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« Anne Rice on Clinton and Abortion | Main | Pro-Life Foot-In-Mouth Disease? »

August 22, 2007

Comments

Cody

Thank you Jimmy. I'll read them after I go to bed and wake up sometime tomorrow afternoon ;-) I see there is no time stamp on there. Do you not want people to know what hours of the night you're blogging? I'm finishing up a post of my own...working this late on something this long makes me feel like I'm in school finishing a term paper at the last minute.

Randolph Carter

Excuse me if this comment comes off as being a little rambly; I am quite tired at this hour . . .

Anyway, I always find it amusing (if "amusing" is the right word) when I hear leftists allege how much more generous those on the political left are than those on the political right. The typical leftist argument goes something like this: leftists support using tax-payer dollars to fund massive government-run programs whose vaguely-designated purposes are to "help the poor".

This allegation has always seemed strange to me, and for a very simple reason, and it is this: the American Left is made up of a lot of people, many of whom are quite rich. It seems to me that they have enough money to take care of a considerable number of our nation's poor; and yet, for some reason, rather than opening up their own bank-accounts, treasure-troves, money-vaults, and wallets to we, the down-trodden, deprived, economically bereft populace, they instead spend much of their time attempting to pass laws that will take *other* people's money which, they allege, will then be used to help raise the poor up out of poverty.

After all, between the vast and Midas-like fortunes of the Clintons, the Kerrys, and the Soroses of the world; between the exorbitant wealth of leftist Hollywood and the prosperity of Marxist academics; between the fortunes of all the left-leaning bankers, lawyers, doctors, publishers, and business-moguls, one would think that there was already enough money in liberal hands to make every poor American into a moderately rich one, but alas! all that money never seems to find its way into the proletariat's hands!

No, liberals are not interested in giving their own money to help our nation's poor; if they were truly serious about such things, then they would share more of their wealth with the world at large. Even a leftist of the middle class could afford to spare, say, a handful of dollars a month to help his poorer neighbour. Certainly this would go a long way toward ensuring that all Americans have adequate food, clothing, shelter, and healthcare; and in so doing it would provide a good example to all other well-off Americans, encouraging them to give their own money to help the poor and whatnot. But for some reason they never seem to get around to doing that.

Leftists do not preach a gospel of dying to oneself; of giving away one's own money to help those less disadvantaged. What they profess is a faith whereby they, the rich, enlightened leftists, use the strong arm of the government to take money from the working class, and (so they claim) use it to help the not-so-well-off.

Yet I think that if these rich leftists really cared about finding clothes for the sick and medicine for the naked (or however that goes) that they would be more gung-ho about spending some of their own cash. No, what I really think leftists are after is power; the absolute power that comes from having absolute control over a nation's wealth. They wish to indebt the poor to them, and in so doing gain control over the poor, because in a democracy he who controls the populace controls the state, and in our democracy the authority of the state is absolute. With that control the left can then destroy our society, and remake it in their own image; thus attempting to affect and auto-apotheosis for themselves, of sorts. Yes, I ultimately think that contemporary liberalism is descended from a Marxist progenitor; those Marxists who, in Russia, rode into power preaching an egalitarian utopianism -- and who in the end ended up again absolute control over the proletariat they claimed to be liberating. That is, I am quite certain, why Hillary Clinton has her eye on the presidency -- and not because she wishes to help anyone, because with her riches she could have been doing that for a long time.

Mr. Flapatap

Randolph,

A recent poll showed how those of the "left" persuation are more stingy in their charitable contribution and volunteer less than those of the "right" one.

Matthew Siekierski

Mr. Flaptrap, I've been told by various progressives that they (the ones that told me, not all progressives) view their votes for increased government spending on social programs as "charity".

I told them it was very nice of them to be so charitable with my money.

francis

One thing I think we should distinguish is between politicians and regular people.

My experience is that most conservative politicians use their political stances (lower taxes, anti-abortion, etc.) for the purpose of "furthering their own ideological (or, I would add, re-election) goals", just like liberal politicians. Frankly, I have a hard time believing that any senator really cares about anything other than his or her re-election, regardless of their political stripes.

However, the regular joe who is conservative often believes strongly that his principles do help the poor and needy, and he often does much work to help them directly. So those of us who regularly interact with "regular" conservatives can't understand how anyone could claim that we don't care about the poor and needy, when our experience screams otherwise. But someone like Anne Rice, whose only contact with conservatives might be reading about right-wing politicians, might sincerely believe that they don't care about the poor and needy - and I, as a conservative, have to agree with her, especially in relation to "blue-blood" conservatives. The problem is that she doesn't understand that the policies of the left often do nothing to help the poor and needy; in fact, the precise opposite is often the result.

