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  1. #1
    slamdunc's Avatar
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    Hell yeah! Hell no!

    Am I a socialist or do I just have a few bizarre ideas?

    In most aspects, I consider myself a conservative, small-government kind of guy. I am a pro-life, pro-gun, free-speech, opposed to government-waste (limited entitlements), capitalist. I believe in a strong national defense, a balanced budget, and drug testing everyone who receives housing assistance, food-stamps or cash assistance from the government. I stand and put my hand over my heart when I hear The Star Spangled Banner and when I pledge allegiance to the US Flag, I use all the words. I volunteered to serve my country, have a good education and work two full-time jobs to give my family a decent, middle-class life.

    Keeping all of these things in mind, a couple of my close friends tell me that they think I am a closeted socialist due to my views on education, military and taxation. You can be the judges; be honest and don’t worry about hurting my feelings, because I don’t have any. I would like some feedback on why any of these things would or wouldn’t work and proposals for some realistic changes you would like to see in the way these things work.

    Education: The reality is that not everyone is cut out to go to college. If the student and/or their family can afford to send ‘Little Johnny’ to college, then he should be able to choose whatever major / minor that he wants. If the government is going to foot the bill, then there should be some guidelines.

    1. Aptitude testing—because not everyone really needs to be a doctor or aerospace engineer. If ‘Little Johnny’ is a ‘C’ student, he needs to find out what he would be good at; offer him five to ten choices including certificate / degree programs, vocational-technical training and internship & apprenticeship programs. I would advocate that only the best and brightest students earn the privilege of educating our young people. After a couple of cycles, I am sure that there would be a lot more ‘A’ & ‘B’ students and this would make us a more productive society.

    2. Paying it back—because let’s face it, there are some ‘professional students’ out there who would attend college until they are forty-five years old if you let them. When they get their paper (diploma, certificate, ect.), they owe the government two or three years of service. This doesn’t necessarily mean they need to go into the military, but at least community service of some kind.

    3. Professionals—if ‘Little Johnny’ has what it takes to make a doctor, engineer, scientist or attorney, he should be required to work off his debt. After refinancing or receiving deferments, some of my college classmates (1986) are still repaying their student loans. One lady I graduated with got into some government program, and in order to finance her education, she had to agree to work as an engineer for three years with the sanitary district in the small county where she grew up. Of course, they paid her a salary as well, but she filled a need that they had and they paid for college.

    Taxation: Two things are certain in life, death and taxes; sometimes neither of these are fair considering the circumstances. There is surely a way to replace the current system of taxing the money we earn and it could be with a flat-rate tax on the income. I had to pass on two contracts in my side business merely because I wouldn’t have enough expenses to offset the additional income and I would have given Uncle Sam half of everything I made in 2011. I have heard of a couple of options but don’t know enough about them.

    1. Fair-tax—this has been proposed in the past by some presidential candidates. Instead of paying a tax on what you earn, you pay a tax on goods and services that you consume. I don’t know all of the particulars, but anything would be more fair than what we have in place now. In theory, lower income people would either end up with a rebate on the taxes they pay instead of a refund or they would have some type of tax exempt card.

    There wouldn’t be any withholding / payroll tax, so consumer buying power would be stronger. We could still get rebates based on charitable contributions and other things that are now deductions and if it didn’t work out, they could try something else.

    2. Value Added Tax—I remember this from my time in Europe and it seemed like a pain in the ass at the time, but now I see it in a different light. Instead of a ‘sales tax’ this is a tax on the actual value of the goods. No matter how we slice it, the current income tax is very complicated and very unfair.


    Quote Originally Posted by Devil View Post
    You can not intellectualize your way to being a competent fighter.

  2. #2
    ChenPengFi's Avatar
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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    I wonder if that would be received differently without the preface.

    That's pretty reasonable.
    People can go into trade school in their teens in Denmark.
    Everything costs 0 though.
    You even get paid to go to college etc, around $1k/mo.

  3. #3
    Wounded Ronin's Avatar
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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    "Socialist" is a meaningless epithet in US politics. I've said this before elsewhere but the people who throw it around generally haven't lived under a socialist government. Implicit when they fling this around is that there are no cultural differences WRT governance between the US, other Western European countries, and Eastern European or East or Southeast Asian countries that would affect how government works in those areas. In other words they pretend that "socialism" is some kind of uniform universal thing like Coca Cola and not just one philosophical element that might affect how a given society chooses to govern itself. I mean look at the deliberate conflation and equivalency of European-style social democrat political philosophy and, say, the political philosophy of North Korea. How laughable.

