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Thread: The sadism of the modern Republican Party

  1. #81
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigLeRoy View Post
    I want to comment on your last paragraph in particular. Plutarch understood all this almost two thousand years ago. He wrote that "an imbalance between the rich and the poor is the oldest and most fatal ailment of all republics." He knew that a healthy republic needed a dynamic and thriving middle class, if only to serve as a buffer between the rich and the poor. He understood that if that middle class were to vanish, perhaps due to very poor policy choices, the rich and the poor would then be at each other's throats, and the end result would be either a brutally repressive oligarchy backed by military force, or a wildly irrational populist revolution, neither of them remotely desirable. America's Gini coefficient, one measure by which economists measure the degree of income (or wealth) inequality, has been rising (as you suggested) since the late 1960's or early 1970's----the year 1973 is often cited as a major dividing line between two different economic eras-----and is headed in the direction of Brazil, a nation rather infamous for not having much of a middle class to speak of at all.

    This is NOT a healthy direction for America to be going in, and yet, when you ask Republicans WHY they want to be pushing America in that direction, they REFUSE to answer.
    Well said. If our society were fairly flat and getting flatter, then maybe the Republican policies would be the right ones for us. I think there needs to be enough wealth differentiation to make people strive to improve their station, for capitalism to work efficiently. But we had family income Gini ratios below 0.36 for most of the period from the mid 1950s through mid 1970s, and capitalism worked just fine. In fact, you could make an argument that the 1960s, with ratios as low as 0.349, were the period when capitalism was functioning the best in this country. So, with a current ratio of 0.452 and rising, we're at no risk of having an economic distribution that's too flat to function well. The risk is the other way. We're up in the range of income inequality we had before the system came tumbling down in the Great Depression. We're clearly far more at risk of getting dangerously top-heavy than getting dangerously flat. And yet they favor policies tailor-made to distribute wealth ever upwards within the society.

    I regard this as religious thinking. In "Mere Christianity," CS Lewis talks about humans with an analogy that Christ is sort of like salt with meat, in that his presence in a person's life will actually bring out the person's own flavor -- enhancing the flavor of his personality, rather than masking it. The idea is that Christianity will not make everyone seem the same, any more than salt will make steak taste like cabbage, but will instead make individuality more vibrant. But Lewis then points out the problem with his analogy by saying that unlike with salt, you can never have too much Christ. That's basically the way conservatives think about economic principles. It's never about finding the right balance. It's about more of the things they like and less of the things they don't, regardless of the current state. Lower taxes are ALWAYS better. Less regulation is ALWAYS better. More military spending is ALWAYS better. Etc. Those things are like moving towards Christ -- no matter how far you've moved, you're always better moving still farther in the same direction.

    I'm very much not a religious thinker about such things. I think that right now, in this time and this place, we should be moving "left" on most matters, but I don't think left is always the best direction, in all times and places. For example, I think some countries spend too little on their military, tax their citizens too much, over-regulate the economy, and spend too much on government social programs (e.g., Denmark or Finland). I think of it more like salt and less like Christ. There's a good balance, and you can have too much or too little of just about anything. I wish conservatives could think more in those terms, and less the way CS Lewis does about Christ, when it comes to practical matters.
    Last edited by Arkady; 17th May 2018 at 07:05 AM.
    Thanks from BigLeRoy

  2. #82
    Veteran Member Isalexi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DanTexas View Post
    No, you are so wrong on so many counts. I would rather vote Republican than vote with the law-breaking communist party that the Democrats have become in the last years.
    I wasn't always supporting Donald Trump but the last year has shown what he can do even with all the feral dogs and pet media nipping at him.
    Imagine what he could do without all the noise.
    I know who your hero was. Joe McCarthy
    Thanks from namvet69 and DemoWhip

  3. #83
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    Quote Originally Posted by Isalexi View Post
    I know who your hero was. Joe McCarthy
    Yeah, it's more like imagine what he would do without the oversight by the DOJ and the media. If any President ever needed oversight ie (nipping at his heels) it's this one. As Jon Meacham said: Sometime a Witch Hunt captures a Witch. They've already gotten arrests and guilty pleas from a half dozen witches in the campaign and one is already doing time. And, Mueller the witch hunter is just getting started.

