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Revelation
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America Stopped Caring About The Public Good

Sun Aug 25, 2013 2:13 pm

Interesting article at http://www.businessinsider.com/heres...aring-about-the-public-good-2013-8

I'll just post the last few paragraphs but the whole article is worth a read.

Quote:

America has, though, created a whopping entitlement for the biggest Wall Street banks and their top executives — who, unlike most of the rest of us, are no longer allowed to fail. They can also borrow from the Fed at almost no cost, then lend out the money at 3 percent to 6 percent.

All told, Wall Street’s entitlement is the biggest offered by the federal government, even though it doesn’t show up in the budget. And it’s not even a public good. It’s just private gain.

We’re losing public goods available to all, supported by the tax payments of all and especially the better-off. In its place we have private goods available to the very rich, supported by the rest of us.

It's pretty depressing, because if you accept what he's saying the tipping point was right around the 70s/80s and it's hard to even imagine a way to "rebuild the middle class" as our President keeps saying he wants to do, whilst continuing to have Wall Streeters run the country's finances.
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WarRI1
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RE: America Stopped Caring About The Public Good

Mon Aug 26, 2013 1:38 am

Quoting Revelation (Thread starter):
It's pretty depressing, because if you accept what he's saying the tipping point was right around the 70s/80s and it's hard to even imagine a way to "rebuild the middle class" as our President keeps saying he wants to do, whilst continuing to have Wall Streeters run the country's finances.

It is depressing, and I agree, Wall Street, enabled, fed and enriched by both parties who are subservient because of the corruption of money fed to them by the power structure through the political donation system which buys both parties. The system is so riddled with loopholes it is pathetic. We will need a whole new congress to ever have chance to change this corrupt system.
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Okie
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RE: America Stopped Caring About The Public Good

Mon Aug 26, 2013 3:01 am

Quoting WarRI1 (Reply 1):
It is depressing, and I agree, Wall Street, enabled, fed and enriched by both parties who are subservient because of the corruption of money fed to them by the power structure through the political donation system which buys both parties. The system is so riddled with loopholes it is pathetic

Right now it is fueled by QE 3 which is putting $85B per month (over $1T per year) into Wall Street. I would not expect Obama to drop that before 2016 election. This is one of the two major sources of PAC donations to the Democratic Party.

The other major PAC donation is college and universities, I just can not imagine why Obama is out on a University tour promoting efforts to fund the universities at the students expense.


Okie

[Edited 2013-08-25 20:02:24]
 
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WarRI1
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RE: America Stopped Caring About The Public Good

Mon Aug 26, 2013 6:20 pm

Quoting okie (Reply 2):
Right now it is fueled by QE 3 which is putting $85B per month (over $1T per year) into Wall Street. I would not expect Obama to drop that before 2016 election. This is one of the two major sources of PAC donations to the Democratic Party.

The other major PAC donation is college and universities, I just can not imagine why Obama is out on a University tour promoting efforts to fund the universities at the students expense.

A corrupt system, both sides are guilty as I said. The donations feed the system, the system feeds the politicians, we pay, morally and financially. I do not think that anyone could say otherwise with a straight face.
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bhill
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RE: America Stopped Caring About The Public Good

Mon Aug 26, 2013 7:12 pm

Let's see what BMI's 2 cents are...wanna place a bet?
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RE: America Stopped Caring About The Public Good

Mon Aug 26, 2013 7:32 pm

Quoting okie (Reply 2):
Right now it is fueled by QE 3 which is putting $85B per month (over $1T per year) into Wall Street. I would not expect Obama to drop that before 2016 election.

I am confident you will see it ending this year and gone by next year. Basically the Fed has been properly getting Wall Street ready for it. There will be some waves each time something happens and changes with it, as there are various parties and interests that have placed various bets on what they think will happen and the market then reacts as these play out, but nothing too awful and long lasting will happen now.

The biggest and most important group of people in any society are "the middle class" (however that is defined in each country). They are the biggest job creators and the biggest tax payers (no not all wealthy are instantly wealthy, most of them are middle class at some point), they are also most sensitive to tax impacts and therefore more active in voting and legislation affecting them. If monetary policy can be focused on the middle class tax payer group it will benefit the entire nation but it is often not done that way as lobbying takes a large share and focuses on the highest money levels.

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RE: America Stopped Caring About The Public Good

Mon Aug 26, 2013 7:45 pm

Quoting bhill (Reply 4):
Let's see what BMI's 2 cents are...wanna place a bet?

