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June 20, 2007 4:07 AM   Subscribe

Bloomberg running for prez as an independent? You'd almost have to give it low odds but, as an outside possibility, I find it intriguing.
posted by kliuless (159 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
MeTa Thread.
posted by chuckdarwin at 4:24 AM on June 20, 2007



Rumor says (google it) that he is pony-ing up one Billion dollars of his own for the run.

But I'll think about this in six months.
posted by From Bklyn at 4:31 AM on June 20, 2007


Previously.
posted by gimonca at 4:38 AM on June 20, 2007


I would vote for him as an Independent, and that statement he put out is excellent.

I'd love to see an all-NYC mayor rumble for the presidency.
posted by bshort at 4:38 AM on June 20, 2007


Yeah, the difference is that Perot had more crazy than Bloomberg.
posted by bshort at 4:39 AM on June 20, 2007


Bloomberg has a very good record on social policy but as a former New Yorker there's no way I could ever trust him. The man switched parties and bought his nomination, then became mayor because he was the Republican after 9/11. He spent the latter part of 2004 licking Bush's asshole at Madison Square Garden and having a few hundred of his actual constituents arrested and thrown in holding pens.

Deciding to not join a party doesn't really raise his loyalty cred. It's just another example of the "I'm Mike Bloomberg, I'm rich and can do whatever I want" platform. As far as campaigning skills, there are none. He has no foreign policy experience whatsoever- I don't even know his stance on the war, which will again be the major issue of the election. And he'll make Hillary Clinton look good on the stump by comparison. Bloomberg spoke at my college graduation, mispronouncing the name of the coach of the Yankees. And his voice sounds like he's chewing on a dog toy.

He's absolutely useless to anyone outside of the New England area, which is probably the only place he'd get on a ballot anyway. As a person, I'm sure I'd like the guy, but as far a a presidential candidate he's somewhere between Ralph Nader with a bankroll and Mitt Romney without the personality.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 4:45 AM on June 20, 2007 [3 favorites]


If only we could have a Bloomberg-Arnie ticket. Can you imagine? 1) They could take NY and CA, with that, I think one more state could put them over the electoral college limit 2) It would be great to see them standing together, Bloomberg about 1/3rd of Arnold's size.

If only.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 4:46 AM on June 20, 2007


Fred Thompson, Clinton and Bloomberg - Bloomberg takes more votes from Clinton, Thompson wins and appoints two more obscenely conservative Supreme Court justices. Individual rights disappear, except when it comes to property, guns and asserting your Christian religion.
posted by caddis at 4:52 AM on June 20, 2007



"...because he was the Republican after 9/11."
Not really, Mark Green is a bit of a bozo.

Otherwise, yeah, he might end up being the BoSox of candidates.
posted by From Bklyn at 4:54 AM on June 20, 2007


These Premises, are you telling me Bloomberg is two feet tall?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:57 AM on June 20, 2007


I mean, Bloomberg's smart about some things. As two recent programs (Opportunity NYC and congestion pricing) suggest, he's been looking around the world at programs that work for cities, and implementing them. He surrounds himself with smart people, and, well, he's rich enough to not have to be a politician.

I don't know.
posted by entropone at 5:03 AM on June 20, 2007


What's the intriguing part? He's playing into the whole "both sides are just as extreme as each other" meme...which was created by Republicans. If you actually examine the issues, people agree with Democrats.

An Independent voter is generally just a person who agrees with Democrats but doesn't want to be called a filthy librul traitor by Republicans. An Independent candidate is just dishonest.
posted by DU at 5:42 AM on June 20, 2007 [2 favorites]


I give him the same odds I give Kucinich.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:53 AM on June 20, 2007


For the love of God, please don't let Ed Koch run.
posted by fungible at 5:53 AM on June 20, 2007 [4 favorites]


Anyone else hear a giant sucking sound?
posted by three blind mice at 6:02 AM on June 20, 2007


Why independent? Why not run as a Republican? Is the Rupublican primary really soo controlled by party stooges? I'd think many stupid Republicans would find a real centrist Republican a very pleasent excuse for staying Republican. And the threat of a third party candidacy might keep some party hacks in line.
posted by jeffburdges at 6:04 AM on June 20, 2007


But he'd might be more influential as a philanthropist.
posted by jeffburdges at 6:05 AM on June 20, 2007


Deciding to not join a party doesn't really raise his loyalty cred. It's just another example of the "I'm Mike Bloomberg, I'm rich and can do whatever I want" platform.

It's annoying, but it's better then the "I'm not rich so I have to whore for dollars with the pharmaceutical, telecom, defense, etc industries in order to get elected"

Maybe he's just saying things New Yorkers want to hear, but he's taken a good stand on immigration (He's for it, as far as I can tell) and he's told people not to freak out over terrorism, something no other candidate other then John Edwards has been able to say. I could see myself supporting him over Clinton, but not Obama or Edwards.

Still the whole "Centrist" idea is kind of stupid. What people want is policies they agree with, and if other people disagree with you, you're going to have problems.
posted by delmoi at 6:08 AM on June 20, 2007


I'd think many stupid Republicans would find a real centrist Republican a very pleasent excuse for staying Republican.

Stupid Republicans already have a real centrist to choose from. He's even a former New York mayor. Sure, he's got problems, but anybody still a Republican in 2007 should be able to easily ignore them.
posted by DU at 6:09 AM on June 20, 2007


Intriquing that the mayors of NY in recent times are GOP while the city is basically Dem...and Koch, a Liberman-like person, an honorary Republican. Independents might shake things up a bit but they never win. In a close race, Nader-like, he might make an important difference in the popular vote.
posted by Postroad at 6:10 AM on June 20, 2007


Stupid Republicans already have a real centrist to choose from. He's even a former New York mayor.

Centrist authoritarianism?
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:18 AM on June 20, 2007


I visited his Bloomberg media office before he became mayor and even had a little interaction with him way back, so would like to throw in a couple of pro & con thoughts, if I may...

Pro
He's super-super-super-smart - - self made gazillionaire and independent thinker. He had a very refreshing management style. For example, he did not have a private office. He sat in a big open room with about a hundred other people at every level and sat at a regular desk. Anyone who needed privacy for a conversation or meeting (including him) could use one of many meeting rooms. There were few rules, and virtually no bureaucracy. Anyone had the ability to contribute in whatever way they wanted. He encouraged risk-taking, etc. etc. He did similar things once he arrived at City Hall. He knows how to cut through B.S. quickly and produce results.

Con
He basically bought the New York City mayorship, and might just have enough money & resources to buy the Presidency. Something feels icky to me about that, even though I suspect he could radically improve the U.S. domestically, and the U.S. (awful) reputation abroad.

Here's to horse races...
posted by janetplanet at 6:19 AM on June 20, 2007


Can we find any more new yorkers that want to run my life willing to run for president? The more the merrier!
posted by chlorus at 6:27 AM on June 20, 2007


you heard it here first:

Hillary v. Rudy v. Bloomberg.

Bloomberg wins a plurality of the popular vote, nobody gets 270 electoral votes, and chaos ensues in the House of Reps.
posted by pruner at 6:30 AM on June 20, 2007


Hillary isn't going anywhere. Kos called it yesterday, though he wasn't the first. With her negatives she has nowhere to go but down.
posted by DU at 6:32 AM on June 20, 2007


Why independent? Why not run as a Republican?

Or the Connecticut For Lieberman party could go national!

It would be great to see them standing together, Bloomberg about 1/3rd of Arnold's size.

It'd be like the Twins poster or the current cover of Time.
posted by kirkaracha at 6:38 AM on June 20, 2007


Nader on Bloomberg.

It would certainly be interesting to see Bloomberg run, to be sure.
posted by chlorus at 6:38 AM on June 20, 2007


Intriquing that the mayors of NY in recent times are GOP while the city is basically Dem.

Well, in a highly Democrat environment, either the Republicans moves to the center, or they give up and go home. And once they move to the center, a lot of Democrats shockingly like them more. Especially if the Dem nom is not so good.

Like how the governor of CT is a Republican, but the legislature has a veto-proof majority of Dems.
posted by smackfu at 6:49 AM on June 20, 2007


Hillary isn't going anywhere. Kos called it yesterday,

Are you kidding? Kos called the California recall race for the guy that Arnold crushed by 60%. He called Iowa for Dean, and lately he's been a lot more cautious about "calling" anything, because actually it's rather difficult, especially seven months out. And by the way, she has nowhere to go but down, but that doesn't mean she'll get there before the primary.
posted by delmoi at 6:59 AM on June 20, 2007


Wow. Well, it's intriguing. He's got 9 billion or so reasons to do so.

I appreciate the suspicion of a "bought" mayoralty. But thinking more about it, I believe most if not all of our senior politicians are fully bought and paid for, as any critical analysis of the past few years has shown us. There is something very appealing about a man who owes nothing to ayone but his voters, who is so wealthy that he can disdain the process -- the very process itself -- that truly corrupts our electoral culture and thereby our democracy. A man can be so rich he is truly free. Increasingly, I think Bloomberg is a close approximation of such a man, like Bill Gates.

And I want a technocratic administration now. I want the debate to be between competence and incompetence, framed as technocratic vs. ideological visions of government, not to be fought along the old lines of stupid, tired, liberal/conservative "values" issues and low grade petty personal attach politics. A man with a billion dollars to spare can frame the conversation -- or reframe it -- with massive effect. I saw a piece (wish I could locate it now) on a blog that calculated that MB could blanket the national television market with extended ads for a month before the election, literally drowning out all the other candidates combined. That, amortized over a year, is a hell of a megaphone.

I am a New Yorker. I hated Giuliani, and never considered him the icon of competence his supporters claim. I held my nose and voted for Bloomberg over Mark Green because Green is a hack and MB was an accomplished technocrat seemingly almost ideology-free and because my own dealings with NYC governance have convinced me that the corruption in this city is a huge burden on daily life and civility and progressive development. God strike me dead, as I am quite a leftist, but I think NYC's civil service unions, especially, double the cost of doing business and obstruct true progressive change. So do many business interests that Giuliani serviced like a ten dollar whore. We needed the accountability standards that drive competitive business enterprises, and that work to make things better when administered by basically ethical and rational -- and competent -- executives. There *are* well run companies that add to the world while they make money, and Bloomberg LLP was one of them. And the guy seemed like a genuine nebbishy regular dude who just happened to have 9 billion bucks.

When asked if he had tried marijuana, for example, he said "Sure. And I liked it." Wow. That alone blew me away. The day we hear one of the other major party candidates be as forthright and unqualified about something we all know nearly everyone does but legislate against as if it was the height of sociopathy is the day I will believe anything else they say.

After the recent pumped up nonsense of the "Caribbean JFK Terrorist Plot" turned out to be what all prior episodes of its ilk have been -- a PR effort by the Department of Heimat Sekuritat to drive up HRH George the Second's poll numbers in a bad stretch -- Bloomberg told the press that anyone who let this episode worry them much should "get a life." Wow, again. He didn't qualify or apologize, either. And he doesn't seem arrogant when he acts this way. He seems forthright.

After the bought and paid for presidency we've lived through for 6 nightmarish years, I am willing to accept another experiment in paying for the president another way: by charging the man who wants to be president half a billion bucks for the privilege. That's accountability, right there. You don't drop change like that, no matter how rich you are, in order to play around. You do it to build a legacy even bigger than the one that earned you billions you now plan to give away (as MB does). He's obviously ambitious, and forthright about that too. I appreciate the freshness of that too, none of this fake humble pie regular guy bullshit the other candidates learn to do from acting coaches. MB seems like a regular guy who got rich and likes you to know he did it the hard way. Fine with me. I admire that.

And even though I smoke, I forgive him for doing exactly the right thing and making it absurd to smoke in New York City. That was the only real black mark, other than the continued failure to deal decisively with the schools, which are owned by unions and represented by politicians bought and paid for the old fashioned way, and damn hard to change.

He takes stands and holds them reasonably. He listens to experts and takes their advice. He can make deals. He has a can do attitude. He can run on competence and make the case for competence as a metric even if he loses. He peels business voters from the republicans. Hmm.

I would consider voting for him for president most seriously. But here's a thought: Gore/Bloomberg. /Salivate.

Now that is morning in America, goddamn it.
posted by spitbull at 7:01 AM on June 20, 2007 [20 favorites]


Why independent? Why not run as a Republican?

