Author Topic: Obama wants to halve budget deficit  (Read 6149 times)

darxbane

  • Level 17
  • *
  • Posts: 839
  • Fell Points: 0
    • View Profile
Re: Obama wants to halve budget deficit
« Reply #60 on: April 01, 2009, 05:33:49 PM »
I obviously do not assume that only liberals are tax cheats, or get around taxes.  However, I am pointing out the hippocrisy of a group who believe in wealth redistribution having a caveat that exempts themselves; the idea becomes nothing more than a tactic to assign blame to others rather than encourage personal growth and responsibility.  Your comparison to Christians is ludicrous.  since the vast majority of Americans are Christians, you can both condemn and praise everything done by them. 
I don't understand your point about morality, especially when you so easily condone abortion and embryonic stem cell research.  Are personal choices and Science exempt from this morality you speak of?  Should only your version of morality apply?  American labor and environmental laws are more strict than any of the countries where these jobs go to, and all countries with stricter laws have heavy government involvement in everyday life (take a real look at the civil liberties afforded the French and Germans, for example.  There is no illegal search and seizure, no right to privacy, and it is quite difficult to compete with large businesses, which is why their economies have been stagnant for years.)

Jade Knight's comments are right on.  It's only when a society gets so full of itself that it changes it core just to please the selfish and the self-righteous that declines begin. 

You are absolutely right about people being responsible, but then you put blame on the government's lack of oversight right after defending them.  Which is it?  I don't believe the Government should be changed, I believe the people who are in government should be changed.  All of them, if possible, right down to the town level.  They are becoming royalty, and that can't happen.  EVER.
I wanted to write something profound here, but I couldn't think of anything.

GorgonlaVacaTremendo

  • Level 29
  • *
  • Posts: 1641
  • Fell Points: 1
  • If we can teach a monkey to use a Rubic's Cube...
    • View Profile
    • Kinase Moves the Audio
Re: Obama wants to halve budget deficit
« Reply #61 on: April 02, 2009, 06:16:32 PM »
The lack of ability to adapt is part of nearly every, if not every, societal collapse or loss of power in history.  A major example of this is the Japanese closed nation policy (which essentially eliminated Japan from the world stage for 200 years) which removed Japan from the world stage as a major power (a role it well could have played).  Inability to adapt to new problems causes a decline in power or collapse--social evolution holds true on the national scale.

My statement about Christians IS ludicrous, that's my point.  You make a similar claim against a group of people (currently a majority of Americans, keep in mind).  Those individuals are hypocritical.  The group "Democrats" or even "Democrats in political positions" is an overstatement of the depth of this hypocrisy. 

My point about morality was pertaining to corporations, and not the government itself.  Somebody made the statement that corporate chains are just home-grown businesses which have earned the right to be larger, which is simply not always the case.  As corporations grow bigger, they often cause direct and indirect damage to societies and individuals because of immorality in their actions.  As far as these other issues of morality, while I feel we can probably all agree that taking a child and working her for eighteen hours a day or taking a worker and breaking his knees behind the factory for attempting to unionize is immoral, clearly there are some differences in opinion on issues such as stem-cell research or abortion choice--my stance on those are to not pass laws about them one way or the other, which I think is a perfectly reasonable stance.  If we can't to a decent majority agree something is immoral, it seems right that it should not be specifically condoned or condemned by law.  They do this by going to other nations, and to compete with those other nations I do not believe we should lighten our watch on moral actions of businesses--child labor laws, minimum wages, working conditions, minimal product standards, work-time laws (which are hardly enforced) shouldn't be reduced to encourage business attraction.  If I was convinced lowering taxes within reason on certain aspects of corporate activity would dramatically raise the number of jobs in America, and thus raising general revenue and lower the one in seven unemployment rate, I would jump on that bandwagon.  I'm not convinced this is a plausible scenerio, but I'm not convinced otherwise.  I simply want to make sure corporations are treated in a way which maintains our moral standards, allows us to raise any standards which are currently at an unacceptable level, and not give corporations a tax-free ride while Americans make up that difference, unless the rate in jobs and average pay skyrockets to make the situation pull a net gain for the average American.

