The following is an email correspondence between a 25 year old classical-liberal-in-the-making and a middle aged self proclaimed social libertarian. libertarian. The correspondence spanned several months in 2009 and has been reformatted here for easier comparison of ideas. Enjoy!
Round 1 I’m you to were to write hear from sooner, but between school workup I’ve hardsure pressed findexpecting the time to you. me Nonetheless I am excited aboutand striking a been correspondence with you. Padme speaks very highly of you. From what I understand you are quite intelligent and well informed, which intrigues me greatly given what I have heard about abo ut your political leanings. I don’t know the extent to which she has told you about ab out me, but I’m guessing you know our politics are somewhat at odds. The purpose of this email, and hopefully those to come, is to pick your brain and allow you to pick mine so as to identify the source of this disparity. I understand that opinions differ and rightfully so. However, However, I don’t subs subscribe cribe to the idea that politics can’t or shouldn’t shouldn’t be discussed in polite company. company. I also reject the notion that where differences of opinion arise regarding public policy that we can “agree to disagree.” More often than not when this approach is taken the result is one idea winning by default. The issues our country faces today are too important to be left unresolved in the name of political correctness or expediency. Since neither of us have anything to lose by laying all our cards on the table, it is my hope that we may have a more candid and productive debate than politicians on either side of the aisle. That being said, said, I feel very passionately about my beliefs, as I’m sure you do about yours. As such I have been known to come across as abrasive. Since we don’t really know each other, I hope you can believe me when I say it won’t be personal if I do. Likewise, I will not take it to heart if you let loose with both barrels. I presume the article Padme gave me (4 Myths About Free Markets-and Their Demise) was in line with your thinking on economics. econo mics. I've been working on a refutation of these "myths" but it is rather long and still somewhat unrefined so I haven't included it in this email. I figured it would be best to establish contact and confirm that it is in fact representative of your thoughts before I attempt to refute it. I hope this is the beginning of a constructive exchange of ideas. Game on. Sounds like fun. What world problem do you wish to solve first? You spoke about abo ut the article and free markets. Let's start there. Since you plan to run for office1, I will let you begin with your stand on free markets. What is your idea of how a free market works and what should the government do or not do to return us to that point. I believe the free market is a refinement of o f the crude "law of the jungle." I believe that it, as with other pillars of civilization, is an example of mankind first recognizing its basest instincts and then harnessing them to his advantage rather than wishing them away. We each have a self preservation instinct that can be characterized as greed. In the wild this greed causes animals to I had expressed frustration frustration with the current crop of supposedly conservative politicians politicians,, so I had decided, for the time being, to run for President in 2020 1
literally destroy one another for their piece of the pie, so to speak. Humans, by virtue of our intellect and spirit, have managed to lay some ground rules to minimize this potential for violence. In effect, by channeling this self preservation and self improvement instinct in a civilized framework, individual success contributes to societal success by means of the example set to other individuals and the expansion expa nsion of the operation to include other individuals. Because this framework can apply to virtually anything man desires, the free market is not confined by the finite resources of this planet. The exchange of goods and services provides endless opportunities for individuals to better themselves and those around them, so long as the terms of that exchange are determined by those engaged in it. Admittedly, my historical knowledge is somewhat lacking (which I hope to correct) concerning Admittedly, where government action may have helped, but all around us are glaring examples of where its intercession has harmed transactions, from minimum wage (which restricts freedom of both the employer and employee) to punitive taxes on certain commodities. As for Rick Newman's condemnation of free markets in his article2, I offer the following refutation. Would the free market do it better? That's one big sticking point for legislators opposed to a huge bailout bill to get the financial system back on track. Before the failure of President Bush's first $700 bailout bill on Monday, a memo urged 100 or so conservative Republicans to call for a "free-market alternative to the Treasury Department's proposal." Republican Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana, who voted against the bill, explains on his website that "renewing our belief in the power of the free market must be our guide" to a better solution. Free markets sure sound good--after all, what's not to like, if they're "free"? But the pure and airy version of free markets that keeps showing up in speeches doesn't really resemble the way free markets work in reality. A few of the prevailing myths about free markets: Myth 1: They're fair. The idea that supply and demand always achieve ach ieve equilibrium, that sellers always find buyers, and that every good has a price makes it sound as if pure free-market mechanisms ensure fairness and decency. Not really. In true free markets, there are winners and losers, and the losers lose hard. The most efficient and ruthless companies drive others out of business. There's no guarantee of competition, and monopolies form. Prices rise. And the powerful tend to get more powerful. Consumers take what they can get. get. Myth 1: They're fair Newman proposes that free markets are not fair, fair, that equilibrium isn’t guaranteed. From an individual’ss perspective this is true. Anecdotal evidence abounds to support this claim, but the individual’ economy is more than a collection of individuals and their woes or fortunes. It is an organism o rganism unto itself that defies quantification. The very concept of equilibrium equ ilibrium implies the ups and downs characterized by these anecdotes, and it cannot be observed in microcosm. As such, such, when the “4 Myths About Free Markets- and Their Demise”
word “fair” is evoked in defense of o f the free market it is not to imply that every participant will come away feeling they got a good deal, but that in a world where winning and losing are inherent to that equilibrium, no individual or collection of 5353 individuals is better suited to arbitrate “fairness” than the natural n atural ebb and flow. flow. When “losers lose hard,” as the article puts forth, it is all relative. I imagine the average inhabitant of, say, Kenya would jump at the opportunity to switch places with even the hardest hit victim of our current economic woes. In the case of monopolies, it is misleading to characterize them as the inevitable conclusion of o f the free market as the article does. The necessity of a specialized term alone denotes that tha t they are an exception rather than the norm. It is also interesting to note the sense of entitlement inherent in the objection to monopolies. Consider the computer. Just because the demand for a commodity grows to be b e virtually universal doesn’t mean that its inventor should be punished and his creation becomes public domain. Monopolies are only deemed as such when society tires of playing by the indelible rules of supply and demand.
Myth 2: They're unregulated. In theory, the less government regulation, the freer the market. But the economy we're used to has multiple layers of regulation that have formed over o ver decades, with general approval from most corners of society. Teddy Roosevelt interfered in free markets by helping break up mammoth monopolies in the oil, railroad, and banking industries--to great popular appeal. After the Depression, we got bank deposit insurance and dozens of other freemarket intrusions that most people still favor. The "free market" of just one year ago--before anybody was talking about a bailout--featured all manner of government intervention, from unemployment insurance to federal car-safety standards to an activist Federal Reserve able to pull various levers to keep the economy humming. So when people invoke the power of the free market, which free market are they talking about? The one of 150 years ago, with very few consumer protections? Or the one of a year ago, already heavily regulated? Myth 2: They're unregulated The article goes on to suppose that few would prefer the truly unregulated market of 150 years ago. I, for one, would prefer it, and I’m not alone in this though thought. t. When did the phrase “buyer beware” fall by the wayside? If we write new regulations every time the consumer feels slighted slighted we’ll be no closer to fairness in the market than if we were to do so whenever the producer feels the same. At the end of the day the consumer is just as concerned with his bottom line as the merchant. The consumer will undercut just as ruthlessly as the merchant, haggling or literally stealing when he feels he can get away with it. What’s What’s fair is when the best man wins, not when Big Brother steps in and picks one side over the other. Moreover Moreover,, the fact that we’ve taken that approach for decades is not a testament to its validity, but rather a testament to our all too frequent propensity to cede our independence back to our government. When did the citizenry who took arms against the mightiest empire on the planet to assert its financial and sovereign identity turn into the citizenry who bites its nails in panic if today’s today’s crowns aren’t there to hold its hand through every transaction? The original e-mail contains the number 435...whoops.
Myth 3: They're efficient. When it comes to investing capital and running a business, yeah, it's likely that a company operating in accordance with the profit motive will spend its resources more wisely than a government bureaucracy answerable to politicians. But when problems develop across the whole system, markets tend to seize up. That's because all the players who behave rationally when protecting their own interests don't necessarily agree what's best for the whole system. In the current crisis, for instance, banks with money to lend are sitting on it instead, fearful that borrowers might default. d efault. And so far, no market mechanism has persuaded banks to start lending again for the good of the overall economy. economy. Market solutions usually do emerge, but it can be bloody and destructive getting there, because every participant fights to get as much as it can for itself. For well over ove r a century, the appeal of government intervention has been the feds' ability to act as a mediator seeking the best solution for everybody, everybody, instead of simply letting various interests fight to the death. Newman then contends that efficacy of the free market seizes up “when problems develop across the whole system.” Looking past the vagueness va gueness of this assertion, we’ll analyze the given example: the burst of the housing bubble. bubb le. The bubble didn’t form because the free market was left to its own devices, it formed as a result of the free market reacting to a perversion of its principles. The market only seized because the terms of loans had become so elastic and convoluted that banks didn’t know who to trust with their clients’ money. money. This happened because misguided idealists decided that the standards that had preserved the banking industry and helped it thrive need not apply when dealing with the underprivileged. Newman admits that market solutions do emerge but insists insists that it can be bloody and destructive. If banks were assaulting clients and burning down their homes we may have reason to call for government action, but all they’re doing is looking after they’re [ sic] own interests like everyone else. It’s It’s precisely because the feds thought they knew better than practicing economists and bankers how to handle banking and the economy that we are in this bind. As for the “appeal of government intervention,” Newman is woefully naïve if he believes the federal government acts in anybodies [ sic sic] interest but its own. It is within human capacity to be benevolent, and an individual may prove to be an exception, but themselves same rules apply intrample positions of power in the rest most of thepeople world.look Thisafter is why even the first. most The benevolent autocracies liberty whenastheir rule is threatened. Our system of government fragments power so no n o one person holds too much. The founders were careful not to split the power up too much though. They realized that the more people running the show the more apt we are to have that self preservation instinct manifest itself into law4.
Myth 4: They're cheap. Would a market solution to the financial crisis cost less than the $700 $70 0 billion proposed in the failed bailout plan? If we truly had a free market, almost certainly certainly not. Most economists agree that a pure market solution would allow hundreds of companies to fail, with no safety net for the suddenly unemployed, bank depositors, creditors, or anybody else 4
This is an idea I meant to flesh out more but haven’t gotten around to doing so. Basically I envisioned a bell curve with the peak being the t he optimum number of government decision makers and either extreme being the undesirable effects of having too few (autocracy) or too many m any (mob rule).
brought down by widespread economic failure. That would probably kick off a second Great Depression, which is why there are virtually no free marketeers arguing that we should repeal layers of existing regulation and return to a truly unregulated market. Plus, with less regulation, there's a lot less for Congress to do.
Myth 4: They're cheap The last line says it all: "with less regulation, there's a lot less for Congress to do." How does a Congressman get reelected? He pretends to be b e busy. I believe this desire by Congressmen to have some piece of legislation to show for their terms is convoluting the rule of law and building a juggernaut of a bureaucracy that is more threatening to life, liberty, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness than any monopoly to have ever come down the pike. If Americans woke up tomorrow with the realization that no matter what Congress does or doesn't do regarding the economy our country will still be here, imagine how desperately our elected officials would clamor to manufacture the next crisis that only they can solve. Only one accustomed to the circus that has become of our government expects a safety net when things don't go his or her way way.. In the real world, when we fall we hurt ourselves. No amount of legislation is going to change that. I tend to believe that the rupture of the housing bubble is about abou t as devastating as that of dot come bubble, but supposing a market solution would cost more than the bailout, at least it would solve the problem rather than exacerbating it by b y temporarily placating it and hoping that human nature will spontaneously change. Again we shoot ourselves in the foot by thinking we can assess the economy on a day to day or even year to year basis. When viewed this way it's easy to throw out figures and claim that a bailout is the cheaper ch eaper option, but over the long haul it will only cause more crises down thre [ sic] road with untold costs. The reason its referred to as a bubble is that it has been slowly inflating year after year, during which time we can point to all sorts of indicators that things are going splendidly. It eventually pops though, and the lesson to be learned from this is that no matter how shiney [ sic] or big the bubble we blow it won't last, and we'll be left with the same harsh realities we started blowing bubbles to distract ourselves from.
Round 2 With all that being said, I am still trying to understand your “model” of a free market system. I don't have a "model" for the market. I believe the free market often defies models. You made many points, but now let’ let’ss string them together into the Shanahan Economic Theory. Things to ponder: You said free market is an extension of “law of the jungle5.” I suppose I misspoke when I said it was an extension of the law of the jungle6. The free market is a facet of the law of the jungle that achieved definition when mankind became civilized. W Wee didn't create it. We We only gave it a name. While models may help our understanding of it, they will never contain or control it. We may come close to doing so, but it is when we think we have control of it down to an exact ex act science that it will surprise and humble us 7. Thus, we must recognize and expect the occasional failures of these models if they are to prove to be assets rather than liabilities. You said greed is what causes animals to act in self interest. I regret that I used the word "greed." I did so to diffuse its possible use, but I suppose I only invited it. I don't believe greed is what wh at causes animals to act in their own self interest. I observe self preservation to be an instinct of all living things and I believe that we arbitrarily label it as greed when we run afoul a foul of the display of such from others. As I said, it can be characterized as greed. But at what point do humans give up on greed “by virtue of our intellect and spirit” to establish rules by which we no longer kill each other for resources (or pie)? As to when we give up on it, we don't. At some point in our ancient history we began to channel it into productive endeavors, and it is our intellect and spirit which allowed us to do so where animals could not How do humans organize to establish such rules? We established currency to stand in for the concept of value and allow for the accumulation of such. Beyond that no rules need exist to govern markets. They will govern themselves just like any other natural system.
Actually I said it was “a refinement of the crude ‘law of the jungle.’” Thus begins a long, sad history of my collaborator reacting to critical mischaracterizations of my arguments. 6 Thus begins an even sadder, albeit shorter, history of me failing to catch these mischaracterizations and restating my point as though I had been unclear. 7 This, if anything, would be the Shanahan Economic Theory.
How do we determine the “terms of exchange”? As for determining the terms of exchange, we don't, unless we are directly involved in said exchange. If I have no direct stake in the sale of a house or the hiring of an employee I should have no say in how much money exchanges hands or when the agreement they settle upon is deemed to have been violated. I realize I probably sound like an anarchist sometimes, but I assure you I'm not. I am still formulating my thoughts on government in general, gene ral, but they're coming along nicely. Whatever details I have to work out on that subject, I am adamant in rejecting the notion that it is government's place to control the means of o f production and the distribution of wealth, which is exactly what it is trying to do now in this country. Myth 1: “Monopolies are only deemed as such when society tires of playing by b y the indelible rules of supply and demand”. However, monopolies do not work by the rules of supply and demand. What society is trying to do is to return to a competitive environment where the rules supply and demand do function8. You said that monopolies don't work by b y the rules of supply and demand. d emand. How so? Was it not the demand of consumers for the ease of communication provided by telephone companies and the short supply of such that caused the Bell Telephone Telephone company to be dubbed a monopoly. Was Was it not the demand for more convenient travel and more lucrative export provided by railroads and the consolidation of such in a few companies that earned them that dreaded title? If anything, it would seem to me that they are the best examples to illustrate the concept of supply and demand, albeit an unfortunate one to those getting the short end of the stick. Myth 2: Before you say you prefer the “unregulated” market of 150 years ago, we may need to revisit just what markets looked like then, why they became regulated. (This will be for a later discussion)9. Myth 3: The housing bubble was not formed by “idealists", but by the combination of political influence (idealism in your words), greed from banks and investment firms, monetary policy making money cheap, home buyers looking for good deals they could not afford (greed), and several other factors. We can also talk about this later, but it is way too easy to try and blame one group for a collaborative venture (or misadventure). As for the housing bubble, if you'll remember I didn't give home buyers, banks, and investment firms a free pass. I said the free market (in this case embodied by the aforementioned entities) reacted to perversions of its principles. The banks and investment firms normally wouldn't lend to people or companies that they couldn't reasonably expect to pay them back or earn them returns. Home buyers normally wouldn't overextend themselves unless they were reasonably sure they could get away with it. The reason each of these entities felt they could cou ld do so or should do so was because of the artifice introduced into the market by government regulations.
