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I am not opposed to income caps to a certain extent, though the effect you described is likely to occur. People would simply stop trying to earn over and above the allotted amount.
This has two outcomes simultaneously:
I agree that you would probably find a rise in small and medium-sized businesses, that would be a good thing in my opinion.
Secondly, though, if noone is earning above the cap where do the taxes come from? How will the government be funded?
What I would favor is a pyramid-like squeeze; little to no tax at the bottom with an ever-increasing gradation so that, at a certain point, a person is taxed to a de facto cap.
That way we end up with an income-capping system with its benefits AND plenty of taxes to support government services.
"It clearly answers all the issues raised. In fact they want to hear points that they haven't answered, and if the existing proposal needs to be modified, it will be, but so far they say that they haven't gotten any that can't be addressed."
If it clearly answers all of the questions I have raised you could at least post some of its excerpts in the debate. This isn't a book club, why don't you contribute to the debate itself?
"I believe that the country must get behind this project or we will become a second rate nation."
This is some first-rate gobble-dee-goop. What on earth is that supposed to mean? What nation on earth has a flat tax rate? Which of the greatest nations on earth actually follow your plan? How on earth are we going to go "second-rate" by not going to a sales-tax regime?
Is this website just filled to the brim with paid Republican operatives? Did Karl Rove send you here?
"About two-thirds of corporations operating in the United States did not pay taxes annually from 1998 to 2005, according to a new report scheduled to be made public today from the U.S. Government Accountability Office."
The problem with that study is that you don't apparently know what a corporation is. Yes, the biggest private enterprises on Earth are corporations, that's true; but by far most corporations are very small and don't have much, if any, income due to their status as start-ups.
In other words; we don't know how much of that 2/3 is just small businesses that didn't actually make enough money to have to pay taxes.
Anyways; a Federal Sales tax would hurt the smaller, poorer businesses just like it would hurt the poor: Big companies won't have much of a problem paying more for the stuff they need, small businesses will struggle.
"Under our current 'progressive' system, the rich pay no taxes on social security after about 110k. Anyone earning under that is taxed fully. Yeah, our tax code is real 'progressive'"
It's called "reform"; it is called electing liberals and leftists to fix the tax system so that doesn't happen anymore. I said this already.
"Also, with a federal sales tax, even foreigners and immigrants (who add nothing to the tax base) would begin contributing to our tax base."
In other words; foreigners and immigrants will be paying the same amount as people who actually receive benefits (or the most) from the taxes they pay. That sounds really fair, sweetheart.
"So when you have the rich AND corporations unable to avoid taxes, both groups pay more than they already do. How does America go broke under that situation?"
Again; they wouldn't need to avoid taxes anymore because you're never going to be able to come up with a sales tax that won't starve the poor and middle class and tax them enough to pay for all of the government services we need and want.
"To say the Federal Income tax has worked 'wonderfully' for years is a pretty bold statement. Nobody, not even accountants and certified tax professionals, know all the ins and outs of our tax code."
That doesn't make any sense; just because it isn't perfect, just because it is complicated doesn't make it a failure. We have accomplished some amazing feats due to the Federal Income tax. We fought off the Nazis; we landed on the moon; we built a national highway system unrivaled in the world; we have some of the best universities on earth, millions of people are able to attend those universities who wouldn't otherwise be able to; the list goes on and on.
We still collect a huge amount of money; an amount of money impossible to collect with just a sales tax. Do the math; go find me some numbers and see if you can come up with enough money to maintain all of the government services in place; even half.
You'd have to tax sales pretty high in order to match it; and you can't be giving almost all of it back either.
"The tax code itself, is about nine million words long. Talk about complicated. "
Life is complicated; get over it. The tax system is complicated because we live in an era of extreme complexity. We have a society, economy, and government that only becomes more complex by the day. We should, of course, work to simplify the tax code as much as possible and close as many loopholes as we can. However, making the tax code simple just for the sake of it being simple is; forgive my redundancy, simplistic and simple-minded.
"When you take a look at other nations that have implemented flat taxes (like a sales tax), you'll see that shortly after they implemented it, their economies began to grow by leaps and bounds. Poverty level declined as well."
Name them; show me some links that back up this claim; I dare you.
"As far as schools, they get their money via property taxes, not the federal government. Yes, the Fed's do spend some on education, but the vast majority of any schools money comes from the state. So this wouldn't affect them."
Still; 47 billion dollars does go the public school system annually. Also; are you telling me you only want the sales tax at the Federal level? If that's the case it doesn't matter, there is still a huge list of things that need the Federal Income Tax to survive.
"You see what makes the fed sales tax a better alternative is because it encourages savings, not spending."
This is a recipe for disaster. Our economy is already skirting a recession because of contractions in consumer spending. Our economy runs on a dearth of savings; without people spending all they have, or more then they have, we would see thousands of jobs disappear at least.
Also; you are, again, telling me that we will be severely short on money. If people save more and more of their money that means less and less money is taxable; further contracting the government.
"Incandescent bulb = current tax system
flourescent bulb = federal sales tax system with prebates."
This analogy would only work if anything you said about a Federal Sales Tax system were true. I'm waiting for you to give evidence of how well this plan has worked in other places, in the past...anything backing up your statements.
"Every rich person i know spends lavishly. Either to buy a new home, car, airplane, boat, flgiht to europe, etc...
Some rich people may get taxed less. But then again, these are savers not spenders. If the whole US could become a nation of savers, we'd see a much more vibrant economy than we do today... or ever have seen."
They may spend lavishly, but they don't spend enough to make up for the sudden elimination of the income tax.
