Author Topic: What I learned about myself, politics, and those on the other side.  (Read 11114 times)

EnjoyIt

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First about me.  I spend way too much of my life on forums and I write this so as to spend less time in the future. My goal is to make this the last politically oriented thread I ever post in. I am socially liberal and fiscally conservative leaning slightly toward the right.  I would like to think I am generally open minded though I realize most people tend to stick to what they believe no matter the evidence and I'm pretty sure I am no different. Either way, over the last few months I have embarked on some heated debates with the liberals on this forum. Thank you for all those who were willing to engage me, and have discussions about the role of the United States Government. I will admit that some of those discussions have allowed me to see a point of view I seldom see and shown me a little bit of my own hypocrisy. I have even changed some of my thinking thanks to those discussions. Again I thank those willing to have those conversations. I write today because of a comment I read. Ysette9 wrote this amazing post the other day that really strikes home.  Not just for me, but it likely affects every person with an opinion. Which should be everyone.

I find myself thinking personally that so much of what I view as wrong with our society comes down to a lack of ability or willingness to empathize with the plight of others. I can't pretend to know what it is like to be really rich or grow up poor or be a minority. . . .

It is so perfectly true, although I have grown up in poverty, that is not where I am today and am thankful I was able to get an education and get me out. Do I still know what life is like in poverty?  Absolutely not, though I have given plenty of my own opinions on what poverty is and how to manage it. Definitely hypocritical on my part.

The other aspect of discussing politics are those who think there really is some grand side.  Almost like good and evil and you are on the side of good fighting evil.  The commentary of those people is very comical once recognized.  "Those guys on the other side are evil bastards who hate XYZ and only care about QRS." Really? If most of Americans claim to be either Democrat or Republican to paint such a broad brush stroke on a large portion of Americans is pretty pathetic and once recognized is really fun to poke a stick at.  Just like I just did.

To think that some politician who's party says they agree with your values actually has anything more than their own interests in mind is pretty naive.  Outside of a select few, most career politicians are scum catering to the lobbyist that pays them most as long as it doesn't affect their re-election.  This is exactly the reason why we see such difficulty with the ACA and making any beneficial changes to it. Gutting people from health insurance will lose votes.  Doing anything that actually affects cost of delivering healthcare effects lobbyists. The Republicans are fucked no matter what they propose and they know it.

Here is the reality that I see:
Not everyone is equal on this planet. Some people are born in shitty environments such as in poverty in a third world country.  Others are born to loving and encouraging parents with stable jobs somewhere in the developed world. The reality is that life is not fair. So the question then is, how many people do we help and by how much? Is it fair to make someone who earns $100k/yr to pay a little more in taxes so that someone making $15k/yr can have access to healthcare, food, and shelter. Most would say it probably is and is reflected by our progressive tax system. But how much is fair? 1%, 10%, 50% there should be some line where it is unfair to take away the lifestyle the $100k/yr person earned.  What about making someone who earns $15k/yr to give up a few percent so that someone in Uganda can have clean drinking water and drugs to treat their Malaria or River Blindness?  How much do we tax them? 1%, 10%, 50% maybe there is a line there as well. Most who are fiscally conservative don't hate those who make less, we just think there has to be a line and for some that line has been crossed. In my personal opinion I think this has been especially true for middle and upper middle class Americans who have been squeezed the most over the decades. 

On the other side, is it right for a society to allow someone with newly diagnosed cancer to jump through ridiculous hoops in trying to acquire some form of insurance to get treatment delaying care for months sometimes awaiting for the family to be financially devastated? Is it okay that a person who desires full time employment can't make enough money to afford the basic necessities of life such as food, shelter and healthcare?

This is what leads me to my reality.  I make a pretty good income thanks to having loving parents that encouraged education and pushed me to go into medical school. By law I take care of a segment of our population that will never pay me for my time. Outside of the drug addicts I am generally glad to help those who are in need which is about 20-25% of my patients. I pay what feels like a shit ton in taxes. I also pay a lot for my unsubsidized health insurance that has increased by about 300% in the last 3 years and provides even less benefits. Although I want to be able to assist those who are in need in the US, I wonder by how much, and how much more should I be paying? is 30% enough? what about 40%, 50%, 60%?  Where do we draw the line? After all, we can't help everyone especially those poor people in 3rd world countries. Sometimes, maybe life just isn't fair enough for everybody and it sucks, but that is the reality.  Some might say we can help everyone, but the truth is that there is not enough money in the world. Especially if we believe that those who worked for something should have some benefit to their labor despite the unfairness of the world.

I really want to do my part in making our society a better place, but where is the line?  I honestly do not know that answer.  Sure I can afford another couple of percentage points in taxes, but how much more is actually fair and will that extra money amount to anything worthwhile? Currently I get to choose how much I work and actively adjust my schedule so as to minimize the chance of hitting the next tax bracket. I can't say for sure, but if taxes went up significantly I probably would work even less. Considering there is a shortage of physicians in the world that is probably not good for our society.

I think all this as I see our government do the most outrages and counterproductive things. For example, we incarcerate non violent drug offenders. Instead of rehabilitating them, we make them lifetime criminals.  I'm sure you know,  prisons are big business costing the government $27 billion a year and they have some great lobbyists.  Instead of making healthcare more affordable we argue about who will pay for it because "more affordable" will cut the profits from the healthcare industry. We talk about getting out of the Middle East, but instead bomb more countries and then build tanks that no one asked for. Our congress is not on the side of the people. It is in the pockets of crony capitalists. And I don't care if you are a Democrat or a Republican, there is a pretty good chance that the people you voted for are scum.
« Last Edit: July 13, 2017, 07:21:16 AM by EnjoyIt »

bonkers40

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Re: What I learned about myself, politics, and those on the other side.
« Reply #1 on: July 13, 2017, 04:30:36 AM »
I didn't read any of that.

h82goslw

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Re: What I learned about myself, politics, and those on the other side.
« Reply #2 on: July 13, 2017, 05:29:09 AM »
I didn't read any of that.

😄😄😄

EnjoyIt

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Re: What I learned about myself, politics, and those on the other side.
« Reply #3 on: July 13, 2017, 07:10:09 AM »
I didn't read any of that.

I don't blame you, it is a ton of crap. I needed to vent and this will be the last political forum post I ever make so if it dies with no one reading then that is just fine with me.  Thanks for clicking though.

Gunny

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Re: What I learned about myself, politics, and those on the other side.
« Reply #4 on: July 13, 2017, 07:47:02 AM »
I read it and I agree.  You and I are very closely aligned politically.  The truest points you make are that politicians are politicians.  Their own interests far outweigh the interests of their constituents.  As a local politician I see this at the lowest level of government. All other points of what is fair/unfair, how much tax is enough, the ails of poverty and medical care, etc, etc...could all be better served/solved if politicians weren't politicians.  I think conservatives and liberals want the same ends. (End suffering, level the playing field, help fellow man.)  Our means are just different.  And politicians use that to posture, fear monger, and LIE to hold their offices.  Just my $.02.

rbuck

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Re: What I learned about myself, politics, and those on the other side.
« Reply #5 on: July 13, 2017, 08:41:05 AM »
I think arguing over politics is pointless because we aren't talking about truly opposing political parties. You're basically choosing between Coke and Pepsi. For me I enjoy talking about specific policies and how they impact the country. I think that this can sometimes move us past party affiliations and get to the person's view on individual rights versus or collective rights, as well as, issues such as negative versus positive rights. It sometimes allows us to talk about the actual effects of these policies without betraying the party line. These issues are much more interesting to me. I might be an outlier in this respect since I pretty much disagree with over half each parties platform.

Liberty Stache

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Re: What I learned about myself, politics, and those on the other side.
« Reply #6 on: July 13, 2017, 08:58:11 AM »
Well written. I completely agree about politicians being scum. I typically tell people that there is only one political party in the US, not two, as both sides are controlled by big money and not by what the people want.

I think arguing over politics is pointless because we aren't talking about truly opposing political parties. You're basically choosing between Coke and Pepsi.

Yup, +1
"Sloth, like rust, consumes faster than labor wears, while the used key is always bright" ~Benjamin Franklin, The Way to Wealth

Scandium

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Re: What I learned about myself, politics, and those on the other side.
« Reply #7 on: July 13, 2017, 09:29:19 AM »
...middle and upper middle class Americans who have been squeezed the most over the decades. 

This made me lol. The lack of emphaty/understanding is a problem, but I think a bigger is issue is that people live in separate realities, there's not such thing as facts. E.g. Upper class americans are the richest in the world, with the lowest tax rates. In fact the lowest in recent history. But have the world's largest military and other government responsibilities people demand. Yet the right talk of crushing/confiscatory taxes etc. If they said "taxes are low, and should stay that way" I might listen. (for the record I'm fairly fiscally conservative, or classically liberal.). Climate change another obvious example. Basically what used to be cooky conspiracies are now mainstream in many cases.

