Go Back   Bloggingheads Community > Diavlog comments
FAQ Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Notices

Diavlog comments Post comments about particular diavlogs here.
(Users cannot create new threads.)

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #41  
Old 10-11-2011, 12:34 PM
bkjazfan bkjazfan is offline
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: South Los Angeles, Ca.
Posts: 1,192
Default Re: Darwinism and Libertarianism (Matt Welch & Robert Frank)

Obviously the USPS business model is dated. They have lost most of their package delivery to UPS and Fed Ex. These competitors unlike the post office pay taxes, vehicle registration fees, make a profit, and receive no loans from the government. Now, many send letters via email, pay bills online, and rarely use first class mail except to write a loved one in prison.

In 2010 they lost 10 billion dollars and are billions behind in their pension fund. Changes have to be made. Personally, I could receive mail 2 times a week and live with that OK. At a minimum Saturday delivery should be axed. Whatever else they do the goal is to become fiscally solvent which they are currently failing at.

Last edited by bkjazfan; 10-11-2011 at 12:38 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #42  
Old 10-11-2011, 01:05 PM
rcocean rcocean is offline
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 1,077
Default Re: Darwinism and Libertarianism (Matt Welch & Robert Frank)

Quote:
Originally Posted by ledocs View Post
On Bob Wright's theme of libertarians recurring to first principles, here is a good example of this in this dv:


http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/39215?in=48:25&out=48:59


So I thought the general idea with libertarianism was to minimize governmental interference in the contractual process among free individuals. But I either did not know, or need to be reminded, that the view of human nature undergirding the schema is highly sanguine, or Rousseauian. "Human beings, if left to their own devices, will not generally rape and pillage one another." I am a Hobbesian on this point. What is the empirical evidence that human beings, even speaking about in-group behavior only, will not generally "rape and pillage" one another? Put another way, it is in the natural order of human things that the strong will attempt, and often succeed, to dominate the weak. One of the functions of modern "liberal" government is to offset this natural tendency. Another function of government, or of civil service bureaucracies, is to attempt to substitute meritocracies of competence for other kinds of hierarchies based upon brute strength or family/clan relationships, for example. And what I cannot fathom is how libertarianism, which is commonly thought to be about defending markets, could possibly cleave to this sanguine view of human nature, a view which is completely at odds with the real world of the US and international market economy, in which actors typically seek their own advantage at the expense of counterparties. It's all a state of governed warfare.
Exactly. Libertarianism is so full of contradictions and so out of touch with reality, its difficult to take them seriously or to believe they actually believe what they say.

They want to get the "Government off our backs" except to protect property rights, the sanctity of the contract (no matter how one sided) and maintain a minimal amount of law and order.

So what if you don't have property? Well, no soup for you. Even more absurd we had a libertarian society in the USA in 1912. No Fed, no income tax and the US Government was 1 percent of GNP and spent most of it on the Post Office and national defense.

As shown in the Great Depression and WWII, that kind of Federal government can't exist in the real world. People like welfare, unemployment insurance, the FDA, food stamps, social security, Medicare, aid to education, etc. and they think people with money should pay more in taxes then those who don't.

Libertarians are nothing more than a distraction from real debate. They're like some little kid who's always interrupting a serious adult discussion and asking why don't we just get Santa Claus to help.

Last edited by rcocean; 10-11-2011 at 01:07 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #43  
Old 10-11-2011, 01:47 PM
uncle ebeneezer uncle ebeneezer is offline
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 3,332
Default Re: Darwinism and Libertarianism (Matt Welch & Robert Frank)

Your wager on UPS being able to do the same the job as the USPS better, sounds a bit like a free-market-fairy fantasy. I'm not saying that it couldn't. I don't know enough about the operations of either. But I think the assumption that the private sector can do ANYTHING the public can and better, has it's limits.

What if, as Twin points out, UPS and Fedex can only be profitable by serving a far smaller geographical area? Do you think that an American taxpayer should have the rightful expectation of being able to send/receive mail from their residence?
__________________
Uncle Ebeneezer Such a fine line between clever and stupid.
Reply With Quote
  #44  
Old 10-11-2011, 04:05 PM
thouartgob thouartgob is offline
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 765
Default Re: Darwinism and Libertarianism (Matt Welch & Robert Frank)

Quote:
Originally Posted by bkjazfan View Post
Obviously the USPS business model is dated. They have lost most of their package delivery to UPS and Fed Ex. These competitors unlike the post office pay taxes, vehicle registration fees, make a profit, and receive no loans from the government. Now, many send letters via email, pay bills online, and rarely use first class mail except to write a loved one in prison.

In 2010 they lost 10 billion dollars and are billions behind in their pension fund. Changes have to be made. Personally, I could receive mail 2 times a week and live with that OK. At a minimum Saturday delivery should be axed. Whatever else they do the goal is to become fiscally solvent which they are currently failing at.
Another thing that USPS that their competitors don't have to do ( or any other govt. agency for that matter ) is “prefund its future health care benefit payments to retirees for the next 75 years in an astonishing ten-year time span”. If it wasn't for the lame duck congress passing Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act in 2006 the Postal Service would arguably be in 1.5 billion in the black. The deficit is mostly caused by this attempt at privatization ( passed by voice vote in House/unanimous consent senate, meaning no record of the individual votes kept) . Tough to run the service when the people in charge of the purse want you gone.
__________________
Newt Gingrich:“People like me are what stand between us and Auschwitz.”
Reply With Quote
  #45  
Old 10-11-2011, 08:05 PM
rfrobison rfrobison is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Tokyo
Posts: 1,629
Default Re: Darwinism and Libertarianism (Matt Welch & Robert Frank)

Quote:
Originally Posted by uncle ebeneezer View Post
Your wager on UPS being able to do the same the job as the USPS better, sounds a bit like a free-market-fairy fantasy. I'm not saying that it couldn't. I don't know enough about the operations of either. But I think the assumption that the private sector can do ANYTHING the public can and better, has it's limits.

What if, as Twin points out, UPS and Fedex can only be profitable by serving a far smaller geographical area? Do you think that an American taxpayer should have the rightful expectation of being able to send/receive mail from their residence?
I think you could structure the contract in such a way as to require the contractor to provide universal service and let the company decide how best to go about it. It is likely that prices for some deliveries would rise for some people. Infrequent mailers would no doubt pay more to send things cross country than bulk mailers sending stuff across town, but that doesn't strike me as inherently unfair.

