Social Question

ETpro's avatar

Should those who claim to despise entitlements be entitled to use our roads, and expect police and fire protection?

Asked by ETpro (34472points) September 18th, 2012

Virtually every adult in America pays taxes. If they work, they pay the IRS withholding taxes which fund Social Security and Medicare. They pay withholding to fund Unemployment Insurance. Most never see this, because it’s taken out of their pay before their employer cuts their paycheck, but they are paying it. In addition, most pay sales taxes, and for the working poor this takes a good chunk out of their total income because most of what they earn is spent on taxable things. All Americans pay gasoline excise taxes. Even if they don’t own a car, that tax is figured into the delivery charges for everything they consume that they don’t create themselves. They pay excise taxes on alcohol if they drink, and on tobacco if they use it. They pay property taxes if they own housing and through a portion of their rent if they live in rented housing. They pay taxes to their state. Even if they earn so little that they escape direct state taxes, they pay in the form of licensing and registration fees if they own a car, or those fees on the vehicles used to deliver their goods even if they don’t own a car. They pay their city in fees tacked on to basic city services. When they buy anything, both corporate taxes and employee taxes are factored into its cost because the maker of the goods, the distributor, and the retailer all have to pay taxes and pay their employees well enough that they can survive after paying their taxes.

These taxes “entitle” us to certain things that are better delivered by government. A perfect example is fire protection. We could privatize fire protection and expect every property owner to privately contract with some for-profit business that would provide their fire protection. But how might that work out? What if their property caught fire while they weren’t there to call their contractor? How would their neighbors, or a casual passerby know which fire protection corporation to call? And what about those who would decide to save money by betting their property won’t catch fire? If it does, and no fire protection corporation will put it out, on a windy day it could easily result in a firestorm that would destroy many city blocks or at worst case the whole city, as in the Great Chicago Fire. So we all pay taxes and we are entitled to fire protection because it is better delivered by government, not private, for-profit businesses.

It’s certainly legitimate to debate what is and isn’t best delivered by government. But to claim that government is inferior to private enterprise in every area is absurd and false. And to brand seniors who collect Social Security and Medicare after paying for them throughout an entire lifetime of working as feckless parasites who are “sucking on the public teat” is as ridiculous as it would be to say that someone paying a healthcare insurer for decades without ever filing a claim is suddenly abusing the for-profit insurer because they developed cancer and are now drawing on what they have so long paid to receive.

Romney said, “There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what… These are people who pay no income tax.”

Lest someone claim this is taken out of context, here is the film of the entire fundraiser speech. There is no spin involved. You can watch and listen to him in his own words telling us what he believes in his core.

So my question is, if he honestly believes that paying taxes entitles a person to nothing in government services, should he be entitled to use the roads that taxes build for him, and to fire, police, and secret service protection paid for by taxes? Should his private jets be “entitled” to Air Traffic Control direction and have a right to land or take off from airports he didn’t personally pay to build? Why does he not live by his stated beliefs?

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62 Answers

YARNLADY's avatar

Most of the general population have absolutely no idea what taxes are for or how they are used. Their understanding of the infrastructure is very limited. This is true of many anti-government, anti-tax people on Fluther as well.

When a politician makes statements like the ones you have quoted, he is looking for a visceral reaction, not a reasoned response.

6rant6's avatar

__We really need a “Nice essay“__ button.

janbb's avatar

Reminds me of a cartoon we loved:

A man is standing in front of his burning home and shooing away the firefighters: “No thanks – we’re libertarians.”

Blackberry's avatar

It’s more hypocrisy and slander of the poor, I guess.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

It’s more pandering to the Republican right. Almost all of us pay payroll taxes (One correction ET: Unemployment contibutions are not withheld. It’s all on the employer), sales tax, property tax, exise tax, etc. to fund all of the services we use. Lower income people pay a lot more of their income to taxes than the rich. Mitt’s a rich guy that doesn’t want to pay his fair share. And he’s got a platform where he can push this idea. Typical of someone that inherits wealth.

FutureMemory's avatar

I love how the Question isn’t asked until the 6th paragraph.

wonderingwhy's avatar

Why does he not live by his stated beliefs?

Perhaps because, as many Republicans have discovered, it’s much easier to demand others live by your ideals than do so yourself.

josie's avatar

Since they already paid for them, or were forced into an obligation to pay into the future for them, why not?
I have paid into Social Security. I expect at least to break even when I take it out. I don’t even care if a get growth on my dollars. I will settle for a 1:1 pay back. That and nothing more.
It is sort of like when they ask you if you want paper or plastic at the grocery store. The idea being, I suppose, that paper is made at the expense of trees, so you may want to use plastic. Except, the paper bags at the grocery represent trees that are long dead and mashed into pulp. It is not as if refusing it will cause the clock to run backwards.

Sunny2's avatar

Do you mean that people who don’t believe in entitlements should not get them? How can you expect people to live by reason instead of fantasy? If it’s available, I want it!
No. I don’t believe in it; but until things change, I want what everybody else gets. And when things change to my way, I’ll still fight to get it, because I have special rights!
what was that sign we were supposed to use to indicate irony?

Jaxk's avatar

It always amazes me that when liberals want to make a case for federal taxes, they use examples of local services. Fire, police, teachers, all local services not federal. Our systems for unemployment, welfare and the like are setup to be a bridge not a career. Standard unemployment is designed to be 12–26 weeks (at least in Ca) when you make that open ended, the system doesn’t handle it well. Again these are state benefits paid for by the employer. Where does the federal government come in on these things? If you are unhappy with your fire protection, that is a local issue, not federal.

When Romney talks about taxes and entitlements, it is federal. Everyone pays into SS and Medicare. If they live long enough they reap the rewards of these programs. Unfortunately both of these programs like unemployment were not designed to be open ended and as we consume the benefits for longer periods they go bankrupt. A serious problem we are facing today. But the rest of the federal government is paid for by income taxes. All the infrastructure programs, federal agencies, defense, the list is endless. All that