Ethics Dunces: 33% of the U.S. Public

Gumbies

Today’s headlines shout out that the public’s faith and trust in President Obama has turned sharply down.  From ABC:

“The president’s job approval rating has fallen to 42 percent in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll, down 13 percentage points this year and 6 points in the past month to match the lowest of his presidency. Fifty-five percent disapprove, a record. And 70 percent say the country’s headed seriously off on the wrong track – up 13 points since May to the most in two years.Other ratings of the president’s performance have tumbled as well. He’s at career lows for being a strong leader, understanding the problems of average Americans and being honest and trustworthy – numerically under water on each of these (a first for the latter two). His rating for strong leadership is down by 15 points this year and a vast 31 points below its peak shortly after he took office. In a new gauge, just 41 percent rate him as a good manager; 56 percent think not.”

Wow. Not only that, but a whopping 63% of the public—“by nearly 2-1, 63-33 percent”—disapprove of Obama’s handling of implementation of the new health care law! And…wait, what???

33% of the public approves of the implementation of Obamacare?

Based on what, exactly? The nifty website? The cancelled policies? The revelation that the administration knew months ago that the website wouldn’t be ready—and launched it anyway? Are they impressed with the President’s candor, his “I’m responsible but don’t blame me” apology, or the fact that his “fix” appears to violate the Constitution, throws a monkey wrench into the way his “signature” law is supposed to work, and is pretty much impossible? What is there to approve of? Please tell me. I’m fascinated.

Perhaps the 33% are satisfied because they have a secure healthcare plan, and the fact that the rollout has been a complete disaster won’t affect them.

1. HA!..and  2. Unethical. It’s fine if millions of your fellow citizens feel lied to and screwed, but hey, you’ve got yours, right?

Despicable.

Also naive.

That just can’t be it. Maybe the 33%  approves of complete incompetence because they don’t really follow the news, and unlike the 4% of American slugs whose answer to the poll question was “Health care law? What health care law?”, they think they are informed, when in fact they are clueless. This is also unethical. This is a democracy, dammit: do your job and pay attention.

Support for the President I can understand. There is almost always a good argument for supporting a President. A lot of those polled still like President Obama; I can understand that too. I wish I could like him myself; I used to, not too long ago. I might even like him again, if he shapes up and faces the reality of his own shortcomings, and stops blaming everyone else. I can understand continuing support for Obamacare, too. It would be great if the law works. It would be great if the government were capable of administrating it efficiently and well.

It would be great if I could flap my arms and fly to Billings, Montana.

The implementation of Obamacare, however, has been a 100% disaster that not only threatens the health insurance of millions, but their health, the nation’s economy, and the credibility of this government of the United States. The disapproval should be 100% as well—there is no responsible argument or justification for answering that poll question in the affirmative. Can a democracy function when 33% of the public is cognitively challenged, willfully ignorant, or incapable of competent analysis?

I guess we’re finding out.

______________________

Graphic: Heads, tails, others

77 thoughts on “Ethics Dunces: 33% of the U.S. Public

  1. Jack, to mitigate that 33%, I think a fairer number would be closer to 26%. As long as African Americans seem hell-bent to vote as a group and not treat themselves as individuals but continue to be bowled over by victim rhetoric pushed by the Left, they will continue to approve of Barack Obama regardless…because he’s their guy Rain or Shine. If they could just release themselves from the bondage of the victim narrative to which they’ve been shackled to and force fed, then their 82% – 12% approval rating would be mitigated to more normalized number. I don’t necessarily think their skewed number should be included as dunces…as they’ve merely been bamboozled all these years.

    Take that out of the national average, and I think you’d see only 25-26% of America would be the dunces.

    • The issue isn’t approval of Obama. The issue is approval of his handling of the rollout. The two are not connected, or shouldn’t be. I approve of George Washington: his using his slaves teeth to make his false ones, I disapprove of, vehemently. I approve of Teddy Roosevelt–I think running as a third part candidate and getting Wilson elected was terrible—I don’t approve. I approve of FDR, but I don’t approve of his Supreme Ct. packing attempt.

      • “The two are not connected, or shouldn’t be”

        They shouldn’t be. But as long as racial politics and racial loyalty will trump individual thought, then the two (the Person overall and the Person’s handling of a certain event) are connected in the minds of the specific demographic in question.

        I’ll check approval ratings of the rollout handling by racial breakdown in a second and re-run the numbers to see. All I could find was general approval ratings by racial breakdown and had to make inferences from that.

  2. Mr. Marshall:
    While I am in total opposition to a federally mandated purchase of any product or service that does not convey direct or indirect public benefits such as roads, schools, military etc., it is possible that some will find benefits which could lead them to support the law. Not all who support the law do so out of ignorance, they could do so because they see short term individual benefit. Where my problem lies with that type of thinking is that the failure to recognize aggregate long term social costs can overwhelm any near term aggregate individual benefits; much like an unwanted pregnancy.

    My opposition to the provision of private goods, as opposed to public goods, is based on the economic principle of scarcity, and that human wants are unlimited relative to the resources to supply them. Our current system of health insurance is not insurance at all. We have come to believe that health insurance is a service contract on our bodies. This means that we are not sharing risk we are sharing costs.