  4. #84
    Radical Centrist BigLeRoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arkady View Post
    Well said. If our society were fairly flat and getting flatter, then maybe the Republican policies would be the right ones for us. I think there needs to be enough wealth differentiation to make people strive to improve their station, for capitalism to work efficiently. But we had family income Gini ratios below 0.36 for most of the period from the mid 1950s through mid 1970s, and capitalism worked just fine. In fact, you could make an argument that the 1960s, with ratios as low as 0.349, were the period when capitalism was functioning the best in this country. So, with a current ratio of 0.452 and rising, we're at no risk of having an economic distribution that's too flat to function well. The risk is the other way. We're up in the range of income inequality we had before the system came tumbling down in the Great Depression. We're clearly far more at risk of getting dangerously top-heavy than getting dangerously flat. And yet they favor policies tailor-made to distribute wealth ever upwards within the society.

    I regard this as religious thinking. In "Mere Christianity," CS Lewis talks about humans with an analogy that Christ is sort of like salt with meat, in that his presence in a person's life will actually bring out the person's own flavor -- enhancing the flavor of his personality, rather than masking it. The idea is that Christianity will not make everyone seem the same, any more than salt will make steak taste like cabbage, but will instead make individuality more vibrant. But Lewis then points out the problem with his analogy by saying that unlike with salt, you can never have too much Christ. That's basically the way conservatives think about economic principles. It's never about finding the right balance. It's about more of the things they like and less of the things they don't, regardless of the current state. Lower taxes are ALWAYS better. Less regulation is ALWAYS better. More military spending is ALWAYS better. Etc. Those things are like moving towards Christ -- no matter how far you've moved, you're always better moving still farther in the same direction.

    I'm very much not a religious thinker about such things. I think that right now, in this time and this place, we should be moving "left" on most matters, but I don't think left is always the best direction, in all times and places. For example, I think some countries spend too little on their military, tax their citizens too much, over-regulate the economy, and spend too much on government social programs (e.g., Denmark or Finland). I think of it more like salt and less like Christ. There's a good balance, and you can have too much or too little of just about anything. I wish conservatives could think more in those terms, and less the way CS Lewis does about Christ, when it comes to practical matters.
    I think there is probably a fairly narrow range for the Gini coefficient if you want a healthy society that will support a robust middle class, where the American Dream such as we knew it from the mid 1950's through the mid 1970's could still thrive and result in a society with general economic contentment. Where almost everyone realized that if they were willing to study hard enough and work hard enough, they too could 'make it', and achieve that dream of owning a nice home, having a car or two, being able to save for retirement, being able to send a kid or two to college, and having a satisfying career. And that range is probably from the high 20's to the low 40's. I think you may be right that countries like Denmark or Finland may be on the low end of that range, and that American has now ventured outside of the high end of the range, and is now definitely in a red-alert danger zone. We are, I believe, in a zone of inequality that puts us at risk of losing our republic, and becoming a VERY different kind of society, and one that most Americans would NOT want, if they were to stop and think about it.
    Thanks from Arkady

  5. #85
    Spock of Vulcan Ian Jeffrey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by namvet69 View Post
    As Jon Meacham said: Sometime a Witch Hunt captures a Witch.

  6. #86
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigLeRoy View Post
    I think there is probably a fairly narrow range for the Gini coefficient if you want a healthy society that will support a robust middle class, where the American Dream such as we knew it from the mid 1950's through the mid 1970's could still thrive and result in a society with general economic contentment. Where almost everyone realized that if they were willing to study hard enough and work hard enough, they too could 'make it', and achieve that dream of owning a nice home, having a car or two, being able to save for retirement, being able to send a kid or two to college, and having a satisfying career. And that range is probably from the high 20's to the low 40's. I think you may be right that countries like Denmark or Finland may be on the low end of that range, and that American has now ventured outside of the high end of the range, and is now definitely in a red-alert danger zone. We are, I believe, in a zone of inequality that puts us at risk of losing our republic, and becoming a VERY different kind of society, and one that most Americans would NOT want, if they were to stop and think about it.
    To bring things back to chess, I see most Americans' politics as being like a chess player who is unable to think about more than the current move he wants to make. If they see a knight hanging out there available to capture, they're going to take it, without even thinking about the cascade of events that will follow. Similarly, if they see the opportunity to boost their paychecks a little, even if it's by way of a tax cut that gives them little while horribly exacerbating wealth inequality in an already dangerously top-heavy country, they're going to go ahead and grab that knight and let the future worry about itself. I'm not sure what can be done about this. The fact is, most Americans are depressingly stupid, so I'm not sure they'd even be capable of thinking a couple moves ahead, even if they tried to develop the habit.
    Thanks from Ian Jeffrey and BigLeRoy

