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Tuesday, October 02, 2012

OTP: October 2012-THE RACE: As Candidates Prep, Attention in DC split between politics and baseball

While President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney bone up in Nevada and Colorado for Wednesday’s opening debate, back in the nation’s capital attention is split between the hard-fought presidential race and baseball playoffs.

The Nationals won the first division baseball championship for a Washington team since 1933 by clinching the National League East race Monday night.

Washington, D.C., has the only ballpark where so many Cabinet members, politicians and other luminaries routinely gather and where fans now are openly rooting for a particular president — one who served more than a century ago, Theodore Roosevelt.

“Let Teddy Win” banners and buttons are everywhere. Fans like 2008 GOP presidential nominee Sen. John McCain of Arizona say it’s time for Roosevelt’s 500-plus losing streak to end.

[...]

“Teddy, you are the victim of a vast left-wing conspiracy by the commie pinko libs in this town,” McCain said in a video played in the stadium Monday night. “But you can overcome that.”

The October 2012 “OT: Politics” thread starts ... now.

Joe Kehoskie Posted: October 02, 2012 at 02:14 PM | 6119 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: nationals, politics

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   201. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: October 03, 2012 at 10:11 AM (#4252253)
From whence this moral "necessity" of work?

From the proposition that if nobody worked, nobody would eat, and if nobody ate, nobody would live. I suppose there's no moral necessity to live, but I'll let you handle that on your own.
   202. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: October 03, 2012 at 10:15 AM (#4252255)
From the proposition that if nobody worked, nobody would eat, and if nobody ate, nobody would live


Given modern production, an outdated assumption.
   203. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: October 03, 2012 at 10:16 AM (#4252256)
So are people watching the debate tonight?


I will be wokrking, so no. Plus I heard that there may be some baseball being played tonight.

A sound-muted Yanks-Sox / O's-Rays on the TV with a furiously working remote, and the debate on the radio. I just hope that the Yanks and O's have their games wrapped up by the 5th or 6th inning, and that the Nats win this afternoon, so that I can concentrate on the debate and then get to the A's and the Rangers.
   204. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: October 03, 2012 at 10:19 AM (#4252258)
From the proposition that if nobody worked, nobody would eat, and if nobody ate, nobody would live

Given modern production, an outdated assumption.


Yes, the food would pull a Topsy, and we'd all live happily ever after, just like Adam and Eve.
   205. PreservedFish Posted: October 03, 2012 at 10:20 AM (#4252260)
I'll support whichever candidate is most likely to promote the proliferation of labor-saving robots.
   206. Bitter Mouse Posted: October 03, 2012 at 10:21 AM (#4252262)
From whence this moral "necessity" of work?


Well it depends if you are talking about the post scarcity society or the current one. Currently we (the world) is trending towards less work. This makes sense, as income grows the trade off between work and leisure grows and more people will (on the margin) choose to not work and enjoy their leisure time. What they are doing has also shifted somewhat into more enjoyable work (on an aggregate basis).

Now there is a practical reason that someone in society needs to work. Even in Player Piano some folks worked, even if a huge majority did not. For obvious reasons someone has to do the production, so there is something to consume. If there is no incentive to produce, then there will be nothing to consume. In a hunter/gatherer society (which by the way tend to have a fair amount of leisure time in them) if no one hunts and no one gathers then everyone starves. In fact there is a strong incentive in a society like that to have a incentive that everyone (as much as possible) does some work.

One major way societies incent behavior (no money is not the only one, there are several) is through behavior expectations - morals* if you will. So the moral necessity of work almost certainly reaches back to the earliest human societies (and depending on how advanced our genetic predecessors are before then).

One can argue in the post scarcity world that the moral expectation of work is irrelevant. Heck you can argue in today's world it is a legacy bit from our past and is "enacted" incorrectly by society according to modern circumstance. However I think the provenance of the moral imperative of work is pretty solid from a societal perspective.

So what was your question again?

* I am defining morals in a secular relativist fashion for this discussion, because I don't want to get into a religious discussion about the morals behind work. I mean we can, but I won't have much to contribute to the discussion.

EDIT: I am (typically) a bit slow, so cokes to those who deserve them, but hopefully I added a bit to the discussion.
   207. DA Baracus Posted: October 03, 2012 at 10:23 AM (#4252265)
Even though Obama and Romney have already "won" the debate--because barring one of them vomiting on stage both sides of the aisle will claim victory--I'm still going to watch. And I'll watch it on PBS just to say I watched it on PBS.
   208. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: October 03, 2012 at 10:24 AM (#4252266)
For much of the early Industrial revolution, productivity increases were correlated with increases in leisure. Working in factories, as horrible as they were, was less backbreaking than working a farm, particularly one in which the soil was exhausted. Factory labor went from 80 hour weeks, to 60, to 50, then 40, and other occupations followed. Then things stalled out. Are 40 hours sacrosanct? Or should we look forward to a future in which 30 or 20 hours a week is considered a full-time job?
   209. JL Posted: October 03, 2012 at 10:29 AM (#4252272)
Given modern production, an outdated assumption.

Who makes this modern production occur?
   210. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: October 03, 2012 at 10:33 AM (#4252275)
For much of the early Industrial revolution, productivity increases were correlated with increases in leisure. Working in factories, as horrible as they were, was less backbreaking than working a farm, particularly one in which the soil was exhausted. Factory labor went from 80 hour weeks, to 60, to 50, then 40, and other occupations followed. Then things stalled out. Are 40 hours sacrosanct? Or should we look forward to a future in which 30 or 20 hours a week is considered a full-time job?

Reality check: For the past 40 years, productivity has soared while wages have remained stagnant, while the upper 20% is prospering as never before and the upper 1% is making out like bandits. If anything, more and more families are having to put in more and more work hours just to keep pace with rising costs.
   211. Bitter Mouse Posted: October 03, 2012 at 10:35 AM (#4252278)
Are 40 hours sacrosanct? Or should we look forward to a future in which 30 or 20 hours a week is considered a full-time job?


No. Yes (I hope). But I personally could work fewer hours and survive, so maybe I am being a hypocrit. For me I am super paranoid about money stuff (legacy of my childhood) and being an independant contractor, hourly, and no real benefits (combined with the divorce and needing to depend on a single income) I end up working way more hours than I have to to get along (I did take a half day off yesterday though to run some errands, which is progress). It is irrational, but people are irrational often.