My correspondent is right, but in almost the diametric opposite way of what he intended. I almost wish he would have stuck around long enough to tackle that one. Sounds like fun.
Again, I feel you missed the most pivotal words in my argument. I don't decry idealism. I myself am an unabashed idealist, as I suspect our countries founders were. I blamed misguided idealists for blowing the bubble. It was their belief that we could arbitrate prosperity rather than earn it. Since they were in a position of power and authority, society at large nibbled at the carrots they dangled and followed them over ove r a cliff. I realize that is a simplification, but as I said at the onset o nset of this email all we can hope to assess of the economy as a whole is a simplification. I know more went into the housing bubble than it is within our scope to discuss or und understand. erstand. I'm not even saying that a bubble or the resultant collapse wouldn't have happened without government intervention. To again return to my first paragraph, all models, even those used by the private sector, are subject to failure. I do contend however that the problem would have been more easily isolated and solved if government actions hadn't aggravated the situation. Even now, amidst all the hardship our country endures, I am saddened more by our inability to learn from our mistakes than my [ sic sic] the misery that we're told is so prevalent. This burst bubble constitutes a national crisis because we entrusted our government with too widespread authority, authority, so our answer is to entrust them with even more. Myth 4: “If Americans woke up tomorrow with the realization that no matter what Congress does or doesn’t do regarding the economy our country will still be here,” First, if this is true, true, you are saying it doesn’t really matter what Congress does, then how does doe s Congress have the ability to manufacture or unmanufacture [ sic sic] an economic crisis? As for my assertion that the country would still be here regardless of the actions of Congress, I didn't mean to imply that it doesn't matter what Congress does. I only meant to say that the country would still be here because it doesn't owe its existence to some fiat of Congress. It owes its existence to the Constitution, and it owes its prosperity to the limitations that Constitution puts on the government. The federal government wasn't formed to make the country run, but rather to see to it that no forces interfere with the country running itself. Congress doesn't exist so it can make rules every time it convenes. It exists so it can conven convenee periodically to see if rules need to be made or action needs to be taken. Career politicians have managed to convince many people that a deadlocked Congress is a bad thing, that Congress isn't doing its job unless there is legislation to show for their time. What these people forget is that more legislation, no matter how noble or well intentioned, amounts to more rules. More rules means less freedom. Of course it matters what Congress does. It's precisely because it matters so much that I believe Congressional action shouldn't be a force of habit but should only be b brought rought about by necessity. Moreover, Congress should confine its actions and intercessions into daily life to the charges it was specifically given. I included the clause "regarding the economy" because it's entirely possible that our country could cease to exist if Congress doesn't continue to take steps to ensure that our enemies don't get their way. Congress can manufacture an economic crisis by believing itself to be the responsible for the economy in the first place. If you feel they can influence the economy in a negative way then the opposite must hold true. I take issue with your assertion that if I believe Congress Con gress can negatively impact the economy then I must also believe they can affect it positively. positively. First of all that logic doesn't hold. If a house fire or a rape can affect someone's life negatively, must it also be true that these occurrences can
affect his or her life positively? Certainly not. Secondly, since it is not the place of federal authority to manage the economy, any action taken by Congress to do so is inherently restrictive of that institution, even if it purports to bolster a facet of it for a time. SIDEBAR: Economic and competitive equilibrium is a tricky thing. Economist Econ omist and social scientist borrowed this term from physical science. Forces of nature are constant (i.e gravity) which make things like heat, pressure, chemical reaction act predictably since they act nonrationally.. However, people act rationally, irrationally, nonrationally irrationally, and nonrationally nonrationally.. People act out of fear, love, hate, jealousy, pity, pity, guilt, sex, and numerous other human wants, needs, and desires. This make understanding markets or anything else involving humans difficult since all actors do not act predictably predictably.. To end on a conciliatory note, I agree with your last statement about the difficulty we face analyzing systems dependent on human action. I think this difficulty is precisely why no one can say for certain what should be done don e to get the economy back on track. Amidst this uncertainty I believe it is grossly irresponsible irresponsible to codify into law anyone's theory10.
Historical quote: “If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their money, first first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them (around the banks), will deprive the people peop le of their property until their children will wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.” Thomas Jefferson.
This dovetails with 7 above to flesh out the Shanahan Economic Theory.
Round 3 Mr. President11, No titles necessary. necessary. Even if by some miracle I pull it off and earn that title, I wouldn't expect that level of formality in this casual of an exchange. exchan ge. The purpose of me asking for a “model” is for clarity and understanding of o f thought, not to control. Of course model and theories fail, that’s why we call them theories and model and not laws. This was more for me and my simple mind to understand and not to pick a fight. I understand the use of greed. I see greed, self interest, self preservation, as the same. I understand what you are saying; living things act to benefit themselves. However, as humans we do at some point give up on our our self-interest for that of a group. You're right. To become part of a society an individual must amend some o off his self preservation instincts. I understand your point that a line must be drawn to maintain a level of peace and order within that society, society, but drawing that line doesn't erase our instincts. I use the word "amend," because I recognize that the group mentality is just as prone to its self preservation preservation instincts as that of the individual. As I see it, all of all your examples fall under the umbrella of self preservation. family, that works together of the benefits ben efits of all… This can be in the form of a family, A family works together for the benefit of the family, not the neighborhood.
…or a tribe that hunts together to share food and gather resources. A tribe hunts to sustain itself, without allotting provisions for the other tribes in the region, let alone preserving the lives of their prey. There are many examples of humans h umans giving up resources that may hurt hu rt them for the benefit of the group, even their own lives. Heroes sacrifice their lives, for their community, community, for their country cou ntry,, but rarely for something in which they have no stake. These sacrifices only occur when the person has identified themselves with or invested themselves in a group. This also extends to free markets. Rules do need to exist to govern markets. Let’s say you know someone who plays in a band. b and. And let’s let’s say the band writes a great song and you record it and it hits the airways. Then a band down the street records YOUR song and begins selling it. Would Would you not like to have a rule to protect your property rights? 11
Unnecessarily snide, wouldn’t you say?
I fail to see how the ideas of sacrifice and altruism apply to copyright infringement. Who is acting against self preservation in this instance, the band who wh o stole the song? Is it some great sacrifice that our society forbids us to steal? You're You're correct in pointing out the necessity for laws protecting property rights, but again these laws don't govern the market. They lay the groundwork for the market to function. By establishing property rights we only reinforce the concept of the individual. This isn't to discount altruism. To the contrary, altruism is granted its virtue by the fact that it is a voluntary v oluntary forfeiting of one's assets. Thus altruism is borne of the concept of property and not the other way around. On the subject of monopolies. My point was that once a monopoly is formed the rules of supply and demand go out ou t the window. I'm also having trouble understanding how the rules of supply and demand go out the window in a monopoly monopoly.. con trol price Monopolies form to control supply and therefore control price Every business seeks to control supply. If you're the only shop in town to have hav e the new widget, you'd be a fool to share your source with the competition. Not every business has the luxury of such a bottleneck of resources, so prices generally gen erally remain reasonable. Occasionally, though, a business has that luxury and prices can get out of hand, but this is still in direct direct proportion to the demand for those resources. The rules of supply and demand are still firmly in place in a monopoly, though it is fair to say they are being abused. Do you prefer monopolies? No, I do not prefer monopolies. I find them as repugnant as the next person, but as I said before, they are not the inevitable conclusion conc lusion of capitalism. Not every CEO is swimming in gold coins like Scrooge McDuck, with no concern for society. When When someone does abuse the system the answer isn't to abandon the system. We can't praise supply and demand when we get a good deal and decry when we don't. In the case of abuse, abu se, we use the system against the abuser. If we really feel it is unfair to pay those prices, we make other arrangements and watch demand shrivel. Housing bubble: I am not sure just where you see the government’s involvement in the mess. You said the banks would normally not lend to people who can not repay. What “artifice” was introduced by the government to cause this? Did the government force banks to make loans? Did the government force everyone to nibble the carrots or did they have h ave free will to nibble the carrots? To To learn from our ou r mistakes, we must clearly identify just what the mistake was. If we misidentify it, then we have learned nothing 12. My logic does hold about Congress. It is your logic that doesn’t hold. It is not a matter if rape is good or not, it deals with the act of sex. Sex forced upon someone is bad; sex in a mutual loving relationship is good. Fire that burns a house is bad, fire used to cook or power and engine is good.
I hated to do so, but I had to bit bitee my tongue for a while on this so as not to misspeak on the subject. See P P.S. .S.
Logic does tend to get skewed within metaphors I suppose. I could have structured the house fire/rape analogy better. True, fire can be productive and the beauty of consensual sex is the antithesis of the gruesome spectacle of rape. If we're broadening broaden ing the metaphor to liken Congressional action to fire or sex, then the positive sides of each would be Cong Congress ress acting within its authority and the negative sides with them overstepping that authority. authority. Admittedly, Admittedly, I 13 haven't read the entire Constitution (I've started,) and I know Congress is granted authority to set tariffs and such, but I don't recall them being granted the authority to mold the economy econo my as they see fit, much less nationalize industries. Funny you say the country doesn’t owe its existence to Congress, the first words of the Declaration of Independence is “In Congress”. Congress declared our independence, organized the country to fight and win the Revolutionary War. War. If I'm not mistaken the Congress referred to in the Declaration of Independence was the Constitutional Congress14 not the United States Congress. This may seem to be a technicality, but it validates my point. You're You're giving today's lawmakers way too much credit to put them on the level of our founders. Our founders bent over backwards to minimize their own power while today's Congressmen do everything they can to preserve and gain power for themselves. However, that is just to get you going and not to say that the American people must pay homage, tribute, or otherwise swear allegiance to congress ad infinitum. Just to point out ou t that Congress has done some really good stuff and that it is not a seven headed beast. I do realize that not every Congressman or woman is a power hungry sociopath and that the institution itself is not an evil behemoth. I know some good has come from their actions, but from where I'm sitting the cons are far outweighing the pros p ros at this point. By the way, if you dislike Congress so much, why did you vote to reelect your current Congressman who has been there since 1988? As for voting to reelect my incumbent, you y ou presume correctly that I did. I don't have disgust for Congress, only for its tendency to find mandates where none exist. By my assessment, Rep. John Duncan Jr. (to whom I assume you were referring) was less likely to do so than the opposition. If a Democrat had been able to point out misconduct by Rep. Duncan and couple that revelation with reassurance that he or she wouldn't succumb to the same temptation I would have voted for him instead. Actions by the government are not “inherently” restrictive. I didn't say actions by the government go vernment are inherently restrictive. I said actions by it to control the economy are inherently restrictive. Congress can set a budget, b udget, the President can command our armed forces, and the Supreme Court can strike down laws that try to skirt the Constitution (to name but a few of the valid actions that can be taken without restricting liberty liberty,) ,) but the instant they decide to micromanage the lives of each citizen they are subscribing to the very same 13 14
I finished reading the Constitution mid summer 2009...and was promptly given a cookie for the accomplishment. *wince* This is what happens when you forget to do your homework. You look like a fool, and rightly so.
tyranny we sought to liberate ourselves from in the first place, albeit in smaller, more palatable doses15. Let’s say there is this Irishman named Shanahan. I run my liquor store and wish not to sell to you Let’s because you are Irish. Do I have that right under a “facet” of the law of the jungle? In the instance of a business refusing to sell to someone who's Irish, it absolutely has that right. If the liquor is bought and paid for it is the owner's right to decide what to do with it. He could decide to sell only to the Irish if that is his wish. W Wee do not have the inalienable right to liquor, let alone to buy it from a particular store. If one store owner is so closed minded as to not cater to a minority he punishes himself by losing out on that business, simultaneously allowing competitors an opportunity to gain an upper hand on him. In the example of widespread segregation, as I'm sure your mind is straying to, that is a cultural problem that can't be solved overnight by a piece of legislation. I'm not suggesting that we backtrack from the Civil Rights movement, only that I believe the its aim should have been to convince state governments to rescind existing laws that discriminated against minorities (if ever there were any,) not to trump those laws with another, bigger law that makes it illegal to discriminate. We can't make somebody break a bad habit by simply making it illegal. If we do that we only entrench a portion of society deeper within its bad habits while simultaneously labeling them criminals. If we want them to change, chang e, and for that change to stick, we have to hit at the root of the problem, and that calls for more finesse and flexibility than the federal government possesses. President, you tell me you are not an anarchist, but you tell all the things you dislike. Future Mr. President, But how would you change things so I will support you in the upcoming election? My plan for change is this: before any new legislation is proposed or approved we need to clean the slate on as many things as possible. p ossible. With With so many tangents and "temporary fixes" that have been held over we can do nothing but grow our government by approaching any an y situation without this ason our guiding you've go with chipping paint, youIfdon't keep painting top of the principle. old flakes If and lay itgot ont asobarn thick thatfaded, you can't see the cracks. you honestly want to make that barn vibrant and good as new again, you must chip away what you can of the existing paint, sand it down smooth, and then you can pick up the paint brush again. If we want to fix a problem we must search the exhaustive books we already have to make absolutely sure that problem hasn't been addressed before. b efore. If it has we must see whether its failure to fix the problem was a result of halfhearted implementation or a fundamental flaw in the law itself. If the former is true our course if obvious: enforce the law. law. If the latter is true we need to rework or repeal the law in question. In essence my platform is the destruction of platforms, not of parties but of business as usual within them. We've We've been building platform on top of platform for two centuries and we wonder 15
I’ve come to the conclusion that the Court doesn’t have this power, that llandmark andmark cases and precedents are not specifically enumerated in the Constitution as binding in any way.
why it's rickety and why it's so devastating when the scaffolding gives in places. I believe politics is the bane of American government and that is where I hope to make the biggest and most significant impact. It is my hope, lofty as I know it seems, to remind the country that we have too much to lose to stand by and let elitists guide our d destinies estinies when that affront is what spurred our country's inception. I know I'm not the smartest guy in the room, and the point of our government is to take that humility to heart. We don't need to be randomly selecting our leaders from a hat, but we also needn't ne edn't go too far in the other direction. Public office isn't supposed to be a superlatives roster. Our leaders as [ sic] supposed to be representative of their districts, not just in policy but in character as well. We We want the best person for the job, but a lot of the time the best person for the job isn't the smartest or most most learned or most cultured. I believe the the current political climate in this country is primed for an overhaul, as evidenced by the wide support of a candidate whose only major selling point was the words "change" and "hope." I didn't mean to elaborate as much as I did on that last part. I do don't n't want to move on to new topics unless we've found a comprehensive compromise or one side admits conceptual defeat on the issue at hand. P.S. I didn't forget about the housing bubble "artifice" question or intend to sidestep sidestep it. As it stands I know just enough about it to potentially stick my foot in my mouth, and I didn't want to get I had something a little more runsome with.reinforcements I know it has something do with the into the [ sic it sicuntil ] Community Reinvestment Act ofsolid 1977toand during thetoClinton administration. More to come on that...
