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Print 114 comment(s) - last by superstition.. on Jul 13 at 12:14 PM

He's looking to the private sector

U.S. President Barack Obama said he wants a "smarter government" with a little help from the private sector yesterday. 

When introducing the the “new management agenda” at the White House Monday, Obama told his Cabinet that he wants a high-technology and more user-friendly government. He feels that his campaign was the most technologically advanced to date, and that should lead to greater progress in the government's technology sector. 

“We created one of the most inclusive and one of the most successful campaigns in American history,” Obama said. “Once we got to Washington, instead of an operation humming with the latest technology, I had to fight really hard just to keep my BlackBerry.”

To remedy this, Obama wants to build a "smarter, more innovative and more accountable government for its citizens” -- and he wants to do that by employing help from the private sector. 
 
 
More specifically, Obama wants government forms on the internet to act like online shopping websites, where users don't have to fill in their information each and every time. Some of the information is remembered. 

He also wants people who apply for federal benefits to track the status of their applications in real time, much like tracking a UPS package. 

Obama didn't go into much further detail about how the government smarter, but he has urged his Cabinet to adopt new technologies for a more tech-friendly government. 

This isn't Obama's first attempt to make the government more technologically-savvy. In his first term, he appointed the executive branch’s first chief technology officer -- Todd Park -- and also brought  Steve VanRoekel aboard as the chief information officer, who was previously a senior director at Microsoft.

It looks like the government is already pretty tech-savvy, according to reports in recent months. It was discovered that the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) collects 99 percent of call record data and passes it to contractors. This allows the government to keep an eye on Americans' call records and locations. The government is already watchful thanks to its access to technology that pinpoints our every move. 

Sources: Reuters, The White House



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...
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 7/9/2013 12:21:49 PM , Rating: 5
Smart? Government?

Two words that should NEVER be used in the same sentence.




RE: ...
By karimtemple on 7/9/13, Rating: -1
RE: ...
By ebakke on 7/9/2013 1:07:31 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
Government is a tool.
It's a gun in my face, telling me how to live my life and how much of my property it's "entitled" to.


RE: ...
By SeeManRun on 7/9/13, Rating: 0
RE: ...
By ebakke on 7/9/2013 2:35:46 PM , Rating: 5
I want a government that exists at most to protect people's rights. It should not provide for anyone, and it should not introduce artificial barriers to activities that harm no one else. I'm fine with any sort of representative government so long as the maximum extent to which that government can operate is within the framework described above.

In concrete terms that means a government which a) can mount a defense against other nation-state actors, b) has a legal structure in which I can pursue justice against those who've wronged me. After that, leave me alone.


RE: ...
By stilltrying on 7/9/2013 7:44:11 PM , Rating: 3
Right on well said. I want one that operates on a voluntary basis. if i decide to be a citizen of such one then I get its pros and cons, and if i dont decide to be a citizen of said govt then it leaves me out of its benefits and mandatory policies.

Until people actually realize that you are officially a slave if the first three months of your sweat and blood(work) goes to the government then I dont see much changing. Govts only modus operandi is force, which is tyrannical in nature.


RE: ...
By flyingpants1 on 7/9/2013 11:54:53 PM , Rating: 2
No. Taxation is perfectly normal. Move along.


RE: ...
By FITCamaro on 7/10/2013 8:55:28 AM , Rating: 2
Taxation is fine. HOW taxation is implemented is not always good. Being punished for earning more money is not a good way to tax people.


RE: ...
By BRB29 on 7/10/2013 10:34:56 AM , Rating: 1
i agree with you but what are you proposing?

A flat rate is still unfair to those that make more but it hurts the low income households more. To someone making 30k, 1k in tax is a huge amount. For someone making 300k, paying an extra 10k in taxes is not as big a deal. That's because someone making 30k has little to no disposable income and someone making 300k have mostly disposable income.

A flat amount is the only fair way to tax everyone. If we did that then most people will have problems paying that tax.

There are loopholes in our tax systems that shouldn't be there. But the basic prgressive tax system itself is working like it should.

Seriously, people in this country don't know how good they got it. Everything we're complaining about and offer no solution to is pretty much "1st world problems".


RE: ...
By karimtemple on 7/10/2013 10:45:33 AM , Rating: 2
We actually already have [a really nasty and deformed version of] the solution to your problem: You don't tax income until a certain level is hit -- the 'poverty line,' 'cost of living,' whatever you want to call it. "Taxable income" starts after that. Done. Flat tax rate all you want.

The issues are: reliably calculating the cost of living (easy), and getting rid of all the other silliness and bureaucracies we have mixed in with this (not so easy).


RE: ...
By BRB29 on 7/10/2013 11:08:43 AM , Rating: 1
Then you're ignoring the fact that Cost of Living varies significantly depending on where you live. I can find a decent townhouse or apartment to live for $600-$1000 a month in Jacksonville NC but moving into DC, anything under $2.5k is crap.

If you have a flat rate tax for everyone then that rate would be much higher for most people. Then you're just making a wider gap between the rich and everyone else.

Unless you're a millionaire, everyone here will end up paying more in a flat rate tax system. Only the rich benefit from that and they've been lobbying for it since forever.

guess what will happen when tax rates are higher for the low and mid income levels? inflation simply because they have to spend most of their income to live. Anyone with an econ major will tell you this.


RE: ...
By ebakke on 7/10/2013 11:53:35 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Only the rich benefit from that and they've been lobbying for it since forever.
I'd argue others benefit from it as well. Namely those who don't qualify for the plethora of handouts, er, deductions and credits. Such as those making $80k, no house, no kids, no farm, no solar installation on their non-existent house, no huge charitable contributions, no student loans. You get my point.

The only reliable way to decrease the burden on everyone is to decrease the spending.


RE: ...
By SeeManRun on 7/10/2013 12:22:14 PM , Rating: 2
Absolutely, but which programs are cut? I believe you thought welfare should be cut. What are the results of that? Off the top of my head, it turns the people that currently collect it into people using charities and foodbanks. And those programs are not supported by the entire population, so now you have the same amount of charity being dolled out by fewer people, thus making it more expensive for those who do contribute.

Now, if you say tough titties, then we get an increased number of beggars on the streets, badgering you for your money and scraps. You have increased numbers of people going to the emergency room because they fell down some stairs due to lack of food or maybe even falling on purpose to get a meal. You get increased crime from the despondent taking by force what they used to be provided... The list goes on.

To me, it is in my best interests to pay a little in tax so I can live relatively molested free by those who have too little. That isn't to say all government spending is good or worthwhile, but you don't just cut all programs because there are a few bad ones.

Trim back the military budget and that will go a long way to balancing the budget. Introduce universal health care and that will help too (counter intuitive, but true).


RE: ...
By BRB29 on 7/10/2013 2:43:16 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
I'd argue others benefit from it as well. Namely those who don't qualify for the plethora of handouts, er, deductions and credits. Such as those making $80k, no house, no kids, no farm, no solar installation on their non-existent house, no huge charitable contributions, no student loans. You get my point.

No he won't
The FY13 Tax revenue is expected $2.9T and total labor force is 155millions. That equates to about 18.7k per person. Someone making 80k would have to pay 14,960 in taxes for FY13. That is assuming a single person with nothing.

If you subtract out corporate taxes of 348bil then we are left with 2.55T/155m workers. That equates to 16.5k needed per persson. Making 80k and paying under $15k is not enough.

The real government spending is projected to be about $3.8T. The amount of taxes that each individual needs to pay to cover that is well over $20k.

So to answer your comment. No, a single person making 80k with no deductions of any kind is still paying under the average needed per person. Usually the only people paying enough taxes are the ones making $150k+ because most people have lots of deductions.

I believe Mitt Romney paid enough taxes for over 300 people with his $6.2 million paid. That is the difference between the rich and the poor. And he won't be collecting any social security or unemployment.


RE: ...
By ebakke on 7/10/2013 4:29:51 PM , Rating: 2
Oh, by flat rate, you meant flat fee. Gotcha. I admit, I didn't re-read the thread above the post I replied to where you clearly said "a flat amount".

Well, then yes. Those who benefit from that are those who currently pay for everyone else.

Though, if you're charging a flat fee, I don't see why you'd limit it to only those in the labor force. If we all have to bear the burden of government, we should all have to bear the burden of government.


RE: ...
By karimtemple on 7/10/2013 12:18:47 PM , Rating: 2
It doesn't matter that it varies if you base it on states and not cities. Poor people don't have a right to live in rich areas.