Bucksandreds

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Re: What I learned about myself, politics, and those on the other side.
« Reply #8 on: July 13, 2017, 09:35:10 AM »
Well written. I completely agree about politicians being scum. I typically tell people that there is only one political party in the US, not two, as both sides are controlled by big money and not by what the people want.

I think arguing over politics is pointless because we aren't talking about truly opposing political parties. You're basically choosing between Coke and Pepsi.

Yup, +1

Both suck if that's what you mean by Coke and Pepsi. If you mean that both desire the same ends then I disagree.  One party does everything they can to put more money into the pockets of those who already have a lot.  The other party is deeply flawed and may look the other way to some degree about abuses of entitlements.  But I see a vast chasm between the ends desired by the two major parties.

Well thought out overall post, however by my good friend Enjoyit.

jooniFLORisploo

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Re: What I learned about myself, politics, and those on the other side.
« Reply #9 on: July 13, 2017, 09:41:33 AM »
Yep, enjoyed the opening post (and comments).

Three of my favourite aspects are:

1. You engaged in discussions on the forum, even though lots of people are rude and immature in certain threads.

2. You opened yourself to learning, to new points of views, to new perspectives, and developed more awareness.

3. You noted when you needed to set a boundary re: participating further.

All of that rocks.

rbuck

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Re: What I learned about myself, politics, and those on the other side.
« Reply #10 on: July 13, 2017, 10:34:38 AM »
 Both suck if that's what you mean by Coke and Pepsi. If you mean that both desire the same ends then I disagree.  One party does everything they can to put more money into the pockets of those who already have a lot.  The other party is deeply flawed and may look the other way to some degree about abuses of entitlements.  But I see a vast chasm between the ends desired by the two major parties.

Well thought out overall post, however by my good friend Enjoyit. [/quote]

There is a vast chasm between what both parties say and how they act.

The Republican Party would have you believe that personal freedom, freedom to contract, and limited government allows all parties to make educated decisions regarding personal and business decisions that will result in a lifting of all boats. As a disclosure this tends to me by view of things as well, though for practical matters I don't believe this will actually ever come to pass. That being said they routinely talk stances against this platform. If we talk about gay marriage, abortion, drug use, and prostitution they don't seem to like personal freedom at all. Also this is the party that started the bank bailouts after the mortgage crash, rather than allowing those companies to go bankrupt.

The Democrat Party states that they believe in helping the poor and middle class by asking the wealthy to pay more, restricting business practices that they feel exploitative, and having technocrats driving change in society. Again how they act it quite different. They have no problems lining the pockets of the rich if they support or exemplify some Democratic cause (Telsa, GE, Solyndra to name a few).

Again both parties are deeply flawed. I remember Rick Santorum saying something along the lines that the Founders never believed that someone had privacy in their own bedroom when talking about gay marriage. Also see Bernie Sanders complaining about the number of deodorant brands in a society with hungry kids, and owning three homes. What I want to talk about is the actual policies that we believe will help the middle and lower classes and whether they will actually work.

JumpInTheFIRE

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Re: What I learned about myself, politics, and those on the other side.
« Reply #11 on: July 13, 2017, 11:12:36 AM »
Great post, EnjoyIt.  The basic problem with the political system in this country is the voting system.  The first-past-the-post system that the US uses pretty much guarantees that there can only be two viable political parties.  Occasionally a new party will supplant one of the existing parties but there can only ever be two major parties in this system.  The politicians LOVE it because they can use human's natural tribalism to pit the party members against each other, using "wedge issues", gerrymandering and other tactics.  I think most people have a more nuanced view of the issues but the voting system makes it impossible to vote on issues, the most a person can do is vote for a party platform.  Both major parties have been coopted by business and lobbyists, no matter their rhetoric during election season when it comes to actual votes they both always vote in favor of business.  For example, the ACA was a huge handout to the health insurance industry from the left, and Medicare part D was a huge handout for the pharma industry from the right.  If the left truly wanted healthcare for all they would have passed single-payer, if the right truly wanted affordable prescription drugs for seniors they wouldn't have banned Medicare negotiating prices. 

The only way this will ever change is by changing the voting system to one where multiple parties are viable, but since such a change would require the cooperation of the people who directly benefit from the status quo it will never happen (just like campaign finance reform or congressional term limits).  I am at the point where I am mostly checked out on political issues, I have pretty much given up hope that the system can ever be changed.  I think the politicians will continue to loot and pillage until they finally kill the country, it seems unstoppable at this point.  The most I can do is try to move from the labor class to the capital class so I can at least reap some of the benefits that Congress gives business. 

jeninco

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Re: What I learned about myself, politics, and those on the other side.
« Reply #12 on: July 13, 2017, 11:18:51 AM »
My grandmother (who was a long-time State Senator, in an era before continual fund-raising was necessary for everyone) used to say that "politicians" and "public servants" were not the same thing.

She was far on the "public servant" side: she helped integrate the schools in her (semi-southern) state, massively expand the community college system, help bring in mental health services -- you know, the stuff that needs to be done by government. (This was a state where an entire school district CLOSED DOWN for several years rather than integrate.)  As far as I know, everyone loved (or at least admired) her -- except unrepentant racists, who were intimidated enough by her moral authority to be quiet in her vicinity.

I miss grandma. However, I believe that there are some other folks out there who also view themselves as "Public Servants" -- unfortunately, because of the constant fundraising needs and special-interest-financed advertising now, it's really hard for those folks to get/stay elected, and to make the hard decisions that need to be made.

My personal opinion is that I'd rather have less disposable income and have a health-care safety net. It makes me no happier to know that my neighbors are one major injury or disease away from loosing their houses, and I'd be happier knowing that my family is covered at least for typical health care needs. We live in a fairly modest house, and it's easy to look around Hippistan and see people in houses that are 3-4 times as large and expensive as ours and think about what might happen if they lived slightly less large and contributed slightly more to their communities (local, regional, national, and world).

I guess I lean more toward Scandinavia -- Less opulence for a few, more basic living standards for everyone.

And I agree with rbuck's last paragraph.
What I want to talk about is the actual policies that we believe will help the middle and lower classes and whether they will actually work.


Liberty Stache

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Re: What I learned about myself, politics, and those on the other side.
« Reply #13 on: July 13, 2017, 11:25:29 AM »
Well written. I completely agree about politicians being scum. I typically tell people that there is only one political party in the US, not two, as both sides are controlled by big money and not by what the people want.

I think arguing over politics is pointless because we aren't talking about truly opposing political parties. You're basically choosing between Coke and Pepsi.

Yup, +1

Both suck if that's what you mean by Coke and Pepsi. If you mean that both desire the same ends then I disagree.  One party does everything they can to put more money into the pockets of those who already have a lot.  The other party is deeply flawed and may look the other way to some degree about abuses of entitlements.  But I see a vast chasm between the ends desired by the two major parties.

Well thought out overall post, however by my good friend Enjoyit.

Yes, both parties do suck, partly for different reasons as you mentioned but they also both suck for the same reason: they are (mostly) controlled by big money.
"Sloth, like rust, consumes faster than labor wears, while the used key is always bright" ~Benjamin Franklin, The Way to Wealth

sisto

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Re: What I learned about myself, politics, and those on the other side.
« Reply #14 on: July 13, 2017, 11:51:43 AM »
Great post!
Jack of all trades, master of none

scantee

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Re: What I learned about myself, politics, and those on the other side.
« Reply #15 on: July 13, 2017, 11:52:46 AM »
I am a lifelong public servant (quasi-public servant at this point, I work exclusively on federal and state government contracts but not directly for the government) and my experience is that most people don't really understand the scope of what the government does. My belief is that this lack of understanding is what contributes to a lot of knee-jerk attitudes that the government and both parties are terrible. The federal government is much, much more than the legislature and presidency, even though those are the two things that most people think of first when they hear the word "government". State governments, too, are much more than the Departments of Motor Vehicles or Transportation, but long wait times to get a driver's license and expensive road construction are immediately what pops into people's mind when they think of their state government.

One thing I've experienced numerous times is that someone will rail against the government, or wasteful government spending, then I'll say, "well, I work for the government, here's what I do!" And after hearing about what I do, everyone always says, no, no, no, what you do is very valuable and worthy of government spending and they are thankful that there are people like me who do that work. It's just that other government spending they think is wasteful. But there are a lot of other government programs like mine that they know nothing about, staffed with dedicated people like me, toiling away trying to make things just a little bit better on the margins. And it can be disheartening to have that brushed aside as wasteful or "both parties suck" simply because it is government work.

