Friday, November 30, 2007

Socialism works!

Smith says Oregon vote not an argument against SCHIP expansion
The vote against a cigarette tax in Oregon isn't a good argument against a similar effort nationally to expand health insurance for children, Republican Sen. Gordon Smith says.

In "honest reporting world" that opener would have said "The vote against a socialized health care system to be funded by an increase in the cigarette tax..."

Oregonians were impatient that legislators hadn't handled the matter themselves, rather than putting it to a statewide vote, Smith said.

Yes, just do everything for us O wise masters from Salem. You are better than us, smarter, faster even. I have no patience with being able to have a say in turning a free market system over to state control. I don't even have patience to know why I am voting so I need Senator Smith to explain it to everyone.

21 comments:

eddie said...

Wait wait... is the argument seriously that Measure 50 was defeated because people really wanted it done by the legislature without the voters' say?

That's the most ridiculous masturbationary string of logic I've ever heard.

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Anonymous said...

"extended viewing"? what is it, a museum?

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your friendly tour guide said...

In Miglavia, U.S. Sen. Gordon Smith, a millionaire Republican and devout Mormon, is regarded as a proponent of "socialism."

Welcome to Miglavia.

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R Huse said...

Thanks for working for me guys! You, my minions, are toiling extra hard for me today it appears. Keep up the good work. If only you knew.

R Huse said...

>In Miglavia, U.S. Sen. Gordon Smith, a millionaire Republican and devout Mormon, is regarded as a proponent of "socialism."

Actually, most of the more noted proponents of policies with socialist characteristics in this country have been quite well to do. Take a look at Hollywood, FDR, the Kennedy's.

Also, what's with the devout Mormon stuff? Are you saying that somehow a devout Mormon could not be a socialist? What's up with thiat?

the socialist said...

Could you elaborate on what you mean by socialist characteristics? What are some of them, in your view? At the very least, ones you associate with FDR, the Kennedys and Hollywood?

R Huse said...

FDR - Established the New Deal. Most would consider the programs that comprise the New Deal to have Socialist characteristics as they involved income redistribution to varying degrees. This is not saying the program is a Socialist one, or that FDR was a socialist. Legislation can have socialist elements, capitalist elements or Nazi elements without the person being a socialist, capitalist or Nazi. All of our laws have at times had various elements like these in them, they are what they are.

Kennedy - Most of the living Kennedy's, with Ted as the prime example, tend to support fairly left wing politics. An recent example would be the expansion of the SCHIP program. Yes I know that a number of Republicans, including Orin Hatch also supported this. It more a question of consistent and predictable support of income redistribution programs, and Ted Kennedy certainly is in support of this sort of idea. I regard income redistribution as something most associate more with socialism than with capitalism. This does NOT mean TK is a socialist, merely that he supports some programs that have income redistribution as a key part of them, and thus have a socialist nature to most peoples eye. Consistent support for trade unions over individualism would be another socialist element that I would list as an aspect of Kennedy politics. I would think most would consider trade unions as contrasted by individualism, to be more socialist in nature, with the latter being more capitalist in nature.

Hollywood - While there are some noted exceptions I think its fairly well known that if you are more to the right than to the left, you'd better have your career pretty well established or you will get black listed. In addition to that there is the "product" itself. I cant personally think of a single film Hollywood has made where capitalism or a corporate head is shown in a good light with an expansive redistributionist government shown in a bad one. They might be out there, but they certainly don't come to mind. In general, with rare exception, one can count on Hollywood to turn out endless movies with corporations being evil, and government good. The most classic example of this would be "the Grapes of Wrath", which showed the socialist state as saviour at the end of the film. If government is ever shown as being bad, one can count on that being because Hollywood is criticizing policies of an administration it doesn't like. Examples of this would be "Rendition" or "Redacted". The only example I can think of of Hollywood ever making a movie that seemed at all critical of a Democrat administration it liked was "Wag the Dog" and most people viewed that as an odd fluke as it was released right as Clinton began his various Wag the Dog bombings to deflect from sex scandals, exactly as in the movie. As I recall, the movie was just about to be released when Clinton suddenly saw Bosnia/Kosovo as a vital US interest.

Once again - I want to be real clear here. I am not saying any of these things are Socialism or any of the people listed are Socialists. I am saying they have socialist characteristics or elements.

Anyway, that's my list.

OregonGuy said...

So...to vote for Senator Smlith or not?

I can't see how the party, or our state, is being served by this moroon.

the socialist said...

Thank-you for your reply.

Obviously, there is much you say that I disagree with. Or maybe it is more accurate to say that I disagree with your overall premise and perspective, since some of the individual examples you cite are, by themselves, technically (and obviously) true.

Not a lot of time at the moment, but to address one important point very quickly, your discussion of FDR and the New Deal, which is still widely misunderstood in the United States today. I think if you study the history of the period, and the forces that were at work within the classes, as opposed to this or that policy associated with this or that person or administration, you will see that the New Deal was a very conscious and deliberate effort to extinguish a growing socialist impulse, and growing hostility toward capitalism itself, within the American working class, and not in any way a means of implementing a socialist program. Roosevelt was fully aware of what had happened in Russia and of Social Democracy in Europe, and in large measure saw the New Deal (and, for that matter, trade unionism) as a means of reigning in working people. Also, your argument seems to hinge in large part on the idea that a simple "redistribution of income" is itself a "socialist" characteristic. It hardly needs to be pointed out that capitalism also redistributes income, as do individual policies, particularly tax policies, embraced by members of both pro-capitalist parties.