RE: ...
By BRB29 on 7/10/2013 3:00:34 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
It doesn't matter that it varies if you base it on states and not cities. Poor people don't have a right to live in rich areas.

Come on bro, anybody has the rights to live anywhere as long as they can pay for it.

Every city have poor, middle, rich class. Rich people don't run registers, wash cars, sell burgers, greet customers, or sell clothes. The highest % of jobs will still be for the poor and the 2nd highest will always be middle class. These people that make up almost the entire population has to live somewhere. If rent is $2k average, then they must be paid like it. If you tax them too high when they barely have enough to get by then employers are forced to pay them more. If the employers have to pay them more then prices will increase. If prices increase then the employees needs to be paid more to keep up with living expenses. It's a double whammy to inflation when you raise taxes on the poor.


RE: ...
By FITCamaro on 7/10/2013 12:53:06 PM , Rating: 2
Why don't you go read the book on the Fair Tax. It is not the same thing as a flat tax.

It does not favor any group of people. Rich people pay more taxes in that they live more opulent life styles. The poor would pay little to no taxes since the prebate gives you back the money you would pay for food and other actual necessities. Have lots of money but don't want to pay taxes? Don't buy anything other than the basic necessities. It also has the advantage that all forms of income are taxed. Legitimate and illegitimate.

The only "unfair" thing about it is that it does not give people money that did not pay it to begin with.


RE: ...
By BRB29 on 7/10/2013 2:05:38 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
It does not favor any group of people. Rich people pay more taxes in that they live more opulent life styles.

Then you failed to look at the rich person's POV. You remind me of one of my tenant when he said "why should I pay you rent when you make so much more money than me"

Why should a rich person pay more for the same amount of service and protection from the government?
In fact, a rich person actually gets much less benefits overall and pay orders of magnitudes more taxes than your common man making 50k a year.

That's like charging $5 for a meal to a your regular Joe Schmoe and then charging $500 for the same meal to a rich person.

Fair is supposed to be equal. Equal amount is the only fair tax. But society cannot function on an equal amount of tax and we must all live together in a society.

Fair Tax is just another attempt in charging unequal tax and making sense of it.

quote:
The only "unfair" thing about it is that it does not give people money that did not pay it to begin with.

I'll tell you what. There's a lot of people that are collecting money they don't deserve and I hate it. But please come up with a better plan instead of putting millions on the street and cause a massive spike in crime rates, drop in GDP, drop in aggregate demand, and a deep economic recession. It will actually cost us much more then.

I will agree that we should put them to work with an adequate salary doing some low level job instead of just bumming welfare. There's a lot of problems in this approach as well.

Progressive tax system works and it's the only thing that can work in a capitalistic country like ours.


RE: ...
By KoS on 7/10/2013 3:03:05 PM , Rating: 2
Read the book before posting about the Fair Tax.

Also, it would be nice to see your posting time outside of work hours. Stop wasting taxpayer money, do your work and not forum warrior all day long.


RE: ...
By KoS on 7/10/2013 3:06:52 PM , Rating: 2
Comment directed at BRB29, not FITCamero. Not sure why it didn't appear under his post vs. Fit's. Anyway


RE: ...
By Reclaimer77 on 7/9/2013 2:38:08 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
What is the alternative? Seriously, what alternative system would you find preferable to your current government structure?


Uhh the one we had for 100+ years in this country? Based on the principles of enumerated powers, separation of powers, checks and balances and protections for our inalienable rights. A Government that was tightly limited in reach, scope, and size.

It worked good. It worked DAMNED good! It's a shame they don't teach people anymore how exceptional our Government once was, and how it changed the course of human history.


RE: ...
By karimtemple on 7/9/13, Rating: 0
RE: ...
By Reclaimer77 on 7/9/2013 4:00:46 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
It sounds like Sentimental History.


I'll take it over your leftist cynical one-sided view of our history, thanks much :)

Somewhere in my post you gathered I claimed we had no problems ever or made no mistakes along the way.

I can sit here and objectively prove to you that this nation was "better" in almost every meaningful way before 1913; the year Federal Income Tax was legalized. But somehow I feel I would be wasting my time.

Sadly, most Americans cannot even conceive of an economy like that. Most Americans cannot even imagine having a nation without a massively bloated federal government and without an unelected central bank centrally planning our financial system.

But you know what?

It worked. In fact, it worked fantastically well. DAMNED well!


RE: ...
By SeeManRun on 7/9/13, Rating: -1
RE: ...
By Reclaimer77 on 7/9/2013 4:14:18 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
In 1913, women could not vote


And in 2013 homosexual and transgendered citizens widely still cannot be married legally in the vast majority of states. So what's your point?

So you basically thought you could invalidate my entire point by bringing up one or two social issues prevalent at the time? As if you didn't already know goddamned well I wasn't supporting racism or other social problems, you were instead trolling blatantly?

If you were following anything in this discussion you would know how off-base your post was.


RE: ...
By SeeManRun on 7/9/2013 4:35:20 PM , Rating: 2
It is true, I am not totally clear what this discussion is now about. You brought up the country was better when there was a smaller government and no income tax (those two are of course intricately related).

I didn't think you would say those things I pointed out made the country better, but am trying to understand what made the country better at that time in your opinion. I think for the rich it might have been a bit better, but honestly they seem to have it pretty good now. The poor I think were certainly not better off.

So what exactly was better about the country 100 years ago? The standing in the world was certainly not as important as it is today, and the military was not nearly as powerful, so risk of losing a war was much higher.

Please, explain why a small government starved for funds like the one 100 years ago and naturally so limited in scope was better.


RE: ...
By Reclaimer77 on 7/9/2013 5:01:37 PM , Rating: 5
First off the discussion isn't about the "country" as a whole. It's about the Government. You asked this, remember?

"What is the alternative? Seriously, what alternative system would you find preferable to your current government structure?"

So I simply answered. The alternative system I find preferable to my current Government structure, is the one we had at one time, then allowed it to slip away. Fair enough?

quote:
The poor I think were certainly not better off.


The war on poverty has failed. The poor are just as bad off today as they ever were. And guess what? There are far MORE poor now per capita than back then. And that number is growing.

I just heard a shocking report today. Over 100 million Americans today are on some form of direct Government assistance. There are twice as many people on food stamps and other programs as there were just 6 years ago!

quote:
Please, explain why a small government starved for funds like the one 100 years ago and naturally so limited in scope was better.


Starved? U.S. national debt has gotten more than 5000 times larger since the federal income tax and the Federal Reserve were created by Congress back in 1913. Brother, that's starving!

And what do you mean explain? Of course a Government more limited in scope is "better". What the...my brain just imploded from that. It's like asking me why the sun coming up every morning is "better"...

The larger a Government gets, the more power wealth and influence gets centralized FROM it's citizenry onto itself. That's a historical axiom. You seem far to intelligent for me to have to "explain" to you why this is bad for the people living under such rule.


RE: ...
By SeeManRun on 7/9/2013 5:14:34 PM , Rating: 2
I generally deal with extremes. When the other guy above said that the only thing a government should do is protect people's rights, my mind sprang up with counter examples.

Each time the government has passed a law (almost, lets be honest some laws are terrible and should not have been created, no one doubts that), it has been for a reason. Food stamps for example, surely were created as a way to appease the people crying that giving money to the poor and having them use it for booze is not terrible, so give them a coupon that can only be used for food. Or go back one, welfare. Welfare is a wonderful system; it prevents me from having to see really despondent people homeless on the streets (the fact we still see that is a failing of the implementation, not the concept), and it only costs me a few dollars a month.

Scaling back government to 1913 levels, while helping debt, would not be of benefit to most people in the country. It would return to a time when industry could abuse their positions of power as job holders, where unions did not exist or at least wielded almost no power, where rivers and forests could be polluted and burned with no recourse for the public because there was no clean water act or the equivalent for replanting harvested forests.

Every time the government has made a regulation, it should be well intentioned. The problem becomes when these regulations run amok and lose sight of the spirit of the intention. Enforcement also must be maintained of the law becomes useless and should be revoked.

Personally, I have faith in my government to do things properly. The evidence is often the contrary, but that doesn't mean you abolish the whole thing or scale it back; we need to fix it and make it work the way we want it to.

The way I see it, most of the problems in US politics have to do with money influencing politicians, and fundamental ideologies. If you could eliminate these things, you would have a government that is much more practical (can raise taxes when money is needed and or cut services when those services don't provide good value), and more efficient.