    I see several ethical dimensions to the entire issue. First, because the much ballyhooed increased competition occurs only in politically defined areas, markets are selectively and politically divided to prevent sufficient potential for new entrants to the industry that would help drive prices down. Furthermore, the industry itself is hardly a competitive one with only five major players controlling most of the market. The current law only allows people to choose among three possible products (Gold, Silver and Bronze plans) which must contain predefined core elements whether the buyer wants them or not. This contrary to trends in other markets toward custom products and services and smacks of a prohibited tying contract. It is my belief that government mandates are effectively tax increases (limiting the political cost) on some or provide unneeded subsidies (that convey political benefits) to many more. If health insurance were a priority then it would rise to the top of most people’s budgets. There will be those with too few resources to obtain insurance but these costs should be shouldered by the entire tax base. Subsidizing clinics to provide wellness exams that are available to all would serve that purpose at far less cost. Sliding scales for payments should be used to make everyone cost conscious; not just those that support the less resourced.

    The current law was constructed with considerable input from industry executives. The recent assembly of insurance executives at the White House would have been considered a per se violation of federal anti-trust laws had the meeting not included the President. Such closed door meetings lack any transparency. We do not know if threats of regulatory retaliation were used to obtain compliance from these executives or whether or not industry executives were promised benefits that could harm consumers in exchange for political assistance. Thus, the first ethical dimension is that asymmetrical information is used by the powerful to achieve gains at the expense of non-participants in the decision process.

    Second, regarding cost sharing, is it ethical to force those with low costs to support those with high costs? This is especially true if the high cost group engages in behaviors that put them in the high risk group. I do not think so. While some would claim that we have a moral duty to provide health care assistance to those that choose not to afford it, we would never say they have a moral duty to mitigate the costs through behavioral changes. If we could command the duty to mitigate social costs all individual liberty would die because any critic of the behavior would assess a social cost for every other person’s action’s. Unless we all think alike and place equal utility values on every action there will be critics.

    Health care costs are paid with money. Money is fungible so it does not matter where it comes from. Between 2000 and 2010, according to the American Hospital Association the total amount of uncompensated care was $326 billion. In 2010, the level of uncompensated care among the roughly 5000 hospitals was 32.9 billion or about $210 per household. Based on arguments for the ACA, wellness visits would reduce this number substantially so why are we spending 1.4 trillion over the next 10 years to provide insurance that makes the system more susceptible to budgetary limitations?

    Finally, from a logic perspective, if a women has the right to choose what she does with her body (corollary: society has only limited rights), then it stands to reason that so do I. This means that I should be allowed to address my own health issues with my own resources as I see fit and society bears the risk that I make informed economical choices

    • Excellent post and thoughtful analysis. Thank you.

      Of course, being dissatisfied with the rollout is completely unrelated to the merits of the law itself. It’s an incompetent rollout if the law is the greatest thing since sliced bread, and its an incompetent rollout if the ACA is the spawn of Satan. It’s an incompetent rollout, as the President would say, “period.”

  3. Jack, all of the current events which have been the subjects of most of your most recent posts are merely steps in the stage-setting for the election of 45th President Hillary.

    It’s to the point where I dread trying to think of who else the next POTUS could be besides her…and yet, I think we (those of us who care) are going to be VERY sorry she gets elected.

      • My prognostication as to who will win nominations and elections is usually good, but as to “what else will happen” is usually bad.* I predicted Reagan in 1980. I predicted the killing of the Marines in Lebanon in 1983 – just not the specific manner in which they were killed. I predicted at the most dismissible time – immediately after Desert Storm – that Bush would lose the 1992 election. I did not see Clinton coming, though – thought it might be Bentsen, Robb, Biden or Bradley. *So maybe Hillary will surprise us all, in a most positive and welcomed way…

  4. It’s all your point of view. I do not support Obamacare — but that is because I don’t believe insurance is the appropriate vehicle for health care in the first place. I had lunch with a close friend last week who was crying tears of relief because of the ACA. Her son had aged out of insurance and it is a good bet that he will require significant mental health care his entire life. She was able to get him a plan that will cover a significant amount of his care – which was not cheap but it is significantly cheaper than the alternative. My friend was paying over $1,000/week to provide for his medical bills and it has bankrupted her family – even though she and her husband make good salaries, live modestly, and keep their adult son at home rather than a facility.

    I would say that this is an outlier story, but just about every family I know has a member that requires intense medical or mental health care. Right now, we don’t have good options for these people – which is why such a significant number of our homeless population is mentally ill. We do need to have some sort of assistance for families in these situations – whether that assistance comes in the form of insurance, group homes, etc. I don’t know. The choice cannot be bankruptcy or drop your needy relatives on the street.

    She obviously is not an Ethics Dunce, just someone who is better off because of the Act.

    • I sympathize for your friend. I choose that word carefully, I cannot even say “empathize” because I haven’t been in her position. BUT, do you really think it’s ethical to say that because something helps me with my problem I approve of it, no matter how many people it screws over or how many legal and constitutional problems it raises? That’s the “I got mine” attitude Jack criticizes in the post.

