If you can stand it

"Heavy job losses in construction, manufacturing and financial services, along with cuttbacks in retailing, eclipsed job gains in education and health services, leisure and hospitality, and government."

Jobs getting sucked out from the "producing" sector to the "takings coalition".

"But Shawn, what does this have to do with Blue Table Painting?". It has everything to do with it. There is an invisible person at BTP. This person gets a paycheck, but does nothing to help. This person eats our money and craps out paperwork.

This represents the sucking out of resources from the private sector (which creates services and goods from scratch) to government (which cannot inherently produce anything without first taking it from somewhere else).

I started Blue Table Painting in my garage with $90 worth of paints. I had no outside help. I invented it and worked like a madman to get it off the ground. I risked everything. So, answer me this: who has a right to show up at my farm and haul off my crops? The sugar industry (who get taxpayer subsidies)? Or perhaps foreign aid to warring factions in the Middle East?

Get to the caucuses people! Get to the voting booth! What will be said of our generation? That we spent 300 hours a year playing video games and zero hours a year guarding our Freedom?

Step one: find out three names-- the congressman for your district and the two senators for your state. Track what they do online. If they vote for the printing of money they have effectively stolen from you, yes you individually. Or maybe they are good defenders of your constitutional freedoms. Then act appropriately in November.

A good article by Utah Senator Bill Hickman


Eric Danley said...

Oh Shawn. You are passionate, I'll give you that. ;-)

I'm working on a little comment/article/etc for you and hope to have it done tomorrow. In the mean time, what does the government provide for you?


Schools, Libraries
Fire/Police Protection
Local Roads


State Highways
Court System
Many Services for Low Income, Disables, and Senior Citizens
State Parks
National Guard
Defense against Wildfires


Military Protection
Social Security
Interstate Highways
Small Business Loans
National Parks

"This person gets a paycheck, but does nothing to help."

There are many things the government does that you personally benefit from. The government is far from perfect and everyone should learn their representatives (Obama, Durbin, Biggert and they are all on Speed Dial in my Cell Phone). However, claiming they simply steal from you and provide nothing in return is simply sensationalism.

Eric Danley

Blue Table Painting said...

Thank you Eric, as usual, for your thoughtful and well-composed insight.

For those that care to read these things I want to clarify. I am stating a proposition. I am trying to get at something.

Obviously a blanket statement like "all government is useless all the time and has NO place at all" wouldn't be entirely true.

Now, I'm very interested that you provided a list. The typical response to a complaint about excessive taxation is "Yes, but look at all the wonderful things that government does." I respond with two questions:

A) Should government be doing that? Why doesn't the government provide my car, for example? Because the Market can and SHOULD provide it.

B) What gives government the mandate or authority to do that? Is it constitutional? Where is the law that provides for that?

I underline both comments with this basic assertion: government cannot do a single thing without first taking it from someone else.

Your congressman can't take an extra-large dump in his tax-payer-provided office without you paying for the toilet paper.

The counter-argument that it gives back something of value in return does not get rid of the two basic followups:

1) Could the Market provide it more efficiently?
2) Government works by coercion and the private sector works by persuasion.

How would you feel if you had to report to Wal Mart your earnings and prove that you were spending enough at their shop. People would riot to all holy hell. But we lay down like soon-to-be-shorn sheep when

Now, back to Eric's wonderful list. Personally, I would check off on each item if it could pass two basic tests-- 1) it can't be as effectively provided for on the open market, and 2) there is a legitimate lawful/constitutional mandate (ie for the Feds it's in the constitution).

I don't have as much of a beef with State taxes. It's the Feds that are getting out of control.

Questions: how much of the tax budget is spent on items on your list? What is NOT on the list? What about subsidies and "pork"?

I assert that government (all of it) could and should operate on less than 5% net taxation. I would consider that a lot.

Blue Table Painting said...

But we lay down like soon-to-be-shorn sheep when... tax season rolls around.

ekimatuan said...

While Shawn's statement is a little inflammatory, it is nonetheless pretty accurate. Government is notoriously inefficient. They take 100% of your taxes and turn it into a 40% or less benefit, hence a net loss of 60% to you.

Here is my understanding. Local roads, etc. are paid for by gasoline tax. Schools, libraries, etc. are funded by property taxes as is a good portion of Fire/Police.