LarryD

Good post, Randolph. Reminds me of Orwell's "Animal Farm", where the pigs claim that everyone is equal, it's just that some are more equal than others.

Jon

As I typically tell my progressive friends, "Hey I can be charitable with other people's money, too!"

francis 03

francis, you have to use something to get re-elected. Wouldn't you prefer for politicians to use their actual bona fide convictions? As for "ideological goals," aren't "helping the needy" and "ending abortion" both such goals? And aren't those kind of things what we want from our politicians?

Ligonite

You know, all this talk about the political left wanting to hand out other people's money leads me to a related topic (hopefully not too far from this thread) - what about the US Bishops and their stance on illegal immigration? It's one thing to advocate taking care of those who are poor and oppressed, but it begs the question "with who's money will we do this?"

I have long felt that if the bishops were serious about their position regarding immigration, that they could begin by offering a free education to all illegal immigrants in their local Catholic schools. It would be a grand gesture, and would demonstrate their willingness to step up and actually pay for their generosity. Plus it would reduce the burden of illegal immigration on the American taxpayer.

But you can guess about how long that would last with the American Catholics in the pews who would be the actual ones to pony up the dough.

Esau

I have long felt that if the bishops were serious about their position regarding immigration, that they could begin by offering a free education to all illegal immigrants in their local Catholic schools. It would be a grand gesture, and would demonstrate their willingness to step up and actually pay for their generosity. Plus it would reduce the burden of illegal immigration on the American taxpayer.

But you can guess about how long that would last with the American Catholics in the pews who would be the actual ones to pony up the dough.

Ligonite,

Just how affluent do you think the U.S. Catholic Church is? Provide free education to illegal immigrants?

Are you serious?

I mean, with all the payouts going out to the sex abuse scandals and what not (both legitimate and illegitimate cases), resulting, among other unfortunate consequences, in the closure of several parishes and the selling of other Church properties, just how do you think the U.S. Catholic Church could even afford the free education of all illegal immigrants when they didn't even have enough money to keep these parishes and other churches from getting shut down?

Also, keep in mind that unlike Protestant churches, the U.S. Catholic Church is primarily comprised of $1/Sunday American Catholics.

Tom H

I, of course, agree with what Jimmy is saying as well as the article he references. However, as a registered Republican, I often feel this cuts both ways. From 1980 we've had 20 years of Republicans in the Executive Office with little done to end Abortion. I do not believe running on a pro-life platform is useless, obviously, but I think there is a truism that reads: Democrats have their base convinced they care about the poor and Republicans have their base convinced they're pro-life. Neither the situation of the poor nor the unborn has changed...ever.

Rebecca

"I have long felt that if the bishops were serious about their position regarding immigration, that they could begin by offering a free education to all illegal immigrants in their local Catholic schools."

I have often said the same about the Church's teachings on contraception. The clergy says one thing, then makes it very difficult to live those teachings.

I am a mom of 7 little ones, thank God for them all, and if we wanted to send them to our local Catholic school it would cost $375 a month per child after all discounts had been given. That means I would have to somehow "find" $2625 in my budget in order to give them a Catholic education (don't get me started on the actual quality of that religious experience). Does no one see the conflict here between the call toward the vocation of mothering a large family and the economic burden our parish school thinks we should take on? Our local principal told us "It was your decision to have that many." So we homeschool and are treated as second class citizens in the parish. What can you do? We offer it up and move on.

My point is that the USCCB does not seem to be thinking through the end results of what they call for. No contraception means larger families, open borders to the South would mean a population which must be accommodated, etc.We lose credibility when we call for change in our society without considering the end result of and preparing for that change. The same is true of the political left. They call for sweeping change in attitude, without considering the cost. Change is expensive and must be paid for somehow; unfortunately it is not those who set policy who live with the consequences, it is the rest of us.

Tim J.

We have homeschooled too, Rebecca, and if you feel you are treated as second-class citizens, wear it as a badge of honor.

Doing good for your children is a duty, to suffer for doing so is a great privilege.

francis

francis, you have to use something to get re-elected. Wouldn't you prefer for politicians to use their actual bona fide convictions?

My point is that these politicians' only "bona fide conviction" is getting re-elected. I don't believe many of them actually do care about helping the poor or ending abortion. For example, we had a number of years of a majority of "pro-life" politicians in power, and nothing significant legislatively was even proposed, much less enacted. No wonder Anne Rice doesn't see any value as a professed pro-lifer in voting Republican.

