Thursday, January 08, 2009

Just Enough Knowledge To Know I Don't Know Anything

I've been watching the old TV show "Sliders" on my X-Box Netflix queue. I've been a fan of the parallel dimension idea since I was young, and traveling to different Earths was a great concept. Of course, they often landed on Earths that were very similar to ours. I am curious why they never landed on any other Egyptian worlds that were almost-but-not-quite the Egypt world from the 3rd season.

On a side note, my next cat will be named Schrödinger.

I enjoy reading right-wing blogs and listening to right-wing radio (which can be the same thing here in Minnesota). I do it for two reasons: I've learned that knowing the opponent's argument helps solidify your own; and it reminds me that the "liberals" the right are railing against aren't me.

I've realized that someone with my beliefs couldn't be elected to office by either political party. I've often said I'm not as liberal as some people think I am, and not as conservative as others think I should be. People on both sides of the isle consider "moderates" to be wishy-washy morons who can't decide on an issue.

That may sometimes be true, but a political moderate can also be someone who doesn't know why being against gun control must also mean being against abortion or believing gays should be allowed to marry also means you must accept smoking bans. I am against strict gun control and pro-choice. I am for allowing gays to marry and against smoking bans. Who would have me?

There are so many issues that have nothing to do with each other that somehow seem to fall in party line. There are those of us who think that both raising taxes and cutting spending are the way out of our budget crisis. Let's face it, Minneapolis, the Target Center green roof is a bad idea. The library green roof was a good idea, though. The difference being that theoretically the library should be around a lot longer than the Target Center. On the other hand small business is booming in MN due to layoffs. Jason Lewis et al would have you believe that no one would ever start a business in MN due to taxes.

I accept that government has a role in America, and for that I would be called a socialist by some. The problem is that business does nothing except for profit. There are benefits to society that aren't profitable. There are also luxuries that may and should not be available to all. Success should have some rewards, after all. It is what we think is which that makes us a "moonbat" or "wingnut."

I also know that entrepreneurs built this country. We often over-regulate business, and then complain when they flee to other nations. We can be business-friendly without screwing employees and the environment, but that means picking our battles. Just banning everything isn't the answer.

I believe in paying for public college for anyone who wants to go. In return, those students must maintain a "B" average or the grant turns into a loan. Those students who should be in college will be, and those who shouldn't will be less likely to bring down the rest. I also think that mandatory secondary school needs to keep the needs of all the kids, not just the lowest achievers, in mind. High achievers are harmed by being mixed with average and below-average students, and so are the rest of us when the best don't live up to their potential. Failure is important to learn, and some kids are smarter than others.

I believe that people (excluding children) receiving public benefits from the government should work to the best of their ability. Welfare shouldn't be a simple handout, and someone in genuine need should be more than willing to work for pay.

Today I heard someone suggest that investment and savings should be tax free. It sounds nice, until you point out that those who already have billions would pay no taxes. The already rich don't need work income. Meanwhile, those making very little don't save or invest, so there's a loss in revenue with no benefit to the majority of people.

My Brother is an actuary at a large firm. Whenever his managers complain about "Taxes on the rich," he offers to exchange salaries to relieve their tax burden. They never accept. The higher your salary, the more you go home with, regardless of the tax rate. Now, I'm not advocating a 90% tax rate, but saying that a progressive tax means there is nothing to work harder for is a lie.

On the other hand, perhaps there should be a minimum tax rate. Everyone should have a stake in where their money is going. They say there's a large portion of people paying no income tax, but when I was making $25,000 a year I still paid income tax, and I was a single guy paying no rent. But since I've always taken a standard deduction, I don't know what kind of tax breaks are available. I know most people are paying property taxes, and everyone pays sales tax, so saying someone pays nothing in taxes isn't true unless they get all of that back in deductions. I'm no financial expert, so help is always appreciated.

As for health care, there is a difference between single-payer and government-run health care. We have the benefit of seeing what works and doesn't work in other nations. I'd like to see legislators realize that what's good for them should be good for everyone. It's easy to complain about a longer wait for an MRI when you can get one right away now. It's different when you can't get one at all.

I'm for decriminalizing drugs. I'm also for lowering the drinking age. Let people make some mistakes. It's a healthy lesson to society when some people screw up.

I don't hate President Bush, and I don't have "Bush Derangement Syndrome." I've disagreed with much of what Bush did in office. I also don't think he is dumb. I've come to realize he's even worse; he plays dumb so a Harvard/Yale educated son of a former president can be liked by the large segment of Americans who think "elite" is a bad word and think "learning" is for pussy nerds who don't like sports.

I also don't think Obama is the second coming. The right made fun of "The One" and "The Obamessiah." I don't know anyone who thinks that way about Obama. Those that do aren't really political minded people. My decision was based on seeing a guy who is intellectually curious, and not afraid to show it.

You can call Obama corrupt because he comes from Chicago, but show me a politician who isn't corrupt and I'll show you a politician who hasn't been elected to much.

I am moderate enough to not like one party having all of the power. I'll be going after the Democrats a lot more in the next 2 years. Not because they're elite socialists, but because full governmental power tends to make people overstep their bounds. We are a moderate country. Not center-right (whatever that means) but center. Few people are represented by either party. I certainly am not, and calling me a moonbat doesn't make it more true. Yes I lean left, but not so far as to not recognize the other side isn't always wrong. Except on religion.

Part 2: The Blogosphere! Coming soon.

Your Sorry About The Lack Of Humor leader.


Mark Gisleson said...

Nice turn on the soapbox. I think you could run for office as a Democrat in most states, Minnesota not being most states thanks to all the Abide Zombies who run the DFL.

Your statement about paying income taxes is also off the mark. The poor do not need to pay income taxes as -- after rent and food -- their #1 expense is usually taxes. Sales and use taxes impact everyone regardless of income, which is probably why Gov. Timmy loves them so much.

DiscordianStooge said...

Yeah, I kind of back-pedaled on the tax thing. I don't know what kind of rebates/breaks there are on sales and property taxes, as I mentioned. As long as everyone is paying something.

Anonymous said...

I think you are too hard on yourself -- the problems we have today are due to ideologues who do not have a pragmatic bone in their body, and they are more than willing to throw everyone under the bus for the sake of their ideology and what they consider to be their unique insight to the world - everything is so simple. Afraid not, we need to appreciate both sides of the coin, and throw those who cannot into the bus, while those who can drive the bus.

Mark Gisleson said...

The most important thing to remember about taxes is that when you add them all up and allocate where the money goes, the suburbs are the biggest welfare mofos of them all. Everyone grinds on the poor from the tax collectors to the Mafia but Congress and our legislatures are only worried about the impact of taxes on the middle class (while only passing legislation to help the upper classes).