      Besides, cases like this are then exploited by politicians using that favorite rhetorical tool: “If it helps JUST ONE family pay their bills and keep their son at home, isn’t it worth it?”

      • Mr. Marshall:
        I think that success is determined by the desired outcome. Perhaps those that are satisfied with the rollout fall into one of several camps.

        First: there is some suspicion that the act was designed to fail which would leave only a single payer system as the remaining alternative. If you wanted it to fail then the rollout would have been a great success.

        A different camp may simply see the rollout and the legislation as one in the same in that they see the rollout as a part of a whole rather than a discreet event.

        A third camp may just be advocates of the law and conflate the two. Business people will dissect the whole into parts that worked and parts that did not. Corrective action can only take place when you focus on the elements of failure. Political operatives will minimize the negatives of legislation they like and focus only on the positive attributes. This is why we keep hearing arguments about no discrimination on price or pre existing conditions when they have to defend the rollout. Obfuscation of facts and a desire to win on the issues can be often confused with delusional behavior.

        • Love it. But…
          1. A system that is designed to fail is a deceptive system. Thus approving of the rollout is unethical.
          2. The second is irrational. Sure, it’s part of the whole. But if the essential part is compromised, the whole is jeopardized. It’s like saying you’re a fan of the faulty O-ring because you like the Space Shuttle. Boom.
          3. Ditto for #3. One might believe that the rollout won’t doom the project, but you still can’t approve of it. One double play with the bases loaded in the third inning can be overcome; it isn’t fatal, but it is still objectively bad.

      • Okay, that’s fair. But my friend probably would have walked over coals for 8 hours as well to get this process done, so she isn’t complaining about the roll-out, she is focused on the result.

        • Which is why so many incompetents stay in their jobs—rank consequentialism. “It worked out in the end.” Yikes! That’s #38 on the rationalizations list! The point is IT SHOULDN’T HAVE BEEN SO HARD, and the fact that it ultimately was right is no excuse or mitigation.

          • Jack, sheesh, I don’t disagree with you. It should have been better, A LOT better. But it’s also fair to say that for certain people, they care more about the fact that they can get coverage now.

            • So the benefit to a very select few justifies the problems the law generates for millions now (plus many more millions next year as the employer mandate causes a second, more massive round of policy cancelations)?

              • No — I didn’t say that either. I simply am talking from her point of view. She is grateful, and I don’t think it makes her an ethics dunce to be grateful.

                • IF you and I are neighbors, and my wife and I have some more children and decide our house is too small, then we get the city government to bulldoze your living room, redraw the property lines and then raise your taxes to fund the building of additional rooms on my house to accommodate my additional children, THEN I am not unethical to be grateful to the city.

                  By your logic.

                  • Tex, please. It’s not the same at all. Our taxes go for lots of things that benefit the larger community: schools, police stations, emergency care, roads, sewage …. the list is endless. Not to mention tax breaks for certain companies.

                    • Uh huh. Nothing wrong with promoting the general welfare.

                      Of course, almost all the services you listed are city level services and some state level services, where they belong.

                      Once ‘specific’ welfare is promoted then we’re discussing confiscating the property of some to give to others. I could care less if your particular locale wants to destroy itself that way, but the founder’s specifically did not give the national level of government that power.

                      If any of your services were nationalized (and to an extent some partially are- quite wastefully I might add) I would shudder at the unsustainaby ponderous weight and unnavigable organzation of such organizations.

                      And since this discussion will inevitably become a discussion of rights and the so-called ‘positive’ rights that progressives like to push, here’s my exposé on that:

                      answer to Liberal Dan’s question on same topic

    • I would say that this is an outlier story, but just about every family I know has a member that requires intense medical or mental health care. Right now, we don’t have good options for these people – which is why such a significant number of our homeless population is mentally ill. We do need to have some sort of assistance for families in these situations – whether that assistance comes in the form of insurance, group homes, etc. I don’t know. The choice cannot be bankruptcy or drop your needy relatives on the street.

      Maybe we should learn from history.

      How were such conditions treated in 14th century France?

  5. I would not say that government has no part to play in the regulation of Health Care Insurance. The “pre-existing condition” clause that caused many people to get rejected for coverage is a good reason for regulation. What I adamantly oppose is the US government taking over the system. Everybody suffers; the doctors that care, pharmaceutical companies that develop new innovative drugs, and patients that wind up getting substandard care.

    • The “pre-existing condition” clause that caused many people to get rejected for coverage is a good reason for regulation.

      It is strange that only health insurance did that.

      Did auto insurance reject people from coverage because they had multiple pre-existing drunk driving convictions?

      • You do realize the difference, right? If a person is born with a disease, that is a permanent fact in that person’s life. There is a direct corollary between behavior and accidents where the driver is at fault. Further, not everyone needs a driver’s license. Everyone requires health care.

        • You do realize the proportion right? For a small percentage of people, our solution is that we’re going to upend the entire system and negatively effect everyone else.