Again, we have examples of countries that have privatized their mail delivery, and they seem to do OK. Maybe there is something about the U.S. that makes privatization impossible, but I can't think what it might be.

As for whether the private sector can do ANYTHING better than the government, of course I agree that it cannot. I think talk of abolishing public schools is nonsense; I wouldn't want mercenaries defending U.S. borders.

The point is the government should look at ways to do fewer things, better. Rather than more things, badly. The postal service is pretty small potatoes either way. It was just an example.
__________________
Send lawyers, guns and money/Dad, get me outta this
--Warren Zevon--

Last edited by rfrobison; 10-11-2011 at 08:06 PM.. Reason: punctuation, caps
Reply With Quote
  #46  
Old 10-11-2011, 10:10 PM
cragger cragger is offline
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 632
Default Re: Darwinism and Libertarianism (Matt Welch & Robert Frank)

Quote:
Originally Posted by rfrobison View Post
The question is whether it would be possible for the private sector to do the same job for zero public dollars, or at least a lot fewer than are spent at the moment. .... There is no reason to believe that companies like FedEx or UPS couldn't do exactly what the USPS does, better and/or more cheaply than Uncle Sam.
The fact that no private companies are doing what the post office does for less seems like a pretty good reason to believe that they can't in fact do so and make what they consider an acceptable profit. FedEx and UPS have essentially taken the cream from the delivery service and left that business they can't profitably compete with. I can contract with either service to send a package containing a letter, a check in payment of debt, or anything else that I might otherwise chose. I cannot do so for the price the post office charges. The answer to "the question" you pose above appears to be "no".
Reply With Quote
  #47  
Old 10-11-2011, 10:16 PM
rfrobison rfrobison is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Tokyo
Posts: 1,629
Default Re: Darwinism and Libertarianism (Matt Welch & Robert Frank)

Quote:
Originally Posted by cragger View Post
The fact that no private companies are doing what the post office does for less seems like a pretty good reason to believe that they can't in fact do so and make what they consider an acceptable profit. FedEx and UPS have essentially taken the cream from the delivery service and left that business they can't profitably compete with. I can contract with either service to send a package containing a letter, a check in payment of debt, or anything else that I might otherwise chose. I cannot do so for the price the post office charges. The answer to "the question" you pose above appears to be "no".
Again, I don't see why that need be so. How do you explain the fact that other countries have successfully privatized their postal services? As for why private sector doesn't do everything the USPS does, the answer is simple: They are prohibited from delivering first class mail by law. Again, I don't see why this is the case, other than that the postal service has an interest in protecting its legal monopoly.
__________________
Send lawyers, guns and money/Dad, get me outta this
--Warren Zevon--
Reply With Quote
  #48  
Old 10-11-2011, 10:29 PM
cragger cragger is offline
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 632
Default Re: Darwinism and Libertarianism (Matt Welch & Robert Frank)

That which is sent through private carriers may not be called "first class mail" or have whatever legal status that classification entails, but I am unaware of any restriction that prevents the contents of an envelope or package sent by private carrier from being identical with that sent via the post office. Whatever situation may obtain in other countries, "the question" as you put it. in the US, is whether we or I can get the service provided by the post office for less from a for-profit carrier. Given that we have alternate carriers competing with the post office at this very moment, it seems clear that for those classes of material that the post office now carries the answer is no.
Reply With Quote
  #49  
Old 10-11-2011, 10:44 PM
badhatharry badhatharry is offline
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: eastern sierra
Posts: 5,413
Default Re: Darwinism and Libertarianism (Matt Welch & Robert Frank)

Quote:
Originally Posted by ledocs View Post
So I thought the general idea with libertarianism was to minimize governmental interference in the contractual process among free individuals. But I either did not know, or need to be reminded, that the view of human nature undergirding the schema is highly sanguine, or Rousseauian. "Human beings, if left to their own devices, will not generally rape and pillage one another."
I have never heard this idea expressed by a libertarian. I think they have a generally realistic view of human nature. However they are not so foolish to believe that the government is run by anyone other than the same flawed humans of whom you speak. And the condition that makes the government run by those flawed human beings more harrowing than your average raper and pillager is that they have more power. I would venture to say, as well, that libertarians are not opposed to laws against raping and pillaging.

Quote:
And what I cannot fathom is how libertarianism, which is commonly thought to be about defending markets...
Libertarianism isn't about defending markets. Markets are about people and wherever people exist, so do markets. The market can be relatively free as in the US or fashioned so as to be highly ineffective as we have seen in the command economies. As far as the way libertarians view markets, they believe that the less restricted markets are, more benefit for the most people will occur.
__________________
"By pursuing his own interest he frequently promotes that of the society more effectually than when he really intends to promote it." Adam Smith

Last edited by badhatharry; 10-12-2011 at 12:24 AM..
Reply With Quote
  #50  
Old 10-12-2011, 12:30 AM
badhatharry badhatharry is offline
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: eastern sierra
Posts: 5,413
Default Re: Darwinism and Libertarianism (Matt Welch & Robert Frank)

Quote:
Originally Posted by rcocean View Post
Exactly. Libertarianism is so full of contradictions and so out of touch with reality, its difficult to take them seriously or to believe they actually believe what they say.

They want to get the "Government off our backs" except to protect property rights, the sanctity of the contract (no matter how one sided) and maintain a minimal amount of law and order.

So what if you don't have property? Well, no soup for you. Even more absurd we had a libertarian society in the USA in 1912. No Fed, no income tax and the US Government was 1 percent of GNP and spent most of it on the Post Office and national defense.

As shown in the Great Depression and WWII, that kind of Federal government can't exist in the real world. People like welfare, unemployment insurance, the FDA, food stamps, social security, Medicare, aid to education, etc. and they think people with money should pay more in taxes then those who don't.

Libertarians are nothing more than a distraction from real debate. They're like some little kid who's always interrupting a serious adult discussion and asking why don't we just get Santa Claus to help.
Splendid argument! especially the parts about people liking welfare, etc and then describing libertarians as folks who want help from Santa Claus.

__________________
"By pursuing his own interest he frequently promotes that of the society more effectually than when he really intends to promote it." Adam Smith
Reply With Quote
  #51  
Old 10-12-2011, 01:00 AM
rfrobison rfrobison is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Tokyo
Posts: 1,629
Default Re: Darwinism and Libertarianism (Matt Welch & Robert Frank)

Quote:
Originally Posted by cragger View Post
That which is sent through private carriers may not be called "first class mail" or have whatever legal status that classification entails, but I am unaware of any restriction that prevents the contents of an envelope or package sent by private carrier from being identical with that sent via the post office. Whatever situation may obtain in other countries, "the question" as you put it. in the US, is whether we or I can get the service provided by the post office for less from a for-profit carrier. Given that we have alternate carriers competing with the post office at this very moment, it seems clear that for those classes of material that the post office now carries the answer is no.
The question isn't strictly whether it can be done for less money, but less public money. I see no reason why I should have to subsidize someone else's mail delivery.

