OpinionIn the USA, you have as much freedom to fail, as freedom to succeed. Take away the freedom to fail, and you also take away the freedom to succeed. What you end up with is mediocrity.
      – DigitalBoss, 2009-08-10 at 01:05:40   (50 comments)

On 2009-08-10 at 01:07:58, DigitalBoss wrote...
Well, you used to be able to fail, but now you can't even choose the wrong type of vehicle without the government bailing you out. We even have welfare cell phones now. Why should I even go to work, when I can have everything provided to me by the government? People in this country don't even have to make their house payments anymore.
On 2009-08-10 at 01:37:10, Scarletxstarlet wrote...
@DigitalBoss: Oh trust me, some people will always be able to fail at life.
On 2009-08-10 at 01:37:44, Scarletxstarlet wrote...
@DigitalBoss: I would like to inquire as to your annual salary and occupation, if you don't mind.
On 2009-08-10 at 01:53:45, DigitalBoss wrote...
Why? Do you suspect that I am rich? No, sorry. I make $46,000 per year. I am in IT. I am a systems administrator at a large university. Why are you curious?
On 2009-08-10 at 02:02:24, DigitalBoss wrote...
On a global scale, I guess you could say that I am rich. I live in a nice home, it has electricity, running water, a water heater, central heat and air, with a clothes washer and dryer. I am thankful for what I have. I have worked for it. No one has given me anything. I was a steelworker for 20 years, and made good money on a union job. The steel mill closed down and I had to do something. I went to college and earned a degree in Computer Science. I made a good decision, now I am trying to work my way back up to the pay scale I earned before. If I could do it anyone could do it. I made a good decision, and I should be able to benefit from it. The problem is, today people that make bad decisions get things handed to them for doing nothing. I start to wonder why I even bothered. I could have just been a slack ass and let others pay my way.
On 2009-08-10 at 02:38:39, Scarletxstarlet wrote...
@DigitalBoss: I didn't suspect that you were rich, only that you were comfortable. Have you ever been poor? Or seriously ill?
On 2009-08-10 at 03:16:02, DigitalBoss wrote...
I was poor once. It was from being stupid. I had a little addiction to cocaine. Got kicked out of my apartment, lost my girlfriend, had health issues, and almost lost my job. Stupidity and bad decisions. You know, I found out that hunger is a good motivator. I never took a dime from the government though.
On 2009-08-10 at 03:17:31, Scarletxstarlet wrote...
@DigitalBoss: How did you get out of that situation?
On 2009-08-10 at 03:19:35, DigitalBoss wrote...
I told you. Hunger is a good motivator. I realized one day that I did not have any money, and no place to live, I had to start making good decisions and not bad ones.
On 2009-08-10 at 03:23:55, DigitalBoss wrote...
Are you poor, or seriously ill?
On 2009-08-10 at 04:17:26, Scarletxstarlet wrote...
@DigitalBoss: I'm poor, yes. My fiance has diabetes and several other chronic health issues. He has made some unwise decisions in the past, but we'd like to figure out a way to get him out of that hole. If I can figure out a way for either of us to better ourselves without government financial assistance, I'll do it, but I would like to at least have the option. I just wanted to know where you were coming from. I think people's life experience shapes their political beliefs a great deal; understanding someone's situation helps you see from their point of view.
On 2009-08-10 at 09:19:10, Lee J Haywood wrote...
I've been living comfortably with a degree and a well-paid job for some time now, but it has nothing to do with starting poor and nothing to do with ambition. If anything it was simply ability. However, if you've got a disability or chronic illness then you need the government to help you. And if you simply find education too challenging then you cannot expect to get a good job and pay your own way. Who's to say that we all have to work if society as a whole is functioning adequately?
On 2009-08-10 at 14:36:54, DigitalBoss wrote...