Because he is a lifelong Democrat. The switch to the Republican party was just for the mayoral race.
posted by caddis at 7:04 AM on June 20, 2007


As Nadaer says, he may have bought the office, but no one else can buy the office behind the scenes, he doesn't need to be bought.
posted by stbalbach at 7:04 AM on June 20, 2007


Oy, there is another black mark of course: his management of the protests at the RNC convention in 2004. That gives me some serious reservations, and I had forgotten about it.
posted by spitbull at 7:05 AM on June 20, 2007


Meh. Hillary Lite.
Real progressive values suffer as everyone moves to "centrist" billionaires. At least Bloomberg got all his money before 9/11.
posted by Saucy Intruder at 7:06 AM on June 20, 2007


But here's a thought: Gore/Bloomberg.

Also Hagel/Bloomberg, but Bloomberg ain't doing this to play second fiddle to anyone.

If he's really running, especially ex-party, he's gonna want to be at the top of the marquee.

So maybe Bloomberg/Hagel as a weird sort of "national unity" ticket...maybe..., but Bloomberg won't spend $1 billion to be veep.
posted by briank at 7:08 AM on June 20, 2007


Plus he's single, and divorced. How refreshing to have a candidate who shares the reality of a majority of Americans about the complexity of "family" values issues?

He could ride a wave of sincerity politics, as I think about it. I think most people don't vote because they think all politicans are phonies and liars. And they're right. Gore or Bloomberg mess with that thinking, the way McCain once flirted with doing only to snap back to being a total tool. Neither is as "wacko-factor" impeachable as Nader or Gravel or Ron Paul (no offense to any, but you know what I mean).
posted by spitbull at 7:14 AM on June 20, 2007


"An Independent voter is generally just a person who agrees with Democrats but doesn't want to be called a filthy librul traitor by Republicans. An Independent candidate is just dishonest."

This is reductionist, black and white thinking. There can be more nuance to a belief system than this. Many people support a few of the policies of one party and a few of the other. Their vote goes to the one who promotes the policy they are most strongly attached to, the one who brings attention to what they feel is the most crucial issue of the day. Your post puts forward an image of two opposing armies where the members of each have sworn a loyalty office.

There is a tremendous range within each party. I have very rarely voted Republican but I am seriously considering making a financial contribution to one of the candidates' campaign. Some of the other candidates wouldn't get my vote if they became the nominee no matter who the opponent was. Knowing your vote regardless of the candidate means ignoring the detail.
posted by BigSky at 7:16 AM on June 20, 2007


Why run as an independent? To avoid being beholden to the bullshit party politics of both the Reps and the Dems. If Bloomberg manages to shove PlaNYC 2030 through Albany and actually get some of his environmental ideas (including congestion pricing) implemented, I'd vote for the man.

He's been remarkably effective as mayor, whatever party name he had on the door.
posted by fet at 7:17 AM on June 20, 2007


Sad thing is that I actually think he would make a good president. Unfortunately, he has no chance of winning, and his entry into the race will be a serious boon for the Republicans.
posted by Afroblanco at 7:19 AM on June 20, 2007


...oh, and his implementing 311 in NYC is the most amazing thing ever. You call 311 and complain about construction noise/dumpster in the street/potholes... and these things get fixed. I've found that if you call 311 about a frickin' pothole, of all things, it's fixed within 2-3 days. That's amazing, especially in a city like NYC that's absolutely notorious for non-responsive, crappy governing.
posted by fet at 7:22 AM on June 20, 2007


He's not running.
posted by amberglow at 7:28 AM on June 20, 2007


"An Independent voter is generally just a person who agrees with Democrats but doesn't want to be called a filthy librul traitor by Republicans. An Independent candidate is just dishonest."


Yeah, I was gonna shout back at that too. I've been a registered independent for 15 years, in three states, and I've been active in anti-war and other left political causes and very proud to be called liberal with respect to the issues I am liberal on, or radical with respect to issues I'm radical on, or for that matter, conservative, which I am on a few issues as well. Hence, I am "independent" of obligation to a party that applies a single ideological filter to the complexity of governing the United States or any parts thereof.

I am, in other words, a proud independent. And there are many of us, and more all the time.
posted by spitbull at 7:30 AM on June 20, 2007


I am, in other words, a proud independent. And there are many of us, and more all the time.

Actually, I'm independent too. I should probably have added another option for people who don't want to associate with the Democrats because they are too conservative/timid/ineffective/whatever.

Knowing your vote regardless of the candidate means ignoring the detail.

Most years I'd agree with this. But honestly, a Republican for 2008? Get real.
posted by DU at 7:35 AM on June 20, 2007


I think many of you are reading this wrong. If Bloomberg was smart enough to go republican when it would help him, doesn't his switch to independent status show that being a republican is becoming a liability?
posted by drezdn at 7:45 AM on June 20, 2007


Bloomberg-Arnie

a Jew and a Nazi running for US president and vicepresident? it's a good setup for a joke
posted by matteo at 7:50 AM on June 20, 2007


Although he's sadly not 1/3rd of Arnie's height, he probably is about literally 50% of Arnold's weight. Or at least Arnold at his peak.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 7:51 AM on June 20, 2007


Afroblanco is right. You think a divorced, pro-choice Jewish candidate from New York is going to take votes away from McCain or whomever in Ohio, Pennsylvannia, and Florida? An independent Bloomberg candidacy will do for Obama/Clinton/Edwards whomever what Perot did to Bush pere and then Dole: make the electoral college their (unbeatable) enemy.
posted by sy at 7:54 AM on June 20, 2007


An independent Bloomberg candidacy makes Hillary electable.
posted by three blind mice at 7:56 AM on June 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


i despise mike bloomberg

sorry but the guy is about as geniune as a Giuliani marriage vow.

this year he is pressing the state legislature to push thru a "congestion traffic fee" for people driving into the "city" ( ie BELOW 86th street)

apprently anything btween battery park and E/W 86th street only counts as the "city"- elietest much?

of course just last year this same mayor was trying mightily to push a stadium on the west side of manhattan in the already traffic congested 1 hour delay traffic jam area of the Lincoln Tunnel - all the while claiming that with a new stadium there traffic wouldnt be a problem in the city.

frankly i have had enouff of Mike Bloomberg his nasally voice and his half a yenta whine when he doesnt get his way or when someone points out the basis of asking WHY he is doing the things he is doing.

he once commented that he has 900-something days to go - i wish he had a hundred times that amount LESS to get out of office.
posted by duality at 8:06 AM on June 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


Frankly, I won't support the Democrats unless they get off their ass. And the clock is ticking. We gave them a resounding win and they are ignoring us; taking the easy mattress instead of fighting. To hell with'em. Let'em go back to the minority. They'll get just as much accomplished.
posted by RavinDave at 8:06 AM on June 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


I agree with DU's take on all this.

We don't need a "both parties are too extreme" candidate and narrative out there right now, because it's beguiling and false.

The GOP has been run by extremists like Gingrich, DeLay, Bush, and Cheney. The Democrats have had centrist leaders like Tom Daschle and the Clintons.

Throwing around this false moral equivalence makes it more likely that a candidate with unpopular policy views, but an electable pose, will be elected.

In normal circumstances, I have a "come one come all" approach to campaigns. But with restoring the Bill of Rights, America's reputation in the world, reining in unnecessary wars, balancing the budget, etc. on the agenda, I'd rather we not have the "pox on both their houses" crew emboldened-- particularly when it's a fellow who has the drawbacks that XQUZYPHYR et al have mentioned.
posted by ibmcginty at 8:07 AM on June 20, 2007


Is there anyone left in the US not running for 2oo8?
posted by homodigitalis at 8:13 AM on June 20, 2007


I read the NY Daily News article on this yesterday, and was excited all day. I'll still almost certainly vote Dem, but he could swing me if he keeps on doin' what he's doing.

Interestingly, the Daily News left out the bit about him changing from GOP to Independent, but did manage to quote his Ceasfire speech at length, including the parts where he (rightfully) castigated both parties for chest-beating over terrorism while ignoring that street crime is a far more important issue, and my favorite part, when he claims that low U.S. educational standards are the reason why there exists such a frighteningly high percentage of Americans who believe in creationism.

That's abllsy, and it seems like that sort of thing can only come from somebody who doesn't need fundraising. I didn't want the west side stadium, and I don't like how he handled the RNC, but other tan that he's been a great mayor, and I think he could be a viable candidate.
posted by Navelgazer at 8:28 AM on June 20, 2007


Some of the anti-Bloomberg talk here fails to recognize the entrenched and defensive character of corruption in the administration of this city. To propose *any* traffic-reducing strategy runs into a buzzsaw of interested opposition, as does any major development initiative. Compated to anyone since Lindsay, Bloomberg has gamed this system well enough to make some real changes in the infrastructure, or start them rolling anyway, and the culture of corruption is a little more defensively circled now. It's still dominant, however. And awful.
posted by spitbull at 8:35 AM on June 20, 2007


this year he is pressing the state legislature to push thru a "congestion traffic fee" for people driving into the "city" ( ie BELOW 86th street)

apprently anything btween battery park and E/W 86th street only counts as the "city"- elietest much?


No, it's because between 86th and Battery the bulk of Manhattan is tourist and commercial property while above that it's more residential. The midtown sector is where the actual, you know, congestion is. Why you're being indignant about a zoning concept that makes perfect sense is beyond me.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:36 AM on June 20, 2007



this year he is pressing the state legislature to push thru a "congestion traffic fee" for people driving into the "city" ( ie BELOW 86th street)

apprently anything btween battery park and E/W 86th street only counts as the "city"- elietest much?


You're an idiot. He's not proposing congestion pricing for Staten Island, and that's part of NYC as well.

frankly i have had enouff of Mike Bloomberg his nasally voice and his half a yenta whine when he doesnt get his way or when someone points out the basis of asking WHY he is doing the things he is doing.

And possibly an anti-semitic idiot at that.
posted by bshort at 8:37 AM on June 20, 2007


What's the intriguing part? He's playing into the whole "both sides are just as extreme as each other" meme...which was created by Republicans. If you actually examine the issues, people agree with Democrats.

An Independent voter is generally just a person who agrees with Democrats but doesn't want to be called a filthy librul traitor by Republicans. An Independent candidate is just dishonest.
posted by DU at 5:42 AM on June 20 [1 favorite +] [!]


I'm registered independant and I have voted republican/democrat about 65/35.
posted by b_thinky at 8:38 AM on June 20, 2007


"Is there anyone left in the US not running for 2oo8?"

Well, I haven't declared yet, but only because my steering committee has yet to issue its report.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 8:39 AM on June 20, 2007


I remember when Bloomberg used to land his helicopter on the field just outside the president's office at Johns Hopkins University. He'd pop out, write the school a check and then fly off.

I'm not sure if that kind of diplomatic approach scales outside the US.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:42 AM on June 20, 2007


"Most years I'd agree with this. But honestly, a Republican for 2008? Get real."

This election, more so than any other in my memory, a Republican is the best candidate for the office - Ron Paul. I like him because, well, to pull a quote from a poster who is probably not a fan of his, I'm interested in "restoring the Bill of Rights, America's reputation in the world, reining in unnecessary wars, balancing the budget, etc". And two unmentioned issues that are very important to me, respecting habeas corpus, and slowing down if not completely stopping the drug war.

If you're antiwar you want this guy to do well in the Republican primary. Even if you know you would vote for any Democrat instead of him. Nothing will change policy faster on Iraq than having prominent candidates from both political parties with an antiwar stance. Your worst scenario is Clinton vs. Giuliani, which is quite possible.

Ron Paul on Iraq in Congress. Both are from 2002.
link1
link2
posted by BigSky at 8:44 AM on June 20, 2007


I've been thinking for a while that the only way to get the country "united" is if some guy either won the presidency as an independant or got elected and then quit his party.

With the current crop of candidates we'll have 4-8 more years of bitter bickering. There is no way Republicans will stand by and do nothing with Hillary as president - and nor should they. She is awful and really stands for nothing other than what gets her elected. That was a criticism of her husband as well, but he actually had some sack in that regard.

Obama is super-liberal but I think he is a guy everyone can respect. I have to consider myself conservative on any issues, especially the economy. I loathe anyone who raises taxes and I know Obama will, but he is a guy I could probably live with.