A lack of regulation allowed individuals to roam unchecked, generally through the actions of their corporations.  All I would like to see is checks and balances among our corporations who, like it or not, are a larger part of the government than we are (thanks to lobbying, marketing, their grasp on the economic factor, the economic concerns of all social policy and how it affects corporate economy, etc.).  They are also a larger part of the economy, which is supposed to be regulated, than the government itself as far as everyday activity is concerned.  Because of this, I feel that keeping tabs on them is a good thing.  I'm not talking about passing mountains of law, but having bodies in existence which could give warning when they are being run incompetently to everybody's loss is a good thing, I believe.  Keep in mind, businesses are NOT people, and although they are treated as such in law, I believe it is possible to have a governmental system which treats businesses and financial operations under reasonable watch and regulatory law without assuming we must take away individual liberties to do so.

Your very statement about politicians becoming royalty states that you are unhappy with the system itself.  In a system you can trust, this would not happen.  Such an ideal system is probably unobtainable, but if the complete failure of this system is all the way down to the local level, it sure sounds like a problem with government structure to me.  This means, if you feel so disgusted by the individuals who were elected and/or appointed, you should consider which aspects of the government allowed this to happen.  A two-party system and individuals voting along party lines without thought to issues would be on that list.  Then, instead of willing a regime change (removing a king and putting in a new Queen is still a monarchy, after all), you should probably consider supporting some sort of a system-wide alternative which you feel represents the spirit of democracy better.  Considering replacing all the people is just as unrealistic, if not more unrealistic, than thinking about a better system anyway.
"Sin lies only in hurting other people unnecessarily. All other 'sins' are invented nonsense."
Robert Heinlein

"Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little."
Edmund Burke

www.kinasemovestheaudio.com for a good time!

darxbane

  • Level 17
  • *
  • Posts: 839
  • Fell Points: 0
    • View Profile
Re: Obama wants to halve budget deficit
« Reply #62 on: April 03, 2009, 06:02:27 PM »
I think we are actually agreeing on many points, just at different angles.  I don't have a problem with the entire system, in fact the fluid nature of our government is great.  My problem is the common misconception that C0ngressional positions somehow report directly to Executive positions.  The government is not run like a business, yet people believe it so.  We get all puffy and amped up about Presidential and gubernatorial elections, but the House and Senat seats (especially at the state level) just seem to get glossed over.  These people are the lawmakers.  I find it to be no coincidence that the most polarized states also have the most corruption and the largest difficulties.  Why?  Because they don't realize that having 90% of your congressional members be from the same party, and have it remain that way for decades, is detrimental.  Instead of trying to change this, they elect a Governor of the opposite party, thinking that will balance it out.  Sometimes it does, but for the most part they are able to override any veto, and have no repercussions.  This one part of the system is what concerns me.  Congressmen/women should not be elected for life.  It causes the very stagnation you are talking about.  My problems with the Democratic party primarily come from what I have seen living in New England.  Just look at this comparison: New Hampshire has long been voted one of the best states in which to live.  No sales tax, no income tax.  You pay fees for services when you need them.  It has always been leaps and bounds ahead of Mass and RI in almost every way, and was traditionally a Red state (the only one in New England).  However, over the last 10 years or so, a large influx of Massachusetts residents have moved to New Hampshire, mainly to flee the ridiculus housing prices and taxes in good old Taxachusetts.  Changing states didn't change their political views, however, and New Hampshire has seen a dramatic shift to the left.  Now, it could just be coincidence that the state has begun to lose ground in almost every category during this same period, but I doubt it.  If you can find an example where the opposite had occurred, I would love to hear about it. 

By the way, if you look more closely at societal collapses, you will see that it is much more the arrogance and lazyness of the people in that society that causes the collapse.  They forget what made them great, and become entitled.  Period. 