Secondly; if the U.S. became a nation of savers we'd go through another great depression. How do you think an economy grows and operates?
Here's a hint: it isn't saving.
People spend money on goods and services; that money goes into the pockets of the business owners and workers. If more people spend more money then demand for goods and services rises; meaning that the need for workers to make those goods and services rises. That means more jobs and possibly higher wages.
Now, what happens if people spend less money? The exact opposite of course!
Silly, silly, silly; this whole thing is just so silly.
Let's take this point by point:
1. What you are saying is that the current tax system isn't working properly. You actually agree that a system of progressive taxation would be best.
2. However, because this system isn't working as it should due to government mismanagement and corruption you've decided to scrap the entire system and put one in place that is ten times worse.
The rich may buy more expensive goods, but by far their money is not spent on luxury items. You would be leaving billions upon billions of dollars from corporate incomes, stocks, bonds, inheritance, property, completely out of the reach of the tax code. What probably amounts to a majority of the wealth in this country (not liquid resources such as money). In other words, instead of the wealthy manipulating a system to their advantage you are giving them a system perfectly suited their needs; in other words, to their need to not be taxed at all.
"You see, a sales tax makes it much harder to evade the tax."
It makes it completely unnecessary, why try to evade a tax you barely have to pay?
The Federal Income tax is actually a very good design, it is complicated but it has worked wonderfully for years. Without it we wouldn't have the schools, highways, universities, space programs, and war machines we do today. Our economy would drop by a third or more without the tax revenues gotten by this system.
It needs to be fixed, of course, to keep it from deteriorating to an unacceptable or dangerous level. However, the only way to do that is to become politically active and make sure good people are elected to high, medium, and local office.
If you vote in good people they will do everything in their power to keep the corporations, the wealthy, and all other tax dodgers in line.
"Also, just check my earlier comment about the sales tax prebate. It pretty much takes care of the concern that lower income people would get hit hard by the tax. In fact, they would pay no taxes at all and receive a lump sum at the beginning of the tax year."
In other words; you are planning on completely destroying the Federal Government (well, and every single state, city, and county if you plan on taking that plan to them as well). You do realize that you can't not tax people and still have a government, right? Do you really think we sell enough mansions and yachts to fund even 1/1,000,000 of the schools? I doubt we'd be able to pay for a single tank, much less a missile defense system.
Your plan amounts to this:
Step 1: Get rid of all taxes.
Step 2: Levy a tax on consumable goods.
Step 3: Give back 99% of that tax.
Result: Government collapses, country hit by depression, depression spreads to the rest of the world. Anarchy ensues.
This is what always gets me; people see a flickering light bulb. Instead of tightening the bulb or fixing the wiring they decide to smash the bulb to the ground and put a much worse bulb in its place.
The solution to these problems is not scrapping a disfunctional system and replacing it with a simpler, worse one. All you have to do is elect the right people.
I don't know why some people seem to think that the government is this giant monster that isn't directly answerable to us. We have complete control over what goes on in the government; the problem is people are too easily deceived, too easily distracted, too dumb, too apathetic, or a horrid combination of all of those things.
Umm, sweetheart; those figures come from the CIA (you know, the Communist-Sympathizing United States government's spy agency which is headed by Fidel Castro himself). Cuba's healthcare achievements are independently verified; I am not trusting the government's own accounting alone.
It's obvious that you didn't actually look at the links I gave. If you aren't going to actually take the time to read arguments and look at the facts do me, others, and yourself a favor and stay out of debates until you have the integrity to participate.
The Federal Income Tax, when used progressively, is much more fair than a sales tax.
The system is designed to negate the wealth-concentrating phenomena of the free enterprise system. The unfairness of the capitalist system needs to be balanced through taxation if the people are to be even remotely prosperous and if the government is to be able to gather the funds necessary to operate.
Here is an issue by issue explanation for why this is, in fact, fair:
First off, the wealthy may make up a disproportional amount of the income tax given to the government; however, they also make a grossly disproportional amount of income to the rest of the population. Therefor, while they make up a disproportional amount of the income tax paid; they themselves pay an amount usually less than proportional with regard to their own income.
A wealthy man or woman, for example, may pay 30% of their income (amounting to several million dollars), while a middle class person may pay a couple thousand dollars; which ends up amounting to 40-50% of their income. Sure, the wealthy individual pays more in total; but they do not pay more in proportion to their own income.
Also; someone with an income of 100 billion dollars a year could pay 90% of that income and still be filthy rich; never having to want for anything, getting anything they want (save for large islands and small countries).
However, someone with an income of 50 dollars a year and paying only 10% of that would find themselves having even less. They do not have much discretionary spending, if any.
If sales tax would be the only means of taxation the burden would fall almost exclusively on the poor and middle classes. Most of the rich have too much money to spend; most of it would go into banks, the stock market, and investments (generating them even more untaxed income).
The poor and middle classes, however, do not have large sums of money to invest; the only things they can or must use their money on are consumer goods; taxed goods. As far as percentage of income goes; the wealthy would pay only a minuscule amount of their income to the government while the poor and middle classes would bear the brunt of government funding.
This is actually a recipe for disaster, nations that have relied on such taxation found themselves in terrible positions if war or economic crisis set in. If there was a great depression and sales dropped severely the government revenues would drop both in amount and in proportion; the great reserves of wealth that the rich have wouldn't be able to be touched. The government, and the lower classes, would starve.
Finally; you may say that it is only fair that everyone be taxed equally. That the rich don't deserve to be taxed simply for being successful. However; they didn't succeed on their own. The wealthy have gotten the most out of the collective efforts of our entire nation, is it not fair to ask for more from a group of people who were given so much? The Federal Income Tax, even at its most progressive, never made a wealthy person poor. All it did was force them to buy 17 luxury mansions instead of 25, 10 new cars instead of 18, five new yachts instead of 12.
