrote:"education is still an individual good." No, it is a societal good. For example see any third world country.
Ok. I don't know of any third world countries that have educations; I know of people in those countries that have educations.

And when education is a scarce commodity, it's easier to see the societal benefits one person having an education has.

But, this could just be a confusion in our definitions. I tend to speak of "regional goods" when there's some good that is possessed by a region (you can't really pick up the Woodrow Wilson bridge and move it to the Hudson River when you move to New York from DC) and "individual goods" when there's some good that is possessed by a person (if I move to New York from DC, my diploma comes with me).

neon wrote:"A school doesn't serve a region" This will be news to your local school district.
Again, this objection looks like we've confused definitions. Schools only teach their students; they don't do anything direct to people standing outside.

neon wrote:Public schools work just fine and have for many many years. They provide a high level of education at a very low cost.
This is a fact-based claim, but the facts point in the opposite direction. Private schools tend to have costs on the order of half of public school costs, and tend to have similar or higher student test scores (although it's debatable how much of that is because of school quality). Regardless of that comparison, nearly everyone agrees that public school scores could stand to increase quite a bit.

neon wrote:The reason nutcases like the Ronpaul and others oppose them is beacuse of race.
I can't speak for why the Ronpaul opposes them; I oppose them because my training in economics and my study of the facts suggests that there is a better way to educate children than a government monopoly.

neon wrote:Complete and utter nonsense.

Really, this is all just glib rationalization in the service of an extremist political ideology.
Speculate on my motives all you want, but that doesn't change the value of my arguments (neither does dismissing them as nonsense without showing why they are). You can either meet me on the level of rational discussion, or not.

neon wrote:The end result of which will be to destroy all that made this country great and reduce us to an oligarchical authoritarian state. We are on the verge of becoming that now.
I think we may have differences of opinion on what made this country great. Being quite the individualist, I long for the days when the federal government was small and people were responsible for themselves.

As for being on the verge of becoming that now? Both parties demonstrate a distressing desire to be authoritarian (and all you get to pick is what you want outlawed, and who benefits from your massive taxes). I don't see how electing a libertarian would result in a more authoritarian government.

neon wrote:You really sure you want to live in a world where everything is privatized? I sure don't. Though it would be interesting to see the look of dull surprise on your face when you try to purchase any services in such a society. You won't be able to afford them, just like the other 99%. Because in a libertarian wet dream what you will have is the top 1 or 2 percent owning everything and the rest in abject poverty with no middle class at all.
That sure is quite the fire and brimstone story you have going there.

Let's look at, say, the two companies in the world with the highest revenue. We'll use FORTUNE's global 500 list.
1. ExxonMobil - Sells oil. Who uses oil? Nearly everyone. Not a 1-2% company.
2. Wal-Mart - Low-cost retail. Who shops at Wal-Mart? Around a third of Americans visit one every week. Their customers have a lower average income than the US as a whole. Not a 1-2% company.

The rest of the list is similar. Where are our yacht-makers? Where are our executive jet companies? Why is General Motors on this list, and not Ferrari?

The industrialists that make it big aren't standing on the backs of the poor; they're lifting the poor up (and getting lifted up for doing so). Sam Walton's family is one of the richest families in the world, because he sold cheap products to a lot of people (raising their standard of living quite a bit).

neon wrote:umm... no, I never said that. Don't put words in my mouth.
Sorry. I extrapolated too much by seeing that next to you not relying on traditional news.

neon wrote:I get this same "you are biased!" crap from creationist and global warming denialist morons. Libertarians are little better.
I'm not claiming that you're biased. I'm suggesting that relying on liberal bloggers to interpret your news is a formula that ends in bias more often than not.

neon wrote:It is a glib and superficial fantasy masquerading as economic theory.
Why do you expect people to believe statements like this?
Last edited by Vaniver on Wed Jan 09, 2008 8:15 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: US Presidential Primaries - discussion

Postby btilly » Wed Jan 09, 2008 7:57 pm UTC

Vaniver wrote:
neon wrote:Public schools work just fine and have for many many years. They provide a high level of education at a very low cost.
This is a fact-based claim, but the facts point in the opposite direction. Private schools tend to have costs on the order of half of public school costs, and tend to have higher student test scores (although it's debatable how much of that is because of school quality). Regardless of that comparison, nearly everyone agrees that public school scores could stand to increase quite a bit.

By what I've read, when you compare students in private schools with public schools whose parents have the same socioeconomic status, students in public schools do better.

I agree, though, that the schools we have are pretty bad and could stand a lot of improvement.
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Re: US Presidential Primaries - discussion

Postby Vaniver » Wed Jan 09, 2008 8:14 pm UTC

btilly wrote:By what I've read, when you compare students in private schools with public schools whose parents have the same socioeconomic status, students in public schools do better.
Intriguing. If you could provide me with an article I'd be much obliged.