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RE: America Stopped Caring About The Public Good

Mon Aug 26, 2013 7:49 pm

Quoting WarRI1 (Reply 3):
I do not think that anyone could say otherwise with a straight face.

I'm sure BMI love's the current (race to the bottom) situation, it keeps his ego filled up, as we all know he's paying the tax of 1.6 people  
 
Okie
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RE: America Stopped Caring About The Public Good

Mon Aug 26, 2013 8:22 pm

Quoting tugger (Reply 5):
I am confident you will see it ending this year and gone by next year. Basically the Fed has been properly getting Wall Street ready for it. There will be some waves each time something happens and changes with it, as there are various parties and interests that have placed various bets on what they think will happen and the market then reacts as these play out, but nothing too awful and long lasting will happen now.

You seem to have about the same opinion as myself. In spite of the July durable goods report being dismal the only talk on WS was about QE and the market only ended the day about 60 points down.

Wall St is like heroin addicts waiting on their next months fix (QE). I see a little adjustment this fall 10-15% but as long as the economic indicators keep looking bad the Obama administration will continue to print the heroin.

I would be more worried about fall 2014 early 2015 an economy built on borrowed money will have to face reality like the housing boom did. Could we see the Dow at 9,000 in 2015?

Mean time the market players will continue to play the market, they make the money going up and going down.

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RE: America Stopped Caring About The Public Good

Mon Aug 26, 2013 10:49 pm

Apparently, caring about the public good is "socialist" if it's done by the government, but "charity" if done by a church.

The all-out assault on the middle-class is going to be a very bad long-term arrangement. As it stands, your two options in this country are to be wealthy because you were born that way or to be poor because you were born that way. There are a very few high-profile exceptions, but you're better off buying Powerball tickets than actually trying to get rich by doing the American dream.

But as the middle class disappears and all the wealth begins to concentrate at the top, you see the seeds sown for a revolution. No, I am not calling for one or predicting one in the near future. But as wealth concentrates at the top at the expense of everyone else the have-nots will revolt. It happens every time. Russia (followed by the USSR), France, China, Spain, etc. etc. etc. Every single violent revolution happens when the people have nothing and their leaders have everything. By contrast, nations with a more egalitarian wealth distribution almost never revolt.

The trouble with such revolutions is that they rarely end well. They usually wind up replacing one leading class with another and most peoples' lots in life don't improve. I don't want to see that happen in the USA, but I am concerned that if current trends do not reverse that we will see it happen.
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PPVRA
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RE: America Stopped Caring About The Public Good

Tue Aug 27, 2013 12:04 am

You mean people are choosing to move away from "public" things? What a shocker! That's because they suck.

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 9):
Apparently, caring about the public good is "socialist" if it's done by the government, but "charity" if done by a church.

The church no longer uses violence to take people's money. In a way, it's like they are more progressive than "progressives"!
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RE: America Stopped Caring About The Public Good

Tue Aug 27, 2013 12:12 am

Quoting PPVRA (Reply 10):
The church no longer uses violence to take people's money. In a way, it's like they are more progressive than "progressives"!

The church doesn't use violence to take people's money because people decided that they would rather have a government in which they have a voice, unlike an autocratic Holy Roman Catholic Church. Violence was required to loosen the Church's grasp.

If you are suggesting that all taxes are violent extortion, then I invite you to move to Somalia, where there are no taxes.
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BMI727
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RE: America Stopped Caring About The Public Good

Tue Aug 27, 2013 12:15 am

Quoting Revelation (Thread starter):
It's pretty depressing,

Nothing depressing about it at all. It's a continuation of what made America what it is in the first place. After all, there was a time when the slums of Naples, Dublin, and Shanghai were full of people dreaming of going to America and helping build strong public institutions. Building such a society is precisely the motivation behind every Cuban who ever set sail on a pile of garbage.

You build stuff for yourself. You contribute for yourself. And you work for yourself.

Furthermore, the involvement in banking that is pointed out as "welfare" is actually not hypocrisy on the part of those who prefer to keep government out of business but rather a symptom of having the government involved with business. When you go to a system based on fiat currency controlled by a central bank, that's the way the system has to work. I don't find it a particularly horrible system, but it is what it is. Furthermore, when I think of agencies that should be cut down to size, the Federal Reserve and Bureau of Engraving and Printing aren't high on the list at all.

Quoting bhill (Reply 4):

Let's see what BMI's 2 cents are...wanna place a bet?

I wish all I had to contribute to the "public good" was 2 cents. Unfortunately, welfare is pricier than that.