Round 4 I also have not forgotten the housing bubble. I am glad you have reference the 1977 Community Reinvestment Act. It was passed in 1977 and amended under Bush I, Clinton, and Bush II. Good article on how community banks failed in today’s USA Today. Nothing to do with CRA. First things first, the housing bubble... You were correct when you said no one thing can be blamed for the housing bub bubble. ble. The artifice I implicated in the matter doesn't manifest itself in just one thing however howeve r. It has been achieved through many things, one step at a time. Some of these steps have been bigger than others, such as the CRA, but we still needed many other steps to get there; such as, the various amendments you cite to the CRA, stigma from Home Mortgage Disclosure Act of 75 and its amendment in 91, the Boston Fed study in 92. All of these things affected the market, as was their design. In specific refutation of the CRA as a possible reason for the bubble, the only arguments I have found are isolated statistics of percentages of sub-prime loans subject to the CRA in one year or another (see first attachment16 and the following link http://howdidthishappen.org/myths/). I have yet to come across a comprehensive study that puts yearly percentage data next to each other in an attempt to discern trends, presumably because such trends don't exist or they don't serve either argument especially well. This all of course is to say nothing of the rate at which CRA loans defaulted compared to non CRA loans, another set of statistics that is curiously missing from the debate. The article you reference holds that desire for growth caused community banks to engage in big gambles that didn't pan out. Fair enough, eno ugh, that's a contributing factor. However, banking has been around for a long time, and growth has always been its game plan. Are we to believe that this unprecedented wave of irresponsibility among lending institutions spontaneously popped up because people became greedier all of a sudden? Is it out of the realm of feasibility that not only government sanctioned but government mandated bending of industry standards could have amounted to the theoretical legitimization of otherwise unpractical business strategies? Could it not be said that the much maligned banks were actually following the government's example by promoting home ownership while specifically disregarding fiscal fiscal soundness? The essay by Stan J. Liebowitz in the second attachment explains in more detail this line of thinking if you're inclined to pursue it. I am not saying that human instincts are erased, but we do modify, amend, or otherwise alter them to work within a society. Of course all my examples fall under self preservation, but the point is we give up some of our freedom, wealth, and even health to benefit a group that we wish to better. The point is we alter “self” preservation for a type of group preservation (i.e. couple, family,, tribe, community, nation). The big point was, we do not always operation under family u nder law of the jungle, everything for me, attitude. Clearly we are divided on which camp we hold responsible for the housing ho using bubble, but it seems on some issues we are closer to agreement then I had thought. For instance, I think we both understand that self preservation is a big part of human motivation, but neither of us believe it to 16
be the exclusive driving force of our lives. When I referenced the law of the jungle, perhaps it would have been wise to point out that I'm aware even wild animals form packs and clans. I wasn't arguing against groups on principle. I was saying that examples e xamples of sacrifice and group motivation don't negate the laws of nature, and that any association we may form still must acknowledge them and an d govern itself accordingly. We We can't govern ourselves according to standards we can't reasonably expect ourselves o urselves to live up to with regularity. yo u said, “They (laws) lay the groundwork for the market to function”. In your second paragraph you Bingo. That’s That’s my point. For free markets to work, we need laws. This is a long way from “law of the jungle” to law of the civilized. In order to pass, enforce, monitor, etc laws, we, the civilized, form organizations like…………….wait for it……………wait for it………………………………. it………………… ……………. governments (local, state, federal)17. You said you are having problems understanding how the ideas of sacrifice and altruism apply to copyright infringement. Me too, because what I said was, “Rules do need to exist to govern markets.” Even you said laws lay the groundwork. We We can go around about the difference between “govern’ or “lay “lay the groundwork”, but they both mean there need to be rules. That’s my point. That is counter to your statement, “We “We established currency to stand in for the concept of value and allow for accumulation of such. Beyond that no rules need to exist to govern markets.” We both agree that there need nee d to be ground rules, but I believe the distinction between ground rules and governance is crucial to the integrity of the free market. I object to the latitude afforded to our elected officials by the general public's ignorance of or apathy for this distinction. In retrospect, I guess I let my exuberance for making m aking that distinction cause me to overlook certain practical applications. The role of governments in laying this groundwork does include more than establishing currency. currency. It must also determine what is to be considered property and it must establish a judiciary to settle disputes over such. I'm sure I'm missing something else, but I'm intentionally erring on the side of minimization. I still stand by my sentiment that beyond the ground rules any attempt to govern markets will only introduce new problems in place o off others rather than perfecting the system. I think you have me wrong. I also reject the notion that it is government’s government’s place to control the means of production and the distribution of wealth, but what supports your thesis that “is exactly what it is trying to do now in this country.”? country.”? What supports my thesis of current government's intent? As for the distribution of wealth, take your pick: Social Security, tax credits that account for more than their recipients paid in, the very existence of a progressive income tax and the many cherry picked manipulations thereof, the recent stimulus act, food stamps, etc. As for the control of the means of production, how about the fact that the Federal Government now owns nearly 79% of AIG, a company whose worldwide economic clout was supposedly too big to be allowed to fail. Or how about the heavy hand the Obama administration is using with Chrysler and GM? I'm sure a more diligent Googler could find an exact percentage that the Feds own of these companies as well, but think about the amount of influence they already have on them without literal majority ownership.
Snide comment #2, or was this supposed to be rhetoric?
We keep going round and round about monopolies. My point is a true monopoly, by definition controls all supply and keeps others from competing. ONCE you reach that point, supply and demand goes out the window. Since the monopoly controls con trols supply, supply, no other person can produce and therefore no alternative supply of the product is available. If there where other supply (or other arrangements), then it is not yet a monopoly monopoly.. As for monopolies, I again think semantics are complicating things. The historical instances we both infer when the word "monopoly" is evoked are real world pinnacles of the objectionable extremes of supply and demand. You have made clear that you view "monopolies" as examples of absolute control of supply and demand, dem and, continually referring to them in the abstract. I can't agree with you more that when absolute control is exerted the situation should be rectified, but in the research I've done I haven't come across any situation where a private company has achieved 100% dominance of their industry without government intervention. Sure railroad tycoons cornered the market on transportation, but people peo ple could still ride in carriages. Sure, Bell cornered the market on communication, but the telegraph and mail services still existed. My point is, though the influence they did have and the way they used it may have been unfair, it was not criminal until new laws were enacted to make it so. Whatever proprietary capital each of these companies had, however big an upper hand they had on the competition, the deck was never literally stacked. The competition had just as much right to innovate and attempt to get the upper hand as those in question had. But the bigger point is, you say you dislike monopolies. If a true monopoly forms, what do we do about it? So what do we do in the event of true monopoly? I honestly don't know just yet, considering that by my estimation the closest any entity has come to your definition of true monopoly is the government. An educated man such as your self no doubt knows about the existence of so called "natural monopolies." These are monopolies that are in essence created by government regulations on the auspices that competition in certain "economy "eco nomy of scale" industries would actually drive prices up. I have attached an article by Thomas DiLorenzo that effectively refutes this theory If infrom fact you to ground the lawsI perpetuating natural monopolies, theninfringement we're on theon sametheory. page,. and our object common put to you: Why should government competition be stricken in this instance while the same is tolerated and praised in antitrust laws? If you would defend the concept co ncept of natural monopolies, I can't h help elp but wonder if your loyalty is not to the consumer, but the government that purports to protect him. You are mistaken; it was the Continental Congress, not n ot the “Constitutional Congress”. The 2nd Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence. Independ ence. I disagree the founder fathers bent over backwards to minimize their own power. power. They mostly fought to keep what power that had. They fought to find a balance, b alance, dare I say equilibrium, between powers of the federal government and the states. This was because at that time, most of their power resided with the current state governments. It was a struggle to retain power, not minimize it. This led to the Articles of Confederation. However, they didn’t work. The founding fathers realized that they could not “finesse”, “convince”, negotiate, neg otiate, or otherwise persuade the states to contribute (mostly money) to the efforts of the United States if they wished not to do so. So in 1788, they tried again
and adopted the Constitution which gave the new central government the power to tax, levy tariffs, give land grants, and pay war debts. I stand corrected about the Continental Congress, Con gress, or at least the name. I should have cracked a text book before that one. Again, however I think we're arguing semantics. When I referred to minimizing their power, I was referring to federal power, and I still maintain that was their intent. As you said, those organizing our federal structure fought to find a balance. Through the Articles of Confederation, they erred on the side of minimal federal power. When those didn't work they invested more in the federal level via the th e Constitution, still taking great care however to insert mechanisms designed to keep it on a tight leash. I realize the founding fathers weren't gods among men. I know there were those among them that were as unscrupulous as many of today's legislators. Conversely, Conversely, I know there are probably probab ly some in Congress now who as just as wise and upright as our founders. My point was that the tyranny of a far off capital had still left a bad taste in the mouths of most of our founders and the people who elec elected ted them to their positions of eminence, and it was their foremost goal to avoid that tyranny wherever possible in their own governance. I don't feel the same can be said of the collective mindset that is running the federal government today toda y. You now say that congress as an institution is not an “evil behemoth 18”, and there are some good things thatWell, have comeget from Congress…..good. your seat, there are more cons than pros. Wel l, let’s to the details. What areBut theyou prossay andfrom cons? As for the cons outweighing the pros, I refer you to my earlier paragraph ab about out government controlling wealth and production. High taxes, punitive taxes, the estate tax, the war on drugs, government mandating broadcast switch to digital, Obama cherry picking GM's CEO, stress tests, affirmative action, the entire "give a man a fish" mentality of the welfare state. Need I go on? I return the challenge to you. Tell Tell me which government intercessions have made the country more prosperous or enhanced liberty? Side note challenge: What specific things has Congressman Duncan done that you like and dislike? The reason I asked the question is I hear all too often that people do not like Congress, but love their congressman, it is someone else’s else’s Congressman they dislike. Thus the vicious circle, we reelect ours, they reelect theirs, and here we go again. Point taken about Congressman Duncan. I must admit I presumed much of how he'd vote from the R in front of his name. Upon Up on actually checking into it I found that his votes are pretty predictably Republican, which is to say that I agree with most of them (most notably the PartialPartialBirth Abortion Abortion Ban Act of 1995, HR 1833), but some are questionable (Child Custody Protection Act, HR 1218 for example). In effect, I got what I voted for, but you're correct in pointing out that I should have made sure by doing this research before casting my b ballot. allot. Likewise, I know the "my guy's alright" attitude contributes to the dysfunction d ysfunction of government, which is dovetails with my explanation below of my distrust for platforms.
Also you say the government is trying to micromanage our lives,” but the instant they decide to 18
I never said it was. If you give a liberal an inch, he will take a mile.
micromanage the lives of each citizen they are subscribing to the very same tyranny we sought to liberate ourselves from in the first place, albeit in smaller, more palatable doses.” OK, how are they trying? You ask me how the government attempts to micromanage our lives. I fear I sound like a broken record when I answer: The War War on Drugs, punitive taxes on cigarettes, mandating the switch to digital broadcast, minimum wage, the President coordinating the economic decisions of private companies, the United States Congress holding hearings on steroids in baseball, section 1464 of the Communications Act. I'm sure I could rack my brain (and the internet) and come up with some more, but I feel I've hit enough eno ugh to keep us busy for a while. you u begin to scare me. I am not worried about just one liquor store In the next two paragraphs, yo not selling to Mr. Shanahan, but what happens when others in the area, see this happen, they in turn say, “Well “Well if he can to do, maybe I will not sell to Irish either. Soon it may be an a n entire community,, region, or state does the same. You correctly point out the Civil Rights moment. As community pointed out earlier, the government could not “convince” the state government under the Articles of Confederation, they could not convince c onvince them to end slavery, and they could not convince c onvince them to end segregation in the South. No amount of finesse worked. I guess where you scare me is your side comment about laws that discriminated. “I'm not suggesting that we backtrack from the Civil Rights movement, only thatlaws I believe the its aim should have been to convince statewere governments to rescind existing that discriminated against minorities (if ever there any,) any ,) not to trump those laws with another, bigger law that makes it illegal to discriminate”. What do you mean by b y “if ever there were any”? It is hard for me to say discrimination or slavery was a “bad habit”. On the subject of discrimination, what makes you think that if one liquor store ceased serving the Irish that would in any way be an incentive for his neighbor to do the same? Do you honestly believe that all that stands between our country and unbridled racism is the law, law, and some thin pretense we each put forth to avoid prosecution? Assuming Assuming things are this grim, a community or a region may succumb to prejudice, but for a state to do so it would require not just the repeal of existing law but new legislation, which was the point I was making. From my understanding the issue of slavery was, erroneously, approached as a property issue. There weren't laws specifically making slavery legal, there were laws written with the assumption that it was legal, because it always had been. When it was appropriately stressed as a civil liberties issue a constitutional amendment resulted. After the thirteenth amendment laws did spring up from state to state discriminating against blacks, but Reconstruction Republicans did a big part to quickly reverse those trends. It wasn't until the pendulum swung again aga in in the Democrats favor that these laws caught their second wind which carried them through to the 1960s. It was callous of me to suggest that these laws didn't exist, without having even done my homework. Now that I have done d one some research, I stand by objection to the means of the civil rights movement. You You say the feds couldn't convince states to end slavery or segregation. This only bolsters my case, as I referred to the civil right movement, not the government. A movement is what pushed for, rightfully so, the 13th amendment, and the government acquiesced. The 1960s movement certainly benefited from its national appeal, but it should have applied its weight to local governments and communities co mmunities rather than the federal government. Moreover, any
appeal to law should have ended with public sector concerns. I maintain that however culturally repugnant we may feel certain private p rivate discrimination to be (not selling liquor to Irish people or black people for example), the crusade against it should confine itself to the private sector. sector. Without going into the barn analogy, what makes you think the law maker doesn’t look at existing laws. I believe there is a great example exa mple of how the Tennessee legislature just did so with the texting while driving law. I am not going to buy such a broad statement without some examples. What makes me think law makers don't look at existing laws? First off, my argument wasn't that they didn't look at existing laws, but that they didn't enforce them or respect them. For example, Washington has been going hog h og wild over immigration reform for the last few years when the only thing that renders our current system ineffective is the fact that we don't enforce it. Interestingly enough, your "great example" meant to challenge my assertion works better to illustrate my point. There are already laws against reckless driving, beyond which there are also laws for distracted driving. Sure they looked at these laws, but did they respect the fact that the one fatality attributed to texting while driving might have been avoided by better be tter enforcement of them; or that the driver in question would likely have been as apathe apathetic tic toward any new law as he or she apparently was toward those already in existence. No, they just went about their merry way a newfines. law that onlymake be enforced insofar as it they can keep the publicmy coffers full as with making money from Theywill didn't any of us any safer, just restricted freedom, a responsible driver who has texted while driving multiple times without incident, to multi-task. This would qualify as another example of o f government micromanagement, albeit on a state level Now to the future. You You wish to destroy platforms, but not political parties. parties. ???? That would mean you would have parties that stand for nothing. I disparage platforms because platforms gave us Barack Obama vs. John McCain. Parties are the natural expression of aggregated opinion in political society society.. Parties need to exist so a unified u nified voice can exist when one needs to. listing of ideals around which people A platform is just a listing peo ple form19. If you read the platform p latform for the parties, I believe you would see they havethey beensanded, update chipped over time topaint, reflectand the repainted current per your environment. They did as you suggested, old instructions, now you wish to burn the barn. Platforms exist because politicians realize they can't please everyone, but they still want to please as many as they can. So they throw out a laundry list of hot button issues and hope one resonates with someone. Platforms are election strategies, not statements of principles. In my desire to wrestle parties away from opportunism and repurpose them toward effective debate, I don't "wish to burn the barn." Again, maybe this is my fault for cluttering the debate deb ate with metaphors. I find them helpful to illustrate my points, but they're only helpful h elpful when they're terms are well defined and consistent. The barn analogy was about the legal code, vibrancy being harmony between code and public sentiment. If you wish to extend the analogy to platforms, I would say that this is where parties have put up vinyl siding--a facade, the appearance of vibrancy to hide 19
No, this is what a party is. A platform is a specific set of policy initiatives on which a candidate runs.
the chipped paint beneath. Now you are blaming “elitists. Who are they? Who are the elitists? I consider anyone in government g overnment who thinks it's their place to protect the people from themselves to be an elitist. The people who gave us seat belt laws are elitists. elitists. The people who punish "Big Tobacco," Tobacco," knowing that the pinch will be felt by the consumer, are elitists. The people who push gun control, assuming access to weaponry is the problem and not n ot the caliber of person who commits gun crimes, are elitists. The people who gave us the war on drugs are elitists. I don’t understand your statement, “We don't need to be randomly selecting our leaders from a hat, but we also needn't go too far in the other direction.” What do you mean? What hat? The "hat" referenced was the hypothetical h ypothetical antithesis of what we have now. When our country was founded we knew we wanted the common man's voice heard in government, but we weren't foolish enough to hold a random lottery, lottery, pulling names from a hat, to determine our officials. I was saying our current system of vetting our potential leaders by b y their pedigree (literal or political), their gravitas, or their articulate articulate presence, is just as asinine as the other extreme of the random lottery. You said, “I believe the current political climate in this country is primed for an overhaul, as evidenced by the wide support of a candidate whose only on ly major selling point was the words "change" and "hope."” Are you not also a lso wishing to make changes and have hope for America? You say we need to change things by evidence evidenc e of someone promoting change, but you are also promoting change. I am wishing to make changes and I have hope for America. America. I wasn't deriding those concepts, only how shamelessly they were exploited and how hollowly they were evoked in the last election. You promote “overhauling”, but give g ive no way to do so other than destroying the current system. I didn't get too far into my plan for overhaul because I felt that doing so would distract us from the economy without a resolution being reached. In short my plan is to wipe the slate clean and make a new Constitution, keeping what works and needs to be in it (off the top of my head, amendments 1-10, 13,15, and 19) and ditching what doesn't (again, off the top of my head, amendments 14, 16, and 17). I believe this is the only way for states to reassert the relationship the original Constitution settled upon between the federal government and the states within, for the states to get back the authority au thority that has been systematically wrested from them over the course of two centuries. I believe this is the only o nly way to keep centralized p planning lanning to from running our country into the ground as it did the USSR. “idea list”, but you are an idealist with no ideals. You You want to destroy You say you are an “idealist”, platforms, have no politics, no laws, etc.