My quick search shows that there's quite a bit finding similar test scores. I'll amend my previous post to reflect this, but as I don't have access to the same journals as I do elsewhere I can't examine the individual papers.
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Re: US Presidential Primaries - discussion

Postby athelas » Wed Jan 09, 2008 8:20 pm UTC

neon wrote:I can't imagine why anyone would think that socialized healthcare is a bad idea.
In its simplest form, this is my response. Quality healthcare, as we have it in the US, is expensive. There will always be scarcity and "inequality" in terms of what healthcare people get, whether or not the government is involved.

Now, there are two main ways to deal with scarcity: one is to ration it to whoever can pay, and another is to give it to whoever can wait longest in lines. If the price of healthcare to the individual is low, then there's going to be a metric buttload of people who want it. Given limited resources, we'll end up doing what Canada and UK do, which is make people wait for months or years to see a specialist. (Note: it is true that it's easy and cheap to see a general practicioner in those countries, but for serious health problems, you need a specialist. Having to sit on a waiting list for six months is not a good thing if you have cancer.) That's why you see many well-to-do Canadians coming to the US for care, because they can pay for more immediate treatment - a freedom that government-run programs do not always allow.

The other way to deal with scarcity is to let the free market find the equilibrium price. If you can pay more, you get better care, and get it faster. Now, there's still an inequality of distribution, but on the people who can pay a lot help fund medical research and hospital expansion, so you don't have the deadweight loss associated with waiting in line. As in other aspects of the economy, the free market spurs further development. (And let's not forget that there *are* free and low-cost clinics in the US, which are in part funded by those greedy rich people who are paying for extra healthcare. We are not *that* purely capitalist.)

Now, there are legitimate arguments for socialized medicine. Having a government monopoly on purchasing drugs (monopsony) forces drug prices down, albeit with a deadweight loss. That's one big reason why drugs are cheaper in Europe and Canada - because the drug companies have little choice but to meet the governments' demands. We in the US, with equlibrium pricing, end up subsidizing the R&D for the rest of the world, which is pretty unfair. Even so, the economic losses of a government-run program, in my view, would far offset this gain.

I don't think that's a good thing and neither does the rest of the civilized world.
Well, if you have the rest of the civilized world (and true Scotsmen?) on your side, you need hardly argue with us plebians. :P

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Re: US Presidential Primaries - discussion

Postby Vaniver » Wed Jan 09, 2008 8:26 pm UTC

athelas wrote:We are not *that* purely capitalist.
More appropriately, being capitalist and caring about others are not mutually exclusive.
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Re: US Presidential Primaries - discussion

Postby neon » Wed Jan 09, 2008 8:39 pm UTC

Vaniver, Vaniver, Vaniver.... sigh.

Vaniver wrote:If the likes of Digby have convinced you that this is a quality argument, then I'm afraid I'm more resolved to not read them.


What is the obsession with Digby? I think it would be very odd to not read someone because someone you disagreed with on the internet mentioned them.

Vaniver wrote:But, this could just be a confusion in our definitions. I tend to speak of "regional goods" when there's some good that is possessed by a region


Yeah, your language limits your ability to think about this. Is it in everyone's interest that all children receive a good education? It sure is, playing word games won't change that. Now the other question is would it be in the interest of a minority elite that only their children get a good education? Yes, it would be (only in the short term) but that would come at the expense of the larger society.

Vaniver wrote:Private schools tend to have costs on the order of half of public school costs, and tend to have higher student test scores (although it's debatable how much of that is because of school quality). Regardless of that comparison, nearly everyone agrees that public school scores could stand to increase quite a bit.


Only because they get to pick and choose, public schools do not. As far as public school scores go this entire issue has been so politicized by racist conservatives that I doubt good information is available. No child left behind has been an utter disaster and in that it has served it's purpose well. NCLB was created to destroy public schools in America so that southern white racists wouldn't have to integrate their schools. They have been very successful at that.

Vaniver wrote:I think we may have differences of opinion on what made this country great. Being quite the individualist, I long for the days when the federal government was small and people were responsible for themselves.


This is a libertarian fantasy, there never was such an America.

Vaniver wrote:As for being on the verge of becoming that now? Both parties demonstrate a distressing desire to be authoritarian (and all you get to pick is what you want outlawed, and who benefits from your massive taxes). I don't see how electing a libertarian would result in a more authoritarian government.


This is laughably bad. We've had seven years of very libertarian economic policy at the loving hands of Grover Norquist and it has brought this country to the brink of insolvency. Everywhere that this administration has attempted to put their economic policies in force, such as in post conflict Iraq, it has been an unmitigated disaster. More generally, the reason that libertarianism would result in a more authoritarian government is because it naturally concentrates power into the hands of a few.

Vaniver wrote:The industrialists that make it big aren't standing on the backs of the poor; they're lifting the poor up (and getting lifted up for doing so). Sam Walton's family is one of the richest families in the world, because he sold cheap products to a lot of people (raising their standard of living quite a bit).


HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My god that is so unbelievably ignorant. "Industrialists lifting up the poor", well, you've fully earn the title of glibertarian because you have to be completely ignorant of the entire history of the industrial west to believe that crap. ummm.... you do know that many Walmart employees are so poor that they qualify for welfare don't you? That would only be a small example of the very long list of evils committed by just this one company.

Vaniver wrote:I'm suggesting that relying on liberal bloggers to interpret your news is a formula that ends in bias more often than not.


Please don't lecture me about bias. You know nothing about where I get my news or other information from.
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Re: US Presidential Primaries - discussion

Postby Antimatter Spork » Wed Jan 09, 2008 8:55 pm UTC

I'd just like to pop in and say that anyone who thinks that capitalists/industrialists have the interests of anyone but themselves and their shareholders in mind (or that some sort of crazy market madness will work for the benefit of said other people) is full of crap.

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Re: US Presidential Primaries - discussion

Postby neon » Wed Jan 09, 2008 8:58 pm UTC

athelas wrote:
neon wrote:I can't imagine why anyone would think that socialized healthcare is a bad idea.
In its simplest form, this is my response. Quality healthcare, as we have it in the US, is expensive. There will always be scarcity and "inequality" in terms of what healthcare people get, whether or not the government is involved.


The quality of healthcare in the US is not as great as we are lead to believe. In fact, by many measures the health of the US is low, approaching that of some third world countries. Life expectancy, infant mortality and others are lower than they are in nearly every other industrialized state.

athelas wrote:Now, there are two main ways to deal with scarcity: one is to ration it to whoever can pay, and another is to give it to whoever can wait longest in lines. If the price of healthcare to the individual is low, then there's going to be a metric buttload of people who want it. Given limited resources, we'll end up doing what Canada and UK do, which is make people wait for months or years to see a specialist. (Note: it is true that it's easy and cheap to see a general practicioner in those countries, but for serious health problems, you need a specialist. Having to sit on a waiting list for six months is not a good thing if you have cancer.) That's why you see many well-to-do Canadians coming to the US for care, because they can pay for more immediate treatment - a freedom that government-run programs do not always allow.


There is an awful lot of propaganda about Canadian healthcare out there. All you have to do is note that their health is better than ours is and as an added bonus they are not dying because an insurance company denies them treatment as is happening here.

athelas wrote:The other way to deal with scarcity is to let the free market find the equilibrium price. If you can pay more, you get better care, and get it faster. Now, there's still an inequality of distribution, but on the people who can pay a lot help fund medical research and hospital expansion, so you don't have the deadweight loss associated with waiting in line. As in other aspects of the economy, the free market spurs further development. (And let's not forget that there *are* free and low-cost clinics in the US, which are in part funded by those greedy rich people who are paying for extra healthcare. We are not *that* purely capitalist.)


Riiiight, "you can always go to the emergency room". You don't have the faintest clue about what you're talking about. I do, I've been there. I know what a hell it is, I live it every day of my life. So please spare me your condescension.

athelas wrote:Now, there are legitimate arguments for socialized medicine. Having a government monopoly on purchasing drugs (monopsony) forces drug prices down, albeit with a deadweight loss. That's one big reason why drugs are cheaper in Europe and Canada - because the drug companies have little choice but to meet the governments' demands. We in the US, with equlibrium pricing, end up subsidizing the R&D for the rest of the world, which is pretty unfair. Even so, the economic losses of a government-run program, in my view, would far offset this gain.

I don't think that's a good thing and neither does the rest of the civilized world.
Well, if you have the rest of the civilized world (and true Scotsmen?) on your side, you need hardly argue with us plebians. :P


Every other industrialized country has some form of universal healthcare and it is cheaper and results in better health for everyone. That's just reality.
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Re: US Presidential Primaries - discussion

Postby Antimatter Spork » Wed Jan 09, 2008 9:03 pm UTC

Re: Socialized health care: even with a national health care system, there's nothing to stop people from setting up private health care businesses to serve people who feel like paying for a "shorter line" or whatever. (Frankly, I doubt whether or not "line waiting" would even be a problem, but even if it was, there's nothing stopping you from getting your own private health care).
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Re: US Presidential Primaries - discussion

Postby Vaniver » Wed Jan 09, 2008 9:13 pm UTC

neon wrote:Is it in everyone's interest that all children receive a good education? It sure is, playing word games won't change that.
Ok. But using well-defined terms will make it easier to talk about. Economists have such a term, and it's an "externality," as I brought up before. If you think I'm arguing that the state shouldn't support education, I'm not; I just think it should be done in a way that maximizes efficiency.

neon wrote:Now the other question is would it be in the interest of a minority elite that only their children get a good education?
This actually seems to be the case if you have only one school choice supported by property taxes- property values determine both the income living there and the quality of the schools there. Only the rich can afford to live in affluent neighborhoods, which then have high-quality schools because of their good funding, thanks to the high property taxes.