    So, basically, the term means nothing and is irrelevant. You consider the reciprocal nature of the relationship between the individual and society, instead of thinking that each person is some kind of ubermensch who could exist in a vacuum and is somehow by virtue of will to power or something like that above both governance and contributions to his fellow man. You're someone who tries to think things through and would rather that people work together to build their society up, than rip everything down because the individual ego is sacrosanct. That puts you head and shoulders above those who like to fling the term around.

    As far as the US concerned, consider that when you get rid of abstract talking points, and bring things down to the area of practical solutions, most constituents have more in common than they have at odds, because in reality there's only a certain range of actions or solutions that would be immediately practical and actionable. For example, consider how Obamacare is similar to the Republican health care reform proposal from the early 90s. Regardless of it allegedly being socialism or whatever else you want to call it, many parts of the program were basically some of the few practical steps that could be taken to try and reform healthcare in the US and the truth of the matter is that the specific measures were proposed by both Democrats and Republicans at different times. All the rhetoric is profoundly meaningless.

    EDIT: Source on Obamacare being similar to the old Republican plan: http://www.politifact.com/punditfact...are-plan-1993/

    Republican Sen. John Chafee of Rhode Island was the point man. The bill he introduced, Health Equity and Access Reform Today, (yes, that spells HEART) had a list of 20 co-sponsors that was a who’s who of Republican leadership. There was Minority Leader Bob Dole, R- Kan., Sens. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, Richard Lugar, R-Ind., and many others. There also were two Democratic co-sponsors.

    Among other features, the Chafee bill included:

    An individual mandate;

    Creation of purchasing pools;

    Standardized benefits;

    Vouchers for the poor to buy insurance;

    A ban on denying coverage based on a pre-existing condition.

    "You would find a great deal of similarity to provisions in the Affordable Care Act," Sheila Burke, Dole’s chief of staff in 1993, told PunditFact via email. "The guys were way ahead of the times!! Different crowd, different time, suffice it to say.
    Last edited by Wounded Ronin; 1/19/2017 11:17pm at .
    Best Vietnam War music video I've ever seen put together by a vet: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oDY8raKsdfg

  4. #4
    Raycetpfl's Avatar
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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by slamdunc View Post
    In most aspects, I consider myself a conservative, small-government kind of guy. I am a pro-life, pro-gun, free-speech, opposed to government-waste (limited entitlements), capitalist. I believe in a strong national defense, a balanced budget, and drug testing everyone who receives housing assistance, food-stamps or cash assistance from the government. I stand and put my hand over my heart when I hear The Star Spangled Banner and when I pledge allegiance to the US Flag, I use all the words. I volunteered to serve my country, have a good education and work two full-time jobs to give my family a decent, middle-class life.

    Keeping all of these things in mind, a couple of my close friends tell me that they think I am a closeted socialist due to my views on education, military and taxation. You can be the judges; be honest and don’t worry about hurting my feelings, because I don’t have any. I would like some feedback on why any of these things would or wouldn’t work and proposals for some realistic changes you would like to see in the way these things work.

    Education: The reality is that not everyone is cut out to go to college. If the student and/or their family can afford to send ‘Little Johnny’ to college, then he should be able to choose whatever major / minor that he wants. If the government is going to foot the bill, then there should be some guidelines.

    1. Aptitude testing—because not everyone really needs to be a doctor or aerospace engineer. If ‘Little Johnny’ is a ‘C’ student, he needs to find out what he would be good at; offer him five to ten choices including certificate / degree programs, vocational-technical training and internship & apprenticeship programs. I would advocate that only the best and brightest students earn the privilege of educating our young people. After a couple of cycles, I am sure that there would be a lot more ‘A’ & ‘B’ students and this would make us a more productive society.

    2. Paying it back—because let’s face it, there are some ‘professional students’ out there who would attend college until they are forty-five years old if you let them. When they get their paper (diploma, certificate, ect.), they owe the government two or three years of service. This doesn’t necessarily mean they need to go into the military, but at least community service of some kind.

