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What Does it Mean to Be a Liberal?Follow

#27 Aug 01 2012 at 5:25 PM Rating: Excellent
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I don't necessarily trust the government. I just think it's a necessary compromise.
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#28 Aug 01 2012 at 7:52 PM Rating: Default
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Jophiel wrote:
Demea wrote:
To be a liberal is to trust that government will generally do the right thing.
gbaji wrote:
I just think that if we have a choice between allowing people's free choices to decide how much money people make and having the government do so, I'll take the people any time.

I think there's some truth to Twiz's statement simply in that liberals seem to treat the government as a body of people who act as, well, people whereas conservatives like Gbaji constantly resort to presenting it as some boogeyman construction run by, I don't know, goblin-monsters or something.


That's an interesting exaggeration of what I actually said. I said that given a choice between allowing outcomes to be determined by the actual people, each individually making their own choices about what to buy, where to live, who to reward, who to punish, etc, and having them determined by a group of elected government employees, I'll take the former every time.


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But they constantly try to draw a line between "people" and "government" and do everything they can to dehumanize it.


When the choices that result are different, then there is quite obviously a difference. Another way to look at it is that if "the people" would choose to do something in the absence of government telling/forcing them to, then we wouldn't need government to get involved. It's quite arguable that the only reason to have government at all is to do things that "the people" would not do (collectively or otherwise).


So yeah. I think it's pretty important to be aware of that distinction. The government is *not* the people. It can't be. If it was, it wouldn't be needed.


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Which is why ideas like "The government will be in your healthcare!" or "The government will decide what kind of gas you can buy!" don't scare me nearly as much as they do conservatives. People make those decisions anyway, be they insurance companies or oil companies or whoever and given a choice, I'd rather take the person who doesn't have a profit motive weighing against my best interests.


Again though, if they'd make those same choices anyway, then why do we need government to make them buy health insurance? Why tax them to pay for their social security? Why tax them to pay for medicare? There's a huge gaping flaw in your argument there Joph.


While there may be any of a number of valid arguments for any given act of government, "it's acting on the will of the people" is not one of them.
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#29 Aug 01 2012 at 8:16 PM Rating: Excellent
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gbaji wrote:
That's an interesting exaggeration of what I actually said.

I'm basing it off many, many interactions with you. I've mentioned it before for that matter and notice it all the time when reading conservative media or listening to the radio. The dehumanization of government into a shadowy boogeyman is part & parcel of conservative media. And, whether you feel it's true or justified or not, it's not a view I've seen shared by liberal or Democratic mindsets.
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#30 Aug 01 2012 at 9:04 PM Rating: Good
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gbaji wrote:
It's self correcting.

But it's not, and you even shyly admit it to needing "some minimal regulation of course." Free markets aren't entirely "self correcting," otherwise they wouldn't require any regulation to achieve desirable results. We have laws against lead based paints because we need them. It seems easy to simplify the argument down to a mantra that any company that did so would eventually be shunned by consumers and fail to profit, but yet I doubt you'd be willing to give up such regulation in entirety. Once you say we need some regulation, you're asserting free markets don't always achieve entirely desirable results on their own. From then on it's just a negotiation of where and how we need to intervene, not whether.

In a free market, it's possible to profit at the expense of consumers and it's possible to do so sustainably. Regulations attempt to prevent that. In a free market, sometimes there is a gain to be had but only if everyone goes in on it as there is no benefit to a lone adopter. Regulations attempt to achieve that.

The rhetoric I hear from many conservatives isn't about how there are bad regulations and we should fix them, but how there are too many and we should curtail them.
#31 Aug 01 2012 at 9:50 PM Rating: Decent
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That's an interesting exaggeration of what I actually said. I said that given a choice between allowing outcomes to be determined by the actual people, each individually making their own choices about what to buy, where to live, who to reward, who to punish, etc, and having them determined by a group of elected government employees, I'll take the former every time.


What's really interesting is that if the "actual people" decided those things you'd be at best an indentured servant, and more likely penniless.

