Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Sustainability

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Create a right to a fish and a government program and who the fuck would waste time fishing? - The Magnamninous and Pissed Patrick M (and yes, I misspelled magnanimous)
Yes, my ego lets me go off and start quoting the greatness of me. Also, it makes it easy for other bloggers to cut and paste.

But the point is the same whether I'm addressing Obamacare, "stimulus" plans, corporate bailouts, welfare, or even Social Insecurity. And that point is that even if there are good intentions, and initial good results in a government program, the reason I (and many others) argue for limited government is simple: Social programs, by the way they ignore human nature, are ultimately unsustainable.

The first, and worst example is the travesty of Social Insecurity. Created by FDR, it was designed to force savings for retirement. But instead of a mandate that created a retirement account, it was a program that collected money to the government, which then paid out to other people, even if their pay-in wasn't there. The problem is that for a system like this to work, you have to 1. have some money in the program to pay benefits until the program can pay for itself, 2. you have to actually save and invest the money to grow it (rather than absorb it into the government budget and just make it a paper total), and 3. have enough people paying in to support those on benefits (and the baby boomers kind of killed that by not shooting out enough babies before getting old). Now we face a system that is rapidly approaching collapse.

We see a similar issue in Medicare, where payouts are being cut to try to reign in the exorbitant price tag. And yet, we're looking at a system that will result in everyone on the government plan. And while that might mean more people covered now, at some point, the deficit will catch up and require cuts. And cuts in payments means less motivation for those that provide health care, which means either less hours, or fewer providers. So between increased demand on the system (I'll get to that next), fewer providers, and continually escalating costs (because people will find ways), the system cannot sustain itself. The fact that Canada and Australia are beginning to pull away from their completely government system is an example.

Now I mentioned the increased demand in the last paragraph. This doesn't apply to just health care, but to any program that involves someone getting a check or benefit for the government. This is because of what is best seen in the example of the spoiled child: a little bastard that is given things rather than having to work for them. The spoiled child, in simply getting thing, does not see as much value in them. His parents, meanwhile, see a continually escalating bill. And at some point (hopefully), they will say no. At this point, the child either has to grow up and take responsibility (because nothing is free) or whine and cry until the parents relent and write the check.

Essentially, that's the process Washington is engaged it. Except they're long past writing the check. They're maxing the credit cards, cracking out the third mortgage, depleting the trust and retirement funds, smashing the piggy bank, fishing in the cushions on the couch, and forgetting that the government was never meant to supply everything.

The reason personal responsibility always worked was that in the worst of times, people have to rise to the occasion. Give them a cushion to rest on, and there's no reason for them to get off their ass.

21 comments:

Jennifer said...

Isn't there a quote about good intentions? :-)

I think personal responsibility is so important for the future of this country. The government is there to protect people that truly need it. Too many people take advantage of the government and make it impossible to help those who truly need it!

TAO said...

When you sit here and look around you and realize that our major corporations, the titans of industry are the biggest purveyors of government assistance then it is really hard to expect little folks not to want a piece of the pie also...

Beth said...

Which is why, Tao, corporate welfare sucks.

Name: Soapboxgod said...

Not only does it suck Beth, it is laughable when Republicans (such as Minnesota's Governor Tim Pawlenty; don't buy it he's no different than the status quo of old despite his running around trying to make a national name for himself) promote it and then expect to have any credibility with regards to trimming the HHS budget.

How the hell can you go around and tell all the baby mama's in the world that they need to their act together and get off the dole all the while we're shelling out subsidies for Professional Sports Team owners to build new stadiums, shelling out subsidies for the likes of Cargill and ADM??

TRUTH 101 said...

Personal responsibility is a great catch phrase Patrick. I am all for personal responsibility. Just what do we do about those that are irresponsible though? Unwed mothers with no jobs? Screw em. They should have kept their legs crossed. As Michael Jackson said, "The kid is not my son."


Bastards like Maddoff that screwed people out of their life savings? The Ken Lays? Screw em. The suckers should have known better.



The guy with two kids and needs help because he doesn't have a job that provides health insurance? Screw him to. If you can't afford em, put on a rubber or go to the bathroom with your laptop and lock the door.




I'm not trying to be a dick here Patrick. I have no more use for mooches than you do. I just think a face needs to be put on those that legitimatly need a hand before calling for programs only the government has the resources to provide be stopped. World is full of scumbags. I don't think punishing good people that find themselves needing help to get them is the answer.