Quoting KiwiRob (Reply 7):
I'm sure BMI love's the current (race to the bottom) situation,

I'd call it a race to the top myself.

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 9):

Apparently, caring about the public good is "socialist" if it's done by the government, but "charity" if done by a church.

Or you could pick a secular, private charity. You can throw a rock and hit one.

Secondly, have you ever been taxed by a church? I haven't.

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 9):
There are a very few high-profile exceptions, but you're better off buying Powerball tickets than actually trying to get rich by doing the American dream.

Really? A few high profile exceptions? I'm neither, but I am 23 and make more than my parents, without a lottery ticket.

[Edited 2013-08-26 17:23:51]
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RE: America Stopped Caring About The Public Good

Tue Aug 27, 2013 1:19 am

Quoting okie (Reply 8):
Could we see the Dow at 9,000 in 2015?

If we do, I'll be buying some indexes again, nothing like a good panic to create value....

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 12):
Secondly, have you ever been taxed by a church? I haven't.

The Mormon's might say "yes", though I am sure it is an honor and a responsibility to do so (or else they cannot be full members).... and in their day "the church" did tax the people.

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 12):
Really? A few high profile exceptions? I'm neither, but I am 23 and make more than my parents, without a lottery ticket.

I am curious if this is true.... with what you earn, can you do more than your parents (your father really in all probability) could at the same point in their earning/career level?

Tugg
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RE: America Stopped Caring About The Public Good

Tue Aug 27, 2013 1:22 am

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 11):
The church doesn't use violence to take people's money because people decided that they would rather have a government in which they have a voice, unlike an autocratic Holy Roman Catholic Church. Violence was required to loosen the Church's grasp.

Oh yes they sort of have a voice, unless you're a minority. Then you're "fair game" especially if you are not a very popular minority for whatever reason!

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 11):
If you are suggesting that all taxes are violent extortion, then I invite you to move to Somalia, where there are no taxes.

Ah this absurd comparison once again!

Somalia was a communist country for a long time which resulted in a bloody civil war that still has not ended. This civil war is amongst different groups fighting for the monopoly to violently extort money from the Somalis. Mexico would, too, be a more peaceful place if there was only one giant drug gang with a monopoly on trafficking.

Taxes are a violent extortion by definition. As you said it yourself in another thread, they are not voluntary, which only leaves us with one option.
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RE: America Stopped Caring About The Public Good

Tue Aug 27, 2013 1:38 am

Quoting tugger (Reply 13):
The Mormon's might say "yes", though I am sure it is an honor and a responsibility to do so (or else they cannot be full members)

They may call it a tax, but it's voluntary. They will not throw you in jail if you stop paying it.

It's a simple concept, and I know **everybody** gets it. But alas, some people's hunger for power and wish to mold society into what they dream of is greater than their civility.
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RE: America Stopped Caring About The Public Good

Tue Aug 27, 2013 2:22 am

Quoting PPVRA (Reply 14):
Taxes are a violent extortion by definition. As you said it yourself in another thread, they are not voluntary, which only leaves us with one option.

They are consensual. If you want to stop paying taxes in your country, you can renounce your citizenship (except in the USA, which is a different discussion about a different outrage).

By consenting to be a citizen of your country, you consent to pay taxes to that country. Now, if you violate your agreement with that country, then that country has every right to exact the agreed-upon payment from you and that is also part of your agreement to be a citizen of that country.

Now, you may protest that there are barriers to giving up citizenship, but there need not be. You may give up your citizenship, but in doing so you will have no nationality and most countries will not allow entry to people without a nationality. Because all of the Earth's usable land is occupied by nations, they assume that almost all humans on earth are members (citizens) of a given nation. But you can sometimes enter a nation without a passport. Mr. Snowden recently demonstrated that. And I would be very surprised if Mr. Snowden files with the IRS for 2013.  

But the point is that if you want to live on land on Earth, you need to consent to pay the taxes of a nation. It is not extortion. It is necessity. The one exception is Somalia. There is no government there to pay taxes to and thus nobody to administer the land. And Somalia is an excellent example of why anarchy is not such a wonderful idea and why you don't want to stop paying taxes. Of course, they don't issue passports either, I'm guessing.
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RE: America Stopped Caring About The Public Good

Tue Aug 27, 2013 2:27 am

Quoting Revelation (Thread starter):
They can also borrow from the Fed at almost no cost, then lend out the money at 3 percent to 6 percent.

So you're saying that if you print a load of money and give it to bankers it creates a bloated financial sector and a huge wealth/income divide? Well paint me stunned!

