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Joe (SoCal)
02-22-2008, 10:06 AM
Reading Milo and HiC and right wing talk radio they place a negitive on the word Liberal like it's a plauge that needs to be eradicated. While they laud the word conservative. So for sh!ts and giggles I decided to open up my Webster Dictionary program and just pop in the two words and see what happends

First lets take a look at the magic of Conservative



Dictionary
conservative |kənˈsərvətiv; -vəˌtiv|
adjective
holding to traditional attitudes and values and cautious about change or innovation, typically in relation to politics or religion.
• (of dress or taste) sober and conventional : a conservative suit.
• (of an estimate) purposely low for the sake of caution : the film was not cheap—$30,000 is a conservative estimate.
• (of surgery or medical treatment) intended to control rather than eliminate a condition, with existing tissue preserved as far as possible.
• ( Conservative) of or relating to the Conservative Party of Great Britain or a similar party in another country.
noun
a person who is averse to change and holds to traditional values and attitudes, typically in relation to politics.
• ( Conservative) a supporter or member of the Conservative Party of Great Britain or a similar party in another country.
DERIVATIVES
conservatism |kənˈsərvəˌtizəm| noun
conservatively adverb
conservativeness noun
ORIGIN late Middle English (in the sense [aiming to preserve] ): from late Latin conservativus, from conservat- ‘conserved,’ from the verb conservare (see conserve ). Current senses date from the mid 19th century onward.

Thesaurus
conservative
adjective
1 the conservative wing of the party right-wing, reactionary, traditionalist; Republican; Brit. Tory; informal redneck. antonym socialist.
2 our more conservative neighbors may object to the modern architecture being proposed traditionalist, traditional, conventional, orthodox, old-fashioned, dyed-in-the-wool, hidebound, unadventurous, set in one's ways; moderate, middle-of-the-road, buttoned-down; informal stick-in-the-mud. antonym radical.
3 he wore a conservative blue suit conventional, sober, modest, plain, unobtrusive, restrained, subtle, low-key, demure; informal square, straight. antonym ostentatious.
4 a conservative estimate low, cautious, understated, moderate, reasonable.
noun
liberals and conservatives have found common ground right-winger, reactionary, rightist, diehard; Republican; Brit., Tory.


Ewwwww not all that pleasent if you ask me. I would NOT want to be called a conservative.

OK so lets take a look at Liberal


liberal |ˈlib(ə)rəl|
adjective
1 open to new behavior or opinions and willing to discard traditional values : they have more liberal views toward marriage and divorce than some people.
• favorable to or respectful of individual rights and freedoms : liberal citizenship laws.
• (in a political context) favoring maximum individual liberty in political and social reform : a liberal democratic state.
• ( Liberal) of or characteristic of Liberals or a Liberal Party.
• ( Liberal) (in the UK) of or relating to the Liberal Democrat Party : the Liberal leader.
• Theology regarding many traditional beliefs as dispensable, invalidated by modern thought, or liable to change.
2 [ attrib. ] (of education) concerned mainly with broadening a person's general knowledge and experience, rather than with technical or professional training.
3 (esp. of an interpretation of a law) broadly construed or understood; not strictly literal or exact : they could have given the 1968 Act a more liberal interpretation.
4 given, used, or occurring in generous amounts : liberal amounts of wine had been consumed.
• (of a person) giving generously : Sam was too liberal with the wine.
noun
a person of liberal views.
• ( Liberal) a supporter or member of a Liberal Party.
DERIVATIVES
liberalism |-ˌlizəm| noun
liberalist |-rəlist| noun
liberalistic |ˌlib(ə)rəˈlistik| adjective
liberally adverb
liberalness noun
ORIGIN Middle English : via Old French from Latin liberalis, from liber ‘free (man).’ The original sense was [suitable for a free man,] hence [suitable for a gentleman] (one not tied to a trade), surviving in liberal arts. Another early sense [generous] ( compare with sense 4 ) gave rise to an obsolete meaning [free from restraint,] leading to sense 1 (late 18th cent.).


Man that sounds MUCH better
So I guess I'm more of a Liberal, not such a bad word at better than being called a old-fashioned, dyed-in-the-wool, hidebound, unadventurous, set in one's ways; moderate, middle-of-the-road, buttoned-down; informal stick-in-the-mud :p

troutman
02-22-2008, 11:01 AM
Easier definiiton. Down below the surface all true conservatives think that a certain portion of the population actually starving is acceptable. Like locking the doors in the Triangle Factory; price of doing buisness. Liberals really don't love the poor they just know that the Czar and his wife were true conservatives and they ended up at the bottom of a mine shaft. Also, all conservatives put their hands out for a check from the gubment when the creek rises in their back yard.

Ian McColgin
02-22-2008, 11:03 AM
At its best, conservatism as shown by a line of American conservatives from George Washington through Senator Taft embody the wonderous if boring virtue of rectitude. Unfortunatly, this is a tough virtue to maintain, quickly becoming the judgemental hipocracy we see in the hateful talking heads who so devalue meaning that they demonize the word "liberal" and don't live up to any of the virtues found in the dictionary definition of conservative. They are not conservative in the positive sense but rather are only defenders of power and wealth.

rotund1
02-22-2008, 11:04 AM
I must be getting old. Not really into the category thing much anymore.

Conservatives want a world that has never been, and the liberals want one that can never be.

Dan McCosh
02-22-2008, 11:04 AM
Another example of those biased, liberal, dictionary writers.

Keith Wilson
02-22-2008, 11:10 AM
Y'know, maybe this kind of thing is not helpful anymore, if it ever was. Conservatives include the guy in the office next to mine, who used to be the chairman of the local Republican party, and a kinder more reasonable fellow would be hard to find. Conservatives include my neighbor across the street, and my Aunt Barbara. We agree on most things, even political things; we all want a democratic, peaceful, prosperous country where nobody starves and everybody is treated justly. They aren't demons.

George.
02-22-2008, 11:21 AM
All true environmentalists are conservatives.

ljb5
02-22-2008, 11:40 AM
If conservatives actually stood for what they claim to believe, they wouldn't be so bad.

The problem is they lost all sense of ideology or purpose and now they're just driven by their base desires.

They've become the party of corporate tax cheats, big government, curtailed civil liberties, fiscal irresponsibility, vicious smear campaigns and generalized ignorance. They sold public interests to private groups, gave public resources to private churches. The war on science is waged to appease their special interest groups.

On top of that, they've put themselves in the weird position where they always vote for the candidate who calls himself a conservative.... and then two years later, when they're disappointed, they insist the guy wasn't a real conservative. And then they vote for the next one.

Keith Wilson
02-22-2008, 12:02 PM
Oh, please . . .:rolleyes: What #$%ing good does this do? The vast majority of Conservatives, the vast majority of Republicans, are good people. We all live in the same country. We all breathe the same air, drive on the same roads, pay the same taxes, are subject to the same laws, and have to deal with mostly the same problems. All those dreadful folks who are "just driven by their base desires" are the ones we're going to have to work with, at least to some degree, if we want to fix anything. I've had way, way too much of name calling on both sides.

Milo Christensen
02-22-2008, 12:11 PM
Thank you, Keith.

CK 17
02-22-2008, 12:20 PM
total number of reasonable conservatives = total conservatives minus those conservatives that get their infomation from rush, hanity and O'rielly. :D

Ian McColgin
02-22-2008, 12:26 PM
Is that a negative number or an imaginary number?

Robmill0605
02-22-2008, 12:26 PM
Oh, please . . .:rolleyes: What #$%ing good does this do? The vast majority of Conservatives, the vast majority of Republicans, are good people. We all live in the same country. We all breathe the same air, drive on the same roads, pay the same taxes, are subject to the same laws, and have to deal with mostly the same problems. All those dreadful folks who are "just driven by their base desires" are the ones we're going to have to work with, at least to some degree, if we want to fix anything. I've had way, way too much of name calling on both sides.

Well put, remember ( if you are old enough) the Star Trek episode in the 60's the two guys trying to kill each other because they both were black on one side of their body and white on the other?

Kirk: why are you two trying to kill each other, you are BOTH black on one side and white on the other?

Answer: Are YOU blind?
He's black on the right side of his body and I'm black on the left side!"

oh......

Memphis Mike
02-22-2008, 12:27 PM
Conservatives suck.

ljb5
02-22-2008, 12:28 PM
The vast majority of Conservatives, the vast majority of Republicans, are good people.

I suppose that might be true... but the problem is they tend to gang together as a voting block, and when they do, they vote for some really stupid people with really stupid agendas.

I don't buy the argument that 50,000,000 people voted for Bush, and none of them are responsible for him getting elected.

And it's not just about group behavior either. Every day on this forum, we can see examples of conservatives pushing illogical arguments and opposing rational thought. (See for example their opposition to science in global warming or their defense of illogical economic proposals.)

I'm not say this makes them bad people.... but I am saying that it's not a rational, intelligent, logical way of doing things. You wouldn't let a sugeon operate on you if he didn't know what he was doing. You wouldn't let a mechanic fix your car if he didn't understand how a car works.... why do we defend conservatives when they say stuff that is untrue or illogical?

If conservatives have a valid ideology, they ought to articulate it, defend it and stick to it. On this forum, they don't do that. In their voting behavior, they don't do that.

By the way: another Republican Congressmen was indicted today. (http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2008/02/breaking_gop_rep_renzi_indicte.php) It's probably nobody's fault, of course.... but then again, it sure as hell happened and someone is responsible.

Keith Wilson
02-22-2008, 12:30 PM
Milo, I've though a fair amount about this lately. For all it's satisfying on some primitive level to say, '"You bastards had your chance and you screwed it up; it's our turn now, and by God we're going to get some revenge!" it's in nobody's best interest. We have seen where that sort of thinking gets us, and it ain't pretty. "We're in this together" is not fundamentally a liberal idea nor a conservative one, but it's essential if we're going to have a country we want to live in. To tell you the truth, it was Barack Obama that convinced me (small partisan plug).

Bob Adams
02-22-2008, 12:32 PM
Conservatives suck.

Yet another intelligent retort from our esteemed Reverend :rolleyes:

Ian McColgin
02-22-2008, 12:34 PM
Unfortunatly, the valuable form of conservatism that has informed the best of our republic from the start has been eroded. With Reagan's administration, the conservative value of conservation was supplanted by the James Watt ideology of exploitive land and water use, the conservative value of thrift and wealth management was supplanted by stunning escalation of the national debt, and the conservative value of justice for all was replaced by an ideology of selfish greed.

It may be true that most Republicans are decent but they have installed a party leadership devoted to a winner-take-all klyptocoracy. They need to take responsibility for that by taking their party back.

It must be said that America's once proud liberal tradition is similarly tattered but that's another thread.

Keith Wilson
02-22-2008, 12:38 PM
They need to take responsibility for that by taking their party back.Perhaps John McCain's support is a hopeful sign.

ljb5
02-22-2008, 12:39 PM
For all it's satisfying on some primitive level to say, '"You bastards had your chance and you screwed it up; it's our turn now, and by God we're going to get some revenge!" it's in nobody's best interest.

Nobody said anything about revenge.

The way I see it, it's like being in a car with a drunk driver. After he runs over three or four pedestrians, it's time to take the keys away.

That's not "revenge," it's just responsible management.

I don't understand the logic that says, "you guys screwed up really, really, really bad.... but I'd like you to be my copilot."

CK 17
02-22-2008, 12:43 PM
a quick google reveals 55 million registared republicans. take away from that 13.5 million Rush listeners, 14.5 o'reilly listeners and 5 million hannity listeners and that leaves 18 million reasonable republicans. . . .

Keith Wilson
02-22-2008, 12:49 PM
The problem is the division into "you guys" and "us guys". Bush and Cheney and Rumsfeld et al screwed up really really bad, and a fair number of the more conservative people here acknowledge that. However, come November, they'll be on their way out. Dividing the world into "liberals" and "conservatives" is one of the major things that got us into this mess; it's on the first page of Karl Rove's strategy book. There are a large number of problems facing the US, and a very large number of possible solutions. Painting all of the solutions red or blue and sorting them that way is, I'm coming to think, pretty stupid. "Coherent ideology" be damned; our rigid ideologies are one of the things that caused our problems. On some of those issues, some conservatives have some good ideas. I for one am quite willing to listen to them when they do.