Name: Soapboxgod said...

"I don't think punishing good people that find themselves needing help to get them is the answer."

Nor do I think having a bunch of fucking bureaucrats in Washington force me to have a portion of my rightfully earned wages be confiscated (thus sacrificing my a percentage of my own prosperity and the prosperity of my family) for some total fucking stranger that I've never met who may or may very well not be worthy of said help.

Let's be honest here, when the "poor" in America (as classified by these idiot shits in Washington) are people who have such luxuries as cell phones and bluetooths, cable/satellite television, air conditiong, designer shoes and clothes, 22"+ chrome rims on their ride, gold front teeth, and are using their EBT card without a single coupon to purchase $100 of meat complete with T-Bone steaks, Ribeyes, and Ribs, we've got a serious definition problem.

I live in North Minneapolis and I see this shit on a daily basis and quite honestly, if I had my way about it, the gravy train would stop right here. I'd pull that welfare rug out from under them so goddamn fast it'd make heads spin.

Am I without compassion?? That's a fair statement I suppose you could make.

But let me remind those uttering such words.

"There is nothing (and I mean nothing) about a government who claims compassion by dolling out other people's money for no other purpose than to literally buy votes." (and yes this practice crosses political parties)

Patrick M said...

Jenn: Isn't there a quote about good intentions?

Yeah, but I'll come up with a more obscene one.

The problem with any safety net, to quote Rush, is that too many people use it as a hammock. So any social program should be set up to fight this natural tendency.

Tao: What Beth said.

Beth: ... (didn't want to leave you out)

101: Let me clarify (although Soapster beat me to the punch on some of it). I'm not 100% opposed to some degree of a safety net. But the less we rely on these and the more on ourselves, our families (part of the reason things are so messed up now is that families aren't as big as support as they once were), our communities, and our charities, the better off we will be.

The problem is that government sucks at accountability. And while it may be harder to expect people to grab some bootstrap (and some will not rise to the occasion), that's the only hope we have to fix a lot of things that are wrong.

The guy with two kids and needs help because he doesn't have a job that provides health insurance? Screw him to. If you can't afford em, put on a rubber or go to the bathroom with your laptop and lock the door.

Actually, that's me. And I'm working toward a point where I won't, because my experiences have shown me exactly what I wrote about above.

No comment on the laptop part, other than sticky keys suck.

Soapster: While I'm not quite as quick to immediately yank the rug out from under everyone (and not because I'm in that group defined by the government as "poor"), you're right on principle.

And I suspect you have some compassion in there somewhere, and would be willing to voluntarily donate your money if you knew it would really help and not sustain failure. Because compassion is not measured by how many people are on the dole, it's measured by the number of people that no longer need it.

Name: Soapboxgod said...

Exactly Patrick. The other thing is that gets me is this...

What the hell virtue is there in, rather than placing what additional income you have aside for those rough times you're instead donating it to this that and the other charity only to wind up on the dole yourself because you don't have extra money in savings??

I don't find man's moral purpose or his existence in life to be that he is to serve as some sort of sacrificial animal to the lives of others. While it seems to be a philosophy largely embraced by the majority, it is not one embraced by me.

Patrick M said...

Soapster: I stand corrected. You are a heartless bastard. :)

But the point is that you have a right to be. A point that I made though is that besides relying on ourselves, we should take care of our families (the extended part, that is). And when we work together as communities, then we get results and expect accountability.

And there is virtue in helping those around you (not the deadbeats). Look back to the founders, they often supported the charity cases (widows) with some money if they were stretching things. That was, and still should be, a part of our daily lives.

This does come from some of my faith. Simply put, there does come times where charity is needed. If we serve only ourselves, who would help?

Take an issue like health care. My plan relies on the idea that doctors and nurses who see medicine as a calling will donate their time to serve people who would not otherwise get health care, or would clog up the emergency room.

For that matter, speak with anyone who's a member of a Rotary club. They believe in serving others. I've seen some pretty big things being sent south to Mexico by the local club to fill a need for people who have no chance on their own.

It's something that embodies the nobility in people, that we voluntarily do this.

TRUTH 101 said...

I have zero problem with a portion of my tax dollars going to help a fellow American in hard times SBG.

