1. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Moving the political ideology discussion out of the NSA surveillance thread

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by GingerCoffee, Jun 16, 2013.

    because I'd like to address this post without being off topic in the other thread:
    While there is evidence many politicians are going to vote their own economic interest, and corporate lobbying certainly influences legislation in the corporation's economic interest, the idea the voting public is going to do the same is not evidence based.

    The welfare state is a false narrative. It goes with the false narrative that 47% of the US public pays no income taxes. So what? That's one tax. Those people pay all kinds of other taxes and some of those people don't earn enough income to buy food and shelter!
     
  2. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Sadly, voting by the general public isn't as effective as it should be. The government represents corporate interests more than public interests. That's why I think we need to take money out of politics. Lobbying is essentially legal bribery.
     
  3. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    So you're saying that you believe that the average American would vote for a candidate that reduces their own government benefits, for the greater fiscal welfare of the country?
     
  4. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I agree with this and blame two things, human nature and the lack of good information in the mainstream.
     
  5. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I think you have a misconception about people and you are mischaracterizing the argument to fit the false narrative.

    OK, so to start with, money influences politics, there's no question and it's seriously problematic. We don't disagree with that part of the equation.

    But I'm not going to vote for someone to increase my food stamps, I haven't needed food stamps since I was 18. So what are these benefits you think 47% of Americans are voting themselves? I would like to see infrastructure improvements, money invested in educating our children, good police and fire services, and without sidetracking the thread, I'm convinced universal health care is a better structure to work with, but I'd be more than willing to go with any system that the evidence supported was the best system. I want all those things, not because I'm mooching off the rich, I want them because they benefit all of us, including the rich.

    There are a number of things that are better funded collectively. Police, fire, roads, education, and so on. You might bicker with the list, but the concept is sound.

    The bulk of industry is best funded privately, there's no question capitalism is extremely successful. But you have to regulate it, lassez faire has been proved a failure time and time again.

    And if it's the welfare state that bothers you, the bulk of our tax dollars, by far, go toward corporate welfare. Individuals get a pittance.
     
  6. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    I agree with you, the mainstream media picks and chooses what stories to focus on and what to bury. Theres no honest journalism anymore because all the news is filtered through multi-billion dollar corporations. (CNN, MSNBC, FOX, ABC)
     
  7. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    Could you expand on this a little? I would like to know more.
     
  8. Pheonix
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    Pheonix A Singer of Space Operas and The Fourth Mod of RP Staff Contributor

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    It's too late to take the money out of politics. The entire basis of this country is capitalist money making endeavors. Corporate interests have their hands on the politicians throats. Take away their ability to effect policy and the economy crashes overnight. The only way to change anything is to accept that as an inevitability and let the whole thing reset. It's just a shame that in order for that to happen, there would probably need to be either a full out economic crash/depression, or a revolution.
     
  9. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    How is taking away lobbying going to crash the economy?
     
  10. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    Be careful, lobbying is protected under the first amendment. Everybody has the right to address their government regarding their grievances. The problem is when politicians accept perks for voting one way or another. But I'm pretty sure that's already illegal.
     
  11. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    The list is very long. Here are some things on it:

    You of course know large financial institutions were bailed out while none of the relief went to shareholders and homeowners who lost trillions because of the decisions of those institutions that amounted to gambling with money that was eventually backed by US tax dollars.

    The argument that a lot of the shareholders were pension funds and money markets, is true, but there were also billions that ended up in the pockets of the CEOs and individuals who held large share numbers. And the banks were reimbursed for losses of real estate equity while the homeowners never saw a dime of that relief.

    Individuals were blamed for taking out loans they couldn't pay, but the banks were caught using fraudulent means to convince those people to take out the loans, it was just as much wrongdoing by the lenders as it was the buyers. The public, of course, can easily see an individual's fault, but has little concept of how the banks contributed. The schemes were complex and not well explained by the news coverage.

    "Inside Job" won an Oscar and did a good job of explaining what happened. But the news coverage never materialized.

    Farm, corn and oil subsidies are some of the most infamous direct payments from your tax dollars straight into the pockets of the rich. The more we subsidize corn, the more growers invent new ways to use it in foods. Land designated as a farm is a cashable ticket, even when the land is never farmed. And that little windfall is too hot of a political matter to ever get the Reps of the districts to change the laws.

    A good chunk of our taxes spent on the military should be considered corporate welfare via pork barrel over-spending.

    When companies like Walmart don't pay employees enough to afford health care, state Medicaid dollars subsidize Walmart's profits.


