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Old October 31st, 2012, 09:26 AM   #51 (permalink)
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Unfortunately, for charity to replace government people would have to donate double digit percentages of their income to charities which may not be as efficient as social programs.
Many wealthy people donate quite a bit to charity. In any case, some charities are better than others, but government programs are almost always woefully inefficient. Even the worse charities tend to be more efficient than the government because charities have accountability. If they waste your money you won't give to them again. The feds get your money no matter what.

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Old October 31st, 2012, 02:15 PM   #52 (permalink)
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Time Banks aren't charities. They are an accounting mechanism for people's time donations. Indirect barter.

http://www.npr.org/2012/09/22/161380937/time-banks-help-spaniards-weather-financial-crisis

Money is a similar mechanism but not the only possible one.
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Old October 31st, 2012, 03:15 PM   #53 (permalink)
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Time Banks aren't charities. They are an accounting mechanism for people's time donations. Indirect barter.

'Time Banks' Help Spaniards Weather Financial Crisis : NPR

Money is a similar mechanism but not the only possible one.
And thats all well and good, but its essential that the Spanish Welfare system keeps keeping people afloat, and regional (state) governments continue to provide healthcare and education.
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Old October 31st, 2012, 03:46 PM   #54 (permalink)
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It will be interesting to see how this plays out. The Greek government is broke but the Greek people demand that the government give them more money. They throw out the austerity government thus guaranteeing that the EU won't loan them more money. Now what?

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Old October 31st, 2012, 06:32 PM   #55 (permalink)
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It will be interesting to see how this plays out. The Greek government is broke but the Greek people demand that the government give them more money. They throw out the austerity government thus guaranteeing that the EU won't loan them more money. Now what?
I'm sorry but you really don't understand the situation. The Greek people voted for austerity in the last election. They did not throw out the austerity parties. They are still in power.
The Greek people demand services that they have a right to, but their economy is not fit to provide them. The political class is totally inept, and still based around the immediate post-end-of-military rule situation. Corruption is rife within the upper middle class professional sector.

What Greece needs now IMO is a halt to the austerity, in return for more extensive reforms. Bring other Europeans in to work with civil servants. Clamp down on corruption, and put those found guilty on trial. Right now all the austerity does is tread water, causing to economy to shrink by as much as the savings (Golden rule of austerity - it shouldnt be causing the economy to shrink by much).

Also, apparently Greece is running a structural surplus when one excludes debt servicing. Shame we allowed them to not reduce their debt during the 2001-2007 timeframe, but states rights eh?
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Old October 31st, 2012, 08:54 PM   #56 (permalink)
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Thanks for the correction. It still looks bad.

Hmm. Greece went broke in 1893.

It looks like Greece was doing fine until just a few years ago. Now only the corrupt have money?
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Old October 31st, 2012, 09:28 PM   #57 (permalink)
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I confess I haven't been following the Greece story very closely. I know they are beyond broke and the government is on the verge of falling because of this. What services are the people demanding?

Also, just for the record, there is a big difference between forcing a state to do something and forcing a sovereign country to do something. Just saying.
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Old October 31st, 2012, 09:41 PM   #58 (permalink)
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It seems that in Europe food, clothing, shelter, education and healthcare are considered rights whereas in the US we think of those things as something we should work for. I see Greece as a test case to see which model will survive.
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Old November 1st, 2012, 07:09 AM   #59 (permalink)
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Thanks for the correction. It still looks bad.

Hmm. Greece went broke in 1893.

It looks like Greece was doing fine until just a few years ago. Now only the corrupt have money?
I think Greece has defaulted a good few many times in history. It was let into the union for the wrong reasons - political ones after their return to democracy. Culturally, economically etc they were not ready. Turkey would have been a better choice.

The thing is, Greece wasnt doing fine until a few years ago. IMO the problems started in the 90s with the Socialist government that governed pretty badly. Then New Democracy (Conservatives), came to power and continued the old policies, even more so. They moved massive amounts of health and military spending off the books, and were let into the currency union based on political considerations.

I'm not saying only the corrupt have money. Greece actually made a lot of strides towards less inequality in the past. The issue is corruption has infested the country.

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I confess I haven't been following the Greece story very closely. I know they are beyond broke and the government is on the verge of falling because of this. What services are the people demanding?

Also, just for the record, there is a big difference between forcing a state to do something and forcing a sovereign country to do something. Just saying.
They are beyond broke, government on the edge of falling is a bit hyperbolic. The people want the healthcare, education, welfare etc that they are entitled to. Unfortunately the political class would rather accept bribes to buy submarines or take dodgy contracts. The political class is less patriotic than many a sub-Saharan one. Terribly sad really.

