If you live in Massachusetts, one of the most important votes you'll be casting is for or against proposition 1.
What is proposition 1? It's the right-wing libertarian delusion that the best government is no government. Written by that societal piranha, Grover Norquist, proposition 1 would cut the state income tax by half next year and eliminate it by the following year.
Now let's get this straight, no one likes paying taxes, but running a state costs money. And in this financial climate where the state can expect less revenue from property taxes, sales taxes and income taxes, and when joblessness and homelessness and other societal problems are likely to rise, the proper functioning of the government is even more crucial. Eliminating the income tax can either lead to a decrease in government spending, or an increase in sales and property tax.
But Norquist has another agenda, it's called starve the beast. Just like other libertarian idiots, Norquist is guided by an ideology that sounds fine, but is impractical in the real world. Let's just look at the facts - the American tax payer pays less tax then any other citizen in the Western world, as a result we have the flimsiest social safety net in the world. The result? We pay our teachers peanuts, and our best and brightest citizens find work elsewhere. The lack of adequately trained teachers and other resources means that schools in poor neighborhoods are crappy. Poor education has led to a whole slew of problems, such as increased crime and an increase in the incarceration rate. Our jails are full, and the cost of keeping inmates further drains public resources.
What libertarians fail to appreciate is that their prosperity relies on a well funded government. You need firehouses, police, streets, public sanitation. Without those you would get anarchy. There is exactly one country out there that has no government, it's called Somalia. When you eliminate government all you have left is anarchy.
Look at the history of this great country. After the great depression, FDR rebuilt a strong central government that helped create a middle class. YES THAT'S WHAT MADE AMERICA PROSPEROUS. All of the public institutions created by the Roosevelt administration helped give all Americans an equal opportunity to make a life for themselves. Roosevelt wasn't a socialist, but he did subscribe to Maynard Keynes' economic policies, that of a mixed economy. However, since Reagan the federal institutions have been slowly reduced, defunded and eliminated, the result has been an erosion of the middle class. Just look at this graph of the change of income distribution in gthe past 30 years.
Whereas in the 50s most homes could get away with one income, now you need two working parents just to guaranty that you can pay the bills and have your children go to college.
We've been told that the magic hand of the economy will guide us. That all we really need is greed. And magically we'll all be fine. But the country has been suffering more and more. As small towns across America have been economically devastated, its citizens have been turning to religion and shifting their economic woes onto societal issues. They've been told that their towns are dying because their culture is being attacked by East Cost Liberals, Hollywood, gays and abortionists. Yes secularists are to blame. This is the biggest bait-and-switch ever pulled on this soil.
So the front line in the fight against this ideology for this election now seems to be Massachusetts, of all places. Let's make sure that we defeat dangerous measures like proposition 1.
My gosh. I have never in my life replied to a blog, since I think the entire premise of writing one is rather pathetic and histrionic, but I am am simply amazed that someone so "educated", doing "post-doc" work, could be so ignorant of just about everything. As a libertarian, I don't even know where to start in refuting this misguided bullshit, but I'll go with this gem:
"Let's just look at the facts - the American tax payer pays less tax then any other citizen in the Western world, as a result we have the flimsiest social safety net in the world. The result? We pay our teachers peanuts, and our best and brightest citizens find work elsewhere. The lack of adequately trained teachers and other resources means that schools in poor neighborhoods are crappy."
Let's look at another fact: The countries of Europe, with their super high taxes to fund craddle to grave programs leaves the unemployment rate hovering at around 8-10% year in year out and stagnant economic growth rates. How's that sound to you? If you look at all quality of life indicators (salary, access to health care and education, etc.) the USA outperforms just about all of them (with the exception of maybe Ireland, which coincidentally has had a series of pro-market reforms in the last decade). Look it up: these are facts. Tell me if you still think Europe is such a great place.
Oh, and the statement that teachers are underpaid is just plain false. I can't think of any other job that pays on average of nearly 50 grand a year for only 8 months of work. Please. Perhaps the problem is bureaucracy and the fact that there is no school choice/competition, something for which you can thank Democrat politicians and their pals in the Teacher's Union. If you think school choice is a bad idea, then you are basically damning poor kids to go to shitty schools only because they happen to live in the wrong neighborhood: this is nearly criminal in my book. The problem has nothing to do with low salaries, everything to do with competition and poor government management (which is to be expected of nearly everything government does.)
Now the USA is no perfect place and has tons of huge problems, but facts are facts: capitalism, free trade, low taxes, and decreases in government intervention have dragged billions (yes, that's a b) of people throughout the world out of poverty. Come out of the ivory tower, and see.