So the moral of the story is, 40 hours is not sacrosanct, but how much people work depends on many factors both rational and irrational.
   212. Kiko Sakata Posted: October 03, 2012 at 10:35 AM (#4252279)
But of course any "healthy 25 year olds, 30 year olds" without any independent source of income*** should be working to support themselves one way or another, either through the normal job market or through some sort of public works project, and I'm sure that most 25 to 30 year olds would agree.

...

***I put that qualifier in to distinguish what I'm saying from the Leninist version of forcing every able-bodied person to work. If a millionaire's child can live off his inheritance, as long as he's paying his full share of taxes, I don't care if he spends all his time playing video games on a yacht.


Your footnote here seems to undercut your argument, though, doesn't it? If "work" is a moral good, then isn't it equally morally good for the children of millionaires? And if you go back to what started the debate, the argument for "work" was originally posited as an argument against the government just giving everybody a guaranteed income. But if the government did that, wouldn't everybody be exempt via your qualifier as everybody would now have an "independent source of income"?
   213. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: October 03, 2012 at 10:36 AM (#4252281)
Well it depends if you are talking about the post scarcity society or the current one.


Post-scarcity society isn't; it becomes. As we advance our means of production and automate more and more aspects of labor, then the "moral" requirement for work (which is not identical to production - artifice is also production) fades.

In the modern world we could quite easily support a 20-hour work week for virtually everyone (of course people who wanted to "work more" could.) But there's no reason food and shelter should require more than 15-20 hours per week at this point. The "moral necessity" of work is an artifact of an more and more archaic social need.
   214. Ravecc Posted: October 03, 2012 at 10:38 AM (#4252282)
That’s the problem, isn’t it? There are not enough jobs.

Is the 21 yr old with 2 yrs of community college who cannot even get a minimum wage job morally deficient? Is he entitled to benefits even if he spends 12 hrs a day playing video games in his room?
   215. Greg K Posted: October 03, 2012 at 10:39 AM (#4252285)
A sound-muted Yanks-Sox / O's-Rays on the TV with a furiously working remote, and the debate on the radio. I just hope that the Yanks and O's have their games wrapped up by the 5th or 6th inning, and that the Nats win this afternoon, so that I can concentrate on the debate and then get to the A's and the Rangers.

A's and Rangers actually play at 3:30 pm eastern, which has me excited - I actually get to watch it live!

Out of curiosity, what time of day are the Friday games?
   216. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: October 03, 2012 at 10:43 AM (#4252292)
A's and Rangers actually play at 3:30 pm eastern, which has me excited - I actually get to watch it live!

Great, and thanks for the info. Somehow I missed that. At least I might get some sleep tonight.

Now my only problem is that I promised my wife I'd record Half The Sky on PBS from 3:00 to 5:00, since I didn't do it last night because of the games. So I've gotta root for the Nats to wrap it up early, and for the A's and Rangers to remain scoreless until about the 5th inning. I don't ask for much.
   217. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 03, 2012 at 10:46 AM (#4252297)
Joe, the video was of Obama pandering to his base during a primary season. It is entirely unremarkable. Liberals like Treder may wonder how a Republican who does this will ever be able to win a general election, but their bewilderment has always been silly.
   218. spycake Posted: October 03, 2012 at 10:49 AM (#4252302)
Out of curiosity, what time of day are the Friday games?


Sadly I don't think they've announced anything yet. I have to imagine they are waiting to see what time zone the AL game in in (and perhaps if any tiebreakers are necessary Thursday).

I have to say, one benefit to the simpler/smaller playoffs is more straightforward scheduling...
   219. tshipman Posted: October 03, 2012 at 10:52 AM (#4252305)
I'm going to watch the debates. I think that Romney might actually give some policy specifics. He's been cracking on that front lately. Also, I haven't seen it on the thread, but I thought the idea to cap the overall deduction is actually a pretty good one. It avoids a lot of the entrenched interest groups who would fight for the Homeowners Exemption, Child Credit, etc.

Also, there's a slight chance that Romney self-destructs with his bizarre focus on "zingers."
   220. Morty Causa Posted: October 03, 2012 at 10:53 AM (#4252306)
   221. Bitter Mouse Posted: October 03, 2012 at 10:58 AM (#4252311)
In the modern world we could quite easily support a 20-hour work week for virtually everyone (of course people who wanted to "work more" could.) But there's no reason food and shelter should require more than 15-20 hours per week at this point. The "moral necessity" of work is an artifact of an more and more archaic social need.


Possibly. But what if enough is never enough. What I mean is humans are a somewhat insatiable lot, and what if the output from everyone works 20 hours a week is in some sense not enough for people. It isn't for me as I said before. The very poor live in a paradise according to satndards of a few centuries ago, but clearly live in squalor by todays standards. When is the standard of living good enough?

From a soceity perspective it makes sense to have the members of society doing more than they need to, so the society can "bank" the surplus. Many of the arguments between left and right is what to do with that surplus. It can get dumped into "Natinal Defense", science programs (Mars anyone?), supporting rent seeking so it accumulates to the owners of IP and capital, or whatever.

Arguably a society which does not produce any surplus will get out competed on some level by one which does produce a suplus (Not to get all social Darwin on the bit, and assuming said surplus is not totally wasted).

I think it is a good question to ask - regarding the "morality" of work - but I think the answer is fairly complex.
   222. tshipman Posted: October 03, 2012 at 11:01 AM (#4252313)
Liberals like Treder may wonder how a Republican who does this will ever be able to win a general election, but their bewilderment has always been silly.


Why is Treder always the go-to example for Generic Liberal for the Libertarians? Steve's barely involved in these threads.
   223. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: October 03, 2012 at 11:01 AM (#4252314)
So are people watching the debate tonight?

I will be wokrking, so no. Plus I heard that there may be some baseball being played tonight.
This. While I'd like to watch the debate live and snark here on BBTF, there's something more important going on. So debate's on TiVo, saved for after the game.

Of course, after the game I will be either (a) so happy that I won't care if Obama openly promises to confiscate the means of production at gunpoint, or (b) so depressed that I won't care if Obama confesses he's a sleeper agent for Al Qaeda.
   224. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: October 03, 2012 at 11:02 AM (#4252315)
Paul Ryan has a band!
   225. Bitter Mouse Posted: October 03, 2012 at 11:02 AM (#4252316)
I thought the idea to cap the overall deduction is actually a pretty good one.


I think it is the best policy idea I have seen this election season, and I am not kidding. I do not know where it came from, but the basic idea is awesome.