The solution is obviously to stop the government printing money. It's bad enough they steal huge proportions of it via taxation, but at least that's honest theft, unlike the theft they perform through counterfeiting it.

Quoting okie (Reply 8):
Wall St is like heroin addicts waiting on their next months fix (QE). I see a little adjustment this fall 10-15% but as long as the economic indicators keep looking bad the Obama administration will continue to print the heroin.

I would be more worried about fall 2014 early 2015 an economy built on borrowed money will have to face reality like the housing boom did. Could we see the Dow at 9,000 in 2015?

Mean time the market players will continue to play the market, they make the money going up and going down.

        
 
BMI727
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RE: America Stopped Caring About The Public Good

Tue Aug 27, 2013 2:55 am

Quoting tugger (Reply 13):
I am curious if this is true.... with what you earn, can you do more than your parents (your father really in all probability) could at the same point in their earning/career level?

Just to be clear, not more than my parents when they were 23 but more than my parents now, although the difference is unfortunately much smaller after taxes. My parents have never really been that interested in making money, but that's not the point. The point is that the idea that middle class life requires starting with a trust fund is horseshit. It's just a narrative.

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 16):
But the point is that if you want to live on land on Earth, you need to consent to pay the taxes of a nation. It is not extortion. It is necessity.

If I need to do it in order to live, then it is, by definition, coercive. It's like saying that giving your wallet to a mugger is totally optional: the options are give up the money or stop living.

And it would be nice if you could point out in this thread or any other where someone advocated anarchy.
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PPVRA
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RE: America Stopped Caring About The Public Good

Tue Aug 27, 2013 3:34 am

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 16):
They are consensual. If you want to stop paying taxes in your country, you can renounce your citizenship (except in the USA, which is a different discussion about a different outrage).

By consenting to be a citizen of your country, you consent to pay taxes to that country. Now, if you violate your agreement with that country, then that country has every right to exact the agreed-upon payment from you and that is also part of your agreement to be a citizen of that country.

Consensual is the Mormon church tax example given above.

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 16):
By consenting to be a citizen of your country, you consent to pay taxes to that country. Now, if you violate your agreement with that country, then that country has every right to exact the agreed-upon payment from you and that is also part of your agreement to be a citizen of that country.

Citizenship says nothing about one's affiliations nor is it any type of contract. It's a mere cultural/geographical identification. Justice is not a membership club.

The last time someone was born into a contract in the USA was back in 1865. Let's leave that concept in the history books.
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Aaron747
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RE: America Stopped Caring About The Public Good

Tue Aug 27, 2013 4:10 am

Quoting PPVRA (Reply 19):
Citizenship says nothing about one's affiliations nor is it any type of contract. It's a mere cultural/geographical identification.

If that were all it was, there would be no need for passports or elaborate nationalization processes to obtain citizenship.

It is a privilege in the most literal sense of the word. It can be both obtained and revoked, according to an individual's actions, as prescribed by law.

What about that is so difficult to understand?

[Edited 2013-08-26 21:10:44]
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seb146
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RE: America Stopped Caring About The Public Good

Tue Aug 27, 2013 4:37 am

Quoting RomeoBravo (Reply 17):
The solution is obviously to stop the government printing money.

Or prove that the "too big to fail" banks are not too big to fail. It worked out just fine in Iceland. In fact, those who broke laws are now behind bars! What happened in the United States? Billions of dollars in bonuses. hmmmmm....
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RE: America Stopped Caring About The Public Good

Tue Aug 27, 2013 4:40 am

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 18):
If I need to do it in order to live, then it is, by definition, coercive.

So is Safeway charging me for buying food coercive? The electric company? That means that all monetary exchanges necessary for life are coercive.

You realize what you are saying makes no sense, right?
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BMI727
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RE: America Stopped Caring About The Public Good

Tue Aug 27, 2013 4:44 am

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 22):
So is Safeway charging me for buying food coercive?

No, you could go anywhere else to get food or be one of those odd off the grid people. You even admit that being a part of a country is basically mandatory to live on the planet.

Furthermore, the need for food is just that: a need that is dictated by biology. Being part of a country, however, is not. That is a human created concept.
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RE: America Stopped Caring About The Public Good

Tue Aug 27, 2013 5:11 am

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 23):
Furthermore, the need for food is just that: a need that is dictated by biology. Being part of a country, however, is not. That is a human created concept.

Actually you defeat your own point. "Country" is just a larger version of "community" and that is also very much dictated by biology. Humans are a "group animal". On our own we are relatively weak but organized, and in a community we are "so far" almost unstoppable.

