Political Compass: On What Point of the Graph Do You Suck the Most?

Ulairi wrote:
Paleocon wrote:

I'm always suspicious of these "assessments". They almost always seem to have some sort of macro political agenda.

This one does. The questions lead-left in their wording. I selected that I'm against abortion and the death penalty, which should even me out, but it puts me firmly to the right.

Yeah, I know this quote is like, two years old, but you being on the far right means you're conservative with respect to economics. Your graph shows you as a social libertarian (i.e. to the left, but on the graph, below the x-axis).

Yeah, I've always found it weird that the fundamentalist Christians are usually the ones holding beliefs and stances that Jesus would have found most abhorrent. Prosperity doctrine is probably the best example, but the list is incredibly long.

I mean, they even go so far as to argue, with a straight face, that "Thou Shalt Not Kill" was incorrectly translated. The Bible's perfect, mind, and the translations are divinely inspired and thus also perfect, but, well, they just got one teensy commandment wrong.

Not too sure about the validity of these questions, but what the hell, the result seems close enough.

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Some of the questions are definitely loaded. I only answered a few "strongly"in an effort to not commit to much to a question.

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Where I disagree with them is this: their FAQ says:

Our point is that a regulated economy and a strong public sector are not necessarily authoritarian, and a deregulated economy with a minimal public sector is not necessarily socially libertarian.

The fact of the matter is that a regulated economy and a strong public sector are, in fact, necessarily authoritarian. Implementing taxes and regulations, by definition, requires force and the assumption of authority, and it inevitably reduces social freedom as well as economic freedom. I think their weighting does not consider that, or more accurately tries to separate it. For example, they don't consider taxation as theft like a libertarian would, so they don't weight those choices that would require heavy taxation towards authoritarian and Left, but only to the Left.

The Nolan Chart is, I think, clearer and easier to understand - but theirs is good, thought provoking, and functions the same way. The real dichotomy between the citizens, who tend to weight themselves libertarian, and the people they elect, who are heavily weighted authoritarian, is very interesting to me.

The Nolan Chart puts me right at the top of the diamond, squarely libertarian. The questions are worded better but there is still a bias, but something has the spur the creation of these things.

I got a good laugh at some of these questions. "Anything that is good for corporations is, ultimately, good for us"? Really? They may as well have said "By agreeing to this carefully worded question, you are okay with Soylent Green, you horrible person." The amount of nuance to these issues and the constant need to make sure we assign everyone a team fills me with a sense of disgust I have a hard time articulating.

That being said, I am apparently on Team Libertarian, despite my hatred for most self-identifying Libertarians. See you in the big game in a couple years!

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Aetius wrote:

For example, they don't consider taxation as theft like a libertarian would, so they don't weight those choices that would require heavy taxation towards authoritarian and Left, but only to the Left.

While I disagree with the rest of what you said, this is true: what they are calling "Libertarian" is just, I don't know, "liberal democratic." Like you said, they treat the social and the economic as two independent variables, which is in some cases wrong. To quote the FAQ myself:

The chart also makes clear that, despite popular perceptions, the opposite of fascism is not communism but anarchism (ie liberal socialism), and that the opposite of communism ( i.e. an entirely state-planned economy) is neo-liberalism (i.e. extreme deregulated economy)

I agree "an economic dimension and a social dimension are important factors for a proper political analysis" but they've forgotten the um, "political" dimension. In Communism, the nation is at best a tool of the worker for achieving an end state where nations will become basically irrelevant. In Fascism, the worker is a tool of the state for achieving glory and the only truly relevant entity is the nation (at best, the nation is the indispensable form of the 'folk' in a modern world). In liberal socialism and neo-liberalism, the nation is a social contract or something else out of Enlightenment thinking, and not nearly as rigidly conceived as under Communism and especially Fascism.

I mean, according to the logic of that FAQ, Monarchy is not the opposite of Communism either!

For the same reasons this turns up some 'false positives' for Libertarians, it doesn't reveal just how different Communism and Fascism really are at their roots. That mistake leads to this statement in the FAQ:

If you could get Hitler and Stalin to sit down together and avoid economics, the two diehard authoritarians would find plenty of common ground.

Not true: for Stalin (assuming Stalin was really a communist, and not just a guy who wanted to be a dictator who happened to get his shot in a communist country), economics *was* social. A political liberal and a Libertarian could also find a lot of common ground if they could avoid economics, but they can't either.