Now, the previous assumes that school funding is the dominant factor in student success, which isn't necessarily true. But, it's what this discussion is about, so we'll stick with it.

neon wrote:Only because they get to pick and choose, public schools do not.
You'll note I mentioned this objection; you don't need to repeat me.

neon wrote:NCLB was created to destroy public schools in America so that southern white racists wouldn't have to integrate their schools.
That was the only reason? You seem to be generalizing more than is healthy in this sort of discussion.

neon wrote:This is a libertarian fantasy, there never was such an America.
There was a point when government spending was less than 10% of GDP. That's low enough for me.

neon wrote:We've had seven years of very libertarian economic policy at the loving hands of Grover Norquist and it has brought this country to the brink of insolvency.
Low government revenues? That's libertarian, sure. High government expenditures? Not so much so.

neon wrote:More generally, the reason that libertarianism would result in a more authoritarian government is because it naturally concentrates power into the hands of a few.
I don't agree. When everyone is free to provide the product they choose the way they choose (with significant externalities corrected for), new wealth is created faster than old wealth is concentrated. You can look at the rich of today and the rich of two centuries ago and see a giant growth in their wealth; but that's meaningless unless you look at the poor of today and the poor of two centuries ago. The poor improve quite a bit more.

neon wrote:HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My god that is so unbelievably ignorant. "Industrialists lifting up the poor", well, you've fully earn the title of glibertarian because you have to be completely ignorant of the entire history of the industrial west to believe that crap. ummm.... you do know that many Walmart employees are so poor that they qualify for welfare don't you? That would only be a small example of the very long list of evils committed by just this one company.
I'm not sure how to respond to this. If you were the type to be convinced by a dispassionate analysis, I doubt you would be a Wal-Mart opponent. Essentially, the savings in cost reductions improve the lives of the poor (as a whole) more than the revenue reductions due to the decline in retail jobs hurts their lives.

But, if you're the type to hate Wal-Mart for its business practices, then it's hard to argue against that. It does a lot of uncompassionate things to lower costs.

neon wrote:You know nothing about where I get my news or other information from.
The uncharitable thing to say here would be "except its quality."

Antimatter Spork wrote:I'd just like to pop in and say that anyone who thinks that capitalists/industrialists have the interests of anyone but themselves and their shareholders in mind (or that some sort of crazy market madness will work for the benefit of said other people) is full of crap.
Pretend there are two competing businessmen. One seeks to milk his customer for all they are worth, and the other comes up with the slogan "the customer is always right." Who will make more profit?

neon wrote:Riiiight, "you can always go to the emergency room". You don't have the faintest clue about what you're talking about.
Well, not only did he not say that... are you aware of the free clinics out there? Because he does seem to have quite a bit of a clue as to what he's talking about (and no, not because he agrees with me on some issues).

neon wrote:Every other industrialized country has some form of universal healthcare and it is cheaper and results in better health for everyone. That's just reality.
But, these countries don't live in a vacuum. How would the world's healthcare be impacted if those evil greedy American pharmaceutical companies disappeared?
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Re: US Presidential Primaries - discussion

Postby Antimatter Spork » Wed Jan 09, 2008 9:28 pm UTC

Vaniver wrote:
Antimatter Spork wrote:I'd just like to pop in and say that anyone who thinks that capitalists/industrialists have the interests of anyone but themselves and their shareholders in mind (or that some sort of crazy market madness will work for the benefit of said other people) is full of crap.
Pretend there are two competing businessmen. One seeks to milk his customer for all they are worth, and the other comes up with the slogan "the customer is always right." Who will make more profit?

The structure of your question proves my point. You're not asking who provides the better product or service, or even which one is, overall, better for society. The question only asks which will make the most profit, i.e. benefits shareholders and businessmen the most.

It's possible that one of your hypothetical businessmen actually cares about the customer and his employees and strives to provide a good product and pay a decent wage. However, both of these things currently cost more than rushing out a crappy product made in third-world sweatshops, and businesses (like everyone's favorite whipping-boy, Wal-Mart) act against the interests of society as a whole (by designing their entire business model around what will maximize profit margin, not around delivering quality products or service) in the service of their short term profits. There's a reason why we needed laws to guarantee a minimum wage, a weekend, and a safe work environment: the "free market" does not provide these things.
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Re: US Presidential Primaries - discussion

Postby Vaniver » Wed Jan 09, 2008 9:38 pm UTC

Antimatter Spork wrote:The structure of your question proves my point. You're not asking who provides the better product or service, or even which one is, overall, better for society. The question only asks which will make the most profit, i.e. benefits shareholders and businessmen the most.
Ok. But profit is not rapacity, because wealth is not a zero sum game. The important question is if love for profit can lead to what is good for customers- and often the answer is yes.