I am fairly comfortable now, but most of my life has been pretty rough. At no time did I ever think of going to the government for help. I don't know what it is about people who think that they are entitled to part of someone else's life. That is what runs the government, is it not? Taxes that are taken from someone who worked hard to get ahead. That money was taken away, by force, in the form of taxes, from someone who is concerned with looking out for their own family, and has likely been making good decisions in their life, sacrificed their time and effort, went out of their way to get a good education. I am firmly against the income tax. There are other ways that the government can obtain its money. Function adequately all you want, just do it without taxpayer money.
On 2009-08-10 at 14:38:57, DigitalBoss wrote...
The government should have to EARN its monies like everyone else. It should not be allowed to confiscate its monies from its citizens.
On 2009-08-10 at 16:37:05, BorgClown wrote...
The government here owned companies so it could earn some of its money instead of taxing more. If anything was learned from that experience is that government companies are inefficient. The former Soviet Union is a strong example of that. Although it would be nice if the government was some kind of altruistic institution, raising its own money by work, events or even donations. I suppose the bigger your donations, the bigger your sphere of influence. Just like the current campaign donations.
On 2009-08-10 at 17:15:32, DigitalBoss wrote...
The perfect answer is that the government should be very small. The smaller the better. The smaller the less it intrudes into my life.
On 2009-08-10 at 22:05:32, BorgClown wrote...
How could a small government maintain law and order on a territory as vast as USA? You gotta pay the cops, army, navy, aerial force, forest guards, firefighters, etc. Granted, some of them organize events to gather funds, but it's kinda unsettling to see a cop selling tickets on a gas station.
On 2009-08-11 at 02:42:03, DigitalBoss wrote...
Make it as small as possible. The federal government's main job is defence. You don't need a department of education, and a department of energy. There is a lot of stuff there that we JUST DON"T NEED.
On 2009-08-11 at 03:08:35, Baslisks wrote...
@DigitalBoss: It always sounds like you want anarchy.
On 2009-08-11 at 03:22:08, Scarletxstarlet wrote...
@DigitalBoss: See I would be cool with anarchy if a) we had evolved socially to the point where we could handle it and if b) the functions which the government performs had NGO's set up to take care of them instead. I think we can work towards that, but it will take a long time, probably centuries from now. And DB, the one thing you want to keep government around for-defense-is the one thing I want to do away with globally, entirely.
On 2009-08-11 at 13:02:15, DigitalBoss wrote...
Is there no way to do away with violence between humans/countries; might as well forget about it. Humans have been fighting and killing each other over property disputes since before humans ever existed (our primitive ancestors did too), so have every other animal on the planet. Dream on. Why is the left so hung-up on this? I don't want anarchy, I just want our government to work as it was intended by its founding fathers. The US government has been bastardized from the Republic that it once was into a Democracy with socialist tendencies, into now, pointing to a full blown European style socialist state. I want our Republic back. I want to repeal the 17th amendment, the 16th amendment, and enforce the 10th amendment. I want to abolish the IRS and institute the FairTax. Thats not too much to ask for, now is it? The founding fathers meant for the states to have the power. Each state is its own government. That way each state could be an experiment and citizens could move from state to state wherever the law fit
On 2009-08-11 at 13:03:50, DigitalBoss wrote...
If you do not know what each of those amendments are all about, you do not have enough information to argue the subject with me.
On 2009-08-11 at 13:37:13, Lee J Haywood wrote...
In an ideal world, governments would work in the background and everyone would have their basic needs met. In the real world, governments suck up a lot of money and do a bit more than they need to. But governments are always going to be quite big, even if you cut them down to size.
On 2009-08-11 at 14:19:49, Thelevellers wrote...
I wholeheartedly agree with one of your points the DB! I have often thought that the US is FAR too big to be under a single government, the UK is smaller than some (a lot?!) of the states in the US, and we have enough trouble finding common agreement over the way the country should be run. Done right devolving power to the individual states is a great idea. Scarlet's idea with using NGOs to sort stuff that the government deals with atm is interesting, one problem I have with it is that I think it would give religion too much of an opportunity to get in and spoil stuff :S
On 2009-08-11 at 14:35:02, DigitalBoss wrote...