For what it's worth:

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I'd say my biggest problem is along the lines of Aeitus' issue with dividing the social from the economic because it sees that as the only distinction, and doesn't distinguish between being *politically* left wing and *socially* left wing. For example, where does the question "Sex outside marriage is usually immoral" fit in? A person can believe that it's immoral which makes them socially right wing but believing it should not be illegal is left wing. That's not an economic distinction, so it's not going to be picked up on by the vertical axis.

Captain_Arrrg wrote:

The Nolan Chart puts me right at the top of the diamond, squarely libertarian. The questions are worded better but there is still a bias, but something has the spur the creation of these things.

I think the bias in the Nolan Chart is the reverse of the problem with this chart: where this chart sees things as social mapped against economic and folds the personal in with those two, the Nolan Chart replaces the social with the personal.

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To add one more thing: when people say "Authoritarian" I think they usually mean how easy a time government has enforcing its decisions (and how it comes to those decisions) along side what decisions the government is entitled to make. Are warrants required for search and seizure? What's the burden of proof in criminal cases? Can the government pass ex post facto laws? How much due process is required of the government?

I mean, you could have a night watchman state where nevertheless the night watchman...comes for people in the night and convicts them in closed courts and throws them in secret prisons. It seems that was missing from the "right/left" questions as I remember them. It was all about what people see as a proper function of government, and not too much about what it takes for a government to be called 'properly functioning.'

The questions aren't perfect. There are a few cases where I wanted to respond with, "I don't think this is good or right but acknowledge that that's the way things are right now."

CheezePavilion wrote:

To add one more thing: when people say "Authoritarian" I think they usually mean how easy a time government has enforcing its decisions (and how it comes to those decisions) along side what decisions the government is entitled to make. Are warrants required for search and seizure? What's the burden of proof in criminal cases? Can the government pass ex post facto laws? How much due process is required of the government?

I see it as how much control the government wants over a citizen's life. Any time the government passes a restriction on someone's freedom - for any reason - that is an authoritarian action. It's not necessarily bad, despite our gut negative reaction to that word, we being a freedom-loving people.

It's technically authoritarian to outlaw punting babies into the freeway but I think we can all agree that's a good rule to have.

I said no such thing. I don't throw around exclamation points with such reckless abandon. That was CheezePavilion's enthusiasm.

CheezePavilion wrote:

stuff

I'm glad you took this so seriously, I only hope you did your stretches before you decided to compare the most oppressive Communist Dictatorship to a watered-down Constitutional Monarchy. Maybe an Absolute Monarchy like Saudi Arabia and an Communist Dictatorship such as North Korea would be a fair comparison. Well, except one is sitting on barrels of money.

That's enough of this derail for me. Take it easy Cheeze.

...And my bad Lobster. These here intertubes are tricky.

CheezePavilion wrote:

I mean, according to the logic of that FAQ, Monarchy is not the opposite of Communism either!

Real world examples leave them looking more similar than different. Power is held by a single person for the purpose of protecting the peasants/workers from capitalists/Huns. These leaders live in palaces, control the means of production and idolized by the people they "serve". Their successors are either first born sons or their closest advisors. Their social system is broken up along the lines of worker, military, and ruling classes... In fact, I'm having trouble finding differences.

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Hmm nothing about the military or guns. Little doubt that my views would have nudged me around a bit.

They also seem to be extremism bias. On the economic question. I think that there are few people in our country today would have salient things to say about "too big to fail." The underregulation of banks, coal mines, oil leading to disasters, the perverse relationship the Fed(a private institution) has on domestic and global financial security, etc.

Captain_Arrrg wrote:

That's enough of this derail for me.

You're worried about derailing a thread that until two days ago hadn't been posted in for over a year and a half?

Captain_Arrrg wrote:
CheezePavilion wrote:

stuff

I'm glad you took this so seriously, I only hope you did your stretches before you decided to compare the most oppressive Communist Dictatorship to a watered-down Constitutional Monarchy.

Well, I took *you* seriously. I didn't compare them, you did. I'm just pointing out cases you might not have been thinking of when making the comparison, to get you to realize you mean something more specific, like what you said next:

Maybe an Absolute Monarchy like Saudi Arabia and an Communist Dictatorship such as North Korea would be a fair comparison.