          And although the blanket statement ‘everyone requires health care’ is accurate, simply because of the wildly general nature of the terms involved. Not everyone requires it to the same extent or in the same way, which is why a market based system can best address individual needs without severely imposing on everyone else in the process.

            • Yes.

              You do realize that the amount of money any one person is compelled via taxation to contribute (even the most poor) would be considerably greater than the individual payoff if that individual was allowed to invest the money in various market options?

              Please tell me you realize that right?

              But no, in the interest of so-called fairness we dump a ton of money into a government option that wastes what it brings in and pays out less than what comes in, forcing new contributors to pay for old contributors payouts?

              BTW, that is what we also call a Ponzi scheme.

              • It’s not a Ponzi scheme, it is poorly funded. Most individuals are idiots when it comes to investing. They can’t even read the fine print on their mortgages — see the recent housing collapse as proof. But sure — you’ve got a fine plan here. It will end up costing society more because there will be no system in place to handle this epic failure of people NOT providing for their future medical care. Unless we’re just going to let them suffer and die. Not to mention the poor, middle class, and chronically “underemployed.” Just how much from your minimum wage paychecks to you need to save for your retirement and health care after 60?

                But hey, I’ll do just fine under your proposed system, as will you, as will AM …. so I guess it’s okay then. Of course, we’ll have to invest more in local services. I mean – at a minimum we’ll have to bring back the “Bring Out Your Dead” folks – maybe rounds twice a week to start?

                • “Most individuals are idiots when it comes to investing.”

                  The free market has developed a solution to that problem, they call themselves “Financial Advisors” and “Investment Advisors”. However, the assumed idiocy (by you mind you) isn’t a cause to collectivize a system because you seem to think big brother can handle it. Especially since history has shown that governmental handling of money is inept and wasteful. It isn’t the role of responsible, fair, liberty-protecting government to take care of those you call ‘idiots’. Interestingly enough though, people become much less idiotic and attempt to self-educate when presented with incentive… collectivized systems that constantly convince people “don’t worry, you’ll be fine, your glorious and generous patrons in politics will handle it for you” typically tend to disincentivize people…hence all the ‘idiots’ you so decry. You see they are a product of the system you claim is a fix for idiots.

                  ” They can’t even read the fine print on their mortgages — see the recent housing collapse as proof.”

                  Wrong. Housing collapse happened because government imposition on the free market *corruptingly* incentivized or outright forced lending companies to lend to people who had no business borrowing. When the chickens came home to roost and mathematics (which are painfully unforgiving) balanced the equation, we got the collapse. Not because of a lack of ‘reading the fine print’.

                  “But sure — you’ve got a fine plan here.”

                  The free market seemed to work pretty effectively for over 200 years before the New Deal when people knew they had to take care of their own futures and therefore had to understand the value of savings and investments.

                  “It will end up costing society more because there will be no system in place to handle this epic failure of people NOT providing for their future medical care. Unless we’re just going to let them suffer and die. Not to mention the poor, middle class, and chronically “underemployed.”

                  Easy Beth, don’t be hysterical. People won’t be dying in the streets without Social Security or without a socialized medical industry. Unlike the radicals of the Left, I don’t believe in slash-and-burn-fix-everything-NOW-with-massive-system-upending legislation.

                  I understand that when a large portion of the people have been suckling the inefficient teat of the public largesse and have become so addicted to it that a sudden cutting off of the supply would be devastating. But fortunately things don’t have to be fixed suddenly or catastrophically (albeit a logical argument can be made that the longer a problem is pushed down the road the more likely any fix will be painful, but not as painful as a catastrophic self-correction, which WILL happen if not solved soon).

                  Certainly any fix would have to be gradual, with people in the system longer being kept in the current system, but as generations enter and leave, each successive one is involved less and receives less until the system is reduced to the bare essentials of the -truly needy-. This is America by the way, if the Free Market were allowed the flourish, the truly needy would be an almost negligible component of society. Coupled with an education system that teaches strong and ethical financial responsibility, eventually people would learn how to accommodate for their future again. (Of course, I don’t count on the education system ever coming around to focus on attitudes and ideas based on empowering / de-collectivizing the People.)

                  “Just how much from your minimum wage paychecks to you need to save for your retirement and health care after 60?”

                  I wouldn’t know. Since both retirement and health care are NOT rights that can be guaranteed in a fair and just system (let alone a system that claims to be economically sustainable), I’m not certain the question can be answered. I do know that government imposition on the market slowly but surely drives the Cost of Living higher and higher making ‘minimum wage’ checks less and less useful. Off topic, I know your answer is to raise the minimum wage to compensate, but unfortunately that in turn raises the cost of operating a business, which in turn raises the prices of the products offered by those business, which in aggregate raises the Cost of Living across the board even further, essentially making the ‘value’ of the increased minimum wage check null and void. One of these days you’ll have to realize that the free market is the most fair economic system we can have, even if it has apparent unfairness.

                  You see, retirement had ALWAYS been a happy *by product* for people who worked hard and SAVED their money knowing someday they would want to stop working. Retirement is NOT a guarantee, nor is it a right. Additionally, medical services are not a RIGHT either, but just another product developed by the market to solve problems.