I feel I've made my ideals fairly clear so far. far. I believe in liberty, and with that liberty the responsibility to use or lose it. I want to subvert platforms and politics because they insult the intelligence of modern individuals by convoluting the big picture. By advocating any government I am admitting the necessity of some laws, but I maintain that they should be minimal. I believe each arbitrary, unnecessary law entered into the code diminishes the respect for that code and thereby its effectiveness to govern. You ou are starting to sound more like the anarchist you claim not What will you put in their place. Y to be. “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” Aristotle20 In the place of excessive laws, platforms, p latforms, and politics, I propose respect for citizens rather then disdain. I propose honesty in the face of sugarcoating. I propose a return to the idea that our freedoms are inherent, granted by an authority higher than any of mankind, and that the purpose of government is to secure those freedoms--not to dictate fairness or ensure prosperity. I propose a resurgence of personal accountability among our citizenry, citizenry, that we may put pu t an end to this chapter of government holding everyone's hand though everything. I propose that our government shown its place, our arbiter of thebe bare necessities of not the as rule ofnanny, law. but as our vigilant protector and representative I hesitate to start another tangent, but I'm curious whether your counter arguments are originating from your actual principles or a desire to play devil's advocate. Do you honestly need me to point out the common threads between socialism and our governments current actions? Do you really think the CRA and the regulation being clamored for now falls under "laying the groundwork" as we discussed? According to Padme, you call yourself a social libertarian. I've not heard h eard the term before and am curious as to what exactly you stand for. for. It seems to me that any variety of libertarian would object to the size and the scope of our current government. Also, beyond this initial objection one would expect at the status quo, I would expect nothing less than unabashed outrage at the current agenda being railroaded through congress under cove coverr of AIG bonuses and Swine Flu. At the risk of contradicting my desire to come to resolutions before moving on, I suggest we try to whittle down our lines of discussion, or perhaps distill them into core concepts. I still believe we should settle one dispute before getting into another, but your method of refutation consists of diluting the issue with tangent tangen t after tangent. We started talking about the econ economy omy,, and now no w we're talking about everything under the sun with nary a resolution to be found on the economy. If I didn't know any better I would think you don't actually want to resolve anything, but rather just to keep my efforts busy putting out fires fires so you can come away feeling you directed the course of the debate and somehow won. I have stated my principles. I challenge you to state yours, or else state your objections to mine in no uncertain terms. Every curve ball y you ou have thrown me I have hit out of o f the park. If you disagree, stop throwing curve balls and bring the heat. 20
Ironic quote from a liberal.
Round 5 It may seem I am the advocate qu estions are to help provide me clarity of advo cate for the devil, but my questions your positions. I am still having great difficulty in understanding just where you stand. Allow me to review and comment. You criticized our president for talking about change chang e and having no ideas to back it, but you seem to be doing the same thing. What would you do about AIG, GM, Chrysler, banks, the recession, taxes, budget deficit, national debt, social security, and Medicare (we can talk foreign policy later). No more “I stand for liberty”, “throw the bums out”, “no tax”, “the government sucks”, sound bites. What specifically do you stand for and why? You You may think you are being specific, but you are not.
If you haven't seen the clarity c larity in my positions you haven't been paying attention. At the close of 21 your email you deride me for using general ideas and not specific policy initiatives. That is my objective. I have general ideas, or principles, if you will, that govern my decisions and shape my opinion of how governmental authority should behave. I can defend (and have defended) these principles the facepolicy of whatever hypothetical situation me,bewhatever hot topic as you choose, or in whatever initiative you wish to discuss,you butthrow I will at only repeating myself I have done for five emails. Liberty,, OK I can go with that. So you support the right to bears arms, the right to do Ideals: Liberty drugs (even steroids), the right to not wear a seat belt (seat belt laws are state laws not federal law.. The initial seat belt law in Tennessee was signed into law by a republican, Lamar law Alexander), Your review of my ideals, namely liberty, starts out fair enough. Liberty does extend to the following: the right to bear arms, check; to do drugs, check; not to wear a seat belt, check. I didn't know that seat belt laws were state, but it doesn't change my argument. I oppose them in Tennessee, but I shouldn't have a say what the voters of V Vermont ermont or Kentucky want to do on the matter. matter . So, Lamar Alexander signed intoAlexander. law the Tennessee seatdone belt anything law. All you've done the is give me a reason to regret voting for Lamar Alexander . You You haven't to diminish crux of my argument: that many government officials presume it is their job to protect the people of their own pitiful selves. Your review quickly devolves to presumption and a narrow view of liberty however, as evidence [ sic sic] below. …the right for gays to openly serve in the military, The right for gays to openly serve in the military? Check--if by "openly serve" you mean serve without restriction. If you mean for gays to essentially cause an unnecessary scene in the military,, where sexuality should be the last thing on anyone's mind, and not have to deal with the military 21
The preceding paragraph was originally at the end of my correspondent’s e-mail. I’ve arranged it for clarity.
consequences--count me out. Equality means not granting anyone special privilege, no matter how wrongly treated a person's ideological forerunners may have been. The don't ask don't tell policy apparently wasn't too far off the mark. If someone someone is so aggressively sexual as to disrupt the proceedings of the military, it shouldn't matter if that person happens to be gay, he or she should be reprimanded for that behavior. If we're talking about a person who's demeanor leaves no question as to their sexuality, perhaps we should consider that an overly effeminate soldier is not an effective soldier regardless of gender or sexual preference. the right to have sex in the manner and with the person of ones own choosing, The right to have sex in the manner and with the person of ones own choosing? Check, provided that sex is consensual and with an adult and it doesn't have to concern anyone but those involved. I shouldn't have to know what kind of kinky shit happens in anyone's bedroom, gay, straight, married, single, swinger, or other. other. Unless your sexual exploits land you in the hospital or jail, no one needs to know, acknowledge, or much less pass judgment. the right to marry anyone one may pick, The right to marry anyone one on e may pick? Absolutely, Absolutely, check--if you can find a church that will marry you, do your thing. The debate about gay marriage has nothing to do with the right to marry,, to marry commit lifeeverything to your soul sou mate before Godtrying (or Gaea the Earth Goddess if yousocial prefer) and familyyour family. . It has tol do with activists to over correct a perceived injustice and legitimize through force of law their own opinions. op inions. If the argument is for gay couples to be able to exist together as a single legal entity, last time I checked contracts could still be drawn up between two parties. And don't even get me started on joint filing for income tax, as, surprise surprise, I oppose the very existence of an income tax. the right to burn the flag, The right to burn the flag? No, No , I believe this is tantamount to a mild form of treason. While I don't believe perpetrators should be put to death as in more serious cases of treason, this goes way beyond free speech, and calls into serious question a person's loyalty, not to a particular administration, but toward the very nation in which he h e or she is currently residing and the welfare of its people. I believe the first offense should result in a ticket, second offense should be a week in jail, and the third offense should be understood to be the offender's renunciation of his citizenship, resulting in immediate deportation to a nation deemed to share similar sentiments with the offender. the right to have ones phone calls private and not monitored by the NSA, The right to have one's phone calls private and not monitored by the NSA? Check. If you're referring to the NSA's use of Echelon, the signals intelligence collection system which was allegedly abused by the Clinton administration, I find it by all accounts to be worrisome, if a little melodramatic. If you're referring to the executive order signed by President Bush in 2002 that authorized interception of domestic calls placed by or received by international terror suspects, I find it regrettable and deeply ironic that it has come to spying within our own borders, but it is necessary. necessary. Very Very few people object to the existence of the NSA. Most people know spying
takes place and is necessary. The objection comes when one of our own stands to be scrutinized. Even then, popular tolerance and endorsement of another agency, the FBI, indicates that most people believe that even home grown threats need to be monitored when they present themselves in a substantial way. It would seem the objection is one of jurisdiction rather than moral outrage to domestic surveillance. The NSA wire tapping "scandal" was/is the Democrats grasping at straws to demonize Republicans, namely W, W, knowing full well that a much more intrusive and pervasive apparatus was already in place and presumably not being abused. The whole ordeal was over a war time executive order in response to an unprecedented attack on our own soil, which essentially only modifies jurisdiction in very specific and rare instances, and to the best of my knowledge hasn't been accused of one specific abuse. the right to a warrant prior to search, The right to a warrant prior to search? Check--The fourth amendment is still in place. I assume you're alluding to the aforementioned executive order, the subsequent NSA activity activity,, and the allegations that it circumvented FISA warrants. In my research, however, all I have come across are allegations. I have yet to come across one instance when a citizen's fourth amendment rights have been infringed upon. If I'm going to get worked up about executive fiat I require an example of abuse, not just the potential. I believe the jury is still out on the legality of the matter, but I suspect that, sinceone, the the Obama administration is currently curr towing the same line as the Bush administration on this verdict will be friendly to ently the executive branch. the right to publish porn, The right to publish porn? Check--provided every effort is taken to assure the public of the legal status of the material’s material’s participants. the right to go nude, The right to go nude? This is way too simplistic an interpretation of liberty if you ask me. Liberty is a concept: the human race’s race’s idealized understanding of the freedom that tha t is built in to the natural world. It is a hallmark of civilization, not unlike un like clothing (the practicality of which begins with utility and protection and ends with decency and the moderation of our animalistic sexual urges). As As such, liberty demands a healthy hea lthy respect for civilized society society,, in which you’d be hard pressed to find unabashed and constant constant nudity. nudity. Some restraint must be exercised by a society’s inhabitants in the matter.
the right to utter anything on the radio or TV waves (section 1464)…… The right to utter anything on the radio or TV waves? Absolutely, Absolutely, check. If private entities are manufacturing and operating the means of broadcast and retrieval they should have complete control over its content and dissemination. etc. Liberty, baby, baby, liberty. (By the way the root for the word Liberal is Liberty). This is what is meant by social libertarian (social liberties).
I know the root of the word wo rd liberal is liberty. liberty. Liberal and conservative are terms meant to imply respectively to an objection or deference to tradition. T To o be a liberal a century cen tury and a half ago would have been to be a Republican. To be a liberal now is to reject capitalism and be tolerant of an ever expanding government, so long as that juggernaut has a donkey as its mascot. Modern American liberals are fond of the English language only insomuch as they can manipulate it to suit their ends. Attaching yourself to the sail of liberty in semantics alone doesn’t grant your positions any more legitimately. legitimately. When your positions display a narrow view of liberty it ceases to matter what lip service you pay to it. In other words, actions speak louder than words. Part of liberty is dealing with the consequences of your yo ur actions. I’m free to jump off my roof for fun, but I must deal the with the broken legs or worse. A gay man is free to plunge into the midst of a purposeful fusion and mobilization of aggression and testosterone (the military), military), but he had better be ready to accept that his feelings may be hurt or that he may be pressured a little harder to washout. A bank is free to make bad loans for profit, but it must deal with the loss of capital cap ital and reputation when its judgment proves to be disastrous. T To o expect government to step in and correct these instances is at best naïve and at worst dependent. Subverting platforms: Platforms do not insult the intelligence of the people; they are the result of the people. Platforms absolutely do insult the intelligence of people. They say if you accept point A you must accept point B, C, D, E, and F. They preoccupy the debate with divisive issues as a means to an end, getting elected. They are formulated as the result of endless calculation and polls rather then core beliefs. They are jerry-rigged amalgams of squeaky wheels and deep pockets. I am not sure why you hate platforms in general. I could see not liking specific platforms or even a particular plank, but just saying you dislike platforms means you dislike a process of collecting ideas and ideals. I made the distinction between parties and platforms to illustrate that I do endorse a process of collecting ideas and recognize a need to be able to rally under a common banner. I know the Republicans and Democrats are bigger than the day to day squab squabbles bles that we find ourselves in. Platforms, by design, are fully immersed in those squabbles. Likewise, the third party route has been tried and we’ve seen how well it’s it’s fared. I’m not interested in tearing down instit institutions utions for the hell of it. I realize that even the Green Party, or the Libertarian party party,, are all throwing out an agenda hoping someone will bite, and that’s my point. You know of course by you laying out your beliefs is in fact a platform. I don’t have an answer to every question. If pressed, if necessary, I will find one. My laying out of my beliefs is not a platform. I’m not insisting that other people rally behind everything I stand for.. I am saying what I believe in and arguing relevant issues. for Platforms did not give us Obama vs McCain, voters did. You’re right, primary voters are ultimately to blame for Obama vs. McCain, but only because
they too believed that the only way to win was to build bu ild a coalition of disparate beliefs in order to please everyone. I believe I can win by reminding people what they agree on and rallying them behind the simple yet profound ideas this country was founded upon. I believe people like myself are the heirs to the GOP legacy. However, the current GOP seems to be a party in search of a platform p latform since their ideas were dismissed by the electorate during the election. Bottomline, I believe be lieve the parties should have the 22 freedom (liberty) to form what ever platform they wish . I, like many, many others, reject the notion that the ideas of the Republican party were dismissed by the electorate, because they were never even presented to the electorate by our candidate. All John McCain offered was a platform, an election strategy. The GOP can’t survive many more rickety platforms. What we need is principled leaders with backbones strong enough enoug h to stand up against a century and a half of mounting tyranny and the current prospect of a one party government. Respect for citizens, Honesty over sugarcoating, resurgence of personal accountability: Great, I like it. How do we go about it? How do we go about respecting citizens, practicing honesty over sugarcoating, and promoting a resurgence of personal accountability? We could start by letting industries that have failed suffer the full consequences of those failures, like anybody else should be expected to. If the banks who took unnecessary risks are allowed to go under, the next bank will think twice before adopting those practices. If a car company promises p romises the world in pensions and benefits to its workers and retirees, and as a result has to charge higher prices for inferior products, leading to an overall decline in market share and the company’s solvency, solvency, these results should be faced head on so society can relearn that there is no such thing as a free lunch, no matter how many empty promises exist to the contrary. contrary. New Constitution: I like the current one. The new Constitution I proposed was an idea I haven’t quite settled on yet. I’m setting 2020 as the I intend to Presidential be at full stride contribution topart public admittedly arbitrarily due to ityear being the first raceinI my could legally take in. affairs, In the meantime I will continue to vote for representatives that will either turn out to be disappointments or champion my beliefs, all the while determining the exact details of how h ow I think I can best return this coun country try to its roots. If the interim years consist of the groundswell I am a part of making end roads in the political process I will join the charge charge and make my contribution, whether in leadership or support. If they continue as they have, and the political processors continue talking in circles while our country circles the drain, I will endorse a soft revolution, devoid of violence in all but self defense where the government would exercise unnecessary force against us. I like the current Constitution too, in fact I revere it. This is why I propose that, tha t, in the event of this soft revolution, the Constitution remain intact with respect to original principles and articles. I also believe that the bill of rights and the majority of the amendments should be added as articles of the new constitution. I still have a lot of research left to know exactly what new safeguards 22
This phrase leads me to believe that t hat he assumed I was proposing to prohibit platforms somehow.
would help and how to reword the amendments that have proven to be missteps, but I have a few years before I would need to have all those ducks in a row anyway. dislike islike the 14th or the 17th amendments? Not sure why you d The 14th amendment was aimed to grant citizenship to emancipated slaves born in this country. The way it is worded it grants immediate citizenship to anyone who is born on our soil. With With the premium placed on US citizenship these days it seems to me to be a pretty big loophole with the potential to dilute American culture and undermine our national identity identity.. Also, Also, it harkens back to making empty promises. The American government can only protect and serve so many people before it too gets overextended. The more people it makes promises to, the harder it becomes to keep them, and there are a lot of promises inherent in being a citizen of the US. The 17th amendment gives the vote for US Senators to the citizens of the state from which they hail. This sounds wonderful, except that Senators aren’t supposed to be representatives of the people. We We have a House of Representatives for that purpose. The Senate was, until this point, the house of Congress that represented state governments. With this amendment, the state governments were effectively castrated and left without representation in our country’s capital. This also introduced a redundancy that undermines the very existence of a bicameral congress. The Senate House were never supposed to be Varsity Varsity and Junior Varsity Varsity.. They were meant to be and twothe distinct avenues of self government.