Your Japan comment;  America was the same way until the 20th century.  We have become a world power now, and spend the most of any military.  You find that to be a negative change, by your arguments.  Japan was very close to being a world power, and I wager that, had Germany not started WW2 when it did, Japan would have had the time to take over most of the Far East before we did anything about it, and would have been a match to us.  We got lucky, because they were spread too thin, and the German scientists who defected (Einstein anyone) helped us create the bomb that ended the war.

Lastly, the majority of Americans are not Democrats.  In fact, it is practically equal.  Just because 1% of the population voted for Obama over McCain means nothing.  You need to look at the states that are consistently at the bottom of Education, Job growth, cost of living, crime rates, etc.  Now, what party is consistently in control of these states?  Why are states that consistently lean Democrat considerably less charitable than Red states?  Why are the states with the strictes gun laws also the states with the highest crime?  Obviously gun control doesn't curb the issue.  In fact, states (like Florida) that have relaxed some of these laws have actually seen decreases in crime.  Go figure!  Talk about inflexibility.  I would provide my issues with the Republican side, but I'd rather see them in a rebuttal.
I wanted to write something profound here, but I couldn't think of anything.

GorgonlaVacaTremendo

  • Level 29
  • *
  • Posts: 1641
  • Fell Points: 1
  • If we can teach a monkey to use a Rubic's Cube...
    • View Profile
    • Kinase Moves the Audio
Re: Obama wants to halve budget deficit
« Reply #63 on: April 06, 2009, 09:04:18 PM »
I think we do agree on many issues from an opposite angle.  I would entirely agree with you that this government has issues with the lifetime elect, especially considering to be elected you practically have to be upper class.  I, however, have a problem with the structure of the government and I believe it needs to be reworked.  I think a lot of the problems you see issues with are caused by greater factors than "liberal" against "conservative," and I think that statistics such as crime rate are so multidimensional that you can't, or can very rarely, pin their swaying one way or another on a single factor, such as gun control.  You will also note that loosening gun control laws in a lot of ways can help reduce crime, but there are other ways to reduce crime as well.  I fall somewhere in the middle on this issue, as I believe people should be allowed to own guns, but I have issue with concealed weapons (the carrying of concealed weapons may reduce crime, but at the risk of vigilantism, collateral damage, and a potential increase in spur-of-the-moment murder or assault).  I also don't see the point in a person owning an RPG or anti-aircraft rifle, as this is not needed for recreation or for self protection, and if they are part of a collection ammunition does not need to be owned. 

Canada does pretty well and they have only a handful of guns privately owned in their nation compared to the US.  The has a much higher homicide rate and still has 50% of Canada's violent crime rate when ONLY considering aggravated assault, while Canada considers all categories of assault violent crimes.  Also, I don't know how recently you're talking about Florida, but according to the Miami Herald Florida murder rate has been constantly driving up for years.

Also, the issue of gun-control having an impact on crime is weighted, as if you take away gun control laws, these are laws no longer being broken.  It's just like if we legalized marijuana, crime rate would plummet (though to a much less extreme).  It is interesting to consider the fact that BOTH controlling guns and loosening gun control have had similar effects in different times in different cultures given different circumstances.

This is all besides the point, however, because a much larger factor in our crime rates is our justice system.  One of our largest growing industries are for-profit penitentiaries, and our method of punishment for crime is designed with, quite literally, to have one of the highest possible return to crime rates (in fact, as part of an experiment, students at some midwestern university were asked to design a prison system which had the highest possible return rate; nearly every design mimicked to startling degree our own system).  If you want to reduce crime, the first step is destroying laws which are outdated, unreasonable, unfounded, or ineffective to prevent needless entry into the justice system (gun laws, illegalization of recreational drugs, etc. would be considered here) .  The second step is rehabilitation rather than removal to prevent a life in crime after conviction.  The third step is providing social institutions which are intended reduce poverty and pain, which will reduce gang and organized crime activity as well as "required" criminal activity in which the criminal feels trapped into the crime by necessity (whether or not this is true is irrelevant, if the individual feels it is true he or she will act as though it is true).