Anyway, as a political or economic term of art, "liberal" simply means novelty seeking as opposed to novelty avoiding. It's really not very complicated. Downstream interpretations are subject to well...interpretation. In the US political context, where a tiny group of elite decision makers all agree that people as individuals are easily manipulated idiots, it's the set of those decision makers who think they can best consolidate their own power by attempting to protect the easily manipulated idiots from exploitation. With the other side, obviously, seeking to consolidate their own power by arguing the easily manipulated idiots are wise and responsible.

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#32 Aug 07 2012 at 7:53 PM Rating: Default
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Allegory wrote:
gbaji wrote:
It's self correcting.

But it's not, and you even shyly admit it to needing "some minimal regulation of course." Free markets aren't entirely "self correcting," otherwise they wouldn't require any regulation to achieve desirable results.


The reference to free markets being self correcting was in response to the question of how wealth is generated. It's self correcting in the sense that those who fail to bring a product to market that can be sold for more money than it cost them to create will go out of business. The regulation I mentioned is not intended to ensure that, and it's not required to "achieve desirable results" (as you put it). Regulation is needed to prevent undesirable results unrelated to merely generating profit.

Don't forget that the context of my post was in response to a statement that the government could (or should) somehow decide if someone earned money via "hard work" or not. My point is that it's not hard work, but the fact of whether someone creates something of greater value than the cost to produce that determines if they make money, and that as long as this is the case, then they "earned" that money. Within that context, the free market absolutely *is* self correcting.

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We have laws against lead based paints because we need them. It seems easy to simplify the argument down to a mantra that any company that did so would eventually be shunned by consumers and fail to profit, but yet I doubt you'd be willing to give up such regulation in entirety.


Sure. But that's a far cry from saying that if paint company A makes money while paint company B goes bankrupt, both existing under the exact same paint production regulations, that we can or should step in to decide that paint company A didn't earn their money. They absolutely did. Remember, I was responding to a suggestion that the government can or should determine if someone earned the money they made. I have no issues with regulation that aims in a non-discriminatory way to protect people from harmful side effects of industry. It's when someone argues essentially that the mere act of making money is harmful and should be regulated that I take exception

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Once you say we need some regulation, you're asserting free markets don't always achieve entirely desirable results on their own. From then on it's just a negotiation of where and how we need to intervene, not whether.


Sure. But I made it pretty clear where that dividing line should be in my earlier post:

gbaji wrote:
Is there need for regulation to prevent abuses in a free market? Absolutely. But there's a difference between saying "you can't dump raw sewage into a river" and "you must pay higher taxes so we can provide free health care to people who aren't even working for you".


I suspect that the problem is that you don't make a distinction between regulation to achieve desired results and regulation to prevent undesired results. This is similar to the classic "positive versus negative rights" issue (which is itself a core difference between modern US liberal and conservative ideology). Liberals look at the fact that we regulate businesses in order to prevent negative outcomes and argue that this is no different than regulating business to cause them to create positive ones (or just aren't aware of the difference I suppose). Conservatives argue that these are completely different things. One is reasonable. The other is not.

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In a free market, it's possible to profit at the expense of consumers and it's possible to do so sustainably. Regulations attempt to prevent that. In a free market, sometimes there is a gain to be had but only if everyone goes in on it as there is no benefit to a lone adopter. Regulations attempt to achieve that.


Again though, you're mixing up regulation to prevent harmful outcomes with regulation to mandate helpful ones. You're engaging in a bait and switch, and I'm not sure you're even aware you're doing it. As I stated earlier, the fact that companies can take actions while earning money which causes harm to others, and that we need government regulation to prevent that does *not* mean that we need regulation to force companies to create positive effects. Companies create positive effects by creating newer/better/cheaper products for consumers. That's the good they do. And when they do it in a free market environment, they also generate jobs, economic growth, and a host of other good things that are very relevant to our current economic situation. There is no need to use government regulation to force companies to do things that are helpful. We only need it to prevent them from doing things that are harmful. Once you have that covered, you can let the free market do its thing.


