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Patrick's Response to Kate...

*** Note from Cody: Patrick emailed me his response to Kate because of its length... lets go to the comments for discussion after this.


Don't forgot Socrates teachings that "Discussing ideas is the foremost sign of a civilized society" - (I paraphrased the hell outta that)

From Patrick - - - -


Okay Cody, here is my response to Kate’s questions.

To answer your first question, there is no excuse for the expansion of the federal government that occurred under G.W. Bush, but the argument that “Bush started it” does not hold water when it comes to the exponential growth that has come out of the Obama Administration. I do not want to focus on Obama because I do not like the man and he is not the root of the problem, he is simply a cog of a machine that has been in running for a long time.

Governments grow. That is what they do. From the Constitution, to the National Banks, to the regulations that grew out of the Civil War, to the Progressive movement prior to, and during WWI, FDR, LBJ, Bush, and so on. Spending has always been on the rise and will continue to rise; the best we can do is to try and slow spending and increase revenues.

Why do governments grow? Ideally the government would tell us: “you are grown ass people, work it out; we will come by and pick up your trash on Thursdays”. Government grows because a situation occurs that riles up the populace, who demand that their legislators do something about it. The legislators are in a position where they must act because the people demand it, but if they react with too heavy a hand the people will reject it. Their answer is to create a maze of complex, confusing, intricate programs that redistribute money. An example would be the Crop Restriction Program, or CRP. If the government simply hands over money to farmers as a public gift, everyone can see where that money came from. If, on the other hand, they spread out the cost across the country to anyone buying product from those CRP farms the source of the money is obscured by the bureaucracy, and mutes the political opposition. There are a wide variety of programs that distort the structure of prices and alter the allocation of resources (Higgs, 1990). This public revolt has been coming along for a while now and it is now time to stand up and wrestle some power back from the Feds. The fact that we have been limping along for 30 years or so since our last attempt has no bearing on the debate.

Ronald Reagan was the closest thing to a conservative that has been in the White House for a long time now. Reagan increased revenues, but did not control spending, which was due in no small part to the Democrats in the Legislative branch, who saw an opportunity to increase spending. Regardless, from 1982 to 1990 the U.S. experienced a 92 month period of sustained economic growth, and when the 1989 federal budget is looked at as a percentage of the economy (versus the 1981 federal budget) we see that Reagan was actually able to shrink the federal budget by about 5% (Edwards, 2004). That is not to say that government shrank during the 80’s. In fact it still grew… a lot.

The American people have been fed big government in bites over the past 234 years. At first the bites were nibbles, then spoonfuls, big bites, and, over the past 100 years or so, mouthfuls. The Obama Administration has introduced Bills that throw a plateful down in front of us and expect us to eat it with a smile. When the majority of the people turn their noses up at their laws, they cry foul and attempt to smear us instead of debate the issues.

That got a little heated, but moving on to your second question: you should be allowed to marry whomever you want. Who you choose to marry has no bearing on my marriage, and I don’t think the U.S. Constitution should put limits on the people.

Third question, politicians getting between doctors and patients. It happens, check out the V.A. hospitals. Look at the NHS in England. Whoever is paying the bill gets a say in the process. If you want to keep decisions between the patient and the doctor you had better figure out at way to pay the bill yourself. Making healthcare affordable is key in that and that means removing government subsidies.

For a pretty good explanation of federal expansion prior to FDR check this out: http://www.independent.org/publications/article.asp?id=360 and some more, with visual aides: http://www.cato.org/pubs/journal/cj16n2-2.html .

Higgs, R. (1990). The growth of government in the United States. The Freeman, 40(8). From: http://www.thefreemanonline.org/columns/the-growth-of-government-in-the-united-states/

Edwards, C. (2004). Reagan’s small government vision. On NRO Financial, June 9, 2004. From: http://old.nationalreview.com/nrof_comment/edwards200406090833.asp

11 comments:

  1. Patrick, thank you.
    This is a wonderfully thorough history lesson and well cited too. But, I fear it doesn't address my questions.

    It does tempt me to respond to many other points and ask more questions, but for once I will remain singular in my questions.

    If as you state in your post, you are opposed to the expansion of government (with or without cuts in spending)and thereby I assume many Republicans are opposed to expanding government then why weren't there protests by Republicans to President Regan and President G.W. Bush? Or just to President Bush, given that your statement of the government growth under Reagan is solely the responsibility of the Democrats in charge at the time? (And by demonstrations I am referring to something the likes of the Tea Party demonstrations of current times.) I am uncertain of the growth of the government you are referring to in, “The Obama Administration has introduced Bills that throw a plateful down in front of us and expect us to eat it with a smile.” Again, I believe the Republicans don’t oppose bills such as health care reform in general but instead are opposed to certain content of such a bill; they in fact support the expansion of the government in terms of overseeing or legislating health care reform in some fashion.