For those not following, the idea is to cap the total amount of deductions allowed. Not what kind of deduction, charity, home,whatever, but the total amount. I am not 100% sure I am willing to sign off on it (details always matter), but it is a very interesting way of looking at taxation and deductions. I spy another conservative idea that progressives can agree to and watch it get completely repudiated by the conservatives.
   226. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: October 03, 2012 at 11:02 AM (#4252317)
From whence this moral "necessity" of work?
Asked and answered. By even the lefties around here. Please try to keep up, Sam.
   227. Bitter Mouse Posted: October 03, 2012 at 11:08 AM (#4252329)
Why is Treder always the go-to example for Generic Liberal for the Libertarians? Steve's barely involved in these threads.


Heh. He has time served. I don't know who the go to Generic Liberal should be. Generic Libertarian is Ray on most things, but David on a few. Generic Conservative right now has to be Joe K doesn't it? Old school Democrat is Andy (I assume). Iconoclast is Sam's. Hmmm, good question. One problem is there is in fact a fair number of Liberals on the board, with many similar beliefs.

I am willing to nominate tshipman as Generic Liberal 2012. I think he (it is he, right? I have a terrible memory for thigns like that) has done a good job of expressing Liberal viewpoints. My only concern is the lack of capital letters, is all lower case generic enough?
   228. Swoboda is freedom Posted: October 03, 2012 at 11:09 AM (#4252330)
From whence this moral "necessity" of work?

Also, as people live longer, they have more leisure time later in life. That is becoming a huge problem for most of the developed world.
   229. Bitter Mouse Posted: October 03, 2012 at 11:11 AM (#4252334)
Asked and answered. By even the lefties around here. Please try to keep up, Sam.


I think it is a great question though. Many bedrock assumptions - like the moralality of work - should be challenged. It allows us to talk about some fundemental issues which inform our politics (and is better than talking about Media Bias, that is for sure).
   230. tshipman Posted: October 03, 2012 at 11:11 AM (#4252335)
I am willing to nominate tshipman as Generic Liberal 2012. I think he (it is he, right?


I am much more of a neo-liberal (although it doesn't come across much on these threads).

Edit: Yes, he. Everyone knows that there are no girls on the internet.
   231. Bitter Mouse Posted: October 03, 2012 at 11:12 AM (#4252338)
Also, as people live longer, they have more leisure time later in life. That is becoming a huge problem for most of the developed world.


Problem finding things for them to do, or problem having the resources to support them in their non-working life?
   232. spike Posted: October 03, 2012 at 11:13 AM (#4252339)
I spy another conservative idea that progressives can agree to and watch it get completely repudiated by the conservatives.

I can't even imagine the tsunami of "Class Warfare!!!" screams had Obama suggested this. And he will totally co-opt it at some point, much to my delight and the undying chagrin of the GOP.
   233. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: October 03, 2012 at 11:16 AM (#4252342)
But of course any "healthy 25 year olds, 30 year olds" without any independent source of income*** should be working to support themselves one way or another, either through the normal job market or through some sort of public works project, and I'm sure that most 25 to 30 year olds would agree.

...

***I put that qualifier in to distinguish what I'm saying from the Leninist version of forcing every able-bodied person to work. If a millionaire's child can live off his inheritance, as long as he's paying his full share of taxes, I don't care if he spends all his time playing video games on a yacht.


Your footnote here seems to undercut your argument, though, doesn't it? If "work" is a moral good, then isn't it equally morally good for the children of millionaires?


It is, but in the absence of any necessity for any sort of supplementary income support from the government to this class of people, this particular moral point is (to me, anyway) trumped by the moral point that the government shouldn't gratuitously be telling people how to spend their days. Just as I have no desire to force outside work on stay-at-home parents, I feel no particular need to force productive work on financially independent heirs of millionaires.

And if you go back to what started the debate, the argument for "work" was originally posited as an argument against the government just giving everybody a guaranteed income. But if the government did that, wouldn't everybody be exempt via your qualifier as everybody would now have an "independent source of income"?

The idea of a guaranteed annual income was someone else's argument (Richard Nixon's, I believe), not mine.
   234. zonk Posted: October 03, 2012 at 11:21 AM (#4252350)
Post-scarcity society isn't; it becomes. As we advance our means of production and automate more and more aspects of labor, then the "moral" requirement for work (which is not identical to production - artifice is also production) fades.

In the modern world we could quite easily support a 20-hour work week for virtually everyone (of course people who wanted to "work more" could.) But there's no reason food and shelter should require more than 15-20 hours per week at this point. The "moral necessity" of work is an artifact of an more and more archaic social need.


Plenty of folks nearly a century ago figured we'd be working 20 hour weeks by now.


I think it is a good question to ask - regarding the "morality" of work - but I think the answer is fairly complex.


It is and it isn't --

Does the poet who could never hope to eat, shelter, and survive solely on selling his poetry 'work'?

Does the gardener that lacks the land and climate to self-sustain 'work'?

The 'morality of work' shouldn't be reduced to saleable commodities/output that provides an income to survive... That's an ugly world of soot and machines that I wouldn't really want to be a part of...
   235. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: October 03, 2012 at 11:21 AM (#4252352)
Old school Democrat is Andy (I assume)

Close enough, as long as you know what you actually mean by that, and realize that unlike the Founding Fathers branch of conservatism, we Old School Democrats are sometimes known to take post-18th century facts into consideration in formulating our views on 21st century issues.
   236. Bitter Mouse Posted: October 03, 2012 at 11:25 AM (#4252357)
we Old School Democrats are sometimes known to take post-18th century facts into consideration in formulating our views on 21st century issues.


Yup. Your sensibility (in my mind) is very OSD. Which is a compliment by the way. I agree with much of the OSD, but am a bit too wonky and secular to really fit that.
   237. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: October 03, 2012 at 11:26 AM (#4252358)
Does the poet who could never hope to eat, shelter, and survive solely on selling his poetry 'work'?

Yes, but that begs the question as to how much society should be required to subsidize that work. But don't forget that most poets either have independent sources of income or other jobs that help keep them going. There are only so many Poet Laureate jobs to go around.
   238. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: October 03, 2012 at 11:28 AM (#4252360)
Does the poet who could never hope to eat, shelter, and survive solely on selling his poetry 'work'?

Does the gardener that lacks the land and climate to self-sustain 'work'?

I must study politics and war, that my sons may have the liberty to study mathematics and philosophy, natural history and naval architecture, in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, tapestry, and porcelain.
— John Adams, noted communist
   239. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 03, 2012 at 11:33 AM (#4252363)
The idea of a guaranteed annual income was someone else's argument (Richard Nixon's, I believe), not mine.


I'd actually be fine with a "guaranteed" annual income as long as we're doing the whole socialism thing, except that it would never work because the recipients would burn through their alloted incomes and then be in danger of dying in the streets (*), and the liberals here would just take more of other peoples' money to prevent that.

