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 Post subject: Role of Government
PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 5:39 pm 
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I think the differing views of what the proper role of the government should be is something that works its way into most threads in N&D. So in this thread, I'd like encourage everyone to describe what they feel to be the role of the government. What are the services the government should provide its' people? And of these, what are the most important? Conversely, what are areas that the government has no business being involved in?

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 Post subject: Re: Role of Government
PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 5:48 pm 
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Way too many catch 22s to take a definitive stance, but a great question. For example, one could argue against universal health care and another could say we need government intervention to correct past congressional/presidential mistakes which disproportionally favor pharmaceutical and insurance companies.

My personal opinion is that the government has its nose in way too many endeavors where it doesn't belong.

Our founding fathers did a write a guide (which Jefferson thought would need constant ammendment based on the evolution of our country and society) that many of our elected officials doen't seem to take into account when considering legislation and how far the arm of government can reach ~ the Constitution.

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 Post subject: Re: Role of Government
PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 5:58 pm 
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i fully support universal health care. healthcare is a public good and should be treated as such, the same as education and security. how would you feel if private companies were running public schools?

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 Post subject: Re: Role of Government
PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 5:58 pm 
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One of my core beliefs is that governments should be as small as possible, because they can focus closer on a smaller group of citizens, and that they're easier to be held accountable for. As such, this is why you see me often advocate for heavy spending cuts on the federal level, but if we talked more about local issues, I may advocate a more active government role.


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 Post subject: Re: Role of Government
PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 6:00 pm 
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invention wrote:
how would you feel if private companies were running public schools?


I'd love it. But then again, they wouldn't be public schools anymore, would they?


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 Post subject: Re: Role of Government
PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 6:06 pm 
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Green Habit wrote:
invention wrote:
how would you feel if private companies were running public schools?


I'd love it. But then again, they wouldn't be public schools anymore, would they?


private companies don't care about the best interests or the well-being of society. they care about profit margins. thats why people are getting fucked over with health-care. there's always going to be winners and losers.

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 Post subject: Re: Role of Government
PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 6:12 pm 
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aprilfifth wrote:
I think the differing views of what the proper role of the government should be is something that works its way into most threads in N&D. So in this thread, I'd like encourage everyone to describe what they feel to be the role of the government. What are the services the government should provide its' people? And of these, what are the most important? Conversely, what are areas that the government has no business being involved in?


D/l Music and baseball. :peace:


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 Post subject: Re: Role of Government
PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 6:13 pm 
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The most general statement I can make is that I believe that government should stand to protect people from natural conditions that do them great harm. These conditions may be violence, natural disasters, or the tyranny of the strong against the weak. The government should represent those citizens least able to represent themselves.

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 Post subject: Re: Role of Government
PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 6:51 pm 
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It is an overly broad question.


I believe the government has a responsibility to protect its' citizens. Both militarily and on a local level, police/firefighters, etc. Ideally, I believe the government should be as small as possible; however, I think in areas such as education, they have the duty to offer a good education to all of its citizens. There is no such thing as "equal," so I won't envoke that term, but I truly believe one of the major failings in this country is the absolute disparity in education, and in turn opportunities.

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 Post subject: Re: Role of Government
PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 7:05 pm 
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invention wrote:
Green Habit wrote:
invention wrote:
how would you feel if private companies were running public schools?


I'd love it. But then again, they wouldn't be public schools anymore, would they?


private companies don't care about the best interests or the well-being of society. they care about profit margins. thats why people are getting fucked over with health-care. there's always going to be winners and losers.

Why this false dichotomy between well-being and profit margins?

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 Post subject: Re: Role of Government
PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 7:07 pm 
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Human Bass wrote:
invention wrote:
Green Habit wrote:
invention wrote:
how would you feel if private companies were running public schools?


I'd love it. But then again, they wouldn't be public schools anymore, would they?


private companies don't care about the best interests or the well-being of society. they care about profit margins. thats why people are getting fucked over with health-care. there's always going to be winners and losers.

Why this false dichotomy between well-being and profit margins?

I guess it's not a dichotomy when you're talking about the company's well-being, but it is certainly a dichotomy when discussing the well-being of the students and/or society at large. The health insurance analogy is apt.

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 Post subject: Re: Role of Government
PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 8:16 pm 
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punkdavid wrote:
Human Bass wrote:
invention wrote:
Green Habit wrote:
invention wrote:
how would you feel if private companies were running public schools?


I'd love it. But then again, they wouldn't be public schools anymore, would they?


private companies don't care about the best interests or the well-being of society. they care about profit margins. thats why people are getting fucked over with health-care. there's always going to be winners and losers.

Why this false dichotomy between well-being and profit margins?

I guess it's not a dichotomy when you're talking about the company's well-being, but it is certainly a dichotomy when discussing the well-being of the students and/or society at large. The health insurance analogy is apt.


