More "Common Sense" from Thomas Paine

Re: More "Common Sense" from Thomas Paine

PostBy: tvb On: Sat Dec 12, 2009 7:06 pm

Jeff, I'm going to throw on my thinking shoes and see if I can humor you with my thoughts on it but do please understand, I'm not someone with great breadth of knowledge of his writings. There's many things here I don't comment on for the same reason (or for other reasons that I may or may not feel inspired to share someday).

I don't see the passage you posted in your OP as being negative of "big government" per se. I do however read it as an intro to what happens when you let the tyranny of the powerful or even the majority become the rule of law.

An unfortunate aspect of our society is that there are always going to be those in need and those that have the ability to fulfill the need of the "needy". The needy can be any population - it doesn't necessarily reflect on monetary wealth.

It may be that the neediness is simply because they are an oppressed population on whatever level you want to assign them. It may be a racial issue, it may be monetary, it may be more than that. A good contemporary example would be the marriage equality push our country is currently experiencing. Gays and lesbians aren't any less human or less deserving than anyone else but the tyranny of the majority is being successful at trying to make them so by denying them the equality in marriage they seek. That marriage isn't about love necessarily but it is very much economic. The tyranny invokes certain privilege upon that word and restricts it only to those who act as they prefer. In places that haven't put that equality to a vote, it's the tyranny of a powerful government that is revoking the privilege conveyed by the word "marriage". It's not even "big government" doing it. In NYS, it was something like a few dozen of the privileged (the elected) who did it. In NJ, it has the potential of being even fewer of the "privileged". Is a handful of lawmakers, who by virtue of winning what is nothing more than a popularity contest, emblematic of big government? Take it a step further and it potentially becomes one of a social bailout in the form of "welfare". Say you have two gay people who very much would like to be married. One is poor and the other wealthy. What is to keep the poor member of this couple from seeking social services when if they were married, they would be denied? The tyranny that seeks to oppress sometimes ends up having to support those they don't like.

Will the tyranny of the elected or the tyranny of the majority withstand the test of time in this specific example? I don't think it will but I only think that because I see government and populations as akin to a living breathing organism. Change comes and goes with the wind and that is truer today than at any point in our history. Those that will oppress will spend millions in capital to fight a fight that eventually they may lose. Would it not be better to spend that money elsewhere? Or is it ideal that money is never spent for the betterment of society and then everyone who wants to can die with 20 pieces of gold? What good is that? Last I checked, we don't know if there is an entrance fee to the afterlife if there even is one.

What is better for society? A population that is healthy or a population that is selfish? I personally think it is somewhere in the middle. And we, as a very fortunate society as a whole, have a responsibility to make sure our population is healthy and thus, probably happy. Sure, there is always going to be a segment of society that is unhappy no matter how much goodwill is bestowed upon them and yes, we as a society need to be diligent in saying, "enough is enough".

Where is that line drawn, though? You certainly can't draw it at some imaginary fixed level because needs different according to each individual. Nor do I think that line can be based upon majority rule. Our founders knew that and it's precisely why we have a representative government and not a true democracy.
tvb
 
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Re: More "Common Sense" from Thomas Paine

PostBy: Black_And_Blue On: Sat Dec 12, 2009 7:31 pm

In a morally centered society, those who prosper, will, in their own time and free will, reach a point where they can best influence the betterment of their fellow man.

Any method of "forced charity" is anathema to the definition of Liberty.
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Re: More "Common Sense" from Thomas Paine

PostBy: jpete On: Sat Dec 12, 2009 7:32 pm

You may not be able to draw a line, but hand me a marker and I'll give it a shot! :D

Public assistance should amount to what Warren Buffet said he intended to leave his children when he died.

"Enough to do something, but not so much as to do nothing."

We got too many people doing nothing. And as bad as it sounds, if they weren't given so much, they'd move on, die off, or never had been born in the first place.

