Author Topic: Politics & Idealology  (Read 1689 times)

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Offline Truth OT

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Politics & Idealology
« on: October 10, 2011, 03:53:31 PM »
I get the impression from the signatures of some as well as the "tone" of much of what I read here that the majority of posters here are more left than right. I was curious as to why that is as well as how individuals classify themselves and what their "major convictions" were.

Speaking for myself I would say that I have gone from apolitical to one that is a fiscal conservative that happens to be rather socially liberal. I don't really walk any party's line as I trust no one politically. Personally I believe the governing structures of many/most nations is as big a problem as the politicians that are in power and that it is that structure that needs to be amended.

Offline Irish

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Re: Politics & Idealology
« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2011, 06:48:32 PM »
I'll go first.

I too don't walk any clearly set party lines.  I suppose if you had to classify my stance in one of the major parties I would be a libertarian.  The one politician that has my vote in this election is Jon Huntsman simply because he is the most experienced and the most normal/sane/intelligent.

I believe our government is too large, commanding, obstructive, and all around dysfunctional.  I support a completely free and open market.  Socially speaking I believe all drugs should be legalized and gay marriage should be a no-brainer as legal.  I neither support our troops nor war because I do not believe our military is fulfilling their moral obligations.  Economically I am fiscally conservative.
La scienze non ha nemici ma gli ignoranti.

Offline jetson

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Re: Politics & Idealology
« Reply #2 on: October 10, 2011, 07:12:39 PM »
Irish - our company somehow got Huntsman to speak to us at a gathering on site, so I got to hear him up close and personal.  Not too bad, but still, a Republican!

Anyway, I'm a Lefty, but in the middle ground somewhere.  I'm not a bleeding heart, tree-hugging fanatic, but I do like me some social equality, and truly don't like the Right's stance on abortion, gay rights, and education (driven by the Christian right).

I wish there was a real party, that had a real shot, that could throw out the ideologies, and get on with running the government in a secular way.  Hell, I know the Dems can't even accomplish that!

Offline velkyn

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Re: Politics & Idealology
« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2011, 11:54:54 AM »
social lefty, all for fiscal efficiency (no can't use the "c" word  ;D)    Gov't is needed but also needs to work.  All we have now is a retirement farm for elected useless middle managers who can't possibly think of giving up their gravy train.
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Offline Truth OT

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Re: Politics & Idealology
« Reply #4 on: October 11, 2011, 12:22:28 PM »
Irish I will admit that Mr. Huntsman is growing on me, (though I still feel that no matter who the president is, that he/she will still be a part of a broken system and thus their idealogogy will be SOMEWHAT irrevelant). In addition, I have always been fans of individuals like Ron Paul and Harry Browne http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Browne.


Quote
Each president has tended to be worse than the last, especially in this century. Lately, in terms of the powers they assumed and the dictates they imposed, Kennedy was worse than Eisenhower, Johnson was worse than Kennedy, Nixon was worse than Johnson, Carter was worse than Nixon, and Reagan — who doubled the national budget and permanently entrenched the warfare State — was worse than Carter. The same is true of Bush and Clinton. Every budget is bigger and the powers exercised more egregious. Each new brutal action breaks another taboo and establishes a new precedent that gives the next occupant of the White House more leeway.

Looking back through American history, we can see the few exceptions to this rule. Washington wrote an eloquent farewell address, laying out the proper American trade and foreign policy. Jefferson's revolution of 1800 was a great thing. But was it really a freer country after his term than before? That's a tough case to make. Andrew Jackson abolished the central bank, but his real legacy was democratic centralism and weakened states' rights.

Andrew Johnson loosened the military dictatorship fastened on the South after it was conquered. But it is not hard to make the country freer when it had become totalitarian under the previous president's rule. Of course, Lincoln's bloody autocracy survives as the model of presidential leadership.................

Madison said no man with power deserves to be trusted. Neither should we trust any man who seeks the power that the presidency offers.

Accordingly, it is all well and good that conservatives have worked to discredit the current occupant of the White House. Call him a cheat and a double-dealer if you want. Call him a tyrant too. But we must go further. The answer to restoring republican freedom has nothing to do with replacing Clinton with Lott or Kemp or Forbes or Buchanan. The structure of the presidency, and the religious aura that surrounds it, must be destroyed. The man is merely a passing occupant of the Holy Chair of St. Abraham. It is the chair itself that must be reduced to kindling.

The above are snippets from an paper written by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr., entitled Down With The Presidency. The entire article is available here: http://www.lewrockwell.com/rockwell/down-presidency.html.


Offline velkyn

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Re: Politics & Idealology
« Reply #5 on: October 11, 2011, 12:31:09 PM »
Quote
Andrew Johnson loosened the military dictatorship fastened on the South after it was conquered. But it is not hard to make the country freer when it had become totalitarian under the previous president's rule. Of course, Lincoln's bloody autocracy survives as the model of presidential leadership.................

wow, gee you wonder what would have made such things necessary.......  &)
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Offline Gnu Ordure

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Re: Politics & Idealology
« Reply #6 on: October 11, 2011, 02:15:15 PM »
Eco-Fascist.


Truth OT:
Quote
Re: Politics & Idealology
Quote
... thus their idealogogy...
One foundation of my ideology is my solution to over-population: in my Brave Gnu World, incorrect spelling will be a capital offence (which will include so-called "American" spelling - you have been warned).

Seriously though, I was once a candidate in a UK General Election, twenty-five years ago, for the Green Party. Hard to imagine, I know. 

I had the quadraped demographic sewn up, but under Britain's archaic and anthropocentric laws of enfranchisement, all those thousands of votes for me were disqualified. Sooo unfair.

Offline Irish

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Re: Politics & Idealology
« Reply #7 on: October 11, 2011, 04:34:14 PM »
Irish - our company somehow got Huntsman to speak to us at a gathering on site, so I got to hear him up close and personal.  Not too bad, but still, a Republican!

Sweet!  He's the only politician that I would actually want to see in a meeting.

Irish I will admit that Mr. Huntsman is growing on me

I like him because he's the most experienced (Governor of Utah and headed two American Embassies in Asia) and because he's the most sane sounding.  Plus he won me over with his attitude toward science and altogether rejection of the Republican parties' general opinion of science.

