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Tags money , tax , voters

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Old 9th May 2003, 07:21 PM   #1
Tony
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Do voters have a right to decide where their tax money goes?

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/articl...5/09/PROPN.TMP ..full article

Quote:
Voters have no right to decide how much money should go to the poor, a San Francisco judge ruled Thursday in tossing out a divisive homeless-aid reform measure approved in November.

In throwing out Proposition N -- the "Care Not Cash" initiative pushed by mayoral hopeful Gavin Newsom -- Superior Court Judge Ronald Quidachay said only county officials can set welfare standards for the downtrodden, not voters.

Quidachay did not address the merits of Prop. N, which would cut city welfare payments to about 3,000 homeless residents from about $395 a month to $59 a month while promising shelter and food. Prop. N would have taken effect July 1.

Quidachay's ruling was applauded by homeless advocates but throws into question how a city so politically divided will address a homeless crisis that has stymied two decades of city politicians.

Quidachay's ruling also will play in the mayoral campaign of Newsom, a San Francisco supervisor and author of the Care Not Cash measure that thrust his campaign into the spotlight months ahead of other candidates.

Prop. N won nearly 60 percent of the vote in November, with solid support from businesses as well as famously liberal neighborhoods.
This judge doesnt think so.
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Old 9th May 2003, 08:35 PM   #2
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>Do voters have a right to decide where their tax money goes?

No. They only have a right to replace politicians they disagree with, and only from a limited pool of candidates at that!

I don't know if that's the best system we can come up with, but it's what we have right now.
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Old 9th May 2003, 09:59 PM   #3
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Re: Do voters have a right to decide where their tax money goes?

Quote:
Originally posted by Tony
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/articl...5/09/PROPN.TMP ..full article



This judge doesnt think so.
I doubt the judge thinks elections are unconstitutional. If the politicians in power spend tax money in a way you don't like, vote for someone who will spend it better. Allowing everybody to refusing to sponsor government programs they don't like, just because they don't like it, is the equivalent of allowing people to refuse to obey traffic laws they don't like, just because they don't like it.
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Old 9th May 2003, 10:37 PM   #4
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That is correct, voters do not have a right to earmark their tax money. Its part of that whole representative democracy concept.
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Old 11th May 2003, 06:44 AM   #5
shanek
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Quote:
Originally posted by apoger
>Do voters have a right to decide where their tax money goes?
Do robbery victims have a right to decide where the money the thief took from them goes?

Quote:
No. They only have a right to replace politicians they disagree with, and only from a limited pool of candidates at that!
In increasingly rigged elections to keep the incumbent parties in power.

Quote:
I don't know if that's the best system we can come up with, but it's what we have right now.
It's not, but the Republicans and Democrats use dishonest tactics to keep real election reform from being considered:

http://www.randi.org/vbulletin/showt...threadid=18701
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Old 11th May 2003, 08:18 AM   #6
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(sigh)

Shanek, taxes aren't robbery. Without them the government would collapse and anarchy would rule: if you want to know how life without taxes is like, where everybody is free to do as they choose, look at Sudan, Ivory Coast, or Haiti.

Frankly, while there is much wrong with the US government, the claim that it is a "dictatorship" that "robs" the people "without real elections" is irresponsible hyperbole. Obviously, those who say such things have no idea how life in a REAL kleptocratic dictatorship is like. Ask someone from Iraq or Libya, for example, or from virtually anywhere in sub-Sharan Africa.
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Old 11th May 2003, 08:45 AM   #7
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City governments are corporate entities. Corporations have to draw up budgets outlining estimated expenses and revenues. If taxpayers can ear mark their dollars to a particular program, how will the overall budget be controlled?
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Old 11th May 2003, 09:10 AM   #8
shanek
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Quote:
Originally posted by Skeptic
(sigh)

Shanek, taxes aren't robbery. Without them the government would collapse and anarchy would rule:
(sigh)

There are other ways of paying for government programs other than taxes. As I have elucidated time and time again over the history of this forum.

And people wonder why I get exasperated...