The founding fathers gave use the ability to amend the thing, let’s just amend what is needed. I wish the situation were as simple as amending what is needed. You You misinterpret my proposal to reboot the Constitution as an objection to the document itself. What I object to is that the federal government has been operating outside ou tside the Constitution for quite some time now, bastardizing its checks and balances and its divisions of power, and that the people have been too coddled in prosperity,, despite all this, to notice. prosperity p ower NOW, If you are afraid of government power NOW, do you trust them to redo the constitution? Being thusly afraid of and outraged against the power wielded by the federal government, I don’t trust them to redo the Constitution. My proposal is to build a network of likeminded individuals to win governorships and legislative seats in the number of states necessary to ratify a new Constitution, same as the old one for the most part. Aft After er rebooting the government it would come back online with its bare essentials, but without all the superfluous programs that have caused the system to lag, and without the viruses that have undermined its operation and an d intent. This is, of course, a much more formidable goal than even becoming President. At this point I’m not even sure how the two goals can be intertwined or if on onee should win out over the other other.. All I know is that career politicians have long since asserted themselves as the new oligarchy in this country,, and their thirst for power has dovetailed in the last century with a spoiled and do country docile cile citizenry to place us today on the brink of socialism. The grievances American citizens endure today are every bit as egregious, widespread, and purposeful as those that prompted Thomas Jefferson to write,
“But when a long Train Train of Abuses and Usurpations, Usurpations, pursuing pursuing invariably the the same Object, evinces a Design to reduce them the m under absolute Despotism, it is their Right, it is their Duty, to throw off such Government and to provide new Guards for their future Security.” SIDEBAR: I cannot figure out what your issue is with the digital conversion? My objection to digital conversion is that government is effectively outlawing analogue broadcast. Nowhere in the Constitution does it say the government is to be the arbiter of efficiency and quality. quality. If somebody wants to do things the old fashion way they should be able to. Taxes: I get it, you do not like taxes, who does? But what is the alternative? How Economy: Taxes: would the government fund itself? The federal government was able to fund its operation for the better part of 124 years (apart from momentarily lapses of reason from 1861 to 1872 and in 1894), through 4 of 5 wars and several conflicts with Indians, and even through its expansion across the continent, without an income tax. It subsisted during these times on tariffs and very few internal excises on basic b asic consumer goods. Again, I don’t object to taxes on principle. I know the government needs sources of revenue. My objection is that as the government gives itself more and more authority and grows from year to year, the revenues required grow proportionately. So, like so many hidden fees, we are taxed more from day to day to pay for Departments and expenditures that were never intended to be part of the federal government. Tangents: Yes, Yes, there were laws legalizing slavery, The Missouri compromise, the Kansas Nebraska Act, and even the Dred Scott vs Standford decision decision from the Supreme Court all in some way legalized slavery. The civil rights movement did not bring about the 13th amendment, amend ment, the Civil War War did. The federal government did not acquiesce to a movement in passing the 13th Amendment in 1865, it led. The Reconstruction Republicans (better know as the Radical Republicans) did little to quickly q uickly reverse the trends of post Civil War racism and discrimination. The Congress did pass the Civil Right Act of 1875, but allowed the states to pass Jim Crow (separate-but-equal) laws immediately after the acts passage. Later Jim Crow laws were upheld by theand Supreme Court Plessy v. Fergson v. Not until Board of Education in 1956 later with theinCivil Rights Act and1896. the passage of Brown the 24thvs.amendment in 1964, did “state” sponsored discrimination begin to end. Even after the passage of the act, several southern governors tired to block blacks from entering school that is until the federal government, under both Republican and Democratic presidents, finally sent troops to force entry. entry. Passing laws to preventing discrimination may not be a true free market principal, but I believe we are better people than that. It’ It’ss interesting that you say with regard to the Civil Rights movement that you “believe we are better people than that.” My whole argument is that we’re better people than you and your ilk give us credit for. I contend that we don’t need laws to tell us how think; that the fall of segregation may have been hastened by the Civil Rights Act and the 24th amendment, but bu t the very same public sentiment that was rallied to make those changes could have been localized to repeal the Jim Crow laws, without turning to the federal government g overnment to dictate that the sentiment be shared by all. Every argument you’ve presented, from discrimination to the housing bubble to
the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution, has been firmly rooted in the belief that we are only better people when the government makes us that way way “I favor the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and it must be enforced at gunpoint if necessary”. Ronald Reagan As for the Reagan quote, I followed the rabbit hole on that one and the only other place I could find it other than the quotes site you pulled it from was on liberal opinion sites with the stated goal of besmirching Reagan‘s legacy, where he was quoted as saying “…at “ …at the point of a bayonet…” rather than “…at gunpoint...” On three separate sites I found this version of the quote, accompanied by the claim that it was from the LA Ti Times, mes, October 20, 1965. I checked the LA times archives and couldn’t find any article mentioning either Reagan or the Civil Rights act on that date. That’s not to say that it didn’t exist or that he never actually said those words. It is just to say that, without verification and context, the quote does little for me. I suggest suggest next time you wish to make a point p oint by quoting someone I have respect for, you may want to spend more than 5 minutes Googling it. Comments: We have a mixed economy and have for over a hundred and fifty years. There is no such thing as a mixed economy. There are economies that are free and there are economies that operate at the whim of o f the government. The only remaining distinction is to which degree said government feels it can get away with controlling things. The fact that ou ourr economy has been subject to coercion from the federal government for over a century and a half only means that we surrendered that battle long ago. I like it because it is flexible and can adjust with the ebbs and flows of the business cycle. The economy was adjusting to ebbs and flows of the business cycle just fine before the government stepped in. Such intervention doesn’t d oesn’t facilitate this adjustment, it impedes and distorts it by forcing the economy to react indefinitely to the transient conditions of a particular ebb or a flow. I see government and business as partners. The government and business are not partners, and the fact that you see them as such only proves to me how naïve and/or and /or submissive of a citizen you truly are. Partners have equal say in decisions--one partner can’t impose its decision on the other, as the government can and does on business. Partners are engaged in the same pursuit--businesses are are out to make money, while the government has the alternate objective of securing the rights of mankind. Partners share the fruit of their labor--private endeavors raise the bar of prosperity for the entire nation, from which the government benefits twofold (a content, docile citizenry and a pretty hefty cut of the profits through exorbitant taxes) with nary a contribution con tribution to its “partner “partner.” .”23
That is unless we consider government subsidies, which whi ch is hardly reciprocation.
Not all solutions are total government nor are they total free market. You are right about one thing though. Not all solutions are all government or free market. This is because problems don’t always apply to both government and free market. Some problems, like foreign policy and wartime strategy, are the jurisdiction of government problem solvers. Some problems, like downturns in the economy and unscrupulous business ethics, are the jurisdiction jurisdiction of private sector problem solvers. Since we will celebrate the 40th anniversary an niversary of the moon landing in July, let’s let’s talk about NASA. NASA, a government agency, was the lead in the project, but worked with private private contractors to build the systems required. You evoke NASA as a shining example of our “mixed” economy econo my.. Government subcontracting of private contractors may have been a collaborative effort, but it’s it’s hardly an example of a mixed economy. Your point would have hav e been better served if NASA had forced or required private companies to repurpose their research toward space travel. The fact that it subcontracted them only indicates that the line between private p rivate sector and public sector remained clearly defined in this instance. For economy Igot $7.00 in that return. technologies were that wereevery spun $1.00 off to spent, privatethe businesses. dare to say no New private company had thedeveloped funds or drive to run a program of this scope without the government as the lead. 24 The impressive return rate of 7 to 1 is a testament to the efficiency of the private sector and the subcontractors representing it in this case, not to government interference into the market. There is a balance between government and private sector and this balance swings like a pendulum. I don’t know where you get this idea that “balance between governmen governmentt and private sector swings like a pendulum,” but it certainly doesn’t d oesn’t come from the founding documents or the history of this country. country. During certain times we the people demand less government involvement, and other times we demand more. Our country was founded on on the demand for less government gov ernment involvement. The “other times” in our chronicle when we have demanded more have been in result to perceived crises and the government involvement we got has never gone away. Currently the people are demanding more. I have no problem with the TARP program, program, government stimulus, nor the bail-out for banks. I believe the government has a role to step in during bad economic times and then remove itself during good times.
Let us not forget that the space race, enterprising though it may have been, was itself driven by foreign affairs vis a vis the Cold War, War, and, to some degree, falls under national defense.
The government steps in during bad economic times because misguided people such as yourself believe the government has the role to do so, but no matter how much you believe its role is to remove itself during good times, it simply doesn’t. I give you Social Security. Security. I give you the 25 FDIC. I give you the IRS. I give you the New Deal. You mention the “heavy hand” of the Obama administration, but what about the heavy hand of the republicans. How about your very v ery on Senator (who you voted for), Bob Coker. Let’s Let’s take a quick look at his proposal for GM and Chrysler: Corker had crafted a three-part plan: · It would have required the two firms closest to bankruptcy, bankruptcy, General Motors and Chrysler, Chrysler, to reduce their debt by two-thirds. Bondholders would have “plenty of incentive to make sure that the debt is reduced by two-thirds” or risk losing even more if the firms go into Chapter 11, where their bonds might be further discounted, Corker said. “We’re going to force them into bankruptcy if they don’t do this,” he said bluntly blun tly.. · He also would have required that the Voluntary Voluntary Employee Benefit Association, Association, the entity created by the car firms and the UA UAW W to handle retiree health care benefits, accept stock in lieu of halfso. the“Ifcash payments due.bankrupt, The carmakers had agreed to fund but can no longer afford to do a company goes these future payments are VEBA never going to happen anyway,” he said. · Finally Finally,, Corker’s bill would have forced the UAW to lower its members’ wages to the level of employees at Honda and the other foreign-owned car manufacturers operating in the United States. “USA Today” Looks like Bob wanted to use the power of the federal government to “force” management and labor to do several things or face his threat of bankruptcy. What happened to free markets in the Republican Party? You keep throwing up Republicans who do questionable stuff as if to imply I’ve stuck my foot in my mouth. So Bob Corker tried to get in on the power play too. Y You’re ou’re correct in assuming that I voted for Corker in the general genera l election. You’re You’re vastly incorrect in assuming that he had my endorsement. If memory serves me I voted for Van Van Hillary in the primary, primary, but alas, the party chose Corker. I followed the debate between Corker and Ford, and though I had serious doubts about how much I could trust Corker, I knew I couldn’t couldn’t trust Ford. As it turns out my suspicion of Corker was well founded, but I don’t for a second regret that he is in the Senate at the moment. He may be deluded, delude d, as the rest of Congress is, into thinking that they’re doing the car companies a favor by propping them up for a bit, but the R in front of his name is one of very few safeguards this country has today. His conditions are downright generous compared to those agreed to behind closed doors under the the Obama administration, but that doesn‘t change my objection to him even playing ball on this. I‘ve already explained my thoughts on preservation of party with destruction of platform. Corker and McCain are the liberal wing wing of the GOP. GOP. I hate to take the wind out of your yo ur sail, but this comes as no surprise to me. 25
Are we to infer that we haven’t seen “good times” since these programs were implemented?
The housing bubble was not mandated by the government. Banks and other lending institution were not forced to make bad loans. If I didn’t know any better, I would say you aren’t even listening to my arguments on the housing bubble. I have said since the beginning that the government didn’t force everyone’s everyone’s hand. While it did force some hands, I know that some people took advantage of its tacit endorsement of ultimately unsound business practices. I still maintain that proponents of the CRA and similar legislation have done little to diminish the fact that these government policies opened the door for and lead the charge on risky loans for the sake of promoting home ownership. The Liebowitz article you sent even says this in his summary, “At fault is a mortgage system run by flexible underwriting standards which allowed these speculators to make bets on the housing market with other people’s money”. I think the key word is “allowed” not forced. I forwarded the Liebowitz and Gramlich articles to you with my last email so I couldn’t be accused of being one sided in my research or logic. The fact that you trot out the one line in Liebowitz‘s article that vaguely reinforces your case does nothing to disprove the other 37 pages that strongly reinforce mine. d ecline of usury laws following the Depository In the Gramlich article, he says, “The earlier decline Institutions Deregulatory and Monetary Act of 1980 certainly played a role. Now it was no longer illegal for lender to make higher-priced mortgages- if the borrower’ borrower ’s credit history was not so strong, the lender could just charge higher interest rates. Mortgages denial rates fell noticeably.” noticeably .” The lenders made the choice to make the loans, and were w ere not force to do so. Later La ter he says, “To their surprise, most banks found that CRA lending was pretty good business.” bu siness.” So not only were not forced, but they like it………a lot. Bank stock prices soared. One last point, Gramlich goes on to say, say, ”Unlike conservative, staid, prime prime mortgage market featuring fixedfixedrate, long-term mortgages made under tight supervisory conditions, the subprime was the Wild Wild West. Over half the mortgage loans were made by independent lenders without any federal supervision.” Ooops. Did he just say “federal supervision”. It looks like he is making the point that maybe part of the problem was a system that lacked “tight supervisory conditions” and worked without “any federal supervision”. I tend to agree. Further, bad loans and lack of oversight were not the only factors. Several things like a liquidity trap, mark-to-market, derivative trading, and yes federal government failure to recognize the problem also added to the problem. It is not as simple as saying, “the government made me do it.” To Gramlich, and to your parroting of his opinions, I say that to blame lack of regulation or supervision would be to assume that people are motivated to certain tasks by their legality alone. That’ss like blaming alcoholism on the legality of alcohol. There has to be some reason for That’ someone to abuse a freedom. Suppose the government had said alcoholics couldn’t be held accountable for drunk driving and made special accommodations for them, and soon after society was plagued with a sudden influx of drunk driving. When someone challenged these accommodations on the basis that they might have encouraged the risky beh behavior, avior, would it be an effective counterargument to say alcohol is poorly regulated? It’s not as simple as saying “the government let me do it.”