But to keep squeezing people to pay people for doing nothing is as immoral an act as I can think of.

My wife and I just bought a small piece of furniture from a woman who was forced to sell her house and most of her possessions. Her reason? "We were taxed out."

She had moved down from a Maine a few years back and was shocked at the variety and amount of taxes she paid here. And they went up every year regardless of her ability to pay.

I guess her daughter became ill and it was a choice between taking care of her daughter and keeping her house.

You might want to turn this into a case for UHC, but she didn't say to me "Too bad I don't have government provided insurance", she specifically cited "taxes" as her reason.
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Re: More "Common Sense" from Thomas Paine

PostBy: tvb On: Sat Dec 12, 2009 8:14 pm

You used a great example, Jeff, and here's why I think so:

People often confuse taxes with social welfare quid pro quid. Fact is, much of our taxation burden goes to education, keeping our roads plowed and paved, policing, war equipment and personnel, and to pay bureaucrats who then also get a generous pension (something by the way, that I do not have unless you want to count a 401K and Roth IRA as a pension. As disclosure, my employer does give a a generous allotment of stock but even then, they renege as they did last spring when it was trading below a dollar. It's in the middle teens now.) It's unfortunate this woman felt that the taxes were running her out of town but there are unanswered questions like, did she ask for any type of reassessment? Did she reach out for help regarding her daughter? While it's just a small amount of her tax burden, she does pay for it and should take it back if necessary by reaching out. Pride is a great de-motivator in these situations and sometimes it's easier to play the victim by saying, "It's the taxes" when in reality, it's the embarrassment of asking for help.

In the bigger picture, there are many many people who unfortunately have never learned to care for themselves. It might be laziness but I think that it many cases, they simply never figured it out. The world is full of people who can't seem to figure it out. Call them stupid or low-bandwidth or whatever; they simply don't get it. There's one in my family and trust me, it's a constant source of angst for me and my other sibling. Or it may be because their company closed down or they were laid off. I don't know about you but I'm not comfortable seeing someone who was formerly employed and providing for his or her family, on the street corner with a tin can because they have a sick kid and the CEO was a *censored* thief. There are many companies who simply cannot or will not provide adequate health care for their employees. A $5000 deductible? How many here could afford that and still feed their family at night?

Yes, I agree that if someone is truly playing the lazy card, they shouldn't be given a bailout. I also believe that if someone wants to take a chance they won't get sick and thus turns down the insurance offered to them so they can spend those dollars elsewhere, they shouldn't expect a gov't bailout if they do get sick. But I don't think they should have to pay rack rate on health care while the insurance companies pay only pennies on the dollar to the providers. And if they are self-employed, they also shouldn't have to pay $3000 a month for insurance while a schmuck like me who got really lucky with a really good job and really good insurance pays pretty much nothing. As I understand it, that's some of the issues HCR is setting out to fix. It isn't fair, Jeff, that I should pay just a few dollars after tax each month for all the healthcare I could possibly consume while you have to pay thousands for the equivalent or less. I didn't do anything special besides getting lucky with a good job. I don't have an advanced degree and I hate working so I don't really deserve what I have but as I said, I got *censored* lucky. Most people don't get so lucky and they shouldn't be shat upon because of it. They shouldn't have to be out there choosing between eating or buying meds. We are better than that as a society.

I have a start-up company putting some serious pressure on me to join them. The pay is amazing, the work is easy, but I can't do it. I can't do it because I don't want to give up the health care I currently have. They are unable to provide an equivalent to me. That's not very friendly to business and what we are all about in this country but it's their reality and it's my reality and that should not be part of the decision I am being pushed to make. As a small start-up, they simply cannot buy the insurance the major corporation I currently work for can. No one should ever have to choose between medicine for their family or eating but sadly, that is what is happening in this country.

Anyways, that was an off-topic rant.