[pathetic strawman excised and ignored]
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Old 11th May 2003, 09:56 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by shanek
There are other ways of paying for government programs other than taxes. As I have elucidated time and time again over the history of this forum.
I've lived under the present taxing system so long that I tend to forget the details of other plans that are proposed. But would your setup allow each citizen to pay the various government entities only for programs and activities he favors. And if that were the case, how would he know how much to pay? Would he be allowed to not pay from time to time if money were short? And if these payments weren't called "taxes," what would they be called?
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Old 11th May 2003, 12:49 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by shanek

In increasingly rigged elections to keep the incumbent parties in power.
How are these elections being rigged?
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Old 11th May 2003, 03:59 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by Lemastre
I've lived under the present taxing system so long that I tend to forget the details of other plans that are proposed. But would your setup allow each citizen to pay the various government entities only for programs and activities he favors.
Pretty much. You'd pay your local fire department directly, for example, like paying your electric bill. If you've been paying, and they respond to a fire at your house, there's no charge, just like there is now. If they respond to a fire at your house and you haven't been paying, they send you a bill. There are several counties in Arkansas that do this, and probably more in other states.

Quote:
And if these payments weren't called "taxes," what would they be called?
User fees, tolls, excises... ways of targeting exactly the people who use the service, and how much.
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Old 11th May 2003, 04:08 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by Baker
How are these elections being rigged?
Remember that each state runs its own elections. In North Carolina, all but the incumbent parties have to spend over $100,000 just to petition to get on the ballot, and have to redo it every four years. (Neither the Democrats nor the Republicans have had to do this even once.) They also have exorbitant fees and petitioning for independent and even write-in candidates. In the 2000 presidential election, they ignored Constitutionally-valid write-in votes for Ralph Nader (after denying the Green Party ballot access) and refused to let anyone examine the ballots to tell exactly how many votes were ignored. In 1998, the LP's Senate candidate's votes were "undercounted"—due to "administrative errors." But they refused to recount the votes to reflect the genuine number because there wasn't a chance of him actually winning. I myself in my 2002 bid for County Commissioner experienced restrictions on fundraising, talking to the press, etc. that did not apply to the Democrat and Republican candidates for the same office. The LP has to scrape up money and bankrupt itself to get on the ballot, while the Democrats and Republicans get millions of dollars of taxpayer money to run their party and fund their candidates. On and on and on. Similar things are happening in almost every state (although NC is one of the worst).

By the way, we recently got the NC House Election Law and Campaign Finance Reform Committee to recommend to the House bill H867, the Electoral Fairness Act, which would bring NC's ballot access requirements down to the national average (not a total solution, but a good first step). Word around the House was that it would pass easily. But the House's two speakers (BTW, the NC Constitution only calls for one Speaker for the House) conspired to even keep the bill from coming onto the House floor. One of them stated, "Although there are some legitimate political parties in existence that have not yet met this threshold in North Carolina, there are even more parties that are illegitimate that this policy has been able to keep at bay."

These are exactly the kind of things the US complains about Saddam and banana republics doing, yet the US does exactly the same thing.
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Old 11th May 2003, 05:48 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by shanek
You'd pay your local fire department directly, for example, like paying your electric bill. If you've been paying, and they respond to a fire at your house, there's no charge, just like there is now. If they respond to a fire at your house and you haven't been paying, they send you a bill.
How does a community set up a fire department, or a sanitation department, or other public service? Does it float bonds or otherwise borrow the money? And how much does a house call from the fire department cost. If you pay only for the service you receive, I'd think that cost would be pretty steep in a small community. Would the same arrangement obtain for the police?
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Old 11th May 2003, 06:01 PM   #14
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Re: Do voters have a right to decide where their tax money goes?