                  “But hey, I’ll do just fine under your proposed system, as will you, as will AM …. so I guess it’s okay then. Of course, we’ll have to invest more in local services. I mean – at a minimum we’ll have to bring back the “Bring Out Your Dead” folks – maybe rounds twice a week to start?”

                  There you go being emotional again. Under my system, I may not do just fine. One of these days I may make dumb market choices or be lazy or any number of other PERSONAL decisions that have CONSEQUENCES that are mine alone to bear, and no one else’s. I may appeal to the charity of others as I certainly wish to help out those who need it on occasion (but not out of compulsion, which is far less efficient)

                • You crack me up Tex. You have blinders on whenever you try and address any issue. For example, the housing collapse. There were lots of causes, but a main one was that people didn’t have a basic understanding of what they could afford and how the terms of their mortgages were going to change. And just so we’re clear — no one disputes that fact with the apparent exception of you.

                  As for me being emotional again — I love that you assume that about me. Please note that whenever you want to type that word (or “hysterical” or whatever female-emotion-charged-word you like to use to try and bait me, you should replace it with “cynical.” I mean, I’m already designing the outfits for the “Bring Out Yer’ Dead” people now. I’m torn between monk robes (but they would have to be men and have shaved heads to pull it off — most likely illegal) or Grim Reapers. I think I like Grim Reapers better — they can be unisex uniforms. Unisex = no discrimination lawsuit.

                  As for the rest of your analysis — it’s pretty much garbage. Personal responsibility is a fine system — for those who are going to be responsible anyway and have the means to do so. For those who aren’t responsible and have the means, I really don’t care that much about them. To hell with them frankly. For those who are poor and/or lack the mental faculties and resources to be anything but poor, they will remain that way without government intervention to raise their living standards. So, under my desired system, there unfortunately will be some slackers that benefit, but on the whole I’d rather provide basic services to the poor so I don’t need to pay for a private security force to guard my lands when they come looking for food.

                  If you don’t want to support a larger government to provide for the underprivileged, that’s between you, your conscience, and your God (if you are a believer). For me, I know that there is only one result for these people — poverty. Luckily for me, I don’t have to prove my theory because there are two thousand years of recorded history confirming my analysis. Your belief, on the other hand, is just that — a “belief” — and it is based on some twisted combination of wishful thinking, possible devotion to Adam Smith, Jefferson, and Friedman, and the quaint notion that states’ rights will solve all social and economic problems in the US. But, if we’re going to do this, we have to do it right. No more money to the states or social programs or pet projects. Not … one … penny. No more public schools or libraries. Nada. I can’t wait to see how West Virginia fares under a strict states’ rights system.

                  But hey, I’m all for it. Like I said, I’ll be just fine. And if I get some of my tax breaks back, that would make me and my soon-to-be-hired security team happy.

                  • Social Security is the very definition of a ponzi scheme – the newest to pay in have their money go to those who have been around a while.

                    And yes, Social Security is underfunded. Would you like to pay more so my grandmother can keep getting here payments? I certainly will never see Social Security, and yet my money is still taken from me – without my consent – and frittered away.

                    And so what if people don’t invest well? That isn’t my fucking problem. Being an idiot or making bad choices is not something it is the government’s to protect people from, and I’m not sure when people started to think that it was.

                    If you are stupid and sign a mortgage you can’t afford, it is not my problem, and I should not be on the hook for even one single penny of your fuckup.

                    The government is not your mommy and daddy, and it isn’t the governments job to protect you from yourself.

                    Yes, people will encounter hardship due to this, but again, so what? Life is hardship, and it does no one any good to pretend otherwise.

                    • The collectivists (especially here in America) have been blinded by the material success and comfort that grew directly out of the ‘unfair’ Free Market system. They seem to think it came about through very little effort or hustle, that’s why they think material possession is a guaranteed right…

                  • ” And just so we’re clear — no one disputes that fact with the apparent exception of you.”

                    Odd, these people seem to agree with me:

                    Hey, Barney Frank: The Government Did Cause the Housing Crisis

                    A Government Mandated Housing Bubble

                    For what it’s worth, I’ve never heard the individual borrows blamed as the main reason for the collapse. People respond to incentive. The government mandated a non-market driven incentive which compelled irresponsible lending, of course people who otherwise wouldn’t have gotten loans capitalized on the irresponsible incentive. But their decision didn’t come first. Government imposition on the free market did.

                    “As for me being emotional again — I love that you assume that about me. Please note that whenever you want to type that word (or “hysterical” or whatever female-emotion-charged-word you like to use to try and bait me, you should replace it with “cynical.” “

                    Beth. Just quit bellyaching and quit hinting at being in some special protected victim class. Trust me, women aren’t dainty little creatures that need a hand up, they can handle themselves. I called you emotional because you are allowing emotions to guide your arguments for policy. That generally doesn’t bode well for logic or justice.

                    “As for the rest of your analysis — it’s pretty much garbage.”

                    I didn’t think you read it.