Antimatter Spork wrote:It's possible that one of your hypothetical businessmen actually cares about the customer and his employees and strives to provide a good product and pay a decent wage.
That's actually not the argument I'm making. My argument is that a soulless MBA will do things that seem altruistic if it will increase his profits (and that, in many cases, it will).

The actually altruistic businessman is the argument that capitalist and asshole aren't synonymous, and studying the history of prominent businessmen turns up a lot of them.

Antimatter Spork wrote:However, both of these things currently cost more than rushing out a crappy product made in third-world sweatshops, and businesses (like everyone's favorite whipping-boy, Wal-Mart) act against the interests of society as a whole (by designing their entire business model around what will maximize profit margin, not around delivering quality products or service) in the service of their short term profits.
If this were true, society would be worse off now that we have industrialists and capitalism instead of nobility and the fiat economy. The fiat economy doesn't do much to elevate the lower rungs, though; capitalism manifestly does.

Antimatter Spork wrote:There's a reason why we needed laws to guarantee a minimum wage, a weekend, and a safe work environment: the "free market" does not provide these things.
It does- to workers that can demand them. The free market doesn't provide them to everyone by default, which is often (but not always) worth correcting.
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Re: US Presidential Primaries - discussion

Postby Antimatter Spork » Wed Jan 09, 2008 9:58 pm UTC

Vaniver wrote:
Antimatter Spork wrote:The structure of your question proves my point. You're not asking who provides the better product or service, or even which one is, overall, better for society. The question only asks which will make the most profit, i.e. benefits shareholders and businessmen the most.
Ok. But profit is not rapacity, because wealth is not a zero sum game. The important question is if love for profit can lead to what is good for customers- and often the answer is yes.

How about what is good for workers? (Hint: Workers are often also customers).
Antimatter Spork wrote:It's possible that one of your hypothetical businessmen actually cares about the customer and his employees and strives to provide a good product and pay a decent wage.
That's actually not the argument I'm making. My argument is that a soulless MBA will do things that seem altruistic if it will increase his profits (and that, in many cases, it will).

The actually altruistic businessman is the argument that capitalist and asshole aren't synonymous, and studying the history of prominent businessmen turns up a lot of them.

I'm not saying that all capitalists are assholes, but the ones who aren't won't be bothered by regulation, since they'd do all of those nice things anyway.
Antimatter Spork wrote:However, both of these things currently cost more than rushing out a crappy product made in third-world sweatshops, and businesses (like everyone's favorite whipping-boy, Wal-Mart) act against the interests of society as a whole (by designing their entire business model around what will maximize profit margin, not around delivering quality products or service) in the service of their short term profits.
If this were true, society would be worse off now that we have industrialists and capitalism instead of nobility and the fiat economy. The fiat economy doesn't do much to elevate the lower rungs, though; capitalism manifestly does.

I'm not arguing for nobility. I'm arguing against any sort of hereditary upper class. Universal education and industry regulation is necessary to allow the existence of a middle class and class mobility.
Also, what the hell is a "fiat economy"? The only references I find to it online refer to currency that is not backed by gold, which makes no sense in the context you're using it.
Antimatter Spork wrote:There's a reason why we needed laws to guarantee a minimum wage, a weekend, and a safe work environment: the "free market" does not provide these things.
It does- to workers that can demand them. The free market doesn't provide them to everyone by default, which is often (but not always) worth correcting.

Workers DID demand them. And then they got them (in the form of laws, when necessary). And now, there are certain elements in our political system that would like to take these things away. I think that those people are wrong.
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Re: US Presidential Primaries - discussion

Postby Vaniver » Wed Jan 09, 2008 10:24 pm UTC

Antimatter Spork wrote:How about what is good for workers? (Hint: Workers are often also customers).
Well, if a company ever has its customers and its workers come into conflict (for example, we could switch to a more efficient production method that causes us to lay off half our workers, but reduces our cost and thus price significantly), the company is probably better off going with its customers (because if it sides with its workers, it will be driven out of business by the company that favored the customers).

Antimatter Spork wrote:I'm not saying that all capitalists are assholes, but the ones who aren't won't be bothered by regulation, since they'd do all of those nice things anyway.
Complying with regulation can often be quite bothersome, but generally this is valid.

Antimatter Spork wrote:Universal education and industry regulation is necessary to allow the existence of a middle class and class mobility.
I'm not convinced (about the regulation).

On a somewhat related note, one of the best ways to case less regulated vs. more regulated economies as a conflict between high-growth-high-inequality vs. low-growth-low-inequality. Is ensuring inequality is low (i.e. having a large middle class) worth lowering growth (which tends to benefit the upper parts of the distribution more in dollar terms, and the lower parts of the distribution more in absolute terms)?

