Entitlement and Welfare Spending Catch-all

bandit0013 wrote:
Robear wrote:

Bandit, should states be allowed to ban any teachings that mention God? Should they be allowed to require mandatory religious services in public schools? Once you devolve the federal influence, you lose the protections of it as well.

What if Tennessee wants to ban the teaching of evolution, environmental sciences and mandate Christian history in it's classes? What if Texas decides to allow corporations to bid on curriculum topics to fund operations, or Vermont suddenly takes over all private schools and opens them to the public, funded by the trusts held by the schools?

Isn't there a national interest in a single, consistent baseline curriculum that all students would get? How would you possibly do that with 50 different standards? Or maybe education is not a *national* interest, but a *state* one?

Given that I think states and localities should have say on their school policies, yes, they can ban teaching God in school or allow it. It's their curriculum. However I'm also a strong believer in charter and private schools, and that whatever funds the state puts towards your child's education is yours, and you should be able to use that as a credit to educate how you wish. With true mobility of funding and opening up the education system if that school teaches God and you don't like it, there should be a half dozen other options reasonably nearby, or a virtual option. As that money flows out of that school system, they'll consider changing their policy or go under. I'm kind of confused by your argument though, because it's not like there aren't religious based schools now. So I'm not sure what would really change so much for the worse if states and localities got to make their own rules.

I have no issues with a baseline curriculum, but you realize that by inserting the word baseline you are limiting your argument of national interest, because right now the dept of education's power is far more reaching than baseline. As far as what Texas and Vermont decide, why not, do you not think that we might benefit from opening things up to creativity instead of a big central slow moving bureaucratic entity?

edosan wrote:
CheezePavilion wrote:
MacBrave wrote:
CheezePavilion wrote:

Except children don't get a choice in where they live, and they don't get to vote.

So we should take the responsibility of providing a quality primary education to a child completely away from the parent and give it to the government?

A state government is as much a government as the Federal government is a government.

This raises a good question: why do people that hate federal government love state governments so much? What changes in human nature with a plane ticket to Washington?

People don't like the federal government as much because it dilutes my power over my locality. I don't get to vote for the other 98 senators, so I want their power over my day to day activities to be limited. It's about maximizing the impact of my involvement in the democratic process, and as an individual I am weakest at the federal level and strongest at the local level. Of course, local is too small and disjointed to make sense, but the state level is pretty ideal... as the founders recognized.

Very well said. Local and state government may also be corrupt, but it's easier to petition or even confront local politicians compared with those Congressmembers who visit their districts a few weeks a year. It's not that hard to meet your state governor - I've done so several times. It's nearly impossible to get close to the president unless you're willing to pay tens of thousands of dollars at a fund raiser. If you want to protest the president, they're going to keep you in a "protest zone" several miles away. Finally, many states have an initiative process where the people can introduce popular legislation. It's simply much, much easier to get involved or influence the political process at the state level.

And here's the biggest problem with giving the American federal government too much power. Who's responsible for the Patriot Act, extreme rendition, illegal wiretapping of millions of innocent Americans, sending drones after American citizens without due process? The list goes on and on of federal abuses. We're not Sweden or the Netherlands - there's a very good chance that greater national power is not going to be used to benefit the people.

jdzappa wrote:

We're not Sweden or the Netherlands - there's a very good chance that greater national power is not going to be used to benefit the people.

We're pretty far afield from even the amended thread subject, but if I'm reading this right you're implying that a strong federal government in Sweden or the Netherlands is something you feel is appropriate and effective.

If that's an accurate read, I'd be very interested in why you think that might be the case.

Given that I think states and localities should have say on their school policies, yes, they can ban teaching God in school or allow it. It's their curriculum. However I'm also a strong believer in charter and private schools, and that whatever funds the state puts towards your child's education is yours, and you should be able to use that as a credit to educate how you wish. With true mobility of funding and opening up the education system if that school teaches God and you don't like it, there should be a half dozen other options reasonably nearby, or a virtual option. As that money flows out of that school system, they'll consider changing their policy or go under. I'm kind of confused by your argument though, because it's not like there aren't religious based schools now. So I'm not sure what would really change so much for the worse if states and localities got to make their own rules.