Giuliani is a pure lightning rod. He seems to be like GW Bush in that he has too much sack (opposite of Hillary). Whatever they want they will ram it down our faces even if most of us do not want that.

McCain has more centrist appeal but really has no chance of winning anymore.

Thompson is probably more agreeable all around because he is less prominent as a politician and has less ill-will from the other side built up.

After the Clinton impeachement and the Florida recounts, there was no way Dems would let Bush serve office in peace. If Hillary is elected the cycle will only continue. I really, really, really hope she is not elected, and I don't think she can be. Too many people already hate her. When the curtain is pulled in the voting booth a lot less people will vote for her than claim they will. Can anyone actually see Hillary carrying a southern state if Gore and Kerry couldn't?
posted by b_thinky at 8:48 AM on June 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


Additionally, the public transit options inside the city proper (I live in midtown) makes driving during congestion hours absolutely ridiculous -- pushing the marginal costs of driving during congestion hours higher so that more people take transit is incredibly sensible. I don't understand the logic of arguing against congestion pricing, at all...
posted by fet at 8:50 AM on June 20, 2007


Fuck 'em all. Gore/Dean 08.
posted by grubi at 8:51 AM on June 20, 2007


I see a repeat of '04, with the DNC foisting their candidate (Hilary) on the rank-n-file, regardless of what they want.

Won't fall for that again.
posted by RavinDave at 8:52 AM on June 20, 2007


He spoke at my friend's graduation at the University of Chicago. Which was weird, because usually only faculty speak, not anyone from outside. He got a hostile reception because he was going against this tradition. But in any case he speech sounded like he was warming up to run for president. And here we are.
posted by mai at 8:53 AM on June 20, 2007


I think at this point I have to support anyone who sheds their political party and runs as an independent. The two political parties have bastardized themselves into the most inefficient corrupt and corporate controlled form of democracy this country has ever seen. Not that Bloomberg wouldn't continue the path this country is taking toward corporatocracy but none of the other people with a chance to win seem to offer that alternative and maybe if we can move toward the elimination of political parties we can make it harder for corporations to control OUR representatives.

I just think it's sad that our only alternative to having a politician who is not a corporate puppet is to elect the guy directly who pulls the strings.
posted by any major dude at 8:57 AM on June 20, 2007


I loathe anyone who raises taxes and I know Obama will, but he is a guy I could probably live with.

I WANT A GOVERNMENT, i JUST DON'T WANT TO PAY FOR IT!!!!

Maybe you should sue candy makers because you can't eat as much as you want without getting fat!!!

That attitude is so obnoxious. Do you want us to just continue to go into debt like a maniac like we have under G.W.B untill 90% of tax revenue goes toward interest on the debt? Or do you want programs cut to pay for your tax cuts. If so, what programs do you want cut?
posted by delmoi at 9:01 AM on June 20, 2007


Crash Davis / quonsar '08
posted by caddis at 9:04 AM on June 20, 2007


This election, more so than any other in my memory, a Republican is the best candidate for the office - Ron Paul.

It's not just being anti-war or right on Iraq - it's being able to look at issues creatively. We live in a time where people vote Republican or Democrat based on what's being argued on The View or Hannity and Colmes. Pretty soon a vote for Bush is a vote for Ann Coulter andd a vote for Kerry is a vote for Michael Moore. That's total bullshit.

There are people who actually voted for a Republican because of Terry Schiavo. And there are people who voted for a Democrat because of the Mark Foley thing; neither of which amounts to a hill of beans except they make good cable news.

And these issues are exactly what Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani are using to pander to us.

Then you have Ron Paul who says our foreign policy has consequences. This is true! We Americans have a silly way of looking at foreign policy. When we decide we're right and the other guys are wrong, we isolate and attack them until they apologize. We try to parent them, because this is basically what happened with Germany and Japan after WWII - they admitted they were wrong.

But that's the exception to the rule. It didn't work in Korea, Vietnam, Cuba, Iraq (twice) or Palestine.

I hate how we're somehow above negotiating with Hamas or Hezbollah or anyone who knows a guy from al Qaeda. One of the main reasons we're still fighting in Iraq is because there are guys in the insurgency still out there who are responsible for killing Americans and Iraqis, and the American and Iraqi governments won't negotiate with them and won't reconcile until these guys are dead or apologize.

99.99% of politicians are continuing a previous argument instead of developing their own theories - and that's what we really need.
posted by b_thinky at 9:12 AM on June 20, 2007


"Or do you want programs cut to pay for your tax cuts. If so, what programs do you want cut?"

DEA, ATF, IRS is a good start. Downsize the FDA and the Bureau of Prisons. Cut back on Social Security. Cut most educational programs - leave it entirely to the states. Cut agricultural subsidies. Instead of FEMA let the states have response plans and teams that are appropriate for their local conditions, hurricanes in Florida, tornadoes in the midwest, etc. PBS. NEA.

It's been reported that the mayor of New Orleans will be asking the federal government for 100 billion for rebuilding. That such a question can even be asked with the faintest hope of it being granted is problematic in my book.

There are many more but that's a quick answer.
posted by BigSky at 9:22 AM on June 20, 2007


"Or do you want programs cut to pay for your tax cuts. If so, what programs do you want cut?"


The Iraq program.
posted by caddis at 9:25 AM on June 20, 2007 [2 favorites]


That attitude is so obnoxious. Do you want us to just continue to go into debt like a maniac like we have under G.W.B untill 90% of tax revenue goes toward interest on the debt? Or do you want programs cut to pay for your tax cuts. If so, what programs do you want cut?
posted by delmoi at 9:01 AM on June 20 [+] [!]


It's obnoxious that I don't want to pay absurdly high taxes? How so? I would definitely cut many, many wasteful programs. Which ones?

Start with drastically restructuring social security. People my age are paying heavily into this program and we'll never see a cent back.

I'd cut whatever it's costing us to chase guys with 3 ounces of weed and lock them away.

I'd cut into education, which is vastly inefficient. We equate cost with quality of education. The more we spend the better! This idea is bullshit and couldn't be further from the truth.

I'd cut bullshit government payouts we give to 9/11 families or Katrina families who didn't think to get home or life insurance. If I get killed by a drunk driver tonight or my house burns down tomorrow, my family won't get bailed out the way 9/11 and Katrina people did - and nor should they.

I'd end congressional earmarking, which costs us billions.

I could go on for hours here. Have you read a paper recently? The obnoxious attitude is the one which tolerates government waste. This only leads to more.

I believe the USA is headed for a major economic crisis in my lifetime. Neither party is doing a better job than the other of avoiding the crisis. In general, I prefer the one that lets me keep my money for now, because this will allow me more options in the future. I'm one of those weird folks who likes to be responsible for their own well being.
posted by b_thinky at 9:26 AM on June 20, 2007


It's annoying, but it's better then the "I'm not rich so I have to whore for dollars with the pharmaceutical, telecom, defense, etc industries in order to get elected"

I just think it's sad that our only alternative to having a politician who is not a corporate puppet is to elect the guy directly who pulls the strings.

There is something very appealing about a man who owes nothing to ayone but his voters, who is so wealthy that he can disdain the process -- the very process itself -- that truly corrupts our electoral culture and thereby our democracy. A man can be so rich he is truly free.

I'm sorry, but this is the most naively moronic logic I've ever heard. Exactly when did the argument come into play that a super-wealthy politician "can't be bought?" Of course he can, if he wants to be wealthier. Enron, Tyco, etc. has proven there's a lot of people out there who don't actually believe there's such a thing as having too much money. In fact, that's the set of values that most boards look for in a CEO to begin with.

Millionaires are millionaires for one of two reasons: they lucked into it via lottery or inheritance, or they devoted their lives to the practice of making more money. Cheney was a millionaire before he ran for VP; are you suggesting he isn't beholden to corporate interests? How about millionaire actor Ronald Reagan? Millionaire actor Arnold Schwarzenegger? Kerry was worth millions and his campaign was lousy with lobbyists; Romney's worth tens of millions and it's the same there. Christ, quasi-saint Al Gore, who I support completely, owns some of the freaking carbon offset companies he advocates and the fact is because of the that his ideas actually would give him financial gain- the same goes for his millions in Google stock.

My point is there is not a single person alive on this planet, regardless of their personal wealth level, who does not have the ability as President to exploit the office for various financial means. Saying that Bloomberg "wouldn't do it" because he's got a lot of money is ludicrous. Of course he would, if, like most millionaires, he wanted more. Saying a candidate is too rich to be bought by the system is like saying a coke dealer is too smart to do his own blow.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:36 AM on June 20, 2007 [2 favorites]


Yet another candidate who has no respect whatsoever for the Constitution. /me spits.

Tell me -- what's so awful about the Constitution that all the front-runners agree on its irrelevance?
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 9:39 AM on June 20, 2007


It's obnoxious that I don't want to pay absurdly high taxes? How so? I would definitely cut many, many wasteful programs. Which ones?

Start with drastically restructuring social security. People my age are paying heavily into this program and we'll never see a cent back.


I agree with this. There should be as near as possible to a one-to-one correlation between Social Security paid and Social Security earned. Which, if I’m not mistaken, was how the idea of SS was originally pitched and gained traction in the first place.

I'd cut whatever it's costing us to chase guys with 3 ounces of weed and lock them away.

I might do one better: Legalize both hemp farming and marijuana use and tax it. Result? A huge new revenue stream for paying off the deficit, plus with the eventual restoration of the American hemp industry, we’d be able to take a big chunk out of the trade deficit.


I'd cut into education, which is vastly inefficient. We equate cost with quality of education. The more we spend the better! This idea is bullshit and couldn't be further from the truth.


I agree, to a point, but privatization is not the solution. Nor is cutting spending without a clear understanding of where the money is being misspent. For example, my guess is budget for classroom supplies and teacher salaries should be expanded while the costs associated with school administrative functions (and the elaborate political infrastructure of school systems) should be reduced where possible. If the principle makes more than the best teacher at the school, that’s a problem, because it’s much harder to find good talent willing to work in teaching than it is to find good talent willing to take on a management function. People with management and administrative skills and experience have been reproducing like Tribbles in recent history—we’ve got way more of them than we need.


I'd cut bullshit government payouts we give to 9/11 families or Katrina families who didn't think to get home or life insurance. If I get killed by a drunk driver tonight or my house burns down tomorrow, my family won't get bailed out the way 9/11 and Katrina people did - and nor should they.


I disagree, for a couple of reasons. First, because in a well-run government there should be a surplus of the resources needed to provide these kinds of catastrophic support services (both for individuals and for entities such as states). And the economic costs of allowing individual citizens to simply fail without any kind of catastrophic support services are too great: Simply put, if everyone who might fail to recover from a personal catastrophe were allowed to fail, the long-term economic harm to the nation would outweigh the apparent short-term cost savings. That's just my hunch--if there's data that refutes this intuition, please feel free to point it out. Also, many large-scale catastrophes (like Katrina) require coordination with neighboring state governments for evacuation and other emergency measures. You can’t trust those kinds of coordinating activities to just work themselves out without oversight, and leaving it up to state-level governmental entities to sort out is just a form of hand-waving to avoid dealing with the larger, national issues.


I'd end congressional earmarking, which costs us billions.


I’m on board with this,.

I could go on for hours here. Have you read a paper recently? The obnoxious attitude is the one which tolerates government waste. This only leads to more.


Unless you’ve actually had first-hand experience dealing with the complexities of managing municipal services and state regulatory and other functions, you shouldn’t be so quick to assume there’s so much wastefulness in the system. Remember, for every state and local governmental entity charged by its constitution or charter to carry out some regulatory function, there’s an order of magnitude as many more on the other side, with lawyers, PR firms, and powerful lobbyists doing everything they can possibly do to thwart or subvert the efficient execution of those responsibilities.

You’ve gotta figure there’d be a hell of a lot of less waste all around if everyone didn’t devote so much time, money and energy in trying to subvert governmental functions to their own purposes.
posted by saulgoodman at 10:01 AM on June 20, 2007


Bloomberg will be a disaster -- he'll be a corporatist, all the way. Forget services, forget the environment -- but don't worry, if you're rich, he'll cut your taxes again. At least he is intelligent, but intelligent evil is a scary thing.

But if he runs, he's the only safe vote. The GOP is full of deeply evil people. The only candidates that have a chance at winning for the Dems are moderately evil. (You people think Obama is a liberal? He's identical to Hilary Clinton, right down to the cheap attacks.)