Probably the very best thing you can do is to get involved in some way. Be an election judge. Sit on your county planning board. Run to be on school board. Do something. It's easy to sit on the internet and say "both parties suck!" and leave it up to other people to be responsible for the actual change. It's much harder, and also much more satisfying, to get involved and dedicate yourself to making your community a better place, even if it is in just one small way, in only your little corner of the world.

jooniFLORisploo

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Re: What I learned about myself, politics, and those on the other side.
« Reply #16 on: July 13, 2017, 02:58:08 PM »
^ I do several of those things, scantee, but still see a lot of waste, awful policy, inefficiency, corruption, etc.

I would actually say that serving has just let me see it close up, in detail. One of my greatest challenges has been staying in the game enough to do the work "even though" the system is so awful. I know a lot of people who have really grappled from the same position -some opting out and some deciding that as poorly organized as things are, they can still do something from within.

Wexler

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Re: What I learned about myself, politics, and those on the other side.
« Reply #17 on: July 13, 2017, 03:32:24 PM »
Currently I get to choose how much I work and actively adjust my schedule so as to minimize the chance of hitting the next tax bracket. I can't say for sure, but if taxes went up significantly I probably would work even less. Considering there is a shortage of physicians in the world that is probably not good for our society.

This really struck me, and I just wanted to make sure that you weren't operating under a fairly common misunderstanding of marginal tax rates.  Reeducating people on this is one of my self-appointed life missions, so please bear with me if this is all old news to you, just in case there is anyone reading who can benefit from this information. 

When you "hit" the next tax bracket, your tax burden will likely be relatively unchanged. I'm making some educated guesses, but I'm guessing that, since you aren't in the top bracket, you are in the next one down.  When you go from 449,999 in taxable income to 450,001, only the single dollar over 450,000 is subject to the increase.  For the top tax bracket, that's a 3% change relative to the next one down.  In one example, if your taxable income goes from 415k to 500k, you'd pay an extra $1500 in taxes for an extra 85k in gross earnings (about 50k after tax) relative to the next lower tax bracket (50k over 450k and taxed at 39% rather than 36%).  Maybe that extra $1500 is the proverbial straw for you, and that's cool. 

I guess I think of it more as income vs. time, and taxes are such a small part of the change that they aren't as important as the consideration of how much is my time worth vs. how much is the income worth.  If the income were more important than my time at a rate of 36%, that would likely still hold true at 39%, if that makes sense.  However, there are certainly tax rates and increases for which that wouldn't hold true. 

EnjoyIt

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Re: What I learned about myself, politics, and those on the other side.
« Reply #18 on: July 13, 2017, 04:42:35 PM »
Currently I get to choose how much I work and actively adjust my schedule so as to minimize the chance of hitting the next tax bracket. I can't say for sure, but if taxes went up significantly I probably would work even less. Considering there is a shortage of physicians in the world that is probably not good for our society.

This really struck me, and I just wanted to make sure that you weren't operating under a fairly common misunderstanding of marginal tax rates.  Reeducating people on this is one of my self-appointed life missions, so please bear with me if this is all old news to you, just in case there is anyone reading who can benefit from this information. 

When you "hit" the next tax bracket, your tax burden will likely be relatively unchanged. I'm making some educated guesses, but I'm guessing that, since you aren't in the top bracket, you are in the next one down.  When you go from 449,999 in taxable income to 450,001, only the single dollar over 450,000 is subject to the increase.  For the top tax bracket, that's a 3% change relative to the next one down.  In one example, if your taxable income goes from 415k to 500k, you'd pay an extra $1500 in taxes for an extra 85k in gross earnings (about 50k after tax) relative to the next lower tax bracket (50k over 450k and taxed at 39% rather than 36%).  Maybe that extra $1500 is the proverbial straw for you, and that's cool. 

I guess I think of it more as income vs. time, and taxes are such a small part of the change that they aren't as important as the consideration of how much is my time worth vs. how much is the income worth.  If the income were more important than my time at a rate of 36%, that would likely still hold true at 39%, if that makes sense.  However, there are certainly tax rates and increases for which that wouldn't hold true.

I see where my comment made you think I may not understand marginal vs effective tax.  I get it completely I realize that only every additional dollar earned at that tax bracket will be taxed at that rare. Also keep in mind as your income increases you start to hit the pease exemption that turns into a 3% increase in taxes.  Also you end up hitting Obamacare surtax adding another 0.9% to medicare and 3.8% to investment income.  The tax jumps up significantly at that level on each additional dollar earned making me completely not interested in spending another hour of my life for a fraction of what I make on the other hours of the year. 

golden1

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Re: What I learned about myself, politics, and those on the other side.
« Reply #19 on: July 13, 2017, 08:24:05 PM »
Reading this vs. reading other posts you have made, I don’t think you have learned very much honestly.  It’s probably a good idea you stop wasting your time making political posts because I doubt you are going to grow from the experience.

DeanHedlund

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Re: What I learned about myself, politics, and those on the other side.
« Reply #20 on: July 13, 2017, 11:25:32 PM »
Reading this vs. reading other posts you have made, I don’t think you have learned very much honestly.  It’s probably a good idea you stop wasting your time making political posts because I doubt you are going to grow from the experience.
+1

Eludia

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Re: What I learned about myself, politics, and those on the other side.
« Reply #21 on: July 14, 2017, 12:46:15 AM »
I can understand where you are coming from, in some ways.  I grew up lower middle class and I'm doing very well now.  I'm not a doctor, but I make something like doctor money.  We live fairly frugally for our income level, saving 60-70% of it.  But where I differ from you in views is I am Liberal socially and financially. 

In my view, conservatives have a view that money is a fixed thing.  There is only so much money and why should I give some (or usually to hear conservatives ANY) of my share to anyone else.  Screw them they didn't earn it.  Right?  I have a former ultra conservative friend who thinks all taxation is theft.  Literally all.  He's worked for the government most of his life and gets 100% disability pension and VA medical for life.  He does not see the irony and no he does not refuse the benefits.  This is typical conservatism now.  I get what's mine from the government because I earned it but to hell with everyone else. 

For the most part that is bullshit.  Money is not a fixed thing.  Money is created all the time out of thin air.  Not just at the Fed either.  AAPL goes up $1 and billions are created.  Money is created all the time and there is plenty of money to make our society function in a way that no one starves, and everyone has a roof over their head and for those that need them, chances to succeed and contribute to society. 

Somehow its become "evil" to be liberal enough to believe we as a society should do that.  As if some poor child born with a debilitating disease has any chance to "earn" anything.  Or someone who has become sick later in life, or someone born to a meth addicted mother.  Or where someone makes a mistake or two, commits a crime, or whatever.  There are plenty of circumstances where people fuck up or get fucked and have no chance unless society bands together to help them. 

I pay a fortune in taxes too.  It chaps my ass to see us spending hundreds of billions on fighter jets that don't work and aren't needed.  Or endless other programs in government that are truly awful wastes that are nothing more than boondoggles to campaign contributors.  Yet, our "conservative" politicians rail against providing food for the poor, meals on wheels and want to take health care away from people.  Please. 

We create money from thin air.  Within reason, we can just create more of it.  "Printing Money" is not a bad thing.  Taxation is not a bad thing.  It is how our country pays for things.  It is a tool that can be abused sure but we have the ability to provide as a society for everyone.  The problem really is that people on the conservative side see this as theft, when really, its contributing to the greater good for all of us. 

Imagine if every one of your patients had a stable job and single payer health care.  You would get paid something through single payer for them, and likely (because America and profits) co-pays and deductibles from every patient.    It is entirely possible.  Lots of advanced nations do that.  Now you get paid for 100% of your patients instead of 70%.  Yeah your taxes might be high, maybe even a couple % higher than they are now, but you're income just went up 50% too because you're getting paid for all your work now.   Yeah, I know its not that simple, but you get the idea.  Imagine how many lives and families are destroyed each year by medical bills.  Or by just not going to the doctor or hospital out of fear of those bills?  Its millions of people.  We could fix that, tomorrow, as a nation.  Yeah, it might cost high income people like you and I something, but it is worth it. 

It is a basic idea that not only helps society, it helps businesses, doctors, and everyone in our nation.  Literally everyone.  I've done the math before, if you took all the government and private spending on medical care and insurance its trillions per year.  It is way way more than enough to fund a complete nationwide health care single payer system.  Cheaper than what is being done now and it solves a huge societal problem.  This is liberal thinking. 

It makes sense, but it runs against the conservative mind set of I get to keep what is mine and fuck everyone else.  The problem is as a nation we are selfish and greedy.  Too many of us want what's ours and to hell with everyone else.  That's no way to succeed as a society. 