I don't agree with his religious stance (he is Mormon) but he knows where it belongs and where it doesn't belong and so I can respect that.
La scienze non ha nemici ma gli ignoranti.

Offline Truth OT

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Re: Politics & Idealology
« Reply #8 on: October 11, 2011, 04:46:14 PM »
In this thread, I am less interested in the "who do you like" as it relates to politicians than I am in the ideas of what you guys would like for government to look like and ideas that could be practically implemented to better us all.

Offline nogodsforme

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Re: Politics & Idealology
« Reply #9 on: October 11, 2011, 05:26:46 PM »
I am probably the most far lefty poster here.[1]The few politicians who I respect are not likely to become president: people like Dennis Kucinich, Alan Grayson, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders. As the original black dreadlocked commie mommie, I would like to see far more public services and less so-called free market. In the US we spend more than any other country just trying to clean up the messes that would not even exist if we had rational public policy.

For example, corporate taxes and individual taxes on wealthy people are lower than at any time in the past 50 years. The top 1% has increased it's income from an average of $400,000 a year to three times that. CEO's make 400 times what the average worker makes. Public services are starved for funds and local governments are forced to close homeless programs and food banks, lay off teachers and police.[2]
 
And the cry is to cut taxes further, and to reduce government services even more. As the services deteriorate, people begin to hear that "government can't do anything; turn it over to private businesses." There is no way for a private business to match what a non-profit concern does and make a profit without cutting back on services even more. It seems like basic economics to me. And everything from education, to health care to the prison system is affected by this "privatization is better" idea.
 
I teach working class young people at a publicly funded college. Many of these kids have adopted a weird version of conservative/libertarian leaning views, ie, hatred the poor, distrust of government, dislike of taxes and ignorance about how things work in other industrialized countries. They all think that if they work hard they will be millionaires--anyone who is not rich should blame themselves, to paraphrase Herman Cain. They think they are critical thinkers, but are completely at the mercy of the corporate media.  They love corporations, and don't realize they are being royally screwed into consumerism and debt.

Today, for example, there was a collective gasp when I informed the class that in most European countries they would be able to attend college for free or for a very low cost. They are starting to get that health care is a health issue, not a financial worry for families in Canada and Europe.

If I have an ideology, it is that everyone deserves a decent life, not just the rich, the lucky and the incredibly skilled. I would rather live in a country where there is a good safety net than in one where "anyone can get rich". You should not have to be rich to live decently and with security for your family.

Whether you pick up trash or pick up a dividend check, you should be able to go to the doctor when you feel ill. There are some basic services that everyone in a society is entitled to, no matter what your income level. Haven't we learned anything from the past hundred years? Clean water, good basic education, reasonably priced transportation, police and fire protection, the security that the food you buy is safe, health care for everyone-- these things are not cheap to provide. But the alternatives are very, very costly.
 1. As you can probalby tell from my sig.
 2. Those people don't just disappear. They still make demands on society, even if it is only the police and the prisons--and they are the most expensive social service providers. Just like the untreated mentally ill who become the next generation of permanently homeless, you are going to spend money to keep them away from you if you don't spend it to take care of them.
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

Kids aren't paying attention most of the time in science classes so it seems silly to get worked up over ID being taught in schools.

Offline Mr. Blackwell

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Re: Politics & Idealology
« Reply #10 on: October 11, 2011, 05:30:35 PM »
In this thread, I am less interested in the "who do you like" as it relates to politicians than I am in the ideas of what you guys would like for government to look like and ideas that could be practically implemented to better us all.

Government officials would look and act like civil servants instead of overlords.

Vote for me.
« Last Edit: October 11, 2011, 05:33:10 PM by jaybwell32 »
I show affection for my pets by holding them against me and whispering, "I love you" repeatedly as they struggle to break free.

Offline Truth OT

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Re: Politics & Idealology
« Reply #11 on: October 11, 2011, 06:02:00 PM »
Quote
WE (edited) are being royally screwed into consumerism and debt.


The unfortunate thing is that prevailing economics, globally is built on this very foundation. The banking industry would be ruined if debt-based economies were not the norm. How can we systematically get away from a system that enslaves and brainwashes the consumer simultaneously?

Nogodsforme
Quote
If I have an ideology, it is that everyone deserves a decent life, not just the rich, the lucky and the incredibly skilled. I would rather live in a country where there is a good safety net than in one where "anyone can get rich". You should not have to be rich to live decently and with security for your family.

It's hard to argue against the desire for our fellow man to be able to have a decent life. I do not believe anyone deserves or is entitled to a decent life, but I certainly would like for such a desire to be possible, and if possible a reality within certain parameters. Those parameter would simply be that of NOT FORCING a decline in the standard of living for the better off to the point where we are ALL just getting by with the necessities for life and health.
When I refer to the better off, I'm not talking just about the wealthy and rich, but also about the single person making $35k to $40k annually that is able to travel, save, and indulged in some of the finer things life offers.

Having said that, I am all for us having a "pot" designated for the poor and downtrodden of our number that everyone that benefits from being able to live in the land and pursue their dreams there must contribute to.

Offline jetson

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Re: Politics & Idealology
« Reply #12 on: October 11, 2011, 07:35:33 PM »
Damn nogodsforme, I like how you think!  Maybe I'm more lefty than I realize?

Offline violatedsmurf80

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Re: Politics & Idealology
« Reply #13 on: October 11, 2011, 07:51:13 PM »
nogodsforme, I total agree with what you said. I was told at one time that we are so close to the communist manifesto but i could not disagree more. 
When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.”--- Sinclair Lewis

I believe there is something out there watching over us. Unfortunately, it's the government.

Offline Chronos

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Re: Politics & Idealology
« Reply #14 on: October 12, 2011, 07:34:37 AM »
I am socially liberal/progressive, as it is the ultimate form of personal freedom. I am conservative with money, but I am reluctant to use the word conservative as it implies things I am not for. Fiscally, I am against lowering taxes. We have bills to pay and we need revenue to pay them. Somebody espousing conservatism cut taxes and spent like crazy, ergo the word conservative has lost any meaning. I am fiscally responsible.