Might be the optimist in me, but it does seem like it can be fixed. I don't think people have a problem with paying taxes, they have a problem with getting too little for their tax dollar.


RE: ...
By ebakke on 7/9/2013 5:36:10 PM , Rating: 3
I wish to focus specifically on your support for welfare programs. I have two questions for you:
1. Why can we not let private individuals and private charities handle welfare?
2. Would you not voluntarily give your "few dollars a month" to an individual in need if your government wasn't forcibly taking that money from you?


RE: ...
By SeeManRun on 7/9/2013 5:47:58 PM , Rating: 1
Excellent questions. I think the answer is almost obvious unless you are a really good person... I would give a bit of money, but likely not enough. There is always a reason why you can't give any this month.

If private companies cannot make money by giving money to the poor (and we have seen they can by only giving around 10% of donations to the groups they support, with the rest going to administration, salaries, etc.) it won't be done. Parks are a good example; the only way a private company could maintain a park is to charge for its use, and the more they charge the less it will be used...

Finally, an individual is a poor judge of who needs charity and we frankly don't have the time to do it ourselves. The governments welfare program provides economies of scale individuals or even private companies could not hope to match. I would much rather it be handled for me by the state, even if a few people commit fraud and take some money when they shouldn't. We have another government program to deal with that - the police.


RE: ...
By ebakke on 7/9/2013 6:16:40 PM , Rating: 2
Your response entirely ignores non-profit charities, plenty of which exist today. Even with government programs, people still donate money to help those in need. Why would they not do the same in the absence of those government programs?

The crux of your first response is that people won't give enough money of the own free will. I contend that as much as people will give on their own is exactly the right amount to be spent. After all, if I don't value it enough to spend my money on it voluntarily, why would I value it more when someone's forcibly taking the money from me?

I could not disagree more that an individual is a poor judge of who needs charity. Individuals are the best judges of who needs it, and more importantly, who is deserving of it.

And lastly, you point out exactly my complaint with more government: Government is force, and more government begets more government. I want to exert less force on others, not more.


RE: ...
By SeeManRun on 7/9/2013 6:31:00 PM , Rating: 2
I was talking about non profit charities. They are non profit, that doesn't mean all their money goes to the needy. They have overhead, marketing, salaries and so on, as would the government. Some of these charities end up actually giving very little for their cause, which to me feels like a scam.

Individuals can be duped. When I drive around there are people holding signs looking terrible, tugging on my heart strings. I have no idea if these people are just dressed the part or are actually in need. I have seen homeless people remove crusts from bread and throw it away. I gave a homeless teen a $20 once and they stashed it in their pocket and out of their cup so people wouldn't see it and fail to contribute.

Finally, your point that if people don't value it then it should not be funded is not really the point of living in a collective society. You may pay for roads but don't drive, or pay for schools but don't have kids. These things are paid for by your tax because they serve the common good and benefit society as a whole. Educated children get better jobs and generate more tax revenue.

The same can be said for welfare; if you provide people enough money to get by they will raise better children and are more likely to get out of welfare rather than to remain dependent on it. You just need to look at some other countries that do it differently and their results to see that maybe the American way is not always the best way.

But everything I am saying here takes money, and people don't willingly give money to things that don't directly benefit them too often, so we need tax. And in the current political climate, all taxes are bad, so very little progress is made, on anything.


RE: ...
By ebakke on 7/9/2013 6:46:07 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Individuals can be duped.
So can institutions, both privately run as well as government agencies. Do you honestly think the government does a better job of allocating those funds than you do/could? That same teen can just as easily stash your $20 in his/her pocket before walking into the local human services office.
quote:
Finally, your point that if people don't value it then it should not be funded is not really the point of living in a collective society.
I wasn't making an argument for a collective society. I was making an argument for freedom and liberty. If you're trying to tell me that freedom and liberty are incompatible with a collective society, then we agree. Plenty of things benefit the entirety of society but are not funded and controlled by government. A plentiful energy source benefits us all, but the US gov't doesn't control energy production. Faster computers that consume less resources to build and operate benefit the entirety of society, but is not controlled by the government. Schools, and roads could operate the same way - they don't because you (and others like you) insist they can't or shouldn't - but they absolutely could (and have in the past).
quote:
But everything I am saying here takes money, and people don't willingly give money to things that don't directly benefit them too often, so we need tax.
In short, you're arguing we must force people to do things that are against human nature, and that harm themselves - for the supposed good of someone else.


RE: ...
By SeeManRun on 7/9/2013 7:04:15 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
In short, you're arguing we must force people to do things that are against human nature, and that harm themselves - for the supposed good of someone else.


I suppose I am. Though I would contend that it harms people.


RE: ...
By ebakke on 7/9/2013 7:13:03 PM , Rating: 3
You'd be hard pressed to convince me that taking anything of mine against my will doesn't harm me.


RE: ...
By SeeManRun on 7/9/2013 7:40:01 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
You'd be hard pressed to convince me that taking anything of mine against my will doesn't harm me.


I think it is a matter of interpretation. Unfortunately we have gotten used to our salaries and wages being told to us in gross terms instead of net. That money is not ours to be taken from the government, it never was ours. It just doesn't even go through our hands, it is deducted right off our cheque (self employed excepted). Perhaps companies should pay a fee to the government that relates to our wage. I make 40K a year, company pays government 20k a year to hire me. Any current deductions would carry to the new system as a credit paid to you by the government, like a home renovation credit or something. That way people would not think the government is taking what is rightfully theirs?

Thoughts on that?


RE: ...
By ebakke on 7/9/2013 9:53:24 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
That money is not ours to be taken from the government, it never was ours.
No! That money is yours. You worked for it. You agreed to trade with someone else - your labor, for their money (but it could've been anything of yours for anything of theirs) - the government skims off the top. That it doesn't ever go through your hands is part of the reason why it's so prevalent, and why people don't object more than they do, but that most certainly does not mean it belongs to the government.

Further, why on earth should a company be forced to pay the government for the privilege of trading with you? Who you associate with is not the government's business.

Ultimately, no one other than you has a right to the fruits of your labor. The only "argument" in favor of taxation is that it's "voluntary" in the sense that the citizens vote for their government and as a result, for the taxation required to fund it. (But of course, that only holds for the individuals who actually voted for it, and ignores the fact that the minority get hosed.)


RE: ...
By PerrinAybara162 on 7/10/2013 2:10:03 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Schools, and roads could operate the same way - they don't because you (and others like you) insist they can't or shouldn't - but they absolutely could (and have in the past).


The idea of exclusively privately run schools is absolutely terrifying. Private schools are good predominantly because they have to justify the extra expense over public schools. Take that away and make all schools private and you pave the way to higher costs for tuition for K-12 schools and lower standards since removing school from government would leave it hard to justify a unified, government controlled curriculum. Whats more, the current examples that we have of privitization make it very difficult for me to have faith in a private company teaching my kids what they need to have a bright future. Look at how out of control the prison system got when it went private. Who needs to outsource their workforce when they have a whole population of captives to do the work for even less than the little kids in the Chinese sweat shops.

As much as I agree that government has gotten bloated and overpowered, I disagree that states and private companies could do a better job. Sometimes, its better not to have the profit motive in things. I dont want the lowest bidder teaching my kids or providing the school books for them. And even worse would be states governments. Texas just recently proved that they are no better with their changes to their curriculum to exclude things like Evolution and changing history to remove prominant figures from history books.

As for roads, who would pay for the roads? Surely not government (since that is what they do anyway, which seems to be your objection to it). I know that I can't afford to buy a road or have one put in. The states currently control the roads, so what option is there that ensures that there will be roads when we need them?


RE: ...
By Reclaimer77 on 7/10/2013 9:59:35 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
And in the current political climate, all taxes are bad, so very little progress is made, on anything.


What the fuck?

In 2013 Americans will shell out about $4.22 trillion dollars in state and federal income taxes alone! That amount is equivalent to approximately 29.4 percent of all income that Americans will bring in this year, and that does not even take into account the dozens of other taxes that Americans pay each year.

Honestly where are you getting your ideology from? It's ridiculous and so out of touch with reality!


RE: ...
By stilltrying on 7/9/2013 7:47:29 PM , Rating: 2
Definition of insanity - doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

Govts are all the same. this story has been run a 1000 times and they always fail, why keep trying.