And BTW, not everybody who listens to those idiots agrees with them on every point.

Yeadon
02-22-2008, 12:52 PM
I agree with Charles Barkley (http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=3181371782536979733&q=charles+barkley+wolf+blitzer&total=13&start=0&num=10&so=0&type=search&plindex=1).

Keith Wilson
02-22-2008, 12:55 PM
Eat Lake CityI think it would make me too fat.

Yeadon
02-22-2008, 12:59 PM
Lots of flavor, though.

cs
02-22-2008, 01:04 PM
I agree with the attitude that Keith is showing here. We are all in this together.

Chad

ljb5
02-22-2008, 01:09 PM
Bush and Cheney and Rumsfeld et al screwed up really really bad, and a fair number of the more conservative people here acknowledge that.

Yes, some of the conservatives here acknowledge that.... but oddly, they don't seem to understand the part they played in that.

Not only that, but on many issues, they continue to defend Bush and Cheney.

Also, you should realize that the screw-up extends far beyond Bush and Cheney. It includes almost all of the Republicans in Congress and most of the people who voted for them.

Bush and Cheney will be gone in 11 months, but we'll still have the same screwed up party, with their screwed up agenda and they'll still be supported by the same voters who admit that it was screwed up.

Osborne Russell
02-22-2008, 01:17 PM
Painting all of the solutions red or blue and sorting them that way is, I'm coming to think, pretty stupid.

Reds are overt enemies of the constitution and rule of law. Either they desist, or it's war.

ljb5
02-22-2008, 01:20 PM
We are all in this together.

I agree that we're all in this together.... but to me, this doesn't mean we should tolerate bad ways of doing stuff.

Imagine you're getting ready to do a very difficult task. You need a good team who knows what they're doing. If you find out that some members of your crew are not only doing things wrong, but are dangerous, the solution is not to just let them keep doing it that way.

The solution is to help them learn the right way to do their job. It's better for them, it's better for you and it's the only way to get the mission accomplished.


To me, "we're all in this together" means we have an obligation to do our jobs properly. It doesn't mean we have an obligation to stand by and say nothing while other people screw up.

Keith Wilson
02-22-2008, 01:24 PM
Reds are overt enemies of the constitution and rule of law. Either they desist, or it's war.Yes, we certainly have to stop the erosion of civil liberties, warrantless wiretapping, torture, "signing statements" effectively overruling the laws, etc. So what does that have to do with tax policy? How to organize public schools? What to do in Afghanistan? What to do with health care?
It doesn't mean we have an obligation to stand by and say nothing while other people screw up.Of course not. The central problem I'm pointing out is conceptual, dividing people with very diverse opinions and ideas into "reds" and "blues". That has been the central strategy of the right for twenty years now. I'm not going to vote for McCain in November. I probably agree with 30% or 40% of what he supports, maybe a little more. I will vote for Obama, assuming he's the candidate. I agree with maybe 75% of his positions. Political ideas cannot be rationally arranged along one single axis, much less into two buckets.

Bipolar disorder will kill us unless treated.

cs
02-22-2008, 01:29 PM
Didn't say that we should tolerate bad ways of doing things, I think we need to try and work together.

Kinda reminds of two guys in a row boat with hole in the bottom. The two guys argue over who is going to row toward shore and who is going to bail out the water coming in through the hole. While argueing the boat sinks and the two are eaten up by the sharks.

Chad

Keith Wilson
02-22-2008, 01:35 PM
Of course, there are some guys who will argue that we should make more holes in the bottom so the water will run out; we'd best not give them the drill. ;)

rotund1
02-22-2008, 01:40 PM
http://www.bikiniatoll.com/girls.gif

john l
02-22-2008, 04:26 PM
republicon!

troutman
02-22-2008, 05:01 PM
Personally, I'm a Dem but I've found Dems are way bigger suckers than Reeps. Some Dems, Reagan Democrats actually bolted their party and helped elect him. Ever hear of Kennedy, or a Roosevelt or a Carter or a Johnson or a Clinton Republican??? Hell no. A Reep,
would vote for Mark Foley over a decent democrat because they want to control congress at any cost. When are you people going to insist on decent, civilized behavior out of your party?? Or is it all about those tax cuts?

Chris Coose
02-22-2008, 05:37 PM
Pretty simple.
There is something about conservatives that will not allow them to ever move left in any way.
It is like they were sexually molested by a liberal as children.

In the face of the dramatic implosion of America by the hand of the current conservative king, you'd think they mind bend just a bit? Na.
They do suck and are evil to have to willingly bend over to the current disgrace and stupidity.

Osborne Russell
02-22-2008, 06:01 PM
They dishonored my country. I demand an apology. Non-negotiable.

stumpbumper
02-22-2008, 10:50 PM
Sorry

pipefitter
02-22-2008, 11:14 PM
Wow Keith Wilson. . . that's it in a nutshell. Seems easy enough to me even. Is what I always thought. Ever notice one would be hard pressed to get into such ugly partisan issues with their neighbors, coworkers etc? Because in reality, it is more obvious that we are all in it together. Can you imagine how crappy life would be if we had to face each other in such a way on any given day/s of the week?

ljb5, not for nothing, most people that voted for bush didn't expect it to turn out like it did, 9/11 kind of set us all on our ears for a spell and the nation was tired of the last 8 Democratic years for some reason enough to change it. Blame Bill for that. If he had done an outstanding job without turning the WH into some side show, lied outright publicly to the whole nation, then you could say he was a genuine asset. The left/right debates really serves no purpose. I never really considered a difference outright. If one adhered too closely to the extreme views expressed within many of these debates, we would all be at war in the streets. I look at people for what they are, not for their politics. Hopefully, that will help me with my choices.

Osborne Russell
02-23-2008, 10:50 AM
Sorry

Thanks, it's a start.

Osborne Russell
02-23-2008, 10:52 AM
Blame Bill for that.

The chimp didn't run against Clinton. Voting for the Chimp to vote against Clinton makes no sense.

S.V. Airlie
02-23-2008, 11:22 AM
but the problem is they tend to gang together as a voting block, and when they do, they vote for some really stupid people with really stupid agendas.
ljb5

I am so glad I voted for Carter.

ljb5
02-23-2008, 11:41 AM
ljb5, not for nothing, most people that voted for bush didn't expect it to turn out like it did.

Frankly, that's the problem. You should have known.

I knew it would turn out bad. Lots of people knew it would turn out bad.

You didn't know. Most people who voted for him didn't know.

What's the word for people who don't know something they ought to --- something that everyone else does?

stumpbumper
02-23-2008, 11:45 AM
The chimp didn't run against Clinton. Voting for the Chimp to vote against Clinton makes no sense.

But the point is Bill's conduct united the conservatives in the 2000 election. In '76 when Carter beat Ford, He did it by running against Nixon and the corruption of Watergate. And in '80 Reagan beat Carter because the electorate wanted a tough guy after the hostage crisis. Hot button issues tend to blind us to the important issues.

Lynn

S.V. Airlie
02-23-2008, 11:49 AM
ljb5
A lot of people are not like you. You write we ( those who voted for Bush ) should have known. We realize you know everything.

Do you want me to repeat Hillary's response to her Iraq war vote.. beginning with " If I knew then, what I know now...."

Ya see, even she isn't perfect like you. But she is a Democrat.

stumpbumper
02-23-2008, 11:58 AM
Single issue voting is what is so frustrating to me. People will vote for a pro-life candidate who will completely ignore the plight of the poor, and attempt to privatize (in effect destroy) social security, or exploit the environment to cater to the whims of big industry. I would like to see the electorate become more intelligent and discerning if that is possible.

ljb5
02-23-2008, 12:01 PM
ljb5
A lot of people are not like you.

Believe me, Jamie, I know.

You're the prime example.

How many times have I encouraged you to read the newspaper, learn the facts, double-check the facts, check your sources, find better sources and think?

I do this. You do not.

That's why you have never won an argument with me. You don't know the facts. You don't look for the facts. You don't recognize them when they are presented to you.

Just because you don't do these things doesn't mean you can't or you shouldn't.

The fact is, you can and you should. Your failure to do that is your problem, not mine.

You're like a dumb kid in high school who never does the homework and always flunks the test. He's always got a million excuses for why he didn't do the homework.... but no excuse ever helps him pass the test.

How long will it take you to figure it out? Are you going to remain stupid for the 2008 election, or did you learn something from 2000 and 2004?

crawdaddyjim50
02-23-2008, 01:14 PM
Read this http://www.amazon.com/Liberal-Fascism-American-Mussolini-Politics/dp/0385511841and then read lbj5's posts. Then read this http://www.amazon.com/Forgotten-Man-History-Great-Depression/dp/0066211700/ref=pd_sim_b_title_1/102-8286980-4326500

People who think of themselves as "Liberals" should really read both of these books. People who think of themselves as "Conservatives" should really, really read those books.

And if you read them and don't understand parts or all of them. Then please seek guidance and education.

This lbj5 persona has an agenda and it isn't the betterment of this country. Although he may believe it is.

C. Ross
02-23-2008, 01:19 PM
...

My chief problem with conservatives is that I really don't know what they stand for.

It used to be said that conservatives stand for fiscal discipline...
It used to be said that conservatives stood for a strong military....
It used to be said that conservatives stood for family values....
It used to be said that conservatives believe that by following policies that strengthen American businesses, all Americans would benefit and prosper...

So, I'm having a bit of trouble being able to figure out just what conservatism means, anyhow.... Can someone explain it to me?

Apologies for shortening your post, Norman, if I've distorted it. This thread has gotten a little combative, but Norman's post sums up why many conservatives no longer support President Bush, or do so with reservations.

I think the mainstream of conservativism believes government should:
1. follow and not lead the people,
2. focus most of its energies on public goods and utilities that provide broadly distributed benefits (courts, schools, roads, parks, defense)
3. intervene in private and commercial affairs only when there are failures (fraud) or unfairness (antitrust) or externalities (pollution)
4. tax and spend at fair, efficient, minimum necessary levels, in a way that encourages economic prosperity.

There's probably more that others may add.

And I'll say it again. President Bush has not followed this course. Our foolishness in Iraq, irresponsible fiscal policies, and so on are at odds with this. I voted for him once, believing what he said about compassionate conservatism (as well as the endorsement by the Democratic former Texas speaker of the house who said Bush had a strong record of working across the aisle).

So how to explain the drift?

There are social and religious conservatives (the family values crowd) who are uncomfortable with cultural change and/or blur religion and culture and government. They want government to impose a set of beliefs for the "common good". I think they violate principal #1. Because they harken to "old timey" values they claim conservativism but I think they are government activists of the highest order.

There are plutocrat conservatives who want to use government to divert riches to themselves. This is the "earmarks and corporate tax cuts" crowd.

There are partisan conservatives for whom my President is right, no matter what.

I think the true Conservative Big Tent includes those in favor of strong defense which is reactive and does not engage in economic or political adventurism. Also the main street republicans (and democrats and independents) who show up at League of Women Voters events and contribute to Planned Parenthood. Also the private sector entrepreneurial crowd that accepts reasonable regulation but would like to spend more time on customers and innovation than progressing an economic or social agenda mandated by government. It includes the low tax and government watchdog types who would rather save and spend the money themselves, thank you. I think it includes the progressive conservative crowd that would like to see aggressive action on things like global warming, environmental stewardship, and achievement and opportunity for kids, but believes that there are private and non-profit agencies that would be more effective than the government at achieving those goals.

I also think conservatism can be a starting place for other choices. Many of us like tradition and persistent values, or we'd all be driving year-old FG powerboats, sailboats or jet skis. Sen. Obama uses language from the common ground and tradition, and that appeals to a lot of center and conservative folks, even though he is farther to the left than they might otherwise choose.