Carry on.
tvb
 
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Re: More "Common Sense" from Thomas Paine

PostBy: jpete On: Sat Dec 12, 2009 8:46 pm

I wouldn't say it's total "luck" that you got where you are. Unless you are Jed Clampitt and happened to hit oil while shooting at a possum.

I have an associate degree and worked a long time at minimal pay while switching jobs often to get where I am. If you want to look at "luck", I lucked into my current position. The guy they offered the job to got a counter offer from his employer and he decided not to take the job. I was #2 on the list. Lucky? I guess. Did I have all the qualifications for the job? You bet.

I make somewhere close to twice the state average income and yet can barely keep up with me being sole income to a family of five. My father was a single parent to two kids on less than half what I make and, while things were lean, we never struggled or took assistance. There are lots of reasons for that, not the least of which are taxes.

Now he's 73, his former employer claims they never heard of him and are denying his pension while the city ran sewers in the neighborhood and sent him a $12,000 bill.

Still he isn't asking for anything. So I sold my house and moved in with him. Because that's what people who take responsibility do. Whatever it takes.

Now my company "offered" us a health plan with that $5000 deductible you talked about, and as a cherry on top, now our insurance only covers 90% of expenses.

So my wife is back in the work force in addition to her own business, which in this economy, is barely paying for itself.

The point is, people who are able bodied, should do what they have to do.

But the availability of assistance makes some people take the path of least resistance. If it wasn't available, or at least not to the extent it is now, people would be more self sufficient. I'm not suggesting we pull the rug out, but there needs to be a draw down.

Most of our taxes don't go to any of the things you mentioned. $.67 of every one of my property tax dollars goes to schools. That leaves damn little for everything else. It's all borrowed money in the form of "state aid" provided by the Federal government.

We just don't have the ability to keep paying for it. Should we shoot ourselves in the foot for the benefit of a few slackers?
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Re: More "Common Sense" from Thomas Paine

PostBy: tvb On: Sat Dec 12, 2009 9:07 pm

But Jeff, the whole concept of "It takes a village ..." doesn't work in our society. You are a good son, and good provider, but not every kid is.

My brother who I mentioned above is a good provider, too, for my very old and falls down a lot father. He just never quite got it together and I am sure it pains him to know that both his twin sister and little sister manage quite well and he never did. He simply isn't intellectually capable of figuring it out. Trust me, his family has tried but can't seem to crack that nut on his block to self-preservation. The way I look at it, he is more than doing a full-time job that unfortunately doesn't provide benefits. If my sister and I were able to provide for his needs as well, we would, but it's not possible. Because he is the main caregiver for the old man, he is able to get medical assistance for his own health care needs. That assistance and the fact that my dad is still being cared for at home by him saves the state they live in thousands. Sadly, we have no clue what we are going to do when the old man dies but that's a bridge we'll cross when we get there. This is one of the salient points I was trying to make - you can't put a blanket on everything and hope it covers. There are many screws that are going to pop out through it.

But it's not you or even my brother I am speaking about when I say that some people should be helped out. It's the guy who had a great job and now can't find one with insurance. What do you say to him when his child is diagnosed with diabetes or worse? Go find a job? I hope you know how to duck quickly because I suspect that person has been looking. What do you say to a single mother of a sick child working at wal-mart and ends up getting fired because she needed to take time off to care for her child? We're talking compassion here, Jeff, not a matter of ripping off the taxpayer. I know there are some who will do what they can to get on the gravy train; that's human nature. People do that stuff, but you don't deny the needy the help they need in order to deny it to the few *censored* who truly are scum. I said it before and will say it again, we are better than that. Make the penalties for being a scumbag severe. Work diligently to make sure only those that are deserving get the help. It isn't rocket science.
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Re: More "Common Sense" from Thomas Paine

PostBy: tvb On: Sat Dec 12, 2009 9:52 pm

PeeEss -
Now he's 73, his former employer claims they never heard of him and are denying his pension while the city ran sewers in the neighborhood and sent him a $12,000 bill.