Moderate Evil trumps Very Evil. But with Bloomberg in the race, Very Evil has a staggering chance at winning. So the only "safe" vote is to make sure that Bloomberg, not whatever GOP fuckhead wins the nod, get the EC votes.

He's not going to split the crazy 30% that will always vote GOP, even if the candidate kills and eats a white baby during the debate. His support will come from the "centrists" and pissed off liberals tired of GOP retreads as the Democratic candidate, and he'll either win, or he'll be the spoiler. I don't see how the Democratic party can win the White House with Bloomberg in the race, and we cannot afford another GOP president.

Thus, I will have to vote for him, as the lesser of three evil. I hate this.
posted by eriko at 10:01 AM on June 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


DEA, ATF, IRS is a good start. Downsize the FDA and the Bureau of Prisons. Cut back on Social Security. Cut most educational programs - leave it entirely to the states. Cut agricultural subsidies. Instead of FEMA let the states have response plans and teams that are appropriate for their local conditions, hurricanes in Florida, tornadoes in the midwest, etc. PBS. NEA.

So you propose we eviscerate nearly every federal safety net and call it good?

I don't think many people want to live in your America.
posted by uri at 10:29 AM on June 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


After the Clinton impeachement and the Florida recounts, there was no way Dems would let Bush serve office in peace.

Good point. Bush's problems are all due to the Democrats harrassing him unreasonably as payback for impeachment. It's not like he did anything wrong, like pissing on the Bill of Rights or exploiting terrorist attacks in order to further an agenda that would lose the world's good will.

Thanks for the insight on how complete fucking retards think.
posted by goethean at 10:33 AM on June 20, 2007 [2 favorites]


Millionaires are millionaires for one of two reasons: they lucked into it via lottery or inheritance, or they devoted their lives to the practice of making more money. Cheney was a millionaire before he ran for VP; are you suggesting he isn't beholden to corporate interests? How about millionaire actor Ronald Reagan? Millionaire actor Arnold Schwarzenegger? Kerry was worth millions and his campaign was lousy with lobbyists; Romney's worth tens of millions and it's the same there. Christ, quasi-saint Al Gore, who I support completely, owns some of the freaking carbon offset companies he advocates and the fact is because of the that his ideas actually would give him financial gain- the same goes for his millions in Google stock.

OTOH, I don't think any of the people you mention, although very rich, are able to afford bankrolling a Presidential campaign out of their own pockets like Bloomberg can.
posted by gyc at 10:35 AM on June 20, 2007


Thus, I will have to vote for him, as the lesser of three evil. I hate this.
Why vote for a lesser evil? Cthulhu in 08!
posted by mullingitover at 10:43 AM on June 20, 2007


Bloomberg would make a good President. He is immanently able. There is much he can point to in NYC that is good.

But here's what I need to vote for him:

1.) He needs to come clean and admit it was a mistake to support the Bush & Cheney ticket and that the Iraq war is a catastrophe. We are where we are because of an unqualified Republican President and a corrupt Republican controlled Congress.
2.) Furthermore he needs to own up to the Guantanamo style tactics used by the NYPD to squelch public protest against the RNC convention here in 2004. NYC is not just for Billionaires. Everyone is allowed due process, freedom of assembly and freedom of speech, not matter who's in town.
3.) Repudiate Joe Leiberman as woefully misguided.
4.) Make ethics in government a cornerstone of his Presidency (Mike, you need to clean up your own house on this first. See # 5).
5.) Come out against Eminent Domain sweetheart deals that squelch community due process, and line the pockets of Billionaires, like himself, with public money.
6.) Stop letting Real Estate interests control every agency in the City government. To start with clean up, Urban Housing and Development, the Department of Buildings, Dept. of Planning and please get rid of Dep. Mayor Dan Doctoroff. He is a highly duplicitous and undemocratic person with only the interests of the wealthy on his mind.


That is all.
posted by Skygazer at 10:51 AM on June 20, 2007


Guantanamo on the Hudson
posted by Skygazer at 10:55 AM on June 20, 2007


DEA, ATF, IRS is a good start.

The first two, fine (especially the first), but if you think cutting back on the IRS would save money you're really stupid. The IRS is the only branch of the government that actually makes money. If you cut it back, you lose more money then you cut.

Actually one of the things the bush administration did was fire some of the lawyers who go after rich people who try to skimp on their taxes. They make the government like $100k for every hour they work (or something like that) but they got fired to "save money". Completely idiotic.

It's obnoxious that I don't want to pay absurdly high taxes?

It is if you want to live in a modern, western country. I hear they don't have any federal taxes in Nigeria (everything is paid for with oil money), perhaps you could move there.

I'd cut into education, which is vastly inefficient. We equate cost with quality of education. The more we spend the better! This idea is bullshit and couldn't be further from the truth.

You know what else is fart from the truth? The idea that federal taxes pay for education. The vast majority of the money spent comes from state taxes, which are out of the presidents hands. The DOE budget is $57 billion (discretionary) which accounts for 2% of the federal budget.

I'd end congressional earmarking, which costs us billions.

That will never happen in America. The president can't do anything about it (other then shutting down the government, like in '96) and congress has no motivation to do it, because they are only beholden to voters in their districts who actually want that crap. Generally it's pork in other districts that irritates them, and they have no control of that whatsoever.

I could go on for hours here. Have you read a paper recently?

The idea that we can wave a magic wand and erase "waste" is pure fantasy. Nothing can be perfectly efficient, and it costs money up front to make them more efficient.

I'd cut bullshit government payouts we give to 9/11 families or Katrina families who didn't think to get home or life insurance. If I get killed by a drunk driver tonight or my house burns down tomorrow, my family won't get bailed out the way 9/11 and Katrina people did - and nor should they.

The 9/11 money came from private donations to the red cross. As for the rest of that, fuck that. I'd rather pay taxes.
posted by delmoi at 10:56 AM on June 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


Bloomberg-Powell in '08!

Get the two of them in and then dismantle the Rethuglican-Democapitulation parties, just to pluralize the number of parties in this country. Legislation might become more complicated, but the Corporations – the Oil, Military and Utility lobbies – would no longer be able to call the shots in our duopoly.
posted by vhsiv at 11:26 AM on June 20, 2007


Legislation might become more complicated, but the Corporations – the Oil, Military and Utility lobbies – would no longer be able to call the shots in our duopoly.

Oh come on, Bloomburg and Powel are hardly crusaders against the corporacy here. Both supported the president in the run up to the war, both were in government as republicans during the bush administration, they are hardly paragons of 'anti-capitulation' here...
posted by delmoi at 11:32 AM on June 20, 2007


...or Katrina families who didn't think to get home or life insurance.

The median household income in New Orleans (pre-Katrina) was about $27K/year; 27% of residents lived below the poverty level. Yet the home ownership rate was 46%, much higher than that of my city (SF, CA, where 11% live below the poverty level and the median income was $55K - and home ownership tops out at 35%). If your choice is eating/paying the mortgage or buying insurance, guess what wins? Especially when you live in an area where the Army Corps of Engineers has told everyone for decades that the levees were safe even in the event of Really Big Storms Like Katrina.
posted by rtha at 11:36 AM on June 20, 2007


spitbull sez: I am willing to accept another experiment in paying for the president another way: by charging the man who wants to be president half a billion bucks for the privilege. That's accountability, right there.

---

Ya know, I was thinking the other day how we can really sorta make the job truly a Patriot's duty. Once the preznit finishes his/her term(s), off to the death chamber. Yep, you sacrifice your life for the country. Now THERE's a payment I'd like to see.

How many people love their country so much that they truly would sacrifice their life? Talk about a messiah complex.

Yeah, so I'm being a bit facetious... But the thought, shall I say, intrigues me.
posted by symbioid at 11:42 AM on June 20, 2007


"So you propose we eviscerate nearly every federal safety net and call it good?"

Pissing away resources does not make us safe. On the contrary it destroys us. Entitlement thinking makes us weak. Believing that we are owed something saps the entrepreneurial spirit. Where do we get the belief that the government is supposed to take care of us? Military, borders and currency are all essential functions. But the notion that we have the right to turn to the federal government for whatever we need is from demagogues pandering to our worst side.

But far more important than any psychological considerations is giving local knowledge the power to make decisions. Yes, this means that the managerial or nanny state has to fade. There will be less of a federal bureaucracy to turn to. But local knowledge makes more efficient decisions. This is the core of capitalism. When you try to administer everything from a centralized position you miss all the details that those on ground level deal with. Large bureaucracies tend to make people less responsible and increase the opportunity for grift and waste. Perhaps the not so efficient use of funds in Iraq might provide an example. And the blame for all the waste is not entirely on the Iraqis.

If we don't waste our resources then there is more to go around. Social safety nets don't disappear, other distributors of money and goods will take their place, some private some public. We are throwing away money and if it continues this country will get in worse shape. The budget is a huge issue but it isn't very sexy. Stopping the war is good but I don't think it's enough. And beyond that I simply abhor waste.

You're probably right about the popularity and that's a shame. I think many people don't have much regard for personal liberty and free markets, and these are intertwined.

----------

delmoi,

There are other ways to collect tax besides income.

Cutting the entire federal education budget is probably a good choice. It may only be 2% but pennies make dollars. Privatization is the answer when it comes to education but that is a separate conversation.

And b_thinky is right about catastrophic payouts. These are emotional responses that necessarily privilege one person's loss of life or property over another. That is exactly what government should not be doing. Let people give privately if they are so inclined. That's the appropriate sphere for action that is partial to one afflicted group.

----------

rtha,

The question is not "Guess who wins?", it's "Guess who's responsible?". Losing a home or a family member is tragic and it shouldn't equal getting a ticket to cash in on taxpayer money.
posted by BigSky at 11:47 AM on June 20, 2007


Hot off the press

Dampens, mind you, not extinguishes.
posted by IndigoJones at 12:16 PM on June 20, 2007


Libertarians proffer such an ugly future, it's a wonder anyone ever listens to them.
posted by bshort at 12:18 PM on June 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


Bigsky, in the case of Katrina, I'm going to argue that the government bears more - much more - responsibility than any single homeowner who didn't have insurance (or who is still battling with their insurance company over whether it was wind or water that washed away their house). Most of the folks in N.O. have gotten pretty much jack, and what jack they've gotten has probably cost me, the single taxpayer, something on the order of two cents.

I don't resent paying taxes, generally. I don't understand the idea that, absent a federal income tax, states will automagically have enough money to do a bunch of stuff that federal taxes (help) pay for now. It's a just-me-and-mine attitude that's destructive to the idea that we're one nation, and that collectively sharing the burden of a national tragedy like Katrina is a good thing. To tell an entire city of people who have lost everything, "Wow, sucks to be you! Shoulda bought insurance!" is a terribly depressing and hostile mindset.
posted by rtha at 12:22 PM on June 20, 2007


Ugh. Fuck Bloomberg. All the stupid people are on his jock while he pretends to do stuff, all the while not doing anything useful. Wasting time on the Olympics and the West Side stadium no one wants? Congestion pricing, which will affect the outer-borough New Yorkers (you know, the actual middle class) disproportionately, over say, green rooftops initiatives that would actually make the city nicer for everyone? Missing the most basic urban-planning knowledge and supporting Bruce Ratner's attempts to trash Brooklyn, even though he has the money not to be beholden to developers? He's a wanker boy mayor who plays to all the wanker boys and does shit for everyone else.
posted by dame at 12:34 PM on June 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


But at least he doesn't have a private office.
posted by dame at 12:34 PM on June 20, 2007


Also, fet, 311 fixes your shit when you live in Midtown. Meanwhile, in Bushwick, getting a street plowed in a reasonable timeframe would be a miracle. He's a rich mayor for rich assholes and people who would like to be. And people who don't bother to look behind things.
posted by dame at 12:37 PM on June 20, 2007


The median household income in New Orleans (pre-Katrina) was about $27K/year; 27% of residents lived below the poverty level. Yet the home ownership rate was 46%, much higher than that of my city (SF, CA, where 11% live below the poverty level and the median income was $55K - and home ownership tops out at 35%). If your choice is eating/paying the mortgage or buying insurance, guess what wins? Especially when you live in an area where the Army Corps of Engineers has told everyone for decades that the levees were safe even in the event of Really Big Storms Like Katrina.
posted by rtha at 11:36 AM on June 20 [+] [!]