The purpose of government is to provide collectively that which the people cannot do individually. Defense, police, fire, medical, education, research, transportation systems, space exploration, etc. A private entity can provide some of those functions, but that private entity is doing so collectively, so the only difference between government and private enterprise is that there are no elections with private enterprise except for the election that comes out of your wallet. That creates a number of inefficiencies that can be as great, or worse, than a public entity such as a government. Those with bigger wallets get to choose how things work instead of every individual having a voice at the ballot box, regardless of how much or how little is in their wallets. Private enterprise is clearly not democracy.

I do not think the government should do everything, but it needs to do necessary things, one of which is a health care system that works for everyone, not just those with big wallets. We do not enjoy as much freedom as we could because we are often chained to our health care plans (if we have one), which in turn means we are chained to our jobs. If you have no medical issues, you have some freedom because you don't see any hurdles for your own health care. If you have medical issues, any job change you make must be with the realization that everything about your health care can change in an instant, especially when taking a job that offers no health care plan at all. The very thing that the conservatives decry about a government health care system is the very thing they are receiving through a private health care insurance system. Private enterprise is merely a collective for people with wallets. Government is a collective for all (or it is supposed to be, notwithstanding current times).

Being fiscally responsible means taking into consideration the entire scope of what we want or need to achieve rather than adhering to a simple word or phrase like liberty or freedom, which people throw around like candy at Halloween. Tastes great, less filling.

John 14:2 :: In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

Offline velkyn

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Re: Politics & Idealology
« Reply #15 on: October 12, 2011, 09:24:25 AM »
Damn nogodsforme, I like how you think!  Maybe I'm more lefty than I realize?

Me too, me too.
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Offline Truth OT

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Re: Politics & Idealology
« Reply #16 on: October 12, 2011, 10:32:26 AM »
I am socially liberal/progressive, as it is the ultimate form of personal freedom. I am conservative with money, but I am reluctant to use the word conservative as it implies things I am not for. Fiscally, I am against lowering taxes. We have bills to pay and we need revenue to pay them. Somebody espousing conservatism cut taxes and spent like crazy, ergo the word conservative has lost any meaning. I am fiscally responsible.

The purpose of government is to provide collectively that which the people cannot do individually. Defense, police, fire, medical, education, research, transportation systems, space exploration, etc. A private entity can provide some of those functions, but that private entity is doing so collectively, so the only difference between government and private enterprise is that there are no elections with private enterprise except for the election that comes out of your wallet. That creates a number of inefficiencies that can be as great, or worse, than a public entity such as a government. Those with bigger wallets get to choose how things work instead of every individual having a voice at the ballot box, regardless of how much or how little is in their wallets. Private enterprise is clearly not democracy.

I do not think the government should do everything, but it needs to do necessary things, one of which is a health care system that works for everyone, not just those with big wallets. We do not enjoy as much freedom as we could because we are often chained to our health care plans (if we have one), which in turn means we are chained to our jobs. If you have no medical issues, you have some freedom because you don't see any hurdles for your own health care. If you have medical issues, any job change you make must be with the realization that everything about your health care can change in an instant, especially when taking a job that offers no health care plan at all. The very thing that the conservatives decry about a government health care system is the very thing they are receiving through a private health care insurance system. Private enterprise is merely a collective for people with wallets. Government is a collective for all (or it is supposed to be, notwithstanding current times).

Being fiscally responsible means taking into consideration the entire scope of what we want or need to achieve rather than adhering to a simple word or phrase like liberty or freedom, which people throw around like candy at Halloween. Tastes great, less filling.

The bolded statemant is something that needs to be brought more into focus and analyzed so that there is a concensus as to the specifics of what it is we want and need to achieve. Without these things being identified and clearly stated, we have the proverbial dog chasing its tail.

Another thing that is a huge point of contention that we would do well to specify as citizens is just what the purpose of the national governing body is as well as the perameters/extent of the duties of that government. Once this is done and clearly communicated/understood, at that point other levels of government (state and local) duties can be specified and outlined so that all government can be put to work most efficiently.

National Government: 
  - Defense (not unnecessary foreign aggreesion or meddling)
  - National Infrastructure
  - Interstate Commerce Regulation
  - Laying Out the Laws of the Land
  - Establishing and Protecting a National Currency

State Government:
 - Social Security or Retirement Pension Programs
 - Intrastate Commerce Regulation
 - Citizen Healthcare Programs
 - Law Enforcement
 - Parks
 - State Infrastructure

Local Government:
 - Law Enforcement
 - Fire Protection
 - Education (School taxes, etc.)
 - Mass Transit
 - Parks & Recreation
 - Local Infrastructure

-----
In my opinion, there are certain things that would work better were they to be privatized. One example is unemployment insurance. As it stands now, there is a maximum weekly benefit of $440 as well as a limit for the term of that benefit. Who can survive off of that? I propose that goverment get out of the unemployment insurance business and allow insurance companies to sell it much like they sell term life insurance. That will allow participants to select and pay for higher weekly benefit amounts as well as longer terms.
There are other examples, but this one was front of mind.

Offline nogodsforme

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Re: Politics & Idealology
« Reply #17 on: October 12, 2011, 02:42:31 PM »
I was expecting to get lambasted for my commie mommie manifesto, but there are people who agree! Thanks for the supportive comments.

TOT, there are problems with leaving certain basic functions, like health care, to the states. States have different economic levels. A poor state would have to ration care more than a wealthy one. A baby born in Mississippi would have a lower chance of survival than a baby born in Minnesota. That is not my idea of a decent life for all. With federal funding, these inequalities could be evened out.

By the same token, having education locally funded from property taxes guarantees that wealthy communities will be able to give their kids a better education than a poor one. Even if you believe that "anyone can be a millionaire" in the US, you have to admit that unequal education does not give everyone the same start.

What we don't seem to get in the US is that we are blinded to the outcomes of certain ideologies. That makes us pennywise and pound foolish. I have Danish friends who are shocked that we would rather spend on fancy alarm systems, cameras and security guards everywhere instead of taking care of people decently. And of course, people around the world are appalled at our high prison population-- again, we would rather spend 50,000 a year to keep someone in jail[1] than spend 40,000 on that person to keep them out.