I really hope you are pursuing this in the legal world.
tvb
 
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Re: More "Common Sense" from Thomas Paine

PostBy: jpete On: Sat Dec 12, 2009 9:54 pm

tvb wrote: We're talking compassion here, Jeff, not a matter of ripping off the taxpayer.


Isn't this what the church and other charities are for? We used to have a church hospital here, it went out of business. Was there a lack of demand? Or were doctors directing people to hospitals where Medicare was picking up the tab? I don't know.

I know I'd be more apt to donate to charities if I could afford to. But the government keeps squeezing me "to provide for the less fortunate" so I can't.

Hasbro Children's Hospital is privately funded and operates through donations. My middle son spent time there with RSV when he was a few weeks old. I made a donation there and would like to do so again as they are now helping my youngest boy. But I just don't have the money.

It's not that I don't have compassion. We both know that American's in general step up and give whenever and where ever it's needed. But I can't see allowing the scum in D.C. the ability to put a gun to my head and force me to do it.
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Re: More "Common Sense" from Thomas Paine

PostBy: jpete On: Sat Dec 12, 2009 10:00 pm

tvb wrote:PeeEss -
Now he's 73, his former employer claims they never heard of him and are denying his pension while the city ran sewers in the neighborhood and sent him a $12,000 bill.


I really hope you are pursuing this in the legal world.


He tried the DIY route a few years ago and got discouraged and dropped it. I tread the same ground as he did for about 6-8 months. All I got was stonewalled by the company.

So I called my Rep. in Congress who put me in touch with the Dept. of Labor. It took him 2 months just to get a name of a contact in the company.

Now it is in the hands of a lawyer and the company is trying to get us to fill out all the paperwork we've filled out three times before. The last letter the lawyer sent said that if they don't produce any and all records relating to my father in 30 days, legal proceedings would begin. So, we'll see....

The city on the other hand, when asked for a reduction in sewer assessment pulled an "Uncle Paulie" and said "F-U...pay me"

You can fight with multi national corporations, but you still can't fight city hall. :D
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Re: More "Common Sense" from Thomas Paine

PostBy: tvb On: Sat Dec 12, 2009 10:29 pm

Ohhhhh.

I so need to go to bed. I'm going to whine for just a second here to point out that tomorrow is my Friday and the last day of the week I need to hear an alarm going off at 3am until Wednesday.

Jeff, if we had providence (sorry, I couldn't resist) over each of our tax dollars collected, how do you think they would be divvied up? Personally, I would put all of my tax dollars into charity care for the sick and infirm, and maybe some animal welfare. And then there is that road and education stuff again. Yeah, I'll pay a little bit for that.

I would definitely negate the bomb stuff immediately because I'm a bit of a pacifist.

Our tax forms are complicated enough and I know what it's like trying to portion out my 401K into different funds. Provisioning our tax dollars would be unbelievably complicated. It would probably be like those United Way commercials during the time the gov't employees are asked to give - give here here here here here here here here here.

You can't depend on the churches. What if I don't believe in the same crud as the church that gives out all the money? Did you know the salvation army will deny services to people who are gay or lesbian unless they renounce their "lifestyle". That's a bunch of baloney if you ask me. And you can't count on families either. We are pretty dysfunctional in the family department.

This is the tyranny of the privileged, Jeff. I like this disease, but I don't like that disease. I think this kid should get well, but that one over there, screw 'em.

Hasbro is a great hospital, How much govt money do you think they get? I did a quick google search on it and while I didn't come up with firm numbers, I can assure you that without gov't funding, they wouldn't exist. And that would be a shame, wouldn't it? Hasbro will never, ever, do my kids any good so maybe I should request that my tax dollars don't go to them?

That's kind of shitty, don't ya think?
tvb
 
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Re: More "Common Sense" from Thomas Paine

PostBy: jpete On: Sat Dec 12, 2009 10:50 pm

No. It's not shitty. There's no reason you should pay for a hospital here. I looked for Hasbro's numbers too. It's a bit muddled as they are a Lifespan hospital so I'm sure some Federal money trickles in. This was as close as I could get.

