To stand a moment in their shoes

Discussion in 'The Red Room' started by matthunter, Jan 20, 2021.

  1. spot261

    spot261 I don't want the game to end

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    This.

    Society could trundle on by without you, me or @Lanzman, but that pissed off lady on the Tescos checkout getting minimum wage is pretty much indispensible.

    Granted it could be argued that she is more replacable, but ultimately her role is not.

    Not yet anyway.
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  2. matthunter

    matthunter Ice Bear

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    Lawyers and assholes look for creative ways to avoid them. And if you can afford to pay the former to do that for you and choose to, you're the latter.

    As I said, I'm happy with a roof over my head, enough food for myself and my pets and the odd nice bottle of booze. Anything beyond that, well there's funds for a rainy day, and there's greed.

    I don't like greed.

    If I won the lottery tomorrow, I'd rather fund a dozen Ph.D projects and early career scientists at my university than pay off my mortgage. Hell, I can afford my mortgage payments if I have to give up my current job and work at the checkout at the local supermarket, and some days I wonder if the reduced stress wouldn't be worth it.
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  3. spot261

    spot261 I don't want the game to end

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    People overlook that "marginal" bit a bit too readily.

    One might even say wilfully.

    No one in the UK pays a flat rate of 40%
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  4. Lanzman

    Lanzman Vast, Cool and Unsympathetic Formerly Important

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    No. Absolutely not. This is where you lose me completely. It's not the government's job to redistribute wealth. It's the government's job to create a fair and level playing field. Base assumption: no-one has more claim on the fruits of my labor than I do. No-one. Period, full stop. Because taxes are there for one purpose - to fund government. You can't argue taxes without arguing expenditures. You don't like how much the US spends on its military? Fine, let's have a roles and missions debate and hammer that out. The US spends what it does as a direct result of WWII and being left the sole industrial nation not blasted to pieces. Then the Soviets started putting their boots on everyone's necks and history has shown just how well that worked out. The US undertook to defend vulnerable nations from wholesale Soviet conquest while those nations rebuilt, and the pattern thereby established became fossilized in what's commonly called "the arsenal of democracy." You want the US to stop playing that role, fine, but odds are you're not going to be real happy with whoever steps into the resulting vacuum because they will almost certainly not be as nice about it as we've been. Personally I would also prefer not to spend so much on the military, but that's not the world we live in. I would also prefer not to spend so much on social security and medicare/medicaide, altho not because I'm greedy and selfish but because those programs are so wasteful and ill-managed.
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  5. spot261

    spot261 I don't want the game to end

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    You seem to have just opened a post disagreeing with @Asyncritus, then gone on to prove his point.

    What am I missing here?
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  6. spot261

    spot261 I don't want the game to end

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    Not exactly first world stuff is it?

    Nice to meet you btw.
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  7. Lanzman

    Lanzman Vast, Cool and Unsympathetic Formerly Important

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    Not following your argument.
  8. matthunter

    matthunter Ice Bear

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    US-centric opinion. But even allowing for it, the government is there to provide for the public good, is it not?

    There are some areas private enterprise can't or won't fill, or should not be trusted to.

    Like defense. Or maintaining society.

    If you can support taxation paying a soldier's wage, you can support it supplementing a checkout worker. Well, no. You can't. You think they have a choice to work harder, or to choose a better employer.

    This is where government steps in, at the point of your idiocy.

    And yes I know how dangerous that sounds given government itself is often made up of idiots.

    Bottom line is, we need you and government to stop being fucking idiots.

    And if we could get corporations on board, and consumers to pay what the goods are actually worth, we wouldn't need any of this "oppressive" redistribution you are so set against.

    But then you'd be paying twice the price at point of sale and you'd STILL be whining like a bitch, so nothing would really change, would it?
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  9. Lanzman

    Lanzman Vast, Cool and Unsympathetic Formerly Important

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    Nice the way you dropped right into personal insults. You lefties never change . . .

    The government is there to promote the public good, not provide it. Key difference. The purpose of governments, at base, is to protect people from each other. Because as you noted, people are idiots. Which logically means, also as you noted, that governments are also idiots, but fuck, the alternative is anarchy, and all that does is kill a whole lot of folks.

    Yes, workers have a choice to work harder or find better circumstances. The government should not be "supplementing" anyone's wages. That's not its function.

    The base problem in this whole deal is that people are short-sighted idiots and make almost all their decisions based on what "feels good" in the moment. If people were actually rational, we'd have pretty much the Star Trek version of life where everyone worked together for the common good with no coercion needed. But, since that's completely contrary to actual human nature, it ain't gonna happen and we need government to even things out as best it can. Which, as it turns out, isn't very good at all.

    So here we are. We have to have some kind of government, and if you have government you need to fund it somehow, and generally that means taxes. I think taxes should be low and fair, you think taxes should be high and redistributive, and never the twain shall meet. Alas. :clyde:
  10. matthunter

    matthunter Ice Bear

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    Not right into them, L. We've both been here a few years now.

    Government IS stupid, we agree. But where we disagree is that "promote" the public good means supporting the infrastructure of society. I do, you don't.

    And that's the low wage folks.

    See how fast we fall apart without them.

    YOU won't pay them by choice. So government, retarded as it is, is gonna have to step in, or we're all fucked.

    The issue is, many governments aren't stepping in enough, because those with too much cash would rather use a few million to lobby government against fair pay, than a few million + 5% to actually PROVIDE fair pay.
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2021
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  11. steve2^4

    steve2^4 Aged Meat

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    Paragraphs. Use them.