Geez, this turned into a long post....

Dan McCosh
02-23-2008, 01:31 PM
Rush Limbaugh last Friday made his case that Hitler was a liberal. Without debating this matter too much, a caller who said he was a 23-year-old college student made the case that the defining issue was the size and power of the government. Following this logic, he noted that the minimum government possible was no government at all. In other words, anarchy. Thus anarchy is the ultimate expression of conservatism. Rush had no choice but to change the subject.
It's not altogether an academic argument, however. A fellow right-wing talk show host in Michigan was, in fact, regularly arguing that anarchy was the ultimate expression of conservative thinking. One of his followers was Timothy McVeigh, who took the thought to its logical conclusion, and bombed the government building in Oklahoma City. The talk-show host, Mark Scott, was taken off the air shortly after.

stumpbumper
02-23-2008, 01:36 PM
C. Ross, interesting and thoughtful post. Does "public goods and utilities that provides widely distributed benefits" indlude effective entitlement programs liks Social Security and possibly universal health care?

Lynn

Dan McCosh
02-23-2008, 01:37 PM
Apologies for shortening your post, Norman, if I've distorted it. This thread has gotten a little combative, but Norman's post sums up why many conservatives no longer support President Bush, or do so with reservations.

I think the mainstream of conservativism believes government should:
1. follow and not lead the people,
2. focus most of its energies on public goods and utilities that provide broadly distributed benefits (courts, schools, roads, parks, defense)
3. intervene in private and commercial affairs only when there are failures (fraud) or unfairness (antitrust) or externalities (pollution)
4. tax and spend at fair, efficient, minimum necessary levels, in a way that encourages economic prosperity.

There's probably more that others may add.

And I'll say it again. President Bush has not followed this course. Our foolishness in Iraq, irresponsible fiscal policies, and so on are at odds with this. I voted for him once, believing what he said about compassionate conservatism (as well as the endorsement by the Democratic former Texas speaker of the house who said Bush had a strong record of working across the aisle).

So how to explain the drift?

There are social and religious conservatives (the family values crowd) who are uncomfortable with cultural change and/or blur religion and culture and government. They want government to impose a set of beliefs for the "common good". I think they violate principal #1. Because they harken to "old timey" values they claim conservativism but I think they are government activists of the highest order.

There are plutocrat conservatives who want to use government to divert riches to themselves. This is the "earmarks and corporate tax cuts" crowd.

There are partisan conservatives for whom my President is right, no matter what.

I think the true Conservative Big Tent includes those in favor of strong defense which is reactive and does not engage in economic or political adventurism. Also the main street republicans (and democrats and independents) who show up at League of Women Voters events and contribute to Planned Parenthood. Also the private sector entrepreneurial crowd that accepts reasonable regulation but would like to spend more time on customers and innovation than progressing an economic or social agenda mandated by government. It includes the low tax and government watchdog types who would rather save and spend the money themselves, thank you. I think it includes the progressive conservative crowd that would like to see aggressive action on things like global warming, environmental stewardship, and achievement and opportunity for kids, but believes that there are private and non-profit agencies that would be more effective than the government at achieving those goals.

I also think conservatism can be a starting place for other choices. Many of us like tradition and persistent values, or we'd all be driving year-old FG powerboats, sailboats or jet skis. Sen. Obama uses language from the common ground and tradition, and that appeals to a lot of center and conservative folks, even though he is farther to the left than they might otherwise choose.

Geez, this turned into a long post....

I think it's pretty good. Only problem is that this is pretty much how I would define liberalism. I think the labels have drifted so much from older sets of values they have become meaningless, particularly in historic context.

ljb5
02-23-2008, 01:37 PM
I think the mainstream of conservativism believes government should:
1. follow and not lead the people,
2. focus most of its energies on public goods and utilities that provide broadly distributed benefits (courts, schools, roads, parks, defense)
3. intervene in private and commercial affairs only when there are failures (fraud) or unfairness (antitrust) or externalities (pollution)
4. tax and spend at fair, efficient, minimum necessary levels, in a way that encourages economic prosperity.


That's very odd, Chris.

That's exactly what I think the government ought to do and that's why I'm a Democrat.

The only thing I can't figure out is why anyone would ever have thought the Republicans stood for this. They are the party of the ultra-rich, the corporations, religious absolutism, anti-intellectualism and discrimination.

Many Republicans now freely admit that Bush has not lived up to these ideals. My only question is, "Why does this come as a surprise to you?" Many of us knew years ago that he had no intention of living up to these ideals.

If he had, he wouldn't have been a Republican. Just take a look at his long list of corrupt corporate and private sponsors. Did you really think Enron wanted better governance? Did you really think Jack Abramoff and Halliburton cared about what's best for the American worker?

Just take a look at Bush's history in the private sector before entering government. This is not a man who cares about things like integrity, public service and fair play. This is a guy who cares only about feathering his own nest and amassing support from others with the similar goal of collecting power.

These people and organizations support Republicans because they are corrupt and want a corrupt president to grease the slides for them.

C. Ross
02-23-2008, 01:44 PM
Lynn-
Great question. Personally I think social insurance programs can fit in the bucket, if they are fair, efficient etc.
Most sensible people of course are queasy about we finance them today. Their solvency is seriously in question, and they are a major inter-generational wealth transfer (e.g. from my kids to me, from me to my parents) and therefore a hidden and unfair tax. I am sick about the bill I'm leaving my kids.
I'm in the health care game, so will refrain from comment here about universal health care.

C. Ross
02-23-2008, 01:57 PM
Dan and ljb5-
I understand liberal values to include more emphasis on government as an agent of change. But sure, conservatives and liberals can share the good values. <grin>

ljb5-
I don't believe that most Republican office-holders or voters are as rapacious as you say. I'm not going to be able to change your mind.

stumpbumper
02-23-2008, 02:04 PM
Thanks. I agree that your definition of conservatism could probably be claimed by those who call themselves liberals as well. It just goes to show that most people don't even know what those terms mean anymore. I consider myself just a couple of clicks left of center, nothing radical.
Much of the problem we have with social security lies in the fact that our politicians on both sides of the aisle couldn't keep their hands off the trust fund over the years. It makes lefties angry when deficits are run up on useless wars to the tune of two and a half billion a week, then we hear the argument that we can't afford to fix social security or provide universal healthcare. Particulary when the United States has become a very poor provider of these services compared to other nations.
I think we all want the same things - reasonable services from our government based on what we can afford, but many people (voters) fall pray to the beguiling arguments of those who don't really have their best interests at heart.

ljb5
02-23-2008, 02:14 PM
Dan and ljb5-
I understand liberal values to include more emphasis on government as an agent of change.

As a general rule, I do not depend on Republicans to tell me what my values or philosophy are.


ljb5-
I don't believe that most Republican office-holders or voters are as rapacious as you say. I'm not going to be able to change your mind.

No, you can't change my mind. Only the facts can do that.

The Republican scandals are piling up faster than I can keep track. Another one indicted yesterday for racketeering and fraud.

Enron, Abramoff, Halliburton, KBR, Cunningham, Blackwater, Ney, Delay, Libby, Siljander, Craig, Foley, Limbaugh, O'Reilly and countless more. McCain has already been caught in a web of lies.

If the Republican party were a private enterprise, there would be more than enough evidence to charge them under RICO statutes.

What is the explanation for an organization with so many criminals and liars? Decent people don't hang out with criminals.

There are only two possible explanations for why the criminally corrupt Republican party enjoys so much support. Either people don't know, or they approve.

Neither possibility is very flattering.

stumpbumper
02-23-2008, 02:17 PM
So much for common ground.

crawdaddyjim50
02-23-2008, 02:21 PM
That's very odd, Chris.

That's exactly what I think the government ought to do and that's why I'm a Democrat.

The only thing I can't figure out is why anyone would ever have thought the Republicans stood for this. They are the party of the ultra-rich, the corporations, religious absolutism, anti-intellectualism and discrimination.

Many Republicans now freely admit that Bush has not lived up to these ideals. My only question is, "Why does this come as a surprise to you?" Many of us knew years ago that he had no intention of living up to these ideals.

If he had, he wouldn't have been a Republican. Just take a look at his long list of corrupt corporate and private sponsors. Did you really think Enron wanted better governance? Did you really think Jack Abramoff and Halliburton cared about what's best for the American worker?

Just take a look at Bush's history in the private sector before entering government. This is not a man who cares about things like integrity, public service and fair play. This is a guy who cares only about feathering his own nest and amassing support from others with the similar goal of collecting power.

These people and organizations support Republicans because they are corrupt and want a corrupt president to grease the slides for them.

It is AMAZING that you could change "Republican" for "Democrat" and this would also be true. It is also AMAZING that you can't see that. You being the smartest person on earth and all that. :rolleyes:

C. Ross
02-23-2008, 02:26 PM
Stumpbumper, we are on the same page...

At risk of offending my liberal colleagues, here's my attempt to recast 4 conservative values into 4 mainstream liberal values. We have very much in common (thank you Keith Wilson) but some differences that are important and meaningful.

I think the mainstream of liberalism believes government should:
1. lead progressive change in the common interest with the consent of the people
2. assure provision of public goods and utilities that provide broadly distributed benefits (courts, schools, roads, parks, defense) and support for those in need or transition.
3. intervene in private and commercial affairs when there are failures (fraud) or unfairness (antitrust) or externalities (pollution) or inequities (labor, consumer issues)
4. tax and spend at fair, efficient, minimum necessary levels, in a way that encourages economic prosperity and advances economic equality.

(My conservative version below) Whaddya think?
1. follow and not lead the people,
2. focus most of its energies on public goods and utilities that provide broadly distributed benefits (courts, schools, roads, parks, defense)
3. intervene in private and commercial affairs only when there are failures (fraud) or unfairness (antitrust) or externalities (pollution)
4. tax and spend at fair, efficient, minimum necessary levels, in a way that encourages economic prosperity.

ljb5
02-23-2008, 02:30 PM
It is AMAZING that you could change "Republican" for "Democrat" and this would also be true.

Try it.

It doesn't quite work.

On many issues, there is a very real difference between the parties. You can replace the words, but it doesn't mean the parties are equivalent.

Another Republican indicted yesterday for fraud and racketeering. No matter how you change the name, it does not mean a Democrat was indicted for fraud and racketeering.

The thing about reality is it doesn't change just because you refuse to accept it.

C. Ross
02-23-2008, 02:38 PM
Well, sheeeeit, Chris, for someone who is constantly accused of being a 'liberal', I'm amazingly in sync with every one of those principles.

(Hint for the partisans: there ARE such things as centrists/moderates) :)

Well, yeah. I'm very curious what you might of the version of "liberal principals" that I just posted. I wrote it trying to be fair...hoping it might be received as such.

The spectrum of American Conservatism and Liberalism is a pretty narrow compared to lots of other places, of course...

stumpbumper
02-23-2008, 02:41 PM
I think you are "right on". I like to see people of both parties striving for commonality and cooperation. I hope to see it in the next administration, whoever it is. I'm tired of those who post here accusing those of the opposing party of being ignorant or stupid, or those who accuse an entire political party of being fascists. It serves no constructive purpose. My father was quite astute on political matters. He always told me that if the two-party system fails, America will fail.

crawdaddyjim50
02-23-2008, 02:45 PM
Try it.

It doesn't quite work.

On many issues, there is a very real difference between the parties. You can replace the words, but it doesn't mean the parties are equivalent.

Another Republican indicted yesterday for fraud and racketeering. No matter how you change the name, it does not mean a Democrat was indicted for fraud and racketeering.

The thing about reality is it doesn't change just because you refuse to accept it.

Actually it does. Reality is your perception of something. Perceptions change with the additional knowledge that is accepted as truth. Your problem is you have a closed mind.

You really should be more liberal.

ljb5
02-23-2008, 02:49 PM
Well, Chris, you should be commended for making a fair effort to examine your opponent, rather than demonize it as most your compatriots do. However, I think you missed the mark.