SDG

For example, we had a number of years of a majority of "pro-life" politicians in power, and nothing significant legislatively was even proposed, much less enacted.

Like what? In our system of judicial oligarchy, as long as Roe is in place, what exactly can the legislators and executives do that won't just get slapped down?

Blackadder

"we had a number of years of a majority of 'pro-life' politicians in power, and nothing significant legislatively was even proposed, much less enacted."

Not true. Between 2000 and 2006, Congress passed the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban, the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act, as well as a ban on fetal farming. President Bush cut off funding for abortion overseas (on his first day in office), and blocked federal funding for embryo-destroying stem cell research. And that's not to mention Judges. And Teri Schiavo.

Jarnor23

Are you kidding? If the Republicans ever got rid of Roe, voters might have to consider whether their policies are better are worse for the poor than the Democrats'. No sir, they like it as it is right now, they have a moral issue important to many of their voters that they can park in neutral for years. Hell, they don't even have to BE pro-life, they can have a pro-choice candidate who makes mealy-mouthed mumblings about constitionalist judges while working against anything of the sort back home where he's from. And the pro-lifers will still vote for them, out of fear that any Democrat must be worse, no matter what the pro-choice Republican says.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again, it's dangerous to be conservative first, and Catholic last, if at all.

The same applies to liberal first, and in fact to a greater degree.

John

Ligonite

That was a great post!!

So true, why wont the Bishops then offer a free education to these immigrants many of whom are not even Catholic as hispanics are turining more and more towards protestanism and charismatics

But what would happen is that the middle class working stiff like you and I who send our children to Catholic school would wind up paying anyway because the teaching nuns /orders are gone for the most part (nuns do not earn a salary for the most part) as compared to the secular imported teachers that are teaching in todays Catholic schools who demand high salaries.

It was just reported that some of these teachers are openly homosexual and demanding the diocese that they be allowed to teach and suing the diocese because parents have spoken out against this!

When I went to school and in many traditional orders the schools are run by nuns who are in a teaching order and the cost for school is and was minimal as compared to what is being sold today where you basically have a catholic school with non catholic teachers being taught all faiths are equal (my child was taught all about chanukah and learned to sing dradle songs at one Catholic school)with the taxes I pay I may as well send them to public school

Jarnor23

Why should you have problems with your kid learning about Hanukkah? It not only is a part of our spiritual history, it's right out of our Bible, in 2 Maccabees. If they were being trained that they should reject Christmas, that's another thing, but what's wrong with learning about Jewish history, as it is ours previous to Christ as well?

In fact, what's wrong with something such as a world religions class where we learn what others believe? Frankly, seeing the silliness of Hinduism made me understand why Catholicism makes a heck of a lot more sense. And it's better to understand where others come from then to have no idea at all. This is true even about just peacefully living with them in the world. How much more so you must understand where they're coming from to have a chance to share the good news of Christ with them.

Blackadder

Jarnor23,

If I may ask, how many politicians do you know personally?

Matthew Kennel

These articles are ludicrous. Sowell's article seems to argue that the left only focuses on the poor, or even that it embraces poverty as a good. But he doesn't give specific, concrete examples to back up his claims. It just sounds like a rant to me. The fact of the matter is that the political left HAS done something to help the poor at a governmental level. I and my family have been helped by that governmental assistance many times, and even though it has flaws, we're better off than we would have been without it. George Bush, on the other hand, has given a huge tax cut to the rich so that they can buy more yachts, mansions, and BMWs.

Stossel's article is even more disturbing. He says, "The WHO judged countries not on the absolute quality of health care, but on how 'fairly' health care of any quality is 'distributed.'" That's precisely the crux of the problem. What good is top notch health care if nobody can afford to use it. A proper nursing home, for example, costs about $5000 a month around here. That means that it costs $60000 a year. That's more money than I've ever made in a year. And this doesn't just affect old people with retirement savings. My dad, an invalid with a brain injury, is already in a nursing home at the age of 50. Ludicrous. When I lost my job, the cost of COBRA care was around $450 a month. That's just absurd. That's almost as much as my rent was, for a service that I might not even have to use. Stossel's use of statistics is also quite disingenuous. "Thirty-seven percent of that group live in households making more than $50,000 a year, says the U.S. Census Bureau." That means that sixty three percent of them live in households making less that $50,000 a year. A trip to the hospital (which according to the original New York times editorial is often where Americans are forced to go after hours) can easily cost at least $500. Also, Stossel doesn't adjust this statistic for family size. "20 percent are not citizens." What does this have to do with anything? Are non-citizens immune from illness or injury? Are they somehow less important than citizens?