Quote:
Originally posted by Tony
This judge doesnt think so.
Neither do I. The fact that I oppose the invasion of Iraq does not mean that I get to deduct all the money spent on that war from my taxes. That is as it should be.
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Old 12th May 2003, 06:26 AM   #15
shanek
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Quote:
Originally posted by Lemastre
How does a community set up a fire department, or a sanitation department, or other public service? Does it float bonds or otherwise borrow the money? And how much does a house call from the fire department cost. If you pay only for the service you receive, I'd think that cost would be pretty steep in a small community. Would the same arrangement obtain for the police?
How about a real-world example? One of those Arkansas fire departments I mentioned:

http://departments.firehouse.com/dept/ArmorelAR

Quote:
Armorel-Huffman V.F.D. proudly protects 3000 people living in an area of 110 square miles. We operate out of 2 stations that protect a primarily rural area. Our department is a private department whose members are on a volunteer status.

Our department is now 11 years old. We are a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation. We are located in Northeast Arkansas in Mississippi County. We protect the small communities of Armorel, Huffman, Hickman, Number Nine, Barfield, Tomato, and a large rural area around these comunities. Also included in our area are several Steel related Industries with a total of 5000 employees. We are 100% volunteer. We are not tax supported but rather operate from donations, grants, and fundraisers. We have a 50 x 60 Fire Station in Armorel and a 30 x 40 sub-station in Huffman. We meet each monday night at 7:30 and the public is welcome. We are very proud to be servents of our community!
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Old 12th May 2003, 06:38 AM   #16
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OK lets pretend you could control where your taxes went. Imagine the costs in administering the tax allotment! What a waste.

Some of these ya-hoos think the whole government exists on the $20k they pay in taxes.
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Old 12th May 2003, 07:01 AM   #17
shanek
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Quote:
Originally posted by Tmy
OK lets pretend you could control where your taxes went. Imagine the costs in administering the tax allotment! What a waste.
Yes, administering it would be prohibitive. That's why, wherever possible, taxes should be replaced with user fees.
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Old 12th May 2003, 07:18 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally posted by Skeptic
I doubt the judge thinks elections are unconstitutional. If the politicians in power spend tax money in a way you don't like, vote for someone who will spend it better.
That sounds good if you don't think about it too much, but for some of us, it's pointless, because the rest of you keep voting for politicians who think their judgment about how to spend our money is better than our own.


Quote:
Allowing everybody to refusing to sponsor government programs they don't like, just because they don't like it, is the equivalent of allowing people to refuse to obey traffic laws they don't like, just because they don't like it.
Please. There is nothing about being expected to obey the rules while using property that does not belong to you (public roads) that involves taking something from you without your consent. Back to the drawing board for you.
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Old 12th May 2003, 07:22 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally posted by Skeptic
(sigh) Shanek, taxes aren't robbery.
Yeah, robbery would be taking something that belongs to someone else without their consent. Oh, wait a minute ...


Quote:
Without them the government would collapse and anarchy would rule:



Quote:
if you want to know how life without taxes is like, where everybody is free to do as they choose, look at Sudan,Ivory Coast, or Haiti.
How did you get from "life without taxes" to "everybody is free to do as they choose"?


Quote:
Frankly, while there is much wrong with the US government, the claim that it is a "dictatorship" that "robs" the people "without real elections" is irresponsible hyperbole.
Has anyone ever actually made that claim? If not, then isn't a bit hyperbolic to suggest that they have?
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Old 12th May 2003, 07:22 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally posted by shanek


Yes, administering it would be prohibitive. That's why, wherever possible, taxes should be replaced with user fees.
I can sort of agree with that.

Although it would be kind of a hoot that when you paid your taxes you would get a postcard telling you where it went.

"Dear Sir,

Your taxes helped to repaint the lines on a 13 mile section of Interstate 95 in south New Jersey. If you have any complaints about the paint, please let us know. After all it was your money that we used.

-Uncle Sam"

Of couse you'd only be able to complain about the lines on I-95
and nothing else.
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Old 12th May 2003, 07:24 AM   #21
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Originally posted by Tricky
Neither do I. The fact that I oppose the invasion of Iraq does not mean that I get to deduct all the money spent on that war from my taxes. That is as it should be.
Damn, no wonder the politicians can pick our pockets with so little resistance. Did you guys sleepwalk your way to these conclusions, because that's what you'd always been told by Mommy & Daddy, or did you actually apply any critical thought to them? Where the hell did you get the idea that "that is as it should be"?
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Old 12th May 2003, 07:25 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally posted by Tmy
OK lets pretend you could control where your taxes went. Imagine the costs in administering the tax allotment! What a waste.
What the hell are you talking about? They have to do that now. Hell, private business do too, if they offer a variety of services from which customers may choose. You're looking for problems where they don't exist.