Our society couldn't possibly have developed the roads, highways, schools, universities, parks, preserves, military, NASA, NOAA, and thousands of other functions and millions of jobs without a system of taxation that utilizes the inheritance, stocks, incomes, and property of the wealthy to add to the pool of public funds.
There is plenty to "bitch" about. There has been continuous and historic discrimination and racism, the near extermination of an entire race of people, the invasion and annexation of land amounting to several U.S. states, and a history of violence perpetrated against overseas innocents and adversaries.
Does this make the United States the worst nation on earth, no. Do things need to improve? Yes, of course. The only way we'll improve our nation and our society is through vocalization of our concerns, ideas, and problems and the active pursuit of solutions.
This is what you said:
"lets say all of the people decided to ban the right to vote, decided to ban the right to free speech, do you still think it's okay because the majority of people decided it is? do you just live with it?"
I was responding to that specifically. The issue isn't that I would just let it happen, there is nothing I could do in the case of unanimous or virtually unanimous decision. The only course of action would be to try and convince people that it is or was a bad idea and then do something.
If a simple majority votes away voting rights for itself and the rest of a population we are still in rather simple territory: as I said before, if a democracy ends democracy then it is no longer anti-democratic to fight against that society or government.
Equality is one of the most important values I hold; of course a tyranny of the majority is still a tyranny and it should be fought. Even if a democracy in place; democracy is only right in so far as it is an equal democracy, a democracy in which everyone has the same rights.
An oppressed minority has the following options: secede, passively fight for equal rights, or aggressively/violently fight for equal rights.
"and i chose to walk into wal-mart... wal-mart didn't force me to do shit."
Ya know what; if you don't like the policies of this government you are free to move to another one. That kind of logic goes both ways. Noone is forcing you to stay in this country; if you don't like our policies you can leave.
Is that right? No. What you are saying is just as silly.
"1. if one man rules all and tells everyone what to do, it doesn't matter how he got the power, it matters what he's doing now. we're restricted from any freedom, and it's more natural to revolt. you have to stop seeing things as black and white."
"you have to stop seeing things as black and white."
Let me repeat this:
"you have to stop seeing things as black and white."
"it's either this or we give the government control over everything"
"the true question is, which is do you find more unfair? Authoritarian power or Corporate growth?"
You're killing me here, Pyg, you really are. I could copy-paste every argument you've made as a testament to your sudden turn-around in ideological philosophy.
Anyways, the point of what I was trying to say is that your system always leads to that revolution. It usually isn't one man taking all of the power through property; it is usually a small group of men (maybe women, in this day and age) taking power; a class of people; the wealthy.
When you walk into a Target, or a Wal-Mart, or a Best Buy, or the factory where you work who makes the rules? Especially if there is no Federal Government, no state government, no city government with rules regarding private property, business practices..etc. They become kings of what they own automatically; your say goes from a single vote to literally no say at all.
"2. it's not just ban drugs, it's all of those things. it's complete control over the lives of individuals. really, the turning point would have to be the banning of guns (as the NRA believes) because that is really our only chance of revolting. the people ban things and then unban them left and right, but that doesn't make it right for them to do so. but that is why wars are fought, for conflicting ideals (revolutionary war would be best example). lets say all of the people decided to ban the right to vote, decided to ban the right to free speech, do you still think it's okay because the majority of people decided it is? do you just live with it?
maybe it's just because "freedom" itself means more to me than it does to others."
When a majority votes away Democracy the system is no longer Democratic; therefor it is no longer a matter of competing versions of freedom. If that actually happened I would sort of be at a loss; if all of the people actually gave up their right to vote willingly I wouldn't have any basis to rise up (neither would you); noone would stand with either of us in the defense of the vote.
That's akin to a unanimous decision to commit suicide; I wouldn't be for it but using violence to stop it would be kind of pointless.
My job is to convince, not to kill; there is no point in killing in a democracy. Outside of one we must fight for democracy and representation (violently in defense, not in offense); if noone else on earth (or a small minority) is for it; then we can either try to convince people, secede, or take a snooze I suppose.
"maybe it's just because "freedom" itself means more to me than it does to others."
I think you don't know what freedom means, you've proven that. You have a version of freedom, your belief, and you don't believe there is any other valid version of freedom otherwise. You are willing to kill people because they ban: guns, drugs, alcohol, and other pointless things even if, say, they provided free healthcare, a democratic system of government, roads, bridges, good jobs, press freedom.....but if they ban weaponry and mental poisons you are willing to blast the crap out of men and women who aren't actually being violent towards you.
I think you need to broaden your scope of freedom, and you need to cease being a hypocrite and see things in shades of grey, not black and white.
"i think it's more about choice. and yes, i am a "tough shit" type of guy. i don't see why we should be deciding who deserves more than the other. why not let the market decide (which is us technically)."
That's a pretty big contradiction. You've basically admitted that both the "market" and government decisions are people deciding what to do with other people. Your argument falls flat on its face at this point.
"when a person rules everyone and they can't be free within that country because of this individual, it's not just because they're rich and powerful, it's because they're a dictator. violent revolution against a dictator isn't left or right, it's just people saying "we're not gonna take it"."
A dictator? I am confused, this person acquired this power completely legally. They did it without violence; they just did it by buying and selling property; the basis of your system. Why is it okay to kill them for exercising their basic right to own and run their property?