Tugg
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BMI727
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RE: America Stopped Caring About The Public Good

Tue Aug 27, 2013 5:14 am

Quoting tugger (Reply 24):
"Country" is just a larger version of "community" and that is also very much dictated by biology. Humans are a "group animal". On our own we are relatively weak but organized, and in a community we are "so far" almost unstoppable.

Being part of a group and being part of a large political entity like a country are two different things. Furthermore, people joined those groups, large or small, because they benefited from them. So why shouldn't people withdraw support from common institutions that do not help them? It makes perfect sense that people would yank the political and financial rug out from under that which they do not need.
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RE: America Stopped Caring About The Public Good

Tue Aug 27, 2013 5:31 am

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 25):
Being part of a group and being part of a large political entity like a country are two different things. Furthermore, people joined those groups, large or small, because they benefited from them. So why shouldn't people withdraw support from common institutions that do not help them? It makes perfect sense that people would yank the political and financial rug out from under that which they do not need.

Still doesn't work. People in a small community also do things they do not wish to do and cannot really "withdraw" from contributing (even if it is not what that person particularly wishes to be or be doing in that community), because if they don't the community either doesn't need them or they are not contributing such that they earn the benefit of the community (and you should well know that politics exist in a small community too).

From a small community to a large country are not two different things, they are two similar things just different scale.

Tugg
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Aaron747
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RE: America Stopped Caring About The Public Good

Tue Aug 27, 2013 5:34 am

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 25):
Being part of a group and being part of a large political entity like a country are two different things. Furthermore, people joined those groups, large or small, because they benefited from them. So why shouldn't people withdraw support from common institutions that do not help them? It makes perfect sense that people would yank the political and financial rug out from under that which they do not need.

Look, I see what you're saying and your points are valid. But sooner or later philosophy 101 gives way to the reality of the life we all lead. The alternative is, like you say, to go off the grid. Unless one is prepared to do that, these arguments are moot.
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BMI727
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RE: America Stopped Caring About The Public Good

Tue Aug 27, 2013 5:37 am

Quoting tugger (Reply 26):
People in a small community also do things they do not wish to do and cannot really "withdraw" from contributing (even if it is not what that person particularly wishes to be or be doing in that community), because if they don't the community either doesn't need them or they are not contributing such that they earn the benefit of the community (and you should well know that politics exist in a small community too).

But they wouldn't contribute when they do not need certain things the community offers and demands they contribute towards. If the "community" needs middle and upper to pay into social programs, but those people derive no benefit from those programs, why wouldn't they withdraw support?

Quoting tugger (Reply 26):
From a small community to a large country are not two different things, they are two similar things just different scale.

The scale is the difference. It's one thing to help someone you know and, presumably, like. It's another to pay into giant, nebulous programs that don't really benefit you.
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RE: America Stopped Caring About The Public Good

Tue Aug 27, 2013 5:37 am

Quoting Aaron747 (Reply 27):
Look, I see what you're saying and your points are valid. But sooner or later philosophy 101 gives way to the reality of the life we all lead. The alternative is, like you say, to go off the grid. Unless one is prepared to do that, these arguments are moot.

But how productive is one person (or perhaps a couple)? And for BMI727, how wealthy could they possibly be (equating wealth to productivity and value). Once the off the grid person lives their life, it is done and no more is gained. So you can live but you can't prosper to the level that you can in a group.

Tugg
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seb146
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RE: America Stopped Caring About The Public Good

Tue Aug 27, 2013 6:14 am

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 23):
be one of those odd off the grid people

Except when power companies charge people for being "off the grid". Yes, PG&E does that.

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 23):
the need for food is just that: a need that is dictated by biology. Being part of a country, however, is not. That is a human created concept.

How would Safeway survive? People need to be charged for their own biological needs, according to you.
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BMI727
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RE: America Stopped Caring About The Public Good

Tue Aug 27, 2013 6:24 am

Quoting Aaron747 (Reply 27):
The alternative is, like you say, to go off the grid. Unless one is prepared to do that, these arguments are moot.

Except that a lot of people who've already made money can do just that. Frankly, if I won the lottery tomorrow (in a sufficient amount) I'm not sure why I wouldn't just send all I could to a tax haven and keep it where governments can't get to it. I could still invest and maintain a steady income, just without as many hands in the pot.

In another thread someone said that people who send their kids to private schools should pay to support public schools because it helps them. I didn't think it warranted a reply at the time, but that line of thinking is wrong. It doesn't help them. It doesn't help me since I'm not in school and I don't have kids. I support funding the schools because I'm a nice enough guy that I don't want to leave kids high and dry for life, but I get nothing from that. Schools don't exist for taxpayers (other than, tangentially, parents), schools exist for the students.