RE: ...
By Reclaimer77 on 7/10/2013 1:04:11 AM , Rating: 4
quote:
Scaling back government to 1913 levels, while helping debt, would not be of benefit to most people in the country. It would return to a time when industry could abuse their positions of power as job holders, where unions did not exist or at least wielded almost no power, where rivers and forests could be polluted and burned with no recourse for the public because there was no clean water act or the equivalent for replanting harvested forests.


This is absurd. So we cannot have a Constitutional republic without all these bad things happening? Huh?

Apparently you think I'm asking for a time machine to transport us, literally, back to 1913 in every conceivable way. Come on...

quote:
Welfare is a wonderful system


Uhh Welfare is a horrible system. It has created a permanent underclass of citizen, enslaved to the system. Instead of encouraging upward mobility, it has fostered a culture of dependence.

quote:
Personally, I have faith in my government to do things properly.


Well that's your problem right there my friend. It's a deep seeded character flaw, and I'm sure in time you will outgrow it.

The fact that you view Government as a religion, something you have "faith" in, saddens me somewhat.


RE: ...
By maugrimtr on 7/10/2013 8:42:08 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
The war on poverty has failed. The poor are just as bad off today as they ever were. And guess what? There are far MORE poor now per capita than back then. And that number is growing.


This an outrageous lie, Reclaimer77. As far as I'm aware, the poverty rate is currently between 10 and 15%. What are you using as a measure for 1913 or below? There are precious few reliable stats from before the 1950s.

I think you're mixing up measurements used by the government (for welfare, etc.) and those used more generally to check who is below the subsistence line. Depending on how you define "poverty", you'll see that it decreased over the past century (since 1930s when it was >40%) while welfare aids and such have, obviously, exploded. Receiving welfare doesn't mean you are poor per se.

C'mon, I thought a conservative could see through the Lefties' agenda.


RE: ...
By Paj on 7/10/2013 9:40:50 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
The war on poverty has failed. The poor are just as bad off today as they ever were. And guess what? There are far MORE poor now per capita than back then. And that number is growing. I just heard a shocking report today. Over 100 million Americans today are on some form of direct Government assistance. There are twice as many people on food stamps and other programs as there were just 6 years ago!


This is true. And meanwhile, the gap between rich and poor grows ever wider.

Two things improve this - investment in education and healthcare. They both ensure that citizens have an equal opportunity to become economically productive regardless of their background (and pay taxes), instead of spending their lives in a cycle of unemployment and ill health.

quote:
Of course a Government more limited in scope is "better".


It depends on context. Limited scope in citizen surveillance is always a good thing. Limited scope in national infrastructure, transport networks, and key natural monopolies? Not so much.


RE: ...
By BRB29 on 7/10/2013 10:03:49 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
The war on poverty has failed. The poor are just as bad off today as they ever were. And guess what? There are far MORE poor now per capita than back then. And that number is growing.

Misleading. Our population increased over time so of course the number of poor people is going to increase. The % of poor people have actually decreased. Back then it was 99% poor and 1% rich that owns everything. Middle class was so insignificant, it was pretty much nonexistent. Now we have a large percentage of middle class, a higher % of wealthy and much lower % of poor. Poverty in the US is well below 20%.

quote:
I just heard a shocking report today. Over 100 million Americans today are on some form of direct Government assistance. There are twice as many people on food stamps and other programs as there were just 6 years ago!

Yes, we've been warned of baby boomers retiring for a long time now. Disabled people are on that list too. Don't hate people on welfare and food stamps so much that you turn a blind eye on people that actually need/earned it.

quote:
Starved? U.S. national debt has gotten more than 5000 times larger since the federal income tax and the Federal Reserve were created by Congress back in 1913. Brother, that's starving!

Seriously? I guess inflation isn't a huge factor in that? I guess the Federal Reserve that helped boosted our country from a 2nd class nation to a world superpower is so bad. If you know nothing about Fractional Reserve System, it was created to increase money supply because there wasn't enough money supply to support any growing economy. In fact, the old gold system would only stagnate any country. There is not enough gold, silver and bronze in the world to come close to even backing 1% of our currency. Every single 1st world country have copied our economic policy. Countries like Greece are failing hard because they refuse to adopt. For us to increase money supply, we have to increase government debt or foreign money coming in.

The Federal Reserve is not Federal despite its name. It is not controlled by the government and remains independent of politics. The government control unemployment and inflation through Tax and Government spending. The Federal Reserve controls Unemp and Inflation through Interest Rates and Money Supply(Buying/selling bonds).

Income tax started since 1862. The IRS was called Commissioner of Internal Revenue at that time. In 1913, income tax was officially called Federal Income Tax.

Our 2008 recession was nowhere near as bad as it should have been because of the Federal Reserve, or referred to as "Feds" by anyone with an education. Without the Feds, you would've seen utter chaos and unemployment in the 20%+. Our result: less than 3% inflation every single year. Unemployment is under 12% at its highest and heading towards 6.5% by beginning of 2015 and level off. Currently at 7.4%. Compared to every other major recession in history, we have done significantly better. Compared to every other country suffered during this recession, we have done significantly better.


RE: ...
By Reclaimer77 on 7/10/2013 9:49:59 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Misleading. Our population increased over time so of course the number of poor people is going to increase.


You do realize what "per capita" means, right? I guess not..

quote:
Back then it was 99% poor and 1% rich that owns everything.


This invalidates you from participating in this serious discussion. 99% of everyone back then was "poor". Just..wtf?

This is like you claiming the other day that MRI machines use "anti-matter". Kid, it's time to stop pretending you're a know it all. Because you come off sounding incredibly ignorant.

quote:
Seriously? I guess inflation isn't a huge factor in that?


No, it isn't a huge factor. Please explain to me how "inflation" is responsible for the awesome debt we've gotten ourselves into. Also even if it was, guess what, inflation is CAUSED by our Government and the Federal Reserve!


RE: ...
By FITCamaro on 7/9/2013 4:58:13 PM , Rating: 2
On the issue of women voting, it's easy to look back now and think how obvious an oversight this was. But you are trying to compare past culture to todays. Women used to not work for the most part. Women used to not own property for the most part. Those two facts were not around keeping women "oppressed". They were around a different way of life than is more common today.

But hey, let's just judge while completely ignoring the past.

As far as blacks, that is a horrible stain on our history the same as mistreatment of Indian tribes. Does that mean the way our government was set up was flawed? No.

Our problems today are because our leaders nearly completely ignore how the US Constitution set up our government. Not because the way it was set up is or was flawed.


RE: ...
By SeeManRun on 7/9/2013 5:20:58 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe... But they also cling too much to the constitution as if it was the rule of God. It is just a document and it can be updated.

Perhaps the right to bear arms should be removed, or maybe put in some stuff about income tax so people can't claim that they shouldn't have to pay taxes because it isn't in the constitution... Update the damn document to reflect modern living and situations.

The US got to where it is today because of the government. Private citizens would not have fought WWII, and would not have gone to the moon, or Mars, or created the Internet. Without research funding from public institutions, the Manhattan project would not have taken place. Government has a responsibility to serve it's citizens when the private sector cannot, and in today's age and in a competitive world, that requires money and big departments to manage that money.

However, an example of a terrible government program is the TSA. Though, I don't think private companies would have set up such a system and had people use it if they were not forced to.


RE: ...
By ebakke on 7/9/2013 5:32:25 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
It is just a document and it can be updated. [...] maybe put in some stuff about income tax so people can't claim that they shouldn't have to pay taxes because it isn't in the constitution... Update the damn document to reflect modern living and situations.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sixteenth_Amendment_t...


RE: ...
By SeeManRun on 7/9/2013 5:49:29 PM , Rating: 2
Good to know. Not sure what all that crap I read about the government has no right to tax your labour then that some were lobbing as a defense for tax evasion.


RE: ...
By ebakke on 7/9/2013 6:19:57 PM , Rating: 2
I suspect they were arguing principals, not legality.

After all, if someone else takes the results of my labor without my consent, how am I not that person's slave?


RE: ...
By BRB29 on 7/10/2013 10:24:21 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
I suspect they were arguing principals, not legality. After all, if someone else takes the results of my labor without my consent, how am I not that person's slave?

Because it's a stupidly flawed principle.

The government takes your money to offer you rights, protection, safety, and order. They take a % of your pay depending on what you make. That is a choice we all accepted in the past. They didn't take part of your earnings for nothing. If you believe in fairness then a fixed amount is paid equally by everyone regardless of income. But we all live together in a society and some will end up paying more than others for the better of the entire society. Stop complaining about this, none of you here are multimillionaires so you've only benefited from this system.