It is a sad state of affairs when the social services of jail are better than those on the outside. (I am not saying jail conditions should be made worse! They are already miserable, esp. local and state prisons. Privatization of prisons costs the government more[2] and gives the prisoners even worse conditions--making the men and women inside meaner and tougher. Good times for all  when they get out.)

Just looking at the money, so-called liberal ideas are cheaper than many so-called conservative solutions. And more humane.
 1. where they get housing, food, medical care, dental and eyeglasses, educational opportunities, sometimes even mental health counseling--if they had gotten some of that stuff before, many would not even be in jail!
 2. cause you gotta squeez the profit out somewhere, as Marx said
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

Kids aren't paying attention most of the time in science classes so it seems silly to get worked up over ID being taught in schools.

Offline Truth OT

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Re: Politics & Idealology
« Reply #18 on: October 12, 2011, 03:40:15 PM »
TOT, there are problems with leaving certain basic functions, like health care, to the states. States have different economic levels. A poor state would have to ration care more than a wealthy one. A baby born in Mississippi would have a lower chance of survival than a baby born in Minnesota. That is not my idea of a decent life for all. With federal funding, these inequalities could be evened out.

By the same token, having education locally funded from property taxes guarantees that wealthy communities will be able to give their kids a better education than a poor one. Even if you believe that "anyone can be a millionaire" in the US, you have to admit that unequal education does not give everyone the same start.

Not so fast my friend (in my Lee Corso voice)!
As it pertains to infant mortality, poor people today have coverage via Medicaid and CHIPS. Many take advantage of what these programs offer, but many do not and what we find in poorer states like Mississippi is higher infant mortality rates due NOT to lack of healthcare services, but rather due to these factors:
 - Mothers not working to be in good health prior to becoming pregnant: not addressing any chronic medical problems such as high blood pressure or diabetes.
 - Mothers not eating a healthy diet supplemented with prenatal vitamins such as folic acid.
 - Mothers not getting a healthy amount of exercise.
 - Mothers smoking, drinking alcohol, or using recreational drugs.
 - Mothers not getting early and continuing prenatal care throughout the entire pregnancy, and not following the advice of their healthcare provider.

These factors are the leading causes of infant mortality accounting to government findings. All of these factors can be, even AS IT STANDS NOW, addressed by the mother to be whether she is poor or well off. The conclusion that can be drawn based on what the data bears out as well as what experience has shown (1st hand experience in some cases) is that despite the availibility and affordability of services, that the segment that properly employs what is available to them will have better results.

Having the individual states handle the healthcare of citizens is more efficient than having it handled at the federal level as there is less of a buraucracy to deal with, the implementors of the plan are closer to those than will be affected by the plan, and when compared with nations that are successfully employing such programs, the populations of those nations is more comparable with the populations of many of the states as opposed to the entire USA.

----
I will agree that education from property taxes as it stands now creates inequality, that's why I beleive the taxing authority should be the city/parish/county as opposed to a school district or municipal utility district. It a city was the taxing authority for school taxes, the entire population of the city would benefit the same from those tax dollars as wealthy subdivision property owners taxes would not just go to the schools in thteir neighborhood, but to all schools within that city.

The stasus quo with education being handled at the federal level is FAILING us miserably as it is terribly inefficient and wastes money consistantly. There is more accountability locally.

What we don't seem to get in the US is that we are blinded to the outcomes of certain ideologies. That makes us pennywise and pound foolish. I have Danish friends who are shocked that we would rather spend on fancy alarm systems, cameras and security guards everywhere instead of taking care of people decently. And of course, people around the world are appalled at our high prison population-- again, we would rather spend 50,000 a year to keep someone in jail[1] than spend 40,000 on that person to keep them out.

It is a sad state of affairs when the social services of jail are better than those on the outside. (I am not saying jail conditions should be made worse! They are already miserable, esp. local and state prisons. Privatization of prisons costs the government more[2] and gives the prisoners even worse conditions--making the men and women inside meaner and tougher. Good times for all  when they get out.)

Just looking at the money, so-called liberal ideas are cheaper than many so-called conservative solutions. And more humane.
 1. where they get housing, food, medical care, dental and eyeglasses, educational opportunities, sometimes even mental health counseling--if they had gotten some of that stuff before, many would not even be in jail!
 2. cause you gotta squeez the profit out somewhere, as Marx said

A change in the drug laws could help reduce the prison population. Reagan's War On Drugs has failed and we need to reevaluate how we approach this subject. On the subject of prisons, our tort law needs to be reformed and addressed. In addition, we must find a way to more efficiently deal with crimes that will not involve extended prison terms.
My ideas are perhaps more drastic than most, but I believe they would yield more of the desired results than what is currently in place. For instance, I would have sex offenders including rapists (statitory rape on a case by case basis) and child molestors (including priests BTW) castrated. I wonder how that will affect the repeat offender rate?

An issue that seems to me to get ignored when discussing or should I say comparing the USA to other countries is the degree to which each country is ethnically, socio-economically, religiously, educationally diverse. The more diversity exists, the more difficult federal implementation of programs is as they attempt to "fit" the problems of a very diverse population into a "one size fits all" solution.

Offline Chronos

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Re: Politics & Idealology
« Reply #19 on: October 12, 2011, 07:23:34 PM »
In my opinion, there are certain things that would work better were they to be privatized. One example is unemployment insurance. As it stands now, there is a maximum weekly benefit of $440 as well as a limit for the term of that benefit. Who can survive off of that? I propose that goverment get out of the unemployment insurance business and allow insurance companies to sell it much like they sell term life insurance. That will allow participants to select and pay for higher weekly benefit amounts as well as longer terms.

Actually, that cannot work because it violates the basic principles of insurance:

1) The risks to be insured must not suffer a large loss at the same time. A downturn in the economy creates a significant rise in unemployment, which would be a large loss among the group of risks that are being insured. This is why flood insurance (which is not really insurance but mimics insurance for ease of understanding) is handled through the federal government -- large flood losses simultaneously affecting a large number of homes within the group make the group financially uninsurable. Ergo, government involvement.

