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Author Topic: 'If the government was in charge of the Sahara Desert, in 5 years there would be a shortage of sand. Back to Topics
SemiSteve

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Message Posted: Jul 5, 2013 12:27:25 PM

This is a quote by Milton Friedman that Hemond posted.

It is really just a wistful way to say that he hates the government.

Of course it is meaningless, in the literal sense.

But it conveys a feeling that the government can't do anything right or that it screws up every single thing it tries to do.

The problem here is that these generalized statements are not true.

They are nothing but exaggerations.

But they are more than that. They are like gossip. It is making up lies about others and spreading them as if they were true. The danger here is that people believe this kind of thing. They don't see it as an exaggeration at all. They see it as absolutely true.

So they hate the government.

How convenient. Now they have a reason to resent paying taxes. They have something to justify feeling like a victim who has been robbed.

When all that has happened is they have been asked to support their country. Which they resent doing. How unpatriotic. Imagine that. A group of people has made it sound righteous to avoid doing your part to support your country.

Our government is something we created. We have the power to change it, mold it, make it better. We don't use that power. Most Americans avoid such things. They want to drink beer and watch sports.

Super-rich people and big greedy corporations also have the power to change our government into what they want. And unlike us, they use that power constantly. Many of the bad things our government does are because of the greed of influential power-junkies.

Influential power-junkies weild their power over the government out of greed in order to get more, more, more. Enough is a meaningless word to them. They can never have enough. So they use their power to get what they want. More.

Often they have to get the right people voted into office to get their way. And they have to get the voting public to support what they want to do. So they use PR. They find a way to motivate people to vote for who or what THEY want. Frequently that motivation is fear. If you don't vote for a, then b will happen. So go vote. For who or what THEY want.

Ironically, they build up government and make it bigger as they tell you to vote for their people because if you vote the other way then big bad horrible government will get bigger badder and more horrible.

Funny how what they say about the other side isn't what the other side says they want to do. But that stigma is out there. 'The other side wants to make government bigger.'

As if it is really that simple.

They must think you are a fool.

It is not healthy for a nation to have a significant portion of the populace which is ill-informed and resentful of their own self-government.

Our representative form of self-government has been hijacked by special interests which have successfully shifted the 'blame' of their ills onto a scapegoat and convinced many to vote against their own better interest.

Government is what we make it. If we don't like it we have no one to blame but ourselves for letting it get that way.

We have the power to make it better. All we have to do is use it.
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SemiSteve
Champion Author Tampa

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Message Posted: Jul 15, 2013 4:19:15 PM

AC-302: "If you support capitalism, then why do you "feel" that pharma research and pharma companies all need to be "owned" by the government? This is somewhere between 1/6 and 1/8 of our economy right there? And it would be a big step towards real socialism. And why do you feel that folks shouldn't have 32 oz sodas if they choose? That's stepping on folks' individual freedoms, or do you not see it that way??"

'Real socialism' What's that? I'm guessing by that you mean complete socialism. As in the definition of socialism where the government owns or controls all business.

Which leaves the door open to say that we currently do not have 'real socialism'.

But we do have a lot of things that are socialist.

Such as Social Security, Medicare, Welfare, Food Stamps, PPACA.

And a lot of things that are not socialist such as sports, commercial TV, art, music, guns, weapons, airlines, casinos, the Master Lock Company.

Just as I have said many times, we have a mixture of capitalism and socialism. Just as it should be.

And that is what I support. A mixture.

So the only thing left to decide is how to treat each area of the economy.

Here is my criterion: If it is a basic need for all then it should be done on a volume scale and organized by we, the people, through our common organization (known as the government). If it is discretionary or is of a style or quality that exceeds what can reasonably be provided by the govt, then it should be done through private enterprise.

Some examples: Everyone has a basic need for food, shelter, clothing, health care, transportation, policing, fire protection, defense. If an individual can afford to have a higher quality item then that is up to the individual and the free market. But if the individual can not afford the basic offering, then the collective will provide it.

If an individual can not afford food then some will be provided. If the individual wants lobster he will have to pay for it. If the individual can't afford rent then the govt should give him shelter. If the individual wants to live in better accomodations or have privacy then he will have to pay for it. If the individual needs to get from home to a job the collective will provide bus/train service. If the individual wants his own car he will have to pay for it.