So instead of saying "Monarchies are like Communist countries" isn't it more accurate to describe their similarities by way of the explanation: "countries with Absolute leaders are like Dictatorships"?

LobsterMobster wrote:
CheezePavilion wrote:

To add one more thing: when people say "Authoritarian" I think they usually mean how easy a time government has enforcing its decisions (and how it comes to those decisions) along side what decisions the government is entitled to make. Are warrants required for search and seizure? What's the burden of proof in criminal cases? Can the government pass ex post facto laws? How much due process is required of the government?

I see it as how much control the government wants over a citizen's life. Any time the government passes a restriction on someone's freedom - for any reason - that is an authoritarian action. It's not necessarily bad, despite our gut negative reaction to that word, we being a freedom-loving people.

It's technically authoritarian to outlaw punting babies into the freeway but I think we can all agree that's a good rule to have.

Well one, if that's the case then we need a word for what I'm talking about too, because it's different. I think the best word for that is authoritarian, and what you're talking about is "interventionist" or something.

Two, I don't know if I agree. A law about putting babies into the freeway is not just a restriction on someone's freedom, it's also considered a recognition of a human right--a freedom itself. That's different from a law like, let's say a traffic light. There's no right to drive on green being protected: it's the government intervening to make traffic flow more efficient and safe.

In short, I would not call every move away from anarchy a move towards authoritarianism. In fact, I think that's exactly what Aeitus was complaining about in a nutshell.

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Sort of related--I was poking around on the site, and it states:

It's muddled thinking to simply describe the likes of the British National Party as "extreme right". The truth is that on issues like health, transport, housing, protectionism and globalisation, their economics are left of Labour, let alone the Conservatives. It's in areas like police power, military power, school discipline, law and order, race and nationalism that the BNP's real extremism - as authoritarians - is clear.

They want to divide economic policy from social policy which is a helpful thing to an extent, but they want to label economic policy left/right and tell people they're wrong for thinking social policy isn't also left/right.

I mean, I can turn their graph on its side and look! now authoritarianism *is* right wing and I can label the vertical axis liberal/conservative. Choosing to hold a graph one way instead of another is not a valid argument.

Captain_Arrrg wrote:
LobsterMobster wrote:

I mean, according to the logic of that FAQ, Monarchy is not the opposite of Communism either!

Real world examples leave them looking more similar than different.

Well first off I'd say that means you're no longer talking about this graph: this isn't a graph of real world examples, it's a graph of ideologies. You basically won't find an example of Trotskyite Communism as the ideology of a state in the real world, but you will find people with that ideology.

Second, if we're talking about the real world, I'd say the United Kingdom looks a lot different than the People's Republic of Korea and much more similar to the United States, so that's at least one real world example of a Monarchy looking more like a Democracy than a Communist country.

Power is held by a single person for the purpose of protecting the peasants/workers from capitalists/Huns.

Nope--Communism as practiced in a soviet-style (not Soviet) state would not have a single person protecting the workers from capitalists. Workers Councils would be local to the industry in question and membership would be gained by working there. You could have a Communist-style country where the central authority only enforces the laws regarding the legal obligations of the Workers Councils to workers and vice versa, while the Councils have autonomy in making decisions regarding production.

For example, instead of apportioning control over industry by means of selling and buying stocks as in the corporate law you find in free market countries, you could allow workers to acquire 'shares' as a matter of law in any business they work for, a contract term that cannot be bargained away much like current workplace safety laws in otherwise 'free market' economies.

Putting it in terms of Atlas Shrugged, when Francisco d'Anconia's ancestor leaves Spain with only his family crest and starts working that mine with the help of South American Indians, their descendants would own part of d’Anconia Copper too.

And then there's constitutional monarchy like you find in the Commonwealth: the Queen has very little power and the state is run by a Parliament. That one you can find in the real world today; the kind of Communist state I'm talking about you can kinda/sorta find in history in turn of the century Russia or Civil War era Spain. You don't find them in the real world because, well, they weren't strong enough to survive Leninism/the Fascists won that war and never developed into mature nation-states.

These leaders live in palaces, control the means of production and idolized by the people they "serve". Their successors are either first born sons or their closest advisors. Their social system is broken up along the lines of worker, military, and ruling classes... In fact, I'm having trouble finding differences.