Quote:
Some of these ya-hoos think the whole government exists on the $20k they pay in taxes.
And where is the basis for this conclusion? If you can't come up with any better points than this, you probably shouldn't go around referring to others as a "ya-hoos".
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Old 12th May 2003, 07:26 AM   #23
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Re: Do voters have a right to decide where their tax money goes?

Quote:
Originally posted by Tony
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/articl...5/09/PROPN.TMP ..full article

This judge doesnt think so.
That judge is right, the voters do not have a right to decide where their tax money goes.

Voters do have a right to vote for the people running for elective offices and those representatives can have considerable influence on how the tax money is actually spent. Therefore, the voters can indirectly influence how taxes are spent, but they cannot provide detailed instructions and rules for doing so.

There are several things the Federal Gov't does that I am opposed to, however I, nor anyone else, can tell the feds how to spend my taxes.
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Old 12th May 2003, 07:35 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally posted by WMT1


, you probably shouldn't go around referring to others as a "ya-hoos".
But what if they are from Virginia!?


If Im not mistaken I think theres an old Supreme Ct case saying you dont control where your taxes go.

How would you do this. have a checklist on your taxes

"If you would like your money to go to the living expences of Chuck Smith, a CIA spy living at 321 Jihad Ave in Damascus Syria, please check here."
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Old 12th May 2003, 07:37 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally posted by Tmy
Although it would be kind of a hoot that when you paid your taxes you would get a postcard telling you where it went.

"Dear Sir,

Your taxes helped to repaint the lines on a 13 mile section of Interstate 95 in south New Jersey. If you have any complaints about the paint, please let us know. After all it was your money that we used.

-Uncle Sam"
Again, you're grasping for problems. I haven't seen anyone argue that the choices need to be offered at this level of detail.


Quote:
Of couse you'd only be able to complain about the lines on I-95 and nothing else.
If that's the only service you agreed to pay for, that's the only one where you'd have grounds for complaining about quality of service. It does not alter your right to complain if government does something it shouldn't be doing.
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Old 12th May 2003, 07:44 AM   #26
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Quote:
Originally posted by Tmy
But what if they are from Virginia!?



Quote:
If Im not mistaken I think theres an old Supreme Ct case saying you dont control where your taxes go.
Again, you guys just seem to be substituting observations about what the laws are for arguments about what they should be. Can anyone out there come up with anything better?


Quote:
How would you do this. have a checklist on your taxes

"If you would like your money to go to the living expences of Chuck Smith, a CIA spy living at 321 Jihad Ave in Damascus Syria, please check here."
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Old 12th May 2003, 07:45 AM   #27
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Quote:
Originally posted by WMT1


Again, you're grasping for problems. I haven't seen anyone argue that the choices need to be offered at this level of detail.
So whos going to draw the line then?

Will the government be able to put to gether a budget if they dont know how much money will be available in the different pots. It just doesnt seem realistic to have all those taxpayers directing the budget. Its bad enough when you have a few poloticians trying to do it.
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Old 12th May 2003, 07:48 AM   #28
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U of Virginians are know as "yahoos".


I really dont have an emoticon that can propery express my point of view but I'd be interested to know just how your tax direction system would work.
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Old 12th May 2003, 08:07 AM   #29
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Quote:
Originally posted by Tmy

It just doesnt seem realistic to have all those taxpayers directing the budget. Its bad enough when you have a few poloticians trying to do it.
In total agreement with you on that one! But seriously, it's one of the constraints of a representative democracy that voters rights to influence government are necessarily limited. So no, voters have no right to decide where their tax money goes, other than through the ballot box.
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Old 12th May 2003, 08:14 AM   #30
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Quote:
Originally posted by Tmy
So whos going to draw the line then?
Um ... that would be the individual taxpayer. I thought that was clear.