I believe in balance. Liberties vs. Rules As for the balance of liberties and rules, you yo u seem to be contradicting yourself. So far I as I can tell, you don‘t see rules and liberties as opposing oppo sing sides of a scale, but rather as cause and effect respectively. Government vs. Private sector Your previous arguments also betray your concept of balance with regard to government vs. private sector. sector. Every example we’ve discussed you’ve come down in favor of government. Labor vs Management Though we haven’t discussed labor vs. management managemen t at all (this is in no way an invitation to begin discussing it now), I would venture to say that you’d be hard pressed to find an instance which you stood with the latter. Realism vs Idealism You also fail the balance test with regard to realism vs. idealism. You You are an idealist posing as a realist. You You support tenets of socialism on the idealistic hope that America’s America’s version will work where other versions have floundered or failed, all the while pretending that your sober analysis of real market forces leads you to believe that these steady increments are justified. Liberal vs Conservative Most laughable is your belief in the balance ba lance between liberal and conservative. I struggle to think of one idea you’ve brought to the table in our correspondence that resembles conservative thought. If this is your idea of balance than I can safely say yo you u don’t fully understand the concept. Ying vs Yang. 26 I believe the people are smart enough to understand that our society, government, economy are living things that grow and change with the times. “In a healthy nation there is a kind of dramatic balance between the will of the people and the government, which prevents its degeneration into tyranny.” tyranny.” Albert Einstein27. In the quote you provided, Einstein says the balance exists between the will of the people and the government, not private sector and public sector. He doesn’t warn of economic woes if this balance is lost, he warns of degeneration into tyranny.Society, tyranny.Society, government, and economies do 26
Case in point. The quote was originally email’s closing thought. Since it’s placement seemed arbitrary arbitrary,, I’ve relocated it to preserve the integrity of my argument. Big whoop, wanna fidaboudit? 27
change with time. This is no excuse for us to accept changes that aren’t beneficial or to stand by as our government degenerates into tyranny. un til the person next to you exercises It is too easy to yell about liberty until ex ercises their liberty with which you disagree. My brand of liberty doesn’t encroach on the liberty of others as you seem to con contend tend it does. I challenge you to find one on e instance where it would, without putting words in my mouth or assuming that I ride the party line on every issue. I contend that your brand of liberty, the liberty offered by Obama and Sotomayor, seeks to displace misery away from its own interests, with either indifference or outright hostility toward the plight of those on whom that misery lands. Yours is a liberty that would force people to accept and financially support beliefs that are diametrically opposed to their own. The people exercised their liberty by voting for our current administration and government. Just because your side lost, does not mean liberty is not being practiced or defended. The majority of Americans feel good about their current government 28. Some people exercised their liberty by voting in the current administration and government. Some exercised their liberty in voting against it. Liberty is not n ot being practiced or defended by our federal government, not because my side lost, but because the side that won has the same narrow,, two wrongs make a right approach to liberty that you do narrow do.. If you wish not to run off on tangents, then you need to speak in specific terms. I have spoken in very specific terms. You You asked me about the economy, I stated clearly that I don’t believe the government should concern itself with the finer points of the economy. What in the last century has convinced you yo u that the federal government is responsible with its own finances and should be entrusted with those of the private sector? I’ve stated specific objections left and right and you’ve sidestepped each and every one of them. liberty, hate the constitution, and It is hard to have a discussion when all you say is you like liberty, government is evil. I have explained, through the aforementioned instances, my belief and trust in liberty, but you are simply putting words in my mouth saying I hate the Constitution. I have read the Constitution, and have found little in it to object to outside the aforementioned amendments. I cherish the Constitution and resent how unabashedly it is being deliberately undermined, by the likes of soon to be Justice Sotomayor. Sotomayor. My proposed reboot of the Constitution was in keeping with my belief in honesty. honesty. Rather than repurposing the judiciary under cover of sympathetic life story, story, I propose rallying the people of this country into returning to the Constitution Constitution as constituted and having an open discussion and debate over which twists and contortions of it we wish to further enshrine. I have also made clear my my belief that government is not inherently evil, but has the overwhelming tendency and disposition to abuse its power. Our founders understood this and went to painstaking lengths to keep it in check. Their successors lost sight of this caution over 28
How do you figure?
the course of roughly a century and a half and the following half century began a steady decent into socialism. I only object to government insofar as it resembles tyranny, examples of which I have cited specifically and you have chosen to ignore. It is hard to have a discussion when you change the subject every two seconds and then can’t keep up with the common threads I’m forced to weave throughout the disparity of your topics. It’s It’s hard to have a discussion when you have to resort to grossly mischaracterizing my words and intent to get your points across. You present many great issues and problems we face, but what are you specific ideas and solutions. Saying you dislike platforms is no idea or throwing out o ut the constitution just means you dislike someone else’s ideas without having any of your own. Now the hard h ard part, what are your ideas for change? The reason I hadn’t gotten to specific policy initiatives of my potential p otential administration is that it is still at least eleven years out, and I don’t know the exact mechanics of how things will have to play out. Moreover, since the change I propose is, dare I say, say, regressive in nature, my policy initiatives would essentially be a litany of repeals. You criticized our president for talking about change chang e and having no ideas to back it, but you seem to be doing the same thing. I criticized Obama for not articulating a plan of action because he couldn’t do so even when he had his party’s endorsement, when he was a matter of months from nut crunching time. What would you do about AIG, GM, Chrysler, banks, the recession… abou t AIG, What would I do about AIG, GM, Chrysler, banks, and the recession? I would stay as updated about their circumstances as regularly as was conducive to my understanding of them, but I would let them fend for themselves. I would veto any attempt by Congress to buy controlling interest in any private enterprise, especially in the midst of a recession. The balance you champion between public and private sector relies on each sector representing a distinct aspect of society.. It also implies each sector occupies the same space on either side of the fulcrum, the law. society law. The actions you point to as balance, the actions of the Obama administration and his rubber stamp of a congress that make a mockery of checks and balances, effectively shift the balance board on the fulcrum so that more of it lands on the side of government. If it were a true balancing act the private sector, when the pendulum swung back in its favor, favor, could force the hand of the government. The best it can hope to do, even in the most affluent times, is grease the palm, and even this is recognized to be an underhanded procedure. …taxes,29 budget deficit… As for the budget deficit, this puzzle is only on ly as complicated as deciding which superfluous, futile expenditure to curtail and to what degree. For starters, eliminate eliminate or drastically reduce any and al alll foreign aid money; you wouldn‘t give a homeless man a few hundred bucks if you were maxed out on your credit card and the creditors were calling. Budget deficits don‘t just fall out of the sky, they are called into existence when someone spends money they don‘t have. That this is 29
The Fair Tax Tax would be a good place to start.
even a topic of political debate tells me that far too many Presidents have taken for granted that we‘re going spend more than we can take in. …national debt… For my next trick I’ll shrink the National Debt by ceasing the war on drugs by having the DEA separated into administrative a dministrative and enforcement personnel and absorbed into the FDA and the ATF ATF,, respectively,, for the time being. Prison populations will drasticall respectively drastically y fall, resulting in fewer budgeting needs for their upkeep. Criminal kingpins will be undercut by legitimate businessmen and a huge sector of the black market market will be available to which to apply excises. Revenues go up, expenditures come down, and after several years of fiscal discipline the debt will be repaid. Certainly other additional agencies could be repurposed or eliminated. The IRS comes to mind. …social security… Social Security has been mathematically proven to be an empty promise. It‘s an Administration we could do without, and it brands us with a number that follows us all our life and siphons money from our disposal to that of an out of control federal spending machine. I say, pick a date past which all Social Security withholding ceases. Anyone who has attained 55 years of age on this date will receive their benefits when they reach the age required, but benefits be nefits will be limited to 20 years to any new recipients after said date. This gives 20 to 30 years for those whose benefits will be cut to secure their own retirement. The Social Security Admini Administration stration will be downsized to reflect the reduction in payouts as recipients pass away, and will eventually be dismantled. …and Medicare (we can talk foreign policy later 30). Medicare: my prescription is much the same as with Social Security. Stop the shell game and face facts. People are entitled to medical care only insomuch as the federal government decided they were in an effort to appear sympathetic and an d win reelection. If all Medicare payments ceased at this very moment, no matter how many people kicked and screamed, the government would not be responsible for the deterioration of health among our country’s elderly and ailing. That blame falls to the natural order. order. The government would be cast as heartless for ceasing to pay bills of private citizens, but I would remind the people that if we‘re we‘re out to blame anyone but nature we may as well blame the health care providers who charge such outrageous fees. They could provide the services for much less (or at their own expense if the Hippocratic oath carries any weight with the profession these days). We wouldn’t expect them to take this hit, so why do we expect the government to? Medicare and Social security are prime examples of where I believe our country has all but abandoned self reliance because of the empty promises of government. No more “I stand for liberty”, “throw the bums out”, “no tax”, “the government sucks”, sound bites. In the final paragraph of my last email e mail I called you out on your unproductive debate tactics. I criticized you for ignoring the vast majority of my arguments (when you y ou would or could not 30
Apparently that’s just one tangent too many.
refute them) and picking up new lines of debate as a means of dismissing my well articulated points. I effectively told you to stop wasting wasting my time trying to pull one over on me, and tell me what you believe in. Your Your response has been to continually put words in my mouth, to disregard or purposefully misinterpret my stances for the sake of prolonging debate, to balloon irrelevant aspects of certain topics into multiple paragraphs, and to state your principles in mildly witty little one-liners. Then you have the audacity to accuse me of using sound bites. What specifically do you stand for and why? You You may think you are being specific, but you are not. Stand up and be counted.
I spent four lengthy emails being very specific and in depth about my beliefs and bolstering them to your inane tangents. That after such consistent articulation you still claim uncertainty of my principles leads me to believe that you are either so enamored with your own opinions that you haven’t been genuinely considering mine, or are purposefully downplaying them in hopes I won’t notice when you try to flip the script on me. Between condemning me by proxy with Corker and rephrasing my “state your principles” p rinciples” challenge, your last response has been a very poorly implemented attempt at saying, “I know you are, but what am I?” Because you’ve shown that you can’t be trusted to stay on topic, and because I have argued with your tangents till I’m blue in the face with nary n ary a mention of them again, I am giving you a heads up: from here on out I will only address one topic at a time. Feel free to respond to any statements in this email you disagree with, but I will no longer spend days going over your arguments line by line to refute them when you’ll yo u’ll just disregard the majority of it anyway. I encourage you to pour over our emails thus far and find the one topic you feel is a winner for you and present your best case. I look forward to resolving it, win or lose. P.S. Since you have such an affinity for quotes without context, I figured I’d end on one I found on the quotes page you hyperlinked. “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.” Ronald Reagan
Round 6 Peace be with you. and also with you.
Round 7 OK, my friend, we have jumped outside of the original intent of this forum, which was to exchange ideas in a friendly dialog. I regret that you found my assertions or the vigor with which they were presented objectionable. Perhaps I did come on a little strong with some of my rhetoric, but if you will l recall I did not instigate this correspondence to earn a new friend. I suggested we take advantage of the fact that we were not friends friends to get to the bottom of issues that friends would just assume avoid for fear of upsetting the apple cart. I specifically warned you that, though I may come off as abrasive, I do not mean to insult you--Qui-Gonn Jinn, Jedi Master, soldier, family man, etc--but to impugn, where I deem appropriate, the policies you endorse. The severity of my words in this most recent email was deliberate. I don't know you well enough to know whether or not you actually are naive or submissive or any of the other things I inferred about you. All I have to go on are our discussions, and the stances you have taken lead me to that assessment of your disposition. I'll admit, it was my intent to rile you up, to get you to explain to me how you are not what your politics would imply. imply. Let us return to our roots. In the beginning I stated my belief b elief that politics could be discussed in polite company. I did not mean to imply that every exchange should be polite. I meant that heated debate does not necessarily preclude civility. civility. I believe it is possible to speak frankly without developing animosity.. That being said, I'll admit the severity of my words did animosity d id betray this belief slightly. slightly. To be completely honest, I have been getting agitated with you, but not because of your politics or any stern words. I am at wit's end with you y ou because, whether intentionally or otherwise, you only register about 20% of what I say. Let me extend an olive branch by seeing just where we agree on things and maybe then to agree to disagree. Let’s focus on liberty in our most recent exchange. We tend to agree on most things on civil liberties. However, I may go further than you on flag burning, gays in the military, military, going nude, and wire tapping. Your objection to my no holds barred approach and your willingness to agree to disagree reveal that you missed the entire point of my first email. I had to restate my arguments about monopolies, the civil rights act, and the housing h ousing bubble multiple times, not because you rebuked them with effective counterpoints, but because you continued to repeat your original argument regardless of the refutation I offered. I objected to the scattered nature of our exchange and decided only to address one subject at a time, and you take it to mean you have a one page limit 31 in which to discuss four issues. By pointing this out I am not trying to antagonize you further but to reiterate that I am not 31
See the end of this round.
debating you for the sake of debating. I am doing so to get to the bottom of issues that we disagree on, in hopes that lasting resolutions can be b e found. Forgive me for saying so, but bu t you appear to be skimming over my emails and seizing upon the one or two things you think you can trip me up on. This may be an effective form of debate if all you care about is being able to declare yourself the victor when all is said and done, but if you actually wan wantt to solve things it is imperative to digest the opposition's arguments and respond to their content content All that being said, it is entirely possible that we've gotten off on the wrong foot due to differences in methodology. I accept your olive branch. Perhaps I am underestimating how much common ground we do have on the subject of liberty. liberty. It is good to know that we both are aware of the unjust impositions our federal government already wages against a gainst us. Because I was not exactly clear as to what constituted a "topic", I will temporarily rescind my one topic limit to address the four you present. I consider them separate topics because, though they have an ideal, liberty,, in common, they are completely disparate permutations of that ideal. They are only liberty on ly vaguely relevant to one another and each will generate its own incongruent set of subtopics. I will present my first rebuttal to each and you can choose which one you wish you pursue. Sound fair? I see flag burning as an expression of free speech. Citizens have a right to demonstrate their disagreement government flag represents by burning its symbol. Thisemployees. seems far more peacefulwith thanthe maybe bombingthe a building in Oklahoma or bombing federal Citizens burn flags to show anger or they can burn a flag to show respect (when the flag is retired). The burning is the same, just the intent behind the act. I find it hard to throw someone out of the country for a peaceful demonstration. If the citizen owns the flag, it is their private property,, they can burn it. If the flag belongs to someone else, then they need to be punished. I property know the flag brings many emotions to many people. When I was in the Middle East, seeing it flying or displayed on my uniform brought a sense of pride. But I get just as prideful when I see Americans protesting and our government not throwing them in jail (like in Iran). Free speech is not some amorphous concept that encompasses all forms of expression. If this were the case it would not have hav e been necessary to further specify freedom of the press and peaceful assembly. assembly. Freedom of speech is just that: the freedom to speak, to articulate words with one's tongue and lips. To guess or construe further meaning from this is, in essence, to amend the Constitution in practice without jumping through all the troublesome hoops of ratification. Citizens have ample opportunities to voice dissent without resorting to a display of utter hatred and disrespect toward our nation. The flag is a symbol of national pride, not pride in government but in the people that government serves. It represents not the politicians and bureaucrats, but the soldiers and citizens--artisans, laborers, entertainers, entrepreneurs, etc. As tasteless and primitive as burning an effigy of a particular person person would be, that practice is easier to defend than burning a flag because the source of the citizen's objection is identifiable. The public can c an look on knowing the demonstrator reserved his or her animosity for a particular person. You You hit the nail on the head when you say the intent behind the act is of paramount importance. Given our freedom of speech, and the fact that whoever is burning a flag in demonstration is obviously choosing not to articulate through speech their objection to certain parties or policies but rather immolating the most general of symbols, it is a fair question to ask whether this person's animosity is reserved for the government. I liken it to treason precisely because it reveals intent. Treason does not require violence, only that one "adhere adheress to their enemies, enemie s, giving them th em aid and
comfort within the United States or elsewhere." When elsewhere." When our citizens demonstrate their disapproval of our government, not in any substantive way, way, but in direct emulation of our nation's self proclaimed enemies, the case can certainly be made that the intent is to demonstrate more solidarity with those enemies than with the United States. I have mitigated somewhat my thoughts on this issue after having read the majority of Tit Title le 18, Chapter 115. I still feel it is a mild form of treason, but in keeping with my belief that new laws should not be enacted if there are already laws to cover given offense, I don't it is necessary to make a specific crimean out of burning a flag. I doahowever feel that if an believe intentionally public p ublic display is made in which American flag is being burned, law enforcement has the duty to determine, to the best of its ability,, whether the intent of such display is to adhere to enemies of the United States. If this can ability be determined to be the case, the penalties ascribed to treason should apply. apply. Bottom line: I too am proud to live in a country where dissent is allowed to permeate without fear of recrimination, but the line must be drawn somewhere to distinguish dissenters from traitors. The literal literal destruction of a symbol of the country is as logical place as any to d do o so. Gays in the military military.. Gays are not looking for special privileges in the military, just not to be thrown out or passed over for promotions if they are gay. I have served in the Army for 25 years and I judge my soldiers based on o n performance and not on race, creed, or sexuality. I suppose you would know better than I would the procedures for p promoting romoting or discharging soldiers, so my argument regarding gays in the military is somewhat tentative. From what little I've read, I glean that the discretion of such is left to either the Secretary of the military department concerned or a selection board. In either case there seem to be no guidelines as to what factors can be considered in making such decisions (admittedly I could have m missed issed them, having just glanced over it). Whatever decision is reached and however it was reached is no more subject to scrutiny or inquiry than any other order handed down the chain of command. In effect, homosexuals who question their discharge or lack of promotion on the basis of discrimination are looking for special privileges: the ability to second guess superior officers, as well as immunity from consideration of certain aspects of their character. A person is no more accountable for being timid as for being gay, but it would be perfectly reasonable for those entrusted with making decisions about discharge or advancement to deliberate this aspect of his personality.. Why, personality Why, then, should it be off limits to deliberate deliberate sexuality? If a Secretary or selection board deems that a person is a fully qualified soldier, soldier, but has reason to doubt that his potential troops would follow his lead, it should not matter whether it was the disposition of the soldier in question or the other soldiers in the unit that lead to that decision. All that matters is whether the decision was what best prepared the unit u nit for the defense of the nation. Bottom line: The efficacy of the military trumps hurt feelings or offended sentiments any day. If a homosexual soldier honestly feels his promotion and/or continued service in the military would best serve national defense, perhaps he should swallow his pride and not endanger that service by asserting an irrelevant, highly controversial aspect of o f his personality.