I think you're having trouble finding difference between dictatorships--and corrupt ones, at that. While Fascism and Monarchy and Communism are much easier to envision as a dictatorship than an Enlightenment-style democracy, that doesn't mean that *every* Monarchy or Communist state must be a dictatorship. Stalinists certainly found a difference between their version of Communism and the collectivization movement in Spain.

Of course, then there's the question of whether a Constitutional Monarchy is a Monarchy at all, just like whether a Fascist Democracy is Fascist in the first place.

LobsterMobster wrote:

I said no such thing. I don't throw around exclamation points with such reckless abandon. That was CheezePavilion's enthusiasm. :)

That was not reckless abandon! This is reckless abandon! Demonstrating how it's really no surprise to find that governments which are not Democracies are Dictatorships is something worth exclaiming!

[/quote]The fact of the matter is that a regulated economy and a strong public sector are, in fact, necessarily authoritarian. Implementing taxes and regulations, by definition, requires force and the assumption of authority, and it inevitably reduces social freedom as well as economic freedom. I think their weighting does not consider that, or more accurately tries to separate it. For example, they don't consider taxation as theft like a libertarian would, so they don't weight those choices that would require heavy taxation towards authoritarian and Left, but only to the Left.

The Nolan Chart is, I think, clearer and easier to understand - but theirs is good, thought provoking, and functions the same way. The real dichotomy between the citizens, who tend to weight themselves libertarian, and the people they elect, who are heavily weighted authoritarian, is very interesting to me.[/quote]

I agree. This reminds me of an oversimplification my 8th grade history teacher made when he tried to explain the political left/right graph to us. The way he explained it had people who were right of center in favor of corporations "over the common man" and believers in less personal freedom while leftists were supposed to be wealth distributive and by an extension of this believers in greater personal freedom. I was the only student to say, "Wait, what? So if my dad gives me $40 and this guys dad gives him 10 and I don't give him some of mine then I am giving him less personal freedom?" Ive noticed a distinct left bias in most public school teachers/textbooks. I bet many of you (provided you came from a public school as I did) can remember reading a history book and you probably thought Roosevelt's New Deal brought us out of the Great Depression. I wonder why that is? Well historically economic liberals were big champions of public education. This is one of the very few issues I find myself in agreement with them on. Unfortunately, history shows that ANYTHING managed by government is run less effectively than by private enterprise. Why? Because people are greedy. In a perfect world we all would work just as hard for the common good as we do for our own but sadly we live in the real world and in this world state funded endeavors tend to become greater and greater tax burdens over time as public sector officials become "empire builders." Anyway, I could go on and on about the idiocy of Share Our Wealth thinking but instead I'm going to give the chart producers some credit. There will never be a perfect unbiased political chart because if you add another dimension for every independent issue the chart would become so confusing it would put Stephan Hawking to sleep. Think about it. While many issues are interwoven in economic and social policy there are too many that can be completely separate. For example, some would say that my pro-gun views put me on the general right and the graph may have put me more authoritarian. Also, I was unsure how to answer for the gay rights and religious-based questions. On the one hand, I believe firmly in the separation of church and state (we are not a theocracy after all) and our government has no right to legislate what is moral and deny gay couples from the same tax breaks as straight couples. However, as church and state are separate, the government cannot force any particular church or religion to marry a gay couple since it is within that church's sovereign right to refuse for any reason, especially since most churches do hold the now-unpopular belief that homosexuality is an abomination. The government cannot take a side in theological matters. Which brings us to abortions. *takes breath* This seems to require its own graph dimension in and of itself because you cannot really say that one side is necessarily authoritarian or libertarian. I personally side with the rights of the unborn child but does that make me authoritarian because I seek to "impose" the child's right to live on the mother or am I libertarian because I defend a right? As always, politics have given me a headache.

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I think all the anti-corporate responses I've given put me farther towards the left. A better understanding of economics may change that later in life. Still a surprise I've been placed that far in the quadrant though. Thought I would be closer to the center.

KingGorilla wrote:

On the economic question. I think that there are few people in our country today would have salient things to say about "too big to fail." The underregulation of banks, coal mines, oil leading to disasters, the perverse relationship the Fed(a private institution) has on domestic and global financial security, etc.