If you can't afford to insure your house you shouldn't own one. Seriously, there are no two ways about it. People who own a house and can't afford to insure it should sell their house and rent from someone who can afford to own a home responsibly.

Every homeowner should all take a lesson from Katrina and insure your homes. Actually, scratch that, every homeowner should take a lesson from Katrina and NOT insure your homes because the government will bail you out for you stupid, idiotic mistakes. Plus, they'll give you a debit card you can use to pay for tattoos, condoms and booze while you get back on your feet!

More than Iraq, more than stupid partisanship, more than anythhing else, the sense of entitlement in this country is what will ruin us.
posted by b_thinky at 12:40 PM on June 20, 2007


Pissing away resources does not make us safe. On the contrary it destroys us. Entitlement thinking makes us weak.

You only drink rainwater or distilled water, don't you?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:47 PM on June 20, 2007


To tell an entire city of people who have lost everything, "Wow, sucks to be you! Shoulda bought insurance!" is a terribly depressing and hostile mindset.

Bullshit! They should have bought insurance! Period.

Pointing out this obvious fact is neither cold nor heartless - it's the truth. The government's place is not to dole out charity money. That's why we have actual charities, some of which I personally donated to after catastrophes like Katrina or the tsunami.

We all feel sorry for people who endure hardship and want to help, but our help should be through voluntary donations and not compelled taxation. Bailing out people or corporations with federal dollars in these situations is a complete misuse of our tax dollars.

A federal government is necessary, as are some taxes, but if we limit government to the tasks it's supposed to do, like building roads and defending our borders, we'd be a lot better off.
posted by b_thinky at 12:48 PM on June 20, 2007


rtha,

Responsibility implies a willful agent. The federal government did nothing coercive to put these people in New Orleans. No one put a gun to their head and made them sign a mortgage. To put the responsibility on the federal government is utterly self serving.

Government should act within its prescribed limits. If it doesn't where does it end? Human need, especially health care is infinite in cost. It's unfair to those who don't get money when some tragedy comes and lays waste to their lives. What makes the Katrina victims so special to get preferential treatment? Is it because some video footage got broadcast that pulls at the heartstrings? Is that what makes a tragedy "national", one where we have to "collectively bear the burden"? Bad things happen to people everyday. If you want to help some victims of misfortune, then do so. I approve. But when you state that it's OK to put your hand in someone else's pocket because so and so should have money, that's not right. We are all capable of making our own judgments about where our money should go and to which charities we can contribute most effectively.

If there is no federal income tax it's not like we get a massive tax break. Advocates for it are simply looking to downsize or get rid of the IRS and all the nonproductive work associated with the tax code. Taxes could be collected through a national sales tax or a national property tax or the federal government could be downsized and power returned to the state governments as intended in the Constitution. In that case, state governments would add taxes to take care of infrastructure the federal government would no longer be funding. Removing federal income tax wouldn't leave the government without money but it would improve efficiency and put more money in the hands of local government.
posted by BigSky at 12:51 PM on June 20, 2007


Ok, BigSky, I'll bite.

Why do you think it would take any less bureaucracy and "nonproductive work" to move to a national sales tax? Do you know how much time and money is spent on preparing sales tax returns? Do you think enforcement would be somehow easier? Do you think it would be any more fair?

And yeah, we help other people when they need help.

See, we all got together a couple hundred years ago and decided to have a nation where we'd look out for each other and work together to build a better society. It sucks that you're too cheap to help out, but the rest of us like it just fine.

Maybe you should move to some lawless area of Africa and set up your own libertarian paradise.
posted by bshort at 1:11 PM on June 20, 2007


delmoi: "You know what else is fart from the truth?"

I enjoyed that. That was a lot of fun for me.
posted by Simon! at 1:18 PM on June 20, 2007


Maybe you should move to some lawless area of Africa and set up your own libertarian paradise.
posted by bshort at 1:11 PM on June 20 [+] [!]


I like how you have no sense of overtaxation. Anyone who complains about taxes is cheap or selfish. There is nothing in between where we are now (disgusting wastefulness) and living in tax-free and impoverished Central Africa.

I'd be willing to bet I've donated more than you - even as a percentage of income or net worth. The difference is I prefer to give privately or through charities instead of through compelled taxation to the government. While the government inevitably pisses away and mismanages the money in most cases, I can select a charity I feel will competently distrubute the donation.

I'll go out on a limb here and guess you think the federal government has grossly mismanaged money in Iraq. Why would you expect the same system that fails in Iraq to succeed anywhere else? It's bullshit.

See, we all got together a couple hundred years ago and decided to have a nation where we'd look out for each other and work together to build a better society. It sucks that you're too cheap to help out, but the rest of us like it just fine.

If you can provide any sort of documentation from the Founding Fathers which would support programs like social security, welfare, paying off people who were too cheap/stupid to buy insurance, I'll never complain about taxes again.
posted by b_thinky at 1:31 PM on June 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


bshort,

Thank you for your open minded expression of interest.

"Why do you think it would take any less bureaucracy and "nonproductive work" to move to a national sales tax? Do you know how much time and money is spent on preparing sales tax returns? Do you think enforcement would be somehow easier? Do you think it would be any more fair?"

Answer

"See, we all got together a couple hundred years ago and decided to have a nation where we'd look out for each other and work together to build a better society."

Could you supply some citations from the Founding Fathers that their views of federal taxation had anything to do with social safety nets, or subsidies, or bailouts, or national education? While you're at it, I would also appreciate citations showing that the Founders thought the federal government should have the power to legislate on any of these issues. Hmmm. Now that I'm thinking about it, I suppose if they did want the federal government to be able to legislate on these matters it would be in the Constitution. That should make the citations easy to find.

Thanks.
posted by BigSky at 1:33 PM on June 20, 2007


Entitlement thinking makes us weak. Believing that we are owed something saps the entrepreneurial spirit.

Talking points make us strong.
posted by homunculus at 1:37 PM on June 20, 2007 [3 favorites]


I like how you have no sense of overtaxation. Anyone who complains about taxes is cheap or selfish. There is nothing in between where we are now (disgusting wastefulness) and living in tax-free and impoverished Central Africa.

I live in NYC, and no, I don't feel overtaxed. Taxes are to pay for having a decent society, and I'd happily pay more.

I'd be willing to bet I've donated more than you - even as a percentage of income or net worth. The difference is I prefer to give privately or through charities instead of through compelled taxation to the government. While the government inevitably pisses away and mismanages the money in most cases, I can select a charity I feel will competently distrubute the donation.

I guess it's a good thing we're talking about taxes and not charity, then, huh?

I'll go out on a limb here and guess you think the federal government has grossly mismanaged money in Iraq. Why would you expect the same system that fails in Iraq to succeed anywhere else? It's bullshit.

Non sequitur, much?

If you can provide any sort of documentation from the Founding Fathers which would support programs like social security, welfare, paying off people who were too cheap/stupid to buy insurance, I'll never complain about taxes again.

The Constitution wasn't meant to be the final legal document of the land. Societies grow and change, and laws are passed. The US wasn't meant to be a perfect little snowflake that would be protected from ever changing.


BigSky: You know, if you can't form a coherent argument on your own, maybe you shouldn't participate in discussions with the grownups.
posted by bshort at 1:43 PM on June 20, 2007


Privatization is the answer when it comes to education but that is a separate conversation.

Bullshit! They should have bought insurance! Period.

Pointing out this obvious fact is neither cold nor heartless - it's the truth.


Well, that's the point. Your values are out of line with most Americans, and while you hide behind "cutting waste", which sounds good, what you actually have in mind means fucking people over. The rich get richer and the poor get fucked. No thanks.

I like how you have no sense of overtaxation.

Overtaxation? Taxes are a lot lower here then most places in the world, and those places seem to do OK. Just because you can't afford a new Gas Guzzling SUV every two years is not my concern. Why should I care if other people don't like their tax rates? I mean I'm happy with my rates, and if, as you seem to think, I shouldn't care about anyone but number one, why should I care if other people aren't happy? Frankly I don't give a damn if you think your taxes are too high? Why on earth would I?

Anyone who complains about taxes is cheap or selfish.

Pretty much.

I'd be willing to bet I've donated more than you - even as a percentage of income or net worth.

Probably. But so what? It's much more cost effective on my part to vote for politicians who will raise taxes on the rich

Why would you expect the same system that fails in Iraq to succeed anywhere else? It's bullshit.

Because the Iraqi system was managed by neocon twentysomethingers. Bush was in charge, and he was an idiot. Hopefully things would run better if they were run by professionals and not conservative ideologues with no real-world experience.

To say "it didn't work this time, with these people, so it won't work ever with any people" is the height of lazy thinking.

Could you supply some citations from the Founding Fathers that their views of federal taxation had anything to do with social safety nets, or subsidies, or bailouts, or national education?

Can you prove they were against it? And for that matter, can you prove they were for or against nuclear weapons, or a space program? The founding fathers did not euclidiate the entire scope of government, nor did they try.
posted by delmoi at 1:58 PM on June 20, 2007


Ugh. Libertarian threadjack.
posted by LooseFilter at 2:01 PM on June 20, 2007


the problem isn't city taxes, but the proportion of that money that actually comes back to help us and our infrastructure, as opposed to being spent upstate or in DC. We pay far more than we get back, and that's the problem.
posted by amberglow at 2:02 PM on June 20, 2007


bshort,

Your condescension is absolutely adorable!

You don't deserve the effort it took to make the link. It's there for some lurker who might be interested in alternative to our current system. I'm pretty skeptical you have the capabilities to evaluate the proposal. If you don't see how the Constitution in denying the federal government the right to legislate on (all the aforementioned) obliterates your silly claim that "we all got together a couple of hundred years ago blah blah blah". Then there is no cause to expect anything more out of you than these asinine zingers.
posted by BigSky at 2:02 PM on June 20, 2007




Your condescension is absolutely adorable!

And your callousness and stupidity are depressing. Feel free to post a coherent argument and not just a link to a libertarian propaganda site.
posted by bshort at 2:20 PM on June 20, 2007


"Your values are out of line with most Americans, and while you hide behind "cutting waste", which sounds good, what you actually have in mind means fucking people over. The rich get richer and the poor get fucked. No thanks."

I know it's a popular rhetorical tactic, and especially so on the Internet, to announce that when Joe Smith says X he really means Y, but it's lame and intellectually lazy. You refuse to meet the argument on its merits. Your rebuttal is based on nothing more than your claim to special knowledge of what we are really about. If our arguments are so poor and transparently evil then meet them on the grounds they take.

"Why should I care if other people don't like their tax rates? I mean I'm happy with my rates, and if, as you seem to think, I shouldn't care about anyone but number one, why should I care if other people aren't happy? Frankly I don't give a damn if you think your taxes are too high? Why on earth would I?"

It's largely about what's good for the system and respect for resources. What promotes production, and creativity, and efficiency? I'm of the opinion it's individual responsibility and incentives for individuals to pursue their own interests do. See, I don't think that when one person wins someone else has to lose. Capitalism is not a zero-sum game. Looked at narrowly, in terms of trying to best a competitor it might be, but even then, becoming more efficient frequently enlarges the market. And then, both the competitors win in addition to the consumer.

"Can you prove they were against it? And for that matter, can you prove they were for or against nuclear weapons, or a space program? The founding fathers did not euclidiate the entire scope of government, nor did they try."

They didn't articulate every possibility in government. True. But they were keenly interested in limiting the powers of federal government. Are you familiar with, "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved for the States respectively, or to the people."? Seems like it might be pertinent. After all if they didn't even grant the power to legislate on the matter they probably weren't too enthusiastic about it becoming law. But that's just a guess.

P.S. bshort, if you read the site you'll see that Fair Tax is a nonpartisan effort to reform the tax code. There is nothing libertarian about it. Libertarians know that the real benefit comes in cutting spending. Fair Tax keeps government spending right where it is. All your favorite statist programs will get full funding! This will just destroy some bureaucracy, lower business overhead, and tax criminals at the same rate as citizens.
posted by BigSky at 2:30 PM on June 20, 2007


Reading the NY Times today, Bloomberg is clear about his support for keeping troops in Iraq indefinitely.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:36 PM on June 20, 2007


The federal government did nothing coercive to put these people in New Orleans. No one put a gun to their head and made them sign a mortgage.