Antimatter Spork wrote:Also, what the hell is a "fiat economy"?
The pharaoh says to build a pyramid, and so you do. Your father was a blacksmith, and so you are. Generally people will call it something like "traditional economy" to reflect that it's not always managed by fiat. The phrasing originates (I believe) with The Worldly Philosophers by Robert Heilbroner, a good read on the famous economic thinkers (he was trying to explain, at the beginning, why no clever people cared about figuring out economics until Adam Smith- his explanation was that, until then, economic choices were not a significant concern and so no one bothered to come up with a science for it).

Antimatter Spork wrote:And now, there are certain elements in our political system that would like to take these things away. I think that those people are wrong.
The minimum wage is a somewhat separate issue from the other two; there are valid arguments against having one. As for the weekends, in a somewhat related issue, how do you feel about the various French caps on working more than a certain number of hours?
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Re: US Presidential Primaries - discussion

Postby Antimatter Spork » Wed Jan 09, 2008 11:31 pm UTC

Vaniver wrote:The pharaoh says to build a pyramid, and so you do. Your father was a blacksmith, and so you are. Generally people will call it something like "traditional economy" to reflect that it's not always managed by fiat.

I don't think anyone's advocating a return to that system. I'm certainly not.

Antimatter Spork wrote:And now, there are certain elements in our political system that would like to take these things away. I think that those people are wrong.
The minimum wage is a somewhat separate issue from the other two; there are valid arguments against having one. As for the weekends, in a somewhat related issue, how do you feel about the various French caps on working more than a certain number of hours?

I really don't know much about these French hour caps that you're talking about, so any opinion I give on them will be somewhat uninformed. Generally, I would favor other ways of lowering the number of hours that people work (i.e. mandating a living wage (to remove the incentive to work too many hours) or overtime pay (to remove the incentive to require too many hours of your employees))
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Re: US Presidential Primaries - discussion

Postby btilly » Wed Jan 09, 2008 11:59 pm UTC

Vaniver wrote:
btilly wrote:By what I've read, when you compare students in private schools with public schools whose parents have the same socioeconomic status, students in public schools do better.
Intriguing. If you could provide me with an article I'd be much obliged.

My quick search shows that there's quite a bit finding similar test scores. I'll amend my previous post to reflect this, but as I don't have access to the same journals as I do elsewhere I can't examine the individual papers.

I'm not sure where I read it. Probably in The Homework Myth by Alfie Kohn.

I have no idea how good the research is, and he definitely had an ax to grind. But it was an interesting data point.
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Re: US Presidential Primaries - discussion

Postby neon » Thu Jan 10, 2008 1:34 am UTC

Vaniver wrote:
neon wrote:Is it in everyone's interest that all children receive a good education? It sure is, playing word games won't change that.
Ok. But using well-defined terms will make it easier to talk about. Economists have such a term, and it's an "externality," as I brought up before. If you think I'm arguing that the state shouldn't support education, I'm not; I just think it should be done in a way that maximizes efficiency.


Sometimes words help, sometimes they conceal. How you ask a question or frame your approach to solving problems can at times get in the way of discovering a better way of doing or thinking about something. You also seem to be blissfully unaware that there are people in the world who want unbridled power. Or others who might have an agenda other than what they say in public.

Public schools worked just fine in this country for a long time. They are highly efficient as most civic programs are. What happened was that after the racial turmoil of the 60's and early 70's many conservative extremists decided that if they couldn't win in the courts they would have to work to undermine the very idea of public schools. They have been all to successful in their goal.

Vaniver wrote:
neon wrote:This is a libertarian fantasy, there never was such an America.
There was a point when government spending was less than 10% of GDP. That's low enough for me.


I wasn't talking about the GDP. You have an amazing ability to lose yourself in numbers and irrelevant detail while completely missing the larger point. Coming from someone who thinks that industrialism lifts up the poor it is hardly surprising.

Vaniver wrote:
neon wrote:More generally, the reason that libertarianism would result in a more authoritarian government is because it naturally concentrates power into the hands of a few.
I don't agree. When everyone is free to provide the product they choose the way they choose (with significant externalities corrected for), new wealth is created faster than old wealth is concentrated. You can look at the rich of today and the rich of two centuries ago and see a giant growth in their wealth; but that's meaningless unless you look at the poor of today and the poor of two centuries ago. The poor improve quite a bit more.


That's the problem right there. "When everyone is free to provide the product they choose". Well, they aren't free and would not be under any libertarian economics. Think of it like a basketball game. What libertarians want to do is to remove the referees from the game. They don't want to pay for them. They want to buy their own referees while the poor players get nothing. You are so deluded that you think the resulting brawl would be a fair game.