Actually, under-regulation is not the problem there. There are countless pages of unenforced regulations that are only brought to attention whenever something bad happens. Too often people think that the answer to some problem is another law or government imposed regulation. No corporation or agency can be foolproof against all forms of hazard and eventually people have to decide what is more important, their freedom or their security. I'm not going to resurrect the old Benjamin Franklin quote but we've seen time and again that when free enterprise is burdened with too much government regulation companies do one of three things to stay competitive. They can either cut corners (BP) to maintain an edge, cut jobs (most companies today), or a combination of the two. When a disaster happens that particular part of the rulebook is brought back off the backburner and given greater scrutiny but over time complacency reasserts itself and some other disaster brings the publics attention towards some other area and even more regs are added to The Book, thus further dividing the amount of attention and money companies can invest in each danger.

CheezePavilion wrote:

Two, I don't know if I agree. A law about putting babies into the freeway is not just a restriction on someone's freedom, it's also considered a recognition of a human right--a freedom itself. That's different from a law like, let's say a traffic light. There's no right to drive on green being protected: it's the government intervening to make traffic flow more efficient and safe.

Yes, but that's extrapolation. You could also say that it is a threat to the survival of the species to put all of our babies in freeways, and that the law is an evolutionary adaptation to stave off an extinction event. You could say it's a matter of budgeting road maintenance fees since someone would need to clean up the babies and the accidents that result from slick roadways.

Would you feel more comfortable if we said it was illegal to throw cinderblocks into freeways? That is also true and also a good law, but has little to do with the rights of the cinderblock.

Jagzeplin wrote:

However, as church and state are separate, the government cannot force any particular church or religion to marry a gay couple since it is within that church's sovereign right to refuse for any reason, especially since most churches do hold the now-unpopular belief that homosexuality is an abomination. The government cannot take a side in theological matters. Which brings us to abortions. *takes breath* This seems to require its own graph dimension in and of itself because you cannot really say that one side is necessarily authoritarian or libertarian. I personally side with the rights of the unborn child but does that make me authoritarian because I seek to "impose" the child's right to live on the mother or am I libertarian because I defend a right? As always, politics have given me a headache.

Jagzeplin, welcome to the forums and thank you for posting. Please be aware that unlike most forums we do not limit new users on paragraph usage and you should feel free to use as many as you please.

We are definitely not going to solve the issue of abortion here and now so let's avoid discussing the rights of the mother versus the rights of the fetus. That won't get us anywhere. I'm not saying that's what you're doing, just heading off the obvious conclusion at the pass, so to speak.

I'd also like to point out that churches are tax-exempt. Their status as a religious organization earns them special privileges from the government, which you could interpret as a sort of subsidization as they are paying less to operate than they would without that exemption. Since they still benefit from government programs that are funded by taxpayer money, I'd say that they are not sovereign. A church could not, for instance, practice ritual human sacrifice (and I'll respectfully decline the example of consuming the host, as that is not actual human flesh and blood no matter how hard people pray at it).

Back to abortion, I don't think it really matters whose rights are being protected. "Authoritarian" is not a bad word. Allowing abortion is "libertarian," but not because it protects the rights of the mother over the rights of the fetus... rather, because it allows the mother to choose instead of making that decision for her. Whether the government seeks to protect the fetus or restrict the mother, if it is making that decision then that is an authoritarian action.

I am more concerned with some folks' attitude of what constitutes authoritarian. Governments with regulation or control over certain sectors is not authoritarian. Plato's educated aristocracy is authoritarian, 12th centure England was authoritarian. God-kings are authoritarian. An extreme version is totalitarianism.

Power is held secretly, with the citizenry divorced from power. And government operates superior to any rule of law. The public at large has no means of redress or challenge against the government.

[/quote]Jagzeplin, welcome to the forums and thank you for posting. Please be aware that unlike most forums we do not limit new users on paragraph usage and you should feel free to use as many as you please.

We are definitely not going to solve the issue of abortion here and now so let's avoid discussing the rights of the mother versus the rights of the fetus. That won't get us anywhere. I'm not saying that's what you're doing, just heading off the obvious conclusion at the pass, so to speak.

I'd also like to point out that churches are tax-exempt. Their status as a religious organization earns them special privileges from the government, which you could interpret as a sort of subsidization as they are paying less to operate than they would without that exemption. Since they still benefit from government programs that are funded by taxpayer money, I'd say that they are not sovereign. A church could not, for instance, practice ritual human sacrifice (and I'll respectfully decline the example of consuming the host, as that is not actual human flesh and blood no matter how hard people pray at it).

