Libertarians


#81

It does indeed! When I was growing up, our family got caught in the welfare trap. Every attempt to get out of it was cancelled by the “system” - until the kids all grew up, made a living and supported their parents.


#82

I don’t “live in fear”. I just have the social grace to understand how the things I say matter.

Now, having said that, I think that PC culture can be taken too far…The problem I see these days is the call for PC culture to end is, by some, just an excuse to act like a jerk. There’s a fine line between supporting less PC in our culture and just wanting to be able to say what you want to say without repercussions.


#83

My mother positively refused to live in the “projects” of Boston where we lived at the time and were the only housing we could afford on our own. Instead, we ended up renting a room form a Harvard Math professor and I was exposed to a much different culture than I would have if I have been relegated to living in the projects. My mother earned a degree while we rented that room and used that to escape destitute poverty we were in. Honestly, I wasn’t aware of our situation because we avoided the trap that is the culture of poverty. I followed and have become reasonably successful in my own right and I credit my success as much from my hard work as avoiding the culture of failure that exists at the “bottom”.

Thus, poverty is as much a cultural problem as it is a structural one IMO. Changing the culture is just as important as changing the problems that come from not having money.


#84

You won’t change that culture until there is signifigant welfare reform.

The best thing to do is to remove the excuses.
Can’t get a job because you don’t have no skillz? Fine, here’s your check.
Oh, by the way, to get the next check you have to attend career training.

Can’t go to that because Jennifer, Huang, Hung, Steve, Jesus, Traymontezuma, Juniper-Berry, Playsentamoneeesha, Harold and Lil Quay Quay have no child care?
Fine, your child care is now fully reimbursed for low income people, and fully tax deductable for everyone else.

Can’t go because I have no car?
Fine, here’s the bus schedule.

There will always be an excuse for some people. You can’t make everyone equal, because everyone is not equal. For those that absolutely cannot due to physical, or severe mental incapacity, you can exempt the requirements.

(Just so nobody gets their panties bunched up: by not being equal, I mean everyone is not capable of doing the same things, either by physical or mental ability.)

For everyone else, if you need some help to get on your feet, we can make that happen. The culture of excuses is the problem though. People with a set of emo-mental balls need to draw the line.


#85

And for others (like me), it’s because we recognize that the very term “political correctness” is an oxymoron.


#86

That stuff is just a backlash to the constant labeling of everything and everyone as racists, constant outrage over the slightest thing, even when it has nothing to do with whichever victim group claims the offense. And Donald Trump is the result.


#87

PC is nothing but censorship. The message from progressives is we are right; you are wrong; and there can no debate on the issue. Anyone who does debat the issue is immediately labeled a bigot by progressives. PC sucks, and is just a smoke screen for totalitarianism.


#88

I don’t know where the “progressive rule book” is that says that, but I understand that part of the problem is that both extremes are so blinded by their own message they don’t even consider how their actions affect others. Everyone is so self-righteous consideration isn’t even a thing anymore.


#89

Nonsense, of course. The ONLY political party that seems to be able to find outrage in what other people say is the Democrat Party.


#90

RWNJ,

I’ve been meaning to respond to your post. I’m not even going to open up your “Racism” thread again because I find it enraging discussing the topic with conservatives. I saw that you asked me a question there, but I don’t want to get sucked back into that garbage.

I think a minimum income policy could look a lot like the EIC actually, and the current program could be supplemented with some of the savings from doing away with the current welfare state (social security, medicare, medicaid, etc.). The problem is that I don’t see how we even begin to make that work without also significantly opening up markets, which neither side of the political spectrum want to do because they’re too busy helping their cronies capitalize.

BTW, I strongly suggest Eric Mack’s new book, Libertarianism (Key Concepts in Political Theory)

If you ask 100 academic libertarians who the greatest living libertarian philosopher is, the vast majority are probably going to name Eric Mack. And this is looking like a masterpiece.


#91

Only a MORON believes that Social Security and Medicare are part of “the welfare state.” Those of us using these programs today PAID into them for our entire lives. Had we been ALLOWED to invest 17% of our incomes into something else…such as a simple, passbook savings account paying a mere 3% compounded interest, we’d have over a million dollars at our disposal EACH which we could live on from 65 to 100 years of age!