Anyways, according to your definition of what a dictator is and following the system of economics you desire you end up fighting against, possibly violently, the people who became successful because of their talent and ability to achieve within the system you yourself endorse.
When you propose methods of keeping this from happening they end up following the beliefs of Karl Marx himself, as well as other classical and modern Socialists, Communists, an Anarcho-Communists.
"take away guns
ban cigs, drugs, alcohol, porn, etc.
restrict the market and redistribute wealth
...I may actually consider it."
And if the majority of people choose to vote for these measures, will you kill all of them as well? I mean, with respect to the banning of drugs thing you have quite a large number of people on your "execution consideration list" seeing as both parties are still pretty solid on banning narcotics and a majority of the population wants to keep that ban in place.
And you call me authoritarian. You do realize that killing people because they institute policies you don't agree with; especially if these policies are voted for or supported by the majority population, is a text-book definition of authoritarianism. It doesn't matter if you are doing it "for freedom", murdering people because they have a different definition of freedom is certainly authoritarian.
""a violent revolution can also be considered anarchist, since, that is what results from a violent revolution usually. actually, under communist rule, that is the perfect time to violently revolt."
So, if I get voted into power; say I become mayor of your city, you think it's okay to execute me? Hmmm..odd. Bet lets put aside your illogical hatred for Communists and the Communist ideology.
Violent revolutions are not particular to Communism, of course. However, violent revolutions against overly-powerful businessmen or wealthy classes is certainly either Communism or Left-Anarchism. We are close cousins and technically fight for the same ultimate goal; we have different means to achieve this end of course.
"the thing about communism though is that the government decides what is done with these patches of land. they tell the people what to do. i'm referring to make it that no one is told what to do."
That isn't true; that is one version of Socialism, not even Communism. Communism is the end result of Socialism, a stateless egalitarian society where freedom is maximized utterly.
The whole theory of Socialism, the whole reason we strive for Communism, is to arrive at a society where noone is told what to do by a government or by the wealthy. We believe, though, that government can be a tool (though not the most important, the only, or an essential tool) to arrive at this society of perfect freedom and equality.
"i see that you have a point on the wealthy have the most say (in a warped, but true way), because they create things that the people use. tv for instance. but the thing is, they created it, and the people have decided to use the media as their reference. i just don't believe that restrictions should be made on the market like that."
The wealthy don't create anything, especially by themselves. Tell me, without everyone else in our society, our world, where would Bill Gates be? Where would he have gotten the education that would teach him how to make software? How would he be able to concentrate on education if there aren't farmers making food for him to eat? What about pencil makers? What about all of the dead millions who researched and developed the knowledge that allowed him to even begin to come up with these ideas?
The wealthy are not wealthy because of what they themselves provide, they are only wealthy through their intelligence, their ideas, and their ability to utilize others, to utilize society and all of human history, to their advantage. Now, of course, this only applies to business leaders and entrepreneurs, not those who became wealthy by marriage, inheritance, or dumb-luck.
Tvs took the effort and brilliance of billions of people stretching across the whole globe and human history to come into existence. Somehow, though, we allow certain individuals to take all of this and set themselves way above the rest of us.
They contribute to society, I will admit that, but they are a fraction of the effort.
"but it once again ends in you wanting everyone to be set into equal roles where no one has a disadvantage, and i want people to have different things to work for and look forward to. this, of course, leading to some who become wealthy and others who become homeless."
People can have various goals, various talents, various desires; they can do whatever it is they want. But noone has the right to own another person, to have unequal power over others, and noone should starve because those with the power don't deem them worthy to have food.
You must see people as useful and useless in order to believe that it is right to have some super-wealthy and some homeless. I, however, see that there are many ways to make valuable contributions to society, to humanity, and that we should focus our efforts in using our own abilities and ideas to enrich everyone around us, as well as ourselves.
I don't care if there are minor differences, some people having a few more lamps than others, one person owning a car and another owning two. I believe there is a certain proportional limit to the individual differences in productivity and contribution.
Bill Gates certainly didn't contribute several billions dollars to society, to the world; he had the help of billions of people in order to do what he did. Take them away and he wouldn't have made any meaningful contribution at all.
"we simply violently revolt against a wealthy individual who exerts an unreasonable amount of power (if he can actually reach that amount of land control)."
Welcome to Communism.
"remember permanent laws? how bout make it that streets, town squares, forests, shit like that are owned by no one (except for the street lights and stop signs shit)."
Welcome to Communism.
"yes, there can be land patches available for buying, but in order to protect our individual rights, we will need to set permanent laws stating that no one controls this country in general."
Again, welcome to Communism my friend.
"as for the argument thing, that's when i realized that a heated debate leads nowhere, so i decided to stop getting sarcastic (psychology thing). i've been saying the same thing, just been more rude about it."
You actually havn't been saying the same thing, if what you say is true you've been exaggerating your position through sarcasm the entire time. You are much closer to my opinion than you first indicated, actually. It's rather interesting.
Let's go back to this, though:
"as for when a government reaches the inevitable point or overpower, we simply violently revolt against a wealthy individual who exerts an unreasonable amount of power (if he can actually reach that amount of land control)."
What about a minority of the population? Not one person but many operating together under the same ideology and system? They may compete against each other (like politicians do), but more or less their policies are the same and they, together, control most of the property, land, and jobs in the country.
Do we revolt against them?
Let me state, finally, that I agree that we should maximize each person's individual freedom. Noone should be told what to do unless it is absolutely necessary. Right now, however, I am most worried about the fact that we can't even get down to providing those freedoms because our government, society, and economy is run by the wealthy.
Once we are equal noone can control us; once we are equal we can be free. And, as you have stated, once we have spaces that noone owns (which means everyone owns it equally), only then can we be safe in our freedom.