As for the rest, your answer to the question seems to boil down to "America is different. We have nothing to learn from other countries."

Good to know that American exceptionalism is alive and well on the left side of the aisle.
__________________
Send lawyers, guns and money/Dad, get me outta this
--Warren Zevon--
Reply With Quote
  #52  
Old 10-12-2011, 01:23 AM
Starwatcher162536 Starwatcher162536 is offline
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 1,658
Default Re: Darwinism and Libertarianism (Matt Welch & Robert Frank)

I thought the USPS wasn't funded through public money, ie taxes, but instead through fees for service. It is as of now being funded by governmental loans, but as thouartgob mentions up-thread this is only the result of mandates on the USPS that probably no private company could survive if it had to also comply with said mandate. So under normal situations little if any public money is used. This would seem to be an ideal situation as the state has an interest to ensure communication and transport, even in times of high volatility, but near direct competition by entities such as FedEx prevents much of the ills associated with monopolies and state programs.

I'm not going to say this is true with certainty since all I know about it comes from thougobart's post which is sourced from something I am not predisposed to take at face value, but it does seem this is a case of those not liking government purposely making government run badly to use as an excuse later for killing government they don't like.
__________________
Six Phases of a Project: (1)Enthusiasm (2)Disillusionment (3)Panic (4)Search for the Guilty (5)Punishment of the Innocent (6)Praise and Honors for the Non-Participants
Reply With Quote
  #53  
Old 10-12-2011, 02:09 AM
uncle ebeneezer uncle ebeneezer is offline
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 3,332
Default Re: Darwinism and Libertarianism (Matt Welch & Robert Frank)

Quote:
I see no reason why I should have to subsidize someone else's mail delivery.
Isn't there a libertarian flotilla somewhere you can move to where you won't suffer such oppression?
__________________
Uncle Ebeneezer Such a fine line between clever and stupid.
Reply With Quote
  #54  
Old 10-12-2011, 02:41 AM
rfrobison rfrobison is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Tokyo
Posts: 1,629
Default Re: Darwinism and Libertarianism (Matt Welch & Robert Frank)

Quote:
Originally Posted by uncle ebeneezer View Post
Isn't there a libertarian flotilla somewhere you can move to where you won't suffer such oppression?
By Jove you're right, Eb! Silly me. Cars are also useful tools. Please have Obama gift-wrap a Ferrari for me. If that seems a bit much, I'd settle (grudgingly) for a Prius.

[SIGH]
__________________
Send lawyers, guns and money/Dad, get me outta this
--Warren Zevon--
Reply With Quote
  #55  
Old 10-12-2011, 02:49 AM
piscivorous piscivorous is offline
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 2,593
Default Re: Darwinism and Libertarianism (Matt Welch & Robert Frank)

Yes the the nature of homo sapiens is far from idyllic, must be the reptilian DNA, we have inherited along the evolutionary path.
Reply With Quote
  #56  
Old 10-12-2011, 03:25 AM
Florian Florian is offline
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 2,118
Default Re: Darwinism and Libertarianism (Matt Welch & Robert Frank)

Quote:
Originally Posted by ledocs View Post
On Bob Wright's theme of libertarians recurring to first principles, here is a good example of this in this dv:


http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/39215?in=48:25&out=48:59


So I thought the general idea with libertarianism was to minimize governmental interference in the contractual process among free individuals. But I either did not know, or need to be reminded, that the view of human nature undergirding the schema is highly sanguine, or Rousseauian. "Human beings, if left to their own devices, will not generally rape and pillage one another." I am a Hobbesian on this point.
That is the standard, textbook, history-of-ideas version of Rousseau. But it is inaccurate, indeed wrong. Once human beings leave the "state of nature," a state of animal-like solitude and asociality, they become as rapacious and violent as Hobbes thought. Hence the need for the "social contract."

I think American libertarians can trace their intellectual ancestry to Enlightenment figures like the French physiocrats, Adam Smith, Thomas Paine, Condorcet, and William Godwin. Those, in any case, who have advanced beyond the sophomoric idiocies of the Russo-American crackpot, Ayn Rand.

Quote:
What is the empirical evidence that human beings, even speaking about in-group behavior only, will not generally "rape and pillage" one another? Put another way, it is in the natural order of human things that the strong will attempt, and often succeed, to dominate the weak.
Pure Rousseau!

Quote:
One of the functions of modern "liberal" government is to offset this natural tendency. Another function of government, or of civil service bureaucracies, is to attempt to substitute meritocracies of competence for other kinds of hierarchies based upon brute strength or family/clan relationships, for example. And what I cannot fathom is how libertarianism, which is commonly thought to be about defending markets, could possibly cleave to this sanguine view of human nature, a view which is completely at odds with the real world of the US and international market economy, in which actors typically seek their own advantage at the expense of counterparties. It's all a state of governed warfare.
Fortunately, libertarians are mainly confined to the United States and even there are a tiny minority.

Last edited by Florian; 10-12-2011 at 03:36 AM..
Reply With Quote
  #57  
Old 10-12-2011, 06:52 AM
miceelf miceelf is offline
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 2,569
Default Re: Darwinism and Libertarianism (Matt Welch & Robert Frank)

Quote:
Originally Posted by cragger View Post
That which is sent through private carriers may not be called "first class mail" or have whatever legal status that classification entails, but I am unaware of any restriction that prevents the contents of an envelope or package sent by private carrier from being identical with that sent via the post office.
And they are certainly not forbidden from charging 39 cents or even lower for such mail.
Reply With Quote
  #58  
Old 10-12-2011, 06:56 AM
miceelf miceelf is offline
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 2,569
Default Re: Darwinism and Libertarianism (Matt Welch & Robert Frank)

Quote:
Originally Posted by rfrobison View Post
The question isn't strictly whether it can be done for less money, but less public money. I see no reason why I should have to subsidize someone else's mail delivery.
You're not subsidizing any mail delivery. The post office operates on fee for service. The only reason they're getting loans is because they were subjected to the congressional mandates intended to drive them out of business.