    3. Professionals—if ‘Little Johnny’ has what it takes to make a doctor, engineer, scientist or attorney, he should be required to work off his debt. After refinancing or receiving deferments, some of my college classmates (1986) are still repaying their student loans. One lady I graduated with got into some government program, and in order to finance her education, she had to agree to work as an engineer for three years with the sanitary district in the small county where she grew up. Of course, they paid her a salary as well, but she filled a need that they had and they paid for college.

    Taxation: Two things are certain in life, death and taxes; sometimes neither of these are fair considering the circumstances. There is surely a way to replace the current system of taxing the money we earn and it could be with a flat-rate tax on the income. I had to pass on two contracts in my side business merely because I wouldn’t have enough expenses to offset the additional income and I would have given Uncle Sam half of everything I made in 2011. I have heard of a couple of options but don’t know enough about them.

    1. Fair-tax—this has been proposed in the past by some presidential candidates. Instead of paying a tax on what you earn, you pay a tax on goods and services that you consume. I don’t know all of the particulars, but anything would be more fair than what we have in place now. In theory, lower income people would either end up with a rebate on the taxes they pay instead of a refund or they would have some type of tax exempt card.

    There wouldn’t be any withholding / payroll tax, so consumer buying power would be stronger. We could still get rebates based on charitable contributions and other things that are now deductions and if it didn’t work out, they could try something else.

    2. Value Added Tax—I remember this from my time in Europe and it seemed like a pain in the ass at the time, but now I see it in a different light. Instead of a ‘sales tax’ this is a tax on the actual value of the goods. No matter how we slice it, the current income tax is very complicated and very unfair.
    Unless you live by yourself and never enter a town ,dont use a utility that was initially built with government subsidiaries (all of them), never eat from a farm that receives subsidies to grow or not grow food (all of them), then you are taking part in socialism.
    It's a silly word to be scared of.

  5. #5

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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    The US is way more socialist today compared to say, 100 years ago when there were few to no social programs. But it's largely reactionary, based on events...look at the Great Depression as a case study of what happens when the capital markets hit the floor and there's no social support for people. It really sucks to live in America during a Depression. That's a given. America's "socialist" institutions are solutions to past problems, in order to prevent future ones.

    In 2016 you can get social support ("safety nets") based on your age, health, unemployment, disability and more. This kind of "equality of access" represents the more idealist parts of what socialism is. In socialism your CLASS should not mean you cannot get access to food, health care, work assistance, etc. It's supposed to be a level playing field. These things aren't luxuries to be bought with profits, they are basic human needs. Security. What else should a government support if not security?

    Reliance or support of a social support system like Social Security or Medicare doesn't mean you're socialist. It means you probably need help. Yet not everybody who pays into these systems will ever use them. That, in a nutshell, is socialism, or its more politically-loaded buzzword, "wealth redistribution."

    That's why I think you see a range of successful and unsuccessful European models of socialism. Each country tries to figure out "What are each citizen's BASIC NEEDS" and support them, at the same time as making personal growth opportunities available. Today in Europe...these are not the 19th/20th century models of socialism often demonized in the media.....they're far more modern and often reasonable, if they can be sustained. If your country paid for free college...you'd be a fool not to take advantage of the free education. If you provide universal health care, it's so that you don't have sick and old people dying in the street gutters and spreading disease.

    I like to think the US system is a good balance of socialist and capitalist ideals. Protect and support the people's lives and liberties using a social framework based on equality, but without restricting freedoms. That's how I read the Constitution.

    There's nothing in the Constitution about living or dying by capitalism, the market, or letting the wealthiest people with the most capital run things, for sure. More often than not, that's how we end up in recessions and depressions.
    Last edited by Pship Destroyer; 1/20/2017 1:03am at .

  6. #6
    Raycetpfl's Avatar
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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by Raycetpfl View Post
    Unless you live by yourself and never enter a town ,dont use a utility that was initially built with government subsidiaries (all of them), never eat from a farm that receives subsidies to grow or not grow food (all of them), then you are taking part in socialism.
    It's a silly word to be scared of.
    I forgot that your not allowed to use fossil fuels or use the highway system,go to public school,etc.,etc. either.

    Because remember! We are all completely self-made if we ignore all the help we were given. :-p
    Last edited by Raycetpfl; 1/20/2017 1:51am at .

  7. #7
    DCS's Avatar
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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Slamdunc, who should own the means of production?