Following my criteria then the government should run a health care system capable of providing basic care for all. And all should pay for it. There should also be better choices out there for those who can afford them. Private rooms, faster service, exotic treatments, etc, should all be available to those who have the money.

Now if the government (ie: we, the people) is paying for health care then it has an obligation to do so as efficiently as possible in order to keep costs down. That means it has a stake in how many people get treatment for avoidable problems such as excessive weight gain which frequently lead to high costs by burdening the system unnecessarily. That makes it in the government's (we the people's) best interest to avoid allowing foolish people to 'just let themselves go' because 'the government health care system is always there to save me.'

That makes it sensible to limit the choices which are usually unhealthy - such as 32oz sugar-bomb drinks.

Yes, it is unfortunate that individual freedoms must be limited in this way but the alternative is to allow foolish people to do stupid things which cost others a lot of money. There has been so much of that that it has become a national problem (the rising cost of health care). So we've had to create these kinds of laws.

If we did a better job of raising and educating children this would not be a problem and we would not have to limit giant sugar-bomb sodas because most people would avoid them like they avoid eating poison.

But some people are stupid and they don't care; so we have to protect the collective from their foolishness.

[Edited by: SemiSteve at 7/15/2013 4:20:51 PM EST]
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AC-302
Champion Author Los Angeles

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Message Posted: Jul 13, 2013 12:33:27 AM

If you support capitalism, then why do you "feel" that pharma research and pharma companies all need to be "owned" by the government? This is somewhere between 1/6 and 1/8 of our economy right there? And it would be a big step towards real socialism. And why do you feel that folks shouldn't have 32 oz sodas if they choose? That's stepping on folks' individual freedoms, or do you not see it that way??
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SemiSteve
Champion Author Tampa

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Message Posted: Jul 12, 2013 1:51:26 PM

kiatoindos: "If there were big sand companies that gave large political donations there would be a sand shortage."

--Heh heh heh heh. Good one.
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SemiSteve
Champion Author Tampa

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Message Posted: Jul 12, 2013 1:47:36 PM

"I know very well that what I want is not the same as what most people want. And I do NOT want a socialist country"

AC-302: "But most of what you propose is socialist. After all, even the "poor farm" idea is nothing more than a socialist collective run for the benefit of the residents. And what about your single payer system that you have touted, where the state "owns" the docs, hospitals, and even the means of producing pharmaceuticals?"

--So if the government ran poor houses and health care that makes us a socialist country? Then what is it called when the government owns all the businesses? I have long said that what I support is a capitalist/socialist combination instead of straight up socialism.

I guess to conservatives even the slightest hint of socialism means that the whole country is socialist. Well, heck. We're already there, in that case, because of Social Security.
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kiatoindos
Champion Author Chicago

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Message Posted: Jul 12, 2013 6:42:08 AM

If there were big sand companies that gave large political donations there would be a sand shortage
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AC-302
Champion Author Los Angeles

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Message Posted: Jul 11, 2013 11:33:21 PM

SemiSteve complained: "I know very well that what I want is not the same as what most people want. And I do NOT want a socialist country"

-- But most of what you propose is socialist. After all, even the "poor farm" idea is nothing more than a socialist collective run for the benefit of the residents. And what about your single payer system that you have touted, where the state "owns" the docs, hospitals, and even the means of producing pharmaceuticals?
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michaelphoenix2
All-Star Author Tucson

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Message Posted: Jul 11, 2013 8:09:13 PM

Why is everything so blck and white with conservatives. It wasnt JUST the government and it wasnt JUST the airlines. It was through a cooperation of both that saftey standards increased. With many things in government and private business there is no 1 single answer.
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noseatbelt
Champion Author Indiana

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Message Posted: Jul 11, 2013 8:04:08 PM

The government did that, so, the airlines had nothing to do with it?

The government, has said for many, many, years that traveling by air was safer then by car, they were saying that when I was still in high school, more years then I want to think about.

Where is your news story from, I''ve never seen it, and I watch a lot of news casts, and read a lot of news papers. I hate to sound like some others here, but where's the link? I try to look things up for my self, but haven't found it yet.
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SemiSteve
Champion Author Tampa

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Message Posted: Jul 11, 2013 6:36:56 PM

noseatbelt: "can anyone think of anything, the government has done right, recently?"