2)  The risks to be insured must be measurable and predictable. This would require that an insurer be able to predict, with accuracy, the timing and severity of economic downturns, and consequently, the timing and severity of unemployment. Also, it would require an insurer to predict changes that may occur within a single industry. Honestly, if anyone was capable of that, I would like for them to handle my investments. The losses aren't measurable and predictable.

3) The operational cost should not equal or exceed the amount of losses paid. Those who are most often affected by unemployment and in need of unemployment insurance are those who make the least amount of money. Since unemployment benefits paid would only be a portion of the earned wage, the cost to administer such claims would equal or exceed the cost of the claims themselves. With unemployment being very cyclical, the only benefit to such a plan would be the need to hire extra workers to handle unemployment claims, but if you hired them they wouldn't be unemployed. Since the operation to handle the risk would eliminate the risk, a better approach is risk reduction -- or the more colloquial expression, prevention. However, due to #2 above, this is impossible.

4) The rate must be affordable to those seeking protection. Since each person seeking unemployment insurance would be rated for the risk they present for becoming unemployed, the people who are most likely to become unemployed are those who earn the least amount of money. So, those who earn the least will pay the most for their insurance. Not only is that a giant inequity, but it is not at all marketable. Too few people would be able to afford the rate, and if the group to be insured is too small the risk cannot properly be spread amongst those still employed. The company providing the insurance would immediately go bankrupt from the claims.

5) There must not be a moral or morale hazard present. People who purchase unemployment insurance could choose to do something to get themselves unemployed which causes claims to increase when they shouldn't. Although someone could commit suicide and have the life insurance proceeds paid to the beneficiary, the insured person would be dead. Considering that there is a strong will to live amongst the vast majority of people, the moral hazard of committing suicide is a small risk within the scope of life insurance. However, for unemployment insurance, the moral and morale hazard would be extreme. It's uninsurable.


I think you see the problems with an attempt to privatize unemployment insurance. If the government is providing a function, there is likely a good reason why government is doing it.

The reason unemployment benefits are so low is not that the government does such a poor job of providing unemployment insurance or the benefits to those unemployed. Unemployment insurance is a fiscal issue which is enslaved to a political process known as budgeting and elections. The government provides whatever benefits the legislature requires. Unemployment insurance (which is not really insurance but the word is used for ease of understanding) is a system for charging employers a tax which is contributed to an unemployment fund from which the state issues benefit checks. If you think unemployment benefits should be greater, then you need to lobby your state representatives to require a budget that increases the taxes on businesses who employ people. Now, be prepared for the businesses to pass on those taxes to consumers in the purchase price for the goods and services you buy. Nevertheless, during economic downturns unemployment claims normally exhaust the funds available which is why you hear state legislatures or the federal government passing bills to provide more money to pay unemployment benefits.


« Last Edit: October 22, 2011, 07:23:44 AM by Chronos »
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Offline nogodsforme

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Re: Politics & Idealology
« Reply #20 on: October 14, 2011, 04:36:53 PM »
Thank you Chronos for the detailed policy wonkery. A lot of people don't understand why some services should NOT be subject to market fluctuations or to consumer demand. I argue that health care (like unemployment benefits) is one of those services.

TOT, you cite reasons for high infant mortality among the poor as if this is news to me. I have worked in women's health care in poor communities for some time and I know why poor women and kids have worse health outcomes. But even accounting for those "self-responsibility" issues-- countries with universal health care have lower infant mortality rates.

Medicaid and CHIP, where they are still availible, have all kinds of requirements to meet. If you have been in jail, for example, you are not eligible for some programs. Most poor people work, at least some of the time, and are sometimes not eligible for some of that aid for that reason.

Poor people end up bouncing between eligibility and non-eligibility, having to be as knowledgeable about the programs as social workers. Some have illegals in their families. They are afraid of getting into trouble, so they try not to come to the attention of the authorities.

Not exactly the most consistent way to provide care. I know too many people who have no access to health care for themselves and their families. They have junk insurance with $2500 deductibles. That means they will never go to the doctor for that diabetes treatment or that prenatal care. They just hope for the best and go to the emergency room when they are so sick they can't work. And their babies die.

Why don't those poor overweight diabetic women living in trailer parks in Mississippi just lose some weight before they get pregnant? Why don't they quit smoking and using drugs? The doctor at the clinic handed them a brochure about it. There are very few drug treatment and mental health programs for low-income people. That is why they often have their first contact with these services in jail.

Why don't they just eat salad? They eat crap junk food because it tastes good, is marketed everywhere even in the schools, it requires no refrigeration or cooking,[1] it helps them cope with their chronic depression, it makes them feel like they are part of consumer America, it is cheap and easily available.[2]
 1. helpful when the electric is cut off for non-payment
 2. due to govt. subsidies of corporate farming
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

Kids aren't paying attention most of the time in science classes so it seems silly to get worked up over ID being taught in schools.

Offline Truth OT

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Re: Politics & Idealology
« Reply #21 on: October 14, 2011, 04:47:27 PM »
[Actually, that cannot work because it violates the basic principles of insurance:

1) The risks to be insured must not suffer a large loss at the same time. A downturn in the economy creates a significant rise in unemployment, which would be a large loss among the group of risks that are being insured.

2)  The risks to be insured must be measurable and predictable. This would require that an insurer be able to predict, with accuracy, the timing and severity of economic downturns, and consequently, the timing and severity of unemployment.

3) The operational cost should not equal or exceed the amount of losses paid.

4) The rate must be affordable to those seeking protection. Since each person seeking unemployment insurance would be rated for the risk they present for becoming unemployed, the people who are most likely to become employed are those who earn the least amount of money.

5) There must not be a moral or morale hazard present. People who purchase unemployment insurance could choose to do something to get themselves unemployed which causes claims to increase when they shouldn't. Although someone could commit suicide and have the life insurance proceeds paid to the beneficiary, the insured person would be dead.