From where does this whole idea of everyone's needs being met come? It is not the job or purpose of the government to make sure that its citizens needs are met. It is each individual's responsibility to see to their own needs. Charity and philanthropy is for people that cannot meet their own needs, not government subsidy.
On 2009-08-11 at 14:39:24, DigitalBoss wrote...
@Thelevel: Yes, states rights is a great idea that was incorporated into the US Constitution by the founding fathers, and total ignored by the left, and for that matter most of the rest of them. When the "Progressives" somehow got the 17th amendment passed, it led the way for increasing federal power and decreasing state power. That is why I say we need to abolish or repeal the 17th amendment.
On 2009-08-11 at 17:45:24, Scarletxstarlet wrote...
@DigitalBoss: I think city-states (ancient Grecian style) would be a viable option. Each would be "independently owned and operated" as they say, and if you didn't like the one you were in, you could move to another.
On 2009-08-11 at 17:48:19, Scarletxstarlet wrote...
@Thelevellers: I worry about the religious aspect of that myself, but if we ever reach the point where anarchy is a viable option, I suspect there will be a LOT less religious people. At the very least, not many zealots.
On 2009-08-11 at 17:55:41, Lee J Haywood wrote...
The US already has state-level laws but is always going to need a government for the whole country, if only for defence and to allow the states to speak with a single voice. It's also the case that no one individual can decide what the best choice is for any given issue, never mind a whole government. It's tempting for DigitalBoss to think that if he were a dictator then decisions would be easy and things would run smoothly, but it simply isn't the case - no issue is entirely black and white.
On 2009-08-11 at 18:02:54, Scarletxstarlet wrote...
@Lee J Haywood: As our last president said, "Things would be a lot easier if I was a dictator."
On 2009-08-11 at 18:09:56, Scarletxstarlet wrote...
@DigitalBoss: "it is each individual's responsibility to see to their own needs." Because we're all entirely self-sufficient, right? For a more realistic perspective, click the link: http://incredimazing.com/page/Just_Say_No_to_Obama_and_Socialism
On 2009-08-11 at 21:10:50, DigitalBoss wrote...
@Scarlet: All those things mentioned in that article were for the general good. I am ok with that as every citizen can use them evenly. What I am against is when something is taken from one person (as in income tax) and given to another person directly. I think you all are missing the point deliberatly.
On 2009-08-12 at 02:41:33, BorgClown wrote...
@DigitalBoss: You're right, we're missing the point. Let's talk about naked women.
On 2009-08-12 at 08:49:36, Lee J Haywood wrote...
#25: I don't think you can rely on charity without a relatively stable and caring society for it to work in. It really is up to the government to care for the weakest members of a society - otherwise it would be everyone for themselves. It's true that welfare money is overused, but as we've argued before children cannot rely on charity if their parents refuse to work for any reason.
On 2009-08-12 at 15:43:18, Scarletxstarlet wrote...
@Lee J Haywood: I totally agree with you, Lee. Without a) the compassionate desire to help others and b) the knowledge of how to do so, people cannot be trusted to take care of their community.
On 2009-08-12 at 16:04:38, DigitalBoss wrote...
I don't know about you, but I donate to a couple of charities, and I donate my time occasionally when I can. Are you saying that you do not? Maybe you are talking about your kind of people, it doesn't sound like my kind of people.
On 2009-08-12 at 16:06:31, DigitalBoss wrote...
@theBorg: I can talk about naked women if you likee.
On 2009-08-12 at 16:32:42, Scarletxstarlet wrote...
@DigitalBoss: I never said you're not a charitable person. What I said was that society needs to be made up mostly, if not entirely, of charitable people in order for government social programs to be done away with.
On 2009-08-12 at 18:38:10, Lee J Haywood wrote...