I think the mainstream of liberalism believes government should:
1. lead progressive change in the common interest with the consent of the people

I object to the word "lead." In general, grass-roots movements, rallies, demonstrations and protests are a feature of liberalism.

In other words, liberals take it upon themselves to lead the government where to go, not the other way round.

In large part, the conservative position has been, "I'll change only when the government forces me to. Until then, I'll follow the status quo."


2. assure provision of public goods and utilities that provide broadly distributed benefits (courts, schools, roads, parks, defense) and support for those in need or transition.

I can't object to that. All of those seem like perfectly reasonable things to do. These create prosperity for everyone.


3. intervene in private and commercial affairs when there are failures (fraud) or unfairness (antitrust) or externalities (pollution) or inequities (labor, consumer issues)

Sounds pretty good.


4. tax and spend at fair, efficient, minimum necessary levels, in a way that encourages economic prosperity and advances economic equality.

Sounds pretty good to me, except for the term "equality." There has never been a serious attempt in this country to create equality.

Most of the programs that get labeled "liberal" such as Social Security, Welfare or Medicaid do not seek to create equality, but rather seek to alleviate intolerable suffering.

The purpose of welfare is to keep people from starving to death in the streets, not to make everyone equal.

BETTY-B
02-23-2008, 02:53 PM
Most of the founding fathers, including George Washington, thought a two party system would be a disaster. Again they seem to be right. Polarization...
It's funny how you can actually describe a democrat. But, who really knows what a republican is anymore. The republicans should split into the different parties that they are...

DAN

stumpbumper
02-23-2008, 02:56 PM
Most of the founding fathers, including George Washington, thought a two party system would be a disaster. Again they seem to be right. Polarization...
DAN


Naaaah, just a necessary evil of the logistics of a republic.

Lynn

ljb5
02-23-2008, 02:59 PM
Actually it does.

You would have a stronger argument if you could back up your accusations with some facts.

Feel free to make a thorough examination of the subject. You can be assured that I have.

The guy who was indicted yesterday was a Republican. You can say he was Democrat, but that would just make you a liar.

If you have any specific allegations, feel free to present them.

BETTY-B
02-23-2008, 03:00 PM
Well, none the less, political parties have come and gone. The republicans have failed themselves. They could use some time in the chair...

DAN

crawdaddyjim50
02-23-2008, 03:11 PM
You would have a stronger argument if you could back up your accusations with some facts.

Feel free to make a thorough examination of the subject. You can be assured that I have.

The guy who was indicted yesterday was a Republican. You can say he was Democrat, but that would just make you a liar.

If you have any specific allegations, feel free to present them.

According to YOUR rules I would have to use a cite to tell you the sun is shining and the sky is blue. I fortunately do not have to live by your rules. I do not have to back up anything as you know it is been shown ad infinitum that political parties of all stripes have and will continue to have members who break the law. You really should GTFU. And the only thing about you that I am assured of is your childishness, complete lack of objectiveness, obsessiveness, and aggressiveness. There is nothing more inane than a online persona that is so sure of their perfectness and omniscience.

David G
02-23-2008, 03:13 PM
At its best, conservatism as shown by a line of American conservatives from George Washington through Senator Taft embody the wonderous if boring virtue of rectitude. Unfortunatly, this is a tough virtue to maintain, quickly becoming the judgemental hipocracy we see in the hateful talking heads who so devalue meaning that they demonize the word "liberal" and don't live up to any of the virtues found in the dictionary definition of conservative. They are not conservative in the positive sense but rather are only defenders of power and wealth.

Mr. McColgin,

I've come late to this thread, but I have to say I think you have touched on the core phenomenon. One of the long term patterns inherent in our system of market capitalism (combined with democratic elections) is an ongoing pendulum swing between the extremes of laissez-faire capitalism on one hand, and Scandinavian-style "market socialism" on the other.

Full disclosure: I'm non-doctrinaire, but tend to lean toward the progressive side. However, my undergraduate work was in economics w/graduate work in economic history & economic development.

To elaborate: market capitalism is a very efficient system for fostering innovation, accumulating capital, and developing economies. This powerful engine is driven by a particular side of human nature: the ceaseless dynamo of human need and human greed. Don't think I'm condemning. I'm not. For the most part market capitalism does a great job of channeling this drive into productive avenues.

However, it is also true that - left unchecked - market capitalism has some built-in destructive tendencies. Historically, the continued accrual of more & more capital & power into fewer & fewer hands has led to an inefficient funtioning of the economy. More speculative bubbles. More oscillations. Eventual instability. One example is the Great Depression. Hoover was an absolute True Believer in the notion that "The business of America is business". He thought the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer was good for the country. He was not the only one. The process began before him. He was just the Final Fool before the fall in that particular episode of the drama.

What followed the Great Depression was a rapid swing of the pendulum to the far end of the spectrum. Roosevelt instituted Social Security; Unemployment Insurance; WPA programs; and a bevy of other programs which were the antithesis of Hoover's approach. Socialism, all of it. Don't think I'm condemning. It worked, and it has a place in our society. We are a far more stable economy now - with these programs in place - than we were before.

I could go on and on with the variations, ramifications, and permutations of the pattern. Also about the dangers if the pendulum swings too far (we're close right now) toward laissez-faire (think Weimar Germany and Adolph Hitler). Instead, I'll sum up by saying it is not - as Keith so wisely notes - a case of "us vs. them". It is a case of recognizing where we are in the pendulum swing, and accepting whatever corrections are in order... even if that leads away from your particular ideological island.

Right now, as I mentioned, we've swung a good long way toward unchecked capitalism. It's time for a correction. Conservatives should not howl at the prospect. They should welcome it as a normal, desirable, adjustment (think "market correction" if it makes you feel better). Liberals should not think that the answer is to swing to the other end of the spectrum and stay there. That place has its own problems, dangers, and inefficiencies.

So - it's time for all of us to embrace a bit of "socialism" and step back a bit from the dog-eat-dog wing of capitalism. We will possibly over-correct (this system is a positive feedback loop, and they have that tendency). Then it will be time for all of us to embrace a little more market control. "To everything, Turn turn turn, There is a season, Turn turn turn..."



"When there is an accumulation of money and power into fewer and fewer hands, people with the mentality of gangsters come to the fore. Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely" -- Lord Acton <Keep in mind that he's British, and he said this in 1877. This is not the first time the pattern has played out>

crawdaddyjim50
02-23-2008, 03:17 PM
Most of the founding fathers, including George Washington, thought a two party system would be a disaster. Again they seem to be right. Polarization...
It's funny how you can actually describe a democrat. But, who really knows what a republican is anymore. The republicans should split into the different parties that they are...

DAN

FDR originated the tactic of pandering to the separate groups of American society at the expense of the other groups. What we see today is the progression of that tactic. I don't think you can define a Democrat anymore than you can a Republican at this point in time.

Dan McCosh
02-23-2008, 03:21 PM
An observation based on about seven years covering local politics:

The state is strongly divided, basically between the major urban areas and "rural"--including exurban commuters, actual rural dwellers, and small towns. The urbanites are very strongly Democrats and the rural areas Republican. It's a pretty common pattern nationally. One effect of this is that anyone deciding to run for office who actually wants the job usually goes with the dominant party in his or her area. That's really the only way to have a realistic chance of winning. One side effect of this is that in the rural areas where "everyone" is a Republican, the party ends up representing a broad range of ideologies on all sorts of issues--ranging from abortion, to schools, to parks, etc. Ditto the splits that develop in Democratic strongholds. This is one reason why the liberal-conservative dichotomy doesn't hold up. One specific example is that school tax reform--supposedly a Democratic position--was actually pushed most strongly by a Republican governor in the mid-1960s, and eventually realized by an other Republican. The latter, often cited as a "conservative", at one point was arguing for simply taking the property taxes from rich towns and giving them to poorer ones. This "paired city" idea didn't go too far, but does it sound either conservative or Republican? The current Mayor of Detroit, a Democrat, on the other hand, has been arguing for tax cuts, and has been closing city parks or selling them off to private developers. Ultimately, political pragmatism dictates positions more than ideology or party thinking. It does take party allegiance to win an election. After that, anything goes.

John of Phoenix
02-23-2008, 03:33 PM
I hope this rant has been useful to someone, and not simply a bit of blather that only an economist could put up with.

Thanks.

After a hundred years of Greenspan, that was very good for an economist. ;)

C. Ross
02-23-2008, 03:35 PM
I object to the word "lead." In general, grass-roots movements, rallies, demonstrations and protests are a feature of liberalism.

In other words, liberals take it upon themselves to lead the government where to go, not the other way round.


"Lead" may be loaded. But certainly many liberal (word used cautiously) candidates and elected officials do indeed "take it upon themselves to lead the government where to go, not the other way round". For me personally, this is an important and meaningful boundary between moderate and liberal. There are progressive causes that move ahead of opinion polls (and conservative causes that go the other way). I'm most often comfortable with the conservative deviations, so I'm most often conservative.



Sounds pretty good to me, except for the term "equality." There has never been a serious attempt in this country to create equality.

Most of the programs that get labeled "liberal" such as Social Security, Welfare or Medicaid do not seek to create equality, but rather seek to alleviate intolerable suffering.

The purpose of welfare is to keep people from starving to death in the streets, not to make everyone equal.

Agreed on welfare, probably also Medicaid. But Social Security and Medicare were designed specifically to reduce poverty among seniors with a tax on wage earners and employers that happens to be pretty regressive. Social Security is not a defined benefits OR defined contributions plan, because collectively we don't have the guts to deny the existence of Santa Clause. Or we just don't mind sticking it to our children, which is more evil than delusional!

And now that Sens. Obama and McCain (and Clinton, for now) are wrassling about "Bush tax cuts" and "tax on the richest Americans" and "fair taxation" ... well golly, they're talking about wealth redistribution (at least using the code words the Americans are willing to use, anyway)

pipefitter
02-23-2008, 03:37 PM
The chimp didn't run against Clinton. Voting for the Chimp to vote against Clinton makes no sense.

No kidding? What did Bill do to make the majority of the country vote republican the next time around? Or was Al Gore just a poor choice of continuance for another Democratic reign? If that's the case, Clinton did a poor job of paving the way for Democrats. Seemed to be a draw then, much as the choices now seem to be a tossup as well. I didn't vote for the 'chimp' as revenge but I feel that's what this next election is to be about. . . revenge. It's obvious by your colorful expressionism and how most of the topics end up here in the bilge.

Ljb5, not everyone has endless hours in which to be a political hack. Sometimes, you have to believe a candidate for what they say they will do and hope Congress holds them or helps them to be accountable. Then you have to figure in a margin of error/success due to cooperation or lack of by the rest of the government and to try to foresee such a notion in advance is perplexing. Seemingly, the only times a president was deemed popular by the people, is when they had cooperation of congress on most of the policies they had proposed initially and in modern times and seems to be by chance to get all of the right people in the right place at the right time. I don't consider these to be trophies by either side. I don't know of one business that can succeed long term with such a lacking of cohesiveness amongst it's CEO, board of directors and it's work force. Why should our government be the exception? How many businesses with hope of success can hope to be able to take 4 or 8 years to figure this out unless they just happen to have an endless supply of working capital? Try managing something as basic as an average household with these notions and see how far you get while hoping everybody is happy in such an environment.

If not for a more realistic gathering of both Democrats and Republicans in real life, such as what Keith has proposed that exists outside these extreme views, your way of promoting your message does nothing but incline folks to run the other way out of fear that Democrats are basically insane and intolerant of human error. Get all the people on the same page and the benefit would be elected officials that may actually agree or gain healthy compromises that benefit all by default.

Most conservatives I know are not of the antiquated views put forth by the extremists on this forum or as labeled by the liberals here and vice versa.

