On Taxation and Socialism

General discussions of interest to readers and fans of Harlan Ellison.

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On Taxation and Socialism

Postby Moderator » Mon Oct 27, 2008 10:17 am

I am amused by -- and really quite angry with -- the morons who

(a) earn less than $250K a year and yet oppose returning those who do earn that to the same tax rate they had in the 1990s;

(b) are victimized by banks who allow them to be heavily overextended on their credit cards -- unable to pay anything but the minimums -- and gave them loan terms which are borderline illegal, yet those people oppose bank regulation on the grounds the government shouldn't interfere;

(b1) were stupid enough to sign the fucking loans in the first place, leaving the rest of us to pay the price through bailouts and plummeting home values;

(c) are terrified of socialism, but feel entitled to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security benefits;

(d) are terrified of "socialized medicine" because they will be forced to "wait in long lines" and "can't see MY doctor" despite the fact we pay outrageous premiums fo our coverage, wait an average of 30 minutes in the waiting room and another 10 in the exam room, and routinely see nurse practitioners with apparently no problem at all;

and (e) have kids, and yet think it's okay to increase the federal deficit to above $10 trillion dollars .. as long as nobody currently has to pay higher taxes to pay for it.

Would somebody please get these fools a dictionary and calculator for Christmas -- or better yet, can we put "economics 101" back into schools???
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Postby reddragon70 » Mon Oct 27, 2008 10:40 am

Sadly a lot of Americans are so brain washed that they have no idea what socialism actually is. They seem to believe that its means your a commie pinko totally determined to destroy truth justice and the American way. Yeah what a load of bull. Anyway, what it means to me in the UK is that I dont have to wait ages to see my doctor. THATS RIGHT!!! Lo and there were no long queues at the doctors office... And yay we paid not one penny for the priveledge of seeing the quack.

Quite simply everyone who works pays into the "welfare state" and everyone is entitled to free health care. And even better it would cost less than the average American pays every year for some health insurance company to say "Bugger off, we dont cover you for that". Why? because its NOT about ripping off the consumer to pay huge dividends to the shareholders of the insurance company!

My house has NOT gone down in value. In fact its gone up in the five years I have lived here. In fact its gone up by maybe 30%-40% in that time.

My tax is not sky high, I pay around 23% more or less, and I personally would pay more to see the health system improved.

I earn £34,000 as a train driver. I think with the exchange rates that is about $60000 more or less. not too bad for a socialist country wouldnt you agree?

Oh and i have no debt apart from my morgage. None. Zero. Zip. Not even a credit card. Why? Because I dont like owing money to anyone. Its not a divine right that you have to spend money you dont have on crap you dont need. You have a right to save up for said crap if you can justify its true need. Its what I do anyway.

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Postby Peggy » Mon Oct 27, 2008 10:47 am

Barber wrote: (b) are victimized by banks who allow them to be heavily overextended on their credit cards -- unable to pay anything but the minimums -- and gave them loan terms which are borderline illegal, yet those people oppose bank regulation on the grounds the government shouldn't interfere;


One can hardly call someone a victim unless those credit cards and the overtextended debt thereon are paying for necessities. There are too many people who run up enormous debt paying for items that are, truthfully, luxuries. Dining out, Starbucks, movies, Nintendo/xbox/wii, pricey clothes, pricey furniture, etc.

There are, I’m sure, cases where it’s impossible to live within your means and provide your family with the basic necessities. But I would contend that the growing culture of entitlement that has been cultivated in the US for the last 30 year (heck, maybe 40 or 50 years) has completely distorted the definition of basic necessities.

Barber wrote: (b1) were stupid enough to sign the fucking loans in the first place, leaving the rest of us to pay the price through bailouts and plummeting home values


And the same folks somehow don’t see this as socialism either! (see Barber’s point “c”)

Ironically, I feel less irate about this than the above, because the housing bubble forced prices of even modest homes skyrocketing, and the rental market prices increased in response. Roof over head *is* what I’d call a necessity, though again, I think there’s a fair number of folks who invested in homes well beyond that.