Now this is a post! It's about time you got abit serious about this debate.
For one thing; you can hold the philosophical viewpoint that noone should be allowed to tell anyone what to do (within reason, as you have laid forth with cases of murder). That, of course, is merely a subjective viewpoint and is not actually backed up with anything beyond mere preference.
"nope, i believe no one should have authority over our private lives... don't get how that's authoritarian somehow... seems more libertarian."
Here is the problem; the nature of the world can be quite contradictory. You correctly pointed out that democracy can devolve into its exact opposite, despotism (or fascism, or totalitarian communism). My point, however, is that your pure libertarianism devolves into rule by corporate powers.
When you focus only on government control and keeping governments out of our lives you neglect the control that corporations, industry, and business can have as well.
In a pure libertarian system all land can, theoretically, be controlled by a single person or entity. Over time this person or company can slowly buy up every piece of property in the United States or earth. What would happen, then? If someone owns the land you live on don't they get to tell you what to do? If someone owns all the land on Earth wouldn't they make the rules?
If people have complete control over property they own and noone can do anything about it anyone who lives or works on the property must do what they say, no ifs, ands, or buts.
A company can prohibit smoking on its property, can't it? Can't a company say it is a drug free place of work? Can't apartment complexes stipulate that no alcohol is allowed on premises? If people don't like it they can live or work somewhere else.
If, say, this company that controls all land on earth didn't like homosexuality and said that it cannot be practiced on its private property, what would homosexuals do? What if this only employer on earth said no blacks or women, Chinese, or Frenchmen can work? What are these people to do?
You laugh, of course, you'd say it is merely hypothetical and that it is impossible for one company to own all land on Earth. Even with a pure libertarian system in place that might be true. However, you don't need one entity to have such problems, a small group of major employers and land-owners could own most of the land and provide most of the jobs.
If this small group of extremely wealthy and powerful people share similar views then what would minority groups or individuals with habits, beliefs, and tendencies adverse to this group's ideology do? What if 90% of the jobs in a country or the world were controlled by men who didn't believe women should be employed? What are the women of the country to do? Move to a country where that isn't the case? What if most other countries are the same way?
Maybe they could start their own business? How? If most of the money, land, jobs, factories, everything is owned by a small group of people hostile to them how are they going to get started?
The sad fact is that this happens all the time; in the United States whole towns, called "factory towns", were run by a single company.
Today, over 80% of the wealth in this country is controlled by the top 20%, 60% by the top ten.
Guess what, that means if you want to be employed, take out a loan, find investors, buy land, live somewhere acceptable you must play by a relatively small number of people's rules. If this 20% doesn't like women guess how hard it is going to be to find investors or a business loan?
This already lopsided wealth distribution would be even worse in an unregulated libertarian economy.
In other words, without the people having control over their government, without equality in the vote, and without people having a say in their lives and over each other's lives (to a certain extent) we'd live in even less freedom than we have now.
At least now, because of a government system of some equalization, checks and balances, and freedom to vote for policies and politicians that a majority favors we can at least have some say in how our lives are lived. In your case we'd inevitably have no say; it is whatever the new kings of our society want, whatever the people who own the land want, whatever the rich people want.
I am sorry; your goals may sound noble but are nothing but a pipe dream. Until you figure out a way to keep the rich from controlling our lives I think I am going to put my lot in with government, social action, and community action.
"can you limit power from the rich without having the government get involved at all? the business men are just going to let everyone run things? they're not gonna work hard to make more money? what's stopping them? if you say the people have a say in what gets aired, they'll need a way to enforce that. that's creating a government who will enforce this control. hence, creating governmental power over the media."
Here is the thing, no matter what government is going to have to get involved in either a capitalist media system or a public media system. In one case the government is used by the wealthy to enforce what they want and in the other case it is used by the public to get what they want.
"if you say the people have a say in what gets aired, they'll need a way to enforce that. that's creating a government who will enforce this control. hence, creating governmental power over the media."
What on earth do you mean "need a way to enforce that". If the media outlet is a cooperative there would be an internal voting system. If those rules are disrespected, if a group of people storms the media outlet and tries to take over, if there is fraud involved, if there is embezzlement..etc..etc...the government, same as now, would enforce the law and the policies of the organization.
This is no different then now; when the managers of a station say something it is done because they have the institutional power to have their employees do what they are told. If the employee refuses they can be fired, if they refuse the building they can be escorted from the premises, if they resist they can be arrested (by the government). If they are arrested they are tried in a court, a government court.
In other words, the government would have about the same power as now over content, they would have the power of law and to enforce contracts, but they would have the added responsibility to fund the outlets where necessary.
At any rate, even if the government had direct control over the media; in a democracy that isn't as bad as corporations. The government is directly answerable to us, if we don't like what they are doing with the media we can fire them through elections and put people in place that we do think are using their positions properly and in our best interest.
I don't, of course, advocate for direct government control, but it's certainly better than control by the wealthy.
"Democracy in a way does limit the people's freedom."
You aren't for freedom either, you've made it abundantly clear that you want the rich to rule us.
"with a full on democracy, the people have the ability to vote in commie laws that hurt our freedoms."
And you call me authoritarian. You complain that we can't have democracy because people will vote for policies you don't personally like. How authoritarian is that?
"it's very obvious that you're more authoritarian, and i can see why, because you wish to level the playing field."
Generally speaking, Authoritarianism decreases the power of the majority in favor of the government-controlling minority. But oh well, you'd rather slander me then listen or understand the meaning of the words you're using.