Going nude. After living in Europe for three years, I have no problem with nudity. nudity. It is legal to go topless in many places and totally nude in many others. I give citizens a choice. You You didn’t see nudity in restaurant, schools, churches, just at the beach, swimming pools, etc. Even though they were nude, there is still a presumption of privacy privacy.. It was not an invitation for anything.
Everyone respected the person’s privacy (no picture taking). I think we actually have a misunderstanding when it comes to nudity. I took "going nude" to mean you objected to all regulation regarding nudity. If you believe there should be designated places in which this freedom can be exercised, I'm with you. I believe these ordinances should be left up to the states and counties, however, and not regulated federally federally.. Oddly enough, in researching I found, unless there was some exemption I missed, that. in TN it is technicallypublic illegalnudity even laws in adult oriented establishments to appear in a state of nudity nudity. This, coupled with the existence of a number strip clubs in our area, implies to me that laws regarding nudity are not the most widely or strictly enforced in this state. Given this leeway, leeway, I find it curious that this avenue of liberty, which is ultimately of little consequence, is one you decide to champion. Having worked with 1st Information Operations Command at Fort Belvoir and coordinated with the NSA, I have seen first hand what is possible and in limited cases, just what we do listen in on phone calls, emails, and any other form of electronic communications. I fully understand the need to keep ahead of the bad guys, but have a hard time seeing just where the line needs to be drawn to protect civil liberties. I have run up against the lawyers on occasions only to later see abuses of the system. I am still searching for an answer, but did not like the attitude that when we are at war anything goes. Sometime we lose ourselves in the process. Again, your military experience undoubtedly provides p rovides you with closer perspective than me to the NSA wiretapping wiretapping issue. So I don't have to extrapolate, would you please divulge what you can of "just what we do listen in on phone p hone calls, emails, and any other form of electronic communications" and the observed "abuses of the system?" Even without that specific knowledge, I have some fundamental arguments worth advancing. The fourth amendment secures our "persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and siezures." Even if external communications are construed to be either "papers" or "effects", which, again, would effectively undermine the amendment process, they are only secured against unreasonable searches. If external communications are conducted with an avowed enemy of the country,, is it not within reason that the NSA should intercept them? Furthermore, "search an country and d seizure" is an intrusive concept. It's inclusion was meant to prevent p revent disruption of innocent people's lives, homes, and property. property. In the event of wiretapping, as appalled as we are to see our perceived privacy intruded upon, nothing is disturbed or taken, only observed and perhaps documented. Anyone who has actually reads the privacy agreements of one's phone plan should know that someone is privy to one's personal information and call ca ll records, and that it is within the scope of the law to obtain these records. The NSA shouldn't be held accountable for people failing to thoroughly read contracts before signing them. At the end of the day, day, no one has the inalienable right to a phone, internet connection, or the ease of communication provided by either of them. Even if we purchase a phone or computer we must still agree to the terms of network usage specified by our phone or internet provider, most of which (Verizon ( Verizon,, AT&T, AT&T, U.S. Cellular , Sprint/Nextel Sprint/Nextel,, NetZero NetZero,, Charter , etc) contain language to provide for information sharing with government agencies. I'm not saying anything goes during wartime, just that we should not let our entitlement mentality (the expectation of complete privacy in quasi public forum) interfere with the successful execution execu tion of a war. war.
I have reached my one page limit. “What shall it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his his soul.” Jesus I hope I haven't given you further reason to be upset with me. I have learned a great deal in carrying on this exchange you, and that, it would be aI shame forcompunctions it to wither on of a I miscommunication or two.with Please know though have no inaccount saying where disrespect your politics or argumentative techniques, I do respect your service to this country. country. I trust we can come back from this precipice.
Round 7 Maybe I could ask you a favor. We We seem to go around in circles plowing up old stuff, how about a change? Let me check my bet and pass to you this round. I am curious on your position to the current health care debate. I am not looking for a fight, just really interest in the opinion. I have talked to several folks lately and always find it interesting to hear different view points. This may be fun since it is in the news daily. daily. You You can even focus in a specific piece. I want to make this more of a series of quick hitters than the multiple page events from our past. On the subject of health care, I am relieved that H.R. 3200 is facing such staunch opposition. I also find the extent to which its proponents propon ents have to misrepresent the debate surrounding it to be be quite telling of their true intent and tactics. To my knowledge, H.R. 3200 proponents have done nothing to quell legitimate concerns, nor to respond substantively to allegations arising from the text of the bill itself, of which most congressmen somehow remain willfully ignorant or intentionally deceptive. To the contrary, contrary, they have done everything in their power to dismiss, intimidate, marginalize, ostracize, and (if current reports prove accurate) literally accost dissenters, from among the ranks of the very people p eople the bill supposedly champions. Even without these troubling developments, I find it astonishing that anybody is willing to debate the issues of "health care reform" or even "health insurance reform." We We're 're accustomed to the word reform in politics. A policy, policy, program, or department is flawed and operates inefficiently so we reform it. This is not what is being proposed in Congress. Congress is, at best, proposing to insinuate their authority into a thriving public market, on the auspices of some largely fabricated "crisis". At worst it is laying the groundwork for state monopoly of health insurance and with it an unprecedented degree of sustained intrusion on the human condition. Though the old adage, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it," certainly applies to this legislation, it fails to capture the most significant aspect of the push. Given the context of the first six and half months of the Obama administration, and the ho host st of fascist and socialist policies attempted and enacted therein, I believe it is critical to recognize H.R. 3200 as a calculated, deliberate attempt to nationalize yet another significant chunk of the private sector. sector. To To frame the debate as anything less is to trust more in the arbitrary arbitrary statistics of crackpots and eggheads, to believe more in the parroting of DNC talking points that passes for journalism these days, than the reality that stares us in in the face more menacingly each day. Also I would like to take a few posts to go over some out of the ordinary things. Birth certificates, FEMA concentration camps, and [email protected]
. If you want to go with one of these first, please do so. From your last response, I think you may have misunderstood my outreach. I was not upset or offended by anything, I took from your tone that you were. I am going to try to keep my posts short and to a point and respond in a few days and not weeks so we can keep the line fresh and fast(er) pace. Its good to hear we're back on the same page again. I'm hesitant to move on to a new subject with
so many unresolved issues still the table, but I believe it's for the best in this instance. We We can always come back to them later if we wish, and it will be refreshing to deal with topics more immediately pertinent to the course our country is on. I too would like our emails to be more concise and frequent.
Round 8 Well, I am not n ot one to believe everything from the Democrats is fascist, socialist, communist or any other ist as much as I do not believe all Republicans cheat on their wives and are in the tank for the big health insurance companies. Lets test the logical integrity of your first first statement: "W "Well, ell, I am not one to believe everything from the Democrats is is fascist, socialist, communist or any other iist st as much as I do not believe all Republicans cheat on their wives and are in the tank for the big health insurance compa companies." nies." This disclaimer attempts to establish you as reasonable, above the fray, fray, and skeptical of absurd claims on either extreme. While failing in this attempt, as I will detail momentarily, you conveniently dismiss my argument that the Obama agenda is undeniably socialist and wreaks of fascism. You You insinuate that to recognize the practice of social socialism ism (government's essential purchase of AIG, AIG, Chrysler, Chrysler, and GM, the dogma of "fairness" that guides the administration's heavy hand with said companies, and the frantic dash to assert government control over general health care and health insurance) is tantamount to making the unsubstantiated claim that all Republicans are for sale or are are philanderers. To To follow your comparison to its reasonable reasonable conclusion, not all Republicans are crooks and cheats just as not all Democrats are socialists or fascists, but some of them are. are. Try as you might, you cannot dismiss this as an absurd claim. Thomas M. Magstadt defines socialism as "an ideology favoring collective and government ownership over individual or private ownership," and fascism as "A totalitarian political system that is headed by a popular charismatic leader and in which a single political party and carefully controlled controlled violence form the bases of complete social and political control." The Democrats in question (Obama, Pelosi, and Reid) have taken great strides strides toward turning public public sentiment toward toward the former and with each new legislative initiative inch closer to the latter. latter.
I wish we (the American people) could have an honest open op en debate. I, too, wish that the American people could have an honest, open debate. The best way to go about doing so, as I believe you and I personally have been over a time or two, is to digest the opposition's argument, look for holes in logic, and build your counter coun ter argument as both a refutation of the opposition and an endorsement of your own thought. The surest way to guarantee the absence of an honest, open debate is to be habitually dismissive of structurally sound arguments by way of clever witticisms witticisms and/or wispy filaments of logic that snap at the slightest tug, or to repeat repeat yourself ad nauseam as though emphasis will bolster a flimsy argument.
Scaring people with untruths like death boards and forced abortions is no way to have an adult discussion of issues. You cannot dismiss concerns about rationing and the effect it would have on the advanced care planning consultations proposed in Sec. 1233 of the bill. To To my knowledge the only person to have referred these provisions provisions as "death panels" prior to the President on Tuesday was Sarah Palin. The context is a little hazy, hazy, considering I haven't read the any of the facebook posts leading up to this, but here is what she said:
"The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’ Obama’ss 'death panel' pane l' so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their 'level of productivity productivity in society society,' ,' whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil." Admittedly,, her use of quotations is suspect, but only a fool would come away from this Admittedly this thinking she is telling people ther there are by going to beObama's literal death Herefforts critique, critique, though perhapsdown sensationally worded, worded, is ethat, Barack own panels. admission, to keep spending for the public option could very well lead to the government recommending through through these consultations to forego life saving operations. More troubling than these consultations co nsultations is that, in its proposed capacity as health insurance provider, provider, the government gov ernment will necessarily have to make decisions regarding regarding coverage of high dollar end of life treatment. To To reject Palin's critique of the bill on anything deeper than poorly chosen rhetoric is to make the impossible claim that all such decisions will end with the patient getting the needed need ed care. To my knowledge, opponents oppo nents of H.R. 3200 haven't made the claim that there will be forced abortions. Many are concerned about the possible reintroduction of the so called "Freedom of Choice Act" into the 111th Congress, Congress, which if passed and signed into law could lead to Medicaid and Medicare funds being revoked for hospitals that refuse to perform abortions. I, who have been immersed in the debate over H.R. 3200 since the details began trickling out, have only heard fleeting mention of these concerns from opponents of the bill. The other concern to pro-life voters is that tax-payers would be forced to subsidize abortion through the public option. This concern arises from the latitude granted in Sec. 122, Subsection (b) "Minimum Services to be Covered" which include, rather ambiguously "(3) Professional services of physicians and other health professionals." It is no stretch stretch of the imagination to conclude that this will be construed to provide for abortions. A greater leap of logic is to derive fr from om these concerns the notion that opponents to H.R. 3200 are, by and large, "Scaring people with untruths like... forced abortions." I find it curious that you hold up u p forced abortions as one of only two examples of supposed untruths said to be distracting from from substantive debate, considering potential effects on abortion haven't been in the forefront forefront of debate deb ate anyway.
The two sides need to talk the issues and points on which they may disagree in a more civil manner. Playing up people's fears may be wrong when those fears are are unfounded or overblown, but there is no substantive response to the current fears about H.R. 3200 that convinces me or others that is the case. My side is talking about the issues and points on which we disagree, and though their fervor may push the limits of civility, civility, as you and I have seen, fervor is nothing a little tough skin can't handle. These people wouldn't be driven to shouting over their congressmen if the congressmen had likewise talked about the issues and points on which they disagree rather than continually sidestepping them. Avoiding the nuts and bolts of a subject and pretending to be baffled when the opposition doesn't just accept it and move on is no way to have an adult discussion.
I do think the healthcare/health insurance industry needs some work.
You say you think health hea lth care and insurance need some work. Fair enough. I can't fault you for an opinion, but I can pose the question: What warrants your position, and the no non n sequitur that it is any responsibility or right of government to do the needed work?
Goo d competition Ishould do notdrive support a single prices down.payer system. I do support a government option. Good You say you are for a government option. Your reasoning that competition should drive prices down betrays your subsequent objection to single payer. payer. There is already plenty of competition in the health insurance field. The only way a government option is capable of driving down prices is to undercut the free market value. Presuming that widespread price gouging is the norm, which in itself is a bold claim to make and shaky ground from which to launch an argument, the insurance premiums may decline slightly for a time as profit margins taper off. Government would then have to display d isplay an unprecedented level of self restraint and unparalleled economic savvy to determine a profit margin margin for these companies that was suitable to continually motivate them to provide their service to the public, and then it would have to sustain this level in the face of constituents clamoring for even lower prices.
I tend to favor the health insurance exchange as proposed by b y the bill. It seems to give the states the ability to run the exchange if they wish. I've been meaning to bone up on the exchange program, as I am sure I would find objection to it, but in the interest of timeliness and succinctness I leave it to you to elaborate e laborate on your support.