But, as I stated at the beginning, liberals don't trust that process. They honestly seem to believe that the free market can't bring benefits and improvements to their lives absent government forcing them to do so despite massive evidence that this happens all the time. The entire idea of government deciding which businesses are "good" and which are "bad" is absurd. If a business brings a product to market profitably, then by definition what they sell is of greater value to the consumers than it cost to produce. That's all the "good" that is required. Government only need to involve itself in ensuring that there is no direct harm being caused along the way.

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The rhetoric I hear from many conservatives isn't about how there are bad regulations and we should fix them, but how there are too many and we should curtail them.


Because in this context, "bad" means "unnecessary". You don't "fix" that. You eliminate it. When we talk about there being too much regulation, we're specifically talking about regulation that is unnecessary in the first place. The way you phrased that makes it seem like the problem isn't that government is trying to force positive outcomes with regulation in the first place, but merely that it's doing it poorly. The very goal is considered "bad" by conservatives. Again, you don't fix something like the health care mandate. You eliminate it. You don't fix taxes on success. You eliminate them.

Edited, Aug 7th 2012 6:59pm by gbaji
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#33 Aug 07 2012 at 8:21 PM Rating: Good
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gbaji wrote:
Sure. But I made it pretty clear where that dividing line should be in my earlier post:
gbaji wrote:
Is there need for regulation to prevent abuses in a free market? Absolutely. But there's a difference between saying "you can't dump raw sewage into a river" and "you must pay higher taxes so we can provide free health care to people who aren't even working for you".

You didn't make it clear though. You said those two situations were different, but you're somewhat lacking on a reason. The thing is, I don't see a difference. Raw sewage in the river creates health problems for residents around the river; lack of health care access creates health problems for citizens. Failure to prevent sewage from entering the river creates greater clean up costs for the city than the cost of filtration for the company. Emergency room visits create greater treatment costs than the cost of providing degrees of preventative care.

But much more than this specific situation, this ties into something far greater.
gbaji wrote:
I suspect that the problem is that you don't make a distinction between regulation to achieve desired results and regulation to prevent undesired results. This is similar to the classic "positive versus negative rights" issue (which is itself a core difference between modern US liberal and conservative ideology).

And that's it. I'll admit to not having polled friends on the topic, but I suspect the idea of positive and negative rights is not so much a core of conservative ideology as it is your--and probably a smaller sect of conservatives'--own.

You have this entirely strange and arbitrary distinction between positives and negatives. That somehow giving a freedom and not taking it away (and the converse) are two very, very different things and not at all the same. That somehow preventing additional costs and increasing gains (and the converse) are two very, very different things. That somehow adding a positive and subtracting a negative (and the converse) are fundamentally different processes that don't achieve the same result.

It seems as if your whole concept of how polarity works is flawed.

Edited, Aug 7th 2012 9:22pm by Allegory
#34 Aug 07 2012 at 8:51 PM Rating: Decent
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Allegory wrote:
gbaji wrote:
Sure. But I made it pretty clear where that dividing line should be in my earlier post:
gbaji wrote:
Is there need for regulation to prevent abuses in a free market? Absolutely. But there's a difference between saying "you can't dump raw sewage into a river" and "you must pay higher taxes so we can provide free health care to people who aren't even working for you".

You didn't make it clear though. You said those two situations were different, but you're somewhat lacking on a reason.


Huh? I stated the reason several times:

gbaji wrote:
Regulation is needed to prevent undesirable results unrelated to merely generating profit.

...

I have no issues with regulation that aims in a non-discriminatory way to protect people from harmful side effects of industry.

...

I suspect that the problem is that you don't make a distinction between regulation to achieve desired results and regulation to prevent undesired results. This is similar to the classic "positive versus negative rights" issue (which is itself a core difference between modern US liberal and conservative ideology). Liberals look at the fact that we regulate businesses in order to prevent negative outcomes and argue that this is no different than regulating business to cause them to create positive ones (or just aren't aware of the difference I suppose). Conservatives argue that these are completely different things. One is reasonable. The other is not.

...

