General Question

DaphneT's avatar

"I believe in free markets, low taxes, reasonable regulation, and limited government"?

Asked by DaphneT (5745points) December 15th, 2011

Who am I? Where am I? What am I? When am I? Why am I?

The real question is how many options are there for achieving each category? How many ways to work a free market? How many methods to implement taxes? When does reasonable become unreasonable? If I have the first three, is the fourth automatic?

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20 Answers

Qingu's avatar

Sounds like Barack Obama. You know, the president who privatized outer space, lowered taxes to their lowest level ever, introduced reasonable regulations involving health care and the financial system so as to ensure sick people aren’t discriminated against and the 2008 collapse can’t easily happen again, and has overseen a huge drop in public-sector employees even as the rest of the economy adds private jobs at a healthy rate.

ETpro's avatar

In truth, free markets and reasonable regulations are mutually exclusive. When we tried true laissez faire Capitalism here, we got massive trusts, price fixing, and the robber barons. The end result was the Great Depression.

Ronald Reagan put us back on the track to that and we got wto Savings and Loan crises with taxpayer bailouts, and the Great Recession of 2007 with massive taxpayer bailouts. It’s fine to believe in things, but it’s a good idea to check whether they actually work before devoting your heart and soul to them.

Qingu's avatar

@ETpro, I’d argue there is no such thing as a free market in the purest sense. Even the libertarian ideal of laissez-faire still has government regulations: they’re called laws against such economic transactions as “theft” and “fraud.”

The term only has meaning in a relative sense. A few decades ago, half of the world’s economies were centralized command economies that were considered the diametric opposites of the “free market” of America and Europe. Now that communism has basically fallen, all of the sudden Europe is a den of socialism and America is on the verge of socialist takeover because Obama wants to tax people who don’t buy the health insurance they can afford.

zenvelo's avatar

These all sound great. But the world isn’t that simple. The free market can be pretty brutal; people want to have free access and interaction with the market, but want everyone else regulated. They want help from the government, but not for other people.

There are lots of ways to tax. Each of them taxes some group disproportionately. People generally view the most fair tax as one that taxes those who can afford it more than it taxes those who cannot afford being taxed.

And people like to say they want limited government, but then they want the government to do all kinds of things, like build roads, control air space, predict the weather, make sure we have adequate infrastructure.

So, while all those things you list sound great, it’s not realistic to achieve in a modern society.

SmashTheState's avatar

Who are you? You’re a liberal.

(PS: I believe in freedom. The markets can go fuck themselves.)

whitetigress's avatar

Sounds better than letting a Republican Laisez-Faire businesses and rape other countries poor whilst jobs moved over there and now we have no more for our lower class people because U.S. regulation was virtually non present in regards to globalization in correlation to U.S. businesses.

ETpro's avatar

@Qingu You raise an excellent point. I should clarify that I am in no way in favor of central government of commerce. The real free market of consumer desires should pick the winners and loosers, not the Government.

Buttonstc's avatar

I thought that was a Ron Paul quote :D

ETpro's avatar

@Buttonstc I love a lot of what Ron Paul sys,m and absolutely loathe other positions he takes. I’m right with him on the idea tht government shouldn’t pick the winners and the loosers. I am adamantly opposed to his idea that the government shouldn’t prevent insider trading, or institutionalized bigotry.

Qingu's avatar

I think Ron Paul is full of shit and it’s amazing people listen to him about anything. Just because someone is 100% consistent in their convictions doesn’t mean those convictions are worth a damn.

FYI Ron Paul is all about the central government outlawing abortions. But he’d rather the government let private businesses handle things like the decision on whether or not to allow black people in restaurants.

Qingu's avatar

Maybe I should be more circumspect.

Ron Paul is the definition of an ideologue. Now I think it’s important to have strong ideals and to try to live up to them. It’s also important that your ideals are well thought out. For example, your ideals ought to have some semblance to reality,

I also don’t think it’s a mark of honor when someone refuses to compromise on their ideals. Especially in a democratic political system. That just tells me you’re not actually interested in putting your ideals into practice, however imperfectly, you’re just interested in masturbating about how steadfast you are in your beliefs.

whitetigress's avatar

@Qingu Hahahaha, of the candidates currently running… Ron Paul should be near last of the candidates I would worry about running the show for 4 years. The U.S. is the mob, and I mean mob in the sense similar to that of Rome. You seem to have all the answers that Obama does not, why don’t you run for political power? Lead us oh great one I’d love to see how you’d handle being the first minority President and oh by the way, yeah you became president but I’m also handing you an economic depression card…

Roby's avatar

God bless you..that means you are a great american.

bkcunningham's avatar

That is a quote from David Frum in a November 29, 2011, New York Magazine op-ed piece.

Qingu's avatar

@whitetigress, I’m actually quite certain that Obama has the same answers as me, since the policies he’s consistently advocated have been based on those answers. It’s just that Republicans have made it a policy to not let his administration get anything done, and have largely succeeded.

comity's avatar

My husband says the same thing, lower taxes, less government involvement, etc. but as a veteran, he doesn’t mind when they increase his benefits. We have a grandchild who was born with very low immunity, is 11 years old and needs intravenous gamma gobulin for the rest of his life at $3,000 a month. He calls the improved health care ‘Obama Care’, but he doesn’t mind that it covers his grandson and his pre existing condition. When it helps us, we don’t mind, when it helps others…..........If my taxes go up to help me and others, so be it!

LostInParadise's avatar

The free market works fairly well, but it is imperfect. For example, there is no incentive against an industry producing pollution, because the cost of pollution is borne by the public, not the industry. It is the job of government to see that industry pays for such hidden costs.

There are shared benefits that should be paid for by the public. We all benefit from having an educated and healthy workforce. It makes sense then for government to provide education and healthcare. Similarly, we all benefit from having roads that allow us to get to work and allow goods to be delivered. Law enforcement and national defense are also obvious examples of shared benefits.

Money tends to become concentrated among the most wealthy. This is bad for a consumer society, because the poor and middle classes support industry by spending a larger portion of their salaries on consumer goods. It makes economic, as well as moral, sense to have a progressive tax.

From a strictly economic point of view, we need government to provide certain services where the benefits are shared and to assess payments where the costs are shared. A libertarian society will not do this.

SavoirFaire's avatar

The problem with the quote is that it says nothing of any substance. Virtually everyone believes in free markets these days, thought they have different understandings of what constitutes a free market. Virtually everyone believes in low taxes as an ideal, though they disagree over how low taxes can be brought down in practice. The term “reasonable regulation” is about as vague as it could be, since it gives no indication of what amount and what kind of regulation would be reasonable. And finally, any government short of totalitarianism could be claimed as “limited” by someone. Without giving some content to these claims, virtually anyone in contemporary politics could say that they believe in free markets, low taxes, reasonable regulation, and limited government.

DaphneT's avatar

@SavoirFaire …virtually anyone in contemporary politics could say that they believe in free markets, low taxes, reasonable regulation, and limited government. It’s my impression that everyone in contemporary politics is saying this. Just not this clearly and succinctly, so therein lies the problem?

@zenvelo So, while all those things you list sound great, it’s not realistic to achieve in a modern society. What might the society look like such that these might be achievable?

@whitetigress …I mean mob in the sense similar to that of Rome. Can you give me a link to read up on this concept?

@bkcunningham you are correct. I got there from that other question still playing out. I was intrigued by the statement because I believe all those things are worthwhile to pursue, but no one could pay me enough to be a Republican. They also couldn’t pay me enough to be a Democrat.

ETpro's avatar

I hope he runs as a third party candidate.

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