  7. #87
    Veteran Member Dr Sampson Simpson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DanTexas View Post
    No, you are so wrong on so many counts. I would rather vote Republican than vote with the law-breaking communist party that the Democrats have become in the last years.
    I wasn't always supporting Donald Trump but the last year has shown what he can do even with all the feral dogs and pet media nipping at him.
    Imagine what he could do without all the noise.
    LOL, you people don't even try anymore to disguish your trolling, this is as dumb as it gets. "Law breaking communist party" LOL Thanks for the laugh

    Quote Originally Posted by libertariat720 View Post
    Ridiculous article. Good luck in converting anybody with that.

    This is adolescent, whiny behavior. Hard to read.

    LOL, And this person think this is making an argument. LOL Adolescent, whiny behavior, that sound exactly like this unintelligent, no argument post. LOL

    Quote Originally Posted by THOR View Post
    You can return your tax savings since it's so much on your conscience.
    And this dumb, unoriginal deflection. This is the intellect of the people the republicans are pandering to, no wonder why they act like such scumbags.

    People need to get out and vote, get our voter turnout up, and these people will never have any power to elect the current crop of republican scum
    Last edited by Dr Sampson Simpson; 18th May 2018 at 05:13 AM.
    Thanks from DemoWhip and namvet69

  8. #88
    Veteran Member ptif219's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Jeffrey View Post
    Sorry, but no:

    https://mediabiasfactcheck.com/breitbart/

    https://mediabiasfactcheck.com/daily-caller/

    Extreme right-wing bias is not "using facts."
    It is using facts it is the liberal media that spews lies

  9. #89
    Veteran Member ptif219's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael J View Post
    Democrat lies... fake news.You make the same Genetic Fallacies where you attack the source of the argument instead of the argument's merits.
    There is no merits when it comes to democrat lies

  10. #90
    Radical Centrist BigLeRoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arkady View Post
    To bring things back to chess, I see most Americans' politics as being like a chess player who is unable to think about more than the current move he wants to make. If they see a knight hanging out there available to capture, they're going to take it, without even thinking about the cascade of events that will follow. Similarly, if they see the opportunity to boost their paychecks a little, even if it's by way of a tax cut that gives them little while horribly exacerbating wealth inequality in an already dangerously top-heavy country, they're going to go ahead and grab that knight and let the future worry about itself. I'm not sure what can be done about this. The fact is, most Americans are depressingly stupid, so I'm not sure they'd even be capable of thinking a couple moves ahead, even if they tried to develop the habit.
    Well, yes, and this relates back very nicely to our apparent unwillingness to invest in education at an appropriate level. Education is a long-term investment, where you may not see the returns for twenty years down the road, and of course that is especially true for early childhood education. America, sadly, has become a nation of short-term thinkers, unable to engage in delayed gratification. In the fable of the ants and the grasshoppers, we have become a nation of grasshoppers. In the decade of the 2000's, when we should have been paying down our national debt, to prepare for the mass retirement of the Baby Boomers, when we should have been rebuilding our educational institutions and our infrastructure, we instead went on a program of building a lot of McMansions and starter castles, and waging senseless wars, and just generally engaging in a spending orgy. Which we now seem to be doing again, apparently having learned nothing from the 2007-2009 financial crisis. Samuel P. Huntington wrote that civilizations decline when the elites become unwilling to pay for even the basics like infrastructure and education----and that is what has happened to America. All of this is why I am pessimistic about the economic future of America.
    Thanks from Arkady and Ian Jeffrey

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