That's the one advantage that a private company would have; they wouldn't be overseen by congressional republicans intent on ensuring that they fail.
Reply With Quote
  #59  
Old 10-12-2011, 08:43 AM
Ocean Ocean is offline
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: US Northeast
Posts: 6,784
Default Re: Darwinism and Libertarianism (Matt Welch & Robert Frank)

Quote:
Originally Posted by uncle ebeneezer View Post
Isn't there a libertarian flotilla somewhere you can move to where you won't suffer such oppression?
This discussion is the usual Libertarian Nonsense Part N. Every time someone says something like "why do I have to pay for someone else's (insert here: health, education, mail, safety, roads, etc.)?", I truly wonder whether 1. they believe that they are paying for all that singlehandedly, and 2. they are under the impression that no one ever paid for them to receive similar benefits (never mailed or received a letter, never used a road, never received any form of subsidized health intervention, never used public education, libraries and the like).

Considering that 1. and 2. above are highly unlikely, I have to question the person's sense of participating in a society where we necessarily receive benefits and in time, pay back to some degree or the other. That's the most basic understanding of cooperation. So, such statements as "why should I pay for someone else's X?" are literally nonsense.

And no, Rob, mailing a letter is not equivalent to owning a Ferrari, so you're not buying the logic there, and neither do you.
Reply With Quote
  #60  
Old 10-12-2011, 08:44 AM
jimM47 jimM47 is offline
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 459
Default Re: Darwinism and Libertarianism (Matt Welch & Robert Frank)

Quote:
Originally Posted by ledocs View Post
I would like the dvers to have spent more time talking about the economic questions raised by the culture of expensive suits. I thought Frank was too quick to concede there. One might have talked about luxury goods in general, talked about Veblen. I would have thought that an excise tax on luxury goods is the kind of thing that would appeal to Frank. It’s not even clear that such a tax would reduce demand, since I gather that there is some evidence that the more expensive a luxury good is, the more the target market wants it.
The most relavent part of my longer reaction initially intended to be written here:
Quote:
If I recall my history of biology correctly, Frank's analogy about the peacock is drawn from the group-selection debate, and it reflects the insight that competition for mates can select for adaptations that aren't really beneficial to individual peacocks. But indeed, this reflects the fact that no adaptation is ever selected to benefit the individual organisms. The evolution of the genepool isn't a mechanism for generating peacock welfare; peacocks are just a way that peacock genes use to make more of themselves. The emergent order of evolution is directed neither at the interests of peacocks in general nor at the interests of individual peacocks, it is directed at the interests of genes. Peacocks are the objects of the emergent order of evolution. You can't really say the same thing for the emergent order of the market. It is concern for the welfare of individual market participants that is the basic "selection" mechanism in a market. The objects of the emergent order of the market are productive resources, not humans per se.

But with that in mind, let's examine the collective action problems that Frank is pointing to and analogizing to a classical market failure. The peacock story represents competition for a positional good. A classical good will see increased production when its price goes up, but a positional good will not see increased production as the result of increased price. Competition to attain these goods is thus a zero-sum game and will only drive up their price. Thus someone who bids for a positional good will, in some sense, impose a cost on other bidders. If all the bidders got together and internalized these costs, they would instead collude to purchase the positional good for a much lower price. In the peacock story the supply of mates is basically fixed, and therefore positional, and tail size is the cost of bidding — in an all-pay auction, no less.

The story about the finance job seekers and their custom suits is another example analogous to an all-pay auction for a positional good. In this case the "good" is actually the finance job (conceptually a bit contorted, I know) and the pricy suit is the cost of bidding. Now, actually, the finance job isn't positional, because there would be more of them if the price changed, but we can say that it is positional with respect to the pricy suit. If all the job seekers agreed to buy the same cheap suit, the same number of jobs would get filled. The fact that the group of bidders could get the same collective result while spending less money means that in some sense there is a "rent" — payment beyond that necessary for the good to be caused to come into being — being collected.

But why is this strange suit nonsense happening at all? It's not even like the finance employer is getting the money from all these suit purchases! Well, let's go back to one of our classical market failures: asymmetric information. The potential employee has a pretty good idea how much work he is willing to do and what his talents have been, whereas the potential employee does not, and it is costly to make a hiring mistake. In order to prevent a "lemons market" failure, the potential employees need to effectively signal their worth. One way is to convey actual useful information. But another is to use one of Anthony Kronman's primitive contracting devices: hostage-taking, collateral, union or hands-tying. Buying a really fancy suit that is very affordable if the applicant can hold down a finance job, but very imprudent if he cannot, is a form of hands-tying. The applicant is saying, in effect, "you can trust that I'm telling the truth when I vouch for my quality, because if I am not, I stand to take a big loss."

So, in fact, the suit example isn't a failure of the market, it is an institution that is helping to correct a market failure. That means we need to re-examine the question of whether, if the applicants all decided to buy the same cheap suit, things would still be the same. The suit competition is actually conveying information that is useful to the market, and therefore increases societal wealth. Our collective action problem is only a collective action problem if we define the relevant group in a particular and limited way. There's nothing that needs to be done by the government to stop the applicants from purchasing pricy suits, because until some better alternative comes along, they need to signal a costly pre-commitment regardless of what the government's suit policy is.

Of course, there is a distinction to be made between a government intervention done to correct a market failure and an intervention intended to benefit government. It's not bad that there is a rent being collected somewhere, but if someone is going to collect it, why not the government? There is nothing special about the intrinsic qualities of the $2k suit that the finance applicant is buying. All it needs to do is effectively convey that he spent $2k on it. If the government slapped a 100% tax on suits, he would buy the suit that otherwise costs $1k, and it would still effectively convey that he spent $2k on it.
I actually served as the interlocutor for an Apollo Diavlog in which hamandcheese was attempting to make a critique similar to Frank's (but which was hampered by sound problems), and you will find some additional (though perhaps less developed) remarks on the subject in the comments section to that diavlog.
Reply With Quote
  #61  
Old 10-12-2011, 09:51 AM
badhatharry badhatharry is offline
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: eastern sierra
Posts: 5,413
Default Re: Darwinism and Libertarianism (Matt Welch & Robert Frank)

Quote:
Originally Posted by jimM47 View Post
So, in fact, the suit example isn't a failure of the market, it is an institution that is helping to correct a market failure. That means we need to re-examine the question of whether, if the applicants all decided to buy the same cheap suit, things would still be the same. The suit competition is actually conveying information that is useful to the market, and therefore increases societal wealth. Our collective action problem is only a collective action problem if we define the relevant group in a particular and limited way. There's nothing that needs to be done by the government to stop the applicants from purchasing pricy suits, because until some better alternative comes along, they need to signal a costly pre-commitment regardless of what the government's suit policy is.
It is my contention, erroneous though it may be, that the market does not fail. When someone says market failure I get the vision of some well-running machine that suddenly starts stalling and smoking, The way I see it the market just runs. It takes any and all inputs and then produces outcomes and gives feedback. I suppose it could be considered market failure if it didn't do these things, but can you give me an example of when it hasn't? Not that the market is easy to predict.