"i believe the government's role is to make sure that we don't kill eachother or cheat our way through. i do understand why you want but you want, but i hold a principle that no one (no matter how many) has the right to control my life or tell me what to do."
That's very nice; I'll order a Bart Simpson bumper sticker for you in celebration of your well-thought out, non-simplistic opinion. Whatever your opinion may be, you are not entitled to make up my opinion.
Now, you know what, perhaps my point of view is authoritarian compared to yours. Although, your opinion is authoritarian compared to a true-anarchists. As far as a real spectrum of opinion goes, I am more for freedom than you are.
Ya see, I understand that freedom cannot be taken or given by the government. The only thing that can be taken or given is economic power; resources, jobs, land, real estate, money, food..etc..etc. Whoever has control over these has the power, over you, over me, over everyone.
In the Soviet Union the government had economic power; it therefor had all other power as well. In the United States, the wealthy have the most economic power, so they have the most political power.
I, however, want to give economic power to everyone equally, thereby giving everyone political power; freedom.
You want to live in la-la land where the government is the only institution that can have power over you. A realistic assessment, however, shows that far more power is held by your employer, by property owners, by the rich than the government.
In other words, if you want to live as free as possible your way only gives away your freedom to the rich; the Soviet way gave power to the government, but my way gives power to everyone, including you.
But, again, I am authoritarian. If I am an authoritarian you are a transvestite. I'll start calling you Sarah-Sue from now on if you'd like. Perhaps I am just realistic? No? Well, if that's the case I'll shop for a wig alongside that bumper sticker, would you like platinum blond or red-head? Curls or straight?
"the true question is, which is do you find more unfair? Authoritarian power or Corporate growth?"
That sentence doesn't even make any sense. You are, again, using flat out lies to pretend that there are only two choices. Although, you keep making up these choices as you go along. Before it was, what, government power or corporate power? Now it is "authoritarian power" or "corporate growth", what on earth is that even supposed to mean?
Am I giving power to the concept of authoritarianism? Are you saying we have the choice between despotism and Disney building a new theme park?
Could you be more ridiculous, really?
"you've gone from them having power to just being influential."
You've made an obvious and conscious decision to not understand what I am saying. Either you don't feel like reading my responses until you understand them or you feel it is better to lie, either way I am disappointed.
I have maintained from the beginning that they have the most say, not all of it. I have repeated this again and again and again and again. If you are going to have no respect for my arguments I will stop debating with you. You can disagree with my point of view all you want, but don't lie about, misrepresent, or refuse to understand what my point of view actually is.
"who will control the media?"
Everyone, the people. It would be a public service separate from but funded by the government (like the BBC or PBS). Private cooperatives are welcome to start their own media operations as well, these cooperatives would be owned and operated by the people who work in them and the population they serve.
No censorship, no control by either the government or the wealthy, only the people themselves have a say in what gets aired.
Welcome to a new world of thought, I know this can be scary to someone who has such a narrow view of what is possible.
"it seems you're more on insulting me than actually explaining thing, and that's very sad."
If you want to whine take your debate somewhere else. You don't listen to my actual arguments and I am not one to withhold my opinion of a person. If you don't like being told the truth, such as you having poor debating and critical thinking skills, you should debate someone who isn't honest or forthright.
It is a disservice to you, in my opinion, to withhold from you the really sad fact: you don't know what you are talking about and you have no intention of changing that circumstance.
"it's free when the government doesn't get involved. if you level the playing field (supposed equality) that's not equal treatment. hence, us losing our freedoms."
I find it strange you would find that it is freedom when the government doesn't get involved in...well....the government. Are you really trying to tell me that it isn't freedom if the government made regulations that gave everyone an equal chance at running the government?
On the one hand you are saying it is okay for the government to be controlled by a minority, on the other hand you say it is tyranny if the government steps in to make sure the majority of the people control the government (otherwise known as democracy).
What you are telling me is that you think democracy is tyranny, that democracy isn't freedom. You, apparently, are in favor of dictatorship by your own words and logic. How very odd.
"democracy is the people voting in every idea put fourth... we're a republic, where we vote in represenatives (democratic republic since we vote in ammendments too). so far, i still see the people voting in who they want to become elected officials. if the rich are rigging elections, that's a different story that involves breaking the law."
The Soviet Union, China, Nazi Germany, and many other nations which were obviously not democracies or democratic Republics allowed voting, sometimes for multiple parties. Of course, who you got to vote for was very limited (just like now). Who you knew was running was very limited.
Apparently those countries are democratic, according to you. I am sure they'd appreciate your praise.
People in the United States can vote for whoever they want; the problem is their choices are limited (especially on the national stage) to the wealthy. The media which informs them on who is running and what their opinions are is largely owned, operated, and censored by the rich.
After these people get elected they are most influenced by the rich, who they needed to get where they are.
In one case a republic's political structure is controlled by the military and/or political parties, in the other a republic's political structure is controlled by oligarchs, the rich and their organizations.
In both cases there is no real democracy. But, again, it is okay when rich people do it, not when political groups do it.
You are the king of the double-standard, I have a mind to elect you to the position of hypocritic general should you ever decide to run for office.
Let me start off by saying your priorities are a little askew. If you value drugs, prostitution, and gambling more than democracy then I think you ought to refocus abit.
Let me say a few simple things in response to your numbers:
I never said the wealthy have 100% of the power, I said that they are the most influential. The public does have a say, but their opinion is heavily influenced by mass media controlled by the wealthy, their political choices are given by the wealthy, and almost all high offices are held by wealth individuals.
You noted this before and I agreed that there are competing interests in ideology and economic goals amongst the wealthy. The war between George Soros and Rupert Murdoch is an example.