--This is the kind of hate-baiting statement that fuels over-simplification. The government quietly does all kinds of things that work very well for us. But of course those things are not news-worthy so we never hear of them.

Let's link one to a current news story. The NTSB has taken the airline industry from an alarming record of crashes and deaths to a point where there are almost NO crashes and deaths. As a result traveling by air has become FAR safer than driving to the airport in a car. The government did that.
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SemiSteve
Champion Author Tampa

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Message Posted: Jul 11, 2013 6:30:48 PM

AC-302: "In the 1930s and into the '40s, liberals declared that we needed collectivization because the people were too poor. Now the liberals feel we need collectivization because the people are too rich.."

--OK, I am totally not following you here. The middle class has been eroded away and continues it's demise. The numbers of poor have grown greatly. And you think that liberals feel the people are too rich???

The only people who are too rich are the greediest elite power-junkies who care more about their own money than they do about their own nation. Case in point: Almost NO mega-yachts owned by super-rich Americans have American flags on the stern. To fly that American flag would mean they paid American taxes and registered the yacht to a home port in the USA. They could have a slightly less expensive mega-yacht with an American flag on the stern for the same money but their greed won't let them do that. They have zero pride in being an American. You have to wonder if they even would recognize the national anthem of the flag they sail under. Pathetic display of greed and selfishness.
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SemiSteve
Champion Author Tampa

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Message Posted: Jul 11, 2013 6:21:00 PM

johnnyg1200: "If the government was in charge of the Sahara Desert there would be a shortage of sand. The government would declare it was the result of _----fill in the blank--- and that we needed a special taskforce to find a way to protect the sand and bring it back. They would declare the entire desert a sand conservation zone and prohibit any development in the sand depleted zone. The government would create a new agency to over see the conservation and reconstitution of the sand. The new agency will have the power to remove any man made development that has benefited from the missing sand in order to return the desert to its original condition.

This would require massive amounts of money so the government will need to tax someone to pay for the sand reclamation project. This would be a massive project that will take decades and we all need to contribute to this so it will be in the form a tax on something like water because if the sand is missing water must be the reason. All of the scientist will agree and if they don’t its because they are on the side of the water industry."

--That would be funnier if it were not so real. So why does this happen? Who allowed it to be like that? We the people created this government and we the people have the power to change it or make it better. But if you ask most people about any specifics of our government you find out they are quite uninformed, overwhelmed and don't want to take the time to become involved at a knowledgeable effective level. This apathy is exactly what allows the special interests to get their way which usually means spending tac money and making government bigger.

Then you get more people working for the government and representatives afraid to cut anything that cuts those jobs. Nasty cycle.

We have got to include the need for good participatory citizenship in our public education. An effective self-government depends on a well informed and actively engaged populace. Without that we get what we have now.
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SemiSteve
Champion Author Tampa

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Message Posted: Jul 11, 2013 6:12:17 PM

" dozens of corrupt special interests are seated at director level chairs throughout government! Re-electing Obama retained the insane appointees behind the curtain."

--Happens with every administration.
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SemiSteve
Champion Author Tampa

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Message Posted: Jul 11, 2013 6:11:07 PM

I think we are on the right track with our mixture of capitalism and socialism. Some things are better left to the for-profit market and others should be government functions.

For instance it would be insanity to set up police departments for profit. That would be like asking to get more people arrested on trumped up charges. Just as it is ridiculous to have prisons for profit. The result of that has been prison lobbies wanting to make more things illegal and longer sentencing for given crimes. All this does is increase government costs and government debt as it enriches the prison companies. Meanwhile they are cutting costs too much and ending up with prison riots and gangs. And a lot of people are in prison for longer periods of time when they could be out, working and paying taxes.

Policing, justice, and incarceration need to be government functions.

To try to simplify such specific items into catch-all generalizations such as 'make government smaller' is dangerous over-simplification. Each function needs to be looked at individually.

Let's use building a bridge as an example. You can't just say make it bigger or make it smaller. You have to look at the engineering and construction. A certain amount of steel and concrete is going to be needed for the bridge to have the strength it needs. Any more just increases the cost for no reason. Sure we'd like a cheaper easier to build bridge but it's no good if it's not strong enough to stay up. If you let the concrete supplier help decide he is going to say it needs more concrete. It should not be up to them. The engineers need to decide that. And we don't want the concrete supplier to be offering them favors, either.