Again though, you're mixing up regulation to prevent harmful outcomes with regulation to mandate helpful ones

...

As I stated earlier, the fact that companies can take actions while earning money which causes harm to others, and that we need government regulation to prevent that does *not* mean that we need regulation to force companies to create positive effects.

...

There is no need to use government regulation to force companies to do things that are helpful. We only need it to prevent them from doing things that are harmful.


Say you disagree, but don't say that I haven't provided adequate reason for saying that there's a difference between the two. One is designed to prevent a negative effect, while the other is attempting to create a positive. Conservatives view those as very different, while liberals tend to not see the difference.

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The thing is, I don't see a difference.


Yes. Welcome to the exact point I was making. Conservatives see a *huge* difference between those two things, while Liberals don't. That would seem to be relevant in a thread asking "what does it mean to be a liberal". My answer is that liberals don't see a difference between using government to prevent negative outcomes and using it to create positive ones.

Isn't that a fair (and clearly accurate) answer?


Quote:
Raw sewage in the river creates health problems for residents around the river; lack of health care access creates health problems for citizens.


Not having someone else pay for your health insurance doesn't make you sick. They are completely different things. And let's be honest here. We're not talking about "access to health care". We're talking about requiring one person to pay for someone else's health care.

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Failure to prevent sewage from entering the river creates greater clean up costs for the city than the cost of filtration for the company. Emergency room visits create greater treatment costs than the cost of providing degrees of preventative care.


Arguable, but also irrelevant. A company using its profits to provide food to soup kitchens rather than cutting the cost of the goods it sells or raising the salaries of its workers means that it's "costing" those people something. The fact that many companies (and wealthy individuals) do give money to charity, and yet their employees, customers, and stockholders don't revolt doesn't constitute a justification for the government to pass a law requiring them to give money to charity. One is a set of free choices made by individuals. The other is a government mandate. Surely, you can see the difference?


Quote:
But much more than this specific situation, this ties into something far greater.
gbaji wrote:
I suspect that the problem is that you don't make a distinction between regulation to achieve desired results and regulation to prevent undesired results. This is similar to the classic "positive versus negative rights" issue (which is itself a core difference between modern US liberal and conservative ideology).

And that's it. I'll admit to not having polled friends on the topic, but I suspect the idea of positive and negative rights is not so much a core of conservative ideology as it is your--and probably a smaller sect of conservatives'--own.


Huh? It's one of the core differences between modern liberal and conservative ideologies and has for like 80 years. Your lack of historical understanding of this is your own problem, not mine.

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You have this entirely strange and arbitrary distinction between positives and negatives.


Um... it's not strange or arbitrary.

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That somehow giving a freedom and not taking it away (and the converse) are two very, very different things and not at all the same.


They are different things. If for no other reason that you can't "give a freedom". You can only take freedom away. When the government requires someone to pay for your health care, they are not giving you any freedom at all. They are taking freedom away from the person they're making pay for it though.

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That somehow preventing additional costs and increasing gains (and the converse) are two very, very different things. That somehow adding a positive and subtracting a negative (and the converse) are fundamentally different processes that don't achieve the same result.


Um... At the risk of repeating myself. They are different things. Me not stealing $100 from you is not the same as me giving you $100. But in both cases, you are $100 richer if I choose to not steal (versus stealing), or give you money (versus not giving you money). Only a complete idiot would argue, however, that if I fail to give you $100 that this is the same as me stealing $100 from you. Right?



Quote:
It seems as if your whole concept of how polarity works is flawed.


It's not flawed at all. Flawed is not seeing the difference between draining a pool of water and never putting water in it in the first place. Only if one ignores how you get to a result can you conclude that they are the same. But it's the "how you get there" that defines concepts like rights and liberty and property. It's why it's legal for me to earn money, but not steal it. Our entire cultural rule set is based on making a distinction between the "how" of any given outcome. And frankly, as much as I acknowledge that this is something that liberals seem unable (or unwilling) to see, it's always surprised me that this is the case. Something that to me just seems amazingly apparent and necessary for society to work properly at all is just plain invisible to a whole set of people within that same society. To me, that's just shocking. It was shocking the first time I ran into someone arguing what you are arguing, and I suppose it's less shocking but still somewhat distressing when I run into people saying it now.