The pricey suit example reminds me of the ubiquitous BA which it seems is now required for any entry level job. Good for colleges and college professors.
__________________
"By pursuing his own interest he frequently promotes that of the society more effectually than when he really intends to promote it." Adam Smith

Last edited by badhatharry; 10-12-2011 at 10:21 AM..
Reply With Quote
  #62  
Old 10-12-2011, 11:18 AM
rfrobison rfrobison is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Tokyo
Posts: 1,629
Default Re: Darwinism and Libertarianism (Matt Welch & Robert Frank)

Which mandates are you referring to? Jimmeny Christmas! The Republicans control one half of one branch of government. How can they possibly be responsible for the USPS's problems?

Ocean and Eb are not giving my question a fair hearing: How is it that a country like Germany, a place with a generous welfare state, manages to have a privately run postal system without betraying its commitment to fairness?

What could possibly be the motive for screaming, "Eek! A libertarian!" other than to close off discussion. The beast won't starve to death. It'll die of a heart attack from morbid obesity.

I can hardly wait.
__________________
Send lawyers, guns and money/Dad, get me outta this
--Warren Zevon--

Last edited by rfrobison; 10-12-2011 at 11:21 AM..
Reply With Quote
  #63  
Old 10-12-2011, 11:55 AM
miceelf miceelf is offline
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 2,569
Default Re: Darwinism and Libertarianism (Matt Welch & Robert Frank)

Quote:
Originally Posted by rfrobison View Post
Which mandates are you referring to? Jimmeny Christmas! The Republicans control one half of one branch of government. How can they possibly be responsible for the USPS's problems?
thouartgob already linked to the bill HR6407, done in the lameduck congress of 2006; i.e., after the democrats had won the congressional elections of 2006, but did not yet have the control of either chamber.


http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill...bill=h109-6407

Focus specifically on section VIII
Reply With Quote
  #64  
Old 10-12-2011, 12:05 PM
rfrobison rfrobison is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Tokyo
Posts: 1,629
Default Re: Darwinism and Libertarianism (Matt Welch & Robert Frank)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Starwatcher162536 View Post
I thought the USPS wasn't funded through public money, ie taxes, but instead through fees for service. It is as of now being funded by governmental loans, but as thouartgob mentions up-thread this is only the result of mandates on the USPS that probably no private company could survive if it had to also comply with said mandate. So under normal situations little if any public money is used. This would seem to be an ideal situation as the state has an interest to ensure communication and transport, even in times of high volatility, but near direct competition by entities such as FedEx prevents much of the ills associated with monopolies and state programs.

I'm not going to say this is true with certainty since all I know about it comes from thougobart's post which is sourced from something I am not predisposed to take at face value, but it does seem this is a case of those not liking government purposely making government run badly to use as an excuse later for killing government they don't like.
I suppose. But the proposition could be turned around just as easily: People who refuse to acknowledge the possibility that a privatized postal service could literally deliver the goods at little or no cost to the public purse despite the fact that there are real live countries that have such systems at this very instant seems to indicate a love of government provision for its own sake, perhaps out of simple fear of change or perhaps for partisan reasons. (i.e., The more public-sector, unionized workers there are, the better for Democrats; who, when elected, will vote to raise taxes and/or expand the size of government, thereby requiring more workers for the government sector, who in turn will tend to vote their economic interest and support more Democrats... ad infinitum -- or until we're all completely tapped out, as Greece is today!)

But this discussion has veered into absurdity and pointlessness. The postal service will remain in government hands. The government isn't going to wither away. Any attempt to scale it back is met with howls of "Libertarianism!"

Far from starving, the government is like a fat kid who, after gobbling up all the fries on his plate, proceeds to steal everybody else's as well. When his mom tries to cut his ice cream dessert back he yells: "What are you trying to do, STARVE ME TO DEATH?"

I predict the U.S. will, in 50 years or less, look a lot like Argentina does today: A once rich country that finds itself among the second rate economies of the world because it could not square its appetite for government with its ability and willingness to pay for it. I can only thank my lucky stars that I (probably) won't be around to lament what was lost.
__________________
Send lawyers, guns and money/Dad, get me outta this
--Warren Zevon--

Last edited by rfrobison; 10-12-2011 at 12:07 PM.. Reason: punctuation
Reply With Quote
  #65  
Old 10-12-2011, 12:15 PM
miceelf miceelf is offline
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 2,569
Default Re: Darwinism and Libertarianism (Matt Welch & Robert Frank)

Quote:
Originally Posted by rfrobison View Post
I suppose. But the proposition could be turned around just as easily: People who refuse to acknowledge the possibility that a privatized postal service could literally deliver the goods at little or no cost to the public purse despite the fact that there are real live countries that have such systems at this very instant seems to indicate a love of government provision for its own sake, perhaps out of simple fear of change or perhaps for partisan reasons.
I understand your concern, but it's important to highlight that those countries have much more regulation of the mail "utilities" than is usually the case here. They do this to ensure that mail remains affordable and that rural and low population areas continue to have access to the service and that workers are fairly compensated. (and if you think regulations to these effects aren't important, try getting satellite tv or reliable cell phone service in some rural parts of the country).

But once privatized, the next big push for the conservatives will be to remove the "onerous" regulations from the private company; my next prediction will be that conservatives will return to their usual stance of "who cares what BRITAIN does? this is America!!" I see your cries of "libertarianism!" in other words, and raise you a "socialism!"
Reply With Quote
  #66  
Old 10-12-2011, 12:20 PM
rfrobison rfrobison is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Tokyo
Posts: 1,629
Default Re: Darwinism and Libertarianism (Matt Welch & Robert Frank)

Quote:
Originally Posted by miceelf View Post
thouartgob already linked to the bill HR6407, done in the lameduck congress of 2006; i.e., after the democrats had won the congressional elections of 2006, but did not yet have the control of either chamber.


http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill...bill=h109-6407

Focus specifically on section VIII
Sorry, I'm not good at wading through legislative legalese. Can you paraphrase? I gather it has something to do with retirement benefits. But even if we grant, for the sake of argument, that the Republican lame-duck Congress that got voted out in '06 did something that messed up the finances of the postal service, the Democrats had at least two years to undo the damage when they controlled both the White House and both houses of Congress.