To be quite frank, our health care system is unjust and overly expensive. Something needs to be done about it, and quickly. Continued privatization is not the answer. I'm not arguing for a 100% public system, but we need something in place to ensure that all people in the United States have access to adequate health care. Being sick is not a reason to go into financial ruin. As Bono put it so eloquently in God Part II, "the rich stay healthy, the sick stay poor." I encourage everyone to read the New York Times editorial (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/12/opinion/12sun1.html) that sparked Stossel's article.

Matthew Kennel

Also, allow me to say, I am pro-life, I am a Republican, and I did vote for George Bush in the last election. But I don't think that, in regard to economics, the Republican party actually represents a Christian ethos.

bill912

All people in the United States do have access to health care. There are plenty of free clinics. Hospital emergency rooms are required by law to treat anyone who comes in, for any reason, regardless of ability to pay.

Tim J.

"George Bush, on the other hand, has given a huge tax cut to the rich so that they can buy more yachts, mansions, and BMWs."

Umm... specific, concrete examples, please?

"I'm not arguing for a 100% public system, but we need something in place to ensure that all people in the United States have access to adequate health care."

What you will get is a 100% public system.

Matthew Kennel

bill912 says,

"Hospital emergency rooms are required by law to treat anyone who comes in, for any reason, regardless of ability to pay."

And yet, nonetheless, the bills still come, regardless of ability to pay. And, will the hospital continue to give you the quality of care you need after the initial emergency without insurance? They may in some cases, but certainly not in all. Suffice it to say, if you have an emergency and you can't pay, there's a good chance you'll go into financial ruin.

As for free clinics, I must admit that I've never been to one (up until March I had health insurance), so I'm not able to comment on that.

Mary

Nothing prevents people from privately getting together to provide funding for the poor and those who have been struck with catastrophic illnesses.

Foxfier

Blackadder-- thank you, I was going to have to look those up. ;^)

Matt- The bills do come, but I notice that in my area, at least, the folks who make the most noise about not having enough to pay for them have new cars, air conditioning, (not that needful in the North West*smile* I lived without it for the first 19 years of my life) cable or satellite TV, they take vacations, etc. Lots of folks who "can't afford" health care are actually just not budgeting for it.... (there are some who honesty can't afford it, but the number isn't as high)

Now for the round-about, rambling post on what I think... which is tightly bound up in *why* I think it. Feel free to skip, folks, I tend to ramble. ;^)
My folks raised three kids, below the Federal poverty line for a one-child household. We had a computer, satellite TV, internet, two cars, took zero hand-outs and still managed to pay for health insurance. My dad got a mild form of skin cancer on his back when I was in high school, and mom was diagnosed with breast cancer the year my little sister graduated. Mom's knee has been operated on twice. Dad has a monthly appointment with a local masseuse, AND they've budgeted for two weddings.
All this with a total of a 6 dollar raise in salary since 1995.
Now, the stuff we didn't do... we have gone on a total of two family vacations, we hardly ever eat out, the vehicles are used but in very good condition, we wore a lot of hand-me-downs and tended to get furniture used, as well.

This long, rambling explanation is to explain why I believe that the healthcare "crisis" is a bit overblown. (Although the emergency rooms are very much overworked.)

Government is inherently not very good at doing anything. They can get it done, but it tends to be of lower quality, more expensive and takes a lot longer.
I was in the Navy for 5 years. My brother is still in.
For me, the day after I got a clean bill of dental health, with new X-rays, one of my old fillings pretty much fell off. Oh, and they did a root canal without telling me. (I was just told that they were doing "some work" on that tooth-- it hurt enough I didn't care to ask further.)
My brother had a broken ankle at jump school and did two jumps on it, because the "expert" corpsman said it was just a deep bruise. The only reason it was X-rayed was because some non-affiliated doctor saw it and said it was way too swollen to be a bruise, it might be a sprain. He was on crutches for six months, and it still makes noises when he runs.

Besides which, I notice folks are most always more generous with other people's money. ;^)

Slowboy

"Nothing prevents people from privately getting together to provide funding for the poor and those who have been struck with catastrophic illnesses."


Except the fact that, day after day, this happens and, day after day, no one (that includes me) helps.

Medicine, like food, is a modern necessity. Unlike food (where relatively small amouts of money can supply large amounts of comfort) the difference in cost between a bandaid and an MRI is rather large.