    Bernie Sanders, the one declared socialist in the Congress I might add, has a disturbing list of tax dollars paid out funneled through the Export-Import Bank:
    But there is also this according to Sanders:
    Here's an interview with David Cay Johnston about his book, "The Fine Print: How Big Companies Use 'Plain English' to Rob You Blind". I read the book. Utility companies charge you taxes on your bill that they never pay to the government. In addition, they regularly pad the bills to cities and counties, then when caught they settle for pennies on the dollar for what they owe.

    Scroll down on this site to the section on "Corporate Welfare".
    There is much much more. See the page for tax subsidies to the richest American individuals. It's so overwhelming I think people just tune it out.


    Think that's enough to give you an idea of where my beliefs come from. You're right about people voting their best interests, you're just off base as to who those people are and how they get their influential vote, not at the ballot box.
     
  12. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    There are ways to regulate lobbying. It's not a all or none situation.
     
  13. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    According to FactCheck, some of those numbers are misleading or in some cases flat out wrong.

    http://www.factcheck.org/2012/04/warren-ge-pays-no-taxes/

    Seems to contradict your source? Do you think one or both of them have an agenda to push?
     
  14. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Citing an Elizabeth Warren ad that wasn't accurate is supposed to contradict my post? Huh?


    I'm sure one can argue two sides of a lot of those coins I listed. The data on billion dollar level finances are hard to follow. It's easy to move a lot of assets and income around on accounting statements.


    From your link:
    I agree Warren shouldn't have said, "pays no taxes" for the same reason you shouldn't have ignored all the taxes people pay in addition to income tax. You yourself claimed 47% didn't pay income taxes while ignoring other taxes paid. But I didn't cite Elizabeth Warren, nor did I say corporations pay no taxes.

    For what it's worth, I pay state B&O taxes, it's not a federal tax. And being self employed I pay the whole FICA tax. If you are an employer, you pay half of the FICA tax directly and take the other half out of the employee's paycheck. In reality, that whole amount is a cost of the employee's labor, just like one has to pay other costs of doing business. So the fact these hugely profitable corporations pay other taxes is completely beside the point I made.

    I said they get a much larger share of your tax dollars in subsidies than low income individuals do.


    Then there's this, also from your link:
    GE might have paid only a dollar in US income taxes for all Factcheck knows.


    If you won't make an effort to address the issue I brought up, the multiple ways your tax dollars end up in the hands of the rich, this discussion won't go anywhere. Just reciting knee-jerk narratives is uninteresting.
     
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  15. Mithrandir
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    Mithrandir Contributing Member

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    On this subject, I'd like to quote Benjamin Franklin: "When the people find they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic."

    It's simple human nature. People almost always act selfishly, and when the interests of millions align, there are often moralizing justifications. Much of the current generation does have an entitlement complex. They believe college, housing, food, and health-care are theirs by right. Why? Because they deserve it. Because everyone deserves it. This is simply a wide-scale justification for a self-serving position.

    That's not to say corporations don't act in their self-interest -- they certainly do. Humanity as a whole does, and our founders tried to channel that ambition (they failed). Governmental officials also act selfishly, which usually means trying to get reelected. But not always. The combination of corporate lobbying and welfare voting blocs has created a situation where getting elected often means governing in a ineffective, dishonest, and destructive manner.

    The parallels with the Roman Republic are many. While crying, "For the Senate and People of Rome," military leaders seized power for themselves and appeased the crowds at the same time.

    But I don't see this as much of a problem. The essence of a thing comes out as it ends. I look forward to the reveal. (This is a bit fatalistic. It will be a long time before the current U.S. power dynamic changes.)
     
  16. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Agreed, (and this is just me talking out of my ass because I am not a political creature), but are we not now seeing a paradigmatic change in the World Order? Are we not now watching Economy supplant Government, just as Government supplanted Religion?
     
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  17. maskedhero
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    maskedhero Active Member

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    People vote for leaders who will represent them best. In a multi-party democracy, this leads to many coalitions and other fun things, a broad spectrum of viewpoints that allow individuals many choices. In America, we have two (sure, third parties exist, but they don't garner power). So we go and vote, and bam, we have two choices. One side has many issues, so does the other. Instead of cementing ourselves around issues, we vote for the most logical choice, the one closest to our personal views.

    If I'm benefiting from the status quo, the incumbent wins. If I'm not, he'll be gone.