BETTY-B
02-23-2008, 03:54 PM
An observation based on about seven years covering local politics:

The state is strongly divided, basically between the major urban areas and "rural"--including exurban commuters, actual rural dwellers, and small towns. The urbanites are very strongly Democrats and the rural areas Republican. It's a pretty common pattern nationally. One effect of this is that anyone deciding to run for office who actually wants the job usually goes with the dominant party in his or her area. That's really the only way to have a realistic chance of winning. One side effect of this is that in the rural areas where "everyone" is a Republican, the party ends up representing a broad range of ideologies on all sorts of issues--ranging from abortion, to schools, to parks, etc. Ditto the splits that develop in Democratic strongholds. This is one reason why the liberal-conservative dichotomy doesn't hold up. One specific example is that school tax reform--supposedly a Democratic position--was actually pushed most strongly by a Republican governor in the mid-1960s, and eventually realized by an other Republican. The latter, often cited as a "conservative", at one point was arguing for simply taking the property taxes from rich towns and giving them to poorer ones. This "paired city" idea didn't go too far, but does it sound either conservative or Republican? The current Mayor of Detroit, a Democrat, on the other hand, has been arguing for tax cuts, and has been closing city parks or selling them off to private developers. Ultimately, political pragmatism dictates positions more than ideology or party thinking. It does take party allegiance to win an election. After that, anything goes.

Urban areas are also the places with the highest education.

DAN

crawdaddyjim50
02-23-2008, 04:05 PM
Urban areas are also the places with the highest education.

DAN

I would say the highest level of indoctrination not education.

crawdaddyjim50
02-23-2008, 04:23 PM
What followed the Great Depression was a rapid swing of the pendulum to the far end of the spectrum. Roosevelt instituted Social Security; Unemployment Insurance; WPA programs; and a bevy of other programs which were the antithesis of Hoover's approach.

Mr. Tugwell wrote after it was all over(the first hundred days) "I once made a list of New Deal ventures begun during Hoover's years as secretary of commerce and then as president....The New Deal owed much to what he had begun"

Mr. Tugwell was one of FDR's brain trust boys.

BETTY-B
02-23-2008, 04:42 PM
I would say the highest level of indoctrination not education.

No. I'm talking statistically speaking, there are far more college educated people in cities. With a far more Liberal population..

And to take it all a little further I watched an interesting thing on Nova last night that enlightened me to some, what I believe to be completely irrational behavior.
The behavior of Bush types. I have long thought about how overly greedy they are. No care for the future, just pure impulse greed. Take, take and take more now.
The interseting study in the doc was on impulse. The tests were done to both children and apes. A woman showed the subjects two bowls of gummy bears. One had a bunch of gummy bears, the other only one. And there was a bell on the table too. They were told that they could either ring the bell and immediatly have the one gummy bear, or wait till the woman got back with the bowl full. She took the full bowl with her. all the kids(and apes)could not hold out on the temptation and rang the bell. The kids who were able to hold out longer, had consistantly better SAT scores later in life. Impulse and greed= stooopid....

ljb5
02-23-2008, 04:56 PM
According to YOUR rules I would have to use a cite to tell you the sun is shining and the sky is blue.

That won't be necessary. I'll happily accept anything which can be verified. Photographic evidence of the sun shining and a blue sky would be fine. :D


I fortunately do not have to live by your rules. I do not have to back up anything...

They aren't really "my" rules. The idea of verifiability and integrity goes back thousands of years. Probably some Greek guy wrote about it.

I know you don't have to back up anything --- I'm saying you'd be better off if you could.

Integrity is not mandatory --- it's something you ought to want for yourself. Heck, it's something I want for you.... and I don't even like you all that much. :D

Dan McCosh
02-23-2008, 05:38 PM
Urban areas are also the places with the highest education.

DAN


Well, no. It should be obvious, although maybe not. Michigan pretty much invented the decentralized city, and as a result the urban areas today mark the areas with the most extreme poverty, worst schools, lowest education levels, etc. These are all Democratic districts, FWIW. The fringe suburbs. (as opposed to the exurbs.) likewise tend to be Democratic, but the most affluent are so strongly Republican that Democrats have to register as a minority party--like the Vegetarians. That's where the split begins. There also are seven small cities in the state dominated by large state universities, which also can skew Democratic, which also have high education levels, as their main means of support is the university. The second-largest city in the state--Grand Rapids is so right-wing that it once elected a former Luftwaffe pilot to the US Congress. That's where the last gubernatorial Republican candidate comes from. Grand Rapids does have a high level of education, in general.

Memphis Mike
02-23-2008, 05:46 PM
Most of the founding fathers, including George Washington, thought a two party system would be a disaster. Again they seem to be right. Polarization...
It's funny how you can actually describe a democrat. But, who really knows what a republican is anymore. The republicans should split into the different parties that they are...

DAN

The Republican Party should be abolished altogether.

crawdaddyjim50
02-23-2008, 06:23 PM
That won't be necessary. I'll happily accept anything which can be verified. Photographic evidence of the sun shining and a blue sky would be fine. :D



They aren't really "my" rules. The idea of verifiability and integrity goes back thousands of years. Probably some Greek guy wrote about it.

I know you don't have to back up anything --- I'm saying you'd be better off if you could.

Integrity is not mandatory --- it's something you ought to want for yourself. Heck, it's something I want for you.... and I don't even like you all that much. :D

And my post with the whole sentence.


According to YOUR rules I would have to use a cite to tell you the sun is shining and the sky is blue. I fortunately do not have to live by your rules. I do not have to back up anything as you know it is been shown ad infinitum that political parties of all stripes have and will continue to have members who break the law. You really should GTFU. And the only thing about you that I am assured of is your childishness, complete lack of objectiveness, obsessiveness, and aggressiveness. There is nothing more inane than a online persona that is so sure of their perfectness and omniscience.Yep, Integrity...:rolleyes:

I have tilted at the windmill of lbj5 enough for today. Going to dinner. You guys have fun. Try not to take what lbj5 says too seriously, as we know he can't help himself. Bad mothering I suspect.

Lew Barrett
02-23-2008, 07:41 PM
Well, sheeeeit, Chris, for someone who is constantly accused of being a 'liberal', I'm amazingly in sync with every one of those principles.

(Hint for the partisans: there ARE such things as centrists/moderates) :)

I'm coming in late here, but these threads tend to move quickly. You guys on the east coast work at a huge advantage. By the time we see it here in the west, all the good positions have been spoken for.

Anyway, he's good, isn't he? It would do us well if Cris and reasonable conservatives could take over their Party. We'd have someplace to meet.

Stumpbumer made the point that single issue hot button runners are a drag because they polarize opinion to such an extent (I am being loose with his words) that all that is left is to vote them out or vote aganst them, thereby reducing the process to a blindingly stupefying event. I think there's much to commend consideration of that in the circumstances we find ourselves in. I have no idea if Obama or Clinton really represent the very best people the Democratic nation could have put up to lead us, but in my mind there's no way America can be up for a Republican administration either, simply because of the infuriating enormity of the current problem and the toadyism that brought us here. (Bush is in his way a single issue himself).
It's amazing, regarding Clinton, Biden, Lieberman and all those Democrats that voted for the war in fear or hubris. It wasn't that some people didn't see through the charade. I recall seeing small and, at the time, odd demonmstrations as we were preparing for war. I thought that those demonstrating were either very brave, or very foolish, and possibly both. I remember that Kucinich stood firmly against the war out here. Who doesn't? Paul did too.
No, not everyone was hoodwinked, and not everyone "didn't know." People were afraid to go against the prevailing winds for very distinct political reasons. There were many who questioned this war....but nobody listened to them because they seemed Anti-American, and you didn't want to look like that "then."
The notion that our administration itself didn't know has been disproven time and time again. They lied to us, and the big Democrats rubber stamped it. They were afraid for their political careers, I'd guess. Nobody stood up against the steamroller. Call it as it was, folks.
What is different? Now, one can proudly be liberal. But one can't say that Democratic leaders weren't foolish, or were just hoodwinked. Let's speak the plain truth. Enough of them acted only in their best political interests at the time. If people on the streets in Seattle and Bainbridge Island could see the truth of it from the start, why couldn't enough Senators and Congressmen sussed out the situation? I'm ashamed to say that I believe there's plenty of blame to go around. We acted in fear, and many weren't just hoodwinked....they were blind. I include myself.
What is unarguably true is that the administration used all it's powers in a very devious and coercive way. Vote the bastards out and never abandon your own identity ever again, say I. Those we vote in are sure to be flawed, whatever they are or say they are now. Hopefully, not quite so fatally. We bought it. We own it. If anything binds us, it's that simple fact.

C. Ross
02-23-2008, 07:55 PM
I believe that the regressive nature of SS was originally intended as the 'deal with the devil', when FDR worked to get the program passed.... .

Yes, and it was based on a 19th century precedent from Germany. The age 65 was selected as something of an extreme for life expectancy. The combination of longer lives, cost-of-living adjustments (often above inflation) added in the early 1970s, addition of a survivors' benefit, extremely modest return on trust fund investments, and non-indexation of social security tax are all holes in the bottom of the boat. Which one are we going to plug, and whose ox will be gored by any change?



I'd be careful about the casual use of the words 'wealth redistribution'.... it works BOTH ways. A disproportionate tax cut for the wealthy is also wealth redistribution. I think the phrase is indeed 'coded', just like the phrase 'death tax'. Similarly, the 'fair tax' proposal requires a rather bizarre interpretation of the word to realy describe it as truly 'fair'.

You got me. I used the words in quotes to be a little controversial. Quick, what is a tax system that is simultaneously fair, efficient, equitable, and enforceable? Nope, I can't define it either.

Einstein should have lived long enough to write a Special New Theory of Relativity to explain debates about whether capital gains taxation less than earned income is a tax cut, or... Everything is relative, but only, of course to what I'M PAYING, not the other guy.

There was a debate that raged earlier in the bilge on this, IIRC, and there'll be another when the presidential candidates start swinging again. Bring it on!

C. Ross
02-23-2008, 08:03 PM
Amen to what Lew said.

I'm gonna vote McCain because I believe in him and his views.

But I think the nation as a whole is going to throw the rascals out...I think we all know it, and it helps explain the depth of momentum behind Sen. Obama.

Lew Barrett
02-23-2008, 08:09 PM
Capital gains taxes and keeping them low has some very real benefits in any discussion vis a vis SS. If you can get people to invest wisely and keep their taxes low after retirement, you create huge incentives for folks to plan wisely for that long sweet ride after 65 that we're contemplating now. This reduces their need for support of course. The thought has been rolling around in my head for some time as I've invested in my own 401K for 30 years. Taking that money out now is a bt of a concern as it will be taxed at standard rates. Reduce my nest egg and I'll need more than just SS.
Incentivise investment and I can take care of myself. Conservative thinking Cris?

ljb5
02-23-2008, 08:16 PM
Okay, Jim, you want it with the whole sentence, we'll try it with the whole sentence.


I do not have to back up anything as you know it is been shown ad infinitum that political parties of all stripes have and will continue to have members who break the law.

You're not helping yourself, Jim. Either way, you're still making a claim that you're not willing or able to back up.

I'll grant you that a few Democrats have been caught with their hand in the cookie jar, but compared to the ever-growing list of Republicans, there's simply no comparison.

Delay, Kerik, Cunningham, Ney, Foley, Craig, Siljander, Renzi, Lay, Bolten, Miers, Abramoff, Scanlon, Norquist, Doolittle, Burns, Kidan, Rudy, Volz, Griles, Libby, Frist, etc.....

If you think you have a compelling counter-argument, feel free to present it. You say you don't have to, but we both know you would if you could.

Lew Barrett
02-23-2008, 08:18 PM
Meanwhile, here's a liberal that would like to see capital gains taxes kept low, and some sort of really aggressive incentives maintained against those long happy golden years we're supposed to get. I've got a 30 year old 401K I'd like to work off of, and thereby relieve the public burdon of....me. CG taxes should be kept low if anybody here ever wants to retire. Conservative thinking? Probably. Good for me, my kids and the country? I hope so. I don't weant to be a problem for any of you or them, and I can't see how incentivising savings and investment in a major way isn't good for everyone. I am not a rabid conservative. I am a human being! I live in a world that won't care for me when I no longer wish to or am able to work.
Chew on it.

