28 thoughts on “News/Politics 7-19-17

  1. Ricky @7:48 Interesting article. I’m sure it is frustrating for ministers who are having to deal with people who are using Scripture to justify attitudes of selfishness and easy self-gratification. But I still remember the shocked delight I felt when I first realized that that Jeremiah 29:11 wasn’t just history, but could apply to me too. The denomination I was raised in was very strict, and some even considered it a cult. I had no problem believing that ‘if the world hates Me and persecutes Me, it will hate you too’. When the knowledge came to me that scripture offers promises and examples of hope and deliverance, and not just soul-wrenching endurance, it was like reaching the top of a long steep grueling hill on my bike and turning around to go back home. The discovery that life is not all peddled uphill was exhilarating.

    Also, I think context is often lost when we don’t remember that we are of necessity in community. That fact is easily forgotten in our current individualistic, “self-made”, pull-yourself-up-by-the-bootstraps, it’s-all-about-me culture. Adam was the only human being who owes his existence to no human intervention. Every other person God ever brought into the world, including the Son, came through the participation of other humans. And we are sustained by Him through the efforts of other people, just as much as we are by our own efforts. That creates a generational debt of obligation behind and in front of each individual. But for normal people, that obligation is a joy to be celebrated, not a burden to be shed. Unfortunately, we seem to be producing many abnormal people….

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  2. Debra, With your discussion of community vs. individuality, I think you have identified a point where “traditional American values” conflict with Christianity.

    Where we would differ is that I believe free enterprise and free trade is good for the community. That is how hundreds of millions have been lifted out of poverty over the last few decades.

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  3. I would also argue that the generational debt we are placing on our children and grandchildren is selfish, unreasonable and destructive.

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  4. Ricky, ‘Traditional American values’ had the church at the center of it. The church was the place of worship, the schoolhouse, the voting booth, and the town hall all rolled into one—at least in the Northeast where the country’s religious founding took place. The South, having begun on a more strictly economic foundation, had to be evangelized into a sense of community and faith—and in many places that has not happened even now. That could explain the prevalence of the unlikely combination of conversion zeal and economic barbarism to be found in some Southern constituents.

    We’ve lost much in the promiscuous secularization of our culture. And I’m afraid much of that loss was a deliberate choice of economics over *real* independence and faith. I don’t relish religious battles, even verbal ones, but the arguments for freedom of faith in the public square were the ones worth standing firm for. They still are.

    The term ‘free trade’ is a misnomer, being neither free nor trade. Bailouts ensure that not only is nothing freely decided financially for large corporate entities, but self-serving political players determine the rules by which everyone else does business, while they have another set of rules for themselves. And cornering the exchange of goods through M&A (sometimes using bailouts), or undercutting other people’s business with the *purpose* of putting them out of business is not trade at all. It’s not even business. It’s financial conglomerating and monopolizing. There’s no excuse for it.

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  5. Debra, My Southern ancestors were a religious lot. One was a member of a cult, some were Episcopalians, but most were poor Baptists.

    You may not like to call it “free” or “trade”, but that thing that the rest of the world calls free trade has resulted in the smallest percentage of humans living in poverty in all of human history.

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  6. While driving Elvera to the Adult Center this morning, I was listening to Glenn Beck on the radio. I heard a great truth stated whish I had known all along, but never put into such concise words:

    You can’t have socialism without an iron fist.

    True: In socialism, everyone is equal but those in charge.

    It isn’t socialism, but a parallel truth is apparent concerning the climate change scam. Al Gore uses more energy in a year than I and my family uses in a lifetime.

    As for socialism, someone is going to try to get ahead. Everyone can’t be equal. .

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  7. You can’t have any economic system without an iron fist — i.e. a state monopoly on the use of force. Even the most basic libertarian economic model relies on the state for contract enforcement and stability (law and order). Modern corporatism relies heavily on the state — lobbying, bail outs, favourable bankruptcy laws, private prisons, military industrial complex, etc. In fact, the least amount of force required is an economic system that relies on the consent of the populace to govern. The Nordic model of social democracy governs more through consent than an iron fist — compare police use of force in the US (or any Anglo-American nation) to Nordic countries. An other economic model which relies on consent more than the US is the Rhine model (Germany, the Netherlands) which not only is heavily democratic but has decision making bodies for each economic sectors composed of gov’t, owners/mgmt, and labour who set general polices for the future. Without mutual consent, nothing goes forward. The German cultural acceptance for law and order means a heavier police presence than the Nordic model but by obtaining consent of all parties, protest and enforcement is on the fringe.