No. They merely built the levees and drained the land, and assured people that the levees would never ever be breached. The same thing is happening in the Sacramento-San Joaquin delta – housing tracts are going up at a horrifying rate in areas that are below sea level, and people are buying because the prices are (relatively) affordable. This despite the fact that there are frequent news items noting that the levees are unstable and unsafe, and in the event of an eathquake they will liquefy and collapse. From a report in the Insurance Journal: “Media reports indicate local and regional governments in California may actually want to attract more building into flood plain areas to promote economic growth, thereby exacerbating the problem.”

In many places like this the only flood (or earthquake) insurance you can get is provided by the state, since private insurers won't offer it. Many homeowners in pre-Katrina N.O. didn't have mortgages (and were therefore, I suppose, not required to buy insurance) because they inherited their houses from their parents, who interites them from their parents, etc. New Orleans has (had) one of the lowest transience rates of any large city in the U.S.

But I don't even know why I'm bothering to pull out facts and figures, since nothing seems to make a dent in the "Sucks to be you!" attitude that seems to be so heartbreakingly prevalent in (some?) Libertarians.

What makes the Katrina victims so special to get preferential treatment?

Because they're human beings who suffered the loss of life, home, culture? Because you can monday-morning quarterback all you want and say they shoulda done this and they shoulda lived here instead of there and they shoulda bought insurance, but right then - hell, right now - they need help from as many sources as possible? Christ, how hard is your heart?

I think I'm going to back and reread that Accordion Guy post and thread, since I'm starting to hate a lot of people right now.
posted by rtha at 2:38 PM on June 20, 2007


Reading the NY Times today, Bloomberg is clear about his support for keeping troops in Iraq indefinitely.

BP, did the article detail his rationale for that stance?
posted by LooseFilter at 2:43 PM on June 20, 2007


As a Queens resident, my experience with Bloomberg has been that the only part of New York City he cares about is Manhattan. I lived through the week-long Queens blackout last summer, which was horrendous.

Even though it's abundantly clear that the blackout occurred because ConEdison let our electrical system fall into disrepair, even after it became abundantly clear that ConEd lied about how severe and widespread the blackout was, Bloomberg still comes out in support of ConEd and their CEO and insists they did a great job.

Sorry, Bloomberg. That's about as admirable as Bush supporting Brownie. I can only imagine that he would've taken the blackout much more personally if it had happened on the upper east side, and it makes me wonder how he'd handle anything that happens outside of the country's major cities if he were to become president.

Now, that's not to say he would make a worse president than any of our current options. I'm not thrilled with any of them.
posted by wondermouse at 3:16 PM on June 20, 2007


Unsafe as the levees in California are, the land that's been created has value. It's a commodity. People buy and sell.

"You place your bets, you take your chances."

Is it fucked up that the state is promoting this real estate, knowing that the most likely buyers are those for whom it's loss will be catastrophic? Yeah, I find it distasteful. Does that compel them to insure it fully. Don't know, I'm not a lawyer, but I don't think it should.

When you say that Libertarians have a "Sucks to be you!" attitude you are conflating two different things. We aren't any more heartless or any less empathetic than anyone else. How we feel about someone's misfortune and how we respond, or not, to that misfortune is a different issue than what role we feel the government should play on that occasion. A sympathetic response does not equal socialism.

"What makes the Katrina victims so special to get preferential treatment?

Because they're human beings who suffered the loss of life, home, culture?"

Do you understand what I mean by preferential treatment? I'm not talking about them getting something that your average taxpayer doesn't, although of course they do. It's something else. There is no end to human misery. Somehow you have to delineate what you will and will not respond to. For individuals that line can change on mood, new found capabilities, whatever. For government it can't, or you make it easy to game the system and for everyone to believe that they are entitled to a government that caters to them. Lots of people had a bad day today. Some got diagnosed with Parkinson's, some with ALS, young mothers with no job skills became widows, some people discovered mold in their house and their only asset was declared a total loss, etc. Where's their paycheck? That's what I mean by preferential treatment.

It's not that nobody gets any money ever. But the federal government shouldn't be the ones to throw around money when some story gets a lot of attention. It is deeply unfair and prejudicial to those who bear misfortune and get nothing.

On top of that, and I'm sure you and some others are sick of my saying this, it is more efficient for private charities who are founded and focused on this issue, or even local government to take charge. Because they are local they are more alive to whatever nuances the situation may present and I suspect they are more responsive as well.

In an earlier post you talk about your concern over not wanting to pay Katrina victims as being destructive to the shared sense of one nation. In the U.S. we have fairly low taxes compared to Europe but we are far more charitable in response to tragedy. Something to think about, or not.
posted by BigSky at 3:30 PM on June 20, 2007


BP, did the article detail his rationale for that stance?

Not that I can tell.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:40 PM on June 20, 2007


To be clearer:

IRAQ
March 28, 2006; At a press conference
"We ask our young men and women to go over and to fight, and if you have a deadline knowing they're pulling out, how can you expect them to defend this country? How can you expect them to go out and put their lives at risk?"

"Should the Congress pass a law forcing the president to withdraw troops at a given point in time? I think that is not something that is in the country's interest or in the military's interest."

posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:41 PM on June 20, 2007


I know it's a popular rhetorical tactic, and especially so on the Internet, to announce that when Joe Smith says X he really means Y, but it's lame and intellectually lazy. You refuse to meet the argument on its merits. Your rebuttal is based on nothing more than your claim to special knowledge of what we are really about.

BigSky. I asked bthinky what he wanted to cut out of the budget, And he said he wanted to cut things like FEMA and government flood insurance, and get rid of government payouts for people who couldn't afford (or didn't feel like getting) private insurance. I didn't claim any special knowledge, rather my comment was based on what he actually said
if you have a deadline knowing they're pulling out, how can you expect them to defend this country? How can you expect them to go out and put their lives at risk?"
What a stupid statement. They're going over there to protect the rest of the troups while we retreat. That's a perfectly reasonable thing to ask for. On the other hand, asking them to lay down and die to protect a bunch of squabbling sects is not.
posted by delmoi at 4:17 PM on June 20, 2007


Blazecock Pileon: Is he supporting maintaining current levels, or does he support a draw down to "about 50,000 troops". If it's the latter, hes right in line with all three of the major democratic candidates.
posted by delmoi at 4:18 PM on June 20, 2007


Probably. But so what? It's much more cost effective on my part to vote for politicians who will raise taxes on the rich

What you mean to say is "It's much more cost effective on my part to mooch of productive members of society than to take responsibility for my own actions. I define 'rich' as anyone who earns more than me. These people should be compelled to subsidize my living, even if I meet with a tragedy of my own making. I am a lazy freeloader. I am entitled to the fruits of other people's labor."

In many places like this the only flood (or earthquake) insurance you can get is provided by the state, since private insurers won't offer it. Many homeowners in pre-Katrina N.O. didn't have mortgages (and were therefore, I suppose, not required to buy insurance) because they inherited their houses from their parents, who interites them from their parents, etc. New Orleans has (had) one of the lowest transience rates of any large city in the U.S.

But I don't even know why I'm bothering to pull out facts and figures, since nothing seems to make a dent in the "Sucks to be you!" attitude that seems to be so heartbreakingly prevalent in (some?) Libertarians.


Please explain to me how in the hell not owing money on one's house would preclude a person from buying insurance???? That argument makes no sense whatsoever.

I'm glad individual people such as myself donated to the victims of Hurricaine Katrina, but to not protect one's most valued asset is beyond retarded. These folks weren't fucked by a hurricaine or the government not building levies - they were fucked by their own idiocy.

If my house burns down tonight or I get mowed down by a drunk driver is my family entitled to the kind of benefits given to the 9/11 and Katrina families? Should we now give a government check to anyone who suffers any sort of inconvenience, whether of their own making or not?
posted by b_thinky at 6:21 PM on June 20, 2007


Lots of people had a bad day today.

That you compare someone who gets cancer and can't make his house payments to an entire city and city's worth of people, infrastructure, industries, and institutions boggles my mind.

What is the true cost of leaving the rebuilding of New Orleans to the piecemeal, drop-in-the-bucket approach of charities? What has been lost, wasted, in economic terms?

As of January 2006, there were 63% fewer people living in New Orleans than there had been before the hurricane. Many of those "missing" people have ended up in other cities; I'll warrant that many of them are receiving social services - food stamps, Medicare/caid, Section 8 vouchers, etc.. I can't help but wonder how much more it will cost us, the taxpayers, to have to pay for these services than it would have if the fucking government had had its shit together in the first place. In situations like this, you can pay now, or you can pay later, but you will always pay. Cut a vein now (and then tie it off), or bleed to death by thousands of pinpricks over many years.

The tourist industry is down. The fishing industry is down. Even if people have jobs to come back to, they have no housing, or what there is is unaffordable. There is almost nowhere to get health care (see here for more, see this Health Affairs article. Got kids? Hope they don't need to go to school.

New Orleans is one of the greatest cities in the world. What is the cost - economically, culturally, socially, and historically - of leaving it to wither this way? How can it not be in the government's interest to help it, and its people, recover?

An anecdote from someone I know who was in New Orleans a few months ago: She met a guy who was rebuilding his house. He said the worst part wasn't the actual building, but the amount of time he spent on the phone with his insurance company. They said his house was damaged by water, not wind, so they didn't have to give him anything. He's paid his premiums faithfully for years, and what does he get for it? Legal bills.
posted by rtha at 6:50 PM on June 20, 2007


Please explain to me how in the hell not owing money on one's house would preclude a person from buying insurance???? That argument makes no sense whatsoever.

If you own a house free and clear, but are otherwise poor - no liquid assets - then you can choose between eating and getting to your job, or paying insurance premiums to a company that may decide to not pay out because your house was damaged by water in the hurricane that might not come. Maybe the hurricane never comes, and you've sent years' worth of payments to a company, rather than using it to fix your car so you can get to work, or buy better food, or see a doctor more often. The poorer you are, the fewer choices you have, and you have very little flexibility. Why is this so hard to imagine?
posted by rtha at 6:56 PM on June 20, 2007


Wow.

I thought we were just having a misunderstanding about libertarians blowing off human misery, which they do not. But you really think there's something special about New Orleans and that they have a right to go in someone else's pocket. The only thing significant there in my book, is the human misery and there's plenty of it everywhere else. I'm ignoring preserving a cultural site or two because we can do that on the cheap.

I could give a damn what happens to New Orleans the city. If it is economically viable for people to relocate there and rebuild, they will do so. If it isn't they will go to other places that offer a better return on their time and effort. How is this unjust? If there is an honest to God economic need for whatever in New Orleans then that will get rebuilt because there will be opportunity. You're acting like New Orleans pre-Katrina is the 'real' city and we need to get it back. Come on. There ain't no need about it.

"The tourist industry is down."

No shit.

"New Orleans is one of the greatest cities in the world. What is the cost - economically, culturally, socially, and historically - of leaving it to wither this way? How can it not be in the government's interest to help it, and its people, recover?"

One of the "greatest cities"? Says who? The cost of letting it whither is apparently not all that much. A lot of the skilled labor has left and the city is overrun with crime. It's a tough place to make money. How can it possibly be in the government's (that is the people's) interest to sink a bunch of money into a city that is at risk of further flooding, where many of the buildings are damaged and which has an uneducated work force? Where's the return?

Giving money to people who have been hit by catastrophe I can understand and I prefer it happen through charity. Investing tons of money (as in 100 billion) to rebuild because a city used to, kinda still does, stand there is exactly the kind of waste that makes me nauseous.

That's real money and it can buy real things. And here we're frittering it away on some fantasy that we can recreate the past. I would lay 2 to 1 than in 10 years we'll have 90% ghetto and 10% tourist trap. It will definitely bear some resemblance to the New Orleans of yore. I guess the main difference will be the absence of the middle class and most of the industry. Oh yeah, and the need for additional federal funding.
posted by BigSky at 7:57 PM on June 20, 2007


Why is this so hard to imagine?

Because people like BigSky and b_thinky assume that living in poverty means you're somehow not a moral individual worthy of assistance in times of need.
posted by bshort at 7:58 PM on June 20, 2007


"Because people like BigSky and b_thinky assume that living in poverty means you're somehow not a moral individual worthy of assistance in times of need."

bshort, you continue to impress. I have made two posts and remarks in others making it clear that my opinion is exactly the opposite.