Drugs, prostitution, and gambling are complicated issues. The history behind them is complex and the contemporary battles surrounding them are difficult to explain quickly.
"definitely not what this country was built on. it was created to make sure that no matter how insane something might seem, it should still be legal cause it involves what we do with our own property."
The nation was never built on that principle, property rights weren't even mentioned in the constitution beyond the inability of the government to house soldiers on it without payment or the seizure of it without a warrant. The nation was far less economically and socially liberal in its past; if anything is was founded on very strict principles and has gradually gotten more liberal over the years.
You have no grasp of history, you have no idea what you are talking about.
As for the stop sign example, that was just an example. You are supposed to know that it was a simple concept put forth to represent a very complex and large problem. You know exactly what the government does and the power it has, I just felt like keeping it simple and light to make it easier. You, however, decided to misunderstand it to the point of absurdity.
"not freely elected if the citizens are limited on campaign contributions, and government shouldn't censor the media. we have two major parties for this reason, because they are their own watch dogs. sites like the Daily Kos and Media Matters constantly attack any right wing statement, and shows like the O'reilly Factor constantly attack Far left media for inaccuracies."
What you are telling me is that politicians are not freely elected if the general public has an equal say in who gets elected?
Once again you have sided against democracy in favor of plutocracy, the rule by the wealthy. While this country wasn't founded on wealth I'd like to think it was founded with democratic principles in mind (even though it never lived up to them).
What's the difference between the government censoring the media and wealthy interests censoring the media? If the government is a representative one where free and fair elections are held the people actually have a say in the censorship.
I don't agree that the government should be able to censor the media, I also don't agree that the rich should be able to either.
But, again, you've decided to make up my arguments. I never said the government should censor the media, you are presenting false-choices once again. What's funny is that while you are angry at beliefs I never said I held you put forth ones that are completely ridiculous on their face.
The best part about all of this is that you are demonstrating the very problems I am talking about. The only political options you know about are the ones given to you by the wealthy. You think the choice is between either a country controlled by the wealthy or a nation controlled by a despotic government.
Your whole slew of ridiculous opinions and uninspiring rhetoric are exhibit A, you are the result of the problem I am describing.
"it kind of actually sucks that corporations don't have more power. i'm really waiting for flat tax and drugs to be legal."
I rest my case.
I think we can agree that children are the responsibility of their parents and, when that isn't sufficient, society. In the more severe crimes, drug dealing (but not use, that shouldn't be a punitive act), violence, grand theft, murder, rape..etc..etc...the children are still children. Unless they are proven to have the mental capacity and reasoning power of an adult (through tests or interviews) they should be put through the same programs, though for longer periods of time and under more strict guidance.
In petty cases where there is repetitive theft, minor violence (typical fighting between children, minor scuffles, nothing that endangers lives in any reasonable way), or otherwise a pattern of minor criminal activity the children should be put in the system for around five years, even if this puts them past adulthood.
Major crimes committed by minors should leave them in very strict schools for up to ten years. If a major crime is committed at the age of 17 the minor will remain in the program until perhaps his or her late twenties (once they are capable they should be given a community college-level education at least, moreso if they prove especially bright. Trade school if that's where the child's skills lie).
Of course, if the child's behavior drastically and consistently improves and they can be trusted to exit the program early I wouldn't have any objection. Monitoring should continue for years, of course, to make sure they don't stray from the right path.
The only options would be putting them in the program for an insufficient number of years or placing them in the adult criminal correction program. Either way the child is essentially doomed.
I take murder very seriously, I even believe the death penalty should remain an option for adult, competent offenders whose guilt is beyond any reasonable doubt. A murder committed by a minor on anyone, family or strangers, is a crime both the child, the parents, and the society is responsible for.
If the child is insane or otherwise mentally obstructed from living lawfully then it should be the same as mentally handicapped or disordered adults: mental institutionalization until cure.
My main emphasis here is providing the kind of environment and guidance the minors were deprived of through no fault of their own. It isn't their fault that their parents were unable to raise them properly, that their environment was hostile and corrupting, or problems residing within their genetics or brain composition.
I know some of what I am suggesting sounds extreme, but these are extreme cases we are talking about. I want us to do everything in our power to keep them out of the adult criminal justice system, that should be a last resort if anything at all.
I sort of mentioned in my account what I believed should be done about youth crime.
There need to be programs in place that will turn children away from patterns of behavior and thought that lead them into criminal acts. There need to be moralizing, skill-teaching, maturity developing institutions to help raise kids where their parents, teachers, and environment fail to do so.
Whenever there is a pattern of deviant and criminal behavior (beyond the typical play, curiosity, and mischievousness inherent in children) there needs to be state-funded centers of rehabilitation and learning.
Children should not be treated like criminals. I think the juvenile justice system is broken and provenly useless. We need to take a caring, but firm approach to child welfare and development.
I suggest state-funded independently operated boarding schools for troubled youth. Where possible, the students, teachers, parents, relatives, and administrators will all work together to work through each individual child's problems and get them on the proper track.
The students should live in individual rooms and shouldn't be permitted to congregate without strict supervision of adults. A lot of problem children gathering together would only produce more advanced delinquency.
Each room should come with basic amenities for play and education (no television unless it provides only educational programming). A book program should be developed to allow the children to receive any book they want, within reason.
A computer should be provided to each of the students to be used individually, though it should be properly regulated to keep them from accessing unsavory sites. Otherwise, they are free to roam and explore the World Wide Web.
The better they do in their studies and the better their behavior, the meeting of the goals set by the students and adults together will award them more and more amenities. They need to be shown that they will be rewarded for doing good things, to know that there is prosperity in the path of lawful activity and maturity.