Back to abortion, I don't think it really matters whose rights are being protected. "Authoritarian" is not a bad word. Allowing abortion is "libertarian," but not because it protects the rights of the mother over the rights of the fetus... rather, because it allows the mother to choose instead of making that decision for her. Whether the government seeks to protect the fetus or restrict the mother, if it is making that decision then that is an authoritarian action.[/quote]

Your right they ARE tax exempt aren't they. I hadn't thought about that. Well then (and this would royally piss off my grandmother) I'm afraid that I have to find myself in disagreement with this policy. Why should they pay any less taxes than anyone else? As for abortion, I was trying to say how someone can say that outlawing abortion can be seen as libertarian in that it protects the child's right to live against the mother who seeks to kill it. Yes it removes her choice to force death on it (yes I know my bias is affecting my wording of the debate) but since it also protects the child's right to life it can be equated to a law against anyone killing anyone else in general. In other words not necessarily authoritarian since it seeks to protect the rights of the victim. That being said I will admit that it (anti-abortion law) probably should be considered authoritarian in nature since the woman in question has voting rights while the unborn child does not so it is an impediment on a citizens right while taking away the right of only a barely (depending on how far along into pregnancy) sentient entity. The latter viewpoint is at least how the pro-choice crowd see it. They say fetus because it sounds less precious just as we say unborn child and use gross pictures to produce the opposite effect. Politics is a dirty game.

One crucial form of regulation is no bailouts, ever. These guys have huge brains, and if they know Uncle Sam will keep them afloat no matter what, they'll turn those brains to short-term profit without caring about corporate survival. And no matter how complex the regulations you come up with, they'll come up with ways around them, guaranteed.

For the most part, they're smarter than we are, and we don't have the competence required to regulate what they're doing. We have to get THEIR brains working on how to be safe, not just our little ones, and the best way I know to do that is to absolutely enforce the ultimate penalty of financial failure, dissolution.

Not doing this is our usual schtick of avoiding all short-term pain, no matter what it costs over the long term. And you just can't run an economy that way.

Malor wrote:

One crucial form of regulation is no bailouts, ever. These guys have huge brains, and if they know Uncle Sam will keep them afloat no matter what, they'll turn those brains to short-term profit without caring about corporate survival. And no matter how complex the regulations you come up with, they'll come up with ways around them, guaranteed.

For the most part, they're smarter than we are, and we don't have the competence required to regulate what they're doing. We have to get THEIR brains working on how to be safe, not just our little ones, and the best way I know to do that is to absolutely enforce the ultimate penalty of financial failure, dissolution.

Not doing this is our usual schtick of avoiding all short-term pain, no matter what it costs over the long term. And you just can't run an economy that way.

I agree. That's not a form of regulation though. That's just refusing to hand them taxpayer money to cover for their mistakes. Calling it regulation is like saying that by not donating my money to a particular charity I am regulating it.

Well Malor, this problem of bailouts is because of out-dated economic thinking still ruling Washington. Rather than temporarily nationalize some banks, we cut a fat check, and later the FDIC takes control of a select few. Rather than a national system of student loans, we subsidized private lenders, and now sparse direct loans. A lot of the same advice that we have given to other nations regarding banking emergencies and prevention, we avoided for purely political reasons.
We still have members of congress talking about how tax cuts, and rebates are the cure for the recession-not investing in infastructure, public works.

The implicit government guarantee of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, by the way, was an absolutely central driver to the housing bubble. People would lend money to those entities at much lower than regular rates, at pretty much the same rate they would offer the government itself, because they believed that Congress would step in and bail them out if they got in over their heads. (which, as it turns out, was 1000% correct.)

That, in turn, drove FNM and FRE's competitors into riskier loans, because they couldn't get money as cheap as those guys. So, to turn a profit, they had to chase poorer-quality borrowers. And that brought a bunch of new people into the housing markets, sending prices up, and driving defaults down. That also set off a frenzy of interest on the part of the financial system, the people with savings, because the returns were good and the risk appeared very low. And as long as new money and new borrowers were moving into the system, it looked very inviting indeed.