Most of the problems you are talking about, as far as the government is concerned, come from a bi-party polarization of votes (I will only vote Democrat or Republican).  I do find it somewhat ironic that you complain about these problems while whole handedly attacking Democrats without a negative word for Republicans.  This type of mentality, this alienation of one side over the other, is what causes a lifetime elect in "blue states" and "red states".  If we had a poly-partied system or if our individuals were less inclined to vote only for one of our two parties (which is more or less impossible given the laws of polarization, especially in a mass and political situation) these would not be problems.

We agree that empires collapse from a sense of entitlement.  This could be from forgetting what makes them great (and this is probably a factor).  It is just as likely that a nation could gain a sense of entitlement from overemphasizing what has made them great in the past, providing a dwelling on glory days instead of an eye for the future. When things in the world change is when empires lose their dominance.  I cannot think of a situation in which the world has stayed more or less stable but an empire began to collapse because it was changing too much.  Besides, isn't the glory of human societies that we have the ability to recognize past patterns, think about future trends and use this information to run the great experiment to adapt and change over time as we see success or failure?  Japan managed to have a comeback hundreds of years after it closed its doors, but this grasping at the past was the cause of a loss of power for a long time.

I feel like you keep trying to curb this issue to become a Republican vs Democrat argument, which is exactly what I'm trying to avoid.  To your mind, I'm a liberal (and in many senses, I am a very large liberal).  But in some ways I am conservative and I do not consider myself a Democrat, nor do I have any sense of loyalty to this party (which I see in many ways as a large failure, especially congressionally).  Never should a conversation like this become one party against the other, but it should be about ideas which are untied to party lines so that each person, according to his or her own perspective can use his or her own ideas to add to the greater picture.  The shades of gray are important.

Only two of the top ten while seven of the bottom ten ranked states in education voted red in the most recent election, according to this: http://www.statemaster.com/graph/edu_bes_edu_ind-education-best-educated-index
(list of which states are red and blue according to the wikipedia article on "Red states and Blue States")

Job growth largely has more to do with factors outside of democrat/republican bounds including rising industry, natural resources available, and the effects of economic downturn (for example, my state of Michigan is one of the worst states to be in because its industry has largely been left to car manufacturing, which was a decision of corporate interests rather than the government, which left these corporations to a large part unregulated.  Efforts have been made to invite other industries in, such as the film industry, via certain methods such as tax exemptions and specialized schooling programs, but the efforts were made to an extent too late to help the state now--the effects of this will only be seen in five or ten years, if at all).

If you can find me a reliable statistic for non tax-deductible charity donations by state made by individuals rather than institutions, I would be interested to see it.  I couldn't find one, though I briefly looked around.
"Sin lies only in hurting other people unnecessarily. All other 'sins' are invented nonsense."
Robert Heinlein

"Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little."
Edmund Burke

www.kinasemovestheaudio.com for a good time!

darxbane

  • Level 17
  • *
  • Posts: 839
  • Fell Points: 0
    • View Profile
Re: Obama wants to halve budget deficit
« Reply #64 on: April 08, 2009, 05:10:34 PM »
I saved my criticisms on Republicans as part of my next post, which I stated.  I have always had issues with the Right's stances on birth control, sex education, and some censorship beliefs.  I do not consider myself a Republican.  In fact, I would lean much more toward the libertarian overall, although I do believe that individual rights must be weighed against the rights of the many.  I may bend these arguments toward party philosophies because those philosophies are what make the government run.  I am just nitpicking particular stances, but they lend themselves to an overall thought process that I am trying to convey.  I believe the Liberal and Conservative monnikers are outdated.  Democrats aren't really liberal at all, actually.  They have kept the same overall beliefs for 50+ years now, and Conservatives have been open to some change, so both sides are pretty much neutral now.  A strong pro 2nd amendment view is considered conservative, but a strong Pro 1st amendment (speech and press anyway) view is considered liberal.  Are they both not civil liberties?  Here's a huge hippocrisy that drives me nuts about many conservatives: If you are to preach so strongly about God's will, and how heaven is such a wonderful place, why do you then go out of your way to keep someone alive who, if nature was truly allowed to take it's course, would be dead?  I am not talking about euthanasia here, I am talking about just turning the machine off.