#92

On racism, I ask you because I really do not understand your point of view. The answers to those questions might help me understand your point of view. I appreciate what you have to say, and would like to comprehend your contention. You are probably the only person I am aware of saying what you do that I take seriously. So PM me. If you want to change things, you have to have a conversation and really understand other points of view. It actually could be that everyone is not actually a monster.

So as a practical matter, it’s unaffordable without the serious (and also impractical due to the current party dominance) free market reforms you and I already support. We live in a day when Republicans are embracing taxes as long as they’re the right kind and Republicans spend like drunken Democrats.

Not everyone who receives the benefit has paid into it for his or her entire life. The thin excuses based on failures in personal decision-making that some folks use to collect a disability check are ridiculous and demonstrate that it is indeed welfare. It’s a defined benefits program. That’s welfare. To consider it anything else would require it to be a defined-contributions program.

The fact that you and I have paid into it all our lives does not change this. The fact that both you and I feel entitled to the promised returns does nothing to change that. And it does nothing to change the fact that I’m among the first who will get totally screwed when it goes broke.

I quite agree with you. The problem is that it’s been run as a welfare program, and our involvement in it is coerced in a lame attempt to make it work.


#93

It only became a “welfare system” after the idiot Democrats decided to tap into it to buy votes by adding “disability” and SSI to the system without requiring someone actually BE “disabled” in order to collect and by adding payments to minor children who lost a parent, even if their deceased parent had never paid INTO the system.


#94

Yes, part of the welfare system. Democrats did it! As a result, it’s a part of the welfare system. And who are the only people who believe Social Security is part of the welfare system again? :smiley:

And even if it weren’t, you should be angry about a coercive retirement program managed by politicians. Imagine if you’d been allowed to invest 17 percent of your income into something else…

…In a free-market, laissez faire manner.


#95

Not a chance. People suck. They’re lying, using, malicious, vicious savages, held in check only by fear of other monsters ganging up on them.


#96

Bahahaha, truth!


#97

I wrote something on this in another forum on this topic so it will be pretty easy to reproduce here.

With the current Social Security program you give the government your dollars now, and it gives you back dollars later. That is exactly what happens when you buy a government bond.

Privatizing SS makes no sense whatsoever.

The idea of privatization is that:

  1. Social Security taxes and benefits are reduced, and instead,

  2. The amount of the tax reduction is used to buy specified shares of stock. And

  3. Because the government is going to collect that much less in taxes the budget deficit will be that much higher, and so the government will have to sell that many more Treasury securities to ‘pay for it all’ (as they say).

Got it?

  1. They take less each week from your pay check for social security and
  2. You get to use the funds they no longer take from you to buy stocks.
  3. You later will collect a bit less in Social Security payments when you retire, but
  4. You will own stocks that will hopefully become worth more than the Social Security payments you gave up.

From the point of view of the individual, it looks like an interesting trade-off. The stocks you buy only have to go up modestly over time for you to be quite a bit ahead.

Those who favor this plan say yes, it’s a relatively large one-time addition to the deficit, but the savings in Social Security payments down the road for the government pretty much makes up for that, and the payments going into the stock market will help the economy grow and prosper.

Those against the proposal say the stock market is too risky for this type of thing, and point to the large drop in 2008 as an example. And if people lose in the stock market the government will be compelled to increase Social Security retirement payments to keep retirees out of poverty. Therefore, unless we want to risk a high percentage of our seniors falling below the poverty line, the government is taking all the risk.

They are both terribly mistaken. (Who would have thought!)

Think of it like this. If you go to a football game and you stand up, will you have a better view? Sure, but what if everyone stands up, will you be any better off? This is something called the fallacy of composition and this is the problem with the idea of privatization.

The mistake that people make when they look at privatization is they look at it at the individual level rather than considering what happens at the macro level.

To understand what’s fundamentally wrong at the macro (big picture, top down) level, you first have to understand that participating in Social Security is functionally the same as buying a government bond (as I said). Let me explain.

With the current Social Security program you give the government your dollars now, and it gives you back dollars later. That is exactly what happens when you buy a government bond (yes, or put your money in a savings account). You give the government your dollars now and you get dollars back later plus any interest.