That implied guarantee of bailout, in other words, was one of the central drivers of the bubble, roughly tied with the Federal Reserve's 'interest rate targeting' program, in which they essentially printed any amount of money required to hold interest rates at the rate they deemed appropriate for the world economy. The third leg of that stool was the invention of derivatives.

Derivatives are, relatively speaking, the easy thing to understand, so they take most of the blame, but all they did was magnify the bubble, they didn't cause it. Without the fuel provided by the Fed, and the matches provided by Congress, the fire wouldn't have burned. Derivatives were just an accelerant. They made it MUCH worse, but they weren't the primary cause.

KingGorilla wrote:

Well Malor, this problem of bailouts is because of out-dated economic thinking still ruling Washington. Rather than temporarily nationalize some banks, we cut a fat check, and later the FDIC takes control of a select few. Rather than a national system of student loans, we subsidized private lenders, and now sparse direct loans. A lot of the same advice that we have given to other nations regarding banking emergencies and prevention, we avoided for purely political reasons.
We still have members of congress talking about how tax cuts, and rebates are the cure for the recession-not investing in infastructure, public works.

So we should temporarily nationalize banks? Put the same government that has run up a titanic debt and lent money to these faulty banks in COMPLETE control? I'm sorry but I thought most everyone was in agreement that the government does not manage assets well. The government bureaucrats make bad bankers so you'd probably end up making it worse.

Jazeplin wrote:

I was trying to say how someone can say that outlawing abortion can be seen as libertarian in that it protects the child's right to live against the mother who seeks to kill it.

I have to ask, how is protecting the child's right to live libertarian? Sure it allows the child to make decisions in the life it would have otherwise not had, but one could easily say that having a child dramatically limits the realistic options available to the mother, by virtue of the responsibility involved.

As I said, "authoritarian" is not a dirty word. Nor is "libertarian" a good one. They are morally ambiguous. Protecting a life is not "libertarian" by virtue of it sounding like a pretty good thing to do. Protection is intervention, and intervention is authoritarian even when it's the right thing to do.

This will probably piss off KingGorilla but I like this article I read titled "Should We Really Nationalize Banks - Or Privatize Congress?" Here's a piece of it.....

I like all the suggestions, but would add that we reduce corporate tax rates all the way to zero. It's counterproductive to tax business and capital, and makes even less sense when we realize there is no such real entity as a "corporation". Rather, corporations are merely legal entities that represent real people who are already taxed: workers, shareholders, and consumers.

The only reason taxing companies has been enabled for so long is that stakeholders are one step or more removed from the tax man. Employees don't realize their wages are depressed, shareholders come to expect taxes on their profits, adjusting for after-tax targets, and consumers think of rising prices as just part of life. Worse, unemployed workers have no way of realizing they are unemployed partly because of the tax system!

It's all perverse, unfair, and renders the country less competitive and poorer in the long run.

On Feb 22 11:37 AM Steve in Greensboro wrote:

The long term solutions are:

1) Restrict the Fed's ability to debase the currency as it did post
9/11/01 and as it is currently doing now.

2) Privatize or liquidate FNM and FRE and prevent the U.S. government
from interfering in the mortgage market.

3) Reduce top marginal income tax rates. The U.S. currently has
one of the most redistributive income taxes in the world.

4) Reduce the corporate income tax rates. The U.S. currently has
one of the highest corporate rates in the world (and the most punitive
system).

The likelihood of any of this happening for the next 2-4 years is
zero. That's why sane investors are out of the equities.

LobsterMobster wrote:
Jazeplin wrote:

I was trying to say how someone can say that outlawing abortion can be seen as libertarian in that it protects the child's right to live against the mother who seeks to kill it.

I have to ask, how is protecting the child's right to live libertarian? Sure it allows the child to make decisions in the life it would have otherwise not had, but one could easily say that having a child dramatically limits the realistic options available to the mother, by virtue of the responsibility involved.

As I said, "authoritarian" is not a dirty word. Nor is "libertarian" a good one. They are morally ambiguous. Protecting a life is not "libertarian" by virtue of it sounding like a pretty good thing to do. Protection is intervention, and intervention is authoritarian even when it's the right thing to do.

Yes. I cede the point which is why I later said "That being said I will admit that it (anti-abortion law) probably should be considered authoritarian in nature since the woman in question has voting rights while the unborn child does not so it is an impediment on a citizens right."