As for your argument of state vs sovereign country - US states have sovereignty too. As far as I'm concerned Greece gave up some of it sovereignty by joining a political union, then a currency union. There should have been powers in place to analyse all countries budgets from the get-go. Unfortunately Germany and France wanted to deficit spend... and such is the nature of confedaralism.


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It seems that in Europe food, clothing, shelter, education and healthcare are considered rights whereas in the US we think of those things as something we should work for. I see Greece as a test case to see which model will survive.
Yeah those kids with heart defects should really work harder.

Anyway, Greece's problems are not one of entitlements. They're ones of corruption, backwardsness and lack of reform. Countries like the Czech Republic have been prudent post-Communism, are doing well (well as in they have caught up with average European GDP per capita in 20 years!), and have these entitlements. Likewise Netherlands, Denmark etc have robust social systems, are very business friendly and have low deficits.

You talk about Greece, I can throw Mississippi at you
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Old November 1st, 2012, 08:00 AM   #60 (permalink)
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The sovereignty a US state has is completely different from the sovereignty of a nation. Perfect example. If Greece decided tomorrow that it wanted to leave the union it could. It may or may not be a bad idea, but it would be able to do so. If Texas decided to leave the US tomorrow it would not be able to do so. Legally they are not allowed to leave the union.
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Old November 1st, 2012, 08:38 AM   #61 (permalink)
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The sovereignty a US state has is completely different from the sovereignty of a nation. Perfect example. If Greece decided tomorrow that it wanted to leave the union it could. It may or may not be a bad idea, but it would be able to do so. If Texas decided to leave the US tomorrow it would not be able to do so. Legally they are not allowed to leave the union.
Legally there are not allowed, but if the people of the state maintained a consistent will to secede, the federal government would have to grant them that choice, by devolving the power to them to choose, even if this requires constitutional change. This goes for Bavaria, Scotland, Catalonia, Flanders, Quebec etc. There is a mechanism to secede from Europe but it takes a couple of years. Scotland has negotiated its referendum for two years time. Northern Ireland or Wales could do the same. In this age of democracy things are in some respects, simpler than they appear.
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Old November 1st, 2012, 08:45 AM   #62 (permalink)
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Sure. It may take a few years and the process may be clunky, but said country could secede. Here in the States though, individual states are NOT allowed to secede under any circumstances. In order to do so they would have to literally go to war to win that right. There is no democratic method of secession. The states simply don't have the same sovereignty as a country like Greece or Scotland does.
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Old November 1st, 2012, 08:59 AM   #63 (permalink)
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Sure. It may take a few years and the process may be clunky, but said country could secede. Here in the States though, individual states are NOT allowed to secede under any circumstances. In order to do so they would have to literally go to war to win that right. There is no democratic method of secession. The states simply don't have the same sovereignty as a country like Greece or Scotland does.
But you see, Scotland did not have that sovereignty. But the people voted for the SNP, thus representing a democratic will for a referendum on independence. The UK government thus changed their (unwritten) constitution to allow this. There is no reason why Texas could not do the same.
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Old November 1st, 2012, 09:15 AM   #64 (permalink)
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Texas could vote unanimously that they had the right to leave the union. It would not matter. The United States would not recognize the legitimacy of that vote. They would not even recognize that the state of Texas even has the right to vote on that. In order for Texas to even gain the right to consider secession would literally involve a war. We fought a civil war 150 years ago that firmly established that states do not have the right to leave the union. Any state that voted to leave the union would not have the validity of their vote recognized by the other 49 states. If any of them did, then we'd be going down the road to civil war again.
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Old November 1st, 2012, 09:17 AM   #65 (permalink)
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Texas could vote unanimously that they had the right to leave the union. It would not matter. The United States would not recognize the legitimacy of that vote. They would not even recognize that the state of Texas even has the right to vote on that. In order for Texas to even gain the right to consider secession would literally involve a war. We fought a civil war 150 years ago that firmly established that states do not have the right to leave the union. Any state that voted to leave the union would not have the validity of their vote recognized by the other 49 states. If any of them did, then we'd be going down the road to civil war again.
Please, actually read my posts. It is illegal for Texas to secede. But if there was a genuine will, the federal government would be morally obliged to give them a vote on the matter....
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Old November 1st, 2012, 12:11 PM   #66 (permalink)
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Please, actually read my posts. It is illegal for Texas to secede. But if there was a genuine will, the federal government would be morally obliged to give them a vote on the matter....
No it wouldn't. Not in this country. Again, we fought a war over this very issue. States wanted to secede and actually voted to secede at the time. The genuine will to secede was there. It was decided, after much bloodshed, that secession was not allowed.
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Old November 1st, 2012, 03:27 PM   #67 (permalink)
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No it wouldn't. Not in this country. Again, we fought a war over this very issue. States wanted to secede and actually voted to secede at the time. The genuine will to secede was there. It was decided, after much bloodshed, that secession was not allowed.
The UK fought a war over Irish secession against armed rebels. 90 years ago. Today they are happy for Northern Ireland to secede if they so wish. The Spanish civil war was raging three quarters of a century ago. These days, lot of conservatives there would not approve of Basque or Catalan secession, but nonetheless if the people maintain a strong wish for it it will happen.

