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1  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Kennedy retires, Roe is overruled then what? on: June 26, 2017, 08:49:35 am
Here is a live blog of what is going on at SCOTUS at the moment. SCOTUS is issuing its orders. The opinions come down after 10:00 am, and then Kennedy may do his thing, or not.
2  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: How many WPM can you type? on: June 26, 2017, 08:29:44 am
I'm not taking the test but 100+ for sure.

Very impressive old man! I clocked in at 47 wpm with two mistakes. Sad!
3  General Politics / Economics / Re: More evidence on the advantages of universal benefits (cc: Torie) on: June 25, 2017, 05:50:58 pm
Going the universal route rather than means testing, is a very expensive way...

Er... no. Universal benefits are pretty much always considerably cheaper than targeted benefits, even if the payments are set at the same level. Sometimes even if the universal ones are more generous. Why? Administrative costs. Means testing is expensive and often frankly uneconomic.

Shockingly, things become cheaper to administer per-person when there is no need to screen beneficiaries. Ensuring that redistribution takes place with universal benefits is incredibly easy, merely requiring shifting the tax code in one way or another and, when this is done, money is saved.

How much cheaper?  And is there a way to finesse the issue of those who want to use their own money to get better service, or a doctor they like better, even if more expensive, which they pay for as to the added expense with their own funds?  What I am getting at, is that I don't like one provider for anything. I want choices, and want folks to want to please me to keep my business. When I face a cold unitary bureaucratic facade, where I feel powerless, I tend to get hostile. Which is why I understand why many of those who feel powerless  about most aspect of their lives, often feel angry. It is just so degrading. It's horrible.
4  General Politics / Economics / Re: More evidence on the advantages of universal benefits (cc: Torie) on: June 25, 2017, 04:18:42 pm
It might be easy for someone who is not especially close to any benefits cliffs, and unlikely ever to be, to dismiss these problems as a matter of people "feeling better about themselves taking benefits." Few people have the luxury of distancing themselves from these resentments, shamings, and anxieties. They are an unavoidable matter of household and neighborhood life.

What I had hoped that you might take more seriously is that these interviewers find evidence in favor of what you misleadingly characterize as an ideological interpretation - i.e. people do not just feel better about themselves because of universal benefits, they get along better and they have better health. And why should people feeling better about themselves be treated as trivial, anyway? Positive feelings are welfare-improving, aren't they?

O/c all of this sets aside the obvious point not discussed here: Where benefits are not universal, the highest effective tax rate falls not on those with the most to spare, but on working and lower-middle class people, which is both unfair and perverse.

Even worse, the forms of government largesse directed at upper-middle-income people are either mostly invisible or treated as morally neutral, a matter of "only taking what's owed to me."



Moreover, the point about "choice" has no direct bearing on whether benefits are universal or targeted. Public goods are not a prison. Maybe you don't like paying for public schools, but nothing compels you to use them. You are simply arguing that you should not have to pay for them. (Talking of deeply ideological understandings of policy...)

Similarly, I don't like paying for new highway construction, I don't like paying to subsidize student loans that prop up private colleges, and I certainly don't like paying for the mortgage interest deduction. But that's not my choice to make. Government spending decisions are not a matter of individual choice. Save the choice argument for people who advocate regulating private alternatives out of existence.

And I know what you're thinking, but the people who are most likely to be priced out of private alternatives because they are paying taxes to fund a universal benefit are exactly those same lower-middle-income types who face extraordinarily high effective marginal tax rates because they are just above the threshold for targeted benefits.

I am willing to be persuaded about this, on a data based basis, if it generates better outcomes, as opposed to folks feeling demeaned that they get benefits based on means, while those with means do without. And I do understand the phase out problem. It must be done slowly, or the implicit marginal tax rate is way too high.

On the schools thing, sure folks with means can go to private schools, but they don't get any benefit for the savings to the public school system in not using it. That may be OK in that context, but say I don't want to use the single payer medical system, because I want better service and am willing to pay for it. Should I lose entirely the savings generated by me not using the public system? What that does, is force folks to use the one system, the public system, even if they get poor service, and don't like their doctor, unless they are very rich. All things being equal, I prefer a basic social safety net for everybody based on means, and then let folks use their own money to "top up." And therein I think is the basic ideological divide.

Again however, if the data is compelling that allowing "top up" just won't work for whatever reasons, and we either go to the public system, or live in the mess we are in now, I am willing to accept that, however much I dislike such a regime for both ideological and personal reasons.
5  General Politics / Economics / Re: More evidence on the advantages of universal benefits (cc: Torie) on: June 25, 2017, 08:02:51 am
Going the universal route rather than means testing, is a very expensive way to help some folks feel better about themselves taking benefits. It also reduces choice, if your options for medical services and who provides them, is limited. I like to get rid of those who provide services to me, if I am dissatisfied with the service.