I support covering pre-existing conditions. You say you support covering pre-existing conditions, but to take this stance illustrates a fundamental lack of appreciation for how insurance works. Insurance Insurance companies don't deny coverage to people with preexisting conditions based on some inexplicable disdain or indifference for their plight. They do so because any insurance industry sustains itself by maximizing enrollment while minimizing and mitigating risk factors. Their operating funds are a function of the number of people paying in to number of people drawing out. The whole concept hinges on this ratio. As heartless as it may seem to deny coverage to someone with preexisting conditions, it is the nature of the beast. Preexisting conditions equal high risk of frequent and chronic claims, which drive the price up for everyone else in the kitty. If private companies are prohibited from from exercising these criteria, criteria, premiums will will rise, leaving many with no option save the public option.
h ave insurance currently, you can keep it. There seems to be a little I like the fact that if you have confusion on this point. Good. Now that we both have h ave laid our cards on the table, let’s let’s try to tackle these things one at a 32 time . 32
All preceding italicized text was omitted from the actual dialogue in attempt to mend the tenuous state of the
You say, "I like the fact that if you have insurance currently, you can keep k eep it. There seems to be 33 little confusion on this point ." I honestly don't know where to start with this one. You You put this forward as though its [ sic] a positive effect of the bill and not the current state of the free market. Is the American public supposed to be beside itself with gratitude and excitement because we get to keep what is already ours?! That this is held up as merit of H.R. 3200 o only nly suggests further that the rest of the bill is understood to be intrusive, confiscatory confiscatory,, and superfluous. Moreover, inspection of the actual bill reveals that this is an empty promise. Sec. 102, which purports to protect "THE CHOICE TO TO KEEP CURRENT COVERAGE," COVERAGE," consists of three subsections, (a),(b), and (c). Subsection (a) defines "grandfathered health insurance coverage" as "individual health insurance coverage that is offered o ffered and in force and effect before the first day of Y1 if the following conditions are met:... the health insurance issuer...does not enroll any individual...on or after the first day of Y1... the issuer does not change chan ge any of its terms or conditions..." Subsection (b) provides for a grace period for employment-based plans to fall in line with the standards imposed by the bill. Subsection Sub section (c), under the heading "Limitation on Individual Health Insurance Coverage," states that "Individual health insurance coverage that is not grandfathered health insurance...may only be offered...as an Exchange-participating health benefits plan." The latter two subsections expressly alter current coverage, leaving only subsection (a) to redeem the section's heading. The promise that you can keep your current coverage is patently false when concerning employment based plans, and while true by technicality alone with regard to individual coverage, its implication of noninterference is certainly betrayed by this language. Moreover, as private insurance premiums go up due to the preexisting conditions clause and other "consumer protections," and as market forces pull the opposite direction in face of unfair competition from the public option, private insurance issuers will not be able to sustain themselves. Something, as they say, has got to give, and it sure as hell won't be the government. Honestly, I cannot fathom how you could make the statement "There seems to be little confusion Honestly, on this point" without being informed about this point solely by listening to Obama speak on the matter.. Simply repeating the phrase, "If you like your health care plan, you can keep your matter yo ur health care plan," doesn't make it so, nor does it even attempt to clear c lear up any confusion. The President's refusal to stray from this mantra, even to address and bolster its shortcomings, is telling of the lack of intelligence and abundance abundanc e of malleability he expects from the American people. I think it needs some work on the parts for small business. The exchange should be modified to be a little more small business friendly friendly.. Most small companies can not offer health choices. I am still looking at the time line for the phase ph ase in of the program. It is scheduled to take until 2018. I do have a little trouble on the individual insurance mandate. This is a tough one. one . I know it is
conversation and to adhere to my tactic t actic of not biting off too much to chew at once. Unfortunately, I misread this passage and allowed my incredulity at the resultant phrase to steer the conversation in a particularly circuitous, unproductive direction. In the end I believe it cost me my collaborator.
like the mandate for auto insurance and that the more folks in the pool the better. I guess on one side, one should have the right to be stupid and not have health insurance, but if they show up at the emergency room, do we turn them away? Like I said, I am still pondering this point. I would still like to see some more work on how to pay for things. The savings on Medicare and Medicaid would pay for part (about half), but there seems to be a tax hike on folks over $350,000.00. Since I've already made this longer than I intended, I'll reserve my comments about your mild reservations until you flesh them out in more detail. I would, however, like for you to explain to me where specifically the cuts to Medicaid and Medicare would be made and how those figures are reconciled with those of the Congressional Con gressional Budget Office.
Round 9 The meaning of section 102 is in the eye of the reader reader.. I respectfully disagree. The meaning of section 102 is not no t in the eye of the reader, but in section 102. The intent may be up for discussion, but what is in the bill is in the bill. If codified into law, law, the illusion of interpretive equality vanishes before the rigidity of enforcement. I agree the section needs more specificity, but I believe sine qua non of the section is to price all plans on a common standard of benefit. The problem is that the bill is too specific to support Obama's general claim that you can keep your coverage. When speaking to crowds of thousands, while being broadcast to millions more, he continues to reiterate this matter-of-factly, matter-of-factly, without reference to the specificity already within the bill that narrows the applicability of his remark. He doesn't say you can keep your health care plan, if you are part of the minority who have individual coverage. Shouldn't the whole point of a section whose heading is "PROTECTING THE CHOICE TO KEEP CURRENT COVERAGE" be to protect the choice to keep current cu rrent coverage, and not to attempt to impose new standards upon that very coverage? This allows all plans, to include the public option, to compete on a level playing field. These standards may attempt to level the playing play ing field, but as so many Democratic proposals do, they come from a refusal to consider that the playing field could already b bee level, that maybe the other team is winning because they're just a better team. Maybe they trained better, had a more diverse or creative playbook, or were just born athletes. Granting handicaps or penalizing the winning team only illustrates how little faith the referee truly has in the underdog. un derdog. The intent of a law to be fair isn't what goes on the books. What is enshrined in the US Code is the mechanism a law utilizes to attempt to achieve that intent. It is little comfort for future generations to marvel at intent when they face rigid laws that restrict their freedom. Here I return to my first point, that it doesn't matter whatwho you were or I take section 102 mean. If it law all that is what much it means to those empowered andto authorized bybecomes it (and hopefully to will the matter Supreme Court someday).
I understand the restriction to keep plans from changing after Y1 is to keep companies from providing grand benefits to gains clients prior to Y1 and then lower those benefits afterwards. I would say the provisions do not “expressly” “exp ressly” alter the current coverage; they keep current coverage from altering until the grace period is up. Once the grace period is up, to be “qualified” plans they must meet basic coverage levels. (i.e pre-existing conditions, nondiscrimination, nondiscrimination, guaranteed issuance, etc). By virtue of the fact that subsection (b) refers to a grace period, it necessitates that this "grace" be granted in relief of an obligation. A grace period is when an entity entity,, to which one has prior obligations, decides to waive those obligations for a time. To frame it as a grace period is to
establish obligation on the part of employment based policy holders and issuers to conform to new standards. As a health care plan is defined by its standards, and the effect of subsection (b) is to alter those standards after a designated time, it is, in the best possible light, putting an expiration date on your policy. This, combined with the lack of any qualifiers to the, "If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan" rhetoric, make for an intentionally misleading, blatant distortion of the proposed bill. I hesitate to use the word lie, because that word tends todissection, bog conversations grammar though I am usually a fan of linguistic I believe down in thisin instance its and use definitions, would be no n oand more incriminating. Whether he literally lied or not, his intent was to deceive d eceive the vast majority of his audience into thinking that their coverage wouldn't be tampered with when he knew perfectly well that it would. The fact that the web is full of varying opinions illustrates my use of “a little confusion”. I apologize for misquoting you in my last email, and for the context I assumed from misreading your statement, "There seems to be a little confusion on this point." As you may have surmised, I overlooked the pivotal article and took it to mean you considered the point to be settled. Though it's no excuse for misinterpreting your argument, I hope it explains my incredulity.
Round 10 The meaning of 102 IS in the eye of the reader. Both intent and meaning are up for discussion, the words of the bill are not. We both read the same words and come away with different meaning and intent of what the author envisioned. Correct, the words of the bill are not no t up for discussion. They are there as plain p lain as day. You You and I didn't read the same words and come away with different meanings. We both understood it to mean the same thing: (a) that once the law went into effect individual coverage would only o nly remain unaffected by the law if the issuer didn't enroll any new people (with the exception of of dependents) or change policy terms in any way; (b) that employment based insurance providers would have to meet new federal standards 5 years after the law's enactment; and (c) any coverage not considered "grandfathered" under subsection (a) must be an Exchange-participating plan. That these will be the effects of H.R. 3200 is not up for discussion. We We don't derive different meanings from the bill, just different opinions about its merit or necessity. necessity. Whether these changes sit well with us or not, the fact remains that they are changes.
The point of “PROTECTING THE CHOICE TO KEEP CURRENT COVERAGE” is to protect the choice to keep current coverage. The bill proposes two things. 1: Once a insurance company has a plan in place, it can not change it. This protects employers and employee from having a company make grand promises to get g et them on the books before b efore Y date, date, only to drop certain coverage or reduce reduc e benefits later. If the purpose of section 102 were to protect choice to keep current coverage it would delineate ways the government was not allowed change your coverage. Instead it takes for granted that the government will in fact change people's coverage and establishes a very narrow avenue for consumers to retain their plans, which they can be easily knocked off through no choice of their own. The one thing that could possibly qualify as protection of choice is the supposed intent of subsection (a) to keep insurers from pulling a bait and switch. If this were actually intended as a measure of consumer protection, wouldn't it stand to reason that it would punish the insurance issuer for pulling trick, rather than funnel disqualifying the policy popolicies licy from grandfathered as it does? As the such bill isa written, it would those whose were disqualifiedcoverage into the Exchange, which would necessitate ne cessitate new policy terms.. five ve years, the insurance company must meet the minimum standards as stated in section 2: After fi 122. The insured can keep their plans with the comfort of knowing that in five years, the insurance companies must new minimum standards. Subsection (b) doesn't even give employment employ ment based policy holders (the vast majority) any choice in the matter, let alone attempt to protect that choice. Though there is a delayed reaction, the policy changes will take place nonetheless. Requiring insurance companies to meet new standards will result in different policies, which the current policy holders will have no choice but to accept I do not believe the President is attempting to deceive or lie, just telling what his intent of the
“You can keep your current plan and in five years have one that may bill. Maybe he should say “You be even better”. Whether you believe it or not, the President is being deceitful on this point. In the face of concerns over the stipulations of section 102, he chooses not to address them but to repeat a hollow mantra. He doesn't even go into as much depth as you just have. He just recites his mantra, implies that anyone who doesn't him (without telling them just how this is so),immediately and attemptsbelieve to move on is assimply thoughmisinformed the point is settled. If he has read the bill he is aware of these stipulations. T To o fail to bring them up at the onset of debate is disingenuous, but could be b e written off as attempting to put your best foot forward. To refuse to even acknowledge them after they have been accurately read and objected to by constituents is nothing short of deceitful. Even if he shares your favorable opinion of the bill, his pledge for transparency certainly would require him to divulge why he felt the changes would be beneficial rather than implying repeatedly that changes won't be forced. I understand that you trust Obama and find it hard to believe that he would intentionally attempt to mislead America on this point. I, however, believe that a man who said on June 30th, 2003, "I happen to be a proponent of a single payer universal health care program," and then on August 11, 2009, "I have not said that I was a single payer supporter..." is not to be trusted. The deception may be more in the opposition making things up about the plan such as death panels, forced euthanasia, forced abortions, Nazi health plan, evil plan to fake a war to justify the building of a Clone Army Army.. Though I am fully prepared to explain how opponents of H.R. 3200 are not "making things up about the plan," I refuse to acquiesce to your attempt to chang changee the subject without first resolving the issue at hand: whether or not the blanket statement about being able keep your current coverage is accurate. You have provided no logical progression that supports this broad assertion. Instead you have illustrated the degree to which one must suspend logic to rea reach ch this conclusion. By contrast, I have illustrated how even the mechanisms supposedly in place to protect choice are virtually impotent in this regard and actually work to limit choice. If you are willing to accept accep t this assessment, I'd be happy to discuss the deceit inherent in the mischaracterization of the arguments of the bill's opponents.
Round 11 You say that I have suspended logic, OK give me some clarity. I say you suspend logic because your method for proving the veracity of the "you can keep you health care plan" statement is to admit that, in actuality, actuality, you can't keep your health care plan, but the new one will be even ev en better. You ou said,” If the purpose of section 102 10 2 were to protect choice to keep current coverage it would Y delineate ways the government was not allowed change your coverage. Instead it takes for granted that the government will in fact change people's coverage and establishes a very narrow avenue for consumers to retain their plans, which they can be easily knocked knoc ked off through no choice of their own.” The purpose is to keep the insurer from changing the plan. I understand that the alleged purpose is to keep the insurer from changing plans. I happen to believe there would be ways to accomplish this without revoking the one shred of credibility section 102 has to its name. For this and many other reasons, I believe it to be a way to diffuse objection to mandated changes in coverage by blaming anyone but the government (Damn insurance company, changing my policy like that! Dang calender! Is it 2018 20 18 already?) All that is beside the point though. You You keep bringing up the purpose or intent of the bill, as though my argument hinges on this. I have not been analyzing intent or purpose. I have been analyzing the text of the bill and the effects e ffects it would have on our society. I do surmise nefarious intent from this analysis, but I do not build my argument upon it. You are correct, the government will make changes in five years, but which of these changes hurt the insured? Which do you not like? Which of the new minimum standards would the insured NOT want in their plan? Whether the changes hurt the insured, whether I like them, or whether the new minimum standards would would be desirable irrelevant to whether or not Obama and those who tow his "you can or keep younot health care plan"isline are being misleading or disingenuous. I'll be happy to discuss these issues once we've settled the one at hand. What is the narrow avenue and how are plans “knocked” off? The narrow avenue is the confinement of grandfathered coverage to individual insurance plans, which account for only 4.9 percent of U.S. health insurance po policies. licies. If a new person (other than a dependent) is added to a policy or any of o f the terms are changed, even for the better, the policy is no longer considered grandfathered coverage and must then be an Exchange participating plan and must meet the standards that this entails. Later you said the insured is punished, how? You said if the employer fails to meet the new standards, then the bill would funnel those polices into the exchange and necessitate new policy terms. So?
I didn't say the policy holder is punished. I said that, rather than punish insurance companies who bait and switch, thereby providing disincentive for the practice, section 102 rescinds the protection of the choice to keep current coverage by disqualifying policies from grandfathered coverage in the event of these infractions. Again, I'd be happy to explain what is wrong with the federal government funneling policies into the Exchange and necessitating new terms, when we get around to discussing the underlying philosophies and ideologies permeating the debate You also said, “Requiring “Req uiring insurance companies to meet new standards will result in different policies, which the current policy holders will have no choice but to accept.” What choice do policy holders have NOW? If their employer changes the plan, they have no choice but to accept the changes. What choice do policy holders have hav e now? They have any an y choice their financial situation will allow.. If employers change plans, employees currently have the choice to opt out of that plan in allow favor of individual insurance. If their employer won't let them opt out, they are free to seek alternate employment with an optional health insurance plan or none at all. Currently, there are not federal laws interfering with these choices so far as I know. The hurdle today is a financial one, which is nobody's responsibility to bear but the person making the choice. If H.R. 3200 becomes law the few remaining alternatives to these new standards (non-electing employment based planes) will be taxed into either compliance or bankruptcy. bankruptcy. As for the last paragraph, well, there you go again. Always thinking there is an evil plot to change the subject. (These are not n ot the droids you are looking for). I thought the purpose of our dialog is to gain clarity, to exchange ideas, to see if we can bridge the gap, but you yo u just want to go back to the old ways of personal attacks. I don't believe you change the subject because of some evil plot. I believe you change the subject because you cannot refute the content of my arguments, and throwing up other tantalizing subjects allows you avoid being cornered. My attempts at gaining clarity, exchanging ideas, and bridging the partisan gap have all been means to an end: the resolution of modern political issues. I for one don't engage in political discussions to observe the diversity of ideas, but to determine the best policy for this country, in keeping with its founding documents. I have gone to great lengths not to make this personal. I haven't attacked you personally in any way. All I've done is point out where you attempt to convolute clarity, where the logic of your ideas falters, and where you attempt to bridge the ideological gap with intangible platitudes rather than solid girders of reason. You like to make a statement and then declare victory victory.. I am not making a statement and declaring victory. victory. I have laid out my case—that the actual effects of the bill don't jive with Obama's rhetoric. Since you readily agree that changes will be made, choosing to explain their intent rather than deny or ignore their existence as our President does, I inferred that you agreed with my assessment that Obama's remarks weren't reflective of the true nature of the debate. Since you were attempting to segue into other topics I took it to mean youtowanted to move on. IFrom verytobeginning, a desire to avoid agreeing disagree. As such, only the wished state that II have feel I expressed hav e proven have my point and that
you have reinforced it rather than disproved it. The abundance of non sequitur in your line of argument leads me to believe you are struggling to steer discussion away from the specifics of my reasoning. I infer from this that you cannot canno t refute them, which is why I too, having said my piece on this particular matter and not wishing to reiterate it, it, am eager to move on to more substantial aspects of the debate over H.R. 3200. 320 0. I'm not trying to twist your arm and get you to say "Uncle." I just want to know my argument hasn't fallen on deaf ears before we move on. Since none ofnow. your. attempts at refutation of my point actually address my point, I can't help but feel that way now If your goal was to make a statement and declare victory, you win. But if you truly want to discuss the issues of the day day,, then let’s discuss. You You keep seeing this as a debate. It is not. If you do wish to have one, then find a new collaborator. I think I have been pretty clear from the onset of our correspondence that I was in this not for idle chatter but for substantive progress on the pressing issues of the day. This goal cannot be accomplished without having a great number of debates. Moreover, it cannot be accomplished if we debate until we get tired of it and move on, despite having no resolution either side can agree on. The express purpose of this exchange has been to press past the point where most participants in casual discussions or election campaigns drop the issue for fear of being viewed unfavorably. If you wished not to debate, why haven't you expressed tha thatt desire before now, rather than engaging me for months in rigorous debate? deba te?