You're stuck in the past maaaan.
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Old November 1st, 2012, 04:09 PM   #68 (permalink)
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If the rest of the nation doesn't wish for it to happen then it comes down to a contest of wills.
Here's a clear-eyed view from a participant of such a contest:

Quote:
It seems to me, in contemplating the history of the past two years,
that all the people of our country, North, South, East, and West,
have been undergoing a salutary political schooling, learning
lessons which might have been acquired from the experience of other
people; but we had all become so wise in our own conceit that we
would only learn by actual experience of our own. The people even
of small and unimportant localities, North as well as South, had
reasoned themselves into the belief that their opinions were
superior to the aggregated interest of the whole nation. Half our
territorial nation rebelled, on a doctrine of secession that they
themselves now scout; and a real numerical majority actually
believed that a little State was endowed with such sovereignty that
it could defeat the policy of the great whole. I think the present
war has exploded that notion, and were this war to cease now, the
experience gained, though dear, would be worth the expense.

Another great and important natural truth is still in contest, and
can only be solved by war. Numerical majorities by vote have been
our great arbiter. Heretofore all men have cheerfully submitted to
it in questions left open, but numerical majorities are not
necessarily physical majorities. The South, though numerically
inferior, contend they can whip the Northern superiority of
numbers, and therefore by natural law they contend that they are
not bound to submit. This issue is the only real one, and in my
judgment all else should be deferred to it. War alone can decide
it, and it is the only question now left for us as a people to
decide. Can we whip the South? If we can, our numerical majority
has both the natural and constitutional right to govern them. If
we cannot whip them, they contend for the natural right to select
their own government, and they have the argument. Our armies must
prevail over theirs; our officers, marshals, and courts, must
penetrate into the innermost recesses of their land, before we have
the natural right to demand their submission.
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Old November 1st, 2012, 04:11 PM   #69 (permalink)
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Old November 1st, 2012, 04:32 PM   #70 (permalink)
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Our American endorsement: Which one? | The Economist

The economist is decent center-right publication, interesting to see this. Romney isnt great at the auld economics.
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Old November 1st, 2012, 04:56 PM   #71 (permalink)
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The UK fought a war over Irish secession against armed rebels. 90 years ago. Today they are happy for Northern Ireland to secede if they so wish. The Spanish civil war was raging three quarters of a century ago. These days, lot of conservatives there would not approve of Basque or Catalan secession, but nonetheless if the people maintain a strong wish for it it will happen.

You're stuck in the past maaaan.
I would challenge a single American to disagree with me. There is no way in seven hells the US would validate a state wanting to leave the union. That's my contention. I would challenge any American to disagree with me.
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Old November 1st, 2012, 05:09 PM   #72 (permalink)
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I would challenge a single American to disagree with me. There is no way in seven hells the US would validate a state wanting to leave the union. That's my contention. I would challenge any American to disagree with me.
If the people of Texas, or California expressed their wish to secede in a democratic, mature way, accepting responsibility for fair portions of debt, negotiating free trade, and military alliance treaties etc.. well I think that the US public would be a right shower to start shooting at them.

One needs only look at Quebec, for example.

Get your head out of the nineteenth century.
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Old November 1st, 2012, 07:15 PM   #73 (permalink)
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If the people of Texas, or California expressed their wish to secede in a democratic, mature way, accepting responsibility for fair portions of debt, negotiating free trade, and military alliance treaties etc.. well I think that the US public would be a right shower to start shooting at them.

One needs only look at Quebec, for example.