If you think all your rights are God given rights, then please go to places where government has no reach and see how your rights means nothing without a government to support it.

Did people forget all the slavery, oppression, work rights(or rather no rights), discrimination, etc... that our society was plagued with when there was a small government? Did anyone actually think it makes logical sense to have reduce the size of government when the population has never decreased? Did anyone think about how they were supposed to reduce government when they're voting for more policitians that makes "promises"? Why would politicians reduce government when it's their source of power?


RE: ...
By Reclaimer77 on 7/10/2013 10:10:18 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The government takes your money to offer you rights, protection, safety, and order.


Which they can, and DID, provide without income taxes.

Not all taxes are bad. However our Government was originally designed to run efficiently without Federal level income taxes. In fact what's little known is that the first attempt to make Federal income tax law, was struck down by the Supreme Court on grounds of being Unconstitutional.

Our Founders knew it was both morally and principle wrong to take a portion of the sweat of a mans brow without him ever seeing it. No man or bureaucracy has a right to your hard-earned income!

Also whenever you people talk about income taxes, I get the impression you believe this is the soul source of funding for the Government. Would you believe Federal income taxes only make up about a third of the Government's revenue? It's true.

So seeing as how the Federal Government is now about five times larger than it should ever be, it's perfectly logical to see how Federal Income taxes are simply unnecessary if we would just adhere to the Constitution.

What's truly shocking to me about this discussion is that you people are debating this as if there isn't a gigantic debt-crisis looming over our heads. Which one day WILL burst. It's like you literally believe the path we're on is sustainable. It's not!


RE: ...
By 1prophet on 7/9/2013 8:27:51 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Perhaps the right to bear arms should be removed, or maybe put in some stuff about income tax so people can't claim that they shouldn't have to pay taxes because it isn't in the constitution... Update the damn document to reflect modern living and situations.


Why stop with the second amendment, after all if you have nothing to hide you don't need the 4th and if you always tell the truth you don't need the 5th, and if you know to keep your mouth shut and don't associate with undesirables (according to the state) you certainly don't need the first,

then you can have the police state you deserve.


RE: ...
By FITCamaro on 7/10/2013 9:01:59 AM , Rating: 2
Your view of history is incredibly flawed.

First, the Constitution is not the word of God but it is a legal document. Therefore it is illegal to violate it same as any other law. Yes the Constitution can be updated. But it should be done so in the legal way that the Constitution provides. Via amendments. Not judicial fiat or just blatantly ignoring it.

Private citizens DID fight in WW2. Long before the US ever entered the war in fact. People volunteered to fight for Britain. And when the US did enter the war, millions volunteered. Yes the federal government gave them the training and equipment to do so. But that doesn't change the fact that those citizens volunteered to fight.

The Internet for sure would have been created. Going to the moon? Perhaps not as soon but likely eventually.

But at least we agree that the TSA is horrible and a complete waste. Pure example of the inefficiency of government.


RE: ...
By Paj on 7/10/2013 9:47:19 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
The Internet for sure would have been created. Going to the moon? Perhaps not as soon but likely eventually.


I disagree. Part of the reason the internet is so prevalent is that it relies on open systems, developed through government and NGO funding. Plenty of networking methodologies and standards were and have been developed privately - none of them could have had the same impact without open sourcing them.


RE: ...
By FITCamaro on 7/10/2013 12:59:56 PM , Rating: 2
The original internet was not an open system. It was a closed system only for the military and universities.

Open source is not limited to government projects either.

And the internet was an idea that was thought up outside of the government. The government saw it was a good idea and worked with universities to develop it. But do you think they would have not done anything with the idea if the government hadn't come on board?


RE: ...
By SeeManRun on 7/10/2013 2:53:13 PM , Rating: 2
There would have been competing networks that you could subscribe to, much like television. This is actually what the private companies want already, and it is the government saying no to that.

Whether you think that is good or bad is up to you. I like it personally.


RE: ...
By Reclaimer77 on 7/10/2013 5:39:56 PM , Rating: 2
"The US got to where it is today because of the government"

I agree. A government limited in scope, with enumerated powers, checks and balances, and bound by law to not infringe on the rights and freedom's of individual citizens.


RE: ...
By SeeManRun on 7/10/2013 6:04:26 PM , Rating: 2
Well that is the theory. I don't know if it was any more true in the past than it is now. Government is naturally bigger, but I believe people in all time periods have thought the government was too big. Wasn't there even a plot after WWI to overthrow it that was not just talk?


RE: ...
By karimtemple on 7/10/2013 8:52:16 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Women used to not own property for the most part. Those two facts were not around keeping women "oppressed". They were around a different way of life than is more common today.

But hey, let's just judge while completely ignoring the past.

As far as blacks, that is a horrible stain on our history the same as mistreatment of Indian tribes. Does that mean the way our government was set up was flawed? No.
SeeManRun seems a little crazy and hyperleftist, but this just sounds like excuses to me.

Yes, the oppression of women was oppressing women. Yes, institutional genocide is a character flaw. Yes, the Constitutional identification of a Black person as 60% human is inherently flawed.

Yes, those flaws do mean it was set up flawed. That's why Constitutional amendments were passed for those things.

Like I said, I really like this country a lot. But I can't get behind making excuses for it. Let's all just be honest with ourselves here.


RE: ...
By SeeManRun on 7/10/2013 12:29:35 PM , Rating: 2
Naa, not hyper leftist, just a realist. We need government and the services it provides. A user pay system benefits the haves and is a detriment to the have-nots.

As I said elsewhere, almost every law we have created has had good intentions on fixing things. We got to the point we are today because of the problems in the past and the solutions to fix them. It almost feels like some on here think it has been some big conspiracy to steal our money for themselves. Well to me, that is the beauty of government, they don't make a profit! Any extra money government has gets rolled back into society in the form of increased services, or tax cuts; it doesn't go to some CEO's bonus.

The private sector absolutely has a huge role to play in society, but it doesn't play every role equally well. Restaurants are a great example. They are competitive and the good ones flourish and the bad ones die. Power companies are a bad example. You generally cannot choose between 5 different power companies for your house, thus it is a captive market and the consumer has no power to leverage any competition. In this case, I would argue having a public utility makes more sense than a private monopoly.

So, not necessarily hyper-leftist, but I certainly see a role for government, and I wish they would play that role better most of the time.


RE: ...
By Alexvrb on 7/10/2013 1:20:02 AM , Rating: 2
Personally, I don't think you should be allowed to vote on a federal level unless you pay (federal) income taxes, or paid income taxes in the past and are now retired. That way all voters have some skin in the game, and are more inclined to care how the money is being spent.

State and local, I'd say they can still vote if they care. Why not - unlike the feds they're not all-powerful, and they actually are required to have a budget other than "WHEEE! Look at me spend money! WHEEE!"


RE: ...
By AssBall on 7/10/2013 12:48:19 PM , Rating: 2
Separate the responsible citizens from the irresponsible citizens? A-la Starship Troopers...

If our government was in any way still representative of the majority rather than a lobbiest driven regulation machine, I'd say perhaps that could work.


RE: ...
By karimtemple on 7/9/2013 1:46:41 PM , Rating: 2
Then obviously we're doing it wrong. The thing that irritates me about people saying "government is bad" isn't that this government is not bad, it's that the idea of government is not bad. It's like if you saw your first movie and hated it then said "well movies are awful, then!" It makes no sense whatsoever.

Beyond that, actually yes the government should tell you what you can't do; that's called "civilization." The concept of property is loaded as well: how is it exactly that you believe you "own" anything? There are only two answers to this question: coercion and accord. That is, violence or government.

I understand what you're getting at, but there comes a point where we need to be adults about this and think. The Internet is full of these hyperlibertarians who think government can never work because it isn't a free market business, and it drives me up a damn wall.


RE: ...
By therealgras on 7/9/2013 2:24:00 PM , Rating: 2
Google non-aggression principle


RE: ...
By karimtemple on 7/9/2013 2:51:16 PM , Rating: 2
Why would I do that? NAP is too limited to suit my vision. We can do better.


RE: ...
By Reclaimer77 on 7/9/2013 2:33:40 PM , Rating: 5
You haven't actually backed up your points with examples of stellar Government's in action.

Nobody is saying the concept of Government can't be made to "work". It just depends on how much you're willing to compromise on. Because you can't have a large ubiquitous Government entity and also ubiquitous personal freedoms and rights. That's never happened once in recorded history and if the march of our current trend continues, is unlikely to ever.

quote:
The concept of property is loaded as well: how is it exactly that you believe you "own" anything? There are only two answers to this question: coercion and accord. That is, violence or government.