I'm thinking either you need remedial classes in reading comprehension or you are currently working a political campaign in a management position.
posted by BigSky at 8:15 PM on June 20, 2007


You should read what you write. You display a lack of empathy that's seldom seen these days.
posted by bshort at 8:45 PM on June 20, 2007


Why is this so hard to imagine?

Why is it so hard for YOU to imagine financial competency? If you can't afford to insure your house, YOU CAN'T AFFORD A FUCKING HOUSE!!!! If you find yourself in this situation, you should sell your house! You'll get lots of money to invest, buy food, put away for a rainy day, etc.

Why is this concept so difficult to you? Seriously, a retarded person should be able to understand this.
posted by b_thinky at 9:37 PM on June 20, 2007



It's obnoxious that I don't want to pay absurdly high taxes? How so? I would definitely cut many, many wasteful programs.


I grew up in Houston, where the mantra might as well be, "Taxes are Satan!" What a breath of fresh air it was, then, to learn that, of all first-world countries, the U.S. pays just about the least amount of income in taxes. Granted, we're also the stingiest with our money, but it just gives me that much more ammunition to shoot back with

STFU! TAXES ARE THE PRICE YOU PAY FOR LIVING IN A SOCIETY!!


If you don't want to pay for roads, and police forces, and other public infrastructure, if you'd rather pay $8 for a potato than allow any of your income to go to farm subsides, then move. Seriously. It's worth losing that little bit of federal income just to lose your bullshit whining.

And BigSky, while I appreciate your principles, and agree with you on several points, what the fuck good do you imagine cutting the education budget will possibly do? What's your plan? How is that idea not disastrous. If you've got an idea, then everyone - everyone - is dying to hear it.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:39 PM on June 20, 2007


You should read what you write. You display a lack of empathy that's seldom seen these days.
posted by bshort at 8:45 PM on June 20 [+] [!]


I don't know if this comment was directed towards me or someone else, but as I've said before I'll put up my charitable donations and good deeds up against anyone else here.

I think it was delmoi who explained the typical liberal spender position the best: We (liberals) don't have to give to charities when they can elect officials who will tax the rich. That way, you can have all the social programs you want with other people's money.

So you tell me; who's the one lacking generosity and empathy? That was one of the more greedy and selfish comments I've seen or heard lately, but very accurately sums up the typical position on this particular issue.
posted by b_thinky at 9:42 PM on June 20, 2007


That's real money and it can buy real things. And here we're frittering it away on some fantasy that we can recreate the past.

And I'll add this: Since when is money "frittered away"? Where does it go? Does money evaporate? The economy is based on the churning of spending. When money is spent on domestic construction in an already urban area - yes, especially one with an established tourist trade - that only creates more capitol. That isn't "frittered away" by any measure, BigSky. It is, in fact, money well spent. It creates more taxable income, which means less has to be taken from your paycheck.

I won't stoop to b_thinky's level, but hopefully you should be able to understand this.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:52 PM on June 20, 2007


So now, having read over b_thinky's comments in this thread more carefully, I've had a change of heart - I shouldn't ahve justified his name with mention at all.

Because we simply can't justify the belief that rich people are rich because they're just so kick-ass - I mean look at how rich they are! - that they shouldn't have to pay a proportional amount of taxes for the public infrastructure that got them there, because that's only for poor people who are too stupid and lazy to be rich. Seriously, poor people! It's so much better! and you don't need welfare! What's wrong with you?

Seriously, fuck that shit and that type of thinking. I'm sorry that I even spent this much time refuting it. It just isn't worth our energy.

Don't feed the trolls, as they say.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:06 PM on June 20, 2007



STFU! TAXES ARE THE PRICE YOU PAY FOR LIVING IN A SOCIETY!!


some people are just so easy to push over the edge
posted by caddis at 10:25 PM on June 20, 2007


Navelgazer,

In the context of this thread I was talking about cutting education funding from the federal government. As others pointed out federal funding is not a large piece of education budgets. I believe a pretty good chunk of it goes towards testing, studies and proposals. Most public education is paid from state money, frequently from lotteries and property tax. My desire to cut federal education funding is again connected to my belief that the farther the source of the money is from where it is spent the more inefficiently the money will be used. If the federal funds leave some schools short then use state money to make up the difference.

More than that though, and here is where I think you'll really disagree with me, I don't think the link between funding and academic excellence is one of necessity. Walter Williams has an editorial where he mentions a study Thomas Sowell published in 1975, the journal may have been Policy Review, "Centers of African American Academic Achievement" (or a similar title). The brief bit that the editorial relayed of the article's findings was eye catching. This study detailed a number of schools that had incredible academic histories. Most of these records were from before the Civil Rights movement. The schools were poorly funded and a little crowded. It wasn't just one or two kids going to college, but more than any of the white schools were sending. Let's not kid ourselves into thinking throwing money at the problem will fix it. Doubtless, the answer is complex but I think giving parents tools and choices, that is, vouchers, is one way to start getting results.

Personally, I think some variant of home schooling is the best approach but there are families for whom that is not an option. So, slowly privatize and give people choice. It's tough to imagine how it could be worse.

As for New Orleans, no the money is not set on fire. It isn't reduced to zero. But is the money prudently spent? Is this the optimal choice? If politicians were not pandering to the mob, would rebuilding a city on low ground, surrounded by water, abandoned by professionals, be their first choice for using these public funds? Since the deficit is a few trillion and we are at war, I think spending 100 billion on New Orleans is a poor choice. When people were asking after the hurricane if we should rebuild New Orleans there was a real question there. As far as I remember, no strong argument was put forward that rebuilding it made fiscal sense, it just became expected. Sure capitol investment in a city can create more revenue, but if it is such a slam dunk why isn't private money going in there? I've got a guess and that it's because private money is finding better spots. Now some works would never get done without government planning, dams, interstate system and the like, but in my opinion we don't show enough discrimination in our choices. We aren't careful enough in ensuring the possible return is worth the risk. To me, it makes more sense for the rebuilding of New Orleans to be determined by the demand for real estate and services in the city. In my ideal world most of the taxes would go to the state or county (parish) and they could determine how much to invest based on their estimate of return. By contrast, I think the federal government promised 100 billion within a couple of months of Katrina.

------------

b_thinky,

I believe that specific comment is directed towards me. My compassion will increase when I see that leaving the experts in Washington in charge is really for the best.
posted by BigSky at 10:43 PM on June 20, 2007


BigSky: You're acting like New Orleans pre-Katrina is the 'real' city and we need to get it back. Come on. There ain't no need about it.

Right here Bigsky you've lost me bigtime. Are you kidding? New Orleans was one of the most unique last bastions of cultural anti-corporatism in the nation. It was something truly special. But as long as it doesn't fit into your Rand-esque view of the world you're willing to see it disappear. You know some of the more important and delicate and special aspects of life wither under the harsh scrutiny of libertarianism and I say fuck that. Okay, so you're a completely self sufficient individual and a paragon of independence and I say...if this is the sort of callous attitude towards the society that you live in is the result, who needs it? What it really belies is a not so subtle racism and false sense of superiority. Answer this truly: How much has the disaster in New Orleans effected you at all? Is it taking food from your family or reducing your standard of living? No, it hasn't. Your argument is probably some sort of frustration founded on something else in your life.
posted by Skygazer at 11:14 PM on June 20, 2007


My desire to cut federal education funding is again connected to my belief that the farther the source of the money is from where it is spent the more inefficiently the money will be used.

But this is a silly belief to have, in complete defiance of the relevant facts. The SSA or USPS are far more efficient than your average school district that raises most of its money locally.

When people were asking after the hurricane if we should rebuild New Orleans there was a real question there. As far as I remember, no strong argument was put forward that rebuilding it made fiscal sense, it just became expected.

The port systems of New Orleans (the Port of New Orleans and the Port of South Louisiana) are one of the largest, busiest ports around. On some metrics, they are the largest, busiest port on the face of the Earth. Without these ports, large parts of the midwest and great plains go tits-up because farmers can't sell their grain.

It was a foregone conclusion that New Orleans would be substantially rebuilt, because the port facilities had to be brought back on-line or duplicated elsewhere at utterly stupendous cost and vastly reduced utility. Given that much of the city directly or indirectly services the ports and related commerce, the city was getting substantially rebuilt.

Yes, lots of people asked whether we should rebuild. And after Columbia broke up, lots of people asked why they didn't just go to the space station. The lesson here is that lots of people are ignorant of the basic facts required to even ask meaningful questions about many topics.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:14 AM on June 21, 2007


I'm gonna claim victory when Hagel is announced as VP (even though I thought it might be with a different P).
posted by RavinDave at 12:59 AM on June 21, 2007


It's obvious that some people here have never suffered serious adversity.

However, when the discussion becomes an exchange of insults, it's also obvious that there's no chance of either side's mind changing. All that's being accomplished is the lowering of everyone else's opinion of the participants.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:21 AM on June 21, 2007


Well ... look at the bright side. Maybe the Bloomberg threat will finally shake the Democratic congress out of its timid lethargy and force them into actually pursuing some of the issues that won them the last election. I wanna see subpoenas for big fish, audits, confrontation on "signing statements", voting safe-guards, and (of course) active movement to get us out of Iraq. This "we might not achieve X, so we might as well not try" strategy is BS.
posted by RavinDave at 3:35 AM on June 21, 2007


Blazecock Pileon: Is he supporting maintaining current levels, or does he support a draw down to "about 50,000 troops". If it's the latter, hes right in line with all three of the major democratic candidates.

Does that include Edwards? He says he's for withdrawal in 12 to 18 months.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:36 AM on June 21, 2007


Skygazer,

Not that it matters, but here's a couple of points. When you say it was "truly something special", well, not everybody thinks so. And that's the crux of it, because you are spending everybody's money. There isn't anything callous about believing that recovery should only be funded if there is a sufficient economic return. It's respectful of money that isn't mine. Your 'uncovering' of my "not so subtle racism and false sense of superiority" doesn't deserve comment. How much did Katrina affect my life? Very little but what does that have to do with the price of rice in China? Look, I've got one family member in the Marines. A few months ago his status changed to can not be deployed. Did I just lose my right to have an opinion on military actions in the Middle East? Since when do I have to have been directly affected by a situation in order to for my opinion on policy to really be about that policy, and not an argument founded on "some sort of frustration founded on something else in your [my] life"?

ROU_Xenophobe,

Are the SSA and the USPS really that efficient? Why not open the USPS to competition? Ron Paul has proposed doing just this. Perhaps they really are so efficient no company could stand against them but it would be surprising that a monopoly would have incentive to stay so lean.

As for the SSA I'm unclear what they are more efficient in. It's not managing money because if they were, private capital management would copy what they were doing. Much has been written about the SSA from both sides. If you really want to get into the argument, I suppose we can. But for now I'll just say that they do seem to be more efficient at acquiring government money than most.

From what I have read the port and the pipelines in New Orleans do not employ all that high a percentage of its population. Any rebuilding done with just industry in mind could be on a smaller scale. I haven't seen any argument that relocating the port would be far too expensive. It may well be, I'm not particularly well informed on the issue, but there seems to be quite a bit of debate about it. And the estimate that people put on further damage to the area can push it one way or the other.
posted by BigSky at 5:07 AM on June 21, 2007


In related news: Tax dodgers taunt police from hilltop compound
posted by caddis at 9:43 AM on June 21, 2007


Why is it so hard for YOU to imagine financial competency? If you can't afford to insure your house, YOU CAN'T AFFORD A FUCKING HOUSE!!!! If you find yourself in this situation, you should sell your house! You'll get lots of money to invest, buy food, put away for a rainy day, etc.

Why is this concept so difficult to you? Seriously, a retarded person should be able to understand this.
posted by b_thinky at 9:37 PM on June 20 [+] [!]


b_thinky, thank you. You have just reminded me of a couple of people I used to know - actual retarded people - who would always offer to help, and never thought to ask if the recipient was "worthy" enough of assistance.

BigSky, I kind of wish we could have this conversation in a coffeeshop or a bar, since the Internets are not always helpful with promoting good communication (it's excellent at encouraging shouty-ness and name-calling, and I appreciate that you've not engaged in those behaviors). But I think we should agree to disagree.