You're confused because I'm positing something different. Suppose a state decided to ban the *mention* of God in school. Heck, state legislators have redefined Pi. Would you consider that that would leave the state's students competitive in understanding society, history and the like?

Your solution to this problem - "find another school" - does nothing for the students stuck in a school with a substandard education that's been kneecapped for ideological reasons. This happens already in some areas with evolution and other topics. My point is that we'd be better off with a national standard where at least the *basics* can't be rejected by states or localities. Textbooks could be national, instead of regional or by state, which would reduce costs, and students would not get an unpleasant shock in college because they were taught according to a "community norm" that is actually not based in fact.

I have no issues with a baseline curriculum, but you realize that by inserting the word baseline you are limiting your argument of national interest, because right now the dept of education's power is far more reaching than baseline. As far as what Texas and Vermont decide, why not, do you not think that we might benefit from opening things up to creativity instead of a big central slow moving bureaucratic entity?

Yes, but then, I accept that education is a national interest. You don't seem to. I'm not arguing that the Dept. of Education is perfect; it certainly needs to change, and it's changed a lot already in my lifetime. But I'm arguing that devolving the choices to the states leads to misinforming students and increasing costs and complexity of teaching.

And the idea that opting out by setting up special interest schools is the solution misses the problem of what happens to the students who get left behind? Or for that matter, for those whose parents' beliefs require that the kids be misinformed? Do we just say "sucks to be you" and move on? I'm not comfortable with that...

People don't like the federal government as much because it dilutes my power over my locality. I don't get to vote for the other 98 senators, so I want their power over my day to day activities to be limited. It's about maximizing the impact of my involvement in the democratic process, and as an individual I am weakest at the federal level and strongest at the local level. Of course, local is too small and disjointed to make sense, but the state level is pretty ideal... as the founders recognized.

The response is of course that if your state goes crazy, there are 98 other senators to convince them that they are wrong, or alternatively, to prevent them spreading the damage. The system is not designed to dilute your power over your *locality*, it's designed to protect the rest of the country from bad decisions made by the majority in one area easily spreading to others. (And I'd argue that the current use of parliamentary tactics by the Republicans in Congress is a failure of this system, in a big way, but that's a different thread.) The same system protects you from having *my* values imposed on your community. With the exception for both of us being services like education that affect everyone, no matter where they are from.

In that regard, we do a disservice to students by allowing their community or state to tailor studies based on superstition or political bias or made-up history. It's hard to see how to address that without a national curriculum; right now it's a costly problem, as I noted, because textbooks and standardized tests and state educational systems have to take into account local variations at much greater cost, all based on the tyranny of the majority in their localities.

Rights considered positive rights, as initially proposed in 1979 by the Czech jurist Karel Vasak

In other words, just redefining words, more than 200 years after the Constitution was written, to mean what he wanted them to mean. All rights are 'negative rights' by that incorrect usage. Positive rights, things that people must give you, are entitlements.

Rights are things that can't be taken away, either without due process, or at all. Entitlements are things that other people are forced to work to provide you with.

Until states can ban children raised in other states with opposing ideologies from moving in and draining their resources, we have a national interest in maintaining minimum standards of education.

Also, a question for Bandit/jdzappa:
How do charter and private schools work in areas that are not heavily-populated? A friend/co-worker went to an 80-student high school which had dorms, since the school district was more than a hundred miles across. There was simply no way to financially support 6 different schools in the area to provide a spectrum of exclusive political/religious views.

Kraint wrote:

Until states can ban children raised in other states with opposing ideologies from moving in and draining their resources, we have a national interest in maintaining minimum standards of education.

Also, a question for Bandit/jdzappa:
How do charter and private schools work in areas that are not heavily-populated? A friend/co-worker went to an 80-student high school which had dorms, since the school district was more than a hundred miles across. There was simply no way to financially support 6 different schools in the area to provide a spectrum of exclusive political/religious views.

That's why the nationwide broadband initiative is so important. The day will come when location doesn't matter.

