Mon 2 Nov, 2009 04:56 pm
Do you agree with me on these points? I'll tell you where I stand: I favor a political philosophy of progress and reform and the protection of civil liberties.
I believes it is the role of government to ameliorate social conditions and create a more felicitous society, one that encourages happiness. And I favor generous spending on the welfare of a country's citizens. I feel a concern for the poor, and the disadvantaged and see these conditions as often a product of social injustices rather than individual failings. I'm also concerned about environmental issues, the defense of civil liberties, and do not favor excessive military spending.
I have an openness to change and respect for individual liberties within a societal framework in which all have equal opportunity; and I tend to favor greater federal power to remedy social inequities, Also, I support freedom of personal choice and behavior Liberty and choice are important to me.
I'm not opposed to some form of income redistribution, a social safety net, universal health care. I uphold progressive values, and a multilateral foreign policy. To say it another way, for the sake of clarity, I believe individuality - in contrast to individualism - feel the need for the social contract, and endorse a rational evidence-based domestic and foreign policy (as opposed to morality-based) public policy.
In spite of everything that has happened, I still think that government can make the human condition better; and that we have some obligation to our fellow human beings. With a stress on personal freedom, and on freedom of speech and religion, I believe in the common good, the things people cannot do alone. In unity there is strength. I have faith in man's ability through the experiences of his reason and judgment to increase for himself and his fellow men the amount of justice and freedom and brotherhood which all human life deserves.
Yes, I support government social programs such as unemployment benefits, and retirement programs. I see no harm in showing support for trade unions and strong regulation of business when it is called for. As I said, I'd like to see us all support strong environmental regulations, and give our backing to public transit as a means of keeping the environment clean and a little purer. I like the animal right movement, am opposed to the death penalty, and believe that some gun control is a good idea. I call myself a Progressive Realist but I really don't like labels, and claim it is better if we avoid them, and instead telling specifically where we stand, as I have just done.
Am I unreasonable? The super-wealthy can afford to pay out 30% of their income, and they will still be very, very privileged, but they don't really have to: by superior design of products and services, and by designing superior distribution channels, we all can become better off without having to fill out elaborate forms at tax time. In the meantime, if we make above $500,000 a year, we pay our 30%; below that, we pay our 3%, unless we are below the poverty line: then an earned-income credit is the best policy. No deductions, no exemptions, no estimations, just a simple form. I have confidence this will bring in enough revenue to do everything a federal government needs to do. If it is not enough, we must cut government programs, so that we stay within the budget. We must pay as we go.
Yours for wise public policy,
I happen to agree with nearly all of what you're saying; no, you're not unreasonable.
Your idea at the bottom regarding the super-wealthy; no, I don't disagree here either. I would like to add that tax exemptions and incentives for the high-income folks are just so in the effort to spark growth. The idea being that the more corporate investors make, theoretically the more they invest (which, most unfortunately, often doesn't happen). I seem to have the song "Take the money and run" stuck in my head...
Nice post. The only part I disagree with is the ethics of large-text and bolding everything; the retina cries out for justice in agony :p
Just kidding with you - again, well said.
The super-wealthy can afford to pay out 30% of their income, and they will still be very, very privileged
The highest income tax bracket in the U.S. is already 35%
. This year the government will be spending ~1.8 trillion more than it receives in taxes.
I have confidence this will bring in enough revenue to do everything a federal government needs to do. If it is not enough, we must cut government programs, so that we stay within the budget. We must pay as we go.
Putting aside the question of the proper role of the state, I want to point out a practical problem. Within a few decades (assuming that very robust growth resumes: a big
assumption) interest payable on the national debt will consume the entire annual federal budget: i.e. no money for the military, no money for social programs, no money for anything but paying interest on the debt. That is the course we are on now, resulting primarily from the growing cost of entitlement programs, mostly SS, Medicare and Medicaid. There is no money for new social programs
. If total fiscal collapse is going to be avoided, the current programs must be severely
reduced in size.