So a guaranteed annual income would be pointless.

(*) Or of having medical bills or of not having iPhones.
   240. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: October 03, 2012 at 11:36 AM (#4252371)
I agree with much of the OSD, but am a bit too wonky and secular to really fit that.

I'm not sure I see any necessary contradiction. To me the "OSD" concept is centered mostly around the idea of true equality of opportunity as a goal.** There's no reason that wonks can't contribute to the furtherance of that ideal, and there's nothing particularly religious or anti-religious about it, either.

Beyond that, there's plenty of room for disagreement. I can't see reading a serious RTLer out of the "Old School" party, nor a serious pro-choice person. Social issues like that are worth debating, but they transcend easy political labeling.

**Admittedly a fluid concept, but one that reveals itself in our reactions to hundreds of positions on hundreds of specific issues and programs.
   241. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: October 03, 2012 at 11:45 AM (#4252385)
Asked and answered. By even the lefties around here. Please try to keep up, Sam.


Some folks who have the ability to think outside of their tiny little coat closet are formulating interesting responses which, eventually, might entail and "answer."

No one is shocked your pygmy intelligence hasn't quite grasped the question yet, of course. Don't you have some legal forms to collate and file? Legal "thinking" won't wait all day, son.
   242. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: October 03, 2012 at 11:46 AM (#4252387)

I'd actually be fine with a "guaranteed" annual income as long as we're doing the whole socialism thing, except that it would never work because the recipients would burn through their allotted incomes and then be in danger of dying in the streets


Because they're all foolish children unqualified to run their own lives, or they'd be making a decent living?
   243. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: October 03, 2012 at 11:49 AM (#4252392)
I'd actually be fine with a "guaranteed" annual income as long as we're doing the whole socialism thing, except that it would never work because the recipients would burn through their alloted incomes and then be in danger of dying in the streets (*), and the liberals here would just take more of other peoples' money to prevent that.


You mean how liberals take all of my and Good Face's money to keep you from being mugged every night on the way home? Oh, I forgot. The socialism that you were born into and depend on for preservation of status quo ante isn't "socialism." It's "natural law" or something.

The question is pretty simple. Why, exactly, are we still thoughtlessly accepting the puritanical notion of "salvation through work" handed down from a few weirdo Anabaptists 400 years ago?
   244. The Good Face Posted: October 03, 2012 at 11:51 AM (#4252397)
I'd actually be fine with a "guaranteed" annual income as long as we're doing the whole socialism thing, except that it would never work because the recipients would burn through their alloted incomes and then be in danger of dying in the streets (*), and the liberals here would just take more of other peoples' money to prevent that.


Yeah, I'm not sure how you get around the problem of stupid people doing stupid things. A "guaranteed annual income" system only makes sense if it's used to replace existing entitlement programs.

Plenty of folks nearly a century ago figured we'd be working 20 hour weeks by now.


I have clear memories of being told in elementary school that at some point in the near future, we'd all only need to work 4 days a week at most because computers would save us so much time and labor. What a kidder that teacher was.
   245. Swoboda is freedom Posted: October 03, 2012 at 11:51 AM (#4252398)
Also, as people live longer, they have more leisure time later in life. That is becoming a huge problem for most of the developed world.


Problem finding things for them to do, or problem having the resources to support them in their non-working life?


Supporting them, as the live longer. There are fewer workers per retiree, which can strain the system, especially as medical costs continue to grow.

People live for 20 years after they retire these days. We can't have a system where people work for only 45 years and are not productive for 45 (birth to start of work, and retired). Unless robots come to be.
   246. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: October 03, 2012 at 11:56 AM (#4252406)
Yeah, I'm not sure how you get around the problem of stupid people doing stupid things. A "guaranteed annual income" system only makes sense if it's used to replace existing entitlement programs.


1) Universal health care.
2) Universal child services.
3) Universal elderly care services (rides to health care, etc.)

That's it.
   247. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: October 03, 2012 at 11:56 AM (#4252408)

People live for 20 years after they retire these days. We can't have a system where people work for only 45 years and are not productive for 45 (birth to start of work, and retired). Unless robots come to be.


Productivity is up by a factor of 4 since 1947. It doubles every 30 years or so.

There are fewer workers per retiree, which can strain the system, especially as medical costs continue to grow.


We could always allow more immigration ....
   248. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 03, 2012 at 11:59 AM (#4252409)
I'd actually be fine with a "guaranteed" annual income as long as we're doing the whole socialism thing, except that it would never work because the recipients would burn through their allotted incomes and then be in danger of dying in the streets


Because they're all foolish children unqualified to run their own lives, or they'd be making a decent living?


We know they're unqualified to run their own lives, because they're depending on government handouts to run them. I don't care _why_ they're unqualified (*), I just care about the result: a vast many of them will burn through their alloted incomes. You know they will. I know they will. So what are you denying, exactly?

(*) And some people have legitimate excuses (they're disabled, they're mentally incapacitated, etc.).
   249. Swoboda is freedom Posted: October 03, 2012 at 11:59 AM (#4252410)
We could always allow more immigration ....

I am for that. But more legal immigration with people with skills and education. More productive people.
   250. Kiko Sakata Posted: October 03, 2012 at 12:06 PM (#4252415)
A "guaranteed annual income" system only makes sense if it's used to replace existing entitlement programs.


I was taking it for granted that this would be the case. Otherwise, what's the point? Without necessarily arguing for a guaranteed income, my thinking would be that the government would literally send everybody a check (every month?) for the exact same amount (adjusted by cost-of-living adjustments based on where you live?). The idea is that everybody can afford the bare necessities and by giving it to everybody, there's no disincentives being created at the bottom to work low-wage jobs (there still are disincentives to work, but you're not losing benefits by working; your minimum-wage McDonald's salary is pure profit on top of your government money).

As a practical matter, my gut instinct is that this wouldn't work because of negative macro-economic implications. My first thought is it would trigger inflation - if everybody suddenly has an extra $20,000 per year to spend (or whatever it'd be; you'd probably want to err on the side of setting income too low initially, so, for example, well below the $40k that somebody suggested last page), then prices would just go up to capture that $20,000. But if it's replacing existing entitlement programs, then maybe not?

The upside vs. current entitlement programs is that you're giving people more freedom to spend their money as they see fit. The downside is that some people will "see fit" to blow their money on crack and whores. But that's what freedom and liberty are all about, right?
   251. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: October 03, 2012 at 12:06 PM (#4252416)

We know they're unqualified to run their own lives, because they're depending on government handouts to run them.