Quoting tugger (Reply 29):
Once the off the grid person lives their life, it is done and no more is gained. So you can live but you can't prosper to the level that you can in a group.

Again, it is still possible to gain a return on money one already has. And there are places that make a business of being the off the grid financial enclaves.

Quoting seb146 (Reply 30):
How would Safeway survive?

Safeway survives thanks to providing a service to its customers. If they were to abuse that, customers would go elsewhere quickly.
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seb146
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RE: America Stopped Caring About The Public Good

Tue Aug 27, 2013 6:57 am

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 31):
Safeway survives thanks to providing a service to its customers. If they were to abuse that, customers would go elsewhere quickly.

Shop around. That is what working people who get food stamps do!
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smittyone
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RE: America Stopped Caring About The Public Good

Tue Aug 27, 2013 12:16 pm

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 31):
Schools don't exist for taxpayers (other than, tangentially, parents), schools exist for the students.

Interesting point.

If I were in the position of needing a pool of qualified job applicants to select from for critical vacancies in order to make my business succeed, I think I might see the public school system as providing me a valuable service whether I had kids in it or not.

Same if that school system prepares young people to serve effectively in the military in order to protect me.
 
romeobravo
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RE: America Stopped Caring About The Public Good

Tue Aug 27, 2013 12:22 pm

Quoting SmittyOne (Reply 33):
If I were in the position of needing a pool of qualified job applicants to select from for critical vacancies in order to make my business succeed, I think I might see the public school system as providing me a valuable service whether I had kids in it or not.

Yet another member is falling into the trap of thinking Schools wouldn't exist and we'd all be dumb-dumbs if they weren't tax funded.
 
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RE: America Stopped Caring About The Public Good

Tue Aug 27, 2013 1:20 pm

Quoting PPVRA (Reply 10):
You mean people are choosing to move away from "public" things? What a shocker! That's because they suck.

Actually they don't. I'm the product of a public education from grade school through university, and they were all good learning institutions. Some of the best learning institutions in the US at all levels are public. The real issue is how well these institutions get funded. While there are wasteful practices in many, the problem is that instead of fixing the problems people are in many cases working against the idea of institutions for the public good.

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 12):
Nothing depressing about it at all. It's a continuation of what made America what it is in the first place. After all, there was a time when the slums of Naples, Dublin, and Shanghai were full of people dreaming of going to America and helping build strong public institutions. Building such a society is precisely the motivation behind every Cuban who ever set sail on a pile of garbage.

You build stuff for yourself. You contribute for yourself. And you work for yourself.

Not sure your statements are consistent - the first speaks to the public good, the second speaks to individualism.

I'm the child of immigrants and I can tell you it wasn't individual greed that motivated my parents to come here.

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 18):
The point is that the idea that middle class life requires starting with a trust fund is horseshit.

The trend lines aren't good. The middle class IS disappearing. The fact that a relative few can find a way to enter it or stay in it doesn't change that. The idea that it's the fault of the lower class is absurd, both currently and historically. The rich are getting richer, the poor are getting poorer, and the middle class is disappearing.
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RE: America Stopped Caring About The Public Good

Tue Aug 27, 2013 1:39 pm

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 31):
Again, it is still possible to gain a return on money one already has. And there are places that make a business of being the off the grid financial enclaves.

Yet again, that return on our money is due to a group or people pooling money to do something more with it. One person alone is... well, alone. Even those "off the grid enclaves" are on the grid. They either get infusions from outside of their enclave or invite new people to the enclave to keep it vital. You do not get a return from stuffing your wealth into a mattress, you can save yes, but a "return" where your wealth is doing work for you only happens in a group (and the larger the group the more opportunity your wealth has).

Tugg
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RE: America Stopped Caring About The Public Good

Tue Aug 27, 2013 1:58 pm

Quoting RomeoBravo (Reply 34):
Yet another member is falling into the trap of thinking Schools wouldn't exist and we'd all be dumb-dumbs if they weren't tax funded.

Not true.

All that I said, in response to BMI727's specific point above regarding whom a public school actually serves, was that if the publically funded schools provided me quality job applicants, as a business owner I would see that as a service to me in exchange for my property tax dollars regardless of whether or not I or my kids attended the schools being funded by those taxes. Same for qualified applicants for military service or other vital public functions.