Malor wrote:
Rights considered positive rights, as initially proposed in 1979 by the Czech jurist Karel Vasak

In other words, just redefining words, more than 200 years after the Constitution was written, to mean what he wanted them to mean. All rights are 'negative rights' by that incorrect usage. Positive rights, things that people must give you, are entitlements.

Rights are things that can't be taken away, either without due process, or at all. Entitlements are things that other people are forced to work to provide you with.

There's a non-excluded middle there which is my point: entitlements that can't be taken away, either without due process or at all. That's the sense in which people are calling this a (positive) right: other people are taxed (if they were being forced to work, that would be like, if we were drafting teachers instead of hiring them) to provide children with an education, but that entitlement should not be taken away without due process or at all.

tl;dr: people are asking if education should be treated like a right, even if the mechanism is that of an entitlement.

bandit0013 wrote:

That's why the nationwide broadband initiative is so important. The day will come when location doesn't matter.

At which point, only nation-wide standards on education will matter, no?

tl;dr: people are asking if education should be treated like a right, even if the mechanism is that of an entitlement.

No, because it isn't, it's an entitlement. It's not a right.

It's a remarkably stupid entitlement to withhold, but it is not a right. In the language of rights, you have the right to educate yourself; you don't have the right to force others to educate you.

Hypatian wrote:
bandit0013 wrote:

That's why the nationwide broadband initiative is so important. The day will come when location doesn't matter.

At which point, only nation-wide standards on education will matter, no?

You're thinking too small. What happens when you can have the top education system in the world (Finland, currently) educate your child over the intertubes?

bandit0013 wrote:
Hypatian wrote:
bandit0013 wrote:

That's why the nationwide broadband initiative is so important. The day will come when location doesn't matter.

At which point, only nation-wide standards on education will matter, no?

You're thinking too small. What happens when you can have the top education system in the world (Finland, currently) educate your child over the intertubes?

Global one world government, and illuminati control over our precious bodily fluids.

Tanglebones wrote:
bandit0013 wrote:
Hypatian wrote:
bandit0013 wrote:

That's why the nationwide broadband initiative is so important. The day will come when location doesn't matter.

At which point, only nation-wide standards on education will matter, no?

You're thinking too small. What happens when you can have the top education system in the world (Finland, currently) educate your child over the intertubes?

Global one world government, and illuminati control over our precious bodily fluids.

Flouride over the intertubes?? It's worse than I thought.

Malor wrote:
tl;dr: people are asking if education should be treated like a right, even if the mechanism is that of an entitlement.

No, because it isn't, it's an entitlement. It's not a right.

It's a remarkably stupid entitlement to withhold, but it is not a right. In the language of rights, you have the right to educate yourself; you don't have the right to force others to educate you.

Use whatever language you want, that's what people are saying. Whether you call it "you can force people to fulfill their obligation to educate you" as opposed to "you have the right to force others to educate you" it's all the same.

The argument is over whether the obligation exists, and calling it a right or an entitlement will not settle that argument. I agree that it will give it clarity to the argument in that it distinguishes between the two, but then again, you can get the same clarity by distinguishing positive and negative rights.

It's not an obligation. It just, flat, is not. It's a wise investment, but it is not an obligation.

Do you have the right to an education? No, you absolutely do not. People do not have to teach you jack sh*t.

Is society smart to educate you? You bet it is. But it also needs to do it well, which simply is not happening in huge swaths of the country. Incompetent bureaucracies produce incompetent teachers, and incompetent teachers produce incompetent students... and every one of them will fight like mad to preserve the status quo.

Malor wrote:

It's not an obligation. It just, flat, is not. It's a wise investment, but it is not an obligation.

Okay--that's what you believe. Some people believe differently. They are equally capable of saying it just, flat, is. Which means a discussion is necessary, but I'm not sure how helpful the discussion will be considering no one here is talking about getting *all* government out of financing education, only getting the *Federal* government out of it. Once you start putting a gun to someone's head to educate someone else, no matter how wise the investment, you've already left the easy arguments about rights vs. entitlements and are into discussion about when society can vote your property away from you, at which point the argument for obligations becomes a lot harder to undercut.