Care will be taken to allow the students religious, political, artistic, and ideological freedom; they need to be able to explore themselves and various concepts and thoughts. There will be no censorship beyond what is absolutely necessary. (In other words, they can write freely about how awesome Republican politics is but they cannot write about wanting to bomb MSNBC headquarters without intervention.) They can go to political websites, religious websites, but not pornographic or websites advocating violence or criminal activity.
Guided freedom is what should be the aim of these institutions; the better behaved the student is the more freedom they will be granted. This isn't going to be one of those rigid boarding schools populated by bully principles or zealous nuns with yard sticks.
In other words; it is perfectly fine that the wealthy have the most political power because they achieved it "freely". Anyone has the ability to become wealthy and thus achieve political power, according to you.
The same can be said of political power, as long as the system is based on true democratic or republican principles (the ideas, not the parties) anyone can be freely elected by popular vote and make decisions on behalf of the public.
What is the difference then between a representative or democratic government making decisions and having the most say or wealthy businessmen and women having the most say?
Is it not true that one is elected specifically to make decisions on behalf of the people? (or the people decide directly what will occur). Why is it that when I buy a box of cornflakes I hand over control of my government to Kellogg, they sell me cereal and decide where my stop-signs go (or who has the power to decide where they go).
I think all you have in your argumentative quiver are arrows of rhetoric. None of what you are saying has anything to do with my point of view, nothing to do with my ideology.
George Soros? You are telling me that the system "evens out" because there is a rich man who is supposedly left of the spectrum balancing out the rich men on the right? The whole problem I am talking about is the domination of our political system by these rich men and women, these people who are not elected by us but to whom the government most answers to.
Two opposing groups of minorities do not a real political spectrum make. We are still being run by two groups that are not representative of even a fraction of the U.S. population. Two groups that, in total, amount to 1% of the citizenry have the most say in who gets to run for office, who has the money to run, who gets their voices heard, and who gets "fringe benefits" for running and winning.
At least apartheid South African blacks had some representation in parliament during the 80s, how many poor or middle-class representatives, senators, and presidents have we had? How many got there without being supported by the wealthy, ultra-wealthy, or major corporations?
"although, i can tell already you're for a one party system."
Just because I am a leftist against the domination of our society by the wealthy does not mean I advocate for a one-party totalitarian state.
Your assumptions that our choices are: Control by the rich or control by a one-party dictatorship are patently false.
We can have a freely elected multi-party democracy which decides things on the public's behalf, one that isn't beholden to corporate and wealthy interests. We can have an economy controlled by the people for the people, not by the government and for the government or by the rich and for the rich.
You really need to open your mind to the wide spectrum of political beliefs and concepts out there. Try doing a little reading, venture further than wherever it is you are getting your information now, try actually debating people and listening to their opinions instead of blasting inane rhetoric at them.
I think you need to catch up on our political system. Are you actually pretending that corporations, big money interests, and powerful (and wealthy) capitalists do not exert a huge amount of influence over our government?
Through campaign contributions, control over mass media outlets (television, radio, national and local newspapers, major websites), lobbying upon lobbying, gifts..etc..etc..the corporations, the business powers have the most say over how our government is run.
So, it's her fault for getting pregnant which makes her give up the right to her own body. She could prevent her death or health problems, of course, but she should have thought about that before she let a man have sex with her.
I see, I see. Women give their rights up at conception; just because the man is under no risk for going through the same act he gets to make the decision over her life. Because, you know, it's her fault for letting him take control over her uterus.
I completely understand now! Women don't have a choice after they get pregnant; they give up their rights! You have certainly opened by eyes.
You are not really explaining, of course, why the woman has to make all...and I mean ALL of the sacrifices of pregnancy. Seems sort of a raw deal, ya know, they both get a few minutes or hours of pleasure and then the woman goes through months of pain and sickness, then a day or so of intense pain, possible health complications, and even death.
But it's fair...as you have pointed out, because they both made the choice.
First of all, you are going down the path of utter ridiculousness. You started with wanting men to have a say and now you've gone to "abortion is murder", and you are pro-abortion? So is this really about opening up another avenue to keep abortions from occurring? Is this really about the father's right to choose? Or are you just grasping at anything to justify your point of view?
I'm not getting into whether or not abortion is murder, that's for another debate entirely. We are talking about a man's say in the matter. If you think he should have a say because abortion is murder we are dealing with a much larger issue than his say.
At any rate, it is not his child; it is the possibility of having a child with this fetus or zygote that they both conceived.
You are right, women are more likely to die from a number of different things. Of course, just because heart disease kills more women than car accidents it doesn't give men the right to force women to drive a car when men have no chance of dieing in a car accident.
Sure, women aren't likely to die from birth, but it is impossible for men. You, of course, ignore the fact that all births are hazardous (though not life-threatening), all involve long periods of pain, discomfort, sickness, and physical and direct mental problems (post-partem depression).
The whole point is that men go through none of the pain of birth but all of the pleasure. He may want to protect the possibility of a zygote he fertilized becoming his child but he doesn't have a say due to the fact that he makes no physical sacrifice, is under no danger, and shares in none of the pain.
I am not anti-father, I am anti fathers who feel their sperm are invading armies which, when planted in zygotes, expand their territory into the woman's body.
I put fathers under no danger or control by other people, you feel it is perfectly alright to force women to go through a painful and possibly permanently harmful process, you feel it is perfectly alright to take control over their body because...well...you change your story constantly. Now abortion is murder and the father is trying to save his poor, defenseless son from an evil mother? I am really not getting your point anymore.