I realize that this probably comes off as offensive.  I also realize that not all conservatives are this extreme, but it is definitely the flavor of the day of conservatism.  It is the idea that every man should be for themselves and that no one should be forced to contribute to society.  Well.  Its BS because we are all part of society and despite our delusions, society helps us become who we are.  You could not treat patients without roads, hospitals, ambulances, your education, water, power, sewage systems, police, etc.  We all rely on society, and we should all contribute and want to make it better.



chemistk

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Re: What I learned about myself, politics, and those on the other side.
« Reply #22 on: July 14, 2017, 05:52:02 AM »
Good short read. I love listening to honest viewpoints. I tend to agree with a lot of what you do (maybe a tinge closer to socially conservative).

I'll share my 3 thoughts:

1) My biggest issue with "the line" is that I don't want to have others tell me what's acceptable, but I also don't want to tell others what's acceptable, either. Let me choose how, where, and when I decide to contribute back to society. Tax me the same as you would others, don't let anyone game the system. If I win the lottery - yeah take 50%, i don't care - I lucked into that. But if I work my butt off to earn $100k in a year, I don't want someone else deciding what's too much.

2) Most politicians are scum.

3) I forgot what I was going to say. Let's not discuss politics and instead let's discuss alcohol. Good? Good.

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Re: What I learned about myself, politics, and those on the other side.
« Reply #23 on: July 14, 2017, 05:00:24 PM »
We all rely on society, and we should all contribute and want to make it better.

Unfortunately an ever increasing number of us are not contributing. I believe its because some prefer the life of gaming the system rather than working/contributing. I meet these folks regularly when they apply as tenants. I used to be surprised that a seemingly healthy young/middle aged couple would fill out a rental contract and have no jobs. Its quite common for me to see these applications where income is solely from both spouses government disability payments, food stamps, and cash assistance. They don't have much, that's for sure. Just enough to get by. They seem to live quite frugally. Similar to mustachians on this forum.

A Definite Beta Guy

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Re: What I learned about myself, politics, and those on the other side.
« Reply #24 on: July 15, 2017, 07:38:31 AM »
I can understand where you are coming from, in some ways.  I grew up lower middle class and I'm doing very well now.  I'm not a doctor, but I make something like doctor money.  We live fairly frugally for our income level, saving 60-70% of it.  But where I differ from you in views is I am Liberal socially and financially. 

In my view, conservatives have a view that money is a fixed thing.  There is only so much money and why should I give some (or usually to hear conservatives ANY) of my share to anyone else.  Screw them they didn't earn it.  Right?  I have a former ultra conservative friend who thinks all taxation is theft.  Literally all.  He's worked for the government most of his life and gets 100% disability pension and VA medical for life.  He does not see the irony and no he does not refuse the benefits.  This is typical conservatism now.  I get what's mine from the government because I earned it but to hell with everyone else. 

For the most part that is bullshit.  Money is not a fixed thing.  Money is created all the time out of thin air.  Not just at the Fed either.  AAPL goes up $1 and billions are created.  Money is created all the time and there is plenty of money to make our society function in a way that no one starves, and everyone has a roof over their head and for those that need them, chances to succeed and contribute to society. 

Somehow its become "evil" to be liberal enough to believe we as a society should do that.  As if some poor child born with a debilitating disease has any chance to "earn" anything.  Or someone who has become sick later in life, or someone born to a meth addicted mother.  Or where someone makes a mistake or two, commits a crime, or whatever.  There are plenty of circumstances where people fuck up or get fucked and have no chance unless society bands together to help them. 

I pay a fortune in taxes too.  It chaps my ass to see us spending hundreds of billions on fighter jets that don't work and aren't needed.  Or endless other programs in government that are truly awful wastes that are nothing more than boondoggles to campaign contributors.  Yet, our "conservative" politicians rail against providing food for the poor, meals on wheels and want to take health care away from people.  Please. 

We create money from thin air.  Within reason, we can just create more of it.  "Printing Money" is not a bad thing.  Taxation is not a bad thing.  It is how our country pays for things.  It is a tool that can be abused sure but we have the ability to provide as a society for everyone.  The problem really is that people on the conservative side see this as theft, when really, its contributing to the greater good for all of us. 

Imagine if every one of your patients had a stable job and single payer health care.  You would get paid something through single payer for them, and likely (because America and profits) co-pays and deductibles from every patient.    It is entirely possible.  Lots of advanced nations do that.  Now you get paid for 100% of your patients instead of 70%.  Yeah your taxes might be high, maybe even a couple % higher than they are now, but you're income just went up 50% too because you're getting paid for all your work now.   Yeah, I know its not that simple, but you get the idea.  Imagine how many lives and families are destroyed each year by medical bills.  Or by just not going to the doctor or hospital out of fear of those bills?  Its millions of people.  We could fix that, tomorrow, as a nation.  Yeah, it might cost high income people like you and I something, but it is worth it. 

It is a basic idea that not only helps society, it helps businesses, doctors, and everyone in our nation.  Literally everyone.  I've done the math before, if you took all the government and private spending on medical care and insurance its trillions per year.  It is way way more than enough to fund a complete nationwide health care single payer system.  Cheaper than what is being done now and it solves a huge societal problem.  This is liberal thinking. 

It makes sense, but it runs against the conservative mind set of I get to keep what is mine and fuck everyone else.  The problem is as a nation we are selfish and greedy.  Too many of us want what's ours and to hell with everyone else.  That's no way to succeed as a society. 

I realize that this probably comes off as offensive.  I also realize that not all conservatives are this extreme, but it is definitely the flavor of the day of conservatism.  It is the idea that every man should be for themselves and that no one should be forced to contribute to society.  Well.  Its BS because we are all part of society and despite our delusions, society helps us become who we are.  You could not treat patients without roads, hospitals, ambulances, your education, water, power, sewage systems, police, etc.  We all rely on society, and we should all contribute and want to make it better.

From my conservative perspective, liberals have the belief that money grows on trees, which is what you are quite literally saying in the bolded.

Money is a medium of exchange. It is indeed unlimited. The counterpoint is that the actual supply of goods is not unlimited, anymore than the number of hours in a day is. We can grow the supply of goods over-time, with productivity gains, but we're talking an additional .8-1% per year per capita (or less!)

You can print out money to buy whatever you want, but the ending result is massive inflation. Money may grow on trees but physical goods don't. Well, some do, but it takes water to grow trees, along with good soil, fertilizer, intense farm capital, etc.
 
Political discussions are fun enough to have, but I'm not a big believer in them really changing much of anything. Politics are influenced much more strongly by opinion leaders: newspaper columnists, radio talk show hosts, magazine writers, TV talking heads, etc. Political discussions are more a means of personal expression than anything else. Which is fine, people like to express themselves.

I am a bit cynical, but not about the two parties: I've been okay with both party leadership until relatively recently, and even then both sides aren't that bad. Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer are both smart, level-headed guys, and I trust both of them much more than I trust the average American citizen. I've honestly never understood the extreme hatred directed towards the Presidents in my life (Clinton, Bush, Obama....okay I understand Trump a bit more). All of them are dramatically more informed, more tempered, and more intelligent than the vast majority of American citizens, and seem to have done what they thought is best, in a pretty moderate manner. Politics is incredibly hard.

The actual problems, IMO, come from the population. I live in a Blue State among some pretty well-off Millennials who are whining because of the recent Illinois tax increase. WTF did you think was going to happen? Why do I, a Republican, have an easier time swallowing this tax increase than you, who voted for this? You live in a big house and make over $100,000 a year, yeah, you're going to pay more in tax.

People who live in Red States can probably come up with similar examples of people whining about government assistance yet still absorbing massive amounts of Medicare or Medicaid. I see a bunch of crazy-ass Red Staters on my Facebook feed all the time, and even my "smart" (R) friends fall for all the stupid conspiracy theories (his name was Seth Rich!)


fuzzy math

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Re: What I learned about myself, politics, and those on the other side.
« Reply #25 on: July 15, 2017, 08:01:35 AM »
EnjoyIt, I do not know your specific hospital's employment situation, but I am going to guess here, so please let me know if I am wrong.

Did you choose to be a private contractor instead of signing on as a hospital employee? If you did so for the increase in $$, it does come at a cost, which is paying for Unsubsidized health care. I am guessing though that you still came out ahead, in which case, perhaps a bit of reflection about your success in this situation is warranted.
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jeninco

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Re: What I learned about myself, politics, and those on the other side.
« Reply #26 on: July 15, 2017, 09:40:40 AM »
This thread has also reminded me to make my regular public service announcement about False Equivalence: Please don't. Seriously.

Conspiring with Russians to undermine the legitimacy of the US election system is not comparable to giving a fundraising speech to Wall Street Bankers.  Using deliberately misleading "evidence" to start a never-ending war in the Middle East is not the same as trying (and failing) to rescue American hostages in Somalia.  Lying to strip health care away from millions of poor people is not the same as ... um, actually, I'm coming up empty on this one. Um, not engaging in a process that's about to strip health care from millions of poor people?