Military Protection is currently all over seas while our borders are wide open. That tells me the war on terror is more or less a joke. Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid are exactly what they sound like 'Social'ism funded by a Ponzi scheme.

OSHA, EPA, etc. in my opinion do more to harm Americans than not. They put small companies out of business while allowing larger businesses to buy their way out of trouble. Whole industries have sprung up, creating consulting firms that teach companies how to comply with all the red tape and conflicting regulations. These agencies are Bureaucracy at its worst.

I know I haven't touched on all the examples. Government should only be what is defined in the Constitution and nothing more. The founding fathers knew that government is inherently inefficient and is exponentially more so that larger it becomes. Anything that can be handled outside of government should be. Anything that must be handled by government should be handled at the lowest possible level.

Government workers make more than the same worker in the private sector and produce less than the same worker in the private sector. Government (all levels) jobs are quickly approaching 50% of the entire work force, and we all support these workers.

I for one favor less government, lower taxes and more freedom in my life.


Unknown said...

Remember that 'Pork' is deeply subjective.

I love Yellowstone National Park, but thats an earmark.

I think that we SHOULD spend money studying Mad Cow Disease in Montana, its a SERIOUS issue locally. That got an earmark, and to someone in Florida thats pork spending. To ranchers in Montana thats a life or death issue.

I'll pick some sensitive issues - How much money does the government spend fighting same gender marriage, marijuana legalization, "Faith Based" initiatives, or in Utah - pasisng and defending laws that force business to close on Sundays?

Depending on your point of view each of those things could either be absolutely critical government functions or pork spending.

Anonymous said...

"Now, I'm very interested that you provided a list. The typical response to a complaint about excessive taxation is "Yes, but look at all the wonderful things that government does." I respond with two questions:

A) Should government be doing that? Why doesn't the government provide my car, for example? Because the Market can and SHOULD provide it."

The government doesn't supply your car, because a car is a material possession.
Nobody 'has to have' a car. Get a job closer to home and walk.

Blue Table Painting said...

Now that's an interesting point. Is that the common qualifier on Eric's list? That it's something that every citizen absolutely must have? So important that other citizens must be compelled to provide it for someone who cannot (or will not?) provide it for themselves?

Eric Danley said...

First, the list is not all-inclusive...far from it. Just a list I threw together while heading out the door.

Jack made a good point about the car, certainly it is not a necessity in order to live. However, I would like to go a step farther and more directly look at the Free Market, and the private sector. The government provides services that the private sector is unwilling to do, or unable to do profitably to an acceptable level.

Universities have never succeeded without the assistance of government grants. Yes, the private sector contributes considerably in the form of endowments but across the world. Higher education is provided by the government, not because they are the best at it but because no one else will. Sure we have numerous technical skills setup by the unions, or private organizations, but they ignore what makes a liberal education great. They ignore the Arts, History, and Culture.

Lets look at Fire Protection, and I don't just mean your local precinct. Lets look at the firefighters battling fires in California, Colorado, and Utah. They come not just from within the state, but from neighboring states, from the National Guard, from the Americorps, and even from Canada. The Federal government pays for much of this, meaning my income tax in Illinois is helping protect Utah.

OSHA. I have seen the necessity of this organization in many jobs, and in many places. Walmart provided a fairly safe environment for its employees but later jobs that I held refused to repair the Air Conditioning during a 95 degree summer, refused to refill the fire extinguishers, and forced a 74 year old woman to unload boxes from a Semi-Truck because "Managers are more expensive to replace." OSHA fixed the first two problems, and I simply ignored the last regulation. That was at a midsize chain called Tuesday Morning.

I find the notion that OSHA should be eliminated in order to make life easier for small business preposterous. Yes, they are a beuaracracy and have their significant short comings (I was running a ebay store out of my home office and they sent me safety posters that I had to post in my "break room.") But if a small business cannot afford to provide a basic level of safety for their employees then quite frankly they do not deserve to be in business. They can get additional capital through loans or stock, slow expansion, change their business model or fold. Their choice.

Again, this is far from conclusive look at all the functions of government. I just wanted to illustrate a few examples of where private enterprise would be unable to provide the same service level of government.

Bottom Line:

Government is there to provide for the people the basic services they need to live their lives to a minimal standard. The private sector is unwilling to fulfill all of these rolls, sacrificing quality, safety, and responsibility for profit.