  8. #8
    Cake of Doom's Avatar
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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by slamdunc View Post
    In most aspects, I consider myself a conservative, small-government kind of guy. I am a pro-life, pro-gun, free-speech, opposed to government-waste (limited entitlements), capitalist. I believe in a strong national defense, a balanced budget, and drug testing everyone who receives housing assistance, food-stamps or cash assistance from the government. I stand and put my hand over my heart when I hear The Star Spangled Banner and when I pledge allegiance to the US Flag, I use all the words. I volunteered to serve my country, have a good education and work two full-time jobs to give my family a decent, middle-class life.

    Keeping all of these things in mind, a couple of my close friends tell me that they think I am a closeted socialist due to my views on education, military and taxation. You can be the judges; be honest and don’t worry about hurting my feelings, because I don’t have any. I would like some feedback on why any of these things would or wouldn’t work and proposals for some realistic changes you would like to see in the way these things work.

    Education: The reality is that not everyone is cut out to go to college. If the student and/or their family can afford to send ‘Little Johnny’ to college, then he should be able to choose whatever major / minor that he wants. If the government is going to foot the bill, then there should be some guidelines.

    1. Aptitude testing—because not everyone really needs to be a doctor or aerospace engineer. If ‘Little Johnny’ is a ‘C’ student, he needs to find out what he would be good at; offer him five to ten choices including certificate / degree programs, vocational-technical training and internship & apprenticeship programs. I would advocate that only the best and brightest students earn the privilege of educating our young people. After a couple of cycles, I am sure that there would be a lot more ‘A’ & ‘B’ students and this would make us a more productive society.

    2. Paying it back—because let’s face it, there are some ‘professional students’ out there who would attend college until they are forty-five years old if you let them. When they get their paper (diploma, certificate, ect.), they owe the government two or three years of service. This doesn’t necessarily mean they need to go into the military, but at least community service of some kind.

    3. Professionals—if ‘Little Johnny’ has what it takes to make a doctor, engineer, scientist or attorney, he should be required to work off his debt. After refinancing or receiving deferments, some of my college classmates (1986) are still repaying their student loans. One lady I graduated with got into some government program, and in order to finance her education, she had to agree to work as an engineer for three years with the sanitary district in the small county where she grew up. Of course, they paid her a salary as well, but she filled a need that they had and they paid for college.

    Taxation: Two things are certain in life, death and taxes; sometimes neither of these are fair considering the circumstances. There is surely a way to replace the current system of taxing the money we earn and it could be with a flat-rate tax on the income. I had to pass on two contracts in my side business merely because I wouldn’t have enough expenses to offset the additional income and I would have given Uncle Sam half of everything I made in 2011. I have heard of a couple of options but don’t know enough about them.

    1. Fair-tax—this has been proposed in the past by some presidential candidates. Instead of paying a tax on what you earn, you pay a tax on goods and services that you consume. I don’t know all of the particulars, but anything would be more fair than what we have in place now. In theory, lower income people would either end up with a rebate on the taxes they pay instead of a refund or they would have some type of tax exempt card.

    There wouldn’t be any withholding / payroll tax, so consumer buying power would be stronger. We could still get rebates based on charitable contributions and other things that are now deductions and if it didn’t work out, they could try something else.

    2. Value Added Tax—I remember this from my time in Europe and it seemed like a pain in the ass at the time, but now I see it in a different light. Instead of a ‘sales tax’ this is a tax on the actual value of the goods. No matter how we slice it, the current income tax is very complicated and very unfair.
    Socialist? No. I'd say this makes you a good citizen that is sick of the current system. Income tax won't be going anywhere though, so you'll just have to swallow that.
    Train hard, fight easy.

  9. #9
    slamdunc's Avatar
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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by Cake of Doom View Post
    Socialist? No. I'd say this makes you a good citizen that is sick of the current system. Income tax won't be going anywhere though, so you'll just have to swallow that.
    In reality, I doubt that they really change a lot of anything.


    Quote Originally Posted by Devil View Post
    You can not intellectualize your way to being a competent fighter.

  10. #10
    slamdunc's Avatar
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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by DCS View Post
    Slamdunc, who should own the means of production?
    IMHO, sole proprietors, partnerships, and corporations should produce, manufacture and provide services for the public (without strict regulation and taxation) The government produces nothing---they should own the military, all buildings and equipment necessary to provide basic services allowed by The Constitution.


    Quote Originally Posted by Devil View Post
    You can not intellectualize your way to being a competent fighter.

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