Points c, d, e and item regarding gift suggestions - spot on!
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Postby Moderator » Mon Oct 27, 2008 11:29 am

Peggy wrote:
Barber wrote: (b) are victimized by banks who allow them to be heavily overextended on their credit cards -- unable to pay anything but the minimums -- and gave them loan terms which are borderline illegal, yet those people oppose bank regulation on the grounds the government shouldn't interfere;


One can hardly call someone a victim unless those credit cards and the overtextended debt thereon are paying for necessities.


Y'know, sarcasm doesn't play well on the internet.

The way I wrote it, yes, point taken.

I shoulda put quotes around the word "victimized". (See, makes it much more sarcastic when put that way!)
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Postby Peggy » Mon Oct 27, 2008 11:45 am

There but for the grace of punctuation go I.... :wink:

Which brings me to a question that's been percolating since I wrote that:

How would we define basic necessities today?

Food, clothing, shelter, of course. (This presumes modest rather than extravagant of course, and in the case of food, consitituting a healthy diet and not subsiting on fatty fast foods and soda).

Education? Does that then also imply the need for a computer in this day and age?

Transport?

Health Care?

I'm curious now what pandora's box that little statement opens up.

Thoughts?
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Postby Moderator » Mon Oct 27, 2008 12:29 pm

Peggy wrote:How would we define basic necessities today?

Food, clothing, shelter, of course.

Education? Does that then also imply the need for a computer in this day and age? Transport? Health Care?

Thoughts?


Education is provided for by the state. It is a necessity. Private schooling is not.

Transport is a necessity, though in some parts of the country a car is not.

Health care is a necessity.

Thoughts should be a necessity, but are apparently optional for many people.
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Postby David Loftus » Mon Oct 27, 2008 12:39 pm

Barber wrote:Thoughts should be a necessity, but are apparently optional for many people.



I will defend to the death my right not to possess a thought if I don't want one.
War is, at first, the hope that one will be better off; next, the expectation that the other fellow will be worse off; then, the satisfaction that he isn't any better off; and, finally, the surprise at everyone's being worse off. - Karl Kraus

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Postby swp » Mon Oct 27, 2008 12:48 pm

Peggy wrote:How would we define basic necessities today?

1) Clean Water. Clean Air. In essentially unlimited quantities. yes, we should conserve but I am loathe to put a number on how much water per person per day. That is an *old* fear many people have about socialism, be it true or not. Clean air ... well, we could live on the moon and eat green cheese.
2) Food. Thinking in terms of calories per day per person, not specific foods, because of the number of people involved. 2000 seems healthy. Just because I choose to get mine from cavier and champagne and you from the dollar menu at mcdonalds doesn't make either of us right.
3) Shelter. NOT a home, shelter. Apartments can do very nicely thank you very much. Or a commune. Or whatever living arrangement suits you, as long as you have a place where you won't die from exposure to the elements.
4) Gainful Employment/Productive Member of Society. Yes, I know. And there are many arguments about this. Being a productive member of society isn't the same as gainful employment. People need skills to make a sustainable living and seeds of hope to make that life grow. You could be a student, learning to be a doctor. Or a housewife raising your small children and teaching them right from wrong and how to play nice. Or the heir to the urinal cake empire your parents built. But each person must be accounted for, to contribute in their own way, to a functioning society. Reality is that you need money to buy things, such as the first 3 things on this list. To do that, you need a job or someone who will provide for you. The government shouldn't shoulder that burden. But that too can be debated.
5) Energy. Sadly. Can't do a lot without it in this day and age.
6) Transportation. Public transportation to and from the places you need to be, like the grocery store and work. You can walk to church.
7) Education. Both formal and informal. Books and libraries for all.
8) Freedom. (sorry its so far down the list) this is the basic condition of the human being, not just a "right" someone else can proclaim for you.
9) Communications. You cannot live inside your own little community any more. You need contact with the broader world. What you do will affect what happens to them. You need to know. Public television, the internet, newspapers, and a host of other ways are available if you are willing to pay to get them. TV sets aren't free after all.