I didn't say it was the only way, the preferred way, or even a justifiable way to do it. Whether those job applicants or military inductees could or should be provided more efficiently/effectively by some other vehicle than tax-funded public schools is a separate issue and one that I don't presume to be qualified to evaluate. But I think it is inaccurate to say that those who don't personally have kids in public schools don't get ANYTHING in return for their property taxes. There are second- and third-order benefits of tax-funded public education that need to be weighed carefully against the cost.
 
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RE: America Stopped Caring About The Public Good

Tue Aug 27, 2013 1:59 pm

Quoting RomeoBravo (Reply 34):
Yet another member is falling into the trap of thinking Schools wouldn't exist and we'd all be dumb-dumbs if they weren't tax funded.

Yup they'd just be for the elite few who could afford private education.
 
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RE: America Stopped Caring About The Public Good

Tue Aug 27, 2013 3:31 pm

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 18):
The point is that the idea that middle class life requires starting with a trust fund is horseshit. It's just a narrative.

So everyone should start at the very and absolute bottom and claw their way to the top.
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RE: America Stopped Caring About The Public Good

Tue Aug 27, 2013 3:58 pm

Quoting RomeoBravo (Reply 34):
Yet another member is falling into the trap of thinking Schools wouldn't exist and we'd all be dumb-dumbs if they weren't tax funded.

Probably they would exist for everyone, ones affordable enough for general population would be just way worse than those for the rich elite who would then ultimately get better educated and end up in better paying jobs. That's just obvious.

However I believe that money should be no factor in education, your own motivation and abilities are the only things that should matter. Your ideal system would just fill high paying positions with idiots who had rich parents while many really intelligent and talented people would never reach their full potential because their parents are poor.

[Edited 2013-08-27 08:59:19]
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RE: America Stopped Caring About The Public Good

Tue Aug 27, 2013 4:05 pm

Quoting RomeoBravo (Reply 34):
Yet another member is falling into the trap of thinking Schools wouldn't exist and we'd all be dumb-dumbs if they weren't tax funded.

Correct. The argument that they would not exist is a poor one. But that is the only one they have in order to protect the teachers unions and politicians that cover for them.

Quoting pvjin (Reply 40):
Probably they would exist for everyone, ones affordable enough for general population would be just way worse than those for the rich elite who would then ultimately get better educated and end up in better paying jobs. That's just obvious.

That already happens with the public schools with the richer areas having better schools that the poor ones.
 
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RE: America Stopped Caring About The Public Good

Tue Aug 27, 2013 4:08 pm

I heartily agree with the statement that the U.S. (and many other countries) have lost the public good as their main goal.

Quoting seb146 (Reply 39):
So everyone should start at the very and absolute bottom and claw their way to the top.

Right. Let's see how many of our boys and girls end up at Harvard or Yale or in a cozy home in the Hamptons if we draw an equal starting line for everybody that is born.

The more successful people attribute most of their success to their own willpower or abilities, thus losing their sense of solidarity. Why should I pay may share for somebody else?

The less successful people wrongly attribute most of their failures to bad luck, thus losing their sense of self-reliance and honest work. Why isn't someboy else supporting me?


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RE: America Stopped Caring About The Public Good

Tue Aug 27, 2013 4:15 pm

Quoting windy95 (Reply 41):
That already happens with the public schools with the richer areas having better schools that the poor ones.

Indeed, that's why my country has all the major schools fully state funded without tuition fees, I love the equality and true freedom it gives us. Children of multi-millionaires and working class parents study in same places all the way up to university levels, I really like it.
"Optimism is the madness of insisting that all is well when we are miserable." - Voltaire
 
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RE: America Stopped Caring About The Public Good

Tue Aug 27, 2013 4:25 pm

Quoting windy95 (Reply 41):
But that is the only one they have in order to protect the teachers unions and politicians that cover for them.

IMHO it's absurd to think the main benefit of publicly funded education is to provide protection for a teacher's union. Note that many non-public educational institutions in the US at least have unionized teachers.
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RE: America Stopped Caring About The Public Good

Tue Aug 27, 2013 4:54 pm

Quoting SmittyOne (Reply 37):
I didn't say it was the only way, the preferred way, or even a justifiable way to do it. Whether those job applicants or military inductees could or should be provided more efficiently/effectively by some other vehicle than tax-funded public schools is a separate issue and one that I don't presume to be qualified to evaluate.

Fair enough, it's true that business benefit from the education regardless of what it costs to them. It's not clear that it's a net benefit though. I'd say it is unlikely to be.

Quoting KiwiRob (Reply 38):
Yup they'd just be for the elite few who could afford private education.