Every time I read a thread where people start up on the "all politicians are crooked" chant, I have to remember that they aren't. And I'm sorry, but Bill Clinton having (inappropriate and ill-advised) sex with a willing intern is completely different from the Trump family's systematic destruction of all standards of decency, ethics, and conflict of interests.

fuzzy math

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Re: What I learned about myself, politics, and those on the other side
« Reply #27 on: July 15, 2017, 10:35:41 AM »

Unfortunately an ever increasing number of us are not contributing. I believe its because some prefer the life of gaming the system rather than working/contributing. I meet these folks regularly when they apply as tenants. I used to be surprised that a seemingly healthy young/middle aged couple would fill out a rental contract and have no jobs. Its quite common for me to see these applications where income is solely from both spouses government disability payments, food stamps, and cash assistance. They don't have much, that's for sure. Just enough to get by. They seem to live quite frugally. Similar to mustachians on this forum.

I'm sure that your potential tenants would be thrilled to hear that you are judging their lives.

You also seem to be falling into a typical republican logistical fallacy to assume that they are not legitimately disabled?. Looks can be deceiving. There are tons of illnesses that don't present with wheelchairs, missing limbs, or visible portable oxygen tanks. There's a great story that helps to illustrate this point.
https://butyoudontlooksick.com/articles/written-by-christine/the-spoon-theory/

My dad went on disability around age 58, having had multiple spinal surgeries, and living in constant pain. The disability process requires 10 months without income, and many many visits to the Dr. First you visit your personal Dr, they have to find a compelling reason to write your disability paperwork. It's not exactly a treat for them, and I can't imagine that many Drs (read EnjoyIt's personal philosophy above) will just help people game the system. Then, if you are deemed worthy, you go through the process of being evaluated by disability agency Drs.

You are ONLY APPROVED IF:
- your disability is expected to last longer than a year
- your disability will kill you
- you've actually worked a certain number of hours in the previous few years (so no, the non working don't qualify)

The only person who I've heard of getting fast tracked for disability had ALS. (Lou Gehrig's disease). Everyone else goes through hell.

After you're approved, you have to submit tons of paperwork to show a continuing disability OR YOU LOSE YOUR BENEFITS. Fortunately, the govt has created a huge resource that explains the process: https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10029.pdf According to this resource, 1 in 4 people will become disabled before full retirement age.

If you are choosing to assume that people are inherently cheating the system and undeserving of what they are getting, the world can look like a really fucked up place. If you assume that people are generally good, and the govt is doing a reasonable job of vetting these people, then the world all of a sudden is less US vs. THEM, GIVERS vs. TAKERS, etc. Unless you were personally involved in someone's disability application, who are you to assume you know more than the professionals who initially screened them, and the reviewers who approved them?
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shenlong55

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Re: What I learned about myself, politics, and those on the other side.
« Reply #28 on: July 15, 2017, 12:45:23 PM »
This thread has also reminded me to make my regular public service announcement about False Equivalence: Please don't. Seriously.

Conspiring with Russians to undermine the legitimacy of the US election system is not comparable to giving a fundraising speech to Wall Street Bankers.  Using deliberately misleading "evidence" to start a never-ending war in the Middle East is not the same as trying (and failing) to rescue American hostages in Somalia.  Lying to strip health care away from millions of poor people is not the same as ... um, actually, I'm coming up empty on this one. Um, not engaging in a process that's about to strip health care from millions of poor people?

Every time I read a thread where people start up on the "all politicians are crooked" chant, I have to remember that they aren't. And I'm sorry, but Bill Clinton having (inappropriate and ill-advised) sex with a willing intern is completely different from the Trump family's systematic destruction of all standards of decency, ethics, and conflict of interests.

+1

You can print out money to buy whatever you want, but the ending result is massive inflation.

You say this as if the printing of money is happening in a vacuum.  Sure, printing money increases the money supply, but the government also has plenty of tools to decrease the money supply when needed and/or otherwise manage the inflation that comes from that increase.

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« Last Edit: July 15, 2017, 02:12:21 PM by shenlong55 »

aspiringnomad

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Re: What I learned about myself, politics, and those on the other side.
« Reply #29 on: July 15, 2017, 12:46:00 PM »
From my conservative perspective, liberals have the belief that money grows on trees, which is what you are quite literally saying in the bolded.

Money is a medium of exchange. It is indeed unlimited. The counterpoint is that the actual supply of goods is not unlimited, anymore than the number of hours in a day is. We can grow the supply of goods over-time, with productivity gains, but we're talking an additional .8-1% per year per capita (or less!)

True, we're not yet in a post-scarcity world, but at least in advanced economies we should by now be at a point where we can say that some rich and upper-middle class citizens will have to forgo a few frivolous Amazon deliveries in order to ensure that all of their fellow citizens have some basic level of health insurance, for example. I wish that was not a controversial viewpoint in this country.

I view myself as very centrist, maybe even slightly right-leaning by most Western standards, which puts me left-of-center here in the US. Unfortunately, the voices of the many independents in this country and the centrists in both parties have been drowned out lately. There are certainly problems with both extremes, but they are not nearly equivalent in my view because the extreme view on the right seems to carry sway with that party more often. And that side's base is comprised of too many folks who wholly mistrust science and expertise and seem to lack empathy for anyone outside their family or social circle.

Those are terrible qualities to have, as individuals and as citizens of this great country. It makes it impossible to have a reasonable conversation about policy because one side refuses to accept even the most basic facts, and then covers their eyes and ears when told of others' perspectives. That approach to life seems (to me anyway) to be more prevalent among older conservatives, so I'm still hopeful for the long-term future of the country.


vivian

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Re: What I learned about myself, politics, and those on the other side.
« Reply #30 on: July 16, 2017, 06:29:57 AM »
What is missing from your post is any recognition of the basic difference in perspective of conservatives and liberals (in current US context).  There are two main ones. Conservatives believe in personal responsibility and that there clear distinctions that can be made (things are easily classified as right or wrong). Liberals believe in the interconnectedness of people and that situations are full of shades of grey. For example, the whole point about defining the "line" of how much someone who is well off should pay assumes (1) that this is a zero sum game and (2) those who can't afford to take care of self are doing something "wrong". I disagree with both of those assumptions. As an upper middle class person on the liberal side, I support spending on social programs not because I want to "help the less fortunate" but because doing so actually helps me. We are all connected. I also realize that if a few things had gone differently in my life, I would be in a different position.

To make this concrete, I don't support universal health care as an altruistic idea. But because myself (who has always been covered by relatively generous employer provided) would be better off if everyone in our society had access to basic level care. Just like I am better off if everyone is educated well.

Another concrete example outside of health care. Many states have adopted policies to test people getting welfare so people taking illegal drugs don't get public funds. The rationale is that we shouldn't support "wrong" things. OK. But if you look at the actual implementation of those programs, we spend more public money drug testing than what is saved in the few positive drug tests that deny people benefits. So, if the goal was actually lower taxes, the policy is a bad one. But it is a success from the conservative perspective of separating the "right" from the "wrong". 


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libertarian4321

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Re: What I learned about myself, politics, and those on the other side.
« Reply #31 on: July 17, 2017, 12:28:26 AM »
The OP and several of the others on this thread sound very libertarian/Libertarian.

I can understand being fed up with the major parties.  I once believed the Republican BS claiming that they support smaller government, less spending, and lower taxes, but time and time again, they have proven that they don't support any such thing.

They want to spend your money and run your life, just like the Democrats.  The two parties merely quibble over how to waste your money and how to beat you into submission to the state.

marty998

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Re: What I learned about myself, politics, and those on the other side.
« Reply #32 on: July 17, 2017, 03:20:53 AM »
I missed this EnjoyIt when you posted it a few days ago. It describes my thoughts quite accurately as well on political debate in general. Only have a minor correction to add.

Is it okay that a person who desires is full time employed ment can't make enough money to afford the basic necessities of life such as food, shelter and healthcare?

Never understood how your minimum wage can be so low. Tipping culture smacks of passing the responsibility of proper wage payment from employer to the employee.

Anyway.

Liberals believe in the interconnectedness of people and that situations are full of shades of grey.

This is why Liberals lose more often than not. Their messages are not as short and sharp as conservatives.

Our previous left-leaning government crafted a climate change policy that was grounded in economic and scientific evidence, took into account a range of community needs, provided relief for low income earners, incentives for clean energy, put a price on CO2 emissions, and at the end of the day worked stunningly perfectly.

The government was thrown out because they couldn't explain it. The Conservatives only had to shout "great big new tax" for 3 years and won the argument.

marty998

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Re: What I learned about myself, politics, and those on the other side.
« Reply #33 on: July 17, 2017, 03:28:34 AM »
The OP and several of the others on this thread sound very libertarian/Libertarian.

I can understand being fed up with the major parties.  I once believed the Republican BS claiming that they support smaller government, less spending, and lower taxes, but time and time again, they have proven that they don't support any such thing.