Matthew Kennel

Tim J. asks for specific examples of the effects of the Bush tax cuts. Take a look at the tax calculator at http://www.moneychimp.com/features/tax_brackets.htm. It's useful because it gives tax brackets for various years. If I, a single person, made $50,000 in 2000, I would have paid $10,588 in taxes. The same amount in 2007 would mean a tax of $8924, a savings of $1664. But if I made a million dollars, that would have been $373,670 in 2000 and $329,074 in 2007, a savings of $44,596. For ten million, it would have been $3,937,670 in 2000; this year it would be $3,479,074, a savings of $458,596. For someone making one hundred million dollars the taxes in 2000 would have been $39,577,670; the taxes in 2007 would be $34,979,074. That is a savings of $4,598,596.

Now, I would ask him a question, does he really think that a majority the rich people who are getting those deductions are using them for the less fortunate, either in the form of charity or in the form of more jobs?

Kasia

Matthew Kennel,

I could be wrong, but I think Stossel's point about access to health care as a measure was more that the WHO was stacking the deck. The first thing I learned in my policy analysis class was that your analysis depends on the policy envelope, and the person who gets to define the policy envelope has already come a long way toward winning the policy battle. So by including access to health care as an indicator of quality, the WHO is taking something as a given that, at least in the US, is a fairly contentious political issue. It's kind of like assuming part of your conclusion in the premises.

Kasia

Matthew,

I don't know about most rich people, but the one friend I had who was rich probably gave more to charity in a given year than my pre-tax salary. I never asked for details, but based on what little I did know, she was very charitable. She was also liberal. Whether she's representative, I couldn't say.

Matthew Kennel

"Nothing prevents people from privately getting together to provide funding for the poor and those who have been struck with catastrophic illnesses."

Actually, this did happen in my family's case. A group of local church's got together and raised a whole bunch of money to help my family. And it has been helpful. I'm very grateful. But can we really rely on this kind of compassion in every case?

Matthew Kennel

Kasia says "I could be wrong, but I think Stossel's point about access to health care as a measure was more that the WHO was stacking the deck." I agree that that was his point. But my counterpoint is that access to health care IS a valid way of measuring the success of a health care system. If the less fortunate do not have access to the kind of quality health care that the rich do, or if they have access to it, but go broke in the process of getting it, does that not make a sad comment on the richest country in the world?

Blackadder

Slowboy,

Is it possible that the reason people don't help now is because they have grown used to thinking that it is the government's responsibility?

I heard in a lecture recently that prior to Medicaid poor folks saw a doctor only slightly less often than they do now. The only difference is that then doctors often performed free or highly discounted medicial servies for those who couldn't afford to pay, whereas now they bill Medicaid.

Blackadder

If someone gets a tax refund, he's not going to just bury the money and never think of it again. He's either going to spend it (which will stimulate growth in various sectors of the economy), or he will invest it (which will increase productivity), or he will put it in a bank (in which case the bank will have more money to lend out). It seems to be that, in many cases, these activities will be as beneficial to society as anything the government is likely to do with the money. And that's before we even consider the negative secondary effects taxes might have on economic growth.

"If someone gets a tax refund, he's not going to just bury the money and never think of it again. He's either going to spend it (which will stimulate growth in various sectors of the economy), or he will invest it (which will increase productivity), or he will put it in a bank (in which case the bank will have more money to lend out)"

I agree Blackadder. People love to produce things and we love to reward those that produce good things. In the long term high government taxes slows unique individual production and it takes away freedom and creativity from the market. Allow people to design their own life with opportunity and God. While some might abuse the power - it doesn't frighten me as much as loosing my freedom and slow intellectual death of my community through taxation.

Jarnor23

Loosing (sic) my freedom and slow intellectual death of my community through taxation?

*guffaw* I'm sorry, please read your line again and note where you shouldn't be taking it one bit seriously. Its a horribly misguided attempt at making some brave patriotic statement when all you're saying is you don't like any taxes, no matter who they help. I wonder why the Church hasn't made an infallible declaration saying taxes are evil yet for your benefit. Oh, that's because that would contradict Jesus. Right, gotcha.

Matthew Siekierski

Matthew Kennel, you cite some numbers for the differences between what someone earning $50,000 got in tax relief and someone making $100,000,000. Using your numbers, I get a 15.7% decrease in taxes for the $50,000 wage earner vs. an 11.6% decrease for the $100,000,000 wage earner.

You're right, it's terribly unfair. I got a bigger tax cut than Bill Gates.

Foxfier

I'm sorry, please read your line again and note where you shouldn't be taking it one bit seriously. Its a horribly misguided attempt at making some brave patriotic statement when all you're saying is you don't like any taxes, no matter who they help

Jarnor, could you please lay off the personal attack and actually deal with the statement? It's cool if you disagree, but you're just making those who agree with you look bad with childish mocking. If you can't make an actual argument, it is you who should not be taken "one bit seriously."

