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June 04, 2006

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Some bloggers recently noted that with lower taxes comes a greater appetite for spending. I believe they proposed, as I would, that all taxes should be direct, to deter this apettite. So, in order to reverse the trend for a desire of higher spending, taxes should be direct and broad, meaning no corporate tax, flat(ter) tax, or at best, a national sales tax to end all taxes.

As regards education spending: The left, and the right by virtue of its silence, shouts that, if only we had more money, or that blacks would close the gap, (as mandated by No Child Left Behind) etc. The media regurgitates this without question. Yet there is little evidence for it. Another public policy area devastated by the moralistic fallacy, that what ought to be, is. The constant avowal of this canard seems to explain the steady, certain increase in those wanting more education spending.

Just curious, are there any leftist empiricists like Half Sigma, Ron Guhname? The sheer falsity of much of leftism and parts of libertarianism (eg. that education causes the wealth of nations) would be funny, were it not so harmful.

Are there leftist empiricists? You bet!

One of the problems between people on the left and right is that we don't even share the same concept of what a good society is?

Would you sacrifice the dynamism of our economy and accept a lower overall standard of living in order to decrease economic inequality and pay higher taxes in order to have universal healthcare? (In short, would you like this country to be more like Europe?) I would, you wouldn't!

Empiricist? Look at Europe. Smaller cars, smaller TVs, but more leisure time, less insecurity. It is a tradeoff. People with a higher risk tolerance think it s a bad one, people with a lower risk tolerance think it is a good one.

And, as a 'rogue' lefty, I can oppose the immigration that's ruining the European system. ;) I guess if there are paleoibertarians and paleoconservatives, I can be a paleoliberal. ;)

To paraphrase a famous liberal with loose morals, a high IQ, and an even higher sex drive, it depends on what your definition of the word 'conservative' is. The familiar Libertarian dichotomy of social vs fiscal conservatism is useful here.

What Half has said is that the people want the govt to engage in more transfer payments from rich to poor--to be more FISCALLY liberal. But they seem to be getting more SOCIALLY conservative, with evangelical Christianity booming, etc.

My theory is that the weakening of the unions and the cultural permissiveness of the 60s are both hurting Americans in different ways and they are responding to both, but that because neither party gives them what they want (universal healthcare and Christian values) we see all sorts of maneuvering.

I think a party with positions compatible with Catholic social thought could pick up a lot of votes if they weren't explicitly Catholic.

Liberal Baby Boomers using birth control had less kids than their conservative counterparts. Expect this trend to accelerate.

Eh...conservatives use birth control. They don't like abortion, but they do use the Pill. I think it's an urban-rural thing, you have no space for five kids in Manhattan.

You're right about the birth rate. Everybody read Philip Longman in Foreign Policy!

Rogue Lefty,
I can distinguish between preference and truth. The cases you mention are the former. But leftists usually lump in things that simply aren't empirically true. There are some leftists who will concede that, yes, if you follow our economic advice, the country will be somewhat poorer. But most pontificate otherwise. Even moreso, for instance, leftists are not willing to admit that compensatory education does not compense, that environmental regulations have little adverse effect, and numerous other topics. Their worst area is race, without equal. That is why I wonder about leftist empiricists like yourself.

Often, truth can only inform, not make, our decisions. This is true of issues of economic equity (although I submit that this should be decentralized, so that each person can choose his liberty without having to leave his country). Other issues, like compensatory education, are prima facie false. Even immigration is a matter of choice though, but I think the vast majority of disinterested people, if they knew the facts (increased crime, poverty, etc.) would be against it.

If you recognize that it is a matter of choice, and not a matter of morality, or economics (as in making us richer), then you can only hope that everyone agrees with you. If you are a gentleman, then you might provide for those who disagree, via federalism. Robert Nozick, a libertarian philosopher formerly of Harvard, expounded a more extreme version of this, as his utopia.

I found one such leftist empiricist, while reading Mankind Quarterly, Paul Kamolnick http://www.etsu.edu/cas/sociology/kamolnick/. According to MQ, the author is Marxist, but an honest one, that agrees about the role of IQ. MQ is a journal of sociobiology, broadly so.

All one has to do is look at the composition of Congress to realize that there has been a change. It was once unthinkable that Republicans would ever control the House of Representatives, but that finally happened in the 1990s.

That's because conservative Democrats in the South became or were replaced by conservative Republicans in the South. It wasn't a completely philosophical shift.

*There are some leftists who will concede that, yes, if you follow our economic advice, the country will be somewhat poorer. But most pontificate otherwise. Even moreso, for instance, leftists are not willing to admit that compensatory education does not compense, that environmental regulations have little adverse effect, and numerous other topics. Their worst area is race, without equal. That is why I wonder about leftist empiricists like yourself.

I'm not running for office, so I can say whatever I want, and even I'm hiding behind a pseudonym (as are most of us). When you are a politician, you have to put together an alliance of interest groups, and that means telling everyone what they want to hear. The modern Democratic party has to reconcile urban minority workers and urban mostly-white professionals, who don't have all that much in common besides living in cities. The Republicans have to serve both God and mammon. Occasionally one group will break away, causing a political realignment.

*Often, truth can only inform, not make, our decisions. This is true of issues of economic equity (although I submit that this should be decentralized, so that each person can choose his liberty without having to leave his country). Other issues, like compensatory education, are prima facie false. Even immigration is a matter of choice though, but I think the vast majority of disinterested people, if they knew the facts (increased crime, poverty, etc.) would be against it.

Actually, the vast majority of people ARE against it. If you look at the liberal site Alternet, back when they were doing stories on immigration their comments section was always overwhelmed by people complaining about the economic impact and unfair preference for people who broke the law.
The problem with immigration is as follows. The liberal and conservative elites are both for it, for different reasons. Liberal elites want new Democrats. Conservative elites want cheap labor. Ordinary people feeling the pinch on economic and crime fronts are against it, but they have no voice. Kind of like with trade: the elite left wants to save the Third World and the elite right wants to save their stock prices. No elites care about the American worker.
What do you mean by 'compensatory education' exactly? Honestly not sure.

*If you recognize that it is a matter of choice, and not a matter of morality, or economics (as in making us richer), then you can only hope that everyone agrees with you. If you are a gentleman, then you might provide for those who disagree, via federalism. Robert Nozick, a libertarian philosopher formerly of Harvard, expounded a more extreme version of this, as his utopia

Federalism's not a bad idea. Certainly it works well for cultural issues; there's no reason people in Utah should have to put up with gay porn on TV, or why people in San Francisco should be denied it.
The problem is the free market. If state A has lower wages and tax rates, businesses move there. So state B has to lower its wages and tax rates too. This is more or less what we're seeing as India and China develop. And if the free market isn't good for Americans, why should America go along with it? We are a country, not a charity.

"The problem is the free market. If state A has lower wages and tax rates, businesses move there. So state B has to lower its wages and tax rates too."

LOL - oh my goodness, government can't steal as much money from people, or they'll move elsewhere? That IS a problem!
Wages don't get lowered; the 'outsourcing' has given those in India and China higher wages than they would otherwise receive. It's lower compared to US wage rates, but that's because we used to be a productive country with a less intrusive government. Good luck getting the US government to reduce its tax rates and reduce spending...you'd have better luck looking for realty in Punjab.

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