The reason unemployment benefits are so low is not that the government does such a poor job of providing unemployment insurance or the benefits to those unemployed. Unemployment insurance is a fiscal issue which is enslaved to a political process known as budgeting and elections. The government provides whatever benefits the legislature requires. Unemployment insurance (which is not really insurance but the word is used for ease of understanding) is a system for charging employers a tax which is contributed to an unemployment fund from which the state issues benefit checks. If you think unemployment benefits should be greater, then you need to lobby your state representatives to require a budget that increases the taxes on businesses who employ people. Now, be prepared for the businesses to pass on those taxes to consumers in the purchase price for the goods and services you buy. Nevertheless, during economic downturns unemployment claims normally exhaust the funds available which is why you hear state legislatures or the federal government passing bills to provide more money to pay unemployment benefits.

I'll start with the last paragraph. I do not believe ER's should have to pay a tax where money is directed to an unemployment fund AT ALL. I believe EE's should be given the option of paying via salary deduction towards their own personal unemployment insurance accounts to be held by whatever provider they EE chooses.
Now to address point 1 - 5.

1. - 3. Actuaries measure risk and will price the uninsurance product accordingly with this idea in mind. That's what they do now for all forms of personal insurance anyway.
Even in times of economic distress, the unemployment rate barely, if ever makes it into the teens. That means upwards of 80% of paying clients would still be paying for the benefit.
Operational costs (what are they specifically anyway?) would be priced into the premiums.

4. This is not a one size fits all idea. Those individuals that are on the lower income spectrum will not have to buy as expensive a policy as higher earners. The less they need covered, the less they typically pay for the potential benefit. I do realize that jobs with higher turnover rates would by necessity have unimployment insurance rates be priced higher than those with lower turnover which would result in EE's of these types of jobs having to pay "smokers rates".

5. The moral hazard is a concern, but not a grave one as the insurance policy will list covered unemployment causes and those that will not be covered much the way current insurance policies handle covered losses. (Underwriters and actuaries earn their $$!). As it stands now, not everyone that becomes unemployed is eligible for the government benefit. If you quit or get fire for cause, good luck getting that $440/wk. Some people will of course find ways to beat the system, sure, but that's just a reality of virtually every system there is anyway.


Offline nogodsforme

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Re: Politics & Idealology
« Reply #22 on: October 14, 2011, 06:03:56 PM »
I like the way all the responsibility for risk is to be borne by those least able to bounce back. We don't want the poor beleagured employer to have the risk. Put it on the employee and call it choice.

What would a low income worker do, given the choice to have some money deducted from one's pay have some sort of private unemployment insurance scheme, versus having more to pay rent and buy food with today? The exact same choice that low and even mid-income workers are making today with the health insurance situation. Pay $300 a month for a crappy health policy that covers little, has a high deductible and routinely denies one of every 10 claims? Or take your chances with home remedies and hope nothing really bad happens? And when really sick, go to the emergency room and get billed for $11,000 for less than 24 hours of care?[1]

Ahhh, but you see, the guy is choosing to not go hungry and to feed his kids something besides top ramen. So when he loses his job and has no income at all, well, that was his choice.
 1. a real bill that an aquaintance has right now
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

Kids aren't paying attention most of the time in science classes so it seems silly to get worked up over ID being taught in schools.

Offline velkyn

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Re: Politics & Idealology
« Reply #23 on: October 19, 2011, 03:48:25 PM »
I'll add my own numbers to that.  My SIL had surgery for spinal stenosis a month ago.  One, *one* of her bills, was $70,000.  Happily, my brother has good insurance thanks to the union.  What would happen to them, and their three kids if they didn't?
"There is no use in arguing with a man who can multiply anything by the square root of minus 1" - Pirates of Venus, ERB

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Offline Truth OT

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Re: Politics & Idealology
« Reply #24 on: October 19, 2011, 04:22:26 PM »
I like the way all the responsibility for risk is to be borne by those least able to bounce back. We don't want the poor beleagured employer to have the risk. Put it on the employee and call it choice.

So having the policyholder, you know the individual that could benefit from the policy and the insurance company, the entity that gets premiums paid take on the risk is somehow unfair? Why should the ER be forced to foot the bill for something it has no stake in one way or the other or take on additional risk? Are you not aware that ER's take a risk everytime they hire ne EEs as typically for the first 5 to 6 months or so of employment the cost of employing the EE exceeds the value the EE brings to the company. That means that companies lose money when EEs leave after short stints of employment seeing as to how the salaries and costs of benefits companies pay costs the companies money. That is typically true whether the company in question is an Exxon Mobil or a small business like Joe Blow & Associates with less than 100 EEs. ERs take on enough risk already and the more they take on, the more expensive the products and services they provide will be and they less likely they are to want to hire additional workers. Increased inflation and increased unemployment together is a disaster that does no one favors.


What would a low income worker do, given the choice to have some money deducted from one's pay have some sort of private unemployment insurance scheme, versus having more to pay rent and buy food with today? The exact same choice that low and even mid-income workers are making today with the health insurance situation. Pay $300 a month for a crappy health policy that covers little, has a high deductible and routinely denies one of every 10 claims? Or take your chances with home remedies and hope nothing really bad happens? And when really sick, go to the emergency room and get billed for $11,000 for less than 24 hours of care?[1]

Ahhh, but you see, the guy is choosing to not go hungry and to feed his kids something besides top ramen. So when he loses his job and has no income at all, well, that was his choice.
 1. a real bill that an aquaintance has right now

That is a taught situation to be in no doubt. If it were me, food and shelter rank higher on the priority list, so I'd forgo the insurance until I'd saved up enough money to afford it. When dealing with real life situations what we find is that sometimes, hell most times, choices are limited and we have to make the best of a given situation be it bad or good. Living in society dos provide us with opportunities to lean on our fellow man from time to time, but doesn't give us the right to his stuff.
Should low income earners have the right to opt out of FICA (social security and medicare taxes) that amounts to 7.65% of every dollar they currently earn? Or should they be able to choose to forgo the allocation to FICA and direct those funds towards their insurance costs? I personally wouldn't be against low income earners being able to opt out and have those dollars used for insurance or 401k or other types of retirement funding.


Offline Chronos

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Re: Politics & Idealology
« Reply #25 on: October 19, 2011, 04:37:27 PM »
I'll start with the last paragraph. I do not believe ER's should have to pay a tax where money is directed to an unemployment fund AT ALL. I believe EE's should be given the option of paying via salary deduction towards their own personal unemployment insurance accounts to be held by whatever provider they EE chooses.
Now to address point 1 - 5.