But yes, this is where much of the ideological divide lies under the surface.
6  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Voting Booth / Re: June 2017 Federal Election on: June 24, 2017, 06:36:27 am
PRESIDENT AND VICE PRESIDENT OF ATLASIA

[2] Bacon King/Ben Kenobi
Harambe Freedom Party/Atlas Conservative Party

[3] Clyde1998/Siren
Labor Party/Independent

[1] dfwlibertylover/Goldwater
Federalist Party

[  ] Write-in:______________________________
-__________________

[  ] None of the above


HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES - NINE SEATS

[ ] Alpha of Minnesota
Labor Party

[  ] CMB222 of Kansas
Atlas Conservative Party

[ ] cxs018 of Massachusetts
Labor Party

[ ] Dr_Novella of California
Labor Party

[4] fhtagn of North Carolina
Federalist Party

[2 ] Leinad of Georgia
Federalist Party

[1 ] North Carolina Yankee of North Carolina
Federalist Party

[ ] OneJ_ of Mississippi
Labor Party

[3] Peebs of North Carolina
Labor Party

[  ] Pessimistic Antineutrino of New Jersey
Federalist Party

[  ] Poirot of New York
Independent
7  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Voting Booth / Re: Fremont Voting Booth : June 2017 elections on: June 24, 2017, 06:32:12 am
FOR SENATE (CLASS I)
[ 1  ] Roy Barnes 2010 of Washington
Democratic Alliance - Labor Party
[  2 ] Wulfric of Arizona
Independent
[   ] Write-in
FOR PRIME MINISTER
[ x  ] Harry S Truman of North Dakota
Liberal Democracy Party - Labor Party
[   ] Write-in
FOR HOUSE OF COMMONS
[   ] anty1691 of California
Independent - Labor Party
[  2 ] HenryWallaceVP of Iowa
Liberal Democracy Party - Labor Party
[ 1  ] RFayette of Iowa
Independent - Atlas Conservative Party
[   ] Write-in
BALLOT MEASURE 1
Text: [The proposed Grammatical Accuracy Amendment to the Constitution of the Republic of Atlasia may be read here.]
Question: Shall the proposed Grammatical Accuracy Amendment to the Constitution of the Republic of Atlasia be ratified?
[x ] YES
[   ] NO
[   ] ABSTAIN
BALLOT MEASURE 2
Text: [The proposed Voting Rights Amendment to the Constitution of the Republic of Atlasia may be read here.]
Question: Shall the proposed Voting Rights Amendment to the Constitution of the Republic of Atlasia be ratified?
[x ] YES
[   ] NO
[   ] ABSTAIN
8  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Democrats Are ‘Children Of Satan,’ Right-Wing Radio Host Says on: June 23, 2017, 04:38:46 pm
"Atheists go so far as to .. lionize eternal annihilation as a desirable end."

I am more or less an atheist, but after about 5 or more decades of living in such a Godless state, I remain unaware that I lionized annihilation. Sad! Who do I want annihilated  when pray tell? Please explain. Thanks so much.
9  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Describe a secular Jewish Republican on: June 23, 2017, 03:06:15 pm
Seems like Ayn Rand and Milton Friedman would be poor fits then, ironically enough.

Really. Why would they be poor fits? Please elaborate.

Yeah, there are some Jews with a libertarian bent. I knew a few of them in college, including Milton Friedman's son, David. We drove to a libertarian convention together that was held in Philadelphia.
10  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Trump: "I don't want poor people in my cabinet" on: June 23, 2017, 02:22:50 pm
I would hire someone economically successful to be a economic secretary if I were POTUS. I don't see the problem.

If you were POTUS, you'd have declared bankruptcy five times.
*sigh*

The point is that Republicans are excusing in Trump behavior they would condemn in a worker. Bankruptcy, I've been taught, is a sign of a moral failing in the working class. It takes on spiritual overtones when conservatives speak of it - in the context of laborers.

In my view, you excuse it because Trump didn't acquire his wealth in an individualistic fashion. He didn't work for it, as I and others of my class have. He's old money pretending to be new money.

Who on earth taught you the bolded part? It is one of the most out to lunch things that I have read in some time. What is a moral failing is credit card companies preying on such folks to run up credit card debt at a 25% interest rate. In fact, in my book, that is just plain evil.
11  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: James Madison v. Alexander Hamilton on: June 23, 2017, 09:16:05 am
Hamilton by a country mile, and one reason, little known, is Madison's role in keeping slavery legal in the US at the one moment when it might have been abolished.
According to that article, though, it's not clear anything would have come of this, besides the southern states splitting off from the Union (and thus preserving slavery, in practice, for several more decades than in original history). This is the tricky thing about the politics of slavery in the Early Republic: yes, the Northern states had the votes to abolish slavery on paper, but prior to 1850 they lacked the power to impose abolition by the bayonet, which was the only way it was ever going to happen. If your first priority is to expunge the federal government of culpability, then this isn't an issue, but if you're motivated by a desire to actually end slavery, it makes things considerably more complicated.