Finally, I don't know much about movies, but I would remind you that a man named Ronald Reagan also thought government was "bad." It was a cornerstone of his entire political philosophy. Was this one of his "socialist" characteristics?

R Huse said...

>you will see that the New Deal was a very conscious and deliberate effort to extinguish a growing socialist impulse, and growing hostility toward capitalism itself

Sure, that could very well be true. However, whether or not the New Deal was an effort to extinguish socialism, does not preclude programs under it from having socialist aspects. Often political leaders implement a small amount of something in order to quell having to implement a large amount of the same thing later.

An example of this would be the Perestroika plan implemented under Gorbochov. He was seeking to quell unease with communism by implementing small amounts of capitalism. The Chinese have done a similar thing, although I think their motives were more to develop their economy rather than to quell internal political strife.

>your argument seems to hinge in large part on the idea that a simple "redistribution of income" is itself a "socialist"

Redistribution of wealth, by government is "socialistic". By that I mean physically taking money from one and giving it to another.

>It hardly needs to be pointed out that capitalism also redistributes income, as do individual policies, particularly tax policies, embraced by members of both pro-capitalist parties.

I would totally agree with you on the tax thing. I consider our tax code to be in no way a capitalist one as it in very large part penalizes work and rewards sloth. Im not sure I would say our tax code is Socialistic, but I would say that I consider our tax code more Socialist than Capitalist. When the majority of tax revenue is obtained from 10% of wage earners, I would not say that is a capitalistic tax code. Our tax code is largely constructed not to raise revenue efficiently, but to affect desired behaviours, reward constituencies, and redistribute wealth based upon need, all of which I consider evil in every sense of the word.

>Finally, I don't know much about movies, but I would remind you that a man named Ronald Reagan also thought government was "bad." It was a cornerstone of his entire political philosophy. Was this one of his "socialist" characteristics?

I think you misread or misunderstood here, maybe I was unclear. Saying government is bad, or should be limited, is in no way something I would consider socialistic. Sorry if the Hollywood paragraph was a little convoluted.

Anonymous said...

R-Huse - I tend to agree with "the socialist" in interpreting the historical context and motivations for the New Deal. What history books do you read?

The New Deal was certainly not socialism. It in fact ensured that socialism would gain little traction in this country by creating a massive middle class population through federally insured housing loans, the GI Bill, expansion of post-secondary education, the interstate highway system and suburbanization, etc. That this middle class is now being eroded in an era of neo-liberal (i.e., hyper capitalism) economic policy, just goes to show that "income redistribution" is not unique to economic policies that lean to the left.

What I think it comes down to is a question of which system is more just? How can one defend a tax system, such as the current one, whereby the likes of Warren Buffet pays a smaller percentage of his income in taxes than his secretary who earns 60k per year?

Anonymous said...

so, under both systems wealth redistribution occurs.

under one system, it's elected officials and government bureaucrats serving the people and voters who do the redistributing, and under the other system it's unknown, powerful, and wealthy private entities, from whom scraps are theorized to trickle down to the rest of us.

I think I'll take my chances with the former. Ooooh. I must be a communist.

R Huse said...

Anon 6.36

>R-Huse - I tend to agree with "the socialist" in interpreting the historical context and motivations for the New Deal. What history books do you read?

Obviously more than you, since if you could read, one would assume you could read my comment, in which I agreed with him but said that the New Deals motivations did not preclude something from having socialist elements. Next time maybe concentrate more on reason and less on insult, you might not step in it as badly as you did here.

>The New Deal was certainly not socialism.

No one ever said it was, it simply had socialist elements to it. I even explicitly stated the New Deal was not socialism. Here is the quote:

"Most would consider the programs that comprise the New Deal to have Socialist characteristics as they involved income redistribution to varying degrees. This is not saying the program is a Socialist one, or that FDR was a socialist. Legislation can have socialist elements, capitalist elements or Nazi elements without the person being a socialist,"

Again, work on your reading skills.

>What I think it comes down to is a question of which system is more just?

Well, that's the problem isn't it? Justness is in the eye of the beholder. Frankly I think once you get into taxing people to affect behaviour you are on the road to the kind of unjust tax system we have now.

Do you think anyone ever bothered to investigate why Buffet pays less of a percentage? Ill tell you why.

Our country has an incredibly low rate of savings compared to other industrialized countries. Why is this? Well, one reason is we tax savings far more than other countries. In an effort to affect behaviour, capitol gains taxes were reduced. Also management salaries for funds were taxed differently. Therefore Buffett pays less. Im not saying its just or not, I am simply saying that's what you get when you use the tax code for anything other than raising revenue.

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moondoggie said...

Daniel: learn HOW to read a newspaper. It says CLEARLY: "Smith says....." It doesn't say "it is this writer's opinion...." It says "Smith says...." and it says it twice. The writer clearly identifies the statements you question as thoughts belonging to Smith. It does not present those thoughts as facts. If you're going to comment on the printed news then at least get it right and don't conveniently "leave out" stuff.

Anonymous said...

Out of the 20 comments here, almost a third are a reference to sexual devices rather than to the topic at hand.

Quite the group of intellectuals trolling here.