????

Bypassing the idiocy that the concept of ownership is that flawed. I find your point hallow and without logic. You do realize that nearly every single event of mass-violence in recorded history was sponsored by and carried about by Government's, right? The Crusades, World War 1 and 2, the list goes on.

In fact it's more correct to say that no force on this Earth has caused more death, misery, and misfortune than Government action. Directly or indirectly, it's an inescapable fact.

quote:
The Internet is full of these hyperlibertarians who think government can never work because it isn't a free market business, and it drives me up a damn wall.


Well then I feel the same way, because the Internet seems full of hyper-socialists and Federalists who think the Government is the cure for every ill, and that capitalism and people working for their own self-interest is inherently evil and must be stamped out.

quote:
The thing that irritates me about people saying "government is bad"


Except he wasn't saying that....not at all.


RE: ...
By karimtemple on 7/9/2013 3:54:42 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
You haven't actually backed up your points with examples of stellar Government's in action.
Fallacious. I never said there were. Also, the Netherlands. Minus the racism, lol.
quote:
Nobody is saying the concept of Government can't be made to "work".
"Smart and government don't go together" and "government is a gun in my face" suggest otherwise. Of course, words are fairly limited.
quote:
You do realize that nearly every single event of mass-violence in recorded history was sponsored by and carried about by Government's, right?
Answers (choose two):

1) False.
2) I guess those governments weren't well-formed, then.
3) I'm not sure what your comment here is really about.
quote:
Except he wasn't saying that....not at all.
lol, Something being "a gun in my face" is bad. Always.


RE: ...
By Reclaimer77 on 7/9/2013 4:06:03 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Answers (choose two): 1) False. 2) I guess those governments weren't well-formed, then. 3) I'm not sure what your comment here is really about.


Sigh...

You know, it would be really amazing to discuss this without you trying to be a condescending prick when your points are challenged. The above quotation is just amazingly childish, it's not witty or original, and does nothing for the discussion.


RE: ...
By SeeManRun on 7/9/2013 4:12:30 PM , Rating: 2
The reason governments, or kingdoms have been responsible for all the mass violence in the world, is because to get big enough to cause that much violent (having an army) you are essentially some kind of state acting on behalf of many people.

Your point is without merit. Can you name a single country where you have more personal freedoms than the USA and most would regard it as a "better" country to the lay person? I know countries where you have less freedoms that people would consider better, but can think of few the other way.


RE: ...
By karimtemple on 7/9/2013 4:20:25 PM , Rating: 2
The answers were all honest. Although I guess things depend on how you're defining "mass violence."


RE: ...
By Reclaimer77 on 7/9/2013 4:29:09 PM , Rating: 2
Okay I guess I need clarity. Maybe we're on different wavelengths here?

So can you help me out, and explain to me what you meant when you questioned the concept of ownership? And what your point about "violence vs Government" was in relation to your ownership theory?


RE: ...
By karimtemple on 7/9/2013 4:52:19 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
So can you help me out, and explain to me what you meant when you questioned the concept of ownership? And what your point about "violence vs Government" was in relation to your ownership theory?
Ownership is inherently flawed. This isn't a knock against it really, as life is inherently flawed. Being flawed is not a problem per se. Perfection isn't real.

To put this as simply as possible, ownership is either coercion or accord. You own something because people agree to leave you alone with it, either because they're agreeable people, or because they don't want to get hurt trying to take it.

The biggest flaw in the ownership concept is taking accord for granted. People don't have to agree with you, and it's always wise to mind that fact. The only self-evident belonging is self, at maturation; otherwise, you got something because you took it or because it was given to you.

Telling someone that what you took is yours is rule. You've taken their liberty to have that particular thing. That's government. And people agreeing that you should in fact have that thing is government. Ownership comes from government.

Or from violence.


RE: ...
By ebakke on 7/10/2013 11:47:47 AM , Rating: 2
Your ownership ideas are ... interesting.

I don't think ownership is coercion or accord. Ownership is simply a joining of property and the person to which it belongs. A label. And that label may change as the result of trade or force/theft.

Property rights are honored by individuals for the reasons you listed: they're agreeable people, and they don't want to get hurt stealing your property. But there's another reason as well: people understand that in order for others to respect their property, they must respect others'. It's mutually beneficial. It isn't merely "I'm a nice guy" or "I'm weaker than you therefore I lose" as you claimed.
quote:
otherwise, you got something because you took it or because it was given to you.
Or, I traded for it. Interesting that you skip the mechanism which is most widely used by the vast majority of adults.
quote:
Telling someone that what you took is yours is rule. You've taken their liberty to have that particular thing. That's government. And people agreeing that you should in fact have that thing is government. Ownership comes from government.
A bit of a leap there. Taking something from another and declaring it yours is theft. That's force. You've taken their liberty, and their property. That is not government. Governments also use force and steal property regularly, but that does not mean force/theft are government. It most certainly doesn't mean that the absence of force/theft is government.

Ownership is not government, and it does not come from government. It is inherent in the world around us. You have rightful ownership to things that are the result of your labor, or that you have traded (your labor or other property) for. The same happens with other creatures. A pair of bald eagles spends years continually building their nest. It is theirs. They have traded with one another (twice the labor for use of the completed nest) to build it, and they will attempt to fight off any who try to take it. That doesn't happen because of any government among the birds.


RE: ...
By karimtemple on 7/10/2013 12:48:40 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Ownership is simply a joining of property and the person to which it belongs.
Considering [my] indictment of ownership, this statement is circular. "Ownership," "property," and "belonging" are all the same word.
quote:
But there's another reason as well: people understand that in order for others to respect their property, they must respect others'. It's mutually beneficial.
These are just reasons for accord. The mechanics are the same.
quote:
Or, I traded for it. Interesting that you skip the mechanism which is most widely used by the vast majority of adults.
Two points missed:

1) I said "or it was given to you." If you trade with someone, you have to give them something.

2) Trade is material or labor. As the self is the self-evident belonging, labor is yours to give in a cosmic and omnisignificant way. Materials, however, come from outer space. They have to be taken before they can ever be traded. They weren't in your hand when you were born. Unless the material you're trading is your hand lol.

Some older cultures lack a denotative concept of possession for these reasons, which I find to be fantastic. There are also some cultures which are heavier on ternary logic, which I also adore due to my understanding of truth value. Anyway my point is, I'm not just making this stuff up. Other people have seen what I see.
quote:
Taking something from another and declaring it yours is theft.

Ownership is not government, and it does not come from government.
When I say "take," I don't necessarily mean from another person (as you've seen in the previous paragraph).

Establishing rules is rule. That's why the word is "rule." Government is just a synonym. There are all kinds of forms of government, but the reason they're all called government is because they establish a set of rules. Possession is rules. Economy is rules. They all come from government.
quote:
They have traded with one another (twice the labor for use of the completed nest) to build it, and they will attempt to fight off any who try to take it.
That's what I said: violence. Coercion or accord. The Animal Kingdom is an apt example, but for a different reason than you seem to have thought: might is right. Animals have to deal with violence all the time. It's part of life. They also often work together. Coercion or accord.

Pretty sure I've got this one in the bag.


RE: ...
By ebakke on 7/10/2013 1:11:41 PM , Rating: 2
Something being "given to you" implies that it was free and did not cost you anything. If you meant that to include trading with others, fair enough, though that was not at all clear in your initial statement.

I totally disagree with your assertion that government is rules, possession is rules, economy is rules and therefore they all come from government. For someone who adores (your word not mine) truth value and logic, you have a fairly poor understanding of it.

But I think the crux of the disagreement here is in our definitions of government. I'm referring to government as the entity of the state. The collection of individuals who have been entrusted with (or who have forcibly taken) some amount of power over the citizenry of that sovereign state. You're referring the system itself; the actual rules by which the power is exerted.

The concept of ownership does not derive from either. It is not granted to us by the governing body, and it is not created by the set of rules with which we agree to live. Ownership exists without either of those two.


RE: ...
By BRB29 on 7/10/2013 1:43:09 PM , Rating: 2
Ebakke, ownership can only exist when government exist. Without governments, you can only have possession. Your rights to properties is given by the government and protected by the government. You can't own something if anyone can take it away from you. Who will enforce the laws of ownership? who will take it back for you? Who will verify the property that you own?

Ownership, much like currency, is a human concept derived from government.