They receive government benefits because they're poor. Being poor is not a moral failing. Nor is it a sign of incapacity.

I just care about the result: a vast many of them will burn through their alloted incomes. You know they will. I know they will.


There are plenty of people, rich and poor, who are bad with money for one reason or another. The entire reason to have a guaranteed income, however, is that if somebody does run out of money, they won't be destitute, because they have a guaranteed income.

I am ambivalent on the idea of a GUI, but it seems to me you are missing the whole point.
   252. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: October 03, 2012 at 12:07 PM (#4252417)
I am for that. But more legal immigration with people with skills and education. More productive people.
How about we just deport unproductive people regardless of citizenship? I mean, if economic production is the only important factor here....
   253. zonk Posted: October 03, 2012 at 12:10 PM (#4252421)
I'd actually be fine with a "guaranteed" annual income as long as we're doing the whole socialism thing, except that it would never work because the recipients would burn through their alloted incomes and then be in danger of dying in the streets (*), and the liberals here would just take more of other peoples' money to prevent that.




Yeah, I'm not sure how you get around the problem of stupid people doing stupid things. A "guaranteed annual income" system only makes sense if it's used to replace existing entitlement programs.


Which would be fine with me.... If we're honestly discussing this - then we need to drop the liberal strawman that all personal foibles and failures can and could be resolved through entitlements and safety nets.

I would be perfectly fine with this guaranteed income program... I might add a few tweaks - as in, let's say the guaranteed income program covers housing... but one ends up homeless because the income gets spent on whatever else. At that point, you go on probation - the income goes directly to the housing provider (landlord or whatever). There would be cracks to fill, of course, but they're fillable.
   254. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: October 03, 2012 at 12:12 PM (#4252425)
People who pick fruits and vegetables are productive. Just sayin'.
   255. zonk Posted: October 03, 2012 at 12:13 PM (#4252426)
We could always allow more immigration ....

I am for that. But more legal immigration with people with skills and education. More productive people.


Well, again... what's more "productive" when you get down to it?

Someone who writes code so the newest Angry Birds has better graphics --- or, the unskilled migrant worker that enables the neighborhood supermarket to have its shelves stocked with fruits and vegetables?

EDIT: fizzy beverages to several...
   256. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: October 03, 2012 at 12:46 PM (#4252459)
Well, again... what's more "productive" when you get down to it?


This is not a conversation homo economicus is particularly well adapted to having.
   257. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: October 03, 2012 at 12:47 PM (#4252460)
How about we just deport unproductive people regardless of citizenship? I mean, if economic production is the only important factor here....


That would open up a *lot* of jobs in corporate America. Where would they be deported to?
   258. just plain joe Posted: October 03, 2012 at 12:56 PM (#4252470)
That would open up a *lot* of jobs in corporate America. Where would they be deported to?


Put 'em on a rocket to the moon, that way the country gets more back on all that money spent on NASA.
   259. The Good Face Posted: October 03, 2012 at 01:26 PM (#4252513)
There are plenty of people, rich and poor, who are bad with money for one reason or another. The entire reason to have a guaranteed income, however, is that if somebody does run out of money, they won't be destitute, because they have a guaranteed income.

I am ambivalent on the idea of a GUI, but it seems to me you are missing the whole point.


What do you do with the people who blow their Guaranteed Income money on drugs, or booze, or gambling, or a kick-ass sound system for their car and have none left over to pay for food, housing, health care, etc.?

I would be perfectly fine with this guaranteed income program... I might add a few tweaks - as in, let's say the guaranteed income program covers housing... but one ends up homeless because the income gets spent on whatever else. At that point, you go on probation - the income goes directly to the housing provider (landlord or whatever). There would be cracks to fill, of course, but they're fillable.


The problem here is that by having such an infrastructure in place, you're undermining much of the point of having the Guaranteed Income program in the first place; lowered administration costs.
   260. Swoboda is freedom Posted: October 03, 2012 at 01:29 PM (#4252516)
Well, again... what's more "productive" when you get down to it?

We have a system of measurement called money, you might have heard of it. People who are educated or better trained make more of it.

Someone who writes code so the newest Angry Birds has better graphics --- or, the unskilled migrant worker that enables the neighborhood supermarket to have its shelves stocked with fruits and vegetables?

Which one is easier to replace?

How are we arguing over this? I did not advocate kicking people out. If we increase immigration of people with more skills and education it makes the US stronger and better. If we limit the immigration of less educated people, maybe the wages of the current people we have who are less educated goes up.
   261. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: October 03, 2012 at 01:30 PM (#4252518)
What do you do with the people who blow their Guaranteed Income money on drugs, or booze, or gambling, or a kick-ass sound system for their car and have none left over to pay for food, housing, health care, etc.?


Universal healthcare. If people want to spend their money on booze instead of a nice house, that's what's freedom's for.
   262. The District Attorney Posted: October 03, 2012 at 01:45 PM (#4252533)
I guess they choose a VP candidate at basically the right time and the pick of Ryan is defensible I guess but it sure wasn't great or anything.
This remains to be seen. If Romney loses Florida and polls indicate that the old folks were concerned about what Romney/Ryan would do to Medicare, then Ryan's not gonna look like a very good pick. The Obama campaign hasn't been pushing the issue much, but I wouldn't be surprised if they pulled it out soon since it's one of their best weapons, and I believe there's some polling evidence that the swing state voters are finding it anyway...
   263. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: October 03, 2012 at 01:53 PM (#4252540)
Your footnote here seems to undercut your argument, though, doesn't it? If "work" is a moral good, then isn't it equally morally good for the children of millionaires? And if you go back to what started the debate, the argument for "work" was originally posited as an argument against the government just giving everybody a guaranteed income. But if the government did that, wouldn't everybody be exempt via your qualifier as everybody would now have an "independent source of income"?
Where exactly would the government get this money from?
   264. The Good Face Posted: October 03, 2012 at 01:53 PM (#4252542)
What do you do with the people who blow their Guaranteed Income money on drugs, or booze, or gambling, or a kick-ass sound system for their car and have none left over to pay for food, housing, health care, etc.?


Universal healthcare. If people want to spend their money on booze instead of a nice house, that's what's freedom's for.


Healthcare's pulling a lot of freight here. Does healthcare include housing? Food? Clothing?

   265. Morty Causa Posted: October 03, 2012 at 01:56 PM (#4252548)
The idea of a guaranteed annual income was someone else's argument (Richard Nixon's, I believe), not mine.