I have trouble believing that the Republicans, evil bastards though they undoubtedly are, deliberately imposed rules on the USPS that were expressly designed to make it collapse financially. If that were their end goal, it seems they could just keep proceeding the way they are, along with the Dems, and trash the whole system.

If that's what they're doing, then by God you have a patriotic duty to take up arms and start a second American Revolution. I'd help out. Really, I would, but I'm so far away and all, and I'm really busy....
__________________
Send lawyers, guns and money/Dad, get me outta this
--Warren Zevon--
Reply With Quote
  #67  
Old 10-12-2011, 12:36 PM
rfrobison rfrobison is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Tokyo
Posts: 1,629
Default Re: Darwinism and Libertarianism (Matt Welch & Robert Frank)

Quote:
Originally Posted by miceelf View Post
I understand your concern, but it's important to highlight that those countries have much more regulation of the mail "utilities" than is usually the case here. They do this to ensure that mail remains affordable and that rural and low population areas continue to have access to the service and that workers are fairly compensated. (and if you think regulations to these effects aren't important, try getting satellite tv or reliable cell phone service in some rural parts of the country).

But once privatized, the next big push for the conservatives will be to remove the "onerous" regulations from the private company; my next prediction will be that conservatives will return to their usual stance of "who cares what BRITAIN does? this is America!!" I see your cries of "libertarianism!" in other words, and raise you a "socialism!"
I tried to answer that objection in my earlier post here.

As I said before, I'm not wedded to the idea that the postal service should be privatized. In all honesty I've not really thought about it much before Uncle Eb first mentioned it upthread. My larger point, long since lost, I fear, is that there must be things that can be done to shrink the size of government without adversely affecting the quality of life. It cannot be that every single program (bar defense, of course) is optimal in its design and execution. Surely there must be SOME things the government is currently doing that it shouldn't be, just as there surely are things it SHOULD be doing that it isn't.

We have a big problem in the way the U.S. government's fiscal resources are raised and allocated, some of which Mr. Frank elucidated in his discussion with Mr. Welch. I'm thinking specifically of the payroll tax, but I think his idea for road congestion charges is a sound one as well.

I've said before, more times than I can count now, I'd gladly trade a return to the Clinton administration's tax rates if President Obama would give serious backing to the recommendations of his OWN bipartisan deficit reduction panel. What'd he do? He ignored it and went for a symbolically powerful but fiscally meaningless "soak the rich" strategy.

"Vanity, vanity all is vanity and striving after the wind."
__________________
Send lawyers, guns and money/Dad, get me outta this
--Warren Zevon--
Reply With Quote
  #68  
Old 10-12-2011, 12:54 PM
miceelf miceelf is offline
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 2,569
Default Re: Darwinism and Libertarianism (Matt Welch & Robert Frank)

Quote:
Originally Posted by rfrobison View Post
Sorry, I'm not good at wading through legislative legalese. Can you paraphrase? I gather it has something to do with retirement benefits. But even if we grant, for the sake of argument, that the Republican lame-duck Congress that got voted out in '06 did something that messed up the finances of the postal service, the Democrats had at least two years to undo the damage when they controlled both the White House and both houses of Congress.

The bill required USPS to include all future benefits payable in their current balance sheets and have the money on hand, in essence.

You're right the Dems had two years during which they controlled both houses. And we know that it was trivially easy, during this time, for them to get any bill they liked through the houses. It wasn't like the Repubs filibustered anything. That's why all of Obama's nominees have gotten a hearing, etc.
Reply With Quote
  #69  
Old 10-12-2011, 01:02 PM
ledocs ledocs is offline
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: France, Earth
Posts: 1,165
Default Re: Darwinism and Libertarianism (Matt Welch & Robert Frank)

Thanks for correcting me on Rousseau. The only Rousseau I've ever read was "The Social Contract," and I read it in 1966, in English, when I was 17. I was supposed to be doing a lot of reading in French, Montaigne and Rousseau and Proust, just like I was supposed to be doing a lot of other creative or edifying things, and instead I end up dealing with administrative and financial and computer crap much of the time. And I am among the financially blessed.
__________________
ledocs
Reply With Quote
  #70  
Old 10-12-2011, 01:37 PM
Starwatcher162536 Starwatcher162536 is offline
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 1,658
Default Re: Darwinism and Libertarianism (Matt Welch & Robert Frank)

I suspect there are two arguments at play here;

i. Why should the state be in this business?

ii. Why should some in cheaper to operate areas subsidize those in more expensive areas?

(ii) doesn't really have an answer. It's just a good people tend to want and think in this area it's fine for some people to pay more for others to pay less. If people collectively don't want this good to be provided by the state I'm fine with that to. I just dislike what seems to be to be intentionally lowering a state functions efficacy and then using that low efficacy as raison d'etre to abolishing said state function.

I already answered (i). This is admittedly a weak reason. On the other hand under usual circumstances it costs the state little to provide this good. I suspect much of the consternation about (i) is really about (ii). The cynic in me goes further and expects much of the public rallying with a negative with respect to (i) is really about framing (ii) in a different manner as those people know if (ii) is brought up directly it will be far less popular with the public then if (i) is brought up.

I'm somewhat perplexed about how normal arguments about shrinking the size of the state apply here. These usually pertain to tax rates or cutting back on regulations that make doing business more expensive. None of these arguments seem germane here. I don't believe FedEx has to pay any taxes to fund the USPS nor do I see why the USPS would raise FedEx's operating costs.

For whatever it's worth; I'm fine ceding whatever advantages the state gives the USPS. If then private entities out compete the USPS and it withers that is fine too.
__________________
Six Phases of a Project: (1)Enthusiasm (2)Disillusionment (3)Panic (4)Search for the Guilty (5)Punishment of the Innocent (6)Praise and Honors for the Non-Participants
Reply With Quote
  #71  
Old 10-12-2011, 01:47 PM
TwinSwords TwinSwords is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Heartland Conservative
Posts: 4,933
Default Re: Darwinism and Libertarianism (Matt Welch & Robert Frank)

Quote:
Originally Posted by rfrobison View Post
Which mandates are you referring to? Jimmeny Christmas! The Republicans control one half of one branch of government. How can they possibly be responsible for the USPS's problems?