A single college study does not a true theory make.  Let's go with this for a second, however.  Did this study include the plethora of physical and educational advantages given to an inmate that are not available on the outside?  Could it be that the attempts to reform inmates actually make prison life safer and better than life in regular society?  There is no true punishment for most crimes, anymore.  Do you honestly think the majority of people change who they are because someone is nice to them?  We are waiting too long to do anything, and we are allowing reasons for behavior to become excuses for behavior.  Criminals have more rights than victims.  Law-abiding citizens must suffer because we do not want to risk "singling out" anyone.   The good of the few are outweighing the good of the many.  The weak and disenfranchised should be protected, but if you believe everyone's rights must be protected, then the majority's rights must be included in that protection.
   

Why do the donations have to be non-tax deductible, by the way?  A donation is a donation.  If the money comes directly from me instead of going through the Government first, why should the Gov still get that money as well?  That's why charities are tax deductible.  A non-profit, privately funded organization is much more effective than any government run program.  Either way, though, I bet even non-tax deductible donations fall in favor of red states.

One other thing; a Poly-party system is not as rosey as you make it out to be, just ask Germany, Turkey, Pakistan, etc.  Having no clear majority makes it difficult to get anything done, and the more different viewpoints you have, the more likely that will happen.
I wanted to write something profound here, but I couldn't think of anything.

GorgonlaVacaTremendo

  • Level 29
  • *
  • Posts: 1641
  • Fell Points: 1
  • If we can teach a monkey to use a Rubic's Cube...
    • View Profile
    • Kinase Moves the Audio
Re: Obama wants to halve budget deficit
« Reply #65 on: April 09, 2009, 07:14:41 PM »
As for the prison issue, I would encourage you to read up on the modern incarceration system.  There are benefits which exist that did not exist in previous times, but you need to keep in mind the idea behind incarceration shouldn't be vengeance or removal, it should be rehabilitation.  If it was vengeance or removal, we may as well take punishment in physical means and save these people time out of their lives or remove all criminals from our society permanently.  The needs of the many are aided in reducing inmates return to crime, which has been proven time and time again to be done the best through "progressive" (I dislike using the word in this way...) prison systems.  Studies and real-world statistics also show rehabilitative programs are good tools for actual rehabilitation.

A single college study doesn't prove anything, and I'm not writing a thesis here (there are plenty out there)--I just thought it was an amusing addition to my statement which is an aid in demonstrating my stance.  Also keep in mind that the incarceration system is different for white-collar criminals who can affect dozens, hundreds, thousands, or millions of people than it is for blue-collar criminals who often endanger nobody or a single person.  I'm not encouraging their crime, or saying they were right to act in whatever way they did.  I would just like to see a little more equality and a little more emphasis on an affective system rather than a system which "gives just desserts."  I don't think that punishment should be the goal when dealing with anybody (from children to criminals), I feel that punishment should be the means to the end of prevention.  Punishment for the sake of punishment doesn't help anybody but the emotionally vengeful, and in reality it doesn't help them in any way but to make them feel a little better temporarily.

Yeah, a multi-party system is barely a step up.  But it is a step in the right direction and while all systems have their downfalls, at least a multi-party system allows more choices in the representation before general stagnation.  It's better than having a bi-party system which every year becomes closer and closer to a monoparty system.

I don't consider tax-deductible donations a donation, I consider it a trade.  From the viewpoint of the giver, often tax-deductible donations are getting rid of something unwanted (like a broken vehicle or old belongings) for as-good-as-cash credit.  I'm not saying that they aren't doing something beneficial and that their contributions aren't important--I would rather see non tax deductible statistics, however, for a comparison like this.
"Sin lies only in hurting other people unnecessarily. All other 'sins' are invented nonsense."
Robert Heinlein

"Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little."
Edmund Burke

www.kinasemovestheaudio.com for a good time!

darxbane

  • Level 17
  • *
  • Posts: 839
  • Fell Points: 0
    • View Profile
Re: Obama wants to halve budget deficit
« Reply #66 on: April 20, 2009, 05:58:36 PM »
The money you get back in deductions is much less than what you would get if you tried to sell it on ebay, and cash donations are certainly not 1:1.  However, I would think it a logical assumption that an area with less  people taking deductions for charity also have less people not taking the deductions. 