Jefferson and Locke wanted to guarantee certain inalienable rights to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Property. I would argue that everything on this list, along with much more that the government does is to that end.

The sixteenth amendment to the constitution, ratified by 2/3rds of the states in 1913 reads:

"The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration."

Finally, I would like to say that I do agree with Mike with his description of the US Military. I do not agree with the imeperialist role it has taken on, however I recognize the Federal government's need and responsibility to maintain that military.

I strongly disagree with the notion of Social Security, or MediCare/MedicAid as 'Ponzi' schemes. SS came out of the Great Depression, to provide a basic level of survival. MediCare/MedicAid provide the most rudimentary healthcare support to those that can afford nothing else.

Until next time:

Eric Danley

Blue Table Painting said...

I am thrilled beyond belief at the well-written responses to these posts.

I am very, very interested to hear different viewpoints on the matter. I have determined to become well-educated and well-read on these matters.

I would be very disappointed if Eric didn't post. Anyone else have an argument to the contrary?

Though my posts may seem absolutist, I am working my way back through every idea to see which stands the test. I don't pretend to have some unusual degree of intelligence. But I am stubborn.

I did read something interesting (I think it was in a book called "The 5000 Year Leap")... if I remember... That one of the founders wrote that it was not OK for a minority to overthrow the majority. That the majority of the people wanted to change the affirs of the government that was their god-given right. Something like that.

It's going to take a fundamental change in outlook. I'm taking the long view; teaching my children to be self-sufficient and to eschew government interference and control in their lives. We're having a fourth child and I'm thinking how it would be to NOT give her a SSN and to teach her to live outside the system. To be free.

And I'm also nagging about it on my blog. I think that most people have not considered that they might be better off without Social Security.

Blue Table Painting said...

jack-- I have published every comment made so far, except your last one. It's off-topic. If you want to go in that direction you'll have to start your own blog!

Anonymous said...

It isn't off-topic.

And it doesn't surprise me that it wasn't posted.

As long as the church supports their "own kind" there will never be any room for questioning.

Obedience is the only true way to heaven?

That's about as political as you can get!

Anonymous said...

"A. Why doesn't the government provide my car, for example? Because the Market can and SHOULD provide it."

Nope - a car is 'capital goods,' as opposed to 'consumer goods' and no govt. supported by a capitalist economy would ever carte blanche provide it - unless you're a govt. employee, and that's just another facet of free market capitalism - non-consumer goods (i.e., non-cash) 'perks.' Why do you assert that the Market/govt. can and should provide you your car?

"I underline both comments with this basic assertion: government cannot do a single thing without first taking it from someone else."

Well, unless you sculpt and cast from scratch the models you use for painting, you're in a similar situation, aren't you? Question: when someone buys a model from you, do you profit from their cost of that model? Not the painting of it - obviously you profit there, or you wouldn't be in business. If you do profit, however, then you seem to be in a sort of 'glass house' scenario, to me.

I would agree that govt., in most instances, is a 'middleman' between x and y, and as such takes a cut/toll out of transactions that may very well have no need or justification for a middleman. Would you agree?

Blue Table Painting said...

Eric: rebuttal forthcoming!
Jack: My objection to your comment is primarily that it is A) off-topic (although I respect that you disagree, I just don't want to muddy the waters any more), and B) not polite (eg reference to ass-kissing). If you re-post a more succinct version in a future post (maybe one related to religion) I will be glad to post it, and I would LOVE to address some of your items. However, take it light on the anti-mormon stuff (I use the term "stuff" to be polite) on this Mormon-run blog. I've read a giant stack of anti-mormon (tripe) and I've had enough for a lifetime.

I think you raise a good point, though. "How can Shawn, part of a monolithic, heirarchical, strict-obedience-type world-domination religion be going on about liberties and railing against government?"

The answer is simple: freedom of choice.

I choose to be a Mormon. I am perfectly in line with what the Mormon church is doing. NOT what they are rumored to be doing by our opponents and dissenters, but by what I have actually seen and experienced myself.

Don't like how straight-laced BYU is? Then go somewhere else! That's the beauty of it.

Mormons are not part of a democracy. We are part of an order, one to which I willingly submit. I spend waaaay more on church donations than I do on taxes. I think the money is well-used in humanitarian endeavors. Don't agree? Donate your money to something else!