I honestly can't understand how someone can make the arguments you are making, and yet, many people make it anyway. Again though, I'd argue that this is a huge difference between liberal and conservative thought. At least, it's the one that jumps out at me the most.

Edited, Aug 7th 2012 7:54pm by gbaji
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#35 Aug 07 2012 at 9:52 PM Rating: Good
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gbaji wrote:
Me not stealing $100 from you is not the same as me giving you $100. But in both cases, you are $100 richer if I choose to not steal (versus stealing), or give you money (versus not giving you money).

Stop eating paste before you post.
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#36 Aug 07 2012 at 10:00 PM Rating: Good
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gbaji wrote:
Me not stealing $100 from you is not the same as me giving you $100. But in both cases, you are $100 richer if I choose to not steal (versus stealing), or give you money (versus not giving you money).
Is this conservative math, or just your not being good at it? Because if you don't steal $100 that doesn't mean I'm $100 richer, it just means I'm at the same level of money I had.
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#37 Aug 07 2012 at 10:10 PM Rating: Good
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Hey now, that's the huge difference between conservative and liberal thought!

By not stealing $100 from the middle class, they're actually making everyone $100 richer. If they don't steal a million dollars, all of the middle class will be millionaires!
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#38 Aug 08 2012 at 12:58 PM Rating: Good
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Jophiel wrote:
gbaji wrote:
Me not stealing $100 from you is not the same as me giving you $100. But in both cases, you are $100 richer if I choose to not steal (versus stealing), or give you money (versus not giving you money).

Stop eating paste before you post.


[:snicker:]


This is gonna get even better when he tries to explain his way out of it.
#39 Aug 08 2012 at 6:00 PM Rating: Decent
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lolgaxe wrote:
gbaji wrote:
Me not stealing $100 from you is not the same as me giving you $100. But in both cases, you are $100 richer if I choose to not steal (versus stealing), or give you money (versus not giving you money).
Is this conservative math, or just your not being good at it?


It's liberal math. I'm just pointing it out is all.

Quote:
Because if you don't steal $100 that doesn't mean I'm $100 richer, it just means I'm at the same level of money I had.


Really? So you agree that liberals are flat out wrong when they say that by failing to allow the Bush tax cuts to expire on the wealthiest 2% we are making the rich richer? Let me repeat that slower for you: Liberals argue that by failing to take more money from a group of people in the form of taxes, they are making that group of people richer. This is the same thing that you just said is ridiculous, a position I happen to agree with, but most liberals lap it up without question.


You do get that I'm not saying this is good logic. I'm saying that it's bad logic that the left uses to justify their policies. And it's not limited just to tax policies either.
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#40 Aug 08 2012 at 6:15 PM Rating: Good
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Oh, I wasn't really following the thread. I forgot you've a penchant to distort data and make wildly, horribly inaccurate analogies. My mistake.
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#41 Aug 08 2012 at 6:25 PM Rating: Default
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lolgaxe wrote:
Oh, I wasn't really following the thread. I forgot you've a penchant to distort data and make wildly, horribly inaccurate analogies. My mistake.


Er? I said (quite clearly) "Liberals do X. X is wrong because if X is true, than Y is true". You jumped in and said "But Y is false!!!".

Yup. That's the point. When a liberal argues that failing to raise taxes on a group is the same as giving those people money, they are making the same argument that failing to steal from someone is the same as giving them money. In both cases, you will have more money if your taxes don't go up *and* you'll have more money if I don't steal some from you. But only a complete idiot would argue that this is an act that benefits you. It's an action that doesn't hurt you.