    I will digress on one point because I just can’t help myself… This is quoted from your post, “When the majority of the people turn their noses up at their [Obama administration] laws, they cry foul and attempt to smear us instead of debate the issues.” Ok – I don’t know how you count majority….Here we go today, April 28, 2010 Gallup polls gives President Obama at 52% approval rating down from the height of 70% in February of 2009 http://www.gallup.com/poll/113980/gallup-daily-obama-job-approval.aspx. By my math 52% is a majority, barely a majority but a majority none the less. The approval ratings of the healthcare bill are all over the place – I have just spent an hour looking at polling information. To be consistent I will stick with the same Gallup source listed above. On March 22, Gallup listed only 49%as approving the health care reform passed by Congress. By my math that is not a majority. But the same poll reports that 50% are enthusiastic about the healthcare reform. I have also read polls that show very negative responses to the reform and then very positive responses to individual pieces of the legislation. So, I am at a loss as to the “truth” here. http://www.gallup.com/poll/126929/slim-margin-americans-support-healthcare-bill-passage.aspx

    But back to point, please someone Republican or conservative, talk to me about how you reconcile some of your beliefs and how you reconcile them when representatives of any party are at odds with those beliefs. This may be a difficult answer to provide, but there are so many Republicans holding these beliefs and doing so publicly that someone should be able to talk to me.

    I am concerned at the vitriolic nature of the opposition to the current administration. It seems to go beyond reason. I truly believe that intelligent, rational, educated and respectful debate is what this country was founded on and why our founding was truly an act of revolution. I only wish we could bring that sort of honor and respect back to the public domain and to our elected leadership not matter what their party.

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  2. Kate,

    First of all... I agree with you.

    But.. Have you as a liberal ever demonstrated against the specific thngs that the Democratic party has done that you disagree with? I am sure there has probably been some right?

    This is one of the major problems with our political environment.

    Our loyalties to our party have become more important than our loyalties to the good of the country or just loyalties to what we believe in on a case by case basis.

    It is easier and simpler to just back a party blindly than to discuss and become educated on issues. So that is what the majority of Americans do. That in-turn leads to attacking and defending between the parties.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'm just as guilty of saying "Well ... Bush [x], so why are you so mad about Obama [y]" as the next person, and I'm certainly trying to get out of that. But I'm going to be honest, if I hear one more thing about Reagan, I'm going to explode. I understand that, in most Conservatives' point of view, he was ideal, but reminiscing about the good ol' days of Reagan isn't going to help, unless the Republicans can find someone who actually thinks like Reagan, rather than simply quotes him when appropriate (financial crisis) and forgets him when not (nuclear weapons).

    If I may pose my own question, here's what I would like to know: With health care and banking industries being two industries whose interests have very clearly grown well beyond the interests of those whom they claim to serve and more into making money off these people, regardless of the negative impact on them or the rest of society, how, aside from government involvement, do we keep the upper 1% from completely preying on the other 99% of America?

    I understand that one of the tenets of capitalism is that if you don't take care of your customers, they are free to go elsewhere, but is it realistic to expect your average American to be knowledgeable enough about these two very complicated and very intricate industries to realize that they are being taken advantage of before it's too late?

    Should the government not concern themselves with the millions of Americans who are either being taken advantage of for the profits of enormous banks or completely shut out from necessary health care by insurance industries that rake in giant profits, but are quick to not come through with their side of the deal by cutting people's coverage as soon as they get sick?

    If the government is overstepping their boundaries by involving itself in this, how should it be dealt with? Rather than hear about how the current solutions being proposed/enacted are wrong, I'd like to know what the alternative is.

    ReplyDelete
  4. So because we didn't stand up then we cant stand up now?

    Your attempt to muddy the water with poll numbers is ridiculous. Either one of us can come up with a poll that says whatever we want. Since you used Gallup I will use Rasmussen. Barry has a 52% disapproval rating with them. Last I checked that was a majority. 58% of voters favor repeal of the healthcare bill. Polls are misleading and should rarely be the basis of an argument.

    Reconciling my beliefs? This is not a checkbook. If a politician fails to live up to the job he gets voted out. Reconciling my beliefs would imply that I would change my beliefs to suit whoever is in office? Do you do that? I consider this question to be an attempt to avoid debate.

    The vitriolic nature of the current opposition? There is an active attempt to destroy the tea party and drag its members through the mud. This is not conspiracy theory. Groups such as crashtheteaparty.org have publicly stated that they have infiltrated the TP and they want the members to appear racist, homophobic, and moronic. If the liberal message were so pure and transparent why wouldn't they just debate the issue.

    Ok, now let me ask a few questions. Do you believe it is right for someone to take what you have earned and give it to someone else? Does someone's need obligate you to provide? The next question must then be: What constitutes a need, and who should decide?