Added: I apologize for what is essentially a double post that reflects my thoughts a couple of posts higher. Explanation: The page spun and spun for a while and I thought the first post got lost.
I rephrased it a second time, and now they're both up.

ljb5
02-23-2008, 08:26 PM
Meanwhile, here's a liberal that would like to see capital gains taxes kept low, and some sort of really aggressive incentives maintained against those long happy golden years we're supposed to get. I've got a 30 year old 401K I'd like to work off of, and thereby relieve the public burdon of....me.


To a large extent, Lew, we already have what you're looking for.

I've had a Roth IRA for a decade. Correct me if I'm wrong, but it'll never be taxed. I've also had a traditional IRA which was tax-advantaged when I invested in it (but taxed later) same thing with my 401(k).

I'm not sure if it's new this year... but for the first time I have a Roth 401(k) which won't be taxed when I'm in retirement. At about $20,000 per year and an estimated 5% rate of return, I expect to have about $2.5 million to retire on.... and that's just the tax-free part. Of course, I'm free to supplement that with as much taxable investment as I want.

You seem to be advocating for CG cuts for retirement, and that's exactly what I've got. I wouldn't want you to fall in with any of those conservatives who think all capital gains should be tax free.

Also, I hear a rumor that Obama has a propsal to eliminate all tax on people over 65 who make less than $50,000. That should go a long way towards what you're looking for.

Lew Barrett
02-23-2008, 09:00 PM
To a large extent, Lew, we already have what you're looking for.

I've had a Roth IRA for a decade. Correct me if I'm wrong, but it'll never be taxed. I've also had a traditional IRA which was tax-advantaged when I invested in it (but taxed later) same thing with my 401(k).

I'm not sure if it's new this year... but for the first time I have a Roth 401(k) which won't be taxed when I'm in retirement. At about $20,000 per year and an estimated 5% rate of return, I expect to have about $2.5 million to retire on.... and that's just the tax-free part. Of course, I'm free to supplement that with as much taxable investment as I want.

You seem to be advocating for CG cuts for retirement, and that's exactly what I've got. I wouldn't want you to fall in with any of those conservatives who think all capital gains should be tax free.

Also, I hear a rumor that Obama has a propsal to eliminate all tax on people over 65 who make less than $50,000. That should go a long way towards what you're looking for.

When you withdraw money from your 401K or your standard IRA, it will be taxed at your then in force highest income tax rate, as it is pre-qualified (has never been taxed). Any CGs in the account will be taxed as income as well when they are withdrawn. The benefit to you and me is that it componded tax free, and went in pre-tax as well. It's a huge benefit. Your Roth went in post tax, but compounds tax free and is free of tax when it comes out. That program came too late to do me any good, but it's a good program. I don't really qualify for a Roth based on my 401K contributions and income anyway as I'm at peak earning now after 40 years in the work force, but it's a great "product" for those that can use it.
Our (Dem) program, if you go with the Big O, suggests an increase in CG taxes. That would be of significance (and will be to me) for any investments external to my 401K. I really don't want to touch my 401K until the very last minute, you understand. Current law requires I pull it out by age 71, if I recall correctly (could have that one wrong, and there are some optons like rolling over into annuities, but those are not pleasant in emergency situations).
Point being, it's a big balancing act for those nearing retirement. I don't complain or worry too much about anything I earn in the 401K (or, as in your case, IRA, or Roth) before I pull it out. My post was a bit unclear on that point, I admit. Problems do come when you take the money out, or in respect to anything not invested inside the programs. That's the real key. As the programs are limited in respect to what you can contribute in the first place, any attack on Cap. gains pokes us conservative, savings oriented, hard working liberals;):D, and the elderly or retired right in the pocket. It's not just about the rich. If you want to attack CG's do it above a certain, reasonable level, say after the first $50K or whatever. Fifty K isn't much for two people to live on. I'll have to move, sell my house and all that. I'm ready, but them's the facts....we push the old folks hard, and I'm fixing to be one real soon.
Index it or just look elsewhere. I'll need every penny I can earn on my money coming right up. And someday, young feller, you'll need yours:D;) I already paid all the taxes I have owed, and like all good liberals, I don't cheat on my returns! Lemme be as I fade into obscurity!

ljb5
02-23-2008, 09:49 PM
So how does this translate into policy?

None of us like paying taxes, but we recognize the necessity.

Most of us recognize that retirement is a sacred cow because once you're retired you aren't in a position to adjust your plans as much, so politicians need to be mindful of the inflexibility of retirement.

Seems to me that we already have fairly generous tax provisions to encourage retirement savings. Do we need more?

Who's got a better plan for that?

The other day, it was revealed that Obama was in favor of eliminating all tax on seniors making less than $50,000 per year. This seemed sensible to me, (although it does me no benefit) but oddly the Republicans on the forum were up in arms about this.

That's probably the first time I've ever seen Republicans come out against tax cuts, against the poor and against the elderly... but you know, they're having a hard time lately, so they have to complain about something.

Frankly, I think that SS, tax-advantaged IRAs, 401(k)s, 403(b)s and a tax cut for the elderly is about all a person can hope for while recognizing the necessity of paving the roads and paying cops and firefighters.

The problem, I think comes in when we try to extend tax-advantage retirement to all investments. A Roth IRA is one thing, but eliminating capital gains taxes on all investments doesn't help anyone but Paris Hilton and her friends.

Lew Barrett
02-23-2008, 10:38 PM
I didn't suggest eliminating them. Just not raising them. You can't make policy thinking only about the impact on the rich. You can draw a line in the sand wherever you'd like and tax the living piss out of everyone over that line. Just make sure it doesn't include wide swaths of the middle class, on whom the burden is always highest. Also adjust it for inflation and the reality of age.

The rich and super rich will be fine whatever the tax codes require. For them, it's a simple matter of how much is left when they die, and the one-upsmanship of how much they have and can aquire in their lives. I'm not griping about the 401K or IRA plans as they are, though frankly the limits for IRAs are set quite low; those who must rely on those alone will be hard pressed.

The proposal as I understand it, is to raise the rate on capital gains; those taxes incured on the sale of an equity (or property) outside the retirement programs. Raising them will have unintended consequences not only on Paris Hilton, but on any middle class person who downsizes or sells equities to live on in their latter years. Again, it's not just about the rich. The difference between the rich and the middle class is vast.
Of course the government needs taxes. Have you ever seen me complain about taxes here? But watch how raising certain taxes affects certain classes. Or be prepared to pay more in support of the
people, and require government to do more by way of caring for them.
I like the idea and the dignity that comes with taking caring for myself in my later years. I would like, but like many probably won't be able to, live in the house I bought while I worked. Capital gains tax affects the return I get from that sale when the time comes, among other things. It's important to identify that even within the labels....liberal and conservative.....there is a range of opinion where we find common ground with the "opponents." I can be socially liberal and economically conservative, and I don't think that's a bad thing. In fact, I am probably considerably more liberal when it comes to voting in taxes for projects I consider important than (likely) any conservative on the board. Yet I can see eye to eye with many of their concerns because time softens and blurs certain distinctions.
Are you buying your house, and where are you in the process if so?
Five years, ten or more into paying for it? The perspective
changes with time, and as time shortens, and experiences mount, you realize nobody is going to care for you. Ask Meerkat.
Added: I will have paid more in taxes for the house I live in than I paid for the house itself; considerably more, in fact, before I sell it. The realities of city life. Whedn I sell it, the government will get a hunk of all the appreciation built into the house, unless I buy a bigger one, which won't be operative in my case. That's less my one time $500K deduction, which is a major break, I'll admit. Again, I'm not griping about it the way it is. The way it is is the way it is, and in fact is reasonably favorable and fair for folks like me. Thank you Mr. Bush. You know how I feel about the man already, but even a broken clock is right twice a day. Lowering CGs wasn't his big mistake.

elf
02-23-2008, 11:03 PM
Amen to what Lew said.

I'm gonna vote McCain because I believe in him and his views.Cris, you just never sound to me like a person who would think that being in Iraq for 100 years is a good idea.

I keep hoping you'll find your way across the really very small gap between us.

C. Ross
02-23-2008, 11:31 PM
elf-
God help us get out of Iraq decently and quickly. I have a coworker whose husband is a significant interviewee in the documentary No End in Sight, about Iraq. He is there again, now. My words, not his, but after hearing his experiences it's clear we didn't "surge" sufficiently after hostilities ended to establish basic order. Instead we made the Iraqis de-Baath all institutions and fired the military police and... Remember the sacking of the museum of antiquities? The looting? The suddenly unemployed army regulars with long-standing ****e-Sunni scores to settle who knew where the munitions dumps were?

Long rant, but while our nation will not tolerate the US remaining as an occupying army, restoring order will take many years. Hopefully that will not be an exclusively American role. I believe McCain's view is something along those lines, as well.

Lew Barrett
02-23-2008, 11:46 PM
I've heard the same from my friends who have Iraq time. The critical mistakes in respect to establishing order were all made within a few weeks of defeat of the regular army, and that let the genie out of the bottle. The thugs ran/run the country as a result. A strong central authority is now lacking, and has been since Sadam was overturned. As to how one puts the genie back into the bottle.....

C. Ross
02-24-2008, 12:12 AM
Taxes-

I haven't looked in a loooong time, but when I last did the effect of a couple of tens of millions of people writing off maybe $6000 a year in mortgage interest at a 25% marginal rate was a bigger hole in the Treasury than capital gains offsets. We know these tax incentives cost us a lot, and when combined with a speculative housing market we got the sub-prime balloon and bust.

We also know that people leave money on the table -- they don't max out the employer contribution to their 401(k)s.

And we know that Social Security trust fund invests in 30-year TBills at maybe 4% real return per year. Well that stinks -- you'd never invest in that portfolio. Yes G***** B*** (or would you prefer He Who Must Not Be Named? <grin>) proposed partial privatization of Social Security in order to boost this return but so have a lot of other mainstream thinkers.

Finally, we've got rich folks getting Social Security checks with minimum taxation.

Net effect, this is nuts, IMHO.

Debates about capital gains and estate taxes and maximum rates are sexy, and important, but pale compared to the unsexy and crucial issues of aligning tax policy and Social Security (and Medicare).

We should stop incentivising excessive and short term investment in housing, and consumption from tax-advantaged second mortgages. (I still get "banks" that send me flyers saying I should take out a second mortgage so I can go spend more money!) We should absolutely maintain an incentive for long-term private savings through deferred taxes and reduced capital gains.

I understand ljb5's point about CG being only for the rich who have non-retirement investments, but I disagree. If you take away CG favored treatment it would cause a devastating fall in mutual funds rate of returns, hence making private retirement savings worth much less. IMO

crawdaddyjim50
02-24-2008, 12:40 AM
Okay, Jim, you want it with the whole sentence, we'll try it with the whole sentence.



You're not helping yourself, Jim. Either way, you're still making a claim that you're not willing or able to back up.

I'll grant you that a few Democrats have been caught with their hand in the cookie jar, but compared to the ever-growing list of Republicans, there's simply no comparison.

Delay, Kerik, Cunningham, Ney, Foley, Craig, Siljander, Renzi, Lay, Bolten, Miers, Abramoff, Scanlon, Norquist, Doolittle, Burns, Kidan, Rudy, Volz, Griles, Libby, Frist, etc.....

If you think you have a compelling counter-argument, feel free to present it. You say you don't have to, but we both know you would if you could.

No I wouldn't. I am not here to defend Republicans anymore than Democrats. I refuse to do your research for you. Sorry to break the news to you but the Dems are and will be just as guilty as the Reps. Just depends on whom is in the seats of power.

Lew Barrett
02-24-2008, 11:42 AM
Submitted as a Sophist, for the sake of pleasant discussion only, and not as a set of truths that must be defended to the death:



Taxes-

I haven't looked in a loooong time, but when I last did the effect of a couple of tens of millions of people writing off maybe $6000 a year in mortgage interest at a 25% marginal rate was a bigger hole in the Treasury than capital gains offsets. We know these tax incentives cost us a lot, and when combined with a speculative housing market we got the sub-prime balloon and bust.