Which brings us right back to my starting point: That liberals don't see a distinction between actions that prevent harm (stopping a thief from stealing), and actions that create help (giving someone money). They only see that in both cases, the person they acted on behalf of is better off than they'd be if they hadn't acted. If you stop a thief from taking $100 from me, I'm $100 better off than I'd have been if you didn't act. Similarly, if you give me $100, I'm $100 better off than I'd have been if you didn't act. But where the liberal goes wrong is when they argue that since we have laws that make stealing illegal, we should also have laws that force people to give money to other people. Worse is when they equate failing to pass a law forcing someone to give money to someone else with stealing from that person.


The left does this all the time though, don't they?

Edited, Aug 8th 2012 5:27pm by gbaji
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#42 Aug 08 2012 at 6:31 PM Rating: Good
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gbaji wrote:
Which brings us right back to my starting point:
For what it's worth, you've proven my original point marvelously.
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#43 Aug 08 2012 at 6:51 PM Rating: Excellent
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gbaji wrote:
So you agree that liberals are flat out wrong when they say that by failing to allow the Bush tax cuts to expire on the wealthiest 2% we are making the rich richer? Let me repeat that slower for you: Liberals argue that by failing to take more money from a group of people in the form of taxes, they are making that group of people richer.

Who?

Is this one of those times where I ask you for a cite, you dance around for a while and then start crying that I'm playing semantics or not looking at the big picture or it was just your opinion or whatever stock excuse you have to avoid giving an actual, verifiable quote?
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#44 Aug 08 2012 at 7:46 PM Rating: Default
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lolgaxe wrote:
gbaji wrote:
Which brings us right back to my starting point:
For what it's worth, you've proven my original point marvelously.



lolgaxe wrote:
If the Asylum is to be believed, it's just a word pleebs toss out as often as possible trying to prove just how "in the know" they are as far as politics are concerned.



Ok! Smiley: grin
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#45 Aug 08 2012 at 8:24 PM Rating: Decent
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Jophiel wrote:
gbaji wrote:
So you agree that liberals are flat out wrong when they say that by failing to allow the Bush tax cuts to expire on the wealthiest 2% we are making the rich richer? Let me repeat that slower for you: Liberals argue that by failing to take more money from a group of people in the form of taxes, they are making that group of people richer.

Who?


Um... Obama just this week (although to be fair, he was talking about an assumption of tax cuts for the rich and tax increases for the middle class. False assumption, but you could give him a pass on the technicality). The point is that you can easily find tons of quote from him suggesting that he views letting people keep their own money as a "cost". Which is kinda backwards, don't you agree?

Quote:
Is this one of those times where I ask you for a cite, you dance around for a while and then start crying that I'm playing semantics or not looking at the big picture or it was just your opinion or whatever stock excuse you have to avoid giving an actual, verifiable quote?


You're kidding, right? I mean, in addition to all the folks I've argued with on this forum who have made that exact argument, how about:

the title says it all

And another one from the WP

help the "rich get richer" appears in the first paragraph

this one's mainly about rich getting richer in general, but lists the Bush tax cuts as a contributor to that

more on the same theme. Lots of tax issues mentioned as well


I can go on (and on, and on, and on...). The concept of tax cuts making people richer (relative to everyone else) is so often repeated that it's kinda shocking that you'd deny that this is said at all. I know you love to play this citation game. And I'm sure your response will be to cherry pick one or two links and show that they were not just talking about tax rates, so the whole thing must be wrong. More of you missing the forest for the trees though.


I guess when you've got nothing, you go big though. So whatever. Lamenting income inequality and the need for tax policy to address it is a central theme of the Left and of the Democratic party Joph. You **** well know this. And the "rich get richer if we don't take raise their taxes to stop it" is repeated all the time. You're really going to go down this line?

Edited, Aug 8th 2012 7:25pm by gbaji
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#46 Aug 08 2012 at 9:08 PM Rating: Good
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gbaji wrote:
You're kidding, right? I mean, in addition to all the folks I've argued with on this forum who have made that exact argument, how about:
the title says it all

That article states that lowering the tax rate on the wealthy has helped them accumulate more wealth.

That article states that lowering the tax rate on the wealthy, they accumulated more wealth.

That article states that both Democratic and GOP tax proposals give cuts to the wealthy. It doesn't say what you claimed.