Now I’ll reporduce a conversation between Warren Mosler (of MMT fame) and Steve Moore head of economics at the CATO institute that took place at a conference that Warren Mosler was hosting.

The conversation goes like this:

Warren: “Steve, giving the government money now in the form of Social Security taxes, and getting it back later is functionally the same as buying a government bond, where you give the government money now and it gives it back to you later. The only difference is the return seniors will get.”

Steve: “OK, but with government bonds you get a higher return than with Social Security which only pays your money back at 2% interest. Social Security is a bad investment for individuals.”

Warren: “OK, I’ll get to the investment aspect later, but let me continue. Under your privatization proposal, the government would reduce Social Security payments and the employees would put that money into the stock market.”

Steve: “Yes, about $100 per month, and only into approved, high quality stocks.”

Warren: “OK, and the US Treasury would have to issue and sell additional securities to cover the reduced revenues.”

Steve: “Yes, and it would also be reducing Social Security payments down the road.”

Warren: “Right. So to continue with my point, the employees buying the stock buy them from someone else, so all the stocks do is change hands. No new money goes into the economy.”

Steve: “Right”

Warren: “And the people who sold the stock then have the money from the sale which is the money that buys the government bonds.”

Steve: “Yes, you can think of it that way.”

Warren: “So what’s happened is the employees stopped buying into Social Security, which we agree was functionally the same as buying a government bond, and instead bought stocks. And other people sold their stocks and bought the newly issued government bonds. So looking at it from the macro level, all that happened is some stocks changed hands, and some bonds changed hands. Total stocks outstanding and total bonds outstanding, if you count Social Security as a bond, remained about the same. And so this should have no influence on the economy, or total savings, or anything else apart from generating transactions costs?”

Steve: “Yes, I suppose you can look at it that way, but I look at it as privatizing, and I believe people can invest their money better than government can.”

Warren: “Ok, but you agree the amount of stocks held by the public hasn’t changed, so with this proposal nothing changes for the economy as a whole.”

Steve: “But it does change things for Social Security participants.”

Warren: “Yes, with exactly the opposite change for others. And none of this has even been discussed by Congress or any mainstream economist? It seems you have an ideological bias towards privatization rhetoric, rather than the substance of the proposal.”

Steve: “I like it because I believe in privatization. I believe that you can invest your money better than government can.”

(emphisis mine)

The proposal in no way changes the number of shares of stock, or which stocks the American public would hold for investment. So at the macro level it is not the case of allowing the nation to ‘invest better than the government can.’

Can you see the problem? Any call for private investment is made on a purely ideological basis, not an economic one. At best all this does is create winners and losers in a zero-sum game of who invests best. And who do you suppose would win that game and who would lose?

I think that is the reason, that is the foundation of the desire to privatize SS. I think there are wealthy investors who understand this and see it as a way to increase their “slice of the pie”.


#98

RWNJ,

I know your reading of libertarianism tends to be the more oldschool guys. But if you were up on the latest libertarian work, I think you’d find a lot of respectable libertarians who are just as outraged as I am by state rape and pillage, especially towards the group that has been the most assiduously targeted by state aggression: black Americans. It’s not really something I want to argue about. There are things of which, in my opinion, you lose a piece of your humanity by even consenting to argue about them. Like the reality of the holocaust. Or the existence of systematic racism against black people in America.


#99

Back in the 70’s, there was a short period of time when businesses (tax-supported business only) were “permitted” to opt out of Social Security IF they would take the same percentage from their employees’ paychecks and invest it “wisely.” The City of Galveston, TX, did so. When former Galveston employees under this system RETIRED, they drew down an AVERAGE of $5,230 per month for life, nearly THREE TIMES the average Social Security “benefit” paid out to those who were stuck in the SS system. That system also had the benefit that when they died, they could leave the remaining amount to their heirs…UNLIKE Social Security.


#100

Dave, read what I wrote. It makes no difference in the aggregate to the economy overall.

What you’re doing is akin to a stadium full of people who are all sitting watching a game and saying that a few people stood up and got a better view and that’s proof that standing is better than sitting. What you aren’t considering is that over time, everyone will stand up to get a better view and overall no-one is better off.