While I agree that prisons should be used for rehab, there primary function should be a deterrent, a consequence that people do not want, and most definitely do not want more than once.  TV should be almost non-existent, internet access coming in only, and only news and educational websites should be allowed.  Prison life should suck, as that also acts as a deterrent, to a point.  I agree with the inequality of certain crimes.  Drug abuse in and of itself should not get you into a prison with murderers and violent criminals.  White collar criminals are often treated too easily, and should have long-term restitutions set up for their victims instead of prison time (it is useless).  Someone who gets rich by ruining other people's lives should have to work to restore those people's lifestyles to what it was before he or she came along.  That could take a very long time, and would be much more effective in prevention, as that person would most likely never again be able to obtain significant wealth.

Finally, the party systems.  A third party would be a nice change for us.  There are many parties that currently exist, but none of them gain traction individually.  The Libertarians are getting there, but they need to more clearly delineate themselves and their beliefs.  We have had more than 2 parties in the past, but we always end up with two in the end.  Also, every generation brings a unique viewpoint which often refreshes party philosophy.  The Baby Boomers have been in charge for the past 30 years, and are beginning to pass the torch.  We should encourage them to do so, especially in Congress.
I wanted to write something profound here, but I couldn't think of anything.

The Jade Knight

  • Moderator
  • Level 39
  • *****
  • Posts: 2507
  • Fell Points: 1
  • Lord of the Absent-Minded
    • View Profile
    • Don't go here
Re: Obama wants to halve budget deficit
« Reply #67 on: April 21, 2009, 02:25:01 AM »
Given the fact that our lives are now much global than local, the two-party system doesn't make sense any more.  We really need to switch to proportional representation in this country.  Unfortunately, both the Democrats and Republicans have a vested interest in not allowing any other parties to stand a chance, etc.
"Never argue with a fool; they'll bring you down to their level, and then beat you with experience."

Renoard

  • Level 20
  • *
  • Posts: 989
  • Fell Points: 0
  • spurius non lucrorum
    • View Profile
    • Albion
Re: Obama wants to halve budget deficit
« Reply #68 on: April 21, 2009, 02:53:51 AM »
That's so very true.  Another small change that might be good is changing the tax system.  Here's the plan: :)
eliminate federal income tax.  Instead divide the financial obligation for the federal budget evenly among the states, and require each state to in turn tax it's citizens to pay their share.  If a state fails to meet their obligation withdraw federal aid to that state.

Alternatively, assign electoral votes and number of congressional districts on the basis of dollars of income tax collected.

As it stands communities that contribute very little to the federal budget, get the benefit of an inordinate amount of pork barrel spending.
You can always get what you want if you never count the cost.

The Jade Knight

  • Moderator
  • Level 39
  • *****
  • Posts: 2507
  • Fell Points: 1
  • Lord of the Absent-Minded
    • View Profile
    • Don't go here
Re: Obama wants to halve budget deficit
« Reply #69 on: April 21, 2009, 06:05:34 AM »
There's a few problems with this:  1.  You have the entity vs. population problem.  Are you going to levy fees based on the Senate, or on the House of Representatives?  Also, some areas are much larger than others, and more land may require more funds to take care of.  2.  What about specially designated areas, such as national parks?  These are not spread about evenly, but are federal mandates.  3.  The last thing poor states want to do is cut their funding from rich states.  This is one of the reasons the Kurds have never been able to establish their own state—they're sitting on a lot of oil, and the other Turks, Iraqis, etc., don't want them to run off with it.  And so on and so forth.

So while I think it's a great idea in theory and all, it'd be really hard to execute.
"Never argue with a fool; they'll bring you down to their level, and then beat you with experience."