Health insurance doesn't work because there's no competition. You're stuck with your employer's health plan, which your employer chose because of its cost, not its actually benefit. A more appropriate analogy would be auto insurance, which is actually relatively inexpensive, and because you're free to ditch your provider for a better deal, they compete for rates.

The other reason health insurance doesn't work is because we're totally going about it the wrong way. Consider this scenario:
Suppose you have to pay $50/month for some certain medicine. How much will your premium go up? (a) Less than $50/month, (b) more than $50/month. Essentially, we'd be better off having higher deductibles and lower premiums, and always having enough money saved to be able to cover the deductible. But then again, most American's aren't responsible to leave their health savings alone without spending it.

Now, I think as far as school is concerned, if there were truly a market where people could pluck up their children and move them, nobody could get away with a shoddy product (unless the parents don't care, of course, and there are *already* charter schools that cater to the parents who don't care). Yeah, you run a private school, and your primary goal is the bottom line, but let me ask you--are private schools or public schools generally considered "better" right now? Most people right now would say private schools are better, and they do it at lower cost per student. How do they do it? Why, they don't have teacher's unions, bureaucracy, they can pay their teachers based on merit, etc. Yeah, those greedy private school owners are probably making a fair dime in the process, but at a greater net benefit to society.

So yeah, I guess put me in the limited government role camp.

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 Post subject: Re: Role of Government
PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 8:52 pm 
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$úñ_DëV|L wrote:
Health insurance doesn't work because there's no competition. You're stuck with your employer's health plan, which your employer chose because of its cost, not its actually benefit. A more appropriate analogy would be auto insurance, which is actually relatively inexpensive, and because you're free to ditch your provider for a better deal, they compete for rates.

Without getting this thread completely derailed into a single issue, I think that public school choice bears more resemblence to health insurance (through employers) than it does to auto insurance or other insurance choices for the reason that you highlighted, the actual LACK of choice.

School choice advocates are big on the idea of creating competition in the market, but the fact is that GEOGRAPHICALLY, most kids are limited to only a couple of possible schools that they could reasonably get to on a daily basis. Take a city like Phoenix, that covers 516 square miles (about half of the land area of the state of Rhode Island, by comparison). It's often hard enough to get to the "neighborhood" school in many areas because the school is several miles away. How many schools are within a half hour drive? Enough to give meaningful choice? What if your family doesn't own a car? What about kids in rural districts where they are lucky if there is ONE school within an hour drive? How do you create choice there?

The fact of school choice, the part that cannot be escaped, is that just like all other market driven "choices", those who have more money end up having more choices. Even with vouchers to pay for tuition or even transportation, poor kids will tend to choose the local neighborhood schools because it is prohibitively difficult to physically get to more distant better perfoming schools, they will underperform because people with more "choice resources" will not choose those schools, and they will fall into a similar spiral of underachievement and underfunding that we see currently in many inner city public schools. It's all a sham to give money that should be going to poor schools into the hands of the middle class to enable them to not have to send their kids to school with poor people.

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 Post subject: Re: Role of Government
PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 9:43 pm 
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punkdavid wrote:
$úñ_DëV|L wrote:
punkdavid wrote:
I guess it's not a dichotomy when you're talking about the company's well-being, but it is certainly a dichotomy when discussing the well-being of the students and/or society at large. The health insurance analogy is apt.


Health insurance doesn't work because there's no competition. You're stuck with your employer's health plan, which your employer chose because of its cost, not its actually benefit. A more appropriate analogy would be auto insurance, which is actually relatively inexpensive, and because you're free to ditch your provider for a better deal, they compete for rates.

Without getting this thread completely derailed into a single issue, I think that public school choice bears more resemblence to health insurance (through employers) than it does to auto insurance or other insurance choices for the reason that you highlighted, the actual LACK of choice.

School choice advocates are big on the idea of creating competition in the market, but the fact is that GEOGRAPHICALLY, most kids are limited to only a couple of possible schools that they could reasonably get to on a daily basis. Take a city like Phoenix, that covers 516 square miles (about half of the land area of the state of Rhode Island, by comparison). It's often hard enough to get to the "neighborhood" school in many areas because the school is several miles away. How many schools are within a half hour drive? Enough to give meaningful choice? What if your family doesn't own a car? What about kids in rural districts where they are lucky if there is ONE school within an hour drive? How do you create choice there?

The fact of school choice, the part that cannot be escaped, is that just like all other market driven "choices", those who have more money end up having more choices. Even with vouchers to pay for tuition or even transportation, poor kids will tend to choose the local neighborhood schools because it is prohibitively difficult to physically get to more distant better perfoming schools, they will underperform because people with more "choice resources" will not choose those schools, and they will fall into a similar spiral of underachievement that we see currently in many inner city public schools. It's all a sham to give money that should be going to poor schools into the hands of the middle class to enable them to not have to send their kids to school with poor people.