Ocean and Eb are not giving my question a fair hearing: How is it that a country like Germany, a place with a generous welfare state, manages to have a privately run postal system without betraying its commitment to fairness?
Simple. The dominant political party in those countries isn't controlled by Randian zealots. The political systems in those countries are happily immune to the kind of ideological extremism which is the corporate-funded and Fox News-fueled norm in the United States.

As miceelf pointed out, privatized mail service in some of those other countries (countries which conservatives hate, and consider socialist hellholes) is much more heavily regulated than you or your party brethren would ever tolerate here.

While I have you, to an earlier point you made about the weak, powerless Republicans: You're right: The GOP controls one half of one branch of government; it controls the US House of Representatives, half of the legislative branch.

But conservatives control the other half of that branch -- the Senate. And you control the Supreme Court, as well.

So, the GOP controls one and a half branches of government outright, and conservatives control two branches.

The result, well understood, of course, is that your party has been almost totally effective, to an unprecedented extent, at handicapping the remaining branch of government -- the Executive.

Last edited by TwinSwords; 10-12-2011 at 08:32 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #72  
Old 10-12-2011, 02:33 PM
cragger cragger is offline
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 632
Default Re: Darwinism and Libertarianism (Matt Welch & Robert Frank)

I'm at a loss as to why I would want to pay more for a service if that service passes your definitation of privately provided rather than publicly so. Apparantly a desire to obtain a service as efficiently and cheaply as possible rather than concerning myself over the label applied to the hand that accepts the payment places one on some "side of the aisle" by your definition. Seems like pragmatism to me, or perhaps old fashioned New England skinflint conservatism but then I'm not viewing the world through your ideology. And of course as Starwatcher noted elsewhere, the USPS is essentially a fee-for-service operation just like the private carriers it competes with, however much any brush with the government taints it in your worldview.

The remainder of your response seems of a kind with other posts you have made in this thread, consisting as they do largely of straw men and partisan ideological ranting. Far from my implying US exceptionalism or that we cannot learn from other countries on this or any other issue, you seem to be suggesting that private carriers in the US are incapable of learning from private carriers overseas since they have thus far been incapable of capturing the remaining USPS business through competition. I suspect that this is untrue, and that there are indeed differences in the service and economics in the US. These would likely include such things as the size of the US, the distribution of the population, the resultant transport distances, the methods of transport used by mail in various places and countries, the degree to which those methods might be publicly subsidized in various countries and places, the resulting cost structure for transporting letters, and so on. Consideration of such real world factors does require more than simply claiming USPS=government=Bad! and labeling anyone who doesn't immediately agree a "lefty" however, and since that latter enterprise isn't one of much interest to me, I leave the thread to you.
Reply With Quote
  #73  
Old 10-12-2011, 03:50 PM
Florian Florian is offline
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 2,118
Default Re: Darwinism and Libertarianism (Matt Welch & Robert Frank)

Quote:
Originally Posted by ledocs View Post
Thanks for correcting me on Rousseau. The only Rousseau I've ever read was "The Social Contract," and I read it in 1966, in English, when I was 17. I was supposed to be doing a lot of reading in French, Montaigne and Rousseau and Proust, just like I was supposed to be doing a lot of other creative or edifying things, and instead I end up dealing with administrative and financial and computer crap much of the time. And I am among the financially blessed.
As one of the financially blessed, you should read the Discourse on the Origin and the Foundations of Inequality. It is the indispensable introduction to the Social Contract.

Seriously, though, Rousseau is almost always misunderstood, especially in the Anglo-Saxon world. I always feel compelled to point out that he did not say what most "educated" people think he said (about the "noble savage" etc), but it is largely a waste of time because most educated people are ....not very well-read.
Reply With Quote
  #74  
Old 10-12-2011, 05:56 PM
Geoff99 Geoff99 is offline
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 7
Default Re: Darwinism and Libertarianism (Matt Welch & Robert Frank)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ocean View Post
This discussion is the usual Libertarian Nonsense Part N. Every time someone says something like "why do I have to pay for someone else's (insert here: health, education, mail, safety, roads, etc.)?", I truly wonder whether 1. they believe that they are paying for all that singlehandedly, and 2. they are under the impression that no one ever paid for them to receive similar benefits (never mailed or received a letter, never used a road, never received any form of subsidized health intervention, never used public education, libraries and the like).

Considering that 1. and 2. above are highly unlikely, I have to question the person's sense of participating in a society where we necessarily receive benefits and in time, pay back to some degree or the other. That's the most basic understanding of cooperation. So, such statements as "why should I pay for someone else's X?" are literally nonsense.

And no, Rob, mailing a letter is not equivalent to owning a Ferrari, so you're not buying the logic there, and neither do you.
I don't mean to pick on Ocean particularly, but this comment is sadly typical of the kind of wild bigotry that self-identified libertarians have to put up whenever they mention their political views. (This is evidenced as well by several other comments on this thread --- I just picked Ocean's as a typical one.) Bob has many libertarians in the diavlogs here. Have you ever heard even one of them say anything remotely like "why do I have to pay for someone else's (insert here: health, education, mail, safety, roads, etc.)?" ? No. What you invariably hear from the vast majority of libertarians is that having recognized the obvious need for government action in many. many spheres we want to find ways to (1) decentralize the accumulation of power and making of particular regulations to conform more closely to what individuals already want in order to improve efficiency, (2) have a more transparent process in order to minimize corruption, (3) be more circumspect about always rushing in to solve every problem with state intervention that may or may not be effective, and (4) minimize the wild war-mongering and police-state tactics that so many mainstream conservatives and liberals seem to think are just wonderful. these days This is what you find 80-90% of actual libertarians saying and writing if you bother to look. Maybe you think, for example, that a bunch of know-nothing, whining mainstream Republicans like the tea party people are actually libertarians, but you are sorely mistaken --- notice you never hear these tea party types saying they are libertarians. Unfortunately. if anyone says he or she is a libertarian, such a person immediately has to hear some wild rant about Ayn Rand and how they don't want to have roads or public schools, when none but the most extreme anarchists are saying anything like this. But the prejudice and bigotry of mainstream conservatives and liberals toward self identified libertarians seems invincible. Notice what happened in this particular diavlog, when Matt tried to raise this point with Robert Frank --- he was totally ignored, and then, later we heard from Frank, amazingly, that Matt, the editor of what is probably the main libertarian opinion journal, was not a "movement [ i.e. real] libertarian". Apparently the definition of libertarian in the mind of Frank and so many others is something like "totally unreasonable blockheaded anarchist", so that anybody who has a reasonable, intelligent, and non-crazy view of things is automatically not a real libertarian. Matt tried to gently explain that Frank was being (ridiculously) crude about this, but of course again got totally ignored.