Health Care is not on the list. We face an over-population problem, its the big pink elephant in the room no one wants to talk about. Better health care only makes that worse. Sorry. But there it is.

There is a pretty good essay from a Cal Tech (I think) professor:
http://cla.calpoly.edu/~smarx/Publications/Moebius/rutherforddone3.htm

And that's just my first 5 minutes of typing, plus copy&paste of the link for another 30 seconds. Imagine what Frank will come up with!
swp

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Postby Peggy » Mon Oct 27, 2008 12:52 pm

Education is provided up through high school only by the state. What about education beyond that? For the majority of the US citizenry, their ability to provide for themselves is tremendously enhanced with college education. Should that be a necessity? (If not paid for by the state, then an acceptable reason for debt spending).

What would be considered necessity for staying informed about current events? Newspaper, radio, TV, internet? (I mean, if we want people to have thoughts and make informed decisions, then that necessitates them being able to stay informed).

I would argue that only *few* parts of the country have efficient means of transport year-round without a motor vehicle.
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Postby FrankChurch » Mon Oct 27, 2008 12:55 pm

David, when you come up with one, let us know.

You know your snarky butt deserved that.

Kiss.

----------------

I don't know if college should be free, but job training should be paid for by the state.

Every state should have high class food pantries, food shelters for poor people. With access to job recruiting, etc.

Health care is a right.

--------------

Credit cards are bad because of the criminally huge interest fees. Usury laws are good things. One solid advantage the middle east has.

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Postby reddragon70 » Mon Oct 27, 2008 1:05 pm

I agree with SWP's points. However selling the point of view that certain things should be state controlled and given freely to the masses is not an easy idea to sell to the great US public. There will be a great wailing and gnashing of teeth as the ghost of McCarthy raises its ugly head and accusations of communism are made. The American dream after all is one of making money and being a success and state run businesses make money for no-one.

However I dont condone the state controlling everything. Just certain areas. Healthcare for example. Public transport for another. Education also. I feel these areas should be non profit making in the sense that any money earned over the costs should be returned to improving the business and reducing the costs to the consumer (the public in other words).

The way I see it is that its unfair that some brainless mong can get a college place because his father is rich yet a near genius yet poor kid has to hope for a scholarship to get into a possibly less pretigious college. All should have the same oppertunity to gain an education. The transport company that gets these guys to college should not rip them off in order to make a huge profit both during their college years and once they get a paying job. And of course should they become ill at any time in their lives it should not make some greedy administrator rub his hands with glee at the potential bill he can charge for making someone well.

Sadly the opposite is closer to the truth. What was it Rage Against The Machine said? "All of which are American dreams"?

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Re: On Taxation and Socialism

Postby Steve Evil » Mon Oct 27, 2008 7:00 pm

Barber wrote:
(d) are terrified of "socialized medicine" because they will be forced to "wait in long lines" and "can't see MY doctor"


They may have a point there. In Canada, none of us can see your doctor. :wink:


I can however see "MY" doctor anytime I please, so I really wish someone would put that one to bed. . .

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Re: On Taxation and Socialism

Postby cynic » Mon Oct 27, 2008 7:43 pm

Steve Evil wrote:
Barber wrote:
(d) are terrified of "socialized medicine" because they will be forced to "wait in long lines" and "can't see MY doctor"


They may have a point there. In Canada, none of us can see your doctor. :wink:


I can however see "MY" doctor anytime I please, so I really wish someone would put that one to bed. . .

STEVE,
apparently ,most canadian physicians would consider you fortunate.
http://www.nationalphysiciansurvey.ca/n ... se_ENG.pdf
health care for all that need it is a goal we should all aspire to,and i truly hope we find a way.

mike

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Postby addlepate » Thu Oct 30, 2008 2:26 pm

Just curious for its own sake - Harlan's no socialist, is he?

Doesn't matter, naturally. Emphasis on curiosity, aforementioned.

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Postby FrankChurch » Thu Oct 30, 2008 2:45 pm

Harlan is a socialist, he just doesn't know it.


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