First, why shouldn't employers be required to pay a tax that contributes to an unemployment fund? This is a really important question.

Second, would you require that ALL employees secure their own private unemployment insurance? If so, why? If not, why not?


1. - 3. Actuaries measure risk and will price the uninsurance product accordingly with this idea in mind. That's what they do now for all forms of personal insurance anyway.
Even in times of economic distress, the unemployment rate barely, if ever makes it into the teens. That means upwards of 80% of paying clients would still be paying for the benefit.
Operational costs (what are they specifically anyway?) would be priced into the premiums.

When floods occur rarely do anymore than 0.01% of all homes get flooded, yet flood insurance is quite analogous to unemployment insurance, and private-market flood insurance is fiscally unsound. If private insurers know in advance that the losses will exceed any profits that they could potentially make, what makes you think that private insurers would want to take on a risk that is far greater than that of flood insurance?

You will not find any successful insurance company operating in an environment in which more than 1% of all policyholders suffer a total loss during the same calendar year. Why 1%? Simple math: if 1% of all insureds suffer a total loss each year, then 100% of all insureds will suffer a total loss every 100 years. If the cost of a total loss is $100,000, then the average yearly premium dedicated solely as a benefit would be $1,000, which obviously doesn't include operational costs for the company. Does this 1% sound really small? It's not. If 1% of all homeowners suffered a total loss due to fire, homeowners insurance rates would be dramatically higher to the point at which premiums would be unaffordable and homeowners would start dropping their insurance, especially if those homeowners were the least likely to suffer a loss. Also, the amount of money collected during a year must be used to pay claims that occur during that year, but if the claim payments can run over multiple years (as with the payment of unemployment benefits), you have now lost premium paying customers who are current suffering losses while other customers are starting to have losses, too. You can't expect those who are unemployed to continue paying premiums for unemployment insurance. So, the loss sequence becomes geometric and unsustainable.

If you could predict an economic downturn and rate exactly who would be affected and when, you could make far more money in the stock market than in unemployment insurance. Private-market unemployment insurance cannot work -- if it could work, a private company would already offer it. I don't see any company voicing a desire to offer that type of insurance. If the private market doesn't want it, why do you think they should want it? This is a critical point. If they wanted it and thought it could work, they would be clamoring for it. Private market companies consider unemployment insurance about as attractive as the plague.


4. This is not a one size fits all idea. Those individuals that are on the lower income spectrum will not have to buy as expensive a policy as higher earners. The less they need covered, the less they typically pay for the potential benefit. I do realize that jobs with higher turnover rates would by necessity have unimployment insurance rates be priced higher than those with lower turnover which would result in EE's of these types of jobs having to pay "smokers rates".

And employees in volatile employment segments will be unwilling and unable to buy unemployment insurance. It would be too expensive. Those with the most education and experience are the least likely to incur a claim for unemployment, so they would have the least interest in purchasing it. There is no way to balance this in a private market scenario, which is why it is a public service function.


5. The moral hazard is a concern, but not a grave one as the insurance policy will list covered unemployment causes and those that will not be covered much the way current insurance policies handle covered losses. (Underwriters and actuaries earn their $$!). As it stands now, not everyone that becomes unemployed is eligible for the government benefit. If you quit or get fire for cause, good luck getting that $440/wk. Some people will of course find ways to beat the system, sure, but that's just a reality of virtually every system there is anyway.

You have never worked in insurance or handled insurance claims. Unemployment insurance cannot exist for certain scenarios but not others -- either you are employed or you are not employed. The person who makes a claim for insurance benefits has to prove that their claim is valid. How can an employee confirm that their claim is valid if the employer simply says that the employee verbally resigned? What if the employer claims that the employee stole from the business, fellow employees or customers? Does the unemployed person just go through a lengthy lawsuit over the course of 10-12 months and then go backwards in time and file a claim for unemployment benefits? How did they pay all those legal fees during those 10-12 months? How did they pay the rent/mortgage, put food on the table or keep the lights on? They went back to work somewhere doing something. As I stated previously, the moral and morale hazards make private-market unemployment insurance unworkable, unaffordable and absolutely unpredictable.



John 14:2 :: In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

Offline nogodsforme

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Re: Politics & Idealology
« Reply #26 on: October 19, 2011, 05:05:02 PM »
The conservative solution is to pretend that paying rent and having food instead of health insurance is a rational economic choice. What they don't point out is that nobody should have to choose between having one basic necessity and another. Is my kid sick enough to risk the $2500 deductible? One night in the hospital would cost at least that. And then we can't pay the rent. If we get evicted we will be living in the car and the kid might still be sick and need more money for health care. Let's wait another day and see if the fever goes down....

In most industrialized countries, you don't have to make such a "rational" calculation based only on money. You can make a decision based on the fact that your kid is kinda sick! And you catch the illness earlier when it is less serious and more easily cured. In the US we would rather that kid or his mother infect the whole neighborhood with the flu while they make that rational calculus, and then have the family go bankrupt and lose their house trying to treat the much more serious pneumonia that set in while they were waiting to be sick enough to risk $2500 bucks.

And don't say we should all go clog up the emergency room and wait six hours to be seen. The ER still has to pay for the care somehow, and they bill you. If you don't pay, your credit is ruined and they spread the cost to all of us in padded insurance bills. Besides, you can't expect an ER to see you if you have a lump in your breast or a nagging cough when there are gunshot wounds and heart attacks in line ahead of you. Nor should they.

Medical bills that insurance won't cover is the main cause of bankruptcy in the US. That means that an awful lot of families made the economically irrational decision to try keep somebody alive instead of cutting their losses and letting the kid die cheaply in the back bedroom. Who knows how many of those families could have avoided the drastic step of bankruptcy (devastating to their finances and expensive to all of us when they walk away from their bills) if they had either gotten health care earlier in the course of the illness or had been adequately covered?