The language of "education mandates force others to educate you" is highly loaded, guys. One could just as easily say "selfish people favor individual rights so they can dominate their neighbors" - it's about the same level of accuracy, which is to say, very little. Both are slanting the argument in very strong, and wrong, ways. That argument can literally be used to argue that the Constitution is an unjust abridgement of individual rights, and I think at that point we're into fantasy worlds, not the US.

If we're going into the whole "government power is use of force and is evil, immoral and fattening" discussion, we might as well give it up, because it's end result is "there should be no education mandate, period, so policy is immaterial".

Malor is right in that we need better education, and my money is on standards to help achieve that. Not idiotic testing that actually *limits* the subjects taught and encourages corruption and Texan statistics. Not pumping money into flavor of the year theories that never seem to pay off. Not allowing states to mandate that certain topics be off-limits; that still astounds me that anyone would agree that. Frankly, I think we have good ideas what to do, at the Federal level, but the states are getting in the way. There's no way that there are 50 different equivalent solutions to the problem. Some states will be worse than others, and are, in the current system; the *system* needs to change as much as anything else. Policy rules, in other words. We're better off dealing with one relatively small set of problems distributed across 50 states, with one organization that needs to be fixed, than 50 separate sets of problems with 50 different approaches to solutions. And God help us if the answer is to push responsibility to thousands of counties and cities...

I don't think educational spending is an out of control waste of money entitlement.

Robear wrote:

The language of "education mandates force others to educate you" is highly loaded, guys.

Ya don't say ; D

I don't think educational spending is an out of control waste of money entitlement.

I don't think anyone does, they just disagree on how to go about doing it. This was about a question MacBrave asked about whether education is a right or...not!

Robear wrote:

I don't think educational spending is an out of control waste of money entitlement.

Educational spending isn't out of control, the problem is the lack of accountability and resistance to change.

Robear wrote:

The language of "education mandates force others to educate you" is highly loaded, guys.

Universal health care is doctor slavery, doncha know. Taxes are theft. Speed limits are the boot of the dear leader upon our very necks.

Educational spending isn't out of control, the problem is the lack of accountability and resistance to change.

I agree, that's part of the problem.

bombsfall wrote:
Robear wrote:

The language of "education mandates force others to educate you" is highly loaded, guys.

Universal health care is doctor slavery, doncha know. Taxes are theft. Speed limits are the boot of the dear leader upon our very necks.

I've never quite understood the conservative opposition to universal healthcare. The majority of Americans are already covered under some form of government care. The free market works best with perfect information. If I'm going to buy a new hard drive for my pc, I can go out and research them, compare prices and features, and easily make a choice. Healthcare and procedures are complex, there is a high barrier to information and not much in the way of comparing price/quality that is available and understandable to the average consumer, therefore it is a good candidate for government intervention.

I've never quite understood the conservative opposition to universal healthcare. The majority of Americans are already covered under some form of government care. The free market works best with perfect information. If I'm going to buy a new hard drive for my pc, I can go out and research them, compare prices and features, and easily make a choice. Healthcare and procedures are complex, there is a high barrier to information and not much in the way of comparing price/quality that is available and understandable to the average consumer, therefore it is a good candidate for government intervention.

And that was the GOP's position in the late 80's and the 90's. Now, though, that makes you an America-hating Socialist RINO, because a conservative Democrat was elected and dared to actually pass a GOP inspired health program. Obama treyfed health care and now we have to purge it with a steam cleaning.

MacBrave wrote:
Robear wrote:

Well, the hope with that comment is that you'd provide *some* argument to support your position.

I don't know about all 50 states but a public education is enumerated in the Indiana state constitution. I don't recall such an enumerated power being in the U.S. constitution.

The U.S. constitution is almost entirely made up of limitations of the federal government, not enumerations of their powers. If it were designed to be a list of exactly what the federal government should do it wouldn't be written that way. I've asked this on here before but no one has answered: Why do people think the federal government's power should only be what's in the constitution?

SixteenBlue wrote:

The U.S. constitution is almost entirely made up of limitations of the federal government, not enumerations of their powers. If it were designed to be a list of exactly what the federal government should do it wouldn't be written that way. I've asked this on here before but no one has answered: Why do people think the federal government's power should only be what's in the constitution?