    Most economists disagree.
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  12. Lanzman

    Lanzman Vast, Cool and Unsympathetic Formerly Important

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    That is a paragraph. And economists don't seem to actually understand their subject any better than anyone else does, so appeal to authority is the wrong track.
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  13. steve2^4

    steve2^4 Aged Meat

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    You're right. After 4 years of ignorant statements I should know better.
  14. spot261

    spot261 I don't want the game to end

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    @Asyncritus stated debt and deficit aren't the same thing. You disagreed, but then made a case they are related.

    If two conceptss are related, they are still distinct.
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  15. spot261

    spot261 I don't want the game to end

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    This entire post makes a fundamental flaw. It takes an observation about an instance and applies it to a category.

    What you describe is a philosophy of governance, not the definition. It is one popular in the US, but is far from being definitive.
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  16. spot261

    spot261 I don't want the game to end

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    Why do economists dislike paragraphs?
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  17. garamet

    garamet "The whole world is watching."

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    Can someone else post the famous Galbraith quote about economists, or do I have to do all the work around here? :brood:
  18. Lanzman

    Lanzman Vast, Cool and Unsympathetic Formerly Important

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    You mean this one?
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  19. Kommander

    Kommander Prince of Poop

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    I think I'd have difficulty walking in someone else's shoes.

    I mean, I'm pretty good with empathy, but I wear a size 13, most people's shoes would be too small for me to put on.
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  20. shootER

    shootER Insubordinate...and churlish Administrator

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    :diacanu:
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  21. garamet

    garamet "The whole world is watching."

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    I was thinking of the one attributed to that great cynic, George Bernard Shaw, "If all economists were laid end to end, they would not reach a conclusion," but opinion is divided on whether Shaw actually said it.

    On a pragmatic level, I'd examine the financials of economists and also who's paying them.
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  22. tafkats

    tafkats That'll put marzipan in your pie plate, bingo! Moderator

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    Corporate subsidies are next to impossible to put a number on, since they usually take the form of tax breaks so they aren't on the expense side of the ledger. You'd have to say "what they should be paying is x and what they're actually paying is y," but x could be pretty much anything...
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  23. garamet

    garamet "The whole world is watching."

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    And that, at the most basic, is the problem with the U.S. tax system. If "corporations are people," then eliminate the tax shelters, the off-shore accounts, etc., etc., etc., and require them to pay at the same rate as the ordinary working grunt. Problem solved. But, as I say, not within my lifetime.
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  24. Asyncritus

    Asyncritus Expert on everything

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    Yes they are, even though they are related (as I said in the part of my post you cut out). But they are different: if from this day forward, no administration ever ran a deficit again, there would still be the debt. So if you can get rid of one without getting rid of the other, they are obviously not the same thing.
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  25. Bickendan

    Bickendan Custom Title Administrator Faceless Mook Writer

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    Ooh! ooh! Let me try! :meme:

    "It snowed today, therefore global warming isn't real!"
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  26. Lanzman

    Lanzman Vast, Cool and Unsympathetic Formerly Important

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    But you can't get rid of one without getting rid of the other. If the US federal budget were suddenly freed of deficits (balanced or surplus budgets, in other words) then the debt would begin to shrink as it was serviced and as revenues began to rise from the effects of an expanding economy. They are not separate things, they are two expressions of the same thing.
  27. Demiurge

    Demiurge Goodbye and Hello, as always.

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    A balanced budget is not automatically a surplus. C'mon man, this is 10th grade social studies stuff. They are related, in the same way a transmission is related to a car, but a transmission by itself is not a car.
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  28. Lanzman

    Lanzman Vast, Cool and Unsympathetic Formerly Important

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    Yeah, that's why I said "balanced OR surplus." C'mon man, this is fifth grade reading comprehension.
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  29. Asyncritus

    Asyncritus Expert on everything

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    To be precise, you can't get rid of the debt without getting rid of the deficits (at least the recurring deficits, those that are not offset by surpluses). You could, however, at least in theory, get rid of the deficits without getting rid of the debt. If there were no more deficits, but there weren't surplusses either, there is no reason that the debt would magically "begin to shrink" as you say.

    What you describe is surplus budgets. Revenues rising would not, in itself, "service the debt" unless expenses did not rise in an equal amount, and that is by no means a given. It is not an automatic implication of "rising revenues", in any case.

    So as I said, the debt and deficits are related but not the same thing.

    Claiming they are the same masks the usefuleness of deficits to "equal out" the economy when need be. It would be better if the outstanding, long-term debt could be eliminated entirerly (which I know very well it can't), but there would still be a place in some situations (such as recovering from the current inevitable economic downturn from the pandemic) for deficit spending. As long as it was balanced out within a few years afterward, that would not hurt anything and would in fact be very useful.

    Furthermore, calling them the same thing, and focusing on deficits, does not make it easy to show the "tax the poor in order to enrich the wealthy" problem that interest on the debt poses. It is always possible to justify deficit spending by saying "We can afford it" (which we can). But when you examine the debt and deficits as separate problems, the problem with the interest on the debt becomes obvious. Yet I have rarely seen that pointed out, even by the most proletarian economists, because they do not look at the debt as a separate problem.

    And no matter how you spin it, there is a distinction, even though the debt is the result of deficits.
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  30. Lanzman

    Lanzman Vast, Cool and Unsympathetic Formerly Important

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    Again, occasional deficits are not a bad thing. Emergencies happen. But continuous, never-ending deficits because legislators refuse to address profligate spending are a problem.

    You don't need a surplus to pay down the debt. The debt is already being serviced each year. And if you stop adding to it, it will shrink from the payments that are already part of the budget, not to mention a growing economy generating more tax revenue - by simple population growth (more people paying taxes) if nothing else. The "deficit" is this year's debt. The "debt" is the result of many years of that debt adding up. It's all the same, and pretending that it isn't does not help the situation.