    ReplyDelete
  5. So, Dubya, other than the very general "don't take what's mine" lack of empathy vitriol and the belief that everyone else is wrong, what ARE your beliefs?

    Do you have any actual solutions to problems or just complaints about other people's?

    By the way, "Barry" is a nice touch. Not juvenile or bitter at all...

    ReplyDelete
  6. Eh, we all gotta be a little bitter sometimes.

    Solutions. Well first thing I would to is control spending by curbing benefits to programs that encourage a welfare state. Tax-free medical spending accounts, encouraging people to invest privately in 401(k) and IRAs, basically teaching people to be responsible and less dependent on government. Yes this does include phasing out Social Security too.

    Second, we would need to increase revenue because we cannot simply dump programs, and we have less people funding our programs. Cutting taxes has been proven to raise revenue. Kennedy did it, Reagan did it, Bush did it. As those revenues come in we would be able to fully fund programs as opposed to leaving a bunch of unfunded mandates laying around. We must not start new programs with this money, it has to go to existing programs.

    The taxes I would cut would be the income tax, property tax, corporate tax, etc. I would strip the embedded taxes out of all the products we buy and replace them with an inclusive consumption tax, the Fair Tax. There are several books written on the Fair Tax by John Linder and Neal Boortz, I would suggest reading them to learn more. The Fair Tax would tax a larger base, and everyone would pay it whenever we bought something; you would also take home your whole paycheck and it would be your responsibility to invest wisely in your future. The IRS would basically go away if the Fair Tax were implemented, as would much of the influence from K Street and the lobbyists.

    People dont get elected by saying: "Government is going to do less for you, but we will encourage personal responsibility and hardwork".

    ReplyDelete
  7. I vote this as the longest post on Codytalks that doesn’t say anything.

    Patrick complains about the growth of the federal government and federal spending over the last 100 years, but I don’t understand what he specifically opposes. Are you against Social Security? Medicare? Workers Safety regulations? Clean Air laws? Regulating Food quality? Subsidized school lunches? Veterans’ assistance with college tuition or home ownership? Pell Grants? Interstate Highways? The Space Program? Increased Defense Spending? These are all things that the government has engaged in over the last 100 years. Simply stating that you are against big government, and against federal spending without advocating any specifics is weak sauce and worthless. (I give Dubya credit in his comments, who actually advocates repealing Social Security).

    Patrick also gives all credit to Ronald Reagan for cutting taxes and raising revenues (Reagan’s tax bill was written largely by Bill Bradley, but I digress), but blames Democrats for the increased spending under his watch (and veto power). Ronald Reagan advocated for increased spending during his presidency, for example, defense spending hit a peak in 1987, increasing over 50% between 1980 and 1987. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A26273-2004Jun8_2.html.

    And I noticed that there is no mention of the Clinton Administration’s success with increasing revenues and cutting spending. Indeed, President Clinton presided over the longest period of peace-time economic expansion in American history, which included a balanced budget and a federal surplus. Patrick, that seems to fit your vision.

    Indeed, income tax rates are currently at or near historical lows, something I am certain but Patrick and Dubya will give credit to President Obama.
    http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=3151&emailView=1

    And Dubya, your advice on cutting taxes to increase revenue is interesting. I am sure that you were excited by the Democrats following your advice, and I trust that you gave your full support to Obama’s tax cut.
    http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2010/jan/28/barack-obama/tax-cut-95-percent-stimulus-made-it-so/

    I am particularly interested in Patrick’s comments that Obama couldn’t get what he wanted so he “smeared” opponents rather than debating the issues. (I am assuming this is regarding the Affordable Health Care Act). There was a ton of debate on these issues (the policy debates went for over a year). I do not know what “smears” he is referring to, but I seem to remember the opponents of the bill focusing on misinformation and smears rather than debating the issues (i.e, the bill is too long! omg death panels! omg it’s a government takeover! omg its socialism! ). So on the issues, Patrick, what do you feel opponents of the Bill were not permitted to debate? The part prohibiting health insurers from refusing coverage based on patients' medical histories? Or prohibiting health insurers from charging different rates based on patients' medical histories or gender? Or an expansion of Medicaid to include more low-income Americans by increasing Medicaid eligibility limits? Or providing a subsidy to low- and middle-income Americans to help buy insurance? Or reductions in projected spending on Medicare over a ten-year period? What is it you were denied the opportunity to debate?

    Simply put, the ONLY arguments I see above are (1) we need to cut taxes (although they are historically low and Obama did cut taxes); and (2) we need to cut spending, but offer no specifics, and ignore that W., Bush, Reagan, Nixon, Eisenhower, etc. all failed to do this, that this time it will somehow be different.
    These arguments are well-worn, ignore the current reality, and are not based on any real seriousness towards governing.

    ReplyDelete
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