Vaniver wrote:
neon wrote:HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My god that is so unbelievably ignorant. "Industrialists lifting up the poor", well, you've fully earn the title of glibertarian because you have to be completely ignorant of the entire history of the industrial west to believe that crap. ummm.... you do know that many Walmart employees are so poor that they qualify for welfare don't you? That would only be a small example of the very long list of evils committed by just this one company.
I'm not sure how to respond to this. If you were the type to be convinced by a dispassionate analysis, I doubt you would be a Wal-Mart opponent. Essentially, the savings in cost reductions improve the lives of the poor (as a whole) more than the revenue reductions due to the decline in retail jobs hurts their lives.


But you're not dispassionate Vaniver. You are deeply partisan and putting forward an extremist position. You are also isolated and have little sense of how people live in the real world. Your belief that companies like WallMart "improves the lives of the poor" is another howler on par with your other one. Honestly, I don't think you know nearly as much about ecnomics as you pretend you do. You seem to be completely ignorant of anything outside of Libertarianism. You strike me as more like some global warming denialists that I've run into who go on and on about what great geniuses they are and what idiots real scientists are who believe in "AGW Mumbojumbo".

Are you a practicing economist? A professor? A student? Or just some white dude in his mom's basement with a bag of Cheetoos and a can of Code Red?

Vaniver wrote:
neon wrote:Riiiight, "you can always go to the emergency room". You don't have the faintest clue about what you're talking about.
Well, not only did he not say that... are you aware of the free clinics out there? Because he does seem to have quite a bit of a clue as to what he's talking about (and no, not because he agrees with me on some issues).


Again Vaniver, you are utterly ignorant, parsing details and missing the bigger picture. Healthcare in this country is seriously broken and suggesting that people should make use of emergency rooms and free clinics is as stupefyingly idiotic as Marie-Antoinette's "Let them eat cake". And you know what happened to her, best pay attention hun.

Vaniver wrote:
neon wrote:Every other industrialized country has some form of universal healthcare and it is cheaper and results in better health for everyone. That's just reality.
But, these countries don't live in a vacuum. How would the world's healthcare be impacted if those evil greedy American pharmaceutical companies disappeared?


They would make a little less money that's all. Greed is not good. Unrestrained greed is truly evil.
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Re: US Presidential Primaries - discussion

Postby fjafjan » Thu Jan 10, 2008 8:56 am UTC

Vaniver wrote:
fjafjan wrote:I'll add Richardson though, since you're being so whiny about it.
Classy.

Hey that's me.

Vaniver wrote:You know, we don't need to go over RP's platform and the objections to it every time. Yes, he's for limited government. Yes, he's for hard currency (but not really!) and that's rarely a good plan.

But see that is not IT. He is also for fucking Letters of MARQUE. Mixing in church in state. Basically a relentless stream of crazy.

Hahaha, I just have to quote this bit from the the Ronpaul forums (I know this does not represent his views etc etc, it's still hillarious)

http://www.ronpaulforums.com/showthread.php?t=83744 wrote:Why Women don't like the Ronpaul?????
We are losing big time with all these women voting for Huck/Mccain/Romney. What the hell these women thinking? Look at all the CNN exit polls. Ron only gets few percent of the women votes!! This is outrageous! All people here mostly guys?! Are meetup group people mainly guys?! Our men have no girlfriends/spouse/mistress?? Start talking to girls! Make them fall in love in the Ronpaul by telling them the message of liberty! If that does not work, make them fall in love with Ron by falling in love with you. There are millions of desperate housewives, young girls, hillary girls waiting to hear our message of liberty!!
//Yepp, THE fjafjan (who's THE fjafjan?)
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Re: US Presidential Primaries - discussion

Postby Vaniver » Thu Jan 10, 2008 5:24 pm UTC

Antimatter Spork wrote:I don't think anyone's advocating a return to that system. I'm certainly not.
I apologize if I made it seem like you were. My point was that capitalism performs better than the previous system at lifting up the quality of life of everyone, and that it's far easier to get rich by providing low-income people with a product that materially improves their lives than by raising an army, conquering some farmland, and taxing the peasants. Fiat rewards exploiting people, capitalism rewards serving them (while keeping an eye on your profits).

Now, a Marxist would come along and agree with me, but then say "but! Socialism is a step above capitalism the same way that capitalism is a step above fiat, thus it's inevitable that there will be a switch to socialism." Culturally, I might agree- economically I don't. But that's an empirical claim that we can't really debate in a setting like this; history has not been kind enough to give us an experiment that can determine this (the best example we have, of the U.S. vs. the USSR, is seriously flawed and far from conclusive).

neon wrote:You also seem to be blissfully unaware that there are people in the world who want unbridled power.
Not really; my worldview depends on them. The genius in capitalism is that it harnesses ambition positively.

neon wrote:Public schools worked just fine in this country for a long time.
I don't see "just fine" as good enough when there's a chance for improvement.

neon wrote:I wasn't talking about the GDP. You have an amazing ability to lose yourself in numbers and irrelevant detail while completely missing the larger point.
It's because numbers are easier to talk about. If you want a more qualitative comparison, look at, say, the role of the federal government from around 1850 to around 1870. Another jump is from around 1900 to around 1950. There was a point when the government didn't even have an income tax!

neon wrote:Think of it like a basketball game.
This is a bad analogy. Basketball is zero-sum- if I win, you lose. The economy is not- a trade between us can cause both of us to 'win.'