I have a friend who is a successful small businesswoman. She is approaching 60 and has no health insurance. She cannot afford to pay the several thousand bucks a month that the private insurers want to charge her-- it would be 50% of her net income. She has maxed out all her cobra funds. She is curently negotiating with individual doctors to pay cash, and hoping that she does not get a cancer diagnosis or have a stroke, which would finish her. She would have to lose her business and go on welfare so she could get Medicaid. She told me she is terrified that the conservatives will get rid of the Obama health care plan, which is her only hope at this point. It makes her livid to hear people talk about Medicare like it is not from the government. What is the libertarian soluution for her? Shoot herself if she gets really sick before Medicare kicks in?

One final point on TOT's social security opt out. If workers opt out and put the FICA money into a private account, and it is managed by a crook who disappears with their savings, who will support them? I know a conservative old guy who lost all his retirement in the Keating Five scandal, where John McCain helped his friends steal all that money. There is a reason why these safety net programs were developed after the great depression. People were terrified of starving in their old age. It appears some people want to bring that fear back. The government may not offer the highest returns like the stock market, but it won't crash and can't run away to another country with your retirement funds.
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

Kids aren't paying attention most of the time in science classes so it seems silly to get worked up over ID being taught in schools.

Offline Chronos

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Re: Politics & Idealology
« Reply #27 on: October 19, 2011, 05:30:57 PM »
Why should the ER be forced to foot the bill for something it has no stake in one way or the other or take on additional risk?

Employees don't cause their own unemployment, at least not on a group basis. However, employers do. Employers forecast the number of employees needed during a 5- or 10-year period, the qualifications needed and the amount of payroll. It is inherently in the interest of employers to keep people employed and to not just suddenly terminate employment. The reason that employers have a vested interest to avoid terminating employees is that if the employer wants to attract the best employees, the employer needs to provide a stable work environment. An employer with an unstable employment history will not attract the best workers, probably not even good workers.


Are you not aware that ER's take a risk everytime they hire ne EEs as typically for the first 5 to 6 months or so of employment the cost of employing the EE exceeds the value the EE brings to the company.

Are you not aware that employees also take on a risk every time the employees go to work for a new employer? Did the employees choose to leave a previous employment in order to improve themselves? Might they have relocated in order to enjoy better employment? Yet, what if the employer suddenly decides that these employees are not valuable? The issue of employee turnover speaks more to the ability of the employer to attract and identify the employees that fit best, rather than just randomly employing X number of people.


That means that companies lose money when EEs leave after short stints of employment seeing as to how the salaries and costs of benefits companies pay costs the companies money. That is typically true whether the company in question is an Exxon Mobil or a small business like Joe Blow & Associates with less than 100 EEs.

Which is true for any investment the company makes. Employees are one type of investment. Employers should invest wisely.

ERs take on enough risk already and the more they take on, the more expensive the products and services they provide will be and they less likely they are to want to hire additional workers. Increased inflation and increased unemployment together is a disaster that does no one favors.

Untrue. One of the highest rates of employee turnover occurs in fast food restaurants, and one of the highest rates of property and liability insurance occur in fast food restaurants. Fast food restaurants are everywhere and I do not hear anyone complaining that it is expensive to buy hot dogs, hamburgers and chicken nuggets.


That is a taught situation to be in no doubt. If it were me, food and shelter rank higher on the priority list, so I'd forgo the insurance until I'd saved up enough money to afford it.

But you expect everyone to purchase unemployment insurance on a long-term basis? If you wouldn't purchase it but waited until you hear that you might lose your job in the next 3 months, then you have engaged in adverse selection by purchasing insurance while anticipating a claim.


... Living in society dos provide us with opportunities to lean on our fellow man from time to time, but doesn't give us the right to his stuff.

Members in a stable society must cooperate in order for stability to continue; otherwise, chaos ensues. Chaos does not foster positive economic results.


Should low income earners have the right to opt out of FICA (social security and medicare taxes) that amounts to 7.65% of every dollar they currently earn? Or should they be able to choose to forgo the allocation to FICA and direct those funds towards their insurance costs? I personally wouldn't be against low income earners being able to opt out and have those dollars used for insurance or 401k or other types of retirement funding.

I believe that you have not engaged in a job that requires you to interact with a large segment of the public. If you had, you would know that a great majority of people are ignorant about a lot of things, even those who are educated and considered medium- or high-wave earners. I have engaged in various jobs in financial services with large segments of the public for over 20 years. They are ignorant and, worse, often incapable of understanding everything that occurs with their financial affairs or appreciating the risks they face. A system such as Social Security assists citizens from incurring great hazards, especially those of their own making. It prevents people from becoming totally impoverished. It helps create a stable society.

Conversely, if a member of society is not entitled to "the stuff" of another member of society, which I believe is your way of saying that there shouldn't be any tax/wealth transfers, then why should employers get to make a profit at all? Does a wealth transfer not occur when somebody turns a profit? Do we allow people to make a profit? If so, how much is enough? Who says? Is price-gouging or price-fixing okay? Caveat emptor?


John 14:2 :: In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

Offline Truth OT

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Re: Politics & Idealology
« Reply #28 on: October 19, 2011, 05:31:31 PM »
One final point on TOT's social security opt out. If workers opt out and put the FICA money into a private account, and it is managed by a crook who disappears with their savings, who will support them? I know a conservative old guy who lost all his retirement in the Keating Five scandal, where John McCain helped his friends steal all that money. There is a reason why these safety net programs were developed after the great depression. People were terrified of starving in their old age. It appears some people want to bring that fear back. The government may not offer the highest returns like the stock market, but it won't crash and can't run away to another country with your retirement funds.

I gotta make this quick, so my bad if I leave something out.
As far as the opt out is concerned, it would only apply to low income earners and the idea that the companies they could redirect that money to could be any crooked investment manager that offers a product is not realistic as the providers must be approved through the ER's HR benefits department. The benefits dept puts out something called a request for proposal (RFP) where they allow reputible firms to bid for the business that the payroll slots would provide. That is exactly what happens now in the 401k world and that is what I'd propose for the opt out slots whether they be for health insurance purposes or retirement savings purposes.

Those that opt out, would not be disqualified from the benefits of SS or Medicare. They would still be covered and would not have to pay into the programs until they are above the low income earner threshold. At that point, they've gotta pay up.
« Last Edit: October 19, 2011, 05:36:43 PM by Truth OT »