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    Pragmatic, independent political analysis.
  1. Alrighty then, let's discuss Climate Change. What "makes a Liberal" on the Climate Change issue? To start: Is the net economic benefit greater if the federal government mandates fuel emission standards for auto manufacturers, or to leave the auto industry to the free market while directly funding massive investments in eco-friendly transportation alternatives - batteries, self driving cars, nat gas-fueled public transit, etc? Or is a "net economic benefit" framework not appropriate for this topic?
  2. I used an example of an issue that defined the Left and Right. How does one discuss what makes a Liberal a Liberal if one cannot discuss issues?
  3. So for discussing what makes a Liberal liberal, actual issues are off limits? I think it's a fascinating thread, so would like to participate. Would appreciate the guidelines for the thread, thanks.
  4. (Apologies for the "test" post - was blocked from editing it for some reason.) So what makes a Liberal liberal and a Conservative conservative? Simple: Government versus Free Market. We can debate ad nauseum the personality types of each world view; there is just too much overlap for the debate to be of any use. Better to stick to issues. The non-group healthcare insurance market is one of the most poignant demonstrations of the Government v. Free Market debate. The Left believes the federal government should fund and run it; the Right believes the free market should fund it and run it. Both are right. Both are wrong. The free market cannot fund it because the "return on investment" does not meet free market hurdle rates. Look no further than the large insurance companies pulling out of ACA exchanges. There is no debate here, as there are 28.4 million people uninsured. But likewise, the federal government cannot run it, as evidence by the hideous acceptance rates. By design the federal government is a bureaucratic behemoth, meant to move slowly and methodically. The federal government must unshackle the states in order to allow free market implementation of government insurance programs. What about taxes and spending? The Right wins on taxes, the Left on spending; the compromise should come via the overall federal deficit and debt, as I'll explain. The Left's obsession with taxing the "rich" in order to redirect $$$ to the middle class is asinine for two reasons: 1) There are not enough truly rich citizens to tax enough to make a dent in funding requirements; 2) many "rich" folks are in fact medium size business owners that are forced to report business profits as personal income via the "S-Corp" structure...NOT the folks that need to pay more taxes. The Right's obsession with tax cuts "wins" for two reasons: 1) It puts money directly back into the economy; but most importantly, 2) it lowers the "cost of capital" for free market investment projects, which has a direct impact across the economic landscape. But on the flip side, from an operational standpoint the Right's common refrain that "the wealthy pay more than their fair share" is a flat out lie. And they know it. When you factor in Payroll Taxes, the "rich" pay barely more than their fair share. Overarching tax reform goal should be: SIMPLIFICATION and fairness. Shrink the tax code, flatten rates, and lower them across the board when possible. With regard to spending, the Left sees federal government as the means for providing goods and services that do not meet the free market's "return on investment" hurdle rate; while the Right views the federal government as "crowding out" private investment. $ for $, taxes and spending have the exact same effect on private sector net worth. But given the cost of capital impact of taxation, taxes get the nod for bigger long-term impact. Where the Right is absolutely outside of its mind is the outright rejection of the notion that the federal government must fund services that the free market cannot. There is NO better example than the Right refusing to vote for the early 2009 stimulus package. The political Right conducted the equivalent of a financial and economic holocaust by refusing to back the federal government stepping in to fill the void as the global economy and financial system was diving off of a cliff. All because it was "wasteful" spending and didn't let the free market work it out. It's pathetic. From a bipartisan standpoint, the taxation and spending debate can be resolved by agreeing to an appropriate range of debt/GDP. The debt limit debate is asinine, as it does not account for economic growth. So once we decide on the appropriate debt ratio, depending on growth and interest rates we can back into what the appropriate level of taxation should be once all mandatory federal government spending is accounted for.
  5. Take gay marriage and abortion: Should religion have a voice in those debates?
  6. Religion - Agree that religion should be out of public policy. But when a particular belief system fails to respect the sanctity of life - which I would assume is at the core of Liberal ideology of "caring" more than the Right - then said religion is fair game from a political perspective. Free Markets/Trade - Interesting perspective. For an "emerging" country with limited labor and wage protections, are there any historical examples of a developed country demanding fair labor practices before beginning to trade with them? Otherwise, is it possible that by definition the free market forces emerging countries to raise labor standards over time as the labor force gains more bargaining power due to increased developed market investment and accelerating economic growth? Manufacturing - That suggestion appears inefficient, and likely to raise prices for consumers if in fact it was implemented? Banks - To this point, Gary Cohn appears to be pushing for breaking up the banks. Would be very good, IMO. Would you support pure investment banks and pure traditional deposit/lending banks? Or no investment banks period? If so, where do those functions go?
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