I thought about this as I was writing my defense of hard work, retirement and the benefits of long term investing, but since the interest deduction hadn't been raised as an issue, I decided to avoid so as not to appear too reasonable;)

As it turns out, the interest deduction is the largest single annual deduction for most people and I speculate makes the difference, for many working folk, between taking the standard deduction and itemizing. If one considers home ownership as a business, like capital investment in equipment, then the deduction makes perfect sense vis a vis our existing tax codes. It evens the playing field.:p
Like taking out a car loan.
But that's not why we have interest deduction. We have it, I believe, because home ownership is the literal and oft mentioned foundation of the American Dream. It is a sacred cow, but not an unreasonable one. Once the ability to buy a home is made difficult for those without one, the dream really is eviscerated. It's a commonly mentioned theory, but a believable one.

To further state the obvious: Of course, houses and property are also taxed by local government in search of funding for local initiatives, usually at the behest of the people, through our property taxes. Part of the tragedy of the housing bubble has been the negative impact of nation's changing demographics. This will be a slowly unwinding picture of ever increasing magnitude. The war baby boom and the era of increasing demand for single family dwellings is soon to be over, as the big glut of fifty and sixty somethings gets spat out the other end. All of the focus put on housing as the primary fortress of a family's financial bedrock is, as events are showing, slowly proving the point that home ownership is no longer for everyone, especially those who entered into it speculatively. But really, this trend of speculative buying was for the most part a passing one anyway. This will leave us, long term, with housing becoming what it always should have been. you buy a house to live in it. For anyone who did that, namely buy a house to stake in, the rising costs of ownership, most perfectly displayed as the annual increase in local taxes one pays on an ever increasing valuation, has been naught but a pain.
There's a tremendous argument for focusing taxation on income and spending. Long term home ownership makes for stable communities, neighborhoods with core values almost everyone can agree on, good local stewardship and ultimately, concerned citizens with a real stake in seeing their communities well led and well designed. Tax the rich and provide incentives for the "regular folk."
If you want to tax property fairly, attach less benefit to those with two, three or more homes, and those that have speculated by buying and flipping every two years. I, liberal conservative that I now appear to be, suggest that the incentives for a young family to invest in a home and community, are significantly important, and will become more so as demographics and changes in the landscape of urban and suburban living make themselves increasingly plainer. A "piece of their own" is a hope and a dream that needs protecting and cherishing.
Control spending, avoid protracted ground wars in Asia, and on the other hand, give everyone a stake. I say that the real problem with this economy has been profligate waste and overwhelming greed, as well as wasteful spending of our lives and fortunes in the last 30 years. Vietnam and Iraq are identical, as are less public adventures in waste and nonsense, like tax incentives for taking oil out of the ground.

We'd have been better off building homes and making infrastructure investments. The tax deduction for interest should be viewed, by any reasonable conservative, as a boon to the economy Reagan style, since it made money for the rich via trickle down; it makes bankers wealthy by encouraging borrowing on real, tangible assets and not disposables like lives and tanks. Winning in Iraq is not possible Cris.
The only difference I can see between you and me is our view on how to untangle from that. Otherwise, I'm more conservative than you are:p But that makes sense. I am older, have a bigger boat, and am a multi-property owner. :D:D (Smilys added for proper emphasis).

LJB, I love ya man, but be careful about long term financial plans. A guy I loathe not long ago stated a bunch of lies to me, but like that broken clock, there was one thing he said that was absolutely true:
I'll paraphrase. "Don't get too comfortable with your pleasant plans and dreams, speculating on how much you'll have with a 5% return based on current levels of investment, etc. Life is uncertain."

High C
02-24-2008, 01:30 PM
...As it turns out, the interest deduction is the largest single annual deduction for most people...

This certainly used to be true, but I suspect no longer is. The standard deduction has risen to such a high level, over $10,000 for joint filers, that it exceeds the amount of many people's mortgage interest. Many mid level earners who used to routinely itemize deductions now no longer do so.

Since itemized deductions count only to the extent they exceed this amount , it seems unlikely that it's much of a factor anymore. :confused:

C. Ross
02-24-2008, 01:50 PM
Norman, you're keeping me honest... I agree with your views about the politics and economics of Social Security. I think ONE reasonable alternative among several is to seek some kind of ROI on investments in the Social Security trust fund. There are all kinds of warts on that idea, and the transition would be ugly, but isn't the same true of other reforms you listed?

Lew- I think the answer is simple. No mortgage interest deductions for Old Fat Cats with more than one house and a boat bigger than mine! :D

The only piece I'd pluck out of your thoughtful post is that I worry when people's homes become their retirement savings and their ATM. The subprime meltdown I think is mostly about people gambling that continued housing inflation would allow them to buy a house at high leverage. (And what choice did they have? A starter home for $300K+? How can THAT be good?) But the emerging story is the number of home equity loan defaults taken out by people who wanted to fund consumption out of their house equity. That should not be rewarded by the tax code, IMO. Just like deductions on second homes. Or boat loans. So there.

Lew Barrett
02-24-2008, 02:12 PM
This certainly used to be true, but I suspect no longer is. The standard deduction has risen to such a high level, over $10,000 for joint filers, that it exceeds the amount of many people's mortgage interest. Many mid level earners who used to routinely itemize deductions now no longer do so.

Since itemized deductions count only to the extent they exceed this amount , it seems unlikely that it's much of a factor anymore. :confused:

I expect that's probably true, but weighted on a regionally adjusted basis. You can't buy a family home in any major western coastal city for under $350K, and that gets you nothing to speak of. We can get into a discussion of median houses and incomes, but let's avoid that for the moment. in Seattle, even with recent events, you really start above $450K. Jumbo money starts at $700K here now.
It's very different in the midwest and south. I've been researching Nashville, for instance. Back on the east coast, big city and closer in suburban living is only for the rich; Boston, New York, DC and Chicago would prove that rule. Uncertainty about housing is, after all, claimed to be at the center of our new economic woes. It's the reason I mention this in the first place. Home ownership is at risk for many.

Lew Barrett
02-24-2008, 02:29 PM
In the true spirit of this thread, we mostly agree. My post to HC refines my expressions, I think. By the way, posting my current understanding, for me a way of determining them, so the forum acts as a filter for my thoughts. I write it out and after that, I am more conscious of what I think. Then I refine my view in dialog with others and wiser.

My thinking is that long term home/property ownership (in moderation) is good for the average stiff. I never bought my home with the idea that I'd profit in selling it and retire. Whatever over-stimulated that
episode was always a scare to me. I'd like a nice, calm, easy going route to the good life, just like LJB. I reckon many must feel that way. Work hard, save, buy a house, raise the kids, knock it off and smell the roses. By the same token, I never really saw this house as my retirement spot. I've lived here for nigh on 25 years, and that actually came as a surprise to us, but it was a good choice and it lined up with our needs. It's a nice house made nicer (if I do say so myself) by good and timely stewardship. It's appreciated eight fold since we bought it when our second was born and we had to move from our first house. We lost $25K on the first one and bought this one in a depressed market, with hopes we would not need to move for a few years. The future for Seattle was just starting to look up with Microsoft coming on line and growing pressure on the inner city, but we couldn't know that. It had been a grim few years here after the Boeing meltdown. We just hoped we'd own something someday and that we'd have a nice place to live while we tried to build a business. It proved out, and the idea stuck. The thought of selling this expensive place in an expensive city is painful to me, but taxes on the house exceed $13000. That's not sensible after you add on
keeping her up. Just as housing in Nebraska, Mississippi, Alabama and Ohio are threatened by one aspect of this dilemma so is affordability in the high employment regions remaining an increasing problem. Not for me. I move when I retire. Taxes.
Speculators? Screw 'em. They all bought this. Now they own it. I just want to own my house.

Osborne Russell
02-24-2008, 04:02 PM
The basic Reagan conservative is whipped into a froth of cognitive dissonance by his contradictory philosophy, to wit:

A critical assumption of economics is that moral questions are not addressed by economics.

The study of economics proceeds on that assumption and determines that the free market makes for the most efficient allocation of resources.

Thus, concludes the Reagan conservative, economics proves that anything government does, that affects the market, is immoral.

And by the way, how's it coming with those defense contracts . . .

George Jung
02-24-2008, 05:41 PM
A bright spot, Lew - no taxes when you sell your 'castle', correct? Seems you made a wonderful investment. So.... what to do if/when you sell? You don't strike me as someone looking to move inland. Maybe travel on Rita? I suspect many here would sign on to swab the deck and carry your bags.....

Lew Barrett
02-24-2008, 06:21 PM
Osborne,
I find you an interesting and unique voice on the forum, (I was going to say "offbeat" but I think unique better reflects my feelings.)
However, I sometimes get the impression that when we might converse, you pick up on the stuff I am least invested in. I am, and I think you get, not a Reagan/reaganomics guy by any stretch. I don't think much of the admiration Reagan earned, and really don't understand it. I think they were just wowed by his ability to speak dramatically. I never much cared for the content, but I guess they though "ah....that delivery!" I just want to be clear on that with you, in case you read me otherwise.

I wasn't old enough to know much about him at the time (my parents always spoke sadly of AES' two losses to him), but I suspect from what I read that overall, the best Republican president of the post war era is Eisenhower, notwithstanding some of the dreadful stuff that began then that rules our ME policy today.

George, I don't mind what CG taxes I might be liable for (if any) on this joint when the time comes. The more the merrier, I say. At 15%, of course! That's more than enough to give the body politik for my wise investment. I never planned to retire on the sale, and now that it looks so attractive an option, it will be with very mixed emotions that I might leave the place. A few years ago, I did reckon they'd carry me out of here on a stretcher, if not in a box, but plans change.

Actually, we discuss living around here on Rita in the summer and living elsewhere in the winter. That could only work relatively short term. By the time I retire, I expect I'll boat around for a few years and start looking for Rita's new caretaker. She's been a terrific distraction and hobby, but she's a big handful for an old fart on a fixed income. But while you've got it, flaunt it baby! Meanwhile, welcome aboard!:D The cruising will be glorious!

Osborne Russell
02-24-2008, 07:08 PM
Lew, thanks for the kind words. I didn't intend to refer to you as a Reagan conservative or really refer to you at all.

I just really don't get it. The essence of Reagan-esque political economy seems to be, economics trumps morality. But economics, outside of political economy, expressly refuses to deal with morality.

How can a social science be dispositive of questions that it refuses to deal with? When did God say that the invisible hand is not only the best that homo sapiens can aspire to, but that indeed to aspire any further is hubris, or sin, or whatever ya wanna call it?

hanleyclifford
08-25-2012, 11:34 PM
Nice bump, Thud; right on time.

Boater14
08-26-2012, 11:34 AM
Thud, google up the unemployment rates for Clinton and George bush. Google up revenue coming in during the same period. Did I miss something? Are you a liberal being sarcastic?

ccmanuals
08-26-2012, 11:44 AM
Thud, what does this chart say to you?

http://nassaucountydems.com/sites/default/files/images/obama_job_creation_0.png

and this chart

http://newsjunkiepost.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/job-creation-by-party-2-300x293.gif

Chris Coose
08-26-2012, 12:27 PM
Thud, google up the unemployment rates for Clinton and George bush. Google up revenue coming in during the same period. Did I miss something? Are you a liberal being sarcastic?

Thud don't give a sht for facts. He's one of those who will harm himself by voting and wouldn't know a thing about it....... don't care to know.

David G
08-26-2012, 01:29 PM
Always interesting to see my old posts... In the case of SS, I am expressing exactly the same views I expressed 4 years ago.

Im sure I have changed my mind about some things.... But not everything.

I'm still riding with post #75.

Cuyahoga Chuck
08-26-2012, 01:29 PM
On the topic, FOX had a poll showing an even split between DNC/RNC +- a few.
But the question: "Have you already made up your mind?" 80% Yes!

So for people like me, a lot of our hard work typing and opining will go for naught!