I do NOT choose to pay taxes. I do so under threat of fine and imprisonment. Now, if all of a sudden taxes were voluntary, I would probably still pay them. Just not the Income Tax.

I love the gas tax, for example. It taxes those that use the service. Same for property taxes.

Overseas empire and corporate bailouts are huge abominations.

This leads me to a preliminary item with Eric's last argument: Government does things that no one else wants to do.

Well, then, they shouldn't be done. If these government programs are so popular then let's make them voluntary.

I've donated to NPR. And gladly. I very much enjoyed those programs while driving home from my job in the SF Bay.

It's the coercion that I have a problem with. I don't want to pay for the bailout of American Airlines (?). If they failed in the Market then let them fail and let leaner and more competitive businesses step in.

I find this whole conversation very interesting. Will an idea hold water? Did I miss something?

That's why I love the USA. I'm pretty sure almost anyone can find somewhere they feel at home. In my case, the SF Bay really was not my cup of tea. When I got to "Happy Valley" Utah I felt like I had gone to the afterlife. To others I say "godspeed in your pursuit of happiness, all the best to you, just keep your hands off of federal money."

Final Note: I do NOT, absolutely do NOT advocate avoiding or evading the income tax. I think people should pay it completely and honestly in FULL. Chafe under your bonds!

I'll die a happy man if I see the income tax repealed and replaced with nothing.

Blue Table Painting said...

Tony: Thank you for posting. I really did enjoy reading your post and I'm no end of pleased with the quality of responses.

This conversation is really shaping up:

1) What is the proper role of government?

2) Which services should be provided by the government and which by the Market?

My main Beef with Eric's arguments is that he accepts a coercive system and is complicit with others being forced into it. "It's for your own good."

The essence of Liberty is being able to direct your own destiny; to accept both success and failure in varying measure.

The power to take a man's money and to imprison him is the essence of Opposite-of-Liberty.

Anonymous said...

... and you didn't answer my question at all... but that's your perogative.

Anonymous said...

You don't really have to pay tax. Research the legal concept of sovereignty. Income tax is voluntary. If you volunteer by signing in certain places, without knowing what the small print is, and you promise to pay tax, then and only then do you owe any tax.

Section 26 of the U.S. Code, which is the tax regulations, is not positive law. It only applies to employees of the government and residents of Washington D.C. Furthermore, the 16th Amendment which established the income tax has never been properly ratified.

You can void your agreement to be a subject of the federal U.S. and instead reclaim your sovereign rights as a citizen of the state you live in. That puts you outside the jurisdiction of most aspects of the federal system.

I would suspect that this kind of blatant antinomianism, however, might be seriously frowned upon by the LDS church leadership. How would you, as a church member, expect your church to react to such behavior?

Blue Table Painting said...

Tony (politely): I thought I did answer your question! Maybe I wasn't explicit enough.

No, I don't agree that government as middleman and private individual/company as middleman are substantively the same. I do agree that there are some similarities.

I see where you're coming from, though.

The difference is coercion. If, for example, I sent you a claim at the end of every year *requiring* you to purchase my services (whether you used them or not, whether you wanted them or not, and then raiding your home/business or fining or imprisoning you if you failed to pay), then, yes, it would be the same.

This brings us back to what seems to be the central issue. What should government be doing? What should they NOT be doing?

Blue Table Painting said...

non serviam: I can only speak from my experience as a Mormon. And only from my own experience.

I have never once felt coerced... or judged... or forced to do anything. Before I was baptized I had an interview in which everything that would be expected was reviewed and I willingly agreed.

There seems to be a counter-current in Mormon culture to any sort of civil disobedience. "Obey the law of the land" is the imperative. Of course, this is another topic.

But relevant to the tax issue as far as I'm concerned. I pay my income tax even though I think it is unjust.

Eventually, enough people will be aware enough to repeal the 16th amendment and *lawfully* and peacefully change the affairs of the country. I am very optimistic.

I'm telling you, it's a huge Gordian Knot in my mind. I am still working this through, people. Though I am settled on certain matters, I am very interested in hearing different viewpoints.

In each case I'll either be able to understand and refute erroneous notions, or I will add worthwhile ones to my repertoire.

Eric Danley said...

