posted by kilroy @ 9:59 AM
Great blog. I run a home furnishings site. It's a guide to quality home furnishings, apparel and gift sites around the web. Stop by sometime!
Are we allowed to solicit on this blog, if so, who wants to buy the Christmas present I got from a friend. Bill Clinton's Mein Kamp. I lasted about two (2) pages.I love it when liberals blame the rich. Mr. Meyerson should try being rich for one day, if he doesn't like it then he can always go back. It is not the fault of the wealthy that millions died! It is the fault of the dead because they died. They were not prepared. They were not educated. They did not act logically. They did not heed to the warning signs. Liberals, understand that this is America and we have every opportunity to be a wealthy or as poor as we, ourselves, want to be. Example: A teacher (of the non-revenue generating professions this one is probably the best). My 11th grade history teacher, Mr. Fleener, owned several small businesses on the side that were very profitable (I know because he offered me a job that paid very well). He lived in a very nice, comfortable house, by comfortable I don't mean a trailer with a snoopy rug at the front door and a plate of hot cookies with a warm glass of water. My point? We all have equal opportunity to be as wealthy as we so desire. Liberals, stop blaming the rich for your problems.
Mr. Meyerson got one thing right. The government failed with the levee system in New Orleans. Just one prime example of why we don't need the extended interaction of big government. If you need levees in order for a city to exist, perhaps a city was placed in the most unfortunate territory. The Army Corps of Engineers, contracted by the government, built the levees on the least opportunistic cost. If the government hadn't interacted at all, and the citizens were given the responsibility to provide their own levees, perhaps the transaction costs would have been so significant that the levees would have never been built and the city of New Orleans would have been virually non-existant. This would have been fine because thousands of lives and millions of dollars in government spending, that comes out of our own pockets, would have been saved.
Next time you think you want Government to have more control over our economy/lives, just think of how efficient the DMV is. True, gov't should provide public goods (such as levees), but only because markets will not.
If the market will not produce the goods and services, they that means only one thing. We do not want/need those goods and services (at least not here and now).
Spencer rightly rails against his straw-man liberal who blames the rich for all his problems. Such liberals do exist, they’re either communists or ignorant. Most liberals recognize the importance of individual responsibility, ambition, inventiveness, and freedom to pursue wealth. In fact, many of the wealthiest Americans are liberal. The difference between these liberals and Spencer is compassion. Unlike Spencer, they do not feel that the millions of Americans who live in poverty do so simply because they lack the ambition to attain wealth. They see a widow working two jobs to support her family who doesn’t have the luxury of taking the time off to pursue training in another, better-paying career field - a woman who lives in daily fear lest some health calamity should befall her family since her employer doesn’t offer health insurance, and she can’t afford it herself. This same woman depends on public transportation to go to work (and, incidentally, to get out of New Orleans before a hurricane hits). She depends on public education to hopefully prepare her children for a better life. She depends on the government to protect her from terrorists and floods. There are millions of such Americans, who, through no fault of their own, find themselves in similar circumstances faced by this hypothetical widow. No, Spencer, we all don’t have equal opportunity to become wealthy. Many people face disadvantages and obstacles such as: health problems; mental handicaps; familial or cultural expectations, norms, and restraints; lack of access to quality education; language barriers; personal disasters (house fires, etc.); and the list goes on and on. These are not excuses, but rather realities faced by many Americans who find themselves caught up in the cycle of living from meager paycheck to paycheck, praying that nothing else goes wrong. Perhaps Spencer believes that all poor are capable of breaking out of that cycle through nothing but a little ambition and hard work. Liberals applaud those who are able to do so, but feel a moral obligation to help those who cannot. While recognizing the great contributions that can come from private charities and religious organizations, they feel that there are some public goods that are best provided by the government. They feel that the government is the best tool to provide this woman with health coverage (as the private sector has obviously failed her), that government can best provide and improve public transportation for her to get to work, that government can best provide a quality education for her inner-city children, that government can best protect her (both before and after the fact) from terrorism and natural disaster. They (these liberals) don’t denigrate or deny the contributions from the private sector, but recognize that government, by its very nature possesses some unique powers and capabilities that the private sector lacks. They are optimists; they believe that we are capable of identifying desirable social goods, and then of designing programs (using government’s unique powers” to achieve these social goods. These liberals don’t mind giving back (in the form of higher progressive taxes) to the system from which they benefited so profitably, in order to help those less fortunate. They don’t mind the fact that these programs might be a little too bureaucratic, or a little less efficient than we desire. They feel that this is a small price to pay to try to truly give all an equal opportunity to pursue happiness. No one is blaming the rich, Spencer. These liberals are merely saying that, along with private efforts, government can be a tool for social progress (a claim justified by even a cursory reading of history).
Kilroy: You said that government/private efforts can be a tool for social progress, what did you mean? Do you consider broad economic equality to be social progress? Should everyone have the same amount of wealth?aside: If you pay people to be poor, you're going to have a lot of poor people.
