10 Questions Re: Middle Class

So were in a depression now? All of the global markets are in flux and the economy is being depressed or we''re just looking for another government agency to make us feel better about ourselves?

Our federal goverenment is now so large and cumbersome that they can rarely respond to an issue or event in any sort of expediant manner. Most, if not all of these social programs would be much more efficiently handled by the private sector while using a governement body for oversight and enforcement.

So were in a depression now? All of the global markets are in flux and the economy is being depressed or we''re just looking for another government agency to make us feel better about ourselves?

Ah, another Sowellian. No, I don''t think government should do this to make us feel better or superior. And no, we are not in a depression. All I pointed out was that one aspect of the 1930''s was that we discovered that events can happen that are beyond communities or churches abilities to handle, and government can usefully help out. There''s an entire school of economic debate on just how much stimulus and benefit a country can get from varying types and rates of government support.

There are certain things that are not done well by the profit motive, and so government has a role in them. Regulation of industry is one; defense is another; taxation is definitely in there. Social programs can, if done right, benefit companies and people and communities alike, but there is very little incentive for companies to do this, so governments (local, state and federal) take on these tasks. It''s not perfect, but it''s also definitely better than a system that adds complexity by putting a private company into the mix.

"Lester_King" wrote:
I would say that as citizens of the country thay deserve help.

There are people with no family that fall on hard times. As citizens who have worked hard and paid taxes, don''t they deserve it?

A good point I read in an article today, is these people also have kids. These kids need help to grow up and make it into college (financially). Without that help, these MILLIONS of kids won''t ever make it TO college. These kids, if they make it, can be the future business leaders or politicians that make decisions about us when we are old.

Karma, I''m not saying that people don''t need help. I''m asking why it has to be the government to do it?

A point I''ve been arguing since high school days. The government provides us the ''land of opportunity'', not the golden goose...and I know that simplifies it...and that we are talking basic subsidies.

My issue is there are ALWAYS jobs to be had if someone needs them, and opportunities to climb out of poverties reach slowly...drive by a fast food place if you must to work...or hey, did you know you can join the military for a great job and education. My problem is that the opportunity is there...the government should NOT provide subsidies for those who don''t want to make the most of the opportunities.

Remember the framers plan...to provide for interstate commerce and defense...where did we go wrong in thinking that handouts is part of the governments plan?

And for the record, no I do not support Welfare, nor Social Security in its present form, nor handouts! And where did we forget to add in the mantra that its a STATES responsibility for its citizens...and they should set up programs tailored to their state...NOT the federal government (commerce and defense...NOTHING more!)

"Robear" wrote:

Ah, another Sowellian. No, I don''t think government should do this to make us feel better or superior. And no, we are not in a depression.

Well, Ro, usually you make things pretty clear for a simple, muddle headed California Republican like me, but I freakin' had to google ''Sowellian''. I came up with this;

"Paul Jacob" wrote:

""When politicians talk about being ''experienced,'' the question should be asked: Experienced in doing what? In deceiving the public? Evading responsibility? Claiming credit for what happens that is good and blaming others for whatever happens that is bad? Experience in spin or smoke and mirrors?""

I hope that''s what you wanted me to come away with.

"Robear" wrote:

All I pointed out was that one aspect of the 1930''s was that we discovered that events can happen that are beyond communities or churches abilities to handle, and government can usefully help out. There''s an entire school of economic debate on just how much stimulus and benefit a country can get from varying types and rates of government support.

My problem with the concept of a government agency spurring both economic recovery and building strong social programs is the waste associated with such entities.

A simple example of this: I have an acquaintance who likes to start small companies. When the government cuts his taxes (he is fairly wealthy as one could image), he starts a new company. He doesn''t run out to Best Buy and get a new TV or the latest Doom game. He creates a new revenue source and in turn generates jobs. Chances are, the company will fail, but every now and then one of these becomes a Microsoft. How does that equate to adding an additional tax burden on the middle class by expanding a program that has an arguable impact on improving the plight of the economy. I call BS by the way on Government spending impacting the economy.