Well, I don't know about Nixon promoting that. McGovern, however, did in the '72 election. A $2,000 guaranteed annual income, I think it was. It was one more thing that made voters think he was "way out there". Nixon did try to strike a deal with Ted Kennedy on a universal health care system, though. Kennedy, much to his later regret, rebuffed him. (Nixon was not a conservative much, except in terms of rhetoric (anti-communism, law and order).)
   266. zonk Posted: October 03, 2012 at 02:04 PM (#4252553)
Well, again... what's more "productive" when you get down to it?


We have a system of measurement called money, you might have heard of it. People who are educated or better trained make more of it.


One of many systems of measurement we have is called money. I don't deny its existence, I deny it's in any way, shape, or form the BEST system of productivity measurement.

Someone who writes code so the newest Angry Birds has better graphics --- or, the unskilled migrant worker that enables the neighborhood supermarket to have its shelves stocked with fruits and vegetables?


Which one is easier to replace?

How are we arguing over this? I did not advocate kicking people out. If we increase immigration of people with more skills and education it makes the US stronger and better. If we limit the immigration of less educated people, maybe the wages of the current people we have who are less educated goes up.


There seems to be some incongruity in this argument -- in other words, artificially constrain one segment of a labor market to artificially boost wages while juicing the other to constrain wages?

I'll pretend for a minute that I buy wholesale that cost increase/decreases automatically lead to commensurate wage adjustments... except to say, if this were true, what the hell do we need executives for? Hire a bunch of formulas - who work for free - instead..

I suppose I would be best to leave this argument to the libertarian set, but ultimately -- this seems to me like a bit of "make everyone's wages equal!" -- maybe not as a realistic endgoal, but at least, as a direction. Even as a liberal, I don't buy that (though - if include the 'job creators' in the same bucket, I wouldn't care enough to argue).

At least in the near term - floors will always need to be swept, ditches dug, and certain commodities hand-harvested. I'm simply not particularly interested in viewing this through the 'owner' prism of how they can be done most cost-effectively.
   267. Kiko Sakata Posted: October 03, 2012 at 02:05 PM (#4252556)
Where exactly would the government get this money from?


General tax revenues. The same place government gets all of its money.
   268. zonk Posted: October 03, 2012 at 02:09 PM (#4252565)
Your footnote here seems to undercut your argument, though, doesn't it? If "work" is a moral good, then isn't it equally morally good for the children of millionaires? And if you go back to what started the debate, the argument for "work" was originally posited as an argument against the government just giving everybody a guaranteed income. But if the government did that, wouldn't everybody be exempt via your qualifier as everybody would now have an "independent source of income"?

Where exactly would the government get this money from?


The government prints, owns, and backs the money...

If you don't particularly care for getting a little less of its money, then I'm pretty sure that there's no law against offering your services solely for victuals, home handiwork, childcare services, and healthcare alone.
   269. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: October 03, 2012 at 02:11 PM (#4252568)
General tax revenues. The same place government gets all of its money.
The posited scenario was that everyone got a guaranteed income without working. What exactly are they taxing?
   270. BDC Posted: October 03, 2012 at 02:12 PM (#4252570)
Nixon was not a conservative much

I agree. Nixon, despite his schooling in old-guard Hoover Republicanism, was interested in power more than anything else. And a President with such a fascination for power won't govern on the basis of relinquishing it (to the states or to libertarian individuals or just into thin air). In this respect, both Reagan and Clinton were far more conservative in the smaller-government sense, even if they presented a lot of contrasts on social issues.

Barry Goldwater couldn't stand Nixon, IIRC. Of course, the list of Washington folk of any political stripe who could stand Nixon was fairly limited.
   271. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: October 03, 2012 at 02:12 PM (#4252571)
The government prints, owns, and backs the money...
The government prints currency, not money. Those little pieces of paper only have value to the extent they represent actual production.
   272. zonk Posted: October 03, 2012 at 02:12 PM (#4252572)
I was wondering why the entire theme of the GOP convention and most of early-to-mid September Romney campaign suddenly disappeared...

Now I know...

At least as discouraging, for Republicans, however, is that Romney’s favorite Obama quote — “You didn’t build that” — isn’t even a net drag for the president. After hearing his comments, voters reacted positively by a 36-32 margin overall, and independents and “up for grabs” voters actually approved of them by slightly higher margins.
   273. zonk Posted: October 03, 2012 at 02:17 PM (#4252577)
The government prints, owns, and backs the money...

The government prints currency, not money. Those little pieces of paper only have value to the extent they represent actual production.


Well, like I said -- without pulling a bill out of my pocket, I'm pretty sure they say something about being legal tender for all debts public and private and that no where do they say "must and can only to the exclusion of all other..." be used for such.

Sounds like a wonderful experiment in Libertania efficiency -- get rid of the little sheets of paper and instead, just trade your actual production for the actual production you lack or need.... think of all the bureaucrats and regulations that Libertania won't have to sustain without all that goes into making those little pieces of paper and having them stand for something!
   274. BDC Posted: October 03, 2012 at 02:17 PM (#4252578)
Meanwhile, here's an interesting story from the Sunday Ft Worth Startlegram:

Local hospitals penalized by Medicare for readmissions

FORT WORTH -- Ten Tarrant County hospitals, including Medical Center of Arlington and Texas Health Harris Methodist Fort Worth, are being penalized by Medicare for the number of patients who were readmitted soon after being discharged.

The local hospitals are among 2,200 nationwide whose Medicare reimbursements are being cut by as much as 1 percent for failing to curtail readmissions. For example, if a hospital being penalized 1 percent submits a $30,000 claim, Medicare will reimburse the hospital $29,700.

The penalty is a provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Nationally, 1 in 5 patients returns to the hospital within a month of being discharged, costing Medicare more than $17.5 billion in additional hospital bills.


It's a very interesting spin that helps explain some public reaction to Obamacare. The thrust of the story isn't "Obamacare saves you money and puts pressure on medical providers to improve care." It's "federal government takes stuff away from our wonderful local hospitals." The quotes that follow are all from hospital executives #####ing and moaning about how patients won't take care of themselves and why are we to blame if they show up sick again. Ah, those lucky-ducky 47%ers …
   275. Kiko Sakata Posted: October 03, 2012 at 02:18 PM (#4252580)
The posited scenario was that everyone got a guaranteed income without working. What exactly are they taxing?


The hypothetical was a guaranteed minimum subsistence income as a replacement for all existing welfare (see #156 of this thread for where this particular conversation started; the hypothetical dollar amount cited there is way too high, as immediately conceded in #158). You would really stop working if the government sent you $1,000 a month?
   276. Morty Causa Posted: October 03, 2012 at 02:23 PM (#4252586)
Barry Goldwater couldn't stand Nixon, IIRC. Of course, the list of Washington folk of any political stripe who could stand Nixon was fairly limited.