The Republicans have always created jobs and brought in Tax Revenue.
The Democrats have always found ways to spend Tax Revenue on buying votes. The obvious exception is FDR and Harry S Truman. Hooray for those two guys!

In the last four years our economy has sagged. Our leader has done nothing to improve the economic outlook.
Lets make a Change in November.
Write your DNC Delegation and tell them to get on the job. Get something done. Tell them they are looking at a Change in November if they don't get to work.

Glad you like FDR and Truman They were outsanding presidents. FDR in particular brought big city conveniences like water and electricity to a lot of your state. And you people supported FDR and the Democrats long and hard. Until the the Republicans came along and said it was quite alright to be racist in America. Then the the light fixtures and the indoor plumbing was fast forgotten and you folks were no longer willing to dance with those that brung ya'. Not much gratitude there!
Now your dislike for our Black president has even got you voting against your own best interests. The Republicans are planning to throw granma' under the bus by giving her over to the tender mercies of the insurance companies. That and a lot of other benefits are going to dry up so the Pentagon won't have to take a cut and the rich can keep filling their offshore bank accounts. When Johnny or Jane comes home from the war they may have to take in a mother or a grandmother. If you think this is all part of God's plan keep thinking what you are thinking.

Tom Galyen
08-26-2012, 01:45 PM
Looking back at the beginning of this thread to the postings of the arch-liberals on the left side of the Keelson in this bilge is hilarious at best, and deeply saddening to the point of crying at its worst. Note the entry by one of the farthest leftist in this bilge Ian


"At its best, conservatism as shown by a line of American conservatives from George Washington through Senator Taft embody the wonderous if boring virtue of rectitude. Unfortunatly, this is a tough virtue to maintain, quickly becoming the judgemental hipocracy we see in the hateful talking heads who so devalue meaning that they demonize the word "liberal" and don't live up to any of the virtues found in the dictionary definition of conservative. They are not conservative in the positive sense but rather are only defenders of power and wealth."

George Washington a conservative??? IF he were a conservative by the definition posted by the OP then he would have been a loyal follower of King George!!! By that definition that is what a political conservative would do! Lead an army into revolt against the ruling party is an act of a conservative? Not according to the dictionary definition found in Websters, but Ian says he is an example of "Boring Rectitude". Along with all those other conservatives like Thomas Jefferson who wrote Declaration of Independence stating our reason for the revolution. Of course he would not leave out Samuel Adams, John Hancock, Alexander Hamilton, John Q, Adams ( Who defended slaves rights to be free, or did you miss the movie "Amistad") certainly the act of an arch conservative according to Ian and his wonderful education. Also in his list, since it goes to President Taft, is Abraham Lincoln, the first Republican elected president, who because he is one of those "Loathsome Republicans" is an arch conservative right. He leads his country in a against the conservative ideas of the Old South. I could rant on but I think this is enough.

I picked on Ian because of his post but all the other Neo-Libs who post on here with him and didn't do any thinking of their own and correct his post can consider themselves as part of this gross error.

Now let us look at the present Democratic Regime in congress and see how they fit the definition that Joe originally posted. I don't think we need to look any farther than former, by Grace of God, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Who said in the early days of the Obama administration when the Democrats held the White House, and the Senate and the House of Representatives, "Who needs the damn Republicans, anyway?" Such a voice of reason and conciliation is rarely heard, except when she followed it with her instructions to her minions in the House concerning their concern that the Obamacare package was so long that they would not have time to study it before the vote. Her instructions then? "Don't read it just vote for it!"

Between the Neo-Libs and the Neo-Cons in congress I don't see any real opposites in argument. I see Neo-Libs and Neo-Cons just trying to preserve their phoney baloney jobs while both, but the democrats more so, rape plunder and pillage this county from top to bottom. Especially the plundering of the middle class. As has been pointed out the Democrats plunder the Middle class to gain money to pay for votes, and the Republicans do it to pander to Wall Street.

As may have been said by those who sailed the seas in the 17th and 18th centuries it doesn't matter whether your ship is pirated by Capt. Black Beard, or by Capt, Jack Calico, the results are the same.

Now you may understand my signature.

hanleyclifford
08-26-2012, 05:42 PM
Thud, what does this chart say to you?

http://nassaucountydems.com/sites/default/files/images/obama_job_creation_0.png

and this chart

http://newsjunkiepost.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/job-creation-by-party-2-300x293.gif So, what's the deal on job losses?

Ian McColgin
08-26-2012, 06:03 PM
It appears that Tom Galyen is intent on adding to my pantheon of conservative heros people I've not named and whom no one could call conservative, while retaining a studious ignorance of Samuel Eliot Morison's "The Conservative American Revolution." Frankly, it's the conservative element that saved us from something tempermental such as the French managed.

But I confess that by the classic definition, one that was valid from the days of Cicero to the 1950's, we don't have conservatives any more. When ideological illiterates who claim the mantle of 'conservative' dominate and infantilize political discourse by such amazing stupidity as calling Obama socialist, we don't have much in the way of living models for what was once a noble point of view.

PeterSibley
08-26-2012, 06:08 PM
A slightly longer time scale.

http://gftnet.gftforex.com/uploads/nfp010709_1.jpg
http://www.fx360.com/commentary/kathy/2592/nfp-preview-3-reasons-why-job-growth-is-possible.aspx?num=1262905231876

PeterSibley
08-26-2012, 06:10 PM
http://www.ibrc.indiana.edu/ibr/2008/outlook/national.html

http://www.ibrc.indiana.edu/ibr/2008/outlook/images/us_fig2.gif

Peter Malcolm Jardine
08-26-2012, 06:29 PM
On the topic, FOX had a poll showing an even split between DNC/RNC +- a few.
But the question: "Have you already made up your mind?" 80% Yes!

So for people like me, a lot of our hard work typing and opining will go for naught!

The Republicans have always created jobs and brought in Tax Revenue.
The Democrats have always found ways to spend Tax Revenue on buying votes. The obvious exception is FDR and Harry S Truman. Hooray for those two guys!

In the last four years our economy has sagged. Our leader has done nothing to improve the economic outlook.
Lets make a Change in November.
Write your DNC Delegation and tell them to get on the job. Get something done. Tell them they are looking at a Change in November if they don't get to work.


Why do you write these statements? They are clearly wrong, and even on this little internet forum, in a matter of just a few minutes is solid statistical evidence you are wrong. Do you like being wrong, or even in the face of overwhelming evidence, do you actually believe what you wrote..... which would make you delusional?

McMike
08-26-2012, 06:33 PM
why do you write these statements? They are clearly wrong, and even on this little internet forum, in a matter of just a few minutes is solid statistical evidence you are wrong. Do you like being wrong, or even in the face of overwhelming evidence, do you actually believe what you wrote..... which would make you delusional?

bingo!!!!!!

Boater14
08-26-2012, 07:18 PM
If thud comes back he'll debunk your stinkin charts as products of the liberal media. That's what they always do. They've been trained to only trust rush and fox. Rush has I think his studio in his 26 million dollar estate. Obama and Biden own their houses. But, go ahead believe the rich comedian.

Chip-skiff
08-26-2012, 07:22 PM
Perhaps the paramount rule of "conservative" discourse is that beliefs outrank facts.

Tom Galyen
08-27-2012, 04:22 PM
I have to reply to Boater14 who is from New Jersey. I don't know about Joe Biden, but living in Illinois I do know about Barak Obama and his house. His house is in a neighborhood only a block or so away from where our FORMER governor Blago lived. The prices are about the same in that area. His Real Estate agent who helped him get the house was a fellow named Tony Rezko.

If that name doesn't ring a bell its because not all of the news of Blago escapades were reported across the country. But Tony was also Blago's right hand man until he copped a plea and testified against Blago at his trial. He is now also serving a sentence. It makes one wonder if the Federal Prosecutor Fitzgereald had dug a little longer what other names would have been included on indictments.

Now there's many on this forum who would say that it is just coincidence that Rezko helped both Obama and Blago, and that I'm using too broad a brush in making this statement. However, as my mother would say, you are known by the company you keep. This is Chicago that I am speaking of, and the Democratic machine is among the dirtiest here as can be found anywhere. I've always thought it interesting that the first two chief of staffs that Obama had were Chicago politicians. I feel to this day that it is the machine keeping track of Obama.

Tom Montgomery
08-27-2012, 04:39 PM
It doesn't sound like Tony Rezko offered the same type of help to Obama that he did to Blago.

Was there something shady about the real estate transaction when the Obama's purchased their home? Surely if there was, the Republicans would have long been all over it.

Or is this just about guilt by association? If so, that is Phillip Allen reasoning.
x

John Smith
08-27-2012, 05:02 PM
I don't think it's all that complex. A conservative is a guy who wants government out of the way, so the free market can work. That is, until he sees there is a market for something he doesn't like: then he wants a law.
Further, today's conservatives don't believe a business need roads, bridges, patent laws, running water, or any of those socialistic things the government provides.

Meli
08-27-2012, 06:29 PM
The trouble is that these days, conservatives (well, the right wing ones) don't conserve at all.
They just react.
They do not conserve christian values or any other values of worth.
They do not conserve their personal wealth, just other peoples.
They do not conserve human rights, labour rights, wages, educational standards, health standards.
They wish to erode in fact. This is why they cop so much flack from the moderates or left wing here.

Now maybe renaming them the "Reactionaries" would be more accurate.
Then the true conservatives could hold up their heads

Peter Malcolm Jardine
08-27-2012, 06:56 PM
For me the words conservative and liberal have little meaning. What does have meaning is dignity, respect, equal and fair treatment in all of our public policies, with special consideration for the poor and the disadvantaged. If a conservative proposes good ideas in these areas, then I vote conservative, if not, I vote for someone else.

Money is a fleeting artificial thing. How we look at the life of others and what we do about problems facing all of us or some us is the crucial question facing government. The republican outlook is too harsh for me, but I live in a country that governs to the left of the Democrats.

wardd
08-27-2012, 07:12 PM
For me the words conservative and liberal have little meaning. What does have meaning is dignity, respect, equal and fair treatment in all of our public policies, with special consideration for the poor and the disadvantaged. If a conservative proposes good ideas in these areas, then I vote conservative, if not, I vote for someone else.

Money is a fleeting artificial thing. How we look at the life of others and what we do about problems facing all of us or some us is the crucial question facing government. The republican outlook is too harsh for me, but I live in a country that governs to the left of the Democrats.

it's not only that a conservative say that but does he belong to a party that would make it happen or would he be a voice in the conservative wilderness

RodB
08-27-2012, 07:46 PM
The trouble is that these days, conservatives (well, the right wing ones) don't conserve at all.
They just react.
They do not conserve christian values or any other values of worth.
They do not conserve their personal wealth, just other peoples.
They do not conserve human rights, labour rights, wages, educational standards, health standards.
They wish to erode in fact. This is why they cop so much flack from the moderates or left wing here.

Now maybe renaming them the "Reactionaries" would be more accurate.
Then the true conservatives could hold up their heads


Meli,

Do you really believe this crap?

Talk about misinformation...

What have you been reading... "A liberal essay on how to negatively portray Conservatives in an election cycle when your record stinks" You have no clue what you are talking about, you sound like a cool aid drinker listing off the talking points of the Dems.

Watch the Rep and Dem convention over the next two weeks... the Reps will talk about the important issues ... mainly straightening out the economy and job creation... and the Dems will stay on manufactured social issues that are false, they can do nothing else but avoid their record.

RodB

wardd
08-27-2012, 07:49 PM
Meli,

Do you really believe this crap?

Talk about misinformation...

What have you been reading... "A liberal essay on how to negatively portray Conservatives in an election cycle when your record stinks" You have no clue what you are talking about, you sound like a cool aid drinker listing off the talking points of the Dems.

Watch the Rep and Dem convention over the next two weeks... the Reps will talk about the important issues ... mainly straightening out the economy and job creation... and the Dems will stay on manufactured social issues that are false, they can do nothing else but avoid their record.

RodB

you forgot the anti choice talk