See, I don't think a complete privitization of schools is necessarily expedient (or possible), but you mentioned giving vouchers to the middle class--why not give vouchers to the poor? If there aren't any good private schools in poor areas, it is because they can't afford to send their kids to them. If they (the poor) had vouchers, that problem would go away, the poor parents would have a $6,000/year (or whatever) coupon each to send their kids to any school they want, and before you know it, there will be plenty of entrepreneurs wanting that money. Right now, there is no fluidity when it comes to school availability, and the schools that exist now are more or less the only schools that can exist in the current circumstances. You're correct about the poor families having no choice of schooling, but that's not a failure of any voucher system. I don't see how giving the poor students more choices via a voucher system would be any worse than public schools (or charter schools that cater to the kids even the public schools don't want) being their only choice. Giving these public schools more money isn't going to help them any, as money shortage isn't the reason the schools are underperforming.

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 Post subject: Re: Role of Government
PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 11:02 pm 
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punkdavid wrote:
The most general statement I can make is that I believe that government should stand to protect people from natural conditions that do them great harm. These conditions may be violence, natural disasters, or the tyranny of the strong against the weak. The government should represent those citizens least able to represent themselves.


That's actually pretty good. It leaves a bit too much wiggle room for tyranny of a strong government against a weak citizenry, but I like it.

punkdavid wrote:
Human Bass wrote:
Why this false dichotomy between well-being and profit margins?

I guess it's not a dichotomy when you're talking about the company's well-being, but it is certainly a dichotomy when discussing the well-being of the students and/or society at large. The health insurance analogy is apt.


I'd go with HB on this one, it's a false dichotomy that profits and well-being can't coexist. Couldn't someone profit from the invention of "Tylenol" or "the transistor" and still increase the net well-being? While I would agree that most insurance companies aren't interested in anything beyond next quarter's numbers, it's wrong to assume that all profit they make is at the expense of someone else's well being, because capitalism is not a zero-sum game. It's also wrong to assume it's the nature of the insurance to behave as the currently do. The problem is that insurance companies are allowed to be publicly traded or can be owned by conglomerates that use them as cash-cows for other financial products. Switching them over to USAA type model would solve nearly every complaint against them.

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 Post subject: Re: Role of Government
PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 11:13 pm 
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broken iris wrote:
punkdavid wrote:
Human Bass wrote:
Why this false dichotomy between well-being and profit margins?

I guess it's not a dichotomy when you're talking about the company's well-being, but it is certainly a dichotomy when discussing the well-being of the students and/or society at large. The health insurance analogy is apt.


I'd go with HB on this one, it's a false dichotomy that profits and well-being can't coexist. Couldn't someone profit from the invention of "Tylenol" or "the transistor" and still increase the net well-being? While I would agree that most insurance companies aren't interested in anything beyond next quarter's numbers, it's wrong to assume that all profit they make is at the expense of someone else's well being, because capitalism is not a zero-sum game. It's also wrong to assume it's the nature of the insurance to behave as the currently do. The problem is that insurance companies are allowed to be publicly traded or can be owned by conglomerates that use them as cash-cows for other financial products. Switching them over to USAA type model would solve nearly every complaint against them.

I agree that profitability CAN coexist with the good of the many, and often does. But it is by definition a dictotomy because they do not ALWAYS coexist. That's all I was trying to say.

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 Post subject: Re: Role of Government
PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2008 4:02 pm 
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what do we think of the role of government in business?

the government certainly has a role in protecting how its country's environment is treated and that can bleed into a government regulating a business.

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 Post subject: Re: Role of Government
PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2008 4:21 pm 
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corduroy_blazer wrote:
what do we think of the role of government in business?

the government certainly has a role in protecting how its country's environment is treated and that can bleed into a government regulating a business.



Essentially, the government should only regulate the externalities.

I think, to an extent, the government should be able to regulate the environment, but it should be limited to solid scientific evidence of direct harm. Don't impose regulations that stifle business based on unproven remote possibilities. Businesses should face penalties, for example, if they dump toxic chemicals into the ground.

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 Post subject: Re: Role of Government
PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2008 5:38 am 
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invention wrote:
Green Habit wrote:
invention wrote:
how would you feel if private companies were running public schools?


I'd love it. But then again, they wouldn't be public schools anymore, would they?


private companies don't care about the best interests or the well-being of society. they care about profit margins. thats why people are getting fucked over with health-care. there's always going to be winners and losers.


I have news for you, government doesn't care about the best interestes or well-being of society. They are far more concerned with expanding their own power and control over the masses.


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 Post subject: Re: Role of Government
PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2008 1:06 pm 
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ackyman wrote:
invention wrote:
Green Habit wrote:
invention wrote:
how would you feel if private companies were running public schools?


I'd love it. But then again, they wouldn't be public schools anymore, would they?


private companies don't care about the best interests or the well-being of society. they care about profit margins. thats why people are getting fucked over with health-care. there's always going to be winners and losers.


I have news for you, government doesn't care about the best interestes or well-being of society. They are far more concerned with expanding their own power and control over the masses.


With reasoning skills like this, you're going to go far in life :nice:

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