RE: ...
By SeeManRun on 7/10/2013 2:51:24 PM , Rating: 2
If you look at how the country was 150 years ago, it makes logical sense how it started to go the way it did.

Wild west required towns and sheriffs to make law and enforce those laws so citizens would move there and feel safe.

Need soldiers for war, conscription. Need money for war, income tax.

Stock market tanks killing the economy and putting a lot of people out on the streets, here comes regulations and government bodies to work that it doesn't happen again.

Want to defeat Russian's in cold war, here comes research and development en mass paid for by the public purse.

Need investigation of clever criminals, create the FBI with a very broad jurisdiction and ability to share information with itself.

Want to learn what other countries are doing, create the CIA.

Want to stop acid rain, clean air act.

Want to reduce dependence on foreign oil, increase drilling and increase fuel efficiency standards.

Want to put on a show so people feel safe after terrorist attack, create the TSA.

Nearly every thing you can think of came from an actual problem to solve. Shrinking the government back down and getting rid of all these departments will just allow the problems they were created to solve crop up again.

And BRB29 is absolutely correct, ownership only makes sense if other people agree to it, and there is some set of rules to settle disputes which is binding. That requires government, which is supposed to be by the people and for the people.


RE: ...
By ebakke on 7/10/2013 2:57:46 PM , Rating: 2
We might be arguing semantics here, but it seems like you're saying ownership == property rights. And I'm saying ownership is an abstract concept that joins a person with his/her rightful claim to a piece of property.

In the abstract sense, ownership exists today in nature, without government. And it has existed in the past, in humanity, without government. Government merely provides a mechanism by which I can get my property back if someone takes it. In the absence of government, force is that mechanism, and those who are the strongest will own everything (or as much as they wish to / can still control). But with or without government - if you possess my property, I still own it. I still have a rightful claim to it. And it's expected that I'll probably try to take it back.

But sure, property rights don't exist without government. They are, after all, just a set of laws describing what legal outcomes are possible in certain scenarios.


RE: ...
By BRB29 on 7/10/2013 3:16:02 PM , Rating: 2
We all agree on everything except this
quote:
But with or without government - if you possess my property, I still own it. I still have a rightful claim to it. And it's expected that I'll probably try to take it back.

You can't claim anything unless you can justify it. You can't justify unless there is a standard(law) to base it on. You can't have that standard without a government.

In nature without governments, if someone take anything from you then there is no claim or rights. It's either you can take it back by force or not. That's not ownership, because ownership is a right, it's just possession.


RE: ...
By karimtemple on 7/11/2013 9:44:57 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
rightful claim
This is the flaw. Cosmically, "in nature," there are no such things as rights.

The Universe doesn't owe you anything. You're just a competitor, and you do what you can. And when the Earth decides it's no longer hospitable to life anymore, or eventually loses too much core energy to support life either way, you'll just be dead and the rock will keep spinning and giving zero f&#%s.

This is the Coercion Or Accord™ I keep talking about. Nature doesn't care about ethics or principles; it's people who care about that. You have rights because people agree that you should. That's how this all works. The word for this is "civilization."


RE: ...
By ebakke on 7/9/2013 2:40:01 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I understand what you're getting at, but there comes a point where we need to be adults about this and think. The Internet is full of these hyperlibertarians who think government can never work because it isn't a free market business, and it drives me up a damn wall.
You know what drives me up a damn wall? People who try to use condescension to invalidate the beliefs of those who disagree by casting them as stupid children.


RE: ...
By karimtemple on 7/9/2013 2:55:23 PM , Rating: 2
Really? Condescension has no effect on me. Illogicality is what gets under my skin.


RE: ...
By SeeManRun on 7/9/2013 4:16:06 PM , Rating: 2
If you really believed in the boogie man or Santa Clause, should that be respected without condescension?

Some people call ignoring evidence and fact belief/faith; to me this is willful ignorance.


RE: ...
By ebakke on 7/9/2013 4:31:49 PM , Rating: 2
What evidence did I ignore? What facts did I ignore?

It's probably worth pointing out here that no one has challenged my assertion about what government is or what it does.


RE: ...
By SeeManRun on 7/9/2013 4:47:44 PM , Rating: 2
I didn't care what you said, I was just commenting on your statement:
quote:
People who try to use condescension to invalidate the beliefs of those who disagree by casting them as stupid children.

Which implies that because something is your belief it should be respected, and that is not the case.


RE: ...
By ebakke on 7/9/2013 5:11:24 PM , Rating: 2
You didn't care what I said, so you tried to make a wise crack on what I said. Got it!

Would you be happier if my original statement were amended to replace "beliefs" with "statements", "facts", or "evidence"? The point is the same.

You don't "win" an argument by just proclaiming, "that guy is an undeveloped dolt!". You have to counter with other evidence. If I claim the boogie man is the provider of all jobs and all wealth, you come back with a counter example. You show jobs/wealth created without the boogie man, and you show the lack of evidence supporting the mere existence of a boogie man. Then it's my turn to come up with something supporting my stance.

Seriously, what are we teaching people in school these days? (Other than how to be obedient to the state, that is.)


RE: ...
By SeeManRun on 7/9/2013 6:39:18 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, it would make more sense if you had not said beliefs. Perhaps views would be better, though it does sound like a synonym.

You rarely "win" an argument. But if someone proclaims something that is absolutely ridiculous (not just in your opinion, but genuinely stupid like the boogieman stuff), you may decide he a lost cause and not bother engaging in discussion with him.

If I claim the boogieman is the creator of all jobs, all you have to do is provide a single counter example to invalidate the argument. If I still cling to it, then I am not worth arguing with, since I am irrational and don't understand logic.

And I didn't care what you said previously, I only cared about how you claimed that people should not condescend others for their beliefs, and I inferred that to mean no matter how ridiculous those beliefs are, which I disagree with.

I don't know what they are teaching in school these days, but am not sure how that is relevant to our discussion.


RE: ...
By ebakke on 7/9/2013 6:53:26 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
And I didn't care what you said previously, I only cared about how you claimed that people should not condescend others for their beliefs, and I inferred that to mean no matter how ridiculous those beliefs are, which I disagree with.
Well then your inference was wrong, and you failed at reading comprehension. Context, despite your desire to ignore it, is important.

I was clearly stating that my statement was not childish and it was not stupid. I am not childish or stupid for holding the values I do, or for the opinions generated from those values. And most importantly, I will not idly stand by as others attempt to cast me in that light to avoid the discomfort of a discussion based on logic and reason.


RE: ...
By SeeManRun on 7/10/2013 5:08:15 PM , Rating: 2
Sorry for the long wait, didn't know this went un-replied to.

You said:
quote:
You know what drives me up a damn wall? People who try to use condescension to invalidate the beliefs of those who disagree by casting them as stupid children.


And I said:
quote:
And I didn't care what you said previously, I only cared about how you claimed that people should not condescend others for their beliefs, and I inferred that to mean no matter how ridiculous those beliefs are, which I disagree with.


And then you said:
quote:
you failed at reading comprehension


I didn't fail at reading comprehension. I responded to exactly what you said. I did not take the context into account, because you were almost certainly talking about your most recently discussed beliefs. The ignoring the context and focusing on what you actually said is what I was commenting on, the part where people should more or less respect other people's beliefs. You would have to qualify your statement, because not all beliefs should be respected. And the ones you were particularly espousing, I guess one should respect your opinion, but it isn't really a belief... regardless, many apologies for commenting on what you said instead of the general tone of your entire dialog.


RE: ...
By HostileEffect on 7/9/2013 7:13:11 PM , Rating: 2
Give this man a NAM!

10+


RE: ...
By CarbonJoe on 7/9/2013 12:29:10 PM , Rating: 2
Unless you use the word "not".


RE: ...
By retrospooty on 7/9/2013 12:45:05 PM , Rating: 2
"Two words that should NEVER be used in the same sentence."

Not true. See here... "I wish the govt. was smart".

See, it can be used in a sentence. Its not realistic, and wont ever happen other than a "wish" statement. ;)


RE: ...
By Reclaimer77 on 7/9/2013 1:31:52 PM , Rating: 2
Just more meaningless feel-good rhetoric from this incompetent clown. Like how he was going to balance the budget in his first term by reducing paper dependency, thus somehow, making government more "efficient".

But it doesn't matter. As long as he says things that sound smart and well-intentioned, the masses will cheer him on. Regardless of the, usually, poor to disastrous results.