Anyway, I wondered if any or many of the self-identified liberals and/or conservatives that read the comments here have ever noticed how odd this behaviour is, or had any speculation about what the cause is.
Reply With Quote
  #75  
Old 10-12-2011, 06:23 PM
cragger cragger is offline
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 632
Default Re: Darwinism and Libertarianism (Matt Welch & Robert Frank)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Geoff99 View Post
I don't mean to pick on Ocean particularly, but this comment is sadly typical of the kind of wild bigotry that self-identified libertarians have to put up whenever they mention their political views. (This is evidenced as well by several other comments on this thread --- I just picked Ocean's as a typical one.) Bob has many libertarians in the diavlogs here. Have you ever heard even one of them say anything remotely like "why do I have to pay for someone else's (insert here: health, education, mail, safety, roads, etc.)?" ? No.
You might consider whether this is a response to previous comments in the thread, rather than in response to specific statements in a diavlog. From upthread we have:

Quote:
The question isn't strictly whether it can be done for less money, but less public money. I see no reason why I should have to subsidize someone else's mail delivery.
so in this case, the answer is in fact yes.
Reply With Quote
  #76  
Old 10-12-2011, 06:37 PM
uncle ebeneezer uncle ebeneezer is offline
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 3,332
Default Re: Darwinism and Libertarianism (Matt Welch & Robert Frank)

Also too, the "why-should-I-have-to-pay" clause is something that almost every libertarian I have ever spoken to or engaged with in online debate, has uttered on numerous occasions. It is a common libertarian trope that springs up anytime they are asked to justify the denial of public goods and services to fellow Americans, that would result from the enactment of their preferred policies.
__________________
Uncle Ebeneezer Such a fine line between clever and stupid.
Reply With Quote
  #77  
Old 10-12-2011, 07:19 PM
rfrobison rfrobison is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Tokyo
Posts: 1,629
Default Re: Darwinism and Libertarianism (Matt Welch & Robert Frank)

Quote:
Originally Posted by uncle ebeneezer View Post
Also too, the "why-should-I-have-to-pay" clause is something that almost every libertarian I have ever spoken to or engaged with in online debate, has uttered on numerous occasions. It is a common libertarian trope that springs up anytime they are asked to justify the denial of public goods and services to fellow Americans, that would result from the enactment of their preferred policies.
Yes. It's clearly selfish and immoral of me to demand that people pay the full cost of their own dang mail.

Can I have a Vespa if a Prius is too generous?
__________________
Send lawyers, guns and money/Dad, get me outta this
--Warren Zevon--
Reply With Quote
  #78  
Old 10-12-2011, 07:25 PM
rfrobison rfrobison is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Tokyo
Posts: 1,629
Default Re: Darwinism and Libertarianism (Matt Welch & Robert Frank)

Quote:
Originally Posted by miceelf View Post
The bill required USPS to include all future benefits payable in their current balance sheets and have the money on hand, in essence.

You're right the Dems had two years during which they controlled both houses. And we know that it was trivially easy, during this time, for them to get any bill they liked through the houses. It wasn't like the Repubs filibustered anything. That's why all of Obama's nominees have gotten a hearing, etc.
So when the Republicans controlled both houses of Congress and the presidency it was "trivially easy" for them to gut the postal service, but when the Democrats had the same advantage they could do nothing.

Hmm, I guess my party is just more effective. That's why all the girls love those right-wingers!
__________________
Send lawyers, guns and money/Dad, get me outta this
--Warren Zevon--
Reply With Quote
  #79  
Old 10-12-2011, 07:35 PM
rfrobison rfrobison is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Tokyo
Posts: 1,629
Default Re: Darwinism and Libertarianism (Matt Welch & Robert Frank)

Quote:
Originally Posted by TwinSwords View Post
Simple. The dominant political party in those countries isn't controlled by Randian zealots. The political systems in those countries are happily immune to the kind of ideological extremism which is the corporate-funded and Fox News-fueled norm in the United States.

As miceelf pointed out, privatized mail service in some of those other countries (countries which conservatives hate, and consider socialist hellholes) is much more heavily regulated than you or your party brethren would ever tolerate here.

While I have you, to an earlier point you made about the weak, powerless Republicans: You're right: The GOP only controls one half of one branch of government; it controls the US House of Representatives, half of the legislative branch.

But conservatives control the other half of that branch -- the Senate. And you control the Supreme Court, as well.

So, the GOP controls one and a half branches of government outright, and conservatives control two branches.

The result, well understood, of course, is that your party has been almost totally effective, to an unprecedented extent, at handicapping the remaining branch of government -- the Executive.
So we're back to the "America is different" argument. How much regulation of totally unrelated spheres of economic life would the Republicans have to agree to before you would countenance a privatized postal service, I wonder? But please don't answer. It's clear from your posts that you consider Republicans to be evil, stupid people who have only their own selfish interests at heart.

No, wait. The don't have hearts. Never mind.

Hopeless.

Looking out for No.1/AR GEN TI NA/here we come/right back where we started from/Argentina here we come!
__________________
Send lawyers, guns and money/Dad, get me outta this
--Warren Zevon--
Reply With Quote
  #80  
Old 10-12-2011, 07:36 PM
stephanie stephanie is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 3,921
Default Re: Darwinism and Libertarianism (Matt Welch & Robert Frank)

Quote:
Originally Posted by rfrobison View Post
So when the Republicans controlled both houses of Congress and the presidency it was "trivially easy" for them to gut the postal service, but when the Democrats had the same advantage they could do nothing.
Yes, the decision to filibuster everything that the Republicans have been doing since '08 is obviously a change and not something that the Dems did during the Bush admin. I blame the Congressional Dems for this, in part -- they should not have allowed filibustering just by announcement, they should have made the Republicans actually do it, even if that would create more interference with the efforts to get other things done, as the current practice makes what's going on less transparent. Granted, my suggestion assumes that anyone would pay attention enough to notice the Civil Rights Bill style filibustering and that it thus would be less likely to happen trivially, and that might be overly, um, optimistic. But to ignore the whole filibuster thing seems odd.
Reply With Quote
 


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 06:46 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.