Thus far, all the welfare and such has resulted in no reduction of folks that aren't well off; tax cuts, on the other hand, in this very thread, have already been shown to result in actual increase-- and the more money people have available, the more likely they are to give some to causes they support.

As I stated as well, Federal Health Care is horrible.

AnnonyMouse

I think it is pretty clear that Hilary Clinton will try her hardest to create a Socialist health care system which is not the solution to the problem.
One thing I would like to see tho, is a reduction in the cost for maternity care; that is the prenatal care and delivery cost. If you are middle class and do not qualify for medicad, you could spend in excess of $8,000 just for prenatal care and delivery (C-section).

AnnonyMouse

Also, I think we are still being "punished" abusing our legal system; suing doctors unnecessarily. We have to absorb the cost that they have to pay for insurance premiums. It is no wonder that our congress will not pass measures to stop this as most are lawyers.

But, having lived in other countries and having given birth in another country, USA is still the best, in my opinion. That doesn't mean that we are perfect; there are many things that need to be addressed.

Matthew Kennel

Matthew Siekierski,
Of course the percentages don't fool anyone. You did not actually get a bigger tax refund than Bill Gates. If you actually believe that, then I have some wonderful ocean front property in Kansas to sell you. The fact of the matter is, the tax relief given to the regular ($50000) person, might pay a mortgate for a month or two. The tax relief given to your hundred million dollar person could buy several houses.

John

Jarnor posted:

"Why should you have problems with your kid learning about Hanukkah? It not only is a part of our spiritual history, it's right out of our Bible, in 2 Maccabees. If they were being trained that they should reject Christmas, that's another thing, but what's wrong with learning about Jewish history, as it is ours previous to Christ as well?"


Sure Jarnor-that is fine, as long as the Jewish schools start teaching their kids to read about Christ and Christmas and respect it as well. It is well documented that the Jews for the most part dont even rate Chanukkah as an important holiday but only glamorized it to compete with Christians celebration of the birth of Christ which coincides with a Christian holiday

Take some time also and read the talmud which is the main learning tool for young Jewish students after the age of 12 when the have finished their torah studies and have been received their mitzvah and tell me just how anticatholic can a faith be while always claiming descrimination?

Reading and learning of the history and spread of Islam and it was the Jews in Spain and Europe who conspired with the Moslems to defeat the Christians in Spain in the 8th century and onward and elsewhere because of their perceived persecution at the hands of Christians. Possibly a revision of history for our children would be helpful

Never hate, but no need for my children to learn dradle songs

ami

Doesn't the command to feed the hungry address the individual and if we let the government do it with taxpayer's money doesn't it allow the government to take over what the individual should do and to whom the individual might wish to give?

bill912

"It is a paradoxical truth that reducing tax rates increases tax revenue."--President John F. Kennedy, December, 1962

He was right. The Kennedy tax-rate cuts of the 1960s increased tax revenues. The Reagan tax-rate cuts of the 1980s nearly doubled tax revenues during his 8 years in office. The Bush tax-rate cuts have increased tax revenues.

Tim J.

"Take a look at the tax calculator..."

As someone has already pointed out, the numbers do not show that "the rich" got any huge, special tax cuts.

Are you really shocked that 10% of a million is bigger than 10% of 50K? Is that news?

A rich guy will pay more than I do in taxes, and when taxes are reduced he will save more than I do as a result of the reduction. Is this controversial? Something to protest?

Foxfier summed up my thoughts pretty well. By far most Americans could afford a great deal more if they exercised a little discipline in their spending.

Do you really think that a state run health care system will even out the field? The rich - by definition - can afford things others can't. You can resent that if you want, but it doesn't help you or anyone else. Bill Gates will always be able to afford a luxurious level of health care... does that mean that the government should make sure that we ALL can have that same level of care, or else it's not "fair"?

People should - an DO - have access to basic care, and beyond that the government should not be in the business of guaranteeing everyone an equal outcome in life.

Medical crises have ALWAYS disrupted people's lives, financially and otherwise. The truly rich don't have to worry as much about that. What does that have to do with me? The rich don't have to worry as much about a LOT of things... that does not mean that life is unfair or that the rest of us have a cause for complaint.

Incidentally, my niece has had several major heart surgeries, including most recently a heart transplant. Her family is of very modest means and would never have a chance in hades of paying her medical bills.