No one could stand Nixon. He was odious and devoid of charisma. He's the original recipient large-scale of "I'm voting for him because of those #######...." negative votes. Buckley and his National Review bunch made it clear that he was an expediency, a stop-gap until they could get a real conservative in there. Nixon had no cadre (or a very small one, an d again it rested on negatives) of diehards who would go to the wall for him. That's why when he went down, he went down fast, despite having been resoundingly re-elected only a short time earlier. There was no there there with Milhous. He had to keep doing things to stay in a position of power, and, of course, he finally started doing things that came back at him like a pie in the face.
   277. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 03, 2012 at 02:25 PM (#4252590)
The government prints, owns, and backs the money...


Zonk, your logic train missed a track change somewhere.
   278. zonk Posted: October 03, 2012 at 02:38 PM (#4252600)
Local hospitals penalized by Medicare for readmissions

FORT WORTH -- Ten Tarrant County hospitals, including Medical Center of Arlington and Texas Health Harris Methodist Fort Worth, are being penalized by Medicare for the number of patients who were readmitted soon after being discharged.

The local hospitals are among 2,200 nationwide whose Medicare reimbursements are being cut by as much as 1 percent for failing to curtail readmissions. For example, if a hospital being penalized 1 percent submits a $30,000 claim, Medicare will reimburse the hospital $29,700.

The penalty is a provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Nationally, 1 in 5 patients returns to the hospital within a month of being discharged, costing Medicare more than $17.5 billion in additional hospital bills.




It's a very interesting spin that helps explain some public reaction to Obamacare. The thrust of the story isn't "Obamacare saves you money and puts pressure on medical providers to improve care." It's "federal government takes stuff away from our wonderful local hospitals." The quotes that follow are all from hospital executives #####ing and moaning about how patients won't take care of themselves and why are we to blame if they show up sick again. Ah, those lucky-ducky 47%ers …


Actually, this one of those hidden little aspects of Medicare that often goes undiscussed..

I'm not intending to lay the blame here on either Clinton/Democrats or Bush/Republicans -- but roughly 10-15 years ago there was a Medicare initiative to migrate some services and procedures from supposedly more costly inpatient care to outpatient services.

I say not intending to lay blame because it was relatively uncontroversial -- IPPS has much bigger raw costs than OPPS, and there was at least enough backing in the medical community that everyone seemed to agree it was a healthy thing to try.

In effect, they started juicing up the outpatient reimbursement costs and even bonus'ing inpatient providers with incentives to push people towards outpatient options.

It was a disaster. Turns out - those higher inpatient costs on paper were actually more cost-effective than the added costs of readmission and more serious illness. It wasn't even necessarily a matter of patients not being able to care for themselves outside the hospital -- I googled a bit around and can't find it, but there was a medical 'mea culpa' a few years back that basically came to the conclusion they underestimated the value of what were seen as needless inpatient expenses... I.e., that the prevention of infections - which may not manifest physically until critical care is needed - was actually a cost-saver in an inpatient setting, etc.

What ACA essentially did is jam on the breaks and "oops" their way back to the previous status quo of "get it right" rather than "get it most superficially efficient and cost-effective".

   279. zonk Posted: October 03, 2012 at 02:39 PM (#4252602)
The government prints, owns, and backs the money...



Zonk, your logic train missed a track change somewhere.


No, I just never forget I'm on a train...
   280. Bitter Mouse Posted: October 03, 2012 at 02:57 PM (#4252613)
So how am I just now hearing that Teddy won?
   281. zonk Posted: October 03, 2012 at 03:04 PM (#4252617)
So how am I just now hearing that Teddy won?


Speak softly... even when running with a big bobblehead...
   282. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: October 03, 2012 at 03:12 PM (#4252625)
The Nats caved to pressure from Big Head.
   283. The Yankee Clapper Posted: October 03, 2012 at 03:30 PM (#4252631)
So how am I just now hearing that Teddy won?

Our long Nationals nightmare is over!
   284. jack the seal clubber (on the sidelines of life) Posted: October 03, 2012 at 04:06 PM (#4252677)
This dwarfs (dwarves?) the pennant clinching celebration. They are getting ready to rush the field now and carry Teddy off.
   285. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: October 03, 2012 at 04:14 PM (#4252687)
The hypothetical was a guaranteed minimum subsistence income as a replacement for all existing welfare (see #156 of this thread for where this particular conversation started; the hypothetical dollar amount cited there is way too high, as immediately conceded in #158). You would really stop working if the government sent you $1,000 a month?
That's not quite what 158 says -- it says that the number was plucked out of thin air, not that it was "way too high." (The problem is that it's actually way too low, since according to 158, it would allow the government to "eliminate medicare." Huh? How does giving people $12,000 a year (as you propose) or $40,000 a year (as was initially proposed) allow people to pay for catastrophic care?)

EDIT: Now, let's look at your lower number. $12,000 per person -- does that only include adults? Well, there are about 235 million adults in the U.S. That means that we're spending $2.8 trillion on this program. (But is a family of four really going to get the same as a childless couple? Or will there be more for kids?) Where is that money coming from?
   286. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: October 03, 2012 at 04:27 PM (#4252706)
A couple of months back, there was some extensive discussion on the blog Crooked Timber on the GUI, which was being supported by a group of Libertarians, interestingly. A couple of posts can be found here and here, there are more if you look.

The second one is interesting with respect to the discussion of what it might cost.
   287. Kiko Sakata Posted: October 03, 2012 at 04:31 PM (#4252714)
Now, let's look at your lower number. $12,000 per person -- does that only include adults? Well, there are about 235 million adults in the U.S. That means that we're spending $2.8 trillion on this program. (But is a family of four really going to get the same as a childless couple? Or will there be more for kids?) Where is that money coming from?


As I said in #250, I'm not sold on how practical such a thing is, and I've given exactly zero thought to what the right level should be (and as I also said in #250, I'd err too low initially - I was thinking of $12,000 per HH, not per person, but whatever). But as far as the basic structure of how it's financed, it'd be financed just like the existing safety net. I'm not seeing the unique complications in terms of how it gets paid for vis-a-vis how food stamps and Social Security get paid for. Where does the money for food stamps come from?
   288. Kiko Sakata Posted: October 03, 2012 at 04:36 PM (#4252726)
which was being supported by a group of Libertarians, interestingly


This actually makes perfect sense to me. If you accept the need/desire/existence of a safety net - and obviously this is where you lose a lot of Libertarians - it's very Libertarian to say that people should have the freedom to decide what THEY think are the necessities of life, rather than what the government tells them they can spend their food stamps or phone credits or whatever on.
   289. spycake Posted: October 03, 2012 at 04:41 PM (#4252744)
Nobody here is actually advocating for this guaranteed income thing, right? This is just some kind of thought exercise?
   290. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 03, 2012 at 04:43 PM (#4252748)
Nobody here is actually advocating for this guaranteed income thing, right? This is just some kind of thought exercise?