Virginia and NC would probably not have split off, along with Maryland and Delaware, and that might have dissuaded Georgia and SC going down that road. That is the key point. At the time, slavery was not so deeply ingrained into the Southern economy prior to the cotton gin, and most of the deep south had not been taken from the Native Americans yet, to make it "safe" for slavery.
12  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Is this a silly reason to vote against someone? on: June 23, 2017, 06:50:08 am
It depends on what the alternatives are, and her performance on other issues. Does she work hard? Is she creative in finding solutions to problems? Does she have a good temperament with which to win friends and influence people? Does she know how to compromise to get things done, in a way that achieves substantial consensus to the extent possible rather than acrimony?  Politics on the national level, and in some states, is seemingly at near total variance with that metric now. But in local government, it is still possible to do that, and it is that way in some places. As I see it, getting involved in local government, as a candidate or otherwise, is so much more rewarding, and one can actual make a real, and positive difference. What can be better than that?
13  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Congressional Elections / Re: Did Ossoff even stand a chance? on: June 22, 2017, 07:35:00 am
Of course he stood a chance. It was the closest race in ages there.

And there you have it. In other news, why can't the Dems find candidates with roots in the district, and a record of accomplishment therein? We had such a "rootless" carpetbagger from NYC candidate last time in NY-19 (an area not totally enamored with the Big Apple), and well she was a LOSER, despite her glitzy veneer.
14  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Democrats Are ‘Children Of Satan,’ Right-Wing Radio Host Says on: June 22, 2017, 07:30:00 am
I was unaware Satan had children. Can someone explain that for me?
15  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Trump: "I don't want poor people in my cabinet" on: June 22, 2017, 04:17:25 am
Not that the comment becomes inoffensive, but the headline is misleading. Trump said he doesn't want poor people in cabinet positions that relate to managing the economy (to wit, "but in those particular positions I just don’t want a poor person"). He did not say his means test related to all cabinet positions. So in his mind, having an impecunious person as secretary of state, would be just fine. Trump is handicapped by the truncated scope of his moral vision (among other numerous handicaps, sad to say). Who knew?
16  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: James Madison v. Alexander Hamilton on: June 21, 2017, 04:40:08 pm
Hamilton by a country mile, and one reason, little known, is Madison's role in keeping slavery legal in the US at the one moment when it might have been abolished.
17  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: word association game on: June 21, 2017, 02:23:13 pm
Time
18  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Uni Degrees on: June 20, 2017, 12:21:15 pm
economics > poli sci. I started off in poli sci, realized it was largely worthless, and my 4th and 5th years went to the U of C graduate school of business. I found economics fascinating and highly useful in my legal career, and now in thinking about public policy issues in my locality.
19  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Opinion of having 'Like' post feature on Atlas? on: June 19, 2017, 08:44:09 am
No. 
20  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Who is more deserving of a permaban? on: June 18, 2017, 06:08:22 pm
Neither are remotely ban bait.
21  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Can Rachel Brand be trusted to replace Rosenstein? on: June 18, 2017, 10:18:51 am
This isn't going to happen, so the question is a moot hypothetical or something. Now watch it all happen next week. That is just how good my predictions are these days. That is what happens when Trump is at the helm, spinning the wheel wildly like a drunken narcissistic sailor who can't hold his liquor. Sad
22  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Who would you vote for? (read before voting) on: June 18, 2017, 09:47:06 am
The Pub, but I don't like the Pub's tax ideas (not progressive enough), and the stand pat position on entitlements (they need to become more means tested in general, and more universal). 
23  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: PAPOY Creepfest 2017 on: June 18, 2017, 08:53:27 am
Partner Dan and myself, ready to march down Warren Street in the gay pride parade behind the Hudson Democrats banner.



And then we marched.

24  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: TX governor signs bill allowing providers to deny LGBTQ youth child welfare on: June 18, 2017, 07:37:28 am
What religion or religious sect believes that providing assistance to LGBT youth is a sin? Just asking.
25  About this Site / The Atlas / Re: Is There Visibility on Reported Posts? on: June 17, 2017, 04:34:17 pm
I would not worry about reported posts as to which no action is taken. We get a fair number of frivolous reports. Heck some posters report me, just because they can, and I irritate them or something.
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