They want to spend your money and run your life, just like the Democrats.  The two parties merely quibble over how to waste your money and how to beat you into submission to the state.

I agree with this. Government spending under our current right leaning government is higher as a proportion of GDP than it was under the previous left leaning government.

They screamed blue murder about debt and deficit before hand, but have done nothing in 4 years about the deficit since.

prognastat

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Re: What I learned about myself, politics, and those on the other side.
« Reply #34 on: July 17, 2017, 07:55:48 AM »
This thread has also reminded me to make my regular public service announcement about False Equivalence: Please don't. Seriously.

Conspiring with Russians to undermine the legitimacy of the US election system is not comparable to giving a fundraising speech to Wall Street Bankers.  Using deliberately misleading "evidence" to start a never-ending war in the Middle East is not the same as trying (and failing) to rescue American hostages in Somalia. Lying to strip health care away from millions of poor people is not the same as ... um, actually, I'm coming up empty on this one. Um, not engaging in a process that's about to strip health care from millions of poor people?

Every time I read a thread where people start up on the "all politicians are crooked" chant, I have to remember that they aren't. And I'm sorry, but Bill Clinton having (inappropriate and ill-advised) sex with a willing intern is completely different from the Trump family's systematic destruction of all standards of decency, ethics, and conflict of interests.

Sorry but either you aren't fully aware of the full stories or you are being disingenuous by focusing on what you consider the worst of those in your out-group and the least bad of those in your in-group.

Obama continued this never ending war and actually used bush's authorization for "the war on terror" to expand the conflict to multiple unrelated countries in the region without getting a new authorization from congress as he was supposed to and lead to many civilians killed in drone strikes.

Bill Clinton reduced oversight and regulation on the banks even eventually signing the repeal of Glass-Steagall which lead to the shady dealings by the banks and on Wall Street that lead directly to a crash, but yeah taking money from the banks and Wall Street is totally innocuous.

I'm generally a Liberal, but you are very much ignoring the actual bad things your own side does to paint your opponents as worse than they are and yours as better than they are. Bill Clinton sleeping around isn't really a concern in my mind, but he has been plenty corrupt just like most democratic and republican politicians.

Or how about Loretta Lynch talking with Bill Clinton in secret when Hillary Clinton was being investigated and then later James Comey admitting in testimony that Loretta Lynch came to him and asked him to frame the investigation as something lesser to the public to help protect Hillary's run for office?

Keep in mind before you get defensive that I'm only mentioning failures coming from the democratic party/politicians however this is just to show that there are actual concerns on that side and it isn't just taking a little money and sleeping around. There is plenty on the other side but no one seems to have been attempting to defend the other side so there is no need.

Arktinkerer

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Re: What I learned about myself, politics, and those on the other side.
« Reply #35 on: July 17, 2017, 09:04:04 AM »
If you read thru these comments you will see why I lean very much libertarian (small 'l', the political party by the same name in this country is a joke).  Both sides of mainstream politics are pushing to extract from the populace via taxes and force others to support their causes.  Without that force we will actually have the society people are willing to support rather than the one they are made to support.  Socially I don't think either side is good for us long term either.  The usual refrain from the public when there is any sort of problem is "Someone should do something!" and often implied, if not outright stated, is that someone is government.  We used to help each other via church and social organizations.  I still see this a bit and hopefully it is making a resurgence.  I'm not anarchist--there is a need for government--but it isn't the solution to everything.

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Re: What I learned about myself, politics, and those on the other side.
« Reply #36 on: July 17, 2017, 09:53:18 AM »
From my conservative perspective, liberals have the belief that money grows on trees, which is what you are quite literally saying in the bolded.

Money is a medium of exchange. It is indeed unlimited. The counterpoint is that the actual supply of goods is not unlimited, anymore than the number of hours in a day is. We can grow the supply of goods over-time, with productivity gains, but we're talking an additional .8-1% per year per capita (or less!)

True, we're not yet in a post-scarcity world, but at least in advanced economies we should by now be at a point where we can say that some rich and upper-middle class citizens will have to forgo a few frivolous Amazon deliveries in order to ensure that all of their fellow citizens have some basic level of health insurance, for example. I wish that was not a controversial viewpoint in this country.

I view myself as very centrist, maybe even slightly right-leaning by most Western standards, which puts me left-of-center here in the US. Unfortunately, the voices of the many independents in this country and the centrists in both parties have been drowned out lately. There are certainly problems with both extremes, but they are not nearly equivalent in my view because the extreme view on the right seems to carry sway with that party more often. And that side's base is comprised of too many folks who wholly mistrust science and expertise and seem to lack empathy for anyone outside their family or social circle.

Those are terrible qualities to have, as individuals and as citizens of this great country. It makes it impossible to have a reasonable conversation about policy because one side refuses to accept even the most basic facts, and then covers their eyes and ears when told of others' perspectives. That approach to life seems (to me anyway) to be more prevalent among older conservatives, so I'm still hopeful for the long-term future of the country.

Yeah, I am pretty familiar with this perspective. It's pretty common among the left-leaning crowd, at least most of the ones I associate with (Facebook feed, other political forums, Reddit, etc.) The frustration is understandable and shared among a lot of center-right folk, too. It's why Ted Cruz is despised by practically all other Senate Republicans and no one particularly likes the Freedom Caucus. My frustrations come more from the economic side, as a lot of the Republicans post-recession came down on the "let it all burn down and reimplement a gold standard" side of the aisle....which is...uhhh...not viable.

But that's a weird perspective to have. There's not many people that are going to say, "thank god for the Democrats, they voted for the bank bailout." Like, if you try to hit the Democrats with that, Democrat voters will defend the decision, but if you don't make it a partisan issue, I think most are going to hate on the banks or wish they were nationalized or abolished or whatever.

So, don't extrapolate any of my political opinions to any one else, I'm in my own little bubble, hehehehehe.

That said, in politics, you have to pick which unsavory bedfellows you end up with. As another poster said, I lean somewhat libertarian, and somewhat law&order, somewhat Constitutionalist. Those all are going to put me closer to the (R) side of the aisle.

On the specific question of not being able to argue things with one side or the other: well, I'll be honest, I don't really argue anything with most Conservatives, because they are extremely rare in my circles. I'm a Millennial in a Blue State and spend a lot of time online. They just don't really exist. I know no evangelical Protestants, for instance, even though they make up a huge chunk of the nation.
So I deal almost exclusively with upper-class left-leaning people and it can also be quite frustrating. Then again, I'm not a Bernie Sanders fan, so that means I auto-disagree with almost half of these people and practically everything.

tct

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Re: What I learned about myself, politics, and those on the other side
« Reply #37 on: July 17, 2017, 10:23:04 AM »

Unfortunately an ever increasing number of us are not contributing. I believe its because some prefer the life of gaming the system rather than working/contributing. I meet these folks regularly when they apply as tenants. I used to be surprised that a seemingly healthy young/middle aged couple would fill out a rental contract and have no jobs. Its quite common for me to see these applications where income is solely from both spouses government disability payments, food stamps, and cash assistance. They don't have much, that's for sure. Just enough to get by. They seem to live quite frugally. Similar to mustachians on this forum.

I'm sure that your potential tenants would be thrilled to hear that you are judging their lives.

You also seem to be falling into a typical republican logistical fallacy to assume that they are not legitimately disabled?. Looks can be deceiving. There are tons of illnesses that don't present with wheelchairs, missing limbs, or visible portable oxygen tanks. There's a great story that helps to illustrate this point.
https://butyoudontlooksick.com/articles/written-by-christine/the-spoon-theory/

My dad went on disability around age 58, having had multiple spinal surgeries, and living in constant pain. The disability process requires 10 months without income, and many many visits to the Dr. First you visit your personal Dr, they have to find a compelling reason to write your disability paperwork. It's not exactly a treat for them, and I can't imagine that many Drs (read EnjoyIt's personal philosophy above) will just help people game the system. Then, if you are deemed worthy, you go through the process of being evaluated by disability agency Drs.

You are ONLY APPROVED IF:
- your disability is expected to last longer than a year
- your disability will kill you
- you've actually worked a certain number of hours in the previous few years (so no, the non working don't qualify)

The only person who I've heard of getting fast tracked for disability had ALS. (Lou Gehrig's disease). Everyone else goes through hell.

After you're approved, you have to submit tons of paperwork to show a continuing disability OR YOU LOSE YOUR BENEFITS. Fortunately, the govt has created a huge resource that explains the process: https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10029.pdf According to this resource, 1 in 4 people will become disabled before full retirement age.

If you are choosing to assume that people are inherently cheating the system and undeserving of what they are getting, the world can look like a really fucked up place. If you assume that people are generally good, and the govt is doing a reasonable job of vetting these people, then the world all of a sudden is less US vs. THEM, GIVERS vs. TAKERS, etc. Unless you were personally involved in someone's disability application, who are you to assume you know more than the professionals who initially screened them, and the reviewers who approved them?