So we don't want profit-generating corporations telling Congress what to do or trying to buy favors from them.

Our government is big and complex. So is our nation. It's too much to comprehend. It seems overwhelming, scary. No individual can possibly comprehend all of it. We can't make it small enough for that to be possible. But it doesn't help to simply say 'Make it smaller,' or 'Cut everything by x percent.' Many gov projects are underfunded as it is. Others waste money. It's too complex to simplify it any further. And it is absurd to think that is possible.

It's only natural to fear something as overwhelming as our government. It takes our money in the form of taxes and we don't understand why it needs so much. Everybody can find something they object to. But somebody wanted that for something. They thought it was a good idea at the time. There is certainly stuff that doesn't need to be there. The tough thing is identifying it and cutting it out. Congress can't micro-manage every expenditure. Congress can't agree on much, lately.

I don't like the way they attach unrelated things to bills. Too much money gets spent like that. 'OK, I'll vote for your pet project if you include mine'. That's BS. Why can't they vote for one thing at a time?
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greentre
Champion Author Pensacola

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Message Posted: Jul 11, 2013 5:05:10 PM

"I do NOT want a socialist country"

And neither do I.
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1OILMAN
Champion Author Alabama

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Message Posted: Jul 11, 2013 4:59:42 PM

Depends on what the meaning of is, is.
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noseatbelt
Champion Author Indiana

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Message Posted: Jul 11, 2013 4:43:49 PM

but yet steve, most of your words, and ideas say just the opposite. A lot of your ideas were first conceived in socialists countries. They don't work there, and they certainly won't work here.
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SemiSteve
Champion Author Tampa

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Message Posted: Jul 11, 2013 4:35:56 PM

Wrong on both accounts, friends.

I know very well that what I want is not the same as what most people want.

And I do NOT want a socialist country
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greentre
Champion Author Pensacola

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Message Posted: Jul 11, 2013 4:20:30 PM

"You seem to think that what conservatives want is the same as what the people want."

Correct, not everyone wants a socialist country.
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noseatbelt
Champion Author Indiana

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Message Posted: Jul 11, 2013 4:14:50 PM

steve, most people I know, including the democrats want exactly that. They nearly all think our government is to over reaching, and needs to be reduced, in both size, and power.

And you seem to think what you want, is what the people want, you are so wrong.

[Edited by: noseatbelt at 7/11/2013 4:16:19 PM EST]
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SemiSteve
Champion Author Tampa

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Message Posted: Jul 11, 2013 3:43:52 PM

noseatbelt: "We have the power to make it better, that is exactly what the people that want smaller, less intrusive government are trying to do, make our government better."

--You seem to think that what conservatives want is the same as what the people want.

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noseatbelt
Champion Author Indiana

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Message Posted: Jul 7, 2013 4:35:12 PM

can anyone think of anything, the government has done right, recently?
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flyboyUT
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Message Posted: Jul 7, 2013 4:12:31 PM

Yes johnny - then during the process to reclaim the sand someone would find a rare three toes seven footed bearded bald lizard who has to have the undisturbed sand for its home and the effort to replenish the Sahara would grind to a halt until the issue is litigated.
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AC-302
Champion Author Los Angeles

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Message Posted: Jul 7, 2013 2:55:09 PM

In the 1930s and into the '40s, liberals declared that we needed collectivization because the people were too poor. Now the liberals feel we need collectivization because the people are too rich..
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johnnyg1200
Champion Author St. Louis

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Message Posted: Jul 6, 2013 9:42:47 PM

If the government was in charge of the Sahara Desert there would be a shortage of sand. The government would declare it was the result of _----fill in the blank--- and that we needed a special taskforce to find a way to protect the sand and bring it back. They would declare the entire desert a sand conservation zone and prohibit any development in the sand depleted zone. The government would create a new agency to over see the conservation and reconstitution of the sand. The new agency will have the power to remove any man made development that has benefited from the missing sand in order to return the desert to its original condition.

