Comments

  1. suek says

    The GI Bill gives benefits that are _earned_. Hardly a socialistic benefit. It doesn’t “improve education”, it allows those who serve to improve _their_ education. It _does_ open new economic opportunity for them, and in addition is probably responsible for improving the opportunities for their children. Additionally, it’s available only for those who have served in the military, which, I suspect is another factor that influences improved opportunities – though I’ve never seen a study on it. I wish there _were_ one.

    >>That Obama and Gates have pushed for the same improvements, while folks like you criticize them as socialists>>

    No…Obama was a socialist who made use of a charitable grant from the Annenberg Foundation and with Ayers used those funds to support organizations that were socialistic in educational purpose. Gates is a wealthy man with more money than he can spend in his lifetime, who is generous and wants to use his wealth for the benefit for others. His option. _Not_ socialistic. When the government does it, and takes the money from others, _then_ it’s socialistic.

  2. suek says

    Nice write up on Annenberg. Looks like he was another of those greedy capitalistic businessmen. Started with very little and built a fortune. Of course, that was in the old days…before we had our present level of regulation and taxes. Before Social Security even!!!

  3. suek says

    >>Ronald Reagan must have had bad foreign policy judgment as well, associating with a terrorist’s benefactor like that>>

    Spin spin spin.

    >>Absolutely shameful.>>

    Yes, you are.

  4. Zhombre says

    “Zhombre, the Annenberg Foundation is also a private foundation. But the fact that they gave money to Ayer or Obama means that it is socialist, according to Suek.”

    Ayers is a man of the left and I assume he advances the agenda of the left and will use the money of the foundation to that end.

    “As for socialism, we practice it in the US all of the time. There is corporate socialism (look at that Bear Stearns bailout). ”

    If you broadly interpret socialism, yes that is true. But there is socialism, in which the government assumes ownership and runs the enterprise according to its political goals, and there is the time-honored traditions of Dipping into the Public Funds for Necessary (or Dubious) Purposes. Not quite the same thing. The Bear Stearns bailout, like the Chrysler bailout, like the FDIC, does not entail government ownership nor attempt anything like central planning.

    “There is military socialism (look at how all the red states have military bases and collect more than $1.00 from Washington for every dollar sent there).”

    Now that’s silly. There are military bases in California, in Illinois, New York, and in Washington near Tacoma too (Fort Lewis), all bluest of blue states. Maintenance of military forces and national defense are a government responsibility. This is a legitimate Constitutional function, hardly socialism.

    “There is religious socialism (look at the tax breaks given to religious organizations that secular humanists would die for)”

    That’s a bit silly too. They need not die for those tax breaks, merely form a nonprofit organization under Section 503(c) of the Internal Revenue Code. Secular humanists are eligible. Exploiting the tax code is much better than dying, though I can’t say I’ve tried the latter with any serious intent, a mild heart attack notwithstanding.

    “Bottom line: there is no pure capitalist system nor pure socialist system (which I thought was communism) in the Western world.”

    Well, we agree on that!

    “Can we please talk in terms of relative amounts of each and define our terms more carefully?”

    I’d be happy to but I suggest you sharpen some your terms and assertions.

  5. dg says

    Zhombre, since you agree that there is no pure capitalist and socialist system, then stop caricaturing leftists as communists. We are arguing over shades of grey (e.g., how much public funds go to the safety net of corporations versus the safety net of average citizens) rather than Smith-Marx epic ideological battles. If the Annenberg Foundation wanted to channel money into public school education in the inner cities as the Gates Foundation does, let’s hear a more intelligent argument for why this is a bad thing than simply because “a man of the left” wants to do it, so it must be wrong.

    I’ve heard a lot from the RNC about freedom from government and rugged individualism, but I don’t hear enough from Republicans decrying corporate bailouts. They hold stock, so they don’t care. They just don’t like the government helping out poor people or the working poor or even the lower middle class. Why don’t they decry the corporate tax breaks and loopholes, which cost more than any single social program this side of Medicare and Social Security?

    You are wrong on the military welfare/red state stuff. Red states on average collect more from the federal government than they pay in, while Blue state collect less. This is statistically significant, by the way. And the reason in large part is due to the higher number of bases (per capita) in red states.