I suggest you stick with cell biology, my friend.
I agree - atleast with this -- "What libertarians fail to appreciate is that their prosperity relies on a well funded government."
libertarianism is getting a lot of talk here in India - not in the mainstream press, but atleast among the richer middle classes. i have no problem with some of the ideas, but the notion 'No government' is ridiculous.
Could you let me know where you got the graph from? Thanks
You claim that my post is "ignorant", however let's look at the facts.
1) If you really think that the US is a "capitalist society" you are the one who is delusional my friend. Much of our current government is based on FDR's structural changes from the late 30s and early 40s - we're pretty much a mixed economy that has been drifting rightwards for the past 30 years. Wealth redistribution occurs with every paycheck. With this income your government controls social security, medicare, science funding, the police, the fire department, the parks, lower level education, etc... . Your government just bought up parts of almost every major bank in the country. You are lucky that your society IS NOT operating under a purely capitalist model.
2) Quality of life indicators. Access to health care and education levels are LOWER in the US then in many other Western countries. For anyone who wants to check the stats, go to Google's gapminder. And then you bring up choice/competition, the free marketeers answer to everything, when has this worked for education? Every country that ranks higher then the US in terms of student performance does not employ chartered schools. Health indicators are higher in many other western countries that have universal health care. In other words there's no data backing your assertions, just ideology.
You claim that the problem is poor government management, and this is exactly what Grover Norquist and his fellow operatives advocate. They say that government is the problem and then advise the newly elected GOP officials to disassemble the public institutions. These institutions then go on to fail. A self-fulfilling prophecy. I'm glad that you and libertarians were not in charge of the Marshal plan. This huge government sponsored reconstruction of most of the Western world was a major success, but these days our government full of GOP cronies can't even rebuild a single American city.
How can you be from massachusetts and the embarrassment and bottomless money pit that is the "big dig" hasn't turned you off from any sort of government management.
You said above that the USA is not a capitalist country (a mixed economy), yet you are adamant in proving how terrible capitalism is, using the USA as your example of this idea. I'm sorry, but this is weak logic. I can point to other instances throughout this piece.
i'm going to agree with the first guy who responded to this. He never really claimed that the USA was purely capitalist and never advocated anarchy or the abolition of government entirely. Plus, he never claimed to be a republican i'm not a libertarian and think he was rude, but i do see the merit of most of their economic ideas. If you don't recognize that they are mostly right, you just don't know see the big picture. The economy has so many variables, that there is no way that you can blame the lack of wage increases for lower classes on Reagan. And also, the New Deal is considered by many economists to be a disaster that made the depression much worse than it would have otherwise been. Libertarians are fairly deft at showing how government intervention throughout history leads to problems, whcih are then attempted to be solved with even more government intervention making the problem even worse. The Great Depression (and likely the current situation) are great examples of this. Roosevelt did not get us out of the depression. WW2 did.
Read more here: http://www.reason.com/news/show/images/129580.html
. Just because other countries do not emply school choice does not mean that we shouldn't. In my opinion, all schools should be privatized and those who cannot afford them should receive a stipend to pay for tuition. People don't realize that any govenrment program, from education to health care, is paid for in taxes. Why do we need Uncle Sam running this stuff for us? Are we that incompetent?
Yes, the US is not a capitalist country, but the more it veers towards "smaller government" and the vision of libertarianism, the worse things get. Yes, there are problems with abuse and large public projects such as the big dig, but that doesn't mean that the answer is no government. What is needed is an informed electorate that is willing to punish those that abuse their power. And I do believe that people are upset about the current state of affairs and will punish the GOP. Most of the electorate is comming around to the view that less regulation and a smaller safety net has harmed the country. They are punishing this right-ward shift in our government.
Just look at the last 8 years. Less regulation has led to rampant corruption in the financial sector. Unrestricted short-term greed leads to corruption. You might think that the "invisible hand" of the market will correct this - but just look at what happened in the credit and banking industries, the whole deck of cards came tumbling down.
An unrestricted market is just too volatile and too prone to abuse and corruption. People and businesses need stability. Players in the market are geared towards short term profits and companies that invest long term are actively punished.
Just look at Iraq and New Orleans. A reliance on subcontracting has led to billions of dollars of waste with little to no effect on the lives of the inhabitants of these two disaster areas. The more we head towards libertarianism, the more our society resembles anarchy.
Dude, you reeled in some real live deranged fucking wackaloon libertarian assholes!!! Good job!! These dumbfucks crack me the fuck up!
Everyone knows that government corruption is caused by the infiltration of our public institutions by big business. Here's to smaller businesses and bigger democratic government!!!