This would require massive amounts of money so the government will need to tax someone to pay for the sand reclamation project. This would be a massive project that will take decades and we all need to contribute to this so it will be in the form a tax on something like water because if the sand is missing water must be the reason. All of the scientist will agree and if they don’t its because they are on the side of the water industry.
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e_jeepin
Champion Author Michigan

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Message Posted: Jul 6, 2013 4:44:24 PM

Friedman doesn't hate, more like despises,

His point is right on -- The government squanders money effectively.

Corporations go out of business if they did this
Govt raises taxes, prints money, or borrows.

Name one thing government has legislated on us that has benefited the entire nation (not just a voter base)

Don't say finance "reform" or Credit Card "reform". Any "punishment" that was imposed on financial institutions has been neatly passed along to the consumer (as it always does).

The public unknowingly re-elects a special interest attached to the candidates pocket.

In Obamas case, it goes deeper -- dozens of corrupt special interests are seated at director level chairs throughout government! Re-electing Obama retained the insane appointees behind the curtain.

If the Republicans are the party of "No", then the Democrats are the party of "you no longer can" (except for special interests that is).

Egypt shows us that an election isn't about changing the ways of a Nation to "our way" every cycle.

Obama rode into town, looked at the "car in the ditch", then set it on fire, walked away and said you didn't need that car anyways, I plan on banning it soon.

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AC-302
Champion Author Los Angeles

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Message Posted: Jul 5, 2013 6:37:55 PM

OK Steve, now in your base post you mention: Hemond hates government, and by extension it would seem you are insinuating our conservative/republican friends do, too. (Oh, and for your information, Hemond isn't a man, she's a woman!)

So continuing: Hating government; gossip; taxation; victimization; super-rich; greedy corporations; an ill-informed and resentful populace..

Once again, you're all over the map, my friend. Make a concise point and stick to it. You can't fix the entire world in one post.

And as to ill-informed, I happened to be watching TV a few nights ago while doing work. When I watched FOX, they were following Ed Snowden. When I flipped it to MSLSD, they were harping (all night) on the SCOTUS homo marriage decision). It seems to me that if you were watching either network alone, you missed out on a lot of happenings. I would tell you that the extreme left is somewhat more ill-informed than the extreme right.

As to those "super rich" changing government, I'd tell you that Georg Soros is doing everything in his power to do just that. And where he seems to be wanting to take us, is not where I think America needs to go. It's not in the cards for us to the be the next socialist state, despite what he seems to want.

Do you not believe that our government has greatly overstepped it's power and it's roles with respect to freedom of the individual citizen? I think it has recently, and it has persecuted those who are right of center, and even left of center Jewish citizens who are wanting to express themselves politically. It's utterly shameful, our government was wrong, and we ought to see some government officials punished. I think Lois Learner of the IRS needs to be one of those.

Something else I'll share with you.. I was at a workshop about 10 months ago for resume writing and interview skills after my layoff. The instructor was a recruiter (head hunter) who was politically active in her community. It happened that she was at a group of local Democrats discussing issues. When discussing some or another issue, one lady piped up and said: "I think someone should shoot all those Republicans with a gun!" That was very telling. And even my instructor said something which was profound in response. She told me she said that before you go off and make statements about the opposing group, substitute the name of the group with any one of several ethnic groups (black people, Hispanics, Jews, Hindus, for example) and see if that same statement would be palatable if you put the name of that ethnic group in.

OH, and though I don't ever advocate violence, particularly against fellow American citizens, I believe it was Patrick Henry who said that we ought to have a revolution every 20 years or so in order to keep government honest! And wasn't it Thomas Jefferson himself who said that the government that governs least, governs best?
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noseatbelt
Champion Author Indiana

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Message Posted: Jul 5, 2013 5:31:57 PM

We have the power to make it better, that is exactly what the people that want smaller, less intrusive government are trying to do, make our government better.

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RNorm
Champion Author San Bernardino

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Message Posted: Jul 5, 2013 1:22:53 PM

"Our representative form of self-government has been hijacked by special interests which have successfully shifted the 'blame' of their ills onto a scapegoat and convinced many to vote against their own better interest.

Government is what we make it. If we don't like it we have no one to blame but ourselves for letting it get that way.

We have the power to make it better. All we have to do is use it."



Bingo and Boom!
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