"RoBear" wrote:

There are certain things that are not done well by the profit motive, and so government has a role in them. Regulation of industry is one; defense is another; taxation is definitely in there. Social programs can, if done right, benefit companies and people and communities alike, but there is very little incentive for companies to do this, so governments (local, state and federal) take on these tasks. It''s not perfect, but it''s also definitely better than a system that adds complexity by putting a private company into the mix.

Ok. On your points here;[list=1:29fd983693]
[*] Regulation – Ok. One could argue that the Bush administrations regulations of specific industries are a lot like "putting the fox in the hen house." I just don't think anything is being enforced due to the desire to spur job growth and a desire to keep their campaign contributors happy.
[*] Defense – No argument here. It's not like States have the option of defense other than through National Guard programs. The "defense boom" from the fiscal mis-management of the federal budget sure didn't create a whole hell of a lot of jobs.
[*] Social Programs – I think life in the 1930's and today are no where near the same. Programs with organizations like the Salvation Army and other "private" groups have exponentially increased both their funding and their reach. Private for profit groups have expanded into areas like hospitals, psych outpatient facilities, etc. and run them both more efficiently than not-for-profit groups and make money while doing it. The argument can be made that the government should pull back from social programs and hand them over the not-for-profit or profit organizations. In turn, the fed could regulate and monitor the various entities that are providing the social services. Again, look at the deep reaching impact that organizations like the Salvation Army and their impact on society. [/list:o:29fd983693]

By Sowellian, I was referring to Dr. Thomas Sowell''s theory that liberal elitist intelligentsia propose social policies based on a desire to feel good about themselves, and superior to others, not on facts and the likelihood of success of the program. Dr. Sowell, an economist, feels that he is qualified by his position in the cultural elite of academia to comment on social issues, and obviously derives great satisfaction from that, an irony that appears lost on him. Any theory that starts by assuming that anyone who disagrees with you possesses a serious character flaw is, well, flawed. The sentence you used implied wrongly to me that you were following an argument that appears here sometimes. Check out his book ""The Vision of the Annointed: Self-Congratulation as a Basis for Social Policy"" for more on this. Heck, you might like it, if your goal is to find a reason to pity poor, misguided liberals.

How does that equate to adding an additional tax burden on the middle class by expanding a program that has an arguable impact on improving the plight of the economy. I call BS by the way on Government spending impacting the economy.

I confess, I''ve lost track of the program you mean here.

The government is part of the economy; every time the Fed changes the interest rate, the economy is affected. As for spending, yeah, the government can indeed affect the economy. Whether it''s useful or right to do that is a 300 year old debate.

Point 3 - The profit motive for running things for the benefit of society as a whole is problematic. With a business, turning a profit benefits the employees, the owners, the consumers (unless they are overcharged) and the stockholders. But turning a profit is not the only goal of some businesses. Hospitals need to help patients. Airlines need to fly. Water companies need to provide affordable water; likewise with energy. These goals contribute to increasing costs, not profits. There is a dynamic in this that, unregulated, can lead to a cutting of services in the interests of profit. If you like the private mental health systems we have today, you have to consider that in the context of the much larger number of homeless we''ve acquired since the states mostly dropped their programs, and the larger percentage of mentally ill people who are homeless or incarcerated, or left with their families, who can often only provide substandard care at best. But hey, some of the private companies make a profit. Is that overall a benefit to society? Many people would argue that it is not.

As for turning it all over to NGO''s, how do you guarantee they continue to get money? The Red Cross, CARE, a number of charities associated with the UN, the United Way - all these organizations have gained a degree or more of distrust from the public, some for valid reasons, some because of jingoistic reactions to their role in the War on Terror and the Iraq War. How do you maintain service levels when the organizations themselves suffer the same waste and corruption as everything else? At least with government, Congress holds the purse strings, and decides how to distribute the money, and it''s not going to drop because of a rumor campaign, or someone in one group stealing some money from a position of trust. We''ve had a system that used private and church charities for quite a long time; check out Sinclair Lewis to see what life was like then for the working poor.

The system we have now is by no means perfect, but at least it''s not subject to the whims of the market. Hopefully I''m addressing your points.