Nonsense, public spending on education is very low. Well within the reach of most family. The ones it isn't in reach for might think twice about having those kids if they had to pay for their kids. Of course there would still be charitable schools, even the Kowloon walled city had schools.

Quoting pvjin (Reply 40):
Your ideal system would just fill high paying positions with idiots who had rich parents while many really intelligent and talented people would never reach their full potential because their parents are poor.

First of all i continually stated on this forum i am ok with tax spending on education provided it is from neutral taxes. Secondly, it is not the case that talented people would never reach their potential because such people would be sought after and trained at an advanced level by employers, in exchange for x years service.

Quoting pvjin (Reply 43):
and true freedom it gives us

It restricts your freedom. Taxation is a restriction of freedom.

As an aside, one thing i've picked up over the years, is that rich people often bring up their kids to value money, this accounts for a lot of their future financial success.
 
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RE: America Stopped Caring About The Public Good

Tue Aug 27, 2013 5:07 pm

Quoting RomeoBravo (Reply 45):
Nonsense, public spending on education is very low. Well within the reach of most family.

Have you even been to a private school, I did, the facilities are far and away superior to the majority of public schools, they also tend to get the best teachers, they can do that because they have the money to do it, now if you cut of public funding to all public schools and made the fee paying I bet you'd end up having to close most as people simply wouldn't be able to afford to send kids to school, the social cost would be enormous, you'd go from free to othousands of dollars, pounds, NOK per term, it wouldn't work. Having kids is expensive enough as it is now without having to pay full school fees on top.
 
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RE: America Stopped Caring About The Public Good

Tue Aug 27, 2013 5:11 pm

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 23):
No, you could go anywhere else to get food or be one of those odd off the grid people. You even admit that being a part of a country is basically mandatory to live on the planet.

You can go somewhere else to get food. You can go to a different country to live. Both are necessary for life and both cost money.

I also stated that there is one place where you can go without being in a country and that is Somalia. In freely choosing to renounce all citizenship and live in Somalia, you are accepting certain consequences, just as you would be by choosing to not shop but instead subsistence farm.

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 18):
And it would be nice if you could point out in this thread or any other where someone advocated anarchy.

The logical conclusion from "all taxes are coercive" is that all taxes are bad. Because taxes are absolutely necessary for any country to exist, then all countries are bad. If A implies B and B implies C, then A implies C.

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 31):
Safeway survives thanks to providing a service to its customers. If they were to abuse that, customers would go elsewhere quickly.

Free countries survive thanks to providing a service to their citizens. If they abuse that (so sayeth the Declaration of Independence), then the people may either choose to leave or revolt.

Again, if you do not want to live in the USA, you are free to move elsewhere and renounce your citizenship. And you and you alone are responsible for the consequences of that. That does not make all taxes mean theft.

Quoting RomeoBravo (Reply 34):
Yet another member is falling into the trap of thinking Schools wouldn't exist and we'd all be dumb-dumbs if they weren't tax funded.

So if someone is poor and has kids, then those kids can't get an education because they can't afford a school and there are no public schools. Thus, being born poor becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy. We might as well just call them serfs and be done with it.

Everything you guys are arguing for basically comes down to "More for me and less for everyone else." Me me me me me. And that is what this thread is about. Interest in the public good is gone on the Right. It's all about me me me.
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RE: America Stopped Caring About The Public Good

Tue Aug 27, 2013 5:22 pm

Quoting RomeoBravo (Reply 45):
It restricts your freedom. Taxation is a restriction of freedom.

Not being able to study as well as your motivation and abilities would permit just because you don't have enough money is a more severe restriction of freedom and in the end is likely to also cost you more than the extra taxes you have to pay to fund the education system.

[Edited 2013-08-27 10:23:29]
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smittyone
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RE: America Stopped Caring About The Public Good

Tue Aug 27, 2013 5:22 pm

Getting back to the topic of the thread...

Apparently some people believe themselves to be part of a 'collective' entity - whether a country, a society, a community, or the human race itself...and to them the well being of that entity has genuine value above and beyond the material benefit that accrues to them personally.

For others, every interaction between individuals is a transaction whose value is measured primarily by the specific, material benefit to themselves or perhaps their immediate family. The more the better.

I don't know if it is possible to decisively make the case that one or the other approach is 'right'...you have to do what you think will make you happy, or what suits your nature. In my unscientific observation of going on 42 years I haven't seen much of a correlation between individual success (defined as personal material benefit) and happiness, at least not past having the basic needs covered. Choose wisely.

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