                    “Personal responsibility is a fine system — for those who are going to be responsible anyway and have the means to do so.”

                    This is America. Who the hell doesn’t have the means to secure themselves materially due to some externality that is holding them down?? Maybe a minute fraction of a percent of the general population. What you don’t get is that your bleary-eyed “Everyone Tries Equally Hard and should be Equally Rewarded” nit-wit view of the world is grossly inaccurate.

                    “For those who are poor and/or lack the mental faculties and resources to be anything but poor, they will remain that way without government intervention to raise their living standards.”

                    Lemme translate the connotations that you have hidden in there:

                    “For those who have been put down by the man and don’t have the market freedom in our unjust system to transcend and are therefore unfairly impoverished to the point they can’t live, they will remain that way unless we take from others and give to them to give them what Beth thinks are decent living standards”.

                    Dumb. People in a Free Market will rise to their level of intelligence and to their level of hard work and fidelity – also called fairness and good incentive. Those that don’t have no reason to be rewarded for their lack of effort. What the hell is wrong with your thought processes? That our system has generally produced so much material comfort and success does not mean that the material comforts and success are guaranteed rights to have. What’s even more awesome, is in our free market system, innovation and entrepreneurship DO END UP raising EVERYONE’s standard of living to the point that even the so-called poor have incredibly better standards of living than people in the past and they will continue to still improve. And that is fair.

                    What’s amusing, is all the governmental imposition / subsidization / qualitative easing has managed to do is INCREASE the much bemoaned gap between ‘rich’ and ‘poor’.

                    “So, under my desired system, there unfortunately will be some slackers that benefit, but on the whole I’d rather provide basic services to the poor so I don’t need to pay for a private security force to guard my lands when they come looking for food.”

                    A non-sequitur. I think the absurdity of your comment speaks for itself.

                    “If you don’t want to support a larger government to provide for the underprivileged, that’s between you, your conscience, and your God (if you are a believer)”

                    Ooooh, the ‘moral’ argument. God wants you to be charitable, therefore you should vote for policies that compel you to surrender your hard earned or created property to those who do not have it.

                    Dumb. God (for those who believe in him) has Created us a free will agents, when he commands us to give to the needy, he does so with the intent that we give Charitably (which has *voluntary* as a component). God doesn’t command us to force others to surrender their property on behalf of others.

                    If you are all for Charitable giving, then I suggest you get on board for it, because last I checked, the various formalized Charities have a much more efficient ratio of value donated to value disbursed than does the government, ESPECIALLY when compared to the end result: which is get people to no longer need a hand out.

                    It’s well known also that Americans are extremely Charitable people. Could you imagine how much more so if taxes to pay for entitlements and welfare were reduced (of course with equitable reductions in entitlement/welfare disbursement by limiting to only the most provably incapable)?

                    You Lefties could literally have your cake and eat it too! If only you’d trust individuals to make their own decisions.

                    ” But, if we’re going to do this, we have to do it right. No more money to the states or social programs or pet projects. Not … one … penny. No more public schools or libraries. Nada.”

                    No more schools or libraries? You are dumb. I’ve already indicated that I could care less how specific locales want to run their own socialized programs. Have at it. Don’t saddle the entire system with a national cookie cutter approach that fails miserably. You see, the Founders were pretty prescient about that when they limited the powers of the national government severely.

                    “But hey, I’m all for it. Like I said, I’ll be just fine. And if I get some of my tax breaks back, that would make me and my soon-to-be-hired security team happy.”

                    I do like your send off.

                    “I don’t really care about others” followed by a hyperbolic non-sequitur.

                    • You seriously may be the most literal person I’ve ever met. Wow. Why not dissect my monk robe/grim reaper costume decision too Professor Tex? Oh, and I love that you read this and concluded that I am hinting that I belong to a special class. What class would that be? The more I spend time on this site, the more I see myself becoming the liberal foil for AM. I’m going to just start stringing expletives together. It’s far easier and effective I think.

                    • “You seriously may be the most literal person I’ve ever met. Wow. Why not dissect my monk robe/grim reaper costume decision too Professor Tex?”

                      Diversion. I didn’t address it because it was obvious tongue in cheek hyperbole because you think that a Free Market means people are going to die. Guess what, people are going to die in every system. I haven’t met an immortal yet. At least in the Free Market, no set of people will decide an otherwise treatable person doesn’t get treatment because in any (affordable) socialized system, medical service is rationed.

                      But that has been discussed ad nauseum.

                      “Oh, and I love that you read this and concluded that I am hinting that I belong to a special class. What class would that be?”

                      Woman. You assumed I called you emotional because you assumed I was referencing some stereotypical knee jerk feminine response. I wasn’t. The assumptions are all on you and you didn’t like what you thought I was saying. And similar to the previous discussion we’ve had about this, you believe I ought not to accurately describe your argument, because the word used might make you pissy.

                      “The more I spend time on this site, the more I see myself becoming the liberal foil for AM. I’m going to just start stringing expletives together. It’s far easier and effective I think.”

                      Ablative certainly brings arguments which push a little further into libertarian territory to the table than I do, but I’m not certain why you are referencing him in our discussion.