Where you guys are disingenuous is with your crying about welfare and freedom until somebody points out the story of a real person.

If you think reform and tighter control over how welfare dollars are spent, then we can agree on that. I choose not to lump and punish the good with the bad. I want the good to get the hand they need so when they get on their feet they also can help. Save your outrage for the abusers.

Patrick M said...

101: Thankfully, I've experienced enough personally to know what I'm saying is right. No disingenuousness here.

So go ahead and give me a person, and I'll explain how it could be done without government.

Name: Soapboxgod said...

I will not deny there are legitimate cases where a handup may very well prove to be in order. I will however boldly assert that these cases are so few and far between that they could very easily be met through private charity (as well they should).

The fundamental question (as so eloquently posed by Ayn Rand) is not whether or not to give a man a dime. The fundamental question becomes whether or not you have a right to exist should you chose not to.

I think you will find the overwhelming majority (with organized religion leading the charge) telling you, perhaps not in so many words, that you do not.

Beth said...

Truth, problem with your good hearted attempt, well actually two problems. One, once you give your tax dollars to the government, how can you be sure they will use it how you see fit? On the other hand, you can research a charity and give to those whom you agree with how they use their money.

Second problem, where is it in the Constitution that the role of government is to help those in need?

TRUTH 101 said...

Where in the Constitution does it say "One Nation, under God" Beth. The Constitution is a flexible, living document.


Now listen to yourselves my right leaning friends. You call for charity and giving and letting rich people take care of things through their generosity. I prefer we all pitch in. And to the heartless bastards that wouldn't give anything, it does give me pleasure to know at least we got some tax money from them that helps those that need help.



No offense to you on your request Patrick. I shut down my old blog and one of the reasons was a few bastards that trolled it thought revealing identities and screwing with these people in front of the world was entertaining. You have revealed yourself here and when I use you as an example I try to be respectful. I won't reveal anyone else unless he reveals himself first.

Beth said...

The truth, Truth 101, is that the Constitution being a living document does not mean each Administration can do whatever they want. It means there are ways to amend it that must be consistent with it. Socialism is not consistent with our Constitution.

I never called for just the rich to be charitable, anyone who wishes to be can be. While forcing it upon others may make YOU feel better, that is not charity.

Finally, when the government provides things, people get what's called an entitlement mentality. Most Americans are capable of taking care of themselves, our Founding Fathers recognized it and set up our form of government with that in mind. It's about time we expect people (and businesses and the arts and whatever else special interest groups) to take care of themselves.

Beth said...

This discussion I see as the real meat and potatoes of what is going on in our country today. Basically, we have legal obligations and we have moral obligations. And you can't legislate morality.

Toad734 said...

Wow the irony...You do realize that one of the reasons the government had to bail out corporations like AIG, Bear Stearns, etc was because people did take their own money and invest it into the stock market and with little regulation in the financial markets, that money all went away. They also invested their own money into realestate and guess what, that value is gone too.

Imagine if Bush would have had his way and privatized SS...and you thought it was bad that is was going to run dry in 2050, it would have been dry in 2009 if we would have followed his lead.

Beth said...

Indeed, what started the mess was the government induced subprime mortgages (giving loans to risky people, and guess what they defaulted!) The housing bubble was bound to burst, the overinflated values of homes because there were more buyers than there should have been. So we agree, then, Toad, the government should not tell businesses what to do.

TRUTH 101 said...

I do have some experience in lending Beth. The reason the risky got loans is because the risk to the lenders was mitigated by the high interest rates and fees the risky had to pay.


It's an easy sale to Beth. Get em financed and they'll pay whatever you tell them to pay.




And Patrick. I find it interesting that you hate it when I call for higher taxes to support programs that benefit Americans. you and SBG get outraged that government would dare spend your money on stuff. Yet you Patrick, want to volunteer the time of doctors and nurses, people that work long hard hours already to take care of what you think, and is, important. What's the difference between us Patrick? You my friend are a liberal.

Beth said...

Okay Truth 101, now I see that you don't even understand Economics 101.

Name: Soapboxgod said...

"...you and SBG get outraged that government would dare spend your money on stuff."

Let me know when you wrap your head around the difference between legitimate and illegitimate functions of government.

Once you understand that concept, then we can get into my beef with government's "spending money on stuff."