    This is, of course, highly simplified, but there are a lot of things wrong with American democracy at this point.
    1. Lack of multiple parties means settling, constantly. Which is why the independents and moderates (people who don't really care much, or hate both parties) have a tough decision, and swing so many states during elections, making it look like a landslide.
    2. Gerrymandering- This is getting out of control. What Texas did for Republicans and Maryland did for democrats is the reason why liberal Republicans and conservative Democrats are going to go extinct. The party primary is becoming the source of the winner in many districts. This is producing horrid results at the national level.
    3. Issues- When one side gets a decisive lead now, they aim to cement it, and instead of bipartisanship, ram through their version of reality on the rest of the country. So even if a candidate wins an election with 51%, they govern as though they took 80%.
    4. Welfare- This comes in many forms, but the government's role in the American economy, through spending as a proportion of GDP (and taxes as a proportion of GDP) has increased over the past century. That means that, in a winner take all, loser lose all system, groups, individuals, and companies will all seek out the best deal from government. They'll often get it, since elections for congress are always right around the corner.
    5. A worthless media- Foxnews is to the right. MSNBC is to the left. No one watches CNN. Investigative journalism is fading as budgets and newspaper fade into that long night. Americans are now seeking out their own version of the news, be it liberal or conservative (but sadly, not wide-read).

    So we've ended up in a political narrative that sounds nasty. That's because it is. People vote for their self-interest, but the way it is reflected isn't always as close to how they feel. When your choices are psychos on the left and psychos on the right, you'll end up rather unhappy no matter which lever you pull (though pulling a lever probably doesn't happen these days. Would be cool to do.).
     
  18. Mithrandir
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    Mithrandir Contributing Member

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    In ways, Government and Religion have always been about Economy. Money is literally the representation of value, and value is defined as what a human or humans care about. Religion was almost always, in its function, about controlling funds and directing a workforce (military or civilian). Government is that, only more blatant (taxes and guns). Perhaps the world is simply becoming more honest.

    But, I'm not Harry Seldon.
     
  19. JJ_Maxx
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    I'm sorry, maybe I didn't make myself as clear as I should have.

    One of your links used to support your claims spoke about how much GE pays in taxes, yes?

    My link at minimum showed that we can't know what GE pays in taxes and at most shows that your link is not impartial and they are fudging the numbers to make corporations look more greedy than they are.

    Honestly, companies are supposed to be greedy and if I owned a corporation I would pay the least amount of taxes allowed by US law. Unlike some people, I don't see that as evil.
     
  20. GingerCoffee
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    First off, you addressed (cherry picked) a single item in my long incomplete list. You have yet to address the actual issue, corporate welfare by far exceeds welfare for low income individuals.

    Second, I don't think you looked very closely at the Politifact article. It was addressing an ad Elizabeth Warren put up that said GE paid no taxes. They noted GE paid state and FICA taxes ergo the ad was false. The citation didn't support your claim that my citation was wrong.

    You made a similar claim yourself, pointing out people who paid no income tax ignoring all the other taxes people with low incomes pay.


    But getting back to GE and taxes, I looked further. Keep in mind this article refers specifically to federal income taxes, despite saying "no taxes".

    G.E.’s Strategies Let It Avoid Taxes Altogether
    Starting with the last paragraph, tax breaks for depreciation are paper deductions, quite the deal apparently if you are GE and you pay lobbyists to make your depreciation a special case. They invest millions and save billions.

    This report comes from reporters looking at the public record. Your citation had Politifact asking GE to disclose what US federal income taxes they paid and GE didn't actually answer. You seem to have glossed over that. It appears that GE counts as taxes paid, taxes that were actually deferred.


    So are you going to address the actual point or continue to assert that you've proved my long list wrong? Why don't you care where your tax dollars go? Do you just prefer to think all those lazy slobs on welfare are the root of the problem? Have you considered looking a little deeper than the slogans and talking points?
     
  21. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    There are some good points here.

    I have a bit more to say and want to address the other posts as well, but it'll have to wait until tomorrow. :)
     
  22. Justin Rocket 2
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    Justin Rocket 2 Contributing Member

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    I must say that I'm an unabashed Libertarian. I believe in limited government. i live in the USA. I support gay rights (in fact, a big reason why I'm for limited government is things like DOMA - the federal government simply cannot be trusted with protecting civil rights). I support fiscal conservativism (a big reason big companies got that way is due to sweet heart deals with the government, more competition means more competition for employees - which means better pay/benefits). I believe in limited government involvment in social issues (the Cuyohoga river fire is a case study in why - local businesses were cleaning up that river until government stepped in with granting what were essentially licenses to pollute for sweet heart businesses). And when the governmet stops these major social progams, illegal immigration will stop (until then, limited government means supporting immigration enforcement). In fact, for the United States, limited government is the most moral way to go.

    As for Europe, it's my understanding that Europe is actually starting to suffer under the "large" surge in immigration. Gay safety has fallen, but, more significantly, European socialist countries have always had an implicit pressure to have small families and have never had the size of immigration that the US has. So, they've been able to afford nice social programs. That's becoming less and less of a possibility now.
     
  23. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    So you believe the US federal government with the DOMAct was acting independently of individual citizens?