Guess what? They haven't had to. Her bills were payed by other means - partly absorbed by the hospitals and doctors, partly by private charitable foundations and partly by individuals and communities volunteering help and donations.

This is not at all unusual. Hardly ANYONE (statistically) in America can afford a heart transplant... yet they happen all the time.

matt

Matthew Kennel,

of course in real $ Gates got more of a tax cut, he pays far more taxes than you do, in fact his taxes are many times greater than your whole income, many times more than the whole membership of this blog. But what does Bill Gates do with all of that extra money? Does he stuff it in his matress? No, most of the reduced tax burden on business goes back into the economy, creating jobs and actually reducing poverty in the most charitable way--by giving people jobs. The tax cuts have been instrumental in spurring the economy, unemployment is at 4%, the vast majority of people have jobs, whereas the liberals whould have far more people on the welfare rolls which is most uncharitable.


God Bless,

Matt

Matthew Siekierski

Matthew Kennel, I did get more tax relief than Bill Gates.

Assume I'm the $50k person, he's the $100m person.
I went from paying 20% to paying 16% for the privilege of living in the US.
He went from paying 39% to 35% for the same privilege.

That sure doesn't look "fair". What's the difference between us? He makes a ton more money than I do, employs more people than I do, stimulates the economy more than I do...and for that, the government charges him at a higher rate.

And, remember, neither of us is getting money from the government, we just have to pay less.

Seriously, this looks a lot like class envy or jealousy. "They make millions, they can afford to pay more!" Well, they do. They pay more in one year than I'll earn in 50 years, much less what I'll pay in those 50 years. I'd say they're doing more than their fair share.

Sky

I definitely agree with Matthew Siekierski. I don't think there is a need to "equal" out healthcare, of course rich people will get the best care money can buy and that's fine. My issue with the US healthcare system is with the cost of basic medical procedures. There's no need for a state run healthcare system to fix that. In a country like ours benign medical procedures shouldn't cost as much as they do, but like mentioned earlier that has more to do with malpractice lawsuits and insurance lobbies than anything else, that's where we need a reform.

Matthew Kennel

Call it class envy if you wish, but I don't envy the rich, I pity them. "From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required." When I turn on the TV and see their mansions and estates, when I am flipping through the channels and see some girl on MTV wearing a piece of jewlery that is worth more than my house - yes, I pity them. I won't continue to argue with Matthew S and others about the size of the tax cut, because it is clear to me that percentage means nothing. A million dollars is a million dollars, and it's more than a thousand dollars, no matter what percentage you employ. And, yes, I do think that the government has a responsibility to ensure that all those under in its jurisdiction receive adequate health care.

And as for the effectiveness of tax cuts, I ask you, when was the only time in the last 50 years that our government had a surplus? Under Clinton, who raised taxes.

I'm not one sided. I'd love to see other reforms, such as reducing the cost of health care, stopping frivilous law suits, and all these other things. But the government shouldn't sit by idly - "Hillarycare" is preferable to "Hoovercare".

speedmaster

>> Yesterday I linked a post from Anne Rice arguing that the Democratic Party best represents gospel values regarding feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, clothing
>> the naked, etc.

The problem is, the gospel asks people to give to help others, not steal from someone else and give that to others.
http://amateureconblog.blogspot.com/

Tim J.

"And, yes, I do think that the government has a responsibility to ensure that all those under in its jurisdiction receive adequate health care"

Define "adequate". You can't drive a Ferrari for the price of a Chevy. You can't expect unfettered access to the most advanced medical technology for a modest monthly fee.

"when was the only time in the last 50 years that our government had a surplus? Under Clinton, who raised taxes."

Umm... that would be under the Republican congress, that cut spending.

Matthew Siekierski

The government can't "untax" you for millions of dollars because they're not taking millions from you in the first place. Percentage is the only way to validly compare the tax cuts.

Again, the tax cuts didn't give us anything. The government didn't give more money to the Rich than the Poor, they stopped taking so much money from everyone.

Foxfier

"From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required."

That is God's law, not man's. A forced virtue is not a virtue at all-- so taking the money from someone to do something good isn't them filling a requirement.

I don't want the Government forcing everyone to attend Mass-- I don't want them taking my money for charity.

Look at Bill Gates once again, since he's such a popular target-- do you have any idea how MUCH he gives away? (Not always to goals I would wish, but that isn't the point.)

Perhaps you should aim to persuade folks to give to good goals, rather than trying to force them into it?

Jarnor23

John, no offense, but just because Jewish schools may or may not teach their students about what other religions do does not mean we should not be educated ourselves. If your school is actively saying "you should be Jewish and not Christian" to your kids, that's a big problem. If they're teaching them simply the story in our very Bible, where's the problem? If they're teaching them that other kids have other traditions (which, in this case, really aren't against ours, per se), again, I just don't see it as a problem. I see it as an education.