Look, I don't think you even know what your argument was. Not a single one of those said "By failing to take more money from a group of people in the form of taxes, they are making that group of people richer." They all said that by lowering the tax rate from the previous status quo, the wealthy have accumulated more wealth. This is true.

If I'm walking down the street with $1000 in my pocket and you pass by and decide not to rob me, I'm not $1000 richer; I'm at the same status quo I was at before. On the other hand, if my $1000 mortgage gets lowered to $500, I am $500 richer at the end of each month. There's a difference there that apparently eludes you. I'm not really worried about trying to explain it to you because, well, there's no value in it for me to listen to you spin and paint yourself into a corner.

Thanks for showing us the difference between liberals and conservatives though Smiley: laugh

Edited, Aug 8th 2012 10:08pm by Jophiel
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#47 Aug 08 2012 at 9:11 PM Rating: Excellent
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Oh, and...
I previously wrote:
Is this one of those times where I ask you for a cite, you dance around for a while and then start crying that I'm [...] not looking at the big picture...
To which you immediately wrote:
More of you missing the forest for the trees though.

Hahahaha... thanks for that. I could set a clock by how predictable you are.
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#48 Aug 09 2012 at 7:11 AM Rating: Good
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gbaji wrote:
I can go on (and on, and on, and on...).
You don't say.
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#49 Aug 09 2012 at 2:29 PM Rating: Decent
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Jophiel wrote:
That article states that lowering the tax rate on the wealthy has helped them accumulate more wealth.


Yes. That's the point.

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That article states that lowering the tax rate on the wealthy, they accumulated more wealth.


Yup. Same point.

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Look, I don't think you even know what your argument was. Not a single one of those said "By failing to take more money from a group of people in the form of taxes, they are making that group of people richer." They all said that by lowering the tax rate from the previous status quo, the wealthy have accumulated more wealth. This is true.


That's a **** of a small distinction to make though Joph. When you make the first point in the context of an argument to raise taxes, you *are* saying that because you didn't have that higher tax rate all along, the rich got richer. There is no difference.

You're failing to get that the issue isn't with how they word it, but what they are actually saying. What's wrong is the idea that it's the tax rates that make someone rich or not. The correct way to look at it is that the person's economic activities make them richer. Taxes take money away from that person that he otherwise earned. Period. Lowering tax rates doesn't make the rich richer. It reduces the amount of money you are taking from them. It's the very idea of inversely equating the amount the government takes from someone (a negative effect) with the person earning more money (a positive effect). There is no positive effect. No amount of taxes (whether higher or lower) "makes someone wealthier". Taxes make people poorer. All lowering or raising the tax rate does is affect the degree to which those taxes make people poorer.

That's the part you're not getting. You're so caught up in the words you don't understand the meaning. It's the concept of lower tax rates (reducing a negative effect) generating a positive result (increasing wealth) that I'm pointing out as something the left assumes, but which is absolutely incorrect. It does not matter how you word it.

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If I'm walking down the street with $1000 in my pocket and you pass by and decide not to rob me, I'm not $1000 richer; I'm at the same status quo I was at before.


Correct. But the articles I linked earlier were saying essentially that if every day you passed me by I took $50 from you, then one day I decided to only take $40 from you, that the fact that you had $10 more each day was making you richer. They then go on to effectively argue that a year later, you were $3650 richer because of this. The reality is that you are $14,600 poorer because of this. You are not richer. You aren't as much poorer than you'd have been if I took $50/day instead, but that's a reduction of a negative, not the creation of a positive.

Which is exactly what I've been saying that liberals have a hard time distinguishing between. You're kinda proving my point.

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On the other hand, if my $1000 mortgage gets lowered to $500, I am $500 richer at the end of each month.


You have $500 more dollars in hand in that case. But you'd have $1000 more dollars in hand in your first example. If you're just counting dollars, there isn't any difference (other than the exact numbers of course).

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There's a difference there that apparently eludes you.


