Originally posted by eljefejesus
I would challenege you four for your often apologist positions on government and politics involvement in the economy, feel free to disagree with the premise.
My position is that there are only a limited number of ways that government with any reliability tends to not spend enough and that is usually on very specific things (i.e. investments in educati rnment presence in the economy, so if any of you care to support such positions, let's debate.
Okay, fair enough. Let's go.
My position is that there are only a limited number of ways that government with any reliability tends to not spend enough and that is usually on very specific things (i.e. investments in education and incentives for intellecutal property innovations), whereas most governments of the world would do well to move much of their spending towards a more libertarian, non-interfearing direction and simply spend less, for example on generous public employee benefits like pensions.
Out of the 4 people listed in the title, I'm probably the most libertarian-leaning. I think the concept of libertarianism has merit and I believe in freedom of the individual rather than of the collective.
That having been said, I think history has shown that the market is not capable of policing itself completely. Anti-trust laws, for example, are, I believe, necessary to avoid competition-stifling monopolies and harmful collusion. An unregulated health insurance system leads to enormous waste based on the fact that the consumer pretty much needs the service and is at the mercy of the limited market for the specific services that he needs to stay healthy. I also think that government has a moral responsibility to help its poorest citizens maintain at least some level of human dignity, though I would like to see more of a workfare (i.e., if you can work, then work for your welfare) way of doing it.
Reduced government red tape and political spending would go a good way towards freeing up resources for the taxpayers and maintain the incentives to earn income.
Reduced from what, though? The mantra of "cut taxes" "cut taxes" only goes so far. How far do you cut them? To zero? I look at individual government programs and expenditures and judge them based on their own merits, not based on an overarching philosophy. I do agree, though, that fundamentally, governments should do their utmost to promote free market competition.
Some things, though, must be government funded or they will not exist. Nobody would have privately financed NASA and the space program. And though you may not think it any big loss if we never made it to the Moon, many useful technologies were developed by the space program. I'm in the middle of reading the great Herman Wouk's "A Hole in Texas" about the Superconducting Super Collider project and its struggle to achieve and maintain government funding. Without government funding, these types of projects, including CERN (which helped bring us the World Wide Web) would never exist. It is for these types of projects that governments need to step in and provide public financing. Also, as KN said, of course, things like police, firefighters, education and the military, need to be publicly funded to adequately serve the public.
However, there is a problem in which politicians tend to spend more during their limited term in office, and they tend to give out more goodies in spending than they collect through taxation, causes many distortions in their country's markets.
That, I agree with 100%. That's why I'd favor a Constitutional Amendment requiring a balanced budget except in cases of national emergency and require a 2/3 majority of Congress to pass an unbalanced budget even in an emergency cases. The tendency of politicians to overspend to make their constituents happy just to save their jobs and to not worry about the future, is a major problem.
Hence the pension reforms even in ever-popular Scandinavian socialist societies.
I don't have any problem with privatizing government pension plans such as social security. But I'd be reluctant to scrap those problems all together. If people aren't forced to save, many won't. The government will end up having to support these people anyway through welfare programs when they're too old to work. They might as well be supported by their own savings.
Perhaps we all agree on the economic benefits of this move away from government involvement and at least a partial movement towards libertarianism.
I think we can all agree (or most of us, anyway) that there needs to be a balance between them.
Actually, though I chose the crowd for generally intelligent debating, I fully expect one of you to rely more on name calling and most of you to at least largely disagree.
I do think others out there will agree with my position more than disagree, even some of you, but I have heard many insults even from you four thrown out randomly against libertarian-leaning people who criticize the large and usually growing government presence in the economy, so if any of you care to support such positions, let's debate.
I'm not sure that the pre-emptive defensiveness was entirely necessary, but I can understand why you felt it necessary.