I won't, because it won't work, because there is no point at which leftists will stop trying to take other peoples' money.
   291. Dog on the sidewalk Posted: October 03, 2012 at 04:49 PM (#4252753)
This dwarfs (dwarves?) the pennant clinching celebration.

The preferred nomenclature is little persons.
   292. The Good Face Posted: October 03, 2012 at 04:56 PM (#4252759)
Nobody here is actually advocating for this guaranteed income thing, right? This is just some kind of thought exercise?


As per #288, I'd prefer something like that to our current safety net, but I don't think it's remotely realistic for the reasons Ray and I have brought up in this thread. The left would just insist that it be added on to the current safety net and the right hates the idea of people spending welfare money on frivolities.
   293. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 03, 2012 at 05:09 PM (#4252786)
and the right hates the idea of people spending welfare money on frivolities.


The left gets around this, by labeling frivoloties as "necessities." Or by using the "What's the big deal? Everyone needs a respectable standard of living! They're totally getting these iPhones cheap on the internet!" argument. It is really a treat watching people push back against the notion that it's absurd to take money from A to pay for B's big screen tv. Usually they start by branding the person questioning this as selfish/elitist/heartless/etc.
   294. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: October 03, 2012 at 05:22 PM (#4252822)
and the right hates the idea of people spending welfare money on frivolities.


The left gets around this, by labeling frivoloties as "necessities."

Not that we've ever noticed that you've accepted health care or child care as being a necessity or anything. To people like you, everything's a ####### "frivolity" if any of your precious tax dollars might have to go to pay for it.

Usually they start by branding the person questioning this as selfish/elitist/heartless/etc.

"Elitist" is the last word that comes to mind when I think of you.
   295. Joe Kehoskie Posted: October 03, 2012 at 05:23 PM (#4252825)
The left gets around this, by labeling frivoloties as "necessities." Or by using the "What's the big deal? Everyone needs a respectable standard of living! They're totally getting these iPhones cheap on the internet!" argument.

Just look at the discussion about the "free" cell phones a few days ago. The lefties here wouldn't even concede that calling the program "Lifeline" is absurd. Somehow, in less than 20 years, cell phones went from laughed-at luxury item to life-or-death necessity.
   296. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 03, 2012 at 05:27 PM (#4252837)
Not that we've ever noticed that you've accepted health care or child care as being a necessity or anything.


False. I've stated on a number of occasions that I'm fine with paying for emergency care. At gunpoint.

But whether it's a "necessity" is different from whether I should be forced to pay for it. And it's hard to take arguments of the necessity of health care seriously when leftists are also arguing for arts funding and cell phones and birth control for peoples' sex lives.

To people like you, everything's a ####### "frivolity" if any of your precious tax dollars might have to go to pay for it.


Again, simply false, as I showed above with respect to emergency care.

And there's a difference between "have to" and "want to." Not that the tens of millions of well-off leftists in this country who supposedly "want this" have confined the solution to their own wallets.
   297. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: October 03, 2012 at 05:29 PM (#4252838)
Somehow, in less than 20 years, cell phones went from laughed-at luxury item to life-or-death necessity.


Technological progress, how does it work?
   298. zenbitz Posted: October 03, 2012 at 05:42 PM (#4252871)

I think something like a GUI would be workable at the city-state (i.e, historical Athens, Vatican city) level. But most US states are too big let alone the whole country. Hell, communism or anarchism is probably workable at that level.

But on the thought experiment level... what if you divide the economy into a "hard" energy based currency and "fiat" currency? When people work, they get energy credit. Regular jobs would pay hourly energy credit + whatever fiat pay you could negotiate. Loans, banks, interest - the whole capitalist mechanism runs on the fiat economy (just like now). The energy economy is essentially taxed 100% - BUT you would get credit back in form of the entire safety net (health care, food, housing, and of course electricity itself).

The Government (which one is a detail since we are talking hypothetically) would provide 100% employment in the energy economy as needed.
Actually - literally they could pedal a generator and generate electricity. But sorting trash for recycling, mail delivery, planting trees, in addition to more permanent skilled jobs, or any Universal Government Service (but instead of 2 years @ age 18, it's ongoing).

People unable or ineligible to work have to attend school (children) but would get disability waivers (including elderly). People undergoing retraining (dare I day.. re-education) could get partial work credit.

Of course people (like all living things) are net CONSUMERS of (solar) energy, not producers - the work you do just reduces the amount of energy (in the systemic, not "electrical" sense) you consume. Information processing (and/or "cleaning up") is of course literally energy in the entropic sense.

Several lose ends here. How many hours worked gets you full benefits? What fraction of fiat economy has to be taxed to support the safety net? (I assume the difference floats, but is not covered by 40hours/person)? What about government services that are not safety net? (Fire, Police, Military, FDA/EPA, Scientific research). Those I assume are funded by taxes on fiat economy.
   299. zonk Posted: October 03, 2012 at 05:43 PM (#4252872)
Nobody here is actually advocating for this guaranteed income thing, right? This is just some kind of thought exercise?



I won't, because it won't work, because there is no point at which leftists will stop trying to take other peoples' money.


I would -- I just want to have mechanisms in place for changes... If Star Trek becomes a reality and virtually all diseases can be cured with some sort of little tricorder-like device, there would absolutely be a point where I would say that little tricorder device (or access to one) ought to be considered a necessity. I see no earthly reason why anyone should have cancer if a little device can eliminate it with a wave of scifi rays...
   300. JL Posted: October 03, 2012 at 05:43 PM (#4252873)
Just look at the discussion about the "free" cell phones a few days ago. The lefties here wouldn't even concede that calling the program "Lifeline" is absurd. Somehow, in less than 20 years, cell phones went from laughed-at luxury item to life-or-death necessity.

Interesting. I know a couple of people who have moved to cell phones and dropped land lines. The biggest reason was to avoid the charges for reconnecting when they moved. They rented and were sensative to any increase in the rent, so had to move just about every year. After talking to them, it sure seemed like a finacially smart move to me, but I suppose some people think that would be frivolous.
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