    On an other note — how can a party which voted to repeal the ACA about 50 times not have a replacement ready to go in which they all agreed. Then again, this is the same party which refuses to acknowledge the presidency has been compromised.

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  8. Debra – The aspects you mentioned at the end of your 10:45 comment are more in line with crony capitalism, or corporatism, than with actual free market capitalism.

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  9. Hmm, Chas argues that socialism will lead to inequality because those in leadership will inevitably become corrupted. Debra points out that capitalism inevitably becomes corrupted. Both are correct, which is why neither is a perfect system. If I could draw an analogy to the Christian faith (not that economics is on a par with the importance of faith, just to give a clearer picture), pure capitalists are the legalists, the pull-yourself-up-by-your-own-bootstraps works oriented people. The pure socialists are the just-pray-the-prayer-and-live-like-the-devil easy grace people. In the Christian faith, either position is heresy, and I tend to think that both economic positions are incorrect. Grace and works go together in the Christian faith, and justice and mercy go together in the socioeconomic workings of the world. However, it is good to remember even in secular matters “mercy rejoices against judgement”, and sacrificial giving to benefit others is never a bad thing.

    Kizzie, free market capitalism doesn’t exist, it is just another socioeconomic theory; just as pure socialism has never existed (as Chas mentioned, the socialism, or rather communism, of the Soviet Union did not work as it was supposed to in theory). The closest any society got to free market capitalism was the U.S. in the late 1800s, the ‘Golden 90’s’ where if one was a member of the upper circle of industrial kings, one did well, but the workers themselves were broken on the wheel of industry – the abuses those industrialists perpetrated on the workers, such company towns which charged exorbitant rent for company houses, led to the formation of unions for the protection of the workers. I recall reading, when we were on World discussing things like just and unjust wages, people who were staunch free market capitalists saying that if someone didn’t like the wage they could work elsewhere, ignoring other factors which make it difficult to work elsewhere. It seemed totally wrong to me, having memorized James 5, where James verbally scourges the rich who kept back wages from their workers. It made me think the free market capitalists were amoral, against doing something just because it was right and rather arguing that self-interest should be one’s only guide, which is actually immoral when one thinks about it.

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  10. That’s true Kizzie. But I believe that describes what we have. So we could always call it crony trade or corp trade rather than free trade. How do you think that will go over around here? :–)

    Liked by 1 person

  11. So I guess this is a thing now. Again.

    Seems like a “take more from the producers to give more to those who don’t” scam.

    It must be OK though, because Milton Friedman was for it, and he’s like a genius or something. Doesn’t sound very “free market” though. In fact, it sounds like the complete opposite. 🙄

    I can see why the wealthy like Zuckerberg and Musk would like it. Then they won’t have to feel guilty when unemployment skyrockets and automation takes over. I’m sure they figure it benefits them most as well, or they wouldn’t be supporting it.

    http://www.sfchronicle.com/aboutsfgate/article/Why-universal-basic-income-is-gaining-support-11290211.php

    “The idea of a universal basic income — monthly cash payments from the government to every individual, working or not, with no strings attached — is gaining traction, thanks in part to endorsements from Silicon Valley celebs.”

    ——————————–

    “Basic income has fans across the political spectrum, but for very different reasons. Libertarian backers would replace all or most welfare programs with a monthly cash payment as a way to prevent poverty, reduce government bureaucracy and let people decide for themselves how to use the money.

    By contrast, “those left of center like the idea of using (basic income) as a supplement to the existing safety net,” said Natalie Foster, co-chairwoman of the Economic Security Project, a two-year fund devoted to researching and promoting the idea of unconditional cash.

    In a “utopian version,” the money would “sit alongside existing programs” and go to every man, woman and child, Foster said. But if you made it enough to keep people above poverty — $1,000 a month is a popular number — “it starts to add up to a very significant portion of the GDP,” Foster said.

    That’s why some proposals would reduce or eliminate payments to children or to adults over 65 if they are getting Social Security and Medicare. Some would limit the benefits going to high-income people, either directly or indirectly by raising their tax.