I have good relationships with some of the folks I described. They are very open about gaming the system and have even described to me how to do it.   It's clear to see that you were quick to judge me though.

shenlong55

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Re: What I learned about myself, politics, and those on the other side.
« Reply #38 on: July 17, 2017, 11:28:55 AM »
Sorry but either you aren't fully aware of the full stories or you are being disingenuous by focusing on what you consider the worst of those in your out-group and the least bad of those in your in-group.

Obama continued this never ending war and actually used bush's authorization for "the war on terror" to expand the conflict to multiple unrelated countries in the region without getting a new authorization from congress as he was supposed to and lead to many civilians killed in drone strikes.

Bill Clinton reduced oversight and regulation on the banks even eventually signing the repeal of Glass-Steagall which lead to the shady dealings by the banks and on Wall Street that lead directly to a crash, but yeah taking money from the banks and Wall Street is totally innocuous.

I'm generally a Liberal, but you are very much ignoring the actual bad things your own side does to paint your opponents as worse than they are and yours as better than they are. Bill Clinton sleeping around isn't really a concern in my mind, but he has been plenty corrupt just like most democratic and republican politicians.

Or how about Loretta Lynch talking with Bill Clinton in secret when Hillary Clinton was being investigated and then later James Comey admitting in testimony that Loretta Lynch came to him and asked him to frame the investigation as something lesser to the public to help protect Hillary's run for office?

Keep in mind before you get defensive that I'm only mentioning failures coming from the democratic party/politicians however this is just to show that there are actual concerns on that side and it isn't just taking a little money and sleeping around. There is plenty on the other side but no one seems to have been attempting to defend the other side so there is no need.

I disagree, and I don't need to defend any of these actions to do so.  I recognize that democrats are not perfect by any means, but republicans would do the same things and worse.  Obama may not have scaled back the "War on Terror" as much as I would like, but Bush initiated it based on problematic intel and allowed even worse abuses of the power that it granted.  Bill Clinton may have signed the Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act, but the legislators who designed and pushed it were republicans.  Lorreta Lynch may have asked James Comey to "re-frame" the Clinton investigation, but Donald Trump asked Comey to drop the investigation into his campaigns Russia ties entirely.  Of course, none of this excuses democrats of bad behaviors, but it does demonstrate that Republicans are even worse and therefore not equivalent.  So please, stop pushing this false equivalency narrative.

dude

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Re: What I learned about myself, politics, and those on the other side.
« Reply #39 on: July 17, 2017, 11:59:59 AM »
Ever since the Industrial Revolution (and really, long before that) there has always been, and probably forever shall only be, two "parties" in this world -- Labor and Capital. Labor organized and fought hard for its share of the pie back in the early part of the last century.  And ever since then, Capital has been throwing everything it has at taking back that share for itself. It has succeeded probably beyond its wildest expectations. But I suspect the pendulum will swing back sooner or later as people wise up to Capital's divide-and-conquer strategy that has left average people arguing amongst themselves for the remaining crumbs tossed down to us by our Capital overlords. Until such time, however, Labor will continue to lose even as programs and safety nets that enjoy overwhelming support among the majority of them (SS, Medicare, public education) get chiseled away by Capital. It really is that simple, but the truth is obfuscated by competing political parties, media outlets, and propaganda machines financed largely by Capital. It is the stuff of Greek tragedy, really.

prognastat

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Re: What I learned about myself, politics, and those on the other side.
« Reply #40 on: July 17, 2017, 12:00:06 PM »
Sorry but either you aren't fully aware of the full stories or you are being disingenuous by focusing on what you consider the worst of those in your out-group and the least bad of those in your in-group.

Obama continued this never ending war and actually used bush's authorization for "the war on terror" to expand the conflict to multiple unrelated countries in the region without getting a new authorization from congress as he was supposed to and lead to many civilians killed in drone strikes.

Bill Clinton reduced oversight and regulation on the banks even eventually signing the repeal of Glass-Steagall which lead to the shady dealings by the banks and on Wall Street that lead directly to a crash, but yeah taking money from the banks and Wall Street is totally innocuous.

I'm generally a Liberal, but you are very much ignoring the actual bad things your own side does to paint your opponents as worse than they are and yours as better than they are. Bill Clinton sleeping around isn't really a concern in my mind, but he has been plenty corrupt just like most democratic and republican politicians.

Or how about Loretta Lynch talking with Bill Clinton in secret when Hillary Clinton was being investigated and then later James Comey admitting in testimony that Loretta Lynch came to him and asked him to frame the investigation as something lesser to the public to help protect Hillary's run for office?

Keep in mind before you get defensive that I'm only mentioning failures coming from the democratic party/politicians however this is just to show that there are actual concerns on that side and it isn't just taking a little money and sleeping around. There is plenty on the other side but no one seems to have been attempting to defend the other side so there is no need.

I disagree, and I don't need to defend any of these actions to do so.  I recognize that democrats are not perfect by any means, but republicans would do the same things and worse.  Obama may not have scaled back the "War on Terror" as much as I would like, but Bush initiated it based on problematic intel and allowed even worse abuses of the power that it granted.  Bill Clinton may have signed the Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act, but the legislators who designed and pushed it were republicans.  Lorreta Lynch may have asked James Comey to "re-frame" the Clinton investigation, but Donald Trump asked Comey to drop the investigation into his campaigns Russia ties entirely.  Of course, none of this excuses democrats of bad behaviors, but it does demonstrate that Republicans are even worse and therefore not equivalent.  So please, stop pushing this false equivalency narrative.

You say to please stop pushing a false equivalency narrative while agreeing that the democrats are doing all these things you say the republicans would have done too... By trying to say hey choose the "lesser of two evils" you are in effect letting the democratic side get away with it so long as they aren't perceived being as bad as the other side. This kind of thinking has lead to the current political climate and if you want 4 more years of trump and continued control of the house by republicans keep making excuses for the bad behavior.

shenlong55

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Re: What I learned about myself, politics, and those on the other side.
« Reply #41 on: July 17, 2017, 12:13:51 PM »
You say to please stop pushing a false equivalency narrative while agreeing that the democrats are doing all these things you say the republicans would have done too... By trying to say hey choose the "lesser of two evils" you are in effect letting the democratic side get away with it so long as they aren't perceived being as bad as the other side. This kind of thinking has lead to the current political climate and if you want 4 more years of trump and continued control of the house by republicans keep making excuses for the bad behavior.

No, I'm not.

Of course, none of this excuses democrats of bad behaviors...

I am capable of holding democrats accountable for their actions without pushing a false narrative of equivalence with the other side.  For example, I can say that Bill Clinton probably shouldn't have signed the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act while still acknowledging that Republicans were the driving force behind that legislation.  I can say that I wish Obama would have done more to curtail the abuses of power that come from the "War on Terror" while still acknowledging that had a Republican been president we likely would have seen even worse.  Saying that republicans are worse than democrats and holding democrats accountable for their actions are not two diametrically opposed ideas, I can do both.
« Last Edit: July 17, 2017, 12:36:53 PM by shenlong55 »

A Definite Beta Guy

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Re: What I learned about myself, politics, and those on the other side.
« Reply #42 on: July 18, 2017, 09:23:13 AM »
Dems are definitely better for left-leaning people than Repubs. It's definitely a false equivalency to say the two parties are the same.

The same could be say of libertarian's post:
Quote
I can understand being fed up with the major parties.  I once believed the Republican BS claiming that they support smaller government, less spending, and lower taxes, but time and time again, they have proven that they don't support any such thing.

They want to spend your money and run your life, just like the Democrats.  The two parties merely quibble over how to waste your money and how to beat you into submission to the state.
Major false equivalency here, too. You can libertarian-leaning and vote for Democrats. Scott Sumner comes to mind, because he's real big on criminal justice and sentencing reform right now. But practically all my libertarian-leaning friends of the past decade have come down hard on the (R) side, because the Dems are wayyyyyyyy worse on the tax-and-spend side than Repubs.

(R) is definitely not the same as (L), though. But that's because most of the population isn't (L). You get stuck in political coalitions and deal with people you don't like all that much.

Both parties seem similar because they are big tents that have to capture moderate voters and try not to alienate the other side TOO much. Plus there are massive trends that force government to go in certain directions. Plus, when you come into office, you have to deal with some rather ugly realities. Obama probably got a Reality Smack to the face when he had to deal with the actual GWOT and actual financial reform.

Carter definitely got a Reality Smack when the USSR invaded Afghanistan. Pretty tough to stand to a commitment to "human rights" when Ivan can steamroll two strategically important nations in about 2 weeks and the US tries to commit to not doing anything about it.