Heres the comment/article I promised yesterday:

Shawn, you really run an exceptional blog here. You well thought out and rational political beliefs are an excellent challenge. I’ve always felt that having your own beliefs challenged is the best way to determine what you really believe. I think you should start up a second blog, Blue Table Politics (I checked, the domain is available). That way you can separate the politics from business as I would hate to have any of your prospective customers turned off by your beliefs, or that of commenters. Plus, more pages linking back to Blue Table Painting improves your Google Page Rank fore an added bonus. However, I digress. I wanted to take a little more thorough look at some of the aspects of our discussions. Specifically: Taxation by Coercion, The sliding scale income tax, the responsibility of Government, and at the politics of a Libertarian vs a Liberal.

I think this is probably our primary disagreement. You feel we are taxed against our will, and without benefit. I feel that we opt-in to US Taxes, and have little problem with a tax increase that may benefit the greater society as a whole. I guess I don’t have a lot to say that hasn’t already been said, except that the system is opt-in because you are free to leave the United States at any time for any reason. There are plenty of other choices around the world where the tax structure may be more to your liking. Georgia (The country) has a 5% income tax, Russia 15%, and Monaco 0%. These governments get their taxes primarily from different areas such as state owned industry, sales tax, higher corporate income tax, etc. In those states however you will find a very different level of service provided by the government, such as the high levels of government corruption in Russia.

Now, don’t take this point as a “Love it or Leave it” mentality. The beauty of our democracy is that we are free to speak out against anything, and seek change to those practices we do not agree with. However, looking at these other countries gives us an idea of how a lower tax system works. If we look at Georgia because of its 5% income tax, which I believe is what you argue for, and compare it to the United States we see the following:

Income Tax: 5% Georgia 0-40% United Statues
Infant Mortality: 17/1,000 Georgia 6/1,000 United States
Literacy: 100% Georgia 99% United States
Per Capita GDP: $4,700 Georgia $45,800 US
Unemployment: 16% Georgia 4.6% US
Internet Access: 7% Georgia 69% US

Those numbers come from the CIA Fact Book, and I think they provide some interesting comparisons. I can already hear some people screaming “Correlation does not prove Causation!” I understand this, but that doesn’t make the correlation irrelevant. Infant Mortality for example, we have a ‘private’ healthcare system in the US so this is an example of the market solving the problem correct? No. In 2001 the US healthcare industry received $140 Billion dollars of federal subsidies (That amounts to about $467 from every american tax payer.)

Per Capita GDP, well there are a lot of issues that affect this number and nothing we can directly attribute to taxes, but suffice to say that workers in the United States are substantially more productive. Unemployment, again this is an issue with a lot of factors, but the US does have one of the lowest unemployment rates in the world. Our public education system does have something to do with it, and our Higher Ed Universities are largely federally funded.

However, I think the most interesting number of the bunch is the percentage of the population with access to the internet. This number, while it lags behind most of europe, is still high when compared to much of the rest of the world. It refers to an infrastructure that was built using two critical Federal subsidies, First the telephone and early internet system was built by a Government sponsored monopoly. Second, the government provided the ‘deregulated’ telecom industry with billions of dollars of subsidies in order to built out internet coverage to rural appalachia. This is an example of a project that was simply not profitable for private industry, and was only completed due to these subsidies. (The Government Monopoly AT&T also refused to bring telephone service to Appalachia with only 40% of homes services even into the 1960s)

Again, taxation is not the only cause for these differences but it does reflect the potential problems the United States could face with a 5% tax rate. I agree that government needs to be more efficient, but a dramatic reduction in the tax rate will simply degredate the services provided. I think there are more reasonable solutions, like an end to deficit spending and introduction of Clinton-esque pay as you go rules in congress. (All spending increases much be balanced by either cutting another program or increasing revenue for a balanced budget.) We also need to cut back on the infamous pork spending by bringing transparency to the system, and accountability to our politicians. I think American’s are OK with ‘pork’ spending that provides a grant to High School, or repairs a major road thats about to collapse. Its the Bridges to Nowhere named after senators in Alaska that they want ended.

Now, I set out to show why the US system is opt-in. I’m not sure if I did that at all, but the fact remains you are welcome to emigrate to anywhere else in the world that better shares your views. But by living in the United States, you are choosing to live with the Tax system that exists here. The federal government is not an invisible employee stealing your paycheck, it is an organization providing significant services to its people. Yes, it should be leaner and more efficient but every day, every single one of us benefits from its existence.