I started to go out this morning (metaphorically) to dig up stuff about New Orlean's economy pre- and post-hurricane, costs of leaving critical infrastructure (hospitals, housing) in an unusable state, etc. I started to do this because you said "...it makes more sense for the rebuilding of New Orleans to be determined by the demand for real estate and services in the city." To me, this is a catch-22: if housing is scarce, it makes it hard for people to move back for jobs; if there aren't any people, why would a business come back to reopen?

Anyway, I started to do this, all with an eye (of course!) to converting you to my way of seeing things, because of course I Am Right! Yeah!

But it doesn't really work like that, I know, and I'm ok with that. And now I have a cool research project for myself - find out stuff about New Orleans (which I've never visited), about the costs of Katrina, and connected issues.

See you around the blue/green/grey.
posted by rtha at 10:06 AM on June 21, 2007


LOLbertarians
posted by mr.marx at 10:11 AM on June 21, 2007


Skyazer: New Orleans was...

... what it was, and never will be that again. It's never the same river; it's never the same city. Get past what it was. Join the process of making it what it will be.

And remember: Them what don't know where they're going, will surely get there sooner than they like.
posted by lodurr at 12:12 PM on June 21, 2007


Lodurr: It's never the same river

Yes, physically it will never be the same, but if we think of a city (or a river for that matter) as having a certain spirit and culture that's a whole different bucket of bones there Siddhartha.

Big Sky: Look, I've got one family member in the Marines.

Talk about the rice in China...

You look, the all wise all knowing genius of the "free market" , doesn't exist. It's an illusion and a self serving lie perpetrated by those in power. The "free market" ain't so free. Actually I would say its "free" ONLY to those who can afford it. Libertarians come to their point of view as if it's a given that everyone worships the free market and capitalism and I say phooey. Freedom and self realization and self responsibility have nothing to do with the "free market" as it now stands. Just ask that Dick Cheney and his friends in the oil industry and Enron and Haliburton. They paid a LOT of damn money to be "free". It's more like an oligarchic circle jerk. The "free market" and hyper capitalistic aughts version of it, will grind individuals up without a second thought if it means turning a profit. It will literally eat itself and reduce humans to slaves and or livestock. If you need any more proof of that you can look at the 'free market" capitalism in China. A repressive society any way you slice it except one, people with money are allowed to make more of it and exploit workers to the level of slaves. We have slaves here too, they come from Mexico and South America mostly and eastern Europe and they do all the shitty dirty disgusting jobs that most Americans feel too entitled to perform for pennies on the dollar. Big, big difference between freedom and human rights and the "free market" BigSky.

True growth and widespread prosperity in this country began with the infrastructural investments the U.S. made in it's own people in programs that began with the New Deal that have been progressively eroded since Reagan for the quick dollarshort term wealth that collapsed on itself as the lie it was in 1987.

Unchecked capitalism and libertarianism is just as evil and oppressive as communism or fascism or any other totalitarian system. The only way I know to keep a nation from falling into that, is by having compassion and tolerance for others who might not be so capable of the self sufficiency and self responsibility (read in possession of $$$) to be libertarians.
posted by Skygazer at 1:09 PM on June 21, 2007


Why not President Bloomberg? He bought NYC, he bought a med school, why shouldn't he buy the U.S.A.?
posted by davy at 4:15 PM on June 21, 2007


rtha: Again, there is a difference between government and charity. If the government bails out people who didn't think to buy insurance and as a result lost everything in a hurricaine, why not bail out all the uninsured who get in car accidents? Or all the uninsured with medical bills? Or anyone who has misfortune shit in their lap? Where does it end? The answer is nowhere, which is why our federal budget will continue to skyrocket no matter which party is in charge.

It's too bad your parents never gave you the ol' responsibilty talk. Hopefully you'll give it to your children though.
posted by b_thinky at 4:40 PM on June 21, 2007


Oh your wit! Your snarkyness! Truly, I am chastised!

My parents did in fact give me the 'ol responsibility talk. It covered not only my responsibility to myself, but also to others. And they taught me to believe that the government is also responsible for its citizens. You and I clearly believe in different levels of that responsibility.

People in N.O. got screwed in large part because the government-built and -maintained levees failed. Y'all keep wanting to compare an entire city to some poor uninsured guy who gets hit by a bus, and I don't get that. Lots of people didn't have homeowners insurance because they can't afford it, or, if they could afford it, they just couldn't get coverage because it wasn't available (specifically, flood insurance). Or, they had insurance, but their companies have denied them coverage. Maybe you believe that only those who had insurance, but have been denied coverage, are deserving of assistance.

Does the government owe compensation to every schlub who has a bad day? I don't believe so, no - though you seem to think that's what I'm saying.

Does the government owe assistance (financial, logistical) to an entire city that got destroyed in large part because of that government's negligence and/or incompetence? Yes.
posted by rtha at 6:06 PM on June 21, 2007


My compassion will increase when I see that leaving the experts in Washington in charge is really for the best.
posted by BigSky at 1:43 AM on June 21 [+] [!]


Basing your feelings of compassion on the actions of some political assmonkeys is... sad. And that's being charitable.


Also, b_thinky et al, you really are failing to understand the point: people lived in NO because they were told that they would be safe. What part of that don't you understand?
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 6:22 PM on June 21, 2007


And they taught me to believe that the government is also responsible for its citizens.

You got it backwards. Citizens are responsible for the gov't, not vice versa.

Lots of people didn't have homeowners insurance because they can't afford it, or, if they could afford it, they just couldn't get coverage because it wasn't available (specifically, flood insurance).

If you can't afford insurance, you can't afford a house. How many times does this bear repeating? I highly doubt your claim that flood insurance wasn't available in NO. Feel free to provide a link if you can find one.

Does the government owe compensation to every schlub who has a bad day? I don't believe so, no - though you seem to think that's what I'm saying.

I see. As long as many schlubs have a bad day simultaneously, they deserve a government bail out. Please tell me the minimum number of victims to require said bail out. It will help clarify things in the future.

Basing your feelings of compassion on the actions of some political assmonkeys is... sad. And that's being charitable.

Compassion comes from charities and individuals. It's not the place of government.

Also, b_thinky et al, you really are failing to understand the point: people lived in NO because they were told that they would be safe. What part of that don't you understand?

Who said it would be safe? Was there a guarantee on this safety? Is the government responsible for my safety from natural disasters? I live in an area that has no earthquakes, no tornados, no floods, no hurricaines or any other regularly occuring natural disaster threats. Does that mean everyone in my town can just skip on the home insurance?

It truly is frustrating that so few of us actually believe in personal responsibility anymore. When you forget personal responsibility, personal freedoms are not far behind.
posted by b_thinky at 8:54 PM on June 21, 2007


don't all good businessmen abandon ship like rats when it starts to take on water? It's the same reason most businessmen make rotten civic leaders - because running a government is not a zero sum game.
posted by any major dude at 8:56 PM on June 21, 2007


Insurance works when one or only a few people suffer a loss that the insurance covers. Then the insurance companies pay up and consider it a cost of doing business. When a lot of people suffer major losses, the insurance companies behave differently. They charge more money. They deny coverage for more things. They refuse to pay at all, knowing that some portion of the insured losers don't have the resources or the will to pursue justice, and that some will die before it becomes a problem for them. If large numbers of people persist in having major losses, these responses become progressively more prevalent and extreme. The companies may stop writing that type of insurance entirely, as Lloyd's did several years ago when it quit underwriting all flood insurance in the U.S.

How bad can the insurance picture get? You know the answer if you've ever gotten seriously ill. The health insurance industry is a perfect model of how the profit motive works to prevent making large numbers of people whole after a catastrophe.

There are a lot of things that corporations have zero interest in doing. Helping masses of people recover from a natural disaster is one of those things.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 2:58 AM on June 22, 2007


... some will die before it becomes a problem for them the companies.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:03 AM on June 22, 2007


I remember when Bloomberg used to land his helicopter on the field just outside the president's office at Johns Hopkins University. He'd pop out, write the school a check and then fly off. I'm not sure if that kind of diplomatic approach scales outside the US.

Sure it does. Writing a check is the universal language of dealmaking. One reason I like Bloomberg as a candidate is that he comes from a world where that's how things get done, sans ideology. The whole world understands the checkbook, and it saves a lot of time and money over its alternative, the gun.

Also, I was a big Ron Paul fan years ago when I lived in Texas and saw him up close a few times. I'm delighted to see him become a celebirity and have some real voice in the media. He has some crazy-assed views that don't pass the here-and-now test, but he's absolutely right on the drug war, privacy, limiting government power, and sharply reducing the use of the military to conduct foreign and trade policy. Republicans, apparently, find him embarrassing, which is reason enough to love the guy. He's (like MB) utterly sincere in his views, and an upright guy. Texans keep electing him because his constituents really *are* libertarian, and not conservative. There's a large number of those libertarian voters in rural and peri-urban America who vote Republican because they've been sold a bill of goods about the libertarian impulse of the Republican project. Now they can see a real libertarian get pilloried for speaking truth to GOPower. We could win a few of these votes with a carefully crafted appeal that limited both the actual scope of a liberal agenda in the realms of personal freedom and foreign engagement and the stereotype of liberalism promulgated by the Rush Limbaughs of the world.

Yay Ron Paul. I probably won't vote for him. But he's already become what Nader only could have been. An actual voice from the peanut gallery casting a pox on both houses.

Bloomberg/Paul or vice versa is interesting even if impossible.

(Bless all you favoriters, too.)
posted by spitbull at 5:41 AM on June 22, 2007


If you can't afford insurance, you can't afford a house.

I like how you keep skipping over my point about the number of people who had insurance - and whose companies have denied them coverage.

And they taught me to believe that the government is also responsible for its citizens.
I hope you never get arrested in a foreign country and have to call the American embassy, then. Also, I hope you don't take FDA-approved medications.

That thing about insurance being unobtainable? I was wrong about that. Sorry. I think I conflated the idea of that with the complicated-ness that's involved in getting earthquake insurance in California.

From the Washington Post:
"NEW ORLEANS -- Many of the thousands of homeowners in the Lower Ninth Ward, one of the hardest-hit areas in the city, lacked flood insurance because the neighborhood in theory was supposed to be relatively safe, local insurance agents and residents said.

Most of the area sits outside the "high-risk" flood districts designated on federal maps used for insurance, and so, unlike homeowners elsewhere in this low-lying city, most in the Lower Ninth Ward were not legally required by lenders to buy flood coverage.

Those federal insurance maps, however, were based on a vastly mistaken assumption: that the levees and flood walls protecting the neighborhood from inundation would remain intact.

[...]

On average, private insurance covers 62 percent of the economic losses after natural disasters in those places, he said. But in New Orleans, he expects that insurance will cover less than half of the losses -- and perhaps much less than that -- because of the magnitude of uninsured flood losses.


From your profile, I see that you live in one of the drier regions of our country. There might, however, be a flood risk, however infinitesimal - do you have flood insurance? I mean, just because the government and the weather service say that flooding is unlikely where you are doesn't mean that it won't happen, right?

I'll tell you what I told BigSky above...er, upthread: I think we have to agree to disagree. You can take this however you wish - that I'm giving up, that you won, etc. You haven't changed my mind, though, and I reckon I haven't changed yours. I've learned more about the insurance industry than I'd known, and have a growing collection of links to articles about the economic and cultural impact of Katrina on the Gulf coast.
posted by rtha at 6:13 AM on June 22, 2007


skygazer: ... but if we think of a city (or a river for that matter) as having a certain spirit and culture that's a whole different bucket of bones there Siddhartha.

Not really.

"Spirit", "culture" -- these are terms we invent and apply to things so we can pretend they don't change.

If you get hung up on restoring the antediluvian spirit of NOLA, you'll lose sight of the fact that you're making something entirely new -- and probably, entirely synthetic, and entirely broken. NOLA was what it was because it made itself that way. It will be truer to its old spirit if it rebuilds itself, than it will be if people "restore" it to any imagined former glory.
posted by lodurr at 11:20 AM on June 25, 2007


Well said Lodurr, all I'm sayin' is a little scratch towards that effort would be a good thing.
posted by Skygazer at 7:09 AM on June 26, 2007


Now if only we could find a way to relate that to Mike Bloomberg....
posted by lodurr at 6:11 AM on June 27, 2007


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