The difference is that when you pay a mortgage, you are buying something of value. So that $500 payment results in some similar function of value in property you gain. When someone takes money from you and gives you nothing back, that's theft.

Um... One of those examples is a lot more like taxes. And it's not the mortgage example.


Again though. It's not about the quantity of dollars. That's what you liberals get caught up on. It's the concept that by not taking as much from someone, you are actually helping them is the fallacy that the left believes and the right sees (rightly) as false. It's a dangerous concept because it effectively tosses the idea of limited government out the window. If I can measure any tax relative to what it could have been otherwise, I can make any argument about taxing any group I want. I can always find some past time when tax rates were higher and then claim that by not having rates that high, I've made people richer. If I can measure government spending relative to what it could have been otherwise, I can do the same in the other direction. I can point to how much money we don't spend on some social program and calculate how much this has "cost" some group of people. It's what allows for argument's that by failing to pay for health care, we're hurting people, or that by failing to have higher tax rates, we're causing a deficit, or any of a number of other really absurd arguments that the left makes.

It's absurd and frankly useless because you can always make those arguments at any time and for any quantity.

Edited, Aug 9th 2012 1:34pm by gbaji
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#50 Aug 09 2012 at 2:38 PM Rating: Excellent
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The difference is that when you pay a mortgage, you are buying something of value. So that $500 payment results in some similar function of value in property you gain. When someone takes money from you and gives you nothing back, that's theft.

Um... One of those examples is a lot more like taxes. And it's not the mortgage example.

Granted, I don't require the government to seize my bank accounts before I pay my taxes so your perspective here on taxes = theft is probably a lot different than that of the typical tax-payer. But tax money goes towards things that the elected government has decided is of value to the nation. You may not agree with their assessment, which is why we hold elections and all, but comparing it to theft is idiotic on multiple levels.

I guess there's another difference between liberals and conservatives, huh?
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#51 Aug 09 2012 at 3:43 PM Rating: Decent
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Jophiel wrote:
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The difference is that when you pay a mortgage, you are buying something of value. So that $500 payment results in some similar function of value in property you gain. When someone takes money from you and gives you nothing back, that's theft.

Um... One of those examples is a lot more like taxes. And it's not the mortgage example.

Granted, I don't require the government to seize my bank accounts before I pay my taxes so your perspective here on taxes = theft is probably a lot different than that of the typical tax-payer. But tax money goes towards things that the elected government has decided is of value to the nation. You may not agree with their assessment, which is why we hold elections and all, but comparing it to theft is idiotic on multiple levels.


That's a valid point, but I think there's plenty of argument that taxes are somewhere between a thief just taking money and you paying for your own mortgage though. In any case, amusing as it may be, that's not really the point I'm making.

It's not about what we call it. It's not about whether it's "theft", or "taxes", or "donations". It's about the fact that liberals don't see a distinction between reducing a negative effect and creating a positive one. Or failing to create a positive effect and creating a negative one. Whether one says that the lack of higher taxes helped people get wealthier, or the presence of lower taxes did, doesn't matter. In both cases, there's an equivalence made between taking away less (decreasing a negative) with making those people wealthier (creating a positive effect).

While we can presumably agree in the abstract that if I normally beat you 10 times each morning, but then decide to only beat you 5 times today, that you are better off with the reduced beating, it's still wrong to view that as me actually helping you. I'm hurting you less. That's not the same thing, yet it's a point that liberals seem to fail to acknowledge pretty consistently. And not just not acknowledge, but seem to actually have a blindness about. Even when it's pointed out directly to them, they have a hard time seeing it or recognizing why it's significant.


it's significant because if you don't make a distinction between actions that reduce negative effects and those that create positive ones, you cannot create any sort of logical boundary to government power. It becomes (as I've often heard liberals state it) "whatever the people want it to be/do". Rights become, not something based in a logical rule, but whatever the majority decide they are. Limits on what government can or can't do are replaced with the desires of the voters at the moment. And that's explicitly *not* how our system of government was envisioned. It's a real problem, but it's hard to even talk about it when half of the debaters can't even see it.
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