On to my second topic, the sliding income tax scale in the US. As we all know, we have a system of taxation that increases the percentage of tax a citizen must pay relevant to the amount of income they make on an annual basis. The general belief behind this system of taxation is that the rich can afford to pay a higher amount for government services because they have more ‘discretionary’ income. For example:

A person who makes $12,500 a year falls into the 15% tax bracket, so they pay $1,875 in tax leaving them with $10,625 after taxes for all other expenses. A person who makes $358,000 falls into the highest tax bracket of 35%. They pay $125,000 a year in tax, leaving them $233,000.

The opposite of this, would be a flat tax that taxes all citizens at the same rate regardless of how much they make. For Example:

A person who makes $12,500 a year pays 15% or $1,875 in taxes leaving them with $10,625 for other expenses. A person who makes $358,000 a year pays 15% or $53,700 in taxes leaving them with $304,300 for other expenses.

The argument for a flat tax is that it is more fair because it treats everyone the same. I suppose that is true, however the real issue here is a moral one. Someone living on $10k a year, will have a very difficult time living. They will struggle with every bill, certainly will not be able to afford education to improve their income, and will likely have health issues due to the environment they live in and the food they eat. The second person making $358k pre tax is fine in either situation. Whether they pay taxes at 15% or 35% does make a difference of $70k to their pockets, it still leaves them with 20x the income of the first person after taxes.

In order to keep that person making $12,500 a year alive, and perhaps even a chance to better themselves they need help. In some communities that help can come from churches, or friends, or non-profits, in most communities these options don’t exist. As a result, the government is the only one available to help. The government provides basic health care, some job training, a cheaper apartment to live in, and food and hopefully that allows the person to be more productive at their job earning them a promotion and allowing them to live on their own without the government’s help. Those assistance programs provide a very basic level of survival for everyone in the United States, and they cost a lot. Who pays for them? Everyone, but the people at the top pay a little bit more. Is that unfair, maybe, but what has it cost that person who makes $358,000 a year? Its cost them not to replace their Maserati this year. (For the record, I am solidly middle class from an upper-middle class family. I work for a school district in a solidly Upper Class suburb of Chicago. I suppose I needed to share that so you see what lens I am looking from.)

Looking back at the points I wanted to cover, it looks like my justification of the sliding tax kinda rolled into my ‘responsibility of the government’ section. Let me just add a few things to that before moving into Libertarianism.

It is my belief, that the government has a moral responsibility given to it by the people to provide a safety net like the one described above. I think that no one in the United States should starve, or die without seeing a doctor, that everyone deserves an education, a safe work environment, and a chance to improve their place in the world for themselves and their family. Furthermore, I believe the government has a responsibility to protect the country not just from other Nations or Military actors, but to protect its natural resources from exploitation. I think the corporate world has proven that it cannot be trusted, and that there must be rules to keep it in check. Organizations such as OSHA, the EPA, and the SEC provide a minimal set of guidelines that business must operate within. As long as a company isn’t exploiting its workers or the environment, and is not manipulating the market we allow them to make their own choices. We allow the invisible hand of the market to govern what prices are, and what products are sold. We incentivize companies to operate in places they normally wouldn’t for the benefit of the people, but compared to many other nations our corporations are free. (I do feel some industry is over subsidized, like agriculture or energy for example)

Finally, I’d like to talk a little about the Libertarian and Democratic Parties. I think one thing that is sort of being lost in these discussions about government that we’ve been having is that your politicians and parties represent more than just economic policy. We aren’t discussing social policy at all. That may be best as there are so very controversial issues, but when it comes down to voting in November between Obama, McCain, Barr, Nadar or any other candidate we are not just voting about taxes. We are voting about the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, we are voting about Supreme Court Judges, we are voting about America’s place in the world, and we are voting about issues like Gun Control, Women’s Rights, Gay-Marriage and so much more.

I guess this is what really bothers me about the Libertarian party. They pretend that these issues don’t exist under the mantra that the government has no business getting involved. I suppose that is a perfectly valid belief, but it ignores reality. The fact is it is the Government who decides who can marry, and who can carry guns. And regardless of how you stand on these issues, your elected representative is going to have an impact on whether a woman can choose to have an abortion. I spent some time going through the Barr ’08 website, and I can’t find any position on a myriad of social issues that affect each of us. Their website says they want to restore the constitution, but what does the second amendment mean to them? Does it mean that a citizen can carry a concealed assault rifle? Or does it mean the state can have a militia? The Libertarian platform does not address any of this.