Quote:
Will the government be able to put to gether a budget if they dont know how much money will be available in the different pots. It just doesnt seem realistic to have all those taxpayers directing the budget. Its bad enough when you have a few poloticians trying to do it.
If this is your big objection, how about making taxpayers commit to their allocations for a year, two years, whatever duration it takes to achieve the stability you seem to be looking for? These are not insurmountable problems. Moreover, for individual taxpayers who don't particularly want be bothered with such decisions, how about simply providing a box that allows them to choose to continue to allow their portion to be used as the politicians see fit?


Quote:
U of Virginians are know as "yahoos".
Sorry about that.

Quote:
I really dont have an emoticon that can propery express my point of view but I'd be interested to know just how your tax direction system would work.
I don't have any particular "system", nor is it necessary for me to outline one. It's not that damn complicated, and there are probably any number of relatively easy way to work this stuff out that would allow for far more taxpayer choice than currently exists.

But more to the point, protesting the lack of choice is not accompanied by any obligation to resolve these concerns anyway.
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Old 12th May 2003, 08:15 AM   #31
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Quote:
Originally posted by BillyTK
In total agreement with you on that one! But seriously, it's one of the constraints of a representative democracy that voters rights to influence government are necessarily limited. So no, voters have no right to decide where their tax money goes, other than through the ballot box.
Your last sentence does not follow logically from the one that preceded it, as you seem to think it does. Are any of you out there capable of conceiving of "rights" independently of what the lawmakers tell you they are?
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Old 12th May 2003, 08:25 AM   #32
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Quote:
Originally posted by WMT1


Damn, no wonder the politicians can pick our pockets with so little resistance. Did you guys sleepwalk your way to these conclusions, because that's what you'd always been told by Mommy & Daddy, or did you actually apply any critical thought to them? Where the hell did you get the idea that "that is as it should be"?
It's the way a representative democracy works, or did you sleepwalk through civics class? If you wish to repeal the 16th amendment, give it your best shot.
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Old 12th May 2003, 08:37 AM   #33
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Quote:
Originally posted by Tricky
Neither do I. The fact that I oppose the invasion of Iraq does not mean that I get to deduct all the money spent on that war from my taxes. That is as it should be.

Originally posted by WMT1
Damn, no wonder the politicians can pick our pockets with so little resistance. Did you guys sleepwalk your way to these conclusions, because that's what you'd always been told by Mommy & Daddy, or did you actually apply any critical thought to them? Where the hell did you get the idea that "that is as it should be"?

Originally posted by Tricky
It's the way a representative democracy works, or did you sleepwalk through civics class? If you wish to repeal the 16th amendment, give it your best shot.
Your reactionary attempt at a counter-insult might be appropriate if I had expressed some ignorance about how things are. If you'll take a closer look, I was responding to your comment about how things should be. That so many of you can't seem to make the distinction between the two only makes my comments seem that much more appropriate. Where the hell did all the skeptics go anyway?
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Old 12th May 2003, 08:38 AM   #34
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shanek -

I may be wrong, but it seems that all of the real-world examples that you posit as showing libertarian ideals in practice are from small rural communities. The examples I can remember off the top of my head are the mayor who cut his salary, and this fire department in this thread.

Don't you think that there is a fundamental difference between providing fire service for 3000 people in a rural setting and providing fire service for a city 1000 times that size? While this fire department may be able to get by on donations and fundraisers, with a 100% volunteer force, a city fire department needs full time staff that must be paid for. And I would rather see that cost spread out over the entire community via taxes than have to worry about paying the fire department bill if my house catches on fire.

Maybe the libertarian ideals aren't scaleable - they work on a small level, but not with large groups. Kind of like communism.
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Old 12th May 2003, 08:45 AM   #35
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Originally posted by Thanz
Maybe the libertarian ideals aren't scaleable - they work on a small level, but not with large groups. Kind of like communism.