And, beyond that, there aren't anything like the teams of the basketball game in an economy (at least, in the sense I think you want to use the word team). Politically, groups of similar individuals tend to cooperate (most people in the top income bracket probably want the tax rate on that bracket to decline), but economically they compete. There's not a billionaire's club where the rich get together to plan the economy; every billionaire is trying to play the market better than every other billionaire.

neon wrote:What libertarians want to do is to remove the referees from the game. They don't want to pay for them.
Some libertarians, sure. They tend to call themselves anarcho-capitalists and I think they're impractical. What most minarchists (like myself) want is for government to just be a referee, and not a player as well. You don't need a third of GDP to referee.

neon wrote:But you're not dispassionate Vaniver. You are deeply partisan and putting forward an extremist position.
Deeply partisan? That's news to me. Putting forward an extremist position I might agree with (and lament that it's considered extremist).

As for dispassionate, I must claim that I am. I'm a numbers man (as you pointed out)- not an emotional one. You can claim my numbers are biased (hopefully with a better set in hand), but claims of me being passionately partisan are relatively unsubstantiated at this point.

neon wrote:You are also isolated and have little sense of how people live in the real world.
I have about as much sense of the entirety as one person can be expected to have. My world is no more imaginary than yours; they just might not intersect all that much.

neon wrote:You seem to be completely ignorant of anything outside of Libertarianism.
Because I don't mention it, or because I don't promote it?

neon wrote:You strike me as more like some global warming denialists that I've run into who go on and on about what great geniuses they are and what idiots real scientists are who believe in "AGW Mumbojumbo".
I'm not sure what about me would make you believe that, except for my position. I'm refrained (with a few slips) from making personal attacks, and have generally make fact or logic-based claims, which you have generally rebutted with claims based on neither fact nor logic. When I'm making the logos arguments and you're making the ethos arguments, I'm not sure why I'm the one that gets lambasted for calling myself a great genius and everyone else idiotic. I think you may want to seriously consider your role in an economics debate, and whether you're the one bringing facts or rhetoric.

neon wrote:Are you a practicing economist? A professor? A student? Or just some white dude in his mom's basement with a bag of Cheetoos and a can of Code Red?
Student.

neon wrote:Again Vaniver, you are utterly ignorant, parsing details and missing the bigger picture. Healthcare in this country is seriously broken and suggesting that people should make use of emergency rooms and free clinics is as stupefyingly idiotic as Marie-Antoinette's "Let them eat cake". And you know what happened to her, best pay attention hun.
We can argue about what you mean by broken, but I'll agree it could use improvement.

What about my "go to a free clinic" suggestion is idiotic?

And, you know that there's no proof that Marie Antoinette ever said "let them eat cake," right?

neon wrote:They would make a little less money that's all.
Ok. How much do you think pharamceutical research costs, how many lives do you think it saves, and where do you think the money comes from?
I mostly post over at LessWrong now.

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Re: US Presidential Primaries - discussion

Postby williamager » Thu Jan 10, 2008 6:31 pm UTC

I'm not saying that all capitalists are assholes, but the ones who aren't won't be bothered by regulation, since they'd do all of those nice things anyway.

The ones who aren't can certainly be bothered by regulation, as the regulation isn't ideal, and fear of the consequences of violation can frighten companies into implementing absurd practices, a problem exacerbated by the fact that regulation can often be very unclear, and employees and employers can abuse this fear and lack of clarity. For example, we once had an employee who used a breast pump, and who decided that the only suitably comfortable location in the building for using the device was our President's office. As it was obviously feared that we would be sued if we didn't comply, and we weren't able to have a well-funded legal staff to help us understand these matters, our President was deprived of the use of his office for a half an hour each day. Unfortunately, there were some female employees who faced discrimination in the company, and regulation didn't protect them. And of course, there is also the case where I worked without pay for a year because OSHA regulations prohibited me from being employed due to my age.

I'm not arguing for nobility. I'm arguing against any sort of hereditary upper class. Universal education and industry regulation is necessary to allow the existence of a middle class and class mobility.

I apologize for straying off the topic (though that appears to have happened already), but what is wrong with having a hereditary upper class?
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Re: US Presidential Primaries - discussion

Postby ZeroSum » Thu Jan 10, 2008 6:35 pm UTC

williamager wrote:
I'm arguing against any sort of hereditary upper class. Universal education and industry regulation is necessary to allow the existence of a middle class and class mobility.
What is wrong with having a hereditary upper class?
Some people believe it's unfair. "It's unfair" and "it promotes inequality" are the only real responses I've heard of it.


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