Opened amidst great celebration on Valentine's Day 1994, Hasbro Children's Hospital demonstrates the strength of thoughtful, generous people united in a common purpose. An undeniable need for a new pediatric hospital led to one of the largest outpourings of public support ever for a charity in Rhode Island.

Contributions came in ways limited only by the imaginations of the donors, and from people of all means and walks of life. Initiated by magnificent lead gifts from the Hasbro Charitable Trust and other foundations and corporations, the campaign quickly gained momentum. From employees, trustees, the hospital guild and major givers, to area artists, school children and grateful patients, no source of support went untapped. Literally hundreds of events, promotions and groups, along with an appeal to nearly three quarters of the people in Rhode Island, raised over $1 million in the final phase of the campaign. Against all early predictions, the campaign's $23 million goal was surpassed in less than three years.

The capital campaign was a rousing success and the enthusiasm generated for Hasbro Children's Hospital has continued. Another $1 million was raised following the hospital's opening to endow a hospital-based Child Protection Program for the identification, treatment and prevention of child abuse. At the same time, a large circle of volunteers was formed—and it continues to grow—who champion the many causes and support the many events associated with Hasbro Children's Hospital.


Society bemoans the loss of the family and wonders why no one seems to care about their neighbors.

Why should they? Government set itself up to be all things to everyone! No one needs anyone anymore.
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Re: More "Common Sense" from Thomas Paine

PostBy: tvb On: Sat Dec 12, 2009 10:55 pm

Jeffrey, you know damn well that the weakening of family ties has nothing to do with the government. I like you and respect your arguments but that kind of cop out annoys the crap out of me. As a far left liberal, even I won't play that victim.

If you want to play the victim, put it on Bill Gates, Sony, Nintendo, Facebook, Wii, etc. Our lives have changed and things will continue to change. Eat dinner with your kids - it will do a wonder of good.
tvb
 
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Re: More "Common Sense" from Thomas Paine

PostBy: tvb On: Sat Dec 12, 2009 11:02 pm

Pee Ess - If you could, how would you divvy up you tax dollars?
tvb
 
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Re: More "Common Sense" from Thomas Paine

PostBy: jpete On: Sun Dec 13, 2009 12:03 am

tvb wrote:Jeffrey, you know damn well that the weakening of family ties has nothing to do with the government. I like you and respect your arguments but that kind of cop out annoys the crap out of me. As a far left liberal, even I won't play that victim.

If you want to play the victim, put it on Bill Gates, Sony, Nintendo, Facebook, Wii, etc. Our lives have changed and things will continue to change. Eat dinner with your kids - it will do a wonder of good.


My contention is, that government ONLY destroys.

It destroys wealth, people, jobs, countries. Nothing has changed. And it's certainly been going on longer than the invention of the personal computer and video games.

Anything you THINK government does well could have been done without them. We only need them for their basic Constitutional duties. Coin money, national defense, etc.

Beyond that, they are just stealing from us.
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Re: More "Common Sense" from Thomas Paine

PostBy: jpete On: Sun Dec 13, 2009 12:14 am

tvb wrote:Pee Ess - If you could, how would you divvy up you tax dollars?


THAT...is an enormous question. I wouldn't collect nearly any taxes. I wouldn't need to because I wouldn't have an empire around the world. I wouldn't have so many laws so I wouldn't need so much infrastructure for criminals.

There's all kinds of things I wouldn't do.

Frankly, on a Federal level, there's not much need for taxes.

On a state level, it would work however the population voted I guess. Each state would be an experiment of social programs and government services.

Do you want paid or volunteer fire departments? Trash pick up? Public school?

Then, if the people didn't like where they were living, they could make a decision based on something other than the weather.
jpete
 
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