TrudgingAlong

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Re: What I learned about myself, politics, and those on the other side.
« Reply #43 on: July 18, 2017, 10:36:09 AM »
I'm on a mission to understand the R side since he election, as I've always considered myself a centrist and didn't want to fall for the rhetoric on Trump et all. Gotta say, though, my libertarian leaning R friend shocked me the other day when she said (during a discussion of healthcare and our perspectives on it) that she thought, "Maybe some people should just die". I dont even know what to do with that...

dividendman

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Re: What I learned about myself, politics, and those on the other side.
« Reply #44 on: July 18, 2017, 11:04:06 AM »
People up-thread are saying "center-right" or "right-leaning". I think they're referring to the Republican party.

I hate to break this to everyone, but the Democrats are the right-leaning party.

The Republicans are:
1) Right
2) Far right (tea-party, etc.)

Neither of the major parties are centrist or center left. Only some individuals.

I'm from Canada. I always tell my American friends that we have a party just like the Democrats - the Conservative party of Canada. (Although I think that was far more true of the Progressive Conservatives - I miss that party :( ).

A Definite Beta Guy

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Re: What I learned about myself, politics, and those on the other side.
« Reply #45 on: July 18, 2017, 12:23:10 PM »
I'm on a mission to understand the R side since he election, as I've always considered myself a centrist and didn't want to fall for the rhetoric on Trump et all. Gotta say, though, my libertarian leaning R friend shocked me the other day when she said (during a discussion of healthcare and our perspectives on it) that she thought, "Maybe some people should just die". I dont even know what to do with that...
What's the value of a human life? It's definitely not infinite, so someone has to put a $ value on it at some point.

Cutting Medicaid will probably result in some number of lives lost, but the upper limit of what I saw on the outside was like 28,000 lives in the mid 2020s. The number of deaths last year was over 2.6 million. And Medicaid spending is going up very fast and quick googling says the combined state/federal spending rose by 11% in 2016. The 2015 cost of Medicaid expansion, per the CBO, was $68 billion.
At 11% growth rate a year, you're talking about $176 billion by 2025...even at a more realistic 6% limit, it's 121 billion. The "severe cuts" talked about, which means limits to CPI-U, would probably be about $91 billion (3% inflation per year assumption).

That's a lot of money for 28,000 lives, even at the low end. $3.25 million per year. The higher figure is double that. And I don't personally trust that 28,000 lives per year estimate.

Granted that's not a fair comparison, because that's lives saved, not quality years of life added...improving someone's life is a positive health outcome, even if it doesn't fall under "save lives."

But still, it's expensive. It'll get more expensive as the population ages and the general disease burden increases.

wenchsenior

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Re: What I learned about myself, politics, and those on the other side.
« Reply #46 on: July 18, 2017, 12:48:05 PM »
I'm on a mission to understand the R side since he election, as I've always considered myself a centrist and didn't want to fall for the rhetoric on Trump et all. Gotta say, though, my libertarian leaning R friend shocked me the other day when she said (during a discussion of healthcare and our perspectives on it) that she thought, "Maybe some people should just die". I dont even know what to do with that...
What's the value of a human life? It's definitely not infinite, so someone has to put a $ value on it at some point.

Cutting Medicaid will probably result in some number of lives lost, but the upper limit of what I saw on the outside was like 28,000 lives in the mid 2020s. The number of deaths last year was over 2.6 million. And Medicaid spending is going up very fast and quick googling says the combined state/federal spending rose by 11% in 2016. The 2015 cost of Medicaid expansion, per the CBO, was $68 billion.
At 11% growth rate a year, you're talking about $176 billion by 2025...even at a more realistic 6% limit, it's 121 billion. The "severe cuts" talked about, which means limits to CPI-U, would probably be about $91 billion (3% inflation per year assumption).

That's a lot of money for 28,000 lives, even at the low end. $3.25 million per year. The higher figure is double that. And I don't personally trust that 28,000 lives per year estimate.

Granted that's not a fair comparison, because that's lives saved, not quality years of life added...improving someone's life is a positive health outcome, even if it doesn't fall under "save lives."

But still, it's expensive. It'll get more expensive as the population ages and the general disease burden increases.

One big problem with cutting Medicaid is that it provides the funds for the majority of people in nursing homes and long term care facilities (about 70% of those people rely on Medicaid). So far, half the aging relatives in my family ended up relying on it.

Those numbers are going to keep increasing as the population of aged increases, lifespans increase, and healthcare costs increase.  Increasing need plus decreasing funding equals a  potentially terrible outcome that could have society wide repercussions.

 Either care standards for a huge population of essentially helpless people suffers further, or people get dropped outright from coverage.  Then what happens to them?  Nursing home care runs 40-100K/year in cost, so most people cannot be expected to fund it themselves even if they have managed to fund a decent retirement otherwise. If they can't fund it, then who provides the care?

In Ye Olden Days, when lifespans were shorter, wives didn't usually work outside the home, and families were larger and less scattered, you might reasonably have been able to cobble together family care for at least some aging relatives. But even in that case, I have seen first hand how emotionally devastating having to manage that kind of care can be, even for large wealthy families.  My father's family tried to do this with 3 people who required long term intensive care, and it pretty much dismantled  relationships among the younger generation, even though there were quite a large number of them living in close proximity to 2 of the 3 aging members. 

Take away the flexibility and support that private wealth provides, and the situation is even worse (see my mother's side of the family).   I'm not sure family care of aging relatives is feasible anymore for most people.  They can't afford to take the time off work, and there aren't enough potential caregivers.

 

TrudgingAlong

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Re: What I learned about myself, politics, and those on the other side.
« Reply #47 on: July 18, 2017, 01:43:22 PM »
I'm on a mission to understand the R side since he election, as I've always considered myself a centrist and didn't want to fall for the rhetoric on Trump et all. Gotta say, though, my libertarian leaning R friend shocked me the other day when she said (during a discussion of healthcare and our perspectives on it) that she thought, "Maybe some people should just die". I dont even know what to do with that...
What's the value of a human life? It's definitely not infinite, so someone has to put a $ value on it at some point.

Cutting Medicaid will probably result in some number of lives lost, but the upper limit of what I saw on the outside was like 28,000 lives in the mid 2020s. The number of deaths last year was over 2.6 million. And Medicaid spending is going up very fast and quick googling says the combined state/federal spending rose by 11% in 2016. The 2015 cost of Medicaid expansion, per the CBO, was $68 billion.
At 11% growth rate a year, you're talking about $176 billion by 2025...even at a more realistic 6% limit, it's 121 billion. The "severe cuts" talked about, which means limits to CPI-U, would probably be about $91 billion (3% inflation per year assumption).

That's a lot of money for 28,000 lives, even at the low end. $3.25 million per year. The higher figure is double that. And I don't personally trust that 28,000 lives per year estimate.

Granted that's not a fair comparison, because that's lives saved, not quality years of life added...improving someone's life is a positive health outcome, even if it doesn't fall under "save lives."

But still, it's expensive. It'll get more expensive as the population ages and the general disease burden increases.

Well, sure, and I'm all for a serious discussion on ending needless, worthless treatment, especially on the elderly. However, lack of care can mean needless pain and suffering, easily curable ailments instead turning into long term disabilities, etc. It's not a simple equation. I also am pretty sure my friend wouldn't say this about her own family if one of them suddenly couldn't afford insurance. She is from an upper middle class family that has no idea what it is to actually not have access to healthcare. This isn't just an issue for poor people that make dumb decisions, which is definitely how she frames it.

shawndoggy

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Re: What I learned about myself, politics, and those on the other side.
« Reply #48 on: July 18, 2017, 02:07:18 PM »
For those who say that taxes are too low or too high, when are they ever "just right?"  At what point is a particular person paying a share than is precisely fair?

jeninco

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Re: What I learned about myself, politics, and those on the other side.
« Reply #49 on: July 18, 2017, 03:14:02 PM »
For those who say that taxes are too low or too high, when are they ever "just right?"  At what point is a particular person paying a share than is precisely fair?

When everyone has their basic human needs met (food, shelter, decent education, and at least basic healthcare), preferably by taxing people in a way that's progressive, i.e. very low taxes on the poor, higher taxes on the rich. C'mob, people, we spend more (http://www.healthsystemtracker.org/chart-collection/health-spending-u-s-compare-countries/?_sf_s=health+spending#item-relative-size-wealth-u-s-spends-disproportionate-amount-health) per capita then most of the rest of the world, and we have mediocre-to-horrible relative outcomes: check out the growth in US maternal mortality rates http://www.modernhealthcare.com/article/20150506/NEWS/150509941.

I'm firmly in the camp of "it doesn't make my life better, safer, or more rich to know that my neighbors are a bad accident away from bankruptcy and death." Or "it doesn't make the world better to have kids in school who are too hungry to learn, or who can't focus because they're sleeping in cars." Those are societal values and I am happy to pay my share, even if that means a smaller house and cruddier car for me.