    “In the simple model, everyone in the lower half (of the income distribution) would be a net beneficiary, everyone in the upper half would be net payers,” Widerquist said.”

    Charles Murray, a libertarian political scientist with the American Enterprise Institute, has proposed a basic income plan that would replace all transfer payments including welfare, food stamps, housing subsidies, the earned income tax credit, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. It would also eliminate farm subsidies and “corporate welfare.”

    In exchange, each American older than 21 would get a monthly payment totaling $13,000 a year, of which $3,000 would go to health insurance. After $30,000 in earned income, a graduated tax would “reimburse” some of the grant until it dropped to $6,500 at $60,000 in income. However, the grant would never drop below $6,500 to compensate for the loss of Social Security and Medicare..”

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  12. Free money! And without any inflation or any other bad consequences! Count me in as a supporter. Woohoo!

    If it’s so easy, though, why didn’t our forefather, err foreparents, think of it?

    Liked by 3 people

  13. By the way, $13,000 a year is not enough. While we’re doing this, why not make it at least $100,000 a year to make up for the inflation that will result? Or just go straight to half a million?

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  14. The idea of a guaranteed annual income has been around for quite awhile and has support across the political and economic divide. Its current popularity comes from increased productivity due to automation and the increasing number of different income support programs. Since we require less labor to produce but our economy is based on consumption we need to ensure there is a consumptive base, hence a basic income. In addition, the savings in efficiency gained from streamlining social welfare more than makes up for any increased spending.

    There’s been various experiments conducted in various countries. A relatively successfully program was in place in the 1970s in Manitoba. (there was a small dip in labor participation but mostly mothers with young children staying home instead of working and students staying out of the workforce)
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mincome

    Apparently they are starting a annual income in my city upto $17000 per person or unto $24000 per couple. They will assess its effectiveness in 4 years.

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  15. Free income will be like the disastrous minimum wage.
    It is never enough. My first job was minimum wage$0.50/hr. The reason that isn’t enough now is because when the professionals who saw me getting $.50 and they were only getting $70 insisted on a raise.
    Which then meant the minimum had to go up to $60/hr because you can’t raise a family on $0.50/hr.
    The unions won’t stand for that. And politicians love it.
    They can spend other people’s money forever.

    A guaranteed income reminds me of the WW II veteran who lived across the street..
    To help veterans who were unemployed, they were guaranteed an income of $20.00/wk for 52 weeks. He joined the “52/20 club” as it was called.
    Never looked for work.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Debra & Roscuro – True, we do not have truly free markets. But some people judge the idea based on our adulterated system, & many people tend to compare the ideal of socialism to the kind of crony capitalism we have, which is an unfair comparison.

    Roscuro is right, of course, than neither capitalism nor socialism is a perfect system. But where they have been tried, the imperfect capitalistic countries have done better for their people than the imperfect socialist countries. Millions of people have been pulled out of poverty in the last couple or so decades by capitalism replacing other systems. Even the once-socialist Nordic countries have achieved more prosperity for their people by allowing more capitalism.

    But again, no human-derived system is going to be perfect or ideal.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Jefferson Beauregard Sessions should immediately resign. It is degrading for him and the entire South for him to serve in the cabinet of this pathetic Yankee. In better times he would have also challenged him to a duel.

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  18. The reason that Charles Murray favors a guaranteed basic income is that he thinks that we are living in a time when intelligence is absolutely critical in determining who can support themselves. He doesn’t think the bottom 50-60% of our people are smart enough to make it without government help. I think Mr. Murray undervalues the importance of a work ethic.

    Friedman proposed the guaranteed minimum income as a replacement for all welfare programs. He proved that if recipients would rationally use the money for food, housing, transportation and other necessities, the cost of that guaranteed income would be less than the cost of existing welfare programs. Unfortunately, many of those recipients might be inclined to use their money for opioids or lottery tickets.

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  19. I don’t believe anyone here has ever posted a Tweet from President Obama. Let me be the first:

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  20. I’m sorry to hear about Sen. McCain. From what I read, he’s still very energetic and eager to get back to work. And he’s one of the few people willing to work across the aisle on Healthcare reform. I hope his treatment is successful and he’s able to continue.

    Liked by 3 people

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