10th Amendment wrote:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

My understanding of the Constitution is that those limitations are made to pen up the federal government so that it can adapt to changing conditions without becoming a strong, top-down government like the monarchies that existed at the time.

While I don't agree much with the weak Federal/strong state government crowd due to changing (local and international)social and technological conditions, the 10th amendment does actually try to enforce that. That's why the Commerce Clause of the Constitution is often reviled, since it is used as an end-run around that limitation.

Well, Kraint, take a look here.

That this provision was not conceived to be a yardstick for measuring the powers granted to the Federal Government or reserved to the States was firmly settled by the refusal of both Houses of Congress to insert the word “expressly” before the word “delegated,” and was confirmed by Madison’s remarks in the course of the debate which took place while the proposed amendment was pending concerning Hamilton’s plan to establish a national bank.

“Interference with the power of the States was no constitutional criterion of the power of Congress. If the power was not given, Congress could not exercise it; if given, they might exercise it, although it should interfere with the laws, or even the Constitutions of the States.”

So the idea that the Commerce Clause is an "end run" is fallacious, in that it *is* a power granted widely, and left to Congress and the courts to decide where the limits lie. It seems like a small point, but it's a very important one - without that understanding, it would not be possible to allow change over time. The fact is, the Constitution is *intended* to be flexible in many ways, and the Founders understood that that more flexibility was better than more specificity, because they were designing for things that they could not predict.

I suspect you'll find people who disagree with the use of the Commerce Clause in justifying policy object more to the *policies* than to the idea that commerce between states is a federal concern. That's why the term "unreasonable" is popular in those debates; the argument can't be that, say, health care is not interstate commerce, but rather that part of the policy is an over-reach, which in itself is a judgement that could change over time.

And that fact is actually a good thing, in my opinion.

Robear wrote:

Well, Kraint, take a look here.

That this provision was not conceived to be a yardstick for measuring the powers granted to the Federal Government or reserved to the States was firmly settled by the refusal of both Houses of Congress to insert the word “expressly” before the word “delegated,” and was confirmed by Madison’s remarks in the course of the debate which took place while the proposed amendment was pending concerning Hamilton’s plan to establish a national bank.

“Interference with the power of the States was no constitutional criterion of the power of Congress. If the power was not given, Congress could not exercise it; if given, they might exercise it, although it should interfere with the laws, or even the Constitutions of the States.”

So the idea that the Commerce Clause is an "end run" is fallacious, in that it *is* a power granted widely, and left to Congress and the courts to decide where the limits lie. It seems like a small point, but it's a very important one - without that understanding, it would not be possible to allow change over time. The fact is, the Constitution is *intended* to be flexible in many ways, and the Founders understood that that more flexibility was better than more specificity, because they were designing for things that they could not predict.

I suspect you'll find people who disagree with the use of the Commerce Clause in justifying policy object more to the *policies* than to the idea that commerce between states is a federal concern. That's why the term "unreasonable" is popular in those debates; the argument can't be that, say, health care is not interstate commerce, but rather that part of the policy is an over-reach, which in itself is a judgement that could change over time.

And that fact is actually a good thing, in my opinion.

Google "abuse of the commerce clause" and you will see the reactions many people have to its use in justifying national policies across the board. Many Ron Paul fans I've heard fall into this category(ACA bad - Romneycare good, etc.). It is not an unreasonable stance to think that the Commerce Clause should be used primarily when addressing trade a commerce issues. I personally think that the need to use the CC for issues that are, at best, tangentially related to commerce is a problem that needs to be addressed at a Constitutional level. Don't misunderstand me, I am in favor of a stronger federal government in terms of policy coverage. I don't like the current means in a purely legal sense, but I do approve of the ends.

Google "abuse of the commerce clause" and you will see the reactions many people have to its use in justifying national policies across the board. Many Ron Paul fans I've heard fall into this category(ACA bad - Romneycare good, etc.). It is not an unreasonable stance to think that the Commerce Clause should be used primarily when addressing trade a commerce issues. I personally think that the need to use the CC for issues that are, at best, tangentially related to commerce is a problem that needs to be addressed at a Constitutional level. Don't misunderstand me, I am in favor of a stronger federal government in terms of policy coverage. I don't like the current means in a purely legal sense, but I do approve of the ends.