Yeah, this comparison never gets old.
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Old 12th May 2003, 08:51 AM   #36
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Originally posted by WMT1




Yeah, this comparison never gets old.
Wow! What a comeback! So filled with logic and water tight arguments I don't know what to do. Libertarianism is for me! Where do I sign up?

Seriously, can you provide any examples of how a volunteer fire department would work for a large city (for example)? Or is libertarianism all about selfishness?

Do you have any actual plan for how things could work in amore efficient manner for large scale projects?
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Old 12th May 2003, 09:07 AM   #37
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Quote:
Originally posted by WMT1


Your reactionary attempt at a counter-insult might be appropriate if I had expressed some ignorance about how things are. If you'll take a closer look, I was responding to your comment about how things should be. That so many of you can't seem to make the distinction between the two only makes my comments seem that much more appropriate. Where the hell did all the skeptics go anyway?
My apologies if I misconstrued what you were trying to say. But yes, I do believe our system of government is basically a good one, which can always use some tweaking. As Thanz points out, the "user fee" system is simply not workable on a large scale. do you set up toll booths at every road? Will police not answer 911 until they check your credit rating? Will the Anti-Pollution company charge you more based on your lung capacity?

The system we have in the US has led to us being the richest, most powerful nation in the world. I'm not anxious to completely dismantle it simply because I'm afraid I might be paying more taxes than Joe Blow.

Now if you want to stop with the insults, then perhaps we can discuss this calmly.
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Old 12th May 2003, 09:08 AM   #38
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There are problems with "pay for play" arrangements. namely public safety.

Do I not call the firedepartment because I dont want to pay the fee. In turn my fire gets out of contro land suddenly the whole neighborhood burns down.
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Old 12th May 2003, 09:24 AM   #39
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Originally posted by BillyTK
In total agreement with you on that one! But seriously, it's one of the constraints of a representative democracy that voters rights to influence government are necessarily limited. So no, voters have no right to decide where their tax money goes, other than through the ballot box.

Originally posted by WMT1
Your last sentence does not follow logically from the one that preceded it, as you seem to think it does.
Oh good grief. Please explain the alleged lapse in logic, with examples, so we can be clear in where the fault lies.
Quote:
Originally posted by WMT1
Are any of you out there capable of conceiving of "rights" independently of what the lawmakers tell you they are?
Is this in reference to anything I've said? If so, be more specific in future. If not, be more careful with your responses.
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Old 12th May 2003, 09:54 AM   #40
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Wow! What a comeback! So filled with logic and water tight arguments I don't know what to do. Libertarianism is for me! Where do I sign up?
Spare me your over-the-top sarcasm. Such reactions would be more appropriate in response to someone trying to associate libertarianism with communism. Anyone who knows anything about the two knows they are nearly polar opposites.


Quote:
Seriously, can you provide any examples of how a volunteer fire department would work for a large city (for example)? Or is libertarianism all about selfishness?
Thanks for presenting this choice, as it reveals the level of your open-mindedness. Libertarianism is about as unselfish as it gets. If you think otherwise, good luck making a case to the contrary that will withstand any scrutiny.

And I'm not about to try to answer the "how would it work" question a hundred different times, for a hundred different types of services. User fees, subscriptions, whatever gets you there. If 80% of a population want a particular service, then 80% of the population can commit their own damn resources to making it happen. So how about applying a little thought to this yourself? I've been through these discussions before, investing time in answering a never-ending litany of questions, only to have people respond at the end "well, I just don't think it would work" or "we'll just have to agree to disagree". Until I know I've got a fair-minded, receptive audience, it's not worth the trouble.

Besides, this discussion is not about how to run a society without taxes anyway, it's about whether to allow those paying them to allocate where the money goes.


Quote:
Do you have any actual plan for how things could work in amore efficient manner for large scale projects?
Whether I do or not is irrelevant, as it's not my responsibility to provide one. An outline of how to run a society, particularly a comprehensive one, is not necessary to challenging the views expressed in this thread about what taxpayers don't have a right to do.
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