Get your head out of the nineteenth century.
Would NEVER happen. States simply do not have the right to even vote to secede. A war was fought to prove that. The other states would not honor any vote to secede. Apparently history and legal precedent means nothing to you. But again, you're not an American so I don't expect you to understand our culture. I go back to what I said previously though. States don't have anywhere close to the same sovereignty as independent countries do.
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Old November 2nd, 2012, 03:36 AM   #74 (permalink)
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Would NEVER happen. States simply do not have the right to even vote to secede. A war was fought to prove that. The other states would not honor any vote to secede. Apparently history and legal precedent means nothing to you. But again, you're not an American so I don't expect you to understand our culture. I go back to what I said previously though. States don't have anywhere close to the same sovereignty as independent countries do.
You don't seem to get the concept that secession does not require the States to have had the sovereignty to do so the whole time, just to have been granted the authority via constitution amendment or otherwise. Read my posts. I'm not say its ******* legal now.
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Old November 2nd, 2012, 06:28 AM   #75 (permalink)
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You don't seem to get the concept that secession does not require the States to have had the sovereignty to do so the whole time, just to have been granted the authority via constitution amendment or otherwise. Read my posts. I'm not say its ******* legal now.

It's not even possible. The union would have to validate any states vote and the only way that would happen is through war.

In any case a country has far far more sovereignty than a state in the US not even close.
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Old November 2nd, 2012, 11:19 PM   #76 (permalink)
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Please excuse my naive question. Why not just have a flat federal sales tax. The more you spend the more you pay. Do away with income taxes. This would eliminate all the loopholes and EVERYONE would pay their fair share. I believe it would do away the IRS as well. It's simple and no one would be able to cheat.

I can see the flaw because then the wealthy would not have a way to dodge taxes and the poor (like myself) would pay as well.

Am I over-simplifying it?
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Old November 3rd, 2012, 08:51 AM   #77 (permalink)
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I am a huge fan of a national sales tax. The objections to it seem to be the claim that it wouldn't raise nearly enough money as we need. People also claim that it unfairly punishes poor people who would end up paying a larger percentage in taxes. I'm not an economist and haven't done the hardcore analysis of the issue TBH so I don't know how valid either of these claims are. States certainly manage to support themselves on a sales tax. Some states have no sales tax at all and manage to stay afloat. It would be interesting to study exactly how those states do that and what income streams they use. Maybe that would be practical on a national level. Maybe not.
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Old November 3rd, 2012, 11:45 AM   #78 (permalink)
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Some states rely in an income tax plus a sales tax. It could spawn a good debate.
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Old November 3rd, 2012, 01:11 PM   #79 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by buzzcon View Post
Some states rely in an income tax plus a sales tax. It could spawn a good debate.
It absolutely could and it's one that should happen on a national level.
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Old November 3rd, 2012, 02:34 PM   #80 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by A.Nonymous View Post
I am a huge fan of a national sales tax. The objections to it seem to be the claim that it wouldn't raise nearly enough money as we need. People also claim that it unfairly punishes poor people who would end up paying a larger percentage in taxes. I'm not an economist and haven't done the hardcore analysis of the issue TBH so I don't know how valid either of these claims are. States certainly manage to support themselves on a sales tax. Some states have no sales tax at all and manage to stay afloat. It would be interesting to study exactly how those states do that and what income streams they use. Maybe that would be practical on a national level. Maybe not.
Well, as I said before, a national sales tax would have to be around 30% to abolish income tax and fund the federal government. There would also need to be a big increase of excise duties on fuel, alcohol etc, which would be a good thing. This would require states and local govt to stop levying sales taxes, and they would all have to implement progressive income tax systems. Now, a 30% sales tax is not impossible. Its 28% in Hungary and 25% in Sweden. But it would hit the poorest fairly hard, and require an increase in transfers. To account for the loss of income tax to the states, the federal government would need to institute a German (or Australian) style transfer union, based o GDP per capita and or services and taxation.
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Old November 3rd, 2012, 05:05 PM   #81 (permalink)
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I don't know that the states would need to change their tax structure at all. Certainly the feds don't have the authority at present to dictate what kind of tax structure the States adopt. Currently some states have no income tax at all and remain solvent. Other states (hi California) have high taxes and are teetering on the edge. It all depends on how the state is run. I'm not sure why the States would need to change their tax structure at all.

I don't entirely buy that the poorest would be hit fairly hard. I don't think it would be all that difficult to simply grant a refund to those living at the poverty level. That's how I would propose handling it.
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