    For the record, I would prefer the government act with extreme caution when making laws that reflect social beliefs, especially beliefs based on religious views. But I don't see the "government" as some sentient being, in this case it's a reflection of the people exerting influence to get laws that enforce their beliefs on other people.

    I get it you prefer the rules don't allow such laws in the first place, problem solved — but people who want such laws are unlikely to just cede this power. Laws that enforce social behavior can do both good and harm. I can't see repealing the law that ended most ethnic segregation, can you? You trade one set of problems, the government telling individuals what to do, with another problem, significant social unrest.

    IMO, blaming "the government" is a false narrative that serves to end debate, leaving the underlying problems festering. It's a campaign slogan to get voters like many TEA Party members to identify with one party and thus vote based on that superficial understanding of what's really going on.


    As for regulating industry, which you might find a few anecdotes where the regulations were stupid or problematic. I bet I can find 10 times as many where the lack of regulations or enforcement resulted in multiple fatalities and billion dollar disasters like the explosion of BP's deep water oil platform and disastrous unprepared response to the resulting blown well head.


    Re the immigration issues currently faced in the US, I think more than a few European countries have problems with economic and violence fleeing refugees (erebh will know more than I do here) entering their countries in large numbers.

    Illegal immigrants come here because they can find work. It's a worldwide problem there is no simple answer to. I merely object to oversimplifying this problem as well into slogans and narratives that fit some economic power's needs. (Economic powers that promote narratives and slogans include corporations and politicians.) Instead of dealing with the underlying problems in a critically thought out way, self-interests market their narratives and slogans and the needed discussion of the issues is cut off.
     
  24. Justin Rocket 2
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    You seem to really like the word "narrative". Kinda reminds me of "metanarrative" and all those classes on postmodernism that were so big before the Sokal hoax.

    That's true in a Democracy. After all, a "democracy" is two wolves and a lamb voting on what's for dinner. But, in the US, the federal government is -suppossed- to be limited by the Constitution.

    I don't believe that's true. Laws preventing segregation actually accomplished very little. That's why we still have a disproportionate number of poor who are blacks. What actually provided desegregation is economic freedom and small business initiatives. As blacks started to run businesses whose services non-blacks needed, that ended segregation.

    Of course, BP wouldn't be as big and powerful and lazy and destructive if they weren't being subsidized (and protected) by the US government. I bet I can find 10 times as many where the regulations CAUSED problems than you can find the alternative.


    Of course there's a simple answer to it. Most illegal immigrants to the US come from Mexico. Mexico, according to the International Monetary Fund, has the 12th largest GDP in the world. It is a rich country. But, it has significant economic inequality. The rich in Mexico simply do not want to pay for social services. Instead, they publish comic books teaching their poor how to sneak across our border. That way, the Mexican rich don't have to pay for those social services, American tax payers do. But, that's only one half of the dynamic. The other half is that the supply of poor and unskilled laborers in the US skyrockets. That means that US businesses have to pay less in wages (and can get away with it by paying under the table). This is a class issue with Mexican and American poor on one side and Mexican rich and American business owners on the other side. Plus, Mexican poor who can't sneak across the border (the disabled and the elderly) are pretty much screwed. What we need to do is apply politicial pressure on Mexico to improve it's social services to its poor while, at the same time, we implement mandatory E-Verify (sending employers to prison for violations) and stopping chain migration.

    Funny that you make that statement in the same post where you oversimplify the problem and use slogans and narratives that fit liberal economic power's needs. For example,
     
  25. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I'm a writer, it's natural to talk about views of the world as our 'narratives'. It has nothing to do with a hoax or pseudoscientific pontification.

    It comes from the paradigm shift in thinking about George Lakoff's 'framing' and the impact of our preexisting pigeonholes that we fit all newly incoming perceptions into.

    For example, it led you to cite that anecdote regarding government screw up you perceived about the polluted river clean up. It led me to cite the BP oil spill disaster.

    Article titles from the above link provide additional examples:


    Which is defined differently by different people.



    You need some better history lessons, I'm going to guess you are young. I'm old. I lived through this history. It seems to me you've adopted a false view you probably read about that fits your beliefs about the government and the world.

    It is true, one cannot legislate social change. But it is also true that sometimes you still need the legislation to supplement social change that is occurring but not peacefully. It took the Civil Rights Act and federal military intervention to change segregation. I highly recommend you watch the "Eyes on the Prize" series if you get a chance. You could probably get it from your local library.



    You're on. But I fear it's a waste of time. We both have already established filters we see the world through.


    And you think the rich do here? Wow!

    OMG, I'm wasting my time here. This is so far from the reality I live in I don't know where to start.


    Like I said, we live in different worlds.
     

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