    You are also wrong about the religion welfare. Last I checked, the Bush Administration had given all of its faith-based initiatives money to religious groups. None of it went to secular humanists. By the way, none of it went to Jewish or Muslim or other non-Christian groups either; and only a very small percentage (<5%) went to Catholics. If you think all of this money was passed onto charities, without any being syphoned off to support the religious groups themselves and their missions, you are very naive.

  6. dg says

    Suek, the GI bill is a below-market loan with grant money attached, in amounts far in excess of what the market at the time would have paid those soldiers. You might feel it was “earned” in a colloqial sense. But no bank at the time nor the Department of Defense would have sustained such a loan or grant. That is why a government subsidy was put in place in the first place. Stop conflating facts with opinions. It hides the real lesson here: that government interventions in the economy have created value when done intelligently. Republicans miss this because their interventions are generally not done intelligently, because they are guided by an ideology that says that they don’t want a government any larger than the one they can drown in a bathroom (c.f. Grover Norqvist).

    And I have no problem with Annenberg making lots of money in a capitalist system. I’m doing the same. It makes you look stupid when you characterize people with more left-wing views as communists, since Warren Buffet and George Soros are not only infinitely richer and smarter than you, but they are also more liberal than you. But it doesn’t mean that they are not also better laissez-faire capitalists…

    I’ll take the “spin spin spin” quip to mean ya got nothin’. Obama is not Ayers and showed no bad judgment in his arms’ length “associations” with the man. Unless, of course you think Reagan’s judgment was off as well…

  7. suek says

    >>the GI bill is a below-market loan with grant money attached>>

    That’s odd. My son received GI bill money with no obligation to pay it back in the past, and so is my future son in law – at present. It’s not enough to pay their entire cost, but it helps.

    >>You might feel it was “earned” in a colloqial sense.>>

    Damn right.

    >>Obama is not Ayers and showed no bad judgment in his arms’ length “associations” with the man.>>

    There are two factors here. Bad judgment in one’s social associations and what the intent of the association was.
    Personally, I’d find it problematic to associate with an unrepentant bomber, even if he completed served time (which Ayers didn’t), but to each his own. His business.
    On the other hand, if the intent of the association is a collusion to change education in this country in order to change the basic nature of the country, I _do_ object. And I think that was their goal. I think they used the Annenberg money to promote socialist education ends. That may be fine with you, and apparently the Annenberg Foundation didn’t obect, so it certainly is not illegal. But _I_ object. I see socialism in Europe and don’t want it for this country. I do not want a man in the presidency who sees this as a good goal and therefore I find the association unacceptable.

    That’s my opinion and my right.

    Are you trying to say that Ayers and Obama did _not_ have that goal, or are you saying that is was a good goal?

  8. suek says

    >>I’ll take the “spin spin spin” quip to mean ya got nothin’.>>

    Take it any way you want. Sometimes it just means that I can see how you twist things and I just don’t have the time or energy to deal with it. Socially speaking, it just means I’d like to push you into the pool. At the deep end.

    While I went to have a long tall cool drink.

  9. suek says

    >>And the reason in large part is due to the higher number of bases (per capita) in red states.>>

    Blue states have a higher number of cities. Cities are more likely to be Democrat because cities prevent individualism.

    Red states have a lower number of cities, and the cities are smaller. Most of the population is rural and very individualistic. They don’t depend on others to sustain them because there just isn’t anyone else. They have more military bases because they have more open space.

  10. dg says

    suek, you refer to Annenberg money promoting socialist ideas in primary school, so what is your proof that they were trying to promote “socialist” ideas? Which socialist ideas, specifically? Also, I’m not sure how I “twist things” since I try to apply logical and empirical analysis fairly consistently, but please tell me how I’ve done so by pointing out that the GI Bill is a government subsidy and, therefore, technically “socialist.”

    While I’d love to swim in your pool–it’s in the 90′s here–I’d rather learn how cities prevent individualism, and how government subsidies in the form of military bases and the economic benefits associated with them should not count as “socialism” directed at red states?

  11. suek says

    >>I’d rather learn how cities prevent individualism,>>

    Ok…I know this is a waste of time…

    You live in a city. You live in a condo or an apartment. The neighbor boy trespasses on your property and drops trash every day. You have asked him not to do so and have spoken to his parents with no success. Do you: build a fence? sit on your porch with a shotgun? turn the dog loose? Call the cops?