No, I don't believe broad economic equality is social progress. I think that it is neither possible nor desirable. I simply feel that we have a moral obligation to try to eliminate poverty - to satisfy the basic needs of those millions of Americans living in poverty and lift them above the minimum standard of living so that they feel empowered and hopeful about their future. You are probably right that paying people to be poor will create a lot of poor (however, I do feel that the majority of people would prefer to work and feel useful rather than accept handouts). So, we need a system that helps people out of poverty, yet doesn't create disincentives to work and provide for oneself. This is why I feel that government should (1) spend more money on improving public education in those notoriously underfunded inner-city and rural schools, (2) build, improve, and subsidize public transportation, (3) ensure a affordable health care for the poor, (4) eliminate regressive taxes like sales tax, (5) fund more locally-based programs that are designed to reach out and work with those segments of the population who have traditionally underperformed in school, or those who disproportionately fill our jails, etc., and (6) yes, provide welfare for those unable to work. I think that the above-mentioned activities of government help empower the poor without creating incentives to remain poor.Women earning the same pay for doing the same job as their male counterparts, all races performing equally well in school and producing equal proportions of college graduates, no one living under poverty or not being able to afford health care are a few of the benchmarks that I consider to be social progress.
At this point, all we can do is pray. "Dear God, please help us all have lots of money so that there won't be any poor people and so we won't feel quilty as soon as we see one becasue we know we won't give them any money. But, God, thank you for government that forces us to give our money to the poor, becasue you know that we wouldn't if it was our choice. Bless spencer that people will be nice to him. Please bless kilroy too, what a nice person. Give more money to kilroy. Kilroy knows what to do with it. And also bless home furnishing sites on the web. I think it is sad they don't have an opinion about government. Amen"
Kilroy,There is no such thing as a free lunch. If you want to throw a ton of money at poor people, it must come from somewhere. And where does the government get it? From the productive members of society. If people are punished by not being poor, and rewarded for being poor, you can see how the incentives would be skewed. Your declaration that the poor, inner-city slum-dwellers need a handout is only going to perpetuate the problem. As soon as people stop claiming themselves to be a "victim" of circumstance they will be free to move forward. If the government declares these people unable to help themselves, how will that help them shed their victim mentalities? People that truly cannot work for themselves should get help. Ideally, that help would come from their families; but where their families fail, I would be glad to have my tax dollars go to help them. I am not, however, glad when I see welfare queens mooching off of the hard work of others.
Kilroy, Thanks for that great example of the poor, hungry, broken hearted, hard working, sore footed, church going, and loving mother. That sure touched my heart. Try this one. A Boy grows up in a dumpy part of town. Gets beat up in school. His mom is a drunk. There is not dad. Mom works a lot. The boy has not supervision. Home was a crappy trailer in a trailer park. He barely graduates high school. Instead of continuing the welfare cycle, he decides to go to college and pay for it him self. He learns to work hard and hates meritocracy. He will be graduating in 2 semesters. Unlike your story, this one is true. His mom is still a drunk and works alot at Denny's.He as great grades and will leave this terrible cycle. My point? We all have the same opportunity in America to do and be what ever we want. For some it may come easier and less costly. For others, hard lessons will need to be learned. GOD BLESS AMERICA!!"This is why I feel that government should (1) spend more money on improving public education in those notoriously under funded inner-city and rural schools, (2) build, improve, and subsidize public transportation, So far so good. The word more is so ambiguous though.(3) ensure an affordable health care for the poor, Would you believe that I don't have Health Care? Do you want to know why? I know I don't need it and I value my own money different than Uncle Sam.(4) Eliminate regressive taxes like sales tax, Spending should be tax, not savings! Uncle Sam is producing incentives on not working and earning money with the current tax system. (5) fund more locally-based programs that are designed to reach out and work with those segments of the population who have traditionally underperformed in school, or those who disproportionately fill our jails, etc., and Successful business owners would be great at this. But then we run into the hard facts of opportunity costs.(6) yes, provide welfare for those unable to work. Define unable please. To most it means unwilling. unmotivated. unskilled. unprepared. I think that the above-mentioned activities of government help empower the poor without creating incentives to remain poor.I think by doing this the poor of America are hurt more than helped.And I love Puppies,Thanks for you prayers. They haven't really kicked in yet. People are really mean to me.I wonder if Prof. Simmons is recieving any of the royalties from Home Furnishings?
Spencer:I sincerely admire that boy. If everyone was as driven, talented, and successful as he we wouldn't even be having this conversation. It is laudable that he overcame what he did. I just think that, if possible, we should try to make it easier for others to accomplish what he has. I guess we'll have to agree to disagree about the question of whether government can make that road easier for others. I love puppies:Amen:).To our home-furnishing friend:I think you overestimated the size of the readership of this blog, but good luck and cheers to your entrepreneurial spirit.
I have one question to ask everyone. Did anyone else snicker as they read the subtitle to this article? Does anyone besides a radical communist honestly believe that libertarianism has dominated America's political development over the last 25 years? Just a thoughtSpencer I appreciate your unwaivering support of markets, but the truth is that they can fail. Public goods and commons problems are market failures. However, we need not be so lazy and uninventive as to believe that the only solution to these failures is direct government regulation. That is why we are reading Coase and Friedman, to learn a more efficient method of facing these market failures.
The Laffer curve seems to explain this whole situation, as well as the discussion in class 10/10. John Kerry is not an idiot. But his semi dishonest politics made him act like an idiot. He knows that government makes more money with an optimal tax rate. Obviously his raise taxes on the rich spiel was nonsensical. Thank goodness "only" 59 million Americans fell for it and not the other 61 million. But for G.W. being a hard core small-government guy, tell that to the Medicare employees getting ready to inititiate his $400 billion+ perscription drug program. This article falls flat on its face in emotional ramblings. The author is soley an idealogue bent on making a arbitrary point.
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