                    • Jack,

                      Your #1 is highly situational. I think for the unpracticed it is harder. But even the unpracticed have extremely creative moments when the muse touches* them.

                      *a muse touching someone in that regard can be any number of things:
                      1) striking one’s thumb with a mis-aimed hammer.
                      2) walking into a glass door
                      3) having a heartily swung sledge hammer ricochet off a solid 6×6 beam back onto one’s shin
                      4) stepping off an 8 foot bluff on a moonless night in full combat gear with a rifle slung around you while claiming to your men behind you that you know the way back to the vehicles
                      5) watching a 25 page report in Microsoft Word disappear, with the last save point being somewhere around page 7

                    • Tex, everything I wrote was “tongue in cheek” — there were numerous clues. But glad to see that you mastered the use of block quotes and the bold command. Now that you know your basic Word functions you can move on to actual analysis instead of linking to other articles and parroting back talking points. And please stop questioning whether people are reading your posts. I have no desire to dissect them line by line because there is no chance that you will ever question anything that doesn’t gel with your memorized predictable rants, and I have better uses for my time — like hiring my private army to guard my fields from the angry peasant mob once the Tea Partiers succeed in replacing their food stamps with boot straps. I think I am going to name my army “Brackish Water.” (HINT – this post may contain satirical elements.)

                  • I guess some folk miss the old days..back when kids starved,women died in childbirth frequently,debtors prisons,old folks dying of hunger and hypothermia,etc. because ,hey,I got mine and to hell with you. America has a distinct hatred for it’s own poor because,you know,you’re supposed to be taking advantage of the American dream. The one that goes,if you got a nickel you can build an empire.
                    Does anyone care about what cutting SS will do to the elderly poor? My God,what a horrible thing to do.
                    I’m with you,Beth.

                    • I’ll give you a chance to go back and re-read my commentary. You’ll then see Beth is resorting to the Leftwing Middle School Debate Handbook with her hyperbole. I know you don’t do that, so I’ll refrain from blasting this until you’ve gone back to *my* words. Not Beth’s dishonest skewing of them.

                    • Okay,firstly I hate Obamacare. I’d much rather go with the Republican option.
                      Secondly,cutting everyone off “entitlements” at this point would be catastrophic. It would send us back to a Great Depression like era wouldn’t it. The elderly who relied on SS and those who are disabled would be forced to either look for non-existent jobs (we are suffering unemployment) or reduced to going without the basic necessities of life. The elderly whose SS check provides them with nursing home care would be turned out in the streets as would the mentally ill. That’s how I see it. I don’t see how the scenario could turn out differently if there is no government help to fall back on.

                    • I’d much rather go with the Republican option.

                      Would this be the Republican option you were wholely ignorant of for over three years due to any sort of intellectual curiosity?

                      Secondly,cutting everyone off “entitlements” at this point would be catastrophic. It would send us back to a Great Depression like era wouldn’t it.

                      Only in your mind, dear.

                      The elderly who relied on SS and those who are disabled would be forced to either look for non-existent jobs (we are suffering unemployment) or reduced to going without the basic necessities of life.

                      Social Security was never intended to provide for a way of life. The fact that we have allowed it to become one is part of why it is unfunded to the tune of tens of trillions of dollars by the 2030s. I’m sorry that people will suffer, but doing something that is fucking stupid just because people won’t enjoy stopping is a damned fool thing.

                      The elderly whose SS check provides them with nursing home care would be turned out in the streets as would the mentally ill.

                      At the risk of sounding like a broken record, “so?”

                      The government is not your sugardaddy, and is not responsible for your comfort or well being. You are a moral agent, possessing of free will; you make your choices and you live with them for good or for I’ll. If you make bad choices, their consequences should not be ameliorated, because to do so means that you won’t learn to make better choices.

                      And this is all academic anyways – the systems will be ended, and suddenly and completely. It is inevitable, because they can not be afforded. Your path will cause this. To fight any change because “it hurts people” will lead to far more suffering than you fight to prevent.

                      It will happen. When over 2/3 of all federal spending is either on entitlements or debt service, when the money ends (and it will), then savage, draconian, bloodletting cuts will happen.

                      You think you are more noble, fighting to “save people”, but you and your ilk will be the cause of more suffering than you can imagine.

                      If you want to help people, donate tour time and treasure. Forcing me to do so, at effectively gun point, doesn’t not make you a good person.

                      It makes you a thief.

                    • I forgot to add that this isn’t the same America prior to the great depression. To take away entitlements won’t put us back where we were before. Most of the good paying jobs that didn’t require and education aren’t available anymore. The blue collar worker is becoming extinct. This nation is becoming one where you are a white collar worker or on minimum wage. Yes,that’s probably an exaggeration but you get my meaning?

                    • Glad to see you living up to the contempt I hold for you.

                      Protip – if you dont want to be treated like a piece if shit, dont crib your notes from Ed Schultz. Just because I dont think it is the government’s job to protect people from their own stupidity and bad choices doesn’t mean I support people dying on the street.