There are *reactions* to all sorts of things, and claims made, but often neither one fits anything like the historical reality. That's the distinction I'm drawing. It's all well and good for people to discuss, say, marriage, and claim that it's been one man, one woman everywhere for all time, but that's patently wrong. It's not even true in Europe. Likewise, there are a zillion political claims made - the Founders were socialists, libertarians, monarchists, atheists, religious fanatics, closet abolitionists, white supremacists, members of various occult or political secret socities Meant To Rule The World... But that's essentially projecting modern thoughts onto the past. Whether or not we agree with the past, we can't change it, and we *can* figure out what the more famous Founders thought, as well as gauge the popular mood at the time.

We just may not like it when we hear it. The Commerce Clause is a good example of that. It's hard to imagine that the Founders did not understand the scope of the clause when they wrote, but that's what you'd have to believe to take exception to applying that to anything that actually does touch on interstate commerce. Disagreement with a wide interpretation needs to be made by Congress and the courts, and in that way reflect at least a large minority opinion in the population.

Look at it from the other side. The Constitution had to be modified to eliminate slavery. It had to be rewritten to outlaw what is considered now to be one of the greatest possible evils, people literally owning other people. Are we *really* surprised that some infrastructure rule like the Commerce Clause can be interpreted broadly, and was not written narrowly? I can't see why.

If it's interpreted too widely, that's not the fault of the clause, it's the acceptance of a wide interpretation by the states, by the courts, by Congress, and ultimately by The People, who can change if they can just agree on the need for such a change. Until then, it's not the Constitution that's broken.

It's hard to imagine that the Founders did not understand the scope of the clause when they wrote

But you were just arguing recently that we should ignore a whole clause of the Constitution, that it was superfluous.

You can't have it both ways, dude. Either they knew what they were doing, or they didn't. If they did, then we shouldn't be ignoring clauses in the Constitution. If they didn't, then this doesn't fly.

I am absolutely certain that if you went back and told the Founders that the Commerce Clause was going to be used as justification to force everyone in the entire country into buying health care contracts, they would A) laugh in disbelief, and B) immediately clarify that Congress has the power to regulate commerce, but not force it into being. And if they heard about the other ways it's been abused, they might even scrap it completely.

Oh, I hold the Supreme Court responsible for giving the thumbs-up to the current use of the CC. I'm not arguing that the CC cannot legitimately be interpreted in the way it has, just that a lot of people (especially libertarians) think that decision does not have a good foundation. Given the presence and text of the 10th amendment, I'm inclined to agree with them on that specific legal question. The libertarians and the Tenther-type movements have pushed in the courts and legislatures to resist imposition of federal programs and laws that they believe go beyond the Constitutional boundaries.

The Founding Fathers did a great job of forging a single country out of a bunch of tribes that would likely have been at war without the European powers' presence. That doesn't mean they had the foresight to predict the changes in international politics, the rise of the US as a continent-spanning superpower(hyperpower?), the incredible advancement in communications(including surveillance) and transportation technology, the falls of most monarchies, the industrial/automation boom that moved us from a nation of farmers with manufacturing cores in major cities, etc.

I think that we do need a re-write of some aspects of the Constitution because of the changes in reality(broader powers to regulate national-level infrastructure, the environment, social programs, and a solid reinforcement and clarification of the bans on infringing the freedoms outlined in the amendments). The Constitution should be a living document that we modify the specifics of occasionally to reflect the changing world around it(voting rights, abolition, freedom of speech, etc) while keeping the core ideals intact and accurate to the modern world.

I roll this in to my idea that all laws passed at the national and state levels need to include clauses outlining the intent/spirit of the law as guidance to the courts in interpreting them. That, however, is another discussion.

And one of the most fundamental legal principles we have is that if Congress wrote something into law, they did it for a reason, and that any reading of the law that makes part of it superfluous, is, by definition, a bad reading.

This applies far more strongly to the Constitution itself.