My point is that most of us do support charities anyway, but we'd be less inclined to do so in a society that didn't care about us and it's silly to suggest that charities alone will look after everyone. Charities today tend to fill in significant gaps in a government's ability to look after its population, e.g. the disabled, but things would be much worse if all support had to come from charities.
On 2009-08-12 at 20:00:49, DigitalBoss wrote...
I wasn't saying that you think that I was not charitable, I was saying that you and your type (libs) are not charitable. You probably do not donate to any charities do you? You think that it is the job of the government to take money away from successful people and give it to other people that are unfortunate. The bottom line for me is that if the government is going to confiscate wealth from its citizens, it should do so at the same rate for all. Taxing one group at 0-10% and another 33% just because they are more successful is just wrong. Its punitive. It goes against everything in which the founding fathers of this country believed.
On 2009-08-12 at 20:20:05, Lee J Haywood wrote...
Being charitable has nothing to do with political alignment. There's some bizarre notion in the US that everyone is polarised into distinct camps based on political groupings and that it's okay to bash anyone in another 'group' with no evidence at all. My beliefs are my own, and nothing to do with whatever political parties happen to exist in my country. I'm actually giving money to charity in spite of having no income at present (not even from the government). Having said that, there's an enormous number of charities to choose from and you have to pick a few - you cannot seriously think that giving money to one or two charities could address all of societies problems? As for tax rates, there's a point at which you're long past meeting your basic needs and have enough helicopters. Taxing everyone at the same rate is fair enough, but if you're going to tax anyone more then the ridiculously rich won't be hurt much by higher taxes. There's a huge gap between rich and poor that cannot be denied.
On 2009-08-12 at 20:49:15, DigitalBoss wrote...
OK, you tell me where that point is. Where is the point that one has earned enough to meet his basic needs? Who decides that? The way I see it, its my money and I will decide. Keep your grubby hands off.
On 2009-08-12 at 21:12:18, Lee J Haywood wrote...
The amount you are paid has nothing to do with your ability nor the effort you put in. Managers, for example, are paid more and have less practical skill. At the other end, factory workers may have a great deal of skill and work long hours but receive low wages. The richest people have money to waste, and they don't care if something costs too much or is unnecessary. The poorest people struggle to have enough to buy food before they next get paid. Those with disabilities have little chance of bettering themselves, and their carers are likely to be heavily burdened. It's not hard to envisage a scale of bands which take account of increased earnings in a gradual fashion, as opposed to a precise cut-off. I'm not advocating it, just pointing out that it would only be genuinely unfair if you took away, say, 90% of a rich person's earnings - which isn't likely. That'd hurt a lot, but it still wouldn't kill someone making a million a year.
On 2009-08-13 at 03:22:54, Scarletxstarlet wrote...
@Lee J Haywood: I really don't have a problem with a flat tax, as long as it is a true flat tax which rich people cannot hide their assets from.
On 2009-08-13 at 14:31:06, DigitalBoss wrote...
The FairTax is much better than the "run of the mill" flat tax.
On 2009-08-14 at 01:24:01, BorgClown wrote...
Would a world-wide flat consumption tax be acceptable? The more you consume, wherever you consume it, the more you pay. Fair even if unpractical.
On 2009-08-14 at 14:27:07, Thelevellers wrote...
I'll just have to throw in the fact that I have remained a charity supporter over the past year, despite having had very little income - as Lee says, it's all down to the individual as to what charities they support and how much... I would maybe say that two helicopters is plenty for anybody?!
On 2009-08-14 at 15:13:53, DigitalBoss wrote...
It is not for you to judge how many helicopters I have. I say that if a man wants 30 helicopters, and he can afford them, then more power to him. I think you suffer from wealth envy.
On 2009-08-14 at 15:28:14, Baslisks wrote...
@DigitalBoss: I think you suffer from wealth delusion.
On 2009-08-15 at 07:44:17, BorgClown wrote...
Having 30 choppers fine if you need them, but things like eating expensive ice cream with edible golden sheets is just immoral, even if perfectly legal and supposedly supercool.