RE: ...
By superflex on 7/9/2013 4:10:40 PM , Rating: 2
Just like his laser focus on jobs and the economy?


RE: ...
By Flunk on 7/9/2013 1:37:56 PM , Rating: 2
I don't think so, dumb government is more expensive. Even though it is the historical reality, it doesn't need to be so.

Smarter, more efficient and functional. That's the future and even if it takes something extreme for it to happen it is coming. One way or the other the era of lazy incompetent government will have to end sometime, even if that time is when we've exhausted all readily available fossil fuels.


RE: ...
By YearOfTheDingo on 7/9/2013 5:55:31 PM , Rating: 2
Given a choice between screwing others or being screwed, smart people choose the former. Our government is plenty smart if you consider matters that way.


RE: ...
By marvdmartian on 7/10/2013 9:19:46 AM , Rating: 2
Smarter government might not be attained, but we could come much closer to it, by simply firing 537 bozos in Washington.

435 in the House
100 in the Senate
1 + 1 in the White House


Pinpoints our every move
By karimtemple on 7/9/2013 12:38:54 PM , Rating: 2
You guys always give me a good laugh. That last paragraph was crazy.

I obviously agree with the general discontentment over all the spying stuff, but I want to ask an honest question:

What is the core, simple, philosophical problem with what's happening?

As wrong as it feels to a lot of people, I haven't had a single person tell me why in real and useful terms. There's a big chunk missing from the public consciousness that people can't even properly identify.

What did we expect? Really? If the world had 200, 500, 800 years ago the tech we have today, things would be even worse. Obama was born in the 60's; we wouldn't have gotten anything better from any other president right now. This stuff is the result of who we all are as people in 2013. We're all the problem.




RE: Pinpoints our every move
By danjw1 on 7/9/2013 2:34:38 PM , Rating: 3
Well it violates the 4th Amendment of the Constitution of the United States. It is that simple. The government isn't allowed to simply take private data because they choose to. They need to go to a court and ask permission first. It is pretty simple. My problem is that since September 11, 2001 the courts seem to have forgotten about this little law. Ruling that NSLs and such are actually legal and not shutting down PRISM when the ACLU and EFF both went after the program when Bush was still in office. I laugh when everyone seems to be surprised that this is going on, when these cases brought it to light years ago. I also laugh when our allies are surprised that the NSA gathers information on them, that is there job. But, it isn't the NSA's job to spy on the people that pay their salaries. That isn't actually legal, they are part of the Department of Defense, which is excluded from conducting operations within the United States, short of defending it from foreign aggressors.

That said, I actually agree with what President Obama was saying in this speech. I think that data generated by the government can be useful to private citizens and companies. As long as it doesn't contain private information, there is no reason it shouldn't be shared with the people who pay for it to be generated. This includes his recent initiative to open up science that is paid for by the people.


RE: Pinpoints our every move
By Reclaimer77 on 7/9/2013 2:43:11 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
That said, I actually agree with what President Obama was saying in this speech.


Of course you do. Who wouldn't agree with it? Even I agree with what he's saying here.

But that's the problem. It's just rhetoric. It's DESIGNED to sound good on the surface, the most superficial level. To those who are so nieve they'll never question anything or dig deeper.

Just like Obamacare sounded so great to the masses. It was going to increase coverage, lower premiums, drastically cut the cost of healthcare across the board. It was even going to lower our Federal deficit! I mean, wow, who couldn't get behind that!?

Except in reality the exact opposite of all those good-feeling goals have happened.


RE: Pinpoints our every move
By karimtemple on 7/9/2013 4:11:31 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Well it violates the 4th Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.
This is a very good point, but not a very good answer to my question. Ultimately an amendment is an amendment. It can be amended, lol. It can also be worked around.

Which is what we're looking at here. The NSA never actually violated the 4th Amendment; they went to court, they swore oaths, they say they're after foreign aggressors, they got warrants. The Constitution has been entirely satisfied. For this reason, my question goes beyond the Constitution.

The question is really about our motivations and values. No one seems to be able to tell me strictly why they should have a right to privacy (to be trumped by 'probable cause'). It seems odd that they can't, really. Obviously I'm full of myself and I have what I believe to be the right answer, but no one has told me that answer or any other that's actually concrete.
quote:
That said, I actually agree with what President Obama was saying in this speech. I think that data generated by the government can be useful to private citizens and companies. As long as it doesn't contain private information, there is no reason it shouldn't be shared with the people who pay for it to be generated. This includes his recent initiative to open up science that is paid for by the people.
Christ almighty, I've been wishing for this forever.


RE: Pinpoints our every move
By Reclaimer77 on 7/9/2013 4:25:49 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
No one seems to be able to tell me strictly why they should have a right to privacy


Probably because you just blow the answer off with crap like this:

quote:
Ultimately an amendment is an amendment. It can be amended, lol. It can also be worked around.


The guy gave you an answer, and you blew it off. A Constitutional Amendment is more than just a piece of paper.

We have an inalienable (do you know what that means?) right to privacy from the Government. It's right there in the Constitution! If that's not a "concrete" enough answer for you, I guess we cannot continue. Being willfully ignorant and stubborn might work great for you, but it's horrid for conversation.


RE: Pinpoints our every move
By karimtemple on 7/9/2013 4:33:42 PM , Rating: 3
I argue. It makes the world make sense. People should do it more often.

Arguing with someone, disagreeing with them, is not the same thing as "blowing them off." You sure seem partial to coddling for someone who's ostensibly right-wing.

quote:
We have an inalienable (do you know what that means?) right to privacy from the Government. It's right there in the Constitution!
No, but really, the Constitution actually can be amended. It actually can be worked around. It actually doesn't help in the situation at hand.

The reason I keep bringing up "motivations and values" is because without an understanding of why the Constitution is what it is in the first place, there's no reliable way we can expect to defend its virtues or protect its legacy. What I've been telling you is that, as far as I can tell, people don't even know what the real point of the Constitution is.

If this is true, then the Constitution is in mortal danger. It's open to attack. This stuff will not stop. In my probably-not-so-humble opinion, we need to answer these kinds of questions. America is hitting a cultural wall.


Meanwhile
By FITCamaro on 7/9/2013 4:42:26 PM , Rating: 5
The welfare state surpasses private industry in numbers with there being more people on food stamps than there are full time workers in the private sector.




RE: Meanwhile
By superstition on 7/13/2013 12:14:54 PM , Rating: 2
The poor are the enemy. They have all the money.


ANNDDDDD.............
By blackseed on 7/9/2013 1:11:21 PM , Rating: 2
And....you got this...

http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2013...

How the heck you supposed to change dumb ministers or CEOs?




RE: ANNDDDDD.............
By AntiM on 7/9/2013 1:30:04 PM , Rating: 2
I saw that and was thinking the same thing. As mentioned below, what good is technology when you have idiots using it?
What good is a government with no accountability?


Awesome.
By Stuka on 7/9/2013 7:07:10 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
In his first term, he appointed the executive branch’s first chief technology officer

They seem pretty savvy about tech... they clearly understand bloatware just fine.

When I am President, I will appoint the first Chief Sidewalk Inspector. I want to save our mothers' backs!




Answer
By Ammohunt on 7/9/2013 1:19:40 PM , Rating: 2
You need smarter workers not more technology which means that the government can't get smarter without getting rid of the entitlement jobs filled by academics with no value to the private sector economy.




By Arsynic on 7/9/2013 2:58:37 PM , Rating: 2
Ha! This is the same guy that had to postpone his own boondoggle until after the elections because it wouldn't work and would sink his party.

This clown says one thing and does the opposite. The Limbaugh Theorem, guys...




Prism
By createcoms on 7/10/2013 5:28:02 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah with all this deep-sea trawling of everybody's private stuff I'd suggest the government has excessive smarts and needs to GTFO of people's lives. But then again you guys voted this man in so sleep in the bed you've made.

If you need me I'll be encrypting everything regardless of how unimportant it is. Privacy is about principle not about "having something to hide".




Better idea...
By ewhite06 on 7/10/2013 4:14:28 PM , Rating: 2
While I applaud the effort, I would more appreciate a 'cheaper' government. Why does the gov't spend sooooo much? Why do things cost the gov't so much? The Fed Gov't probably is the biggest spender/customer in the world - how are we also paying the highest prices? Theoretically, we should have the ability to vote with our dollars and say "That tank/missile/pen/program/bomber/etc costs too much. Make it cheaper." Costco and Walmart do it all the time. Why can't we?




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