    I’d say no to all of those. You might choose to do any of them in a very rural setting (well, except call the cops. They’d laugh at you) You can’t build a fence – even if you own the condo, you have rules you have to follow. You probably can’t have a dog, and a shotgun??? out of the question! What you do is complain to the property manager. Call the cops and file a complaint. In other words, you rely on a government organization – which is established for good purpose…to keep order that would be chaos if you had every person in the city trying to perform the same function.

    Or how about digging an independent septic tank? a new well? Forget it – water and sewage are supplied by the city. Again, for obvious reasons. It makes sense.

    I’m not saying it’s a bad thing – it’s a necessary thing when you develop areas with high population concentrations. It’s cooperative living, but it does mean that people tend to depend on the cooperative organizations for things that they would otherwise have to do for themselves. The result is a changed frame of mind – instead of saying “what can I do to solve this problem”, people say”who’s responsible to solve this problem for me”.

    >>and how government subsidies in the form of military bases and the economic benefits associated with them should not count as “socialism” directed at red states?>>

    Military bases etc. are not government subsidies and don’t count as socialism. While it’s true that congress critters pant for the opportunity of getting them established in _their_ districts because of the financial benefits, the fact is that the government _needs_ the bases and has to put them somewhere. The bennies to the local community is incidental. You could say the same thing about any of the governmental facilities that states and the feds alike build – prisons, hospitals, roads, highways….anything.

  12. dg says

    Suek, so if you are not saying that a greater reliance on government–which you define as socialism–is a bad thing but a necessary thing, then why are you so harsh in your criticism of those that live in more urban areas and support those programs and expect the government to function well in delivering them? You or other conservatives attack Europe, but forget that the continent is far more urbanized than the US–as any telecommunications network planner can tell you–and thus should be expected to be more socialist in their expectations. This was my point earlier about respecting the different historical, geographical and cultural paths of the Europeans versus the Americans rather than just trotting out mindless Freedom Fries arguments to make us feel good about our patriotism.

    On the military bases, I agree that they are like prisons, hospitals, roads and highways. And they are all government benefits that red states are receiving in higher amounts than blue states. So enough from red state Republicans about how radically socialist the blue states are. Those government subsidies are very real dollars and their transfer from blue to red states is as socialist as any other. A truly capitalist system would make the red states bid on them and pay ongoing fees to keep the benefits associated with them. This is not feasible, but pure capitalism never was.

  13. suek says

    I agree that a balance between the government services and population centers must be reached. The problem with _socialism_ is that it takes from all and serves the few. An example of this is property taxes and schools. In prior years (at least in my state), it used to be that those in a school district would pay taxes and the school they got was whatever they could pay for. Some districts were wealthier than others and had better schools. It was decided that a percentage of the district taxes would be paid to the state – after the county collected it – and the state would pay it out to the school districts evenly – same amount paid each school per student each day. Except some schools were already better off than others – so some districts were paid more, and some were paid less. And still are, to this day. So, you pay people to work in the state who pro-rate the dollars sent back, you pay a state committee to decide what shall be taught to whom, and even though you have school boards, they are severely limited in any decisions they can make. Are schools today better than they were 50 years ago? Not according to the SATs…
    So, if you live in a city, you expect certain services. You pay city taxes that pay for those services. Now, if you start getting those same city services paid from the State coffers, then you’re getting services paid for by citizens who do _not_ benefit from the taxes they’re paying. That’s wrong.

    Likewise, if the Federal government supplies services, they should be paid for by the people who benefit from them.

    Granted there is some overlap and there are some inequities, but under socialism, the citizen doesn’t really get a vote in how much they pay in tax or who gets the benefits. In other words, under a capitalistic system, what I earn is _my_ money except for some percentage I pay to the various governments for services they provide. In socialism, what I earn belongs to the state, except for what they choose to allow me to keep.

    >>A truly capitalist system would make the red states bid on them and pay ongoing fees to keep the benefits associated with them.>>

    That’s an absurd statement. The feds decide what they need and where they need it, and get the best deal they can. If they don’t, then it’s a problem of corruption – but that’s a human problem from which we’ll never be totally free.

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