                      Your problem, you feckless asshat, is that you fail to grasp that there are other actors besides the federal government. You think that if the government doesn’t do it, it won’t happen.

                      This is untrue, and reveals your – at best – latent statism.

                      Before welfare, starvation wasn’t endemic. What’s more, things like “hunger” are powerful motivators to achieve.

                      Go hungry for a day, and you will find a way to earn money to eat. I know.

                      Your apparent worldview – that the government must provide – is to rob people of their moral agency. It is insulting, degrading, and dehumanizing.

                      At the dawn of this nation there were no governmental programs, and yet somehow we not only survived, but thrived.

                      I guess that was just a fluke.

                    • Shut up meatball. You disgust me you uncivilized piece of moronic shit. Are your eyes brown cuz you’re so full of shit? I bet your knuckles are a bloody mess from dragging them. Bet your mom dropped you on your head on purpose. Bet you were in juvey on your second birthday. Don’t bother responding cuz I ain’t reading your drivel. Nobody gives a fuck what you say except Jack,and I’m giving him a break.

                    • @ Karla

                      And before you think that those who oppose government welfare / entitlements just want the old and poor to starve and die, you ought to realize how ridiculously absurd that attitude is. It’s a dirty leftwing mudslinging tactic because they want Government to be the sole source of succor and can’t stand private Charity. It has gotten to the point where they think it is a foregone conclusion that Charities are ineffective and unfair, and have been so successful that they act like that is such a proven premise that the mere mention of Charitable giving is shrugged off as “what? you’re not actually going to suggest charities can handle the needy are you? what are you, some kind of nut?”

                      False, private Charities are 2.3 times more efficient than government welfare/entitlements. On average, 70% of the money donated to private charity makes it to the hands of the recipients in money, goods or services, whereas 30% of the money compelled from the hands of taxpayers for the purposes of welfare/entitlement makes it to the hands of the recipients.

                      That’s a solid testimony. Coupled with the social costs of distributing specific welfare from taxing the general public, such as the endemic welfare state, the demoralization of those receiving welfare, it should be obvious that a state-oriented system is a failure.

                      The linked articled puts it best:

                      “Over time it must have become obvious to agency officials and members of congress, that redistribution programs seldom, if ever, attain their claimed objectives, and have on net actually been socially harmful. The enormous expansion of illegitimacy, family breakdown, and crime, the acceleration of inflation, and the halt in the Post War decline of the official poverty rate that occurred in the very period of rapidly increasing income transfers is certainly no accident.”

                      It corrupts the political process and corrupts people’s value of themselves.

                      Sorry, but the definition of caring does not boil down to “compelling one set of people to surrender their property in order to distribute it to another set of people” (as leftists have so hijacked the word “to care”).

                      A free market system, coupled with private charity INCENTIVIZES the best in people. It elevates personal responsibility, private endeavor, entrepreneurship, private/personal/voluntary compassion, fairness and others above the appearance of compassion.

                    • I’m not claiming entitlements are right or wrong and I’m not saying every conservative in America doesn’t care for the elderly,sick,poor or disabled. No I didn’t read through the whole thread as it’s impossibly long. Maybe you could cut and paste your points.
                      Charities can’t keep up with what they’ve got now. They run out of food. People in America are hurting and can’t afford to give like they used to. Shelters are turning people away. I know,because one winter my two young sons lost our home and there was nothing open. We had nowhere to go but my cousin took us in. What of people who have no one? Charities would be completely overwhelmed don’t you think?
                      By the way,I didn’t mean to insinuate you personally did not care. I was going by what Beth had said but not about you.

                    • @ Karla, again

                      “Secondly,cutting everyone off “entitlements” at this point would be catastrophic. It would send us back to a Great Depression like era wouldn’t it.”

                      I didn’t think you read what I wrote.

                      The relevant excerpt:

                      “People won’t be dying in the streets without Social Security or without a socialized medical industry. Unlike the radicals of the Left, I don’t believe in slash-and-burn-fix-everything-NOW-with-massive-system-upending legislation.

                      I understand that when a large portion of the people have been suckling the inefficient teat of the public largesse and have become so addicted to it that a sudden cutting off of the supply would be devastating. But fortunately things don’t have to be fixed suddenly or catastrophically (albeit a logical argument can be made that the longer a problem is pushed down the road the more likely any fix will be painful, but not as painful as a catastrophic self-correction, which WILL happen if not solved soon).

                      Certainly any fix would have to be gradual, with people in the system longer being kept in the current system, but as generations enter and leave, each successive one is involved less and receives less until the system is reduced to the bare essentials of the -truly needy-. This is America by the way, if the Free Market were allowed the flourish, the truly needy would be an almost negligible component of society. Coupled with an education system that teaches strong and ethical financial responsibility, eventually people would learn how to accommodate for their future again. (Of course, I don’t count on the education system ever coming around to focus on attitudes and ideas based on empowering / de-collectivizing the People.)”

    • Pardon me. He referre to “a party invested in failure”

      I guess he means the democrats. Considering that their signature democrat-only legislation is failing miserably. They would best be called the party that invested in failure.

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