Tune in, tune out?…seems like ‘toons are the thing to watch 2012
James Kwak offers a take on the election campaign so far, on how information is offered and accepted, and how ‘voters’ choose to respond:
…Democrats should be worried, because Romney and Ryan have the better debating position. Their position is simple and superficially compelling: Government is bad. (Cf. the DMV—it’s state, not federal, and the one in Massachusetts works very well, but whatever; BATF; EPA; IRS; whatever agency your audience happens to dislike. Compare to Apple as if all private sector businesses were like Apple.) Government infringes on individual liberty. Cut down the government and we will have (a) more liberty, (b) more economic growth, and (c) lower taxes.
What do the Democrats say in response? Government is good at some things and bad at some things, and needs to be leaner and more efficient. Or people need government services to succeed. (Doesn’t that sound offensive as soon as you say it, even if it’s true?) Or there’s a moral obligation to redistribute income through the tax-and-transfer system. Or government isn’t really that big when you compare it to history. So taxes should go down for some people and up for some other people.
The starting line to the repub’s position is to remind people they are the government.
Oops, that won’t work if your concerned about fundraising.
I remember as a freshman in college getting into a discussion with another freshman about the size of gov’t. I argued for a small gov’t of the governs least variety. He argued that gov’t had to grow to keep up with the growth of business. (That was pretty well the extent of his argument. ;))
Sophomoric (ahem) as his argument was, years later I have to admit that he was right. In the era of the multinational corporation, without big gov’t we are screwed.
The arguments concerning the size of government is little more than a red herring. Like water governments seek their own level of appropriate size. As the size of the governed grows so grown the government. How could it be different? Note the significant absence of a focus on good government in the debates over the size of government. Who is there that knows the best size of government? Rather, like certain kinds of art, we know good and/or bad government when we see it. Or more accurately when we experience it.
Have Republican administrations adhered to their own cries for less government? The argument is only valid if it focuses on any aspect of government that either functions poorly or has some adverse effect on the governed. Do we really want to cut back on the Dept of Agriculture’s inspection of our food? Do we need less teachers, police, fire fighters, etc. People who argue for less government won’t some clear and tell you what they want to eliminate. Nor will they clearly delineate what parts of government that they want to swell like a bloated pig in order to provide their comrades in wealth with yet greater wealth.
The argument for the size of government is specious. It is trotted out at every election to cover up the inadequacies of the candidate making the claim. When was the last time you heard a candidate describe in some reasonable detail how they would work for better, more efficient, government. No, not the Romney claims to simply do a better job with less government, but how that would be accomplished. I might vote for him if he could spell out clearly what departments were to be closed, revamped or in some way improved. So far all we have is a shyster trying to sell the people platitudes about government. Now that he’s chosen Ryan for VP we at least have some better idea of how he won’t be working to accomplish anything of value to the working/middle classes of the country.
The right wing has a point. To the extent that you have a government, it takes less resources to transfer a few taxes to a few rich people than it takes to transfer more taxes to, potentially, all the people.
As for the “small government” point counterpoint – why not silly with silly – e.g. “Yes, oligarchies tend to be a lot smaller than democracies.”
What I find amusing is that these GOP assertions aren’t challenged on the historical record. Take government employment for instance. Remember Reagan said that government was the problem ..not the solution?
Since the advent of the Reagan presidency, both federal and total government employment expanded far more significantly, in the aggregate, over GOP tenures than when the Dems hold office.
So even if you agree that the GOP position is superficially compelling, the outcomes reality tells a different story.
well, i don’t think either side believes their own rhetoric. it’s just as if they decided to have a contest and one side gets to choose “small government” and the other side gets to choose “protect the poor” as something to hang their campaign speeches on. the winner gets the spoils.
but it’s a gentlemen’s game. it has absolutely no effect on either the size of the government or the protections of the poor.
but for what it’s worth to the liberals here, “smaller government” means to the (poor) something like less interference with what they want to do in their business or remodeling their house, or building on their land…. and they blame everything that’s wrong with government on the democrats even if it is what the republicans did. so all the R’s have to do is say “we are for smaller government” and the poor vote for them.
it’s easier to get mad at the DMV because you have to wait in line, and then go back home to get the piece of paper they told you to bring with you in the first place… than it is to remember there are lines because you don’t want to pay higher taxes, and without those pieces of paper car thieves and other criminals would have a much easier life… and they’d blame the government for that.
why is this “for the liberals”? because when you talk against the “smaller government” people, what the poor… the people you want to help… hear is “more taxes” and more government red tape” and more of everything else that is wrong with government. so it’s not that Romneys won’t talk about “better government,” it’s also that Democrats won’t talk about better government… or, perish the thought, any serious effort to control taxes and make the impact of regulations less onerous on ordinary people.
“what the poor… the people you want to help… hear is “more taxes” and more government red tape” and more of everything else that is wrong with government”.
Really .. you may think that, but is that really what the poor think?Show me the data, and I might take you a little more seriously …
I don’t care if you take me seriously or not. “data” is a nice word, by which people fool themselves into thinking, i guess, that if a “social scientist” wrote it down and counted it up, it must count for more than what people say in coffee shops if you bother to listen to them.
but you tell me, how would you go about collecting “more data” and why would we take you seriously?
Coberly .. that’s easy, I already provided an evidence-basis for my assertions (above) re: the historical record vs. the rhetoric about the GOP position. In your response, you didn’t .. it’s as simple as that. If/when you do, perhaps your assertions can be taken more seriously. Coffee shop conversations .. I don’t think so.
since you are basically on my side i wish you weren’t so ignorant about the nature of “evidence.”
or the nature of logic.
nothing i said about what people hear when you say “big government” contradicts what you said about the reality of “Republican” government.
Now, try to stop being an ass, and try to see what the words actually say.
No need for the ad hominem paff .. I get your thinking. Your anatomical/equine reference about me aside, I just feel that the face validity of your assertion about what poor people think requires a little more than coffee shop conversation.
i realized after i wrote that and was on my way to do something else, that if you didn’t understand the first comment i wrote, you wouldn’t understand the last.
i think you don’t know what an ad hominem is, but then neither does anyone else anymore. i said don’t be an ass, because you are demanding evidence where it is not called for, and denying that conversation with poor people counts as evidence about what they think.
you still haven’t told me what you would accept as “evidence.” Maybe election results for the last 30 years?
as far as “ass” being anatomical or even equine… actually language changes, and ass hardly has either connotation anymore. it just means someone earnestly and wrongly trying to correct people who know more than he does.
you need to get out more. try a coffee shop where poor people talk about politics.