I am a liberal and a member of the Democratic party. We stand not just for economic issues but for social ones as well. I know how my candidates will vote on the social issues that come up, and I know how they will manage the economy. I do recognize that Democratic elected officials have not always been fiscally responsible historically, but I think that the current leadership recognize the need to solve of budget crisis and restore growth within the economy. We simply cannot afford to increase our ‘credit limit’ every six months as we continue to bankrupt our children but need a budget that is not just balanced but is in surplus by cutting back spending and introducing some limited revenue growth by reversing the Bush/McCain tax cuts.

The last thing I’d like to say, (Isn’t that what finally is supposed to mean?) Is that I would like to thank you, Shawn, for facilitating this discussion. You have allowed myself and others to have a rational discussion without the normal slant and aggression associated with a political blog. I have tried to read blogs that don’t share my viewpoint before, but have always just gotten disgusted at their rhetoric and lack of substance. Your posts are clearly different. I have learned a lot, not just about your brand of Fiscal Conservancy, but have learned more about my beliefs as well. Thank you.

Eric Danley

Sources used:


Blue Table Painting said...

Eric: I can't believe you wrote all that. I am eager to digest this rather imposing meal and get back to you over the weekend. I am actually taking a day off tomorrow!

Blue Table Painting said...

PS- I just started reading a book called "Liberal Fascism". Do you have any suggestions? I plan on getting "Audacity of Hope" by Barak Obama.

Anonymous said...

Forgive me for the ass kissing remark. I am not a BTP client. I assumed that Eric was.

For the record I am not anti-Mormon.

I felt the comment I posted - which you deleted - was significant to the conversation. Perhaps everything in that list was hard for you to take in but there isn't a line that can't be substantiated. It isn't rumor, but truth. And the only reason I brought it up was to prove a point. That your church isn't that different from the US government. You've seem to turn a blind eye to that fact.
Maybe if you had posted the list, others could have seen the comparisons too.

Blue Table Painting said...

jack: I see your point, I really do. I maintain that there is a key difference-- that church involvement is voluntary.

If you pare down your list to three relevant and concise points I'll be glad to post it.

Anonymous said...

i think that the only way to change the way we're living and to get things the way they need to be is to basically have a revolution. the government needs to fear the people a bit, don't you think?

Blue Table Painting said...

"I'll pick some sensitive issues - How much money does the government spend fighting same gender marriage, marijuana legalization, "Faith Based" initiatives, or in Utah - pasisng and defending laws that force business to close on Sundays?"

Response to Matt: First, thanks for posting.

Short answer: I think the Federal Government should do ONLY what it is supposed to do and revert other matters to the states.

I don't have an answer to your question. How much does the State of Utah spend to keep businesses closed on Sundays? To my mind if private individuals want to donate to those causes (for or against), then fine. They are free to do so, but do it with your own money.

Your list is incomplete. There are TON of other activities the Feds have their noses into that are on all sides of almost every issue.

One of the essential problems here is how federal money is spent. I think the solution is to drain the swamp-- keep money from going to washington in the first place.

That way the buzzards don't have a pie to fight over.

This answers Eric's opt-in assertion (in part-- don't worry more is coming). If you don't like how things are run you can move to a different state rather than have to exile yourself from the glorious USA.

All the problems start when there's a power-struggle in a distant capital to force a one-size-fits-all net onto the whole nation (in areas it has no business). People cheer when their agenda is enacted, but howl when the next guy to take power has other ideas. Let's just all leave each other alone.

As a PS- my staff is the same way. I don't hire like-minded people. I hire people who will get the job done. And I leave them alone to do it.

Eric Danley said...

Sorry, I couldn't resist. I thought you guys would get a kick out of this. McCain is releasing his economic policy tomorrow and in it he claims that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will help reduce the defecit:

“The McCain administration would reserve all savings from victory in the Iraq and Afghanistan operations in the fight against Islamic extremists for reducing the deficit. Since all their costs were financed with deficit spending, all their savings must go to deficit reduction.”

War is Profitable?


Blue Table Painting said...

I want to make clear that I DO NOT advocate that people avoid or evade paying their taxes.


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