If they say "here, little Billy and Susy, here's the Talmud, read it and write an essay about how much you hate Jesus" well that's a BIG problem. I wouldn't confuse the two things.

Jarnor23

Fox, no offense, but my pointing out the inanity of that position was my argument. Also, not everyone comes to this blog to play armchair apologist or debate team member. Sometimes we may come because we are interested in Jimmy's take on things, agreed or disagreed with.

But if you do want to debate, perhaps you can clear up exactly why government health care is always bad. Especially for the poor. Honestly, regardless of what your pet conservative think tank sites might say, I personally know many helped by what level of government care is out there. The ones really bad off are those who make too much to qualify for that, but not enough to afford our obscenely overpriced private health plans out of pocket, should they not be so lucky as to work for someone who provides.

Rick

Here is the dilemma:

I assume that everyone here teaches their kids not to steal.

Then, we all support a system in which the government confiscates -- through the threat of coercion -- at least 40 % of most folk's income. And some "conservatives" call that freedom? And some liberals call that "social justice"? Gimme a break!

Ron Paul for president!

Jarnor23

The difference being that you, through your elected officials, chose to authorize that, or you lost in your attempt to oppose it. That money is being taken through legitimate rule of law, which Christ recognized and the Catechism will back me up on that. If you want to change it, great. Don't call it theft, for it is not.

bill912

It's not theft; it's robbery, as the use, or threatened us, of force is involved.

Publius

Then execution is murder, imprisonment of felons is the same as a private citizen confining another, war is mass murder, fines are robbery too, conscription is slavery, etc, etc. I don't have a whole lot of sympathy for liberal economic policies, but this anti-tax nonsense really is simply ridiculous. It's representative of hard-core libertarianism (if not anarchism), not Catholicism.

Esau

"Only the Little People Pay Taxes!"

Foxfier

Jarnor23 - if you have no desire to engage my arguments, feel free not to; however, I do request that you at least acknowledge that I have made them, and cut the condescending BS about my pet conservative think-tanks.

Seriously, I don't even know of any "think tanks," conservative, pet or otherwise. Once again, you are using a personal attack instead of an actual argument.

Publius- I have no problem with my taxes going into the government to "establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty". (to borrow shamelessly from a well-phrased source)
However, wealth redistribution doesn't work. It has not worked before now, and I can't see anything short of a major change in human nature
Also, wealth redistribution does not support general welfare. It supports specific welfare, but not the general.
You also have not addressed the problems of corruption, nor that the money is going to support abortions and various other immoral things-- that is not something government should be involved in, any more than it should be involved in doing "generous" things.

I can give rational arguments against each example you gave; for example, fines are not theft because they are leveled due to a violation of accepted laws which had to be passed and can be avoided, as opposed to re-distributive taxes which are not based in law and are highly difficult to avoid. Can you give good examples of why taking my money to support those who murder children is not theft?

Matthew Siekierski

Can you give good examples of why taking my money to support those who murder children is not theft?

Foxfier, as much as I'd like to agree with you, it applies in the same way as fines. The government has given itself the right to impose an income tax, legally, with passage of the 16th Amendment. Unfortunately for us, the income redistribution scheme and forced support of abortion mills (or anything else, really) have all followed legal avenues. Those avenues may smell worse than my shoes, but it's been legal.

Foxfier

Matt S.- and that income tax was "only for a little while." Last time I checked, there were still many, many arguments going on about if it's Constitutional to take money from people for non-defensive uses that are immoral. Freedom of association is the primary route of argument.

Annoying thing about the US, if you look at it from a Catholic standpoint, is that it's still being figured out.

Jarnor23

Fox, I really didn't come to debate. I had posted an observation about something you disagreed with. Your position is so far from what I think is right than I frankly see it pointless to try to rationally discuss it. Perhaps if someday you're more worried about those that are poor than to try to feel prideful about not using government services yourself and wanting to cut of those that are taking your precious tax dollars, we can find some common ground.

I'm just sad that there's so little common ground with ultra-conservative Catholics and those who would actually like to follow Christ's teachings about helping others.

Foxfier

Jaranor- I had thought better of you. You constantly attack me, rather than defending what you claim is right. Then you slander all who agree with me as being less than Catholic.

Frankly, if I did agree with you, I would think twice about it. That is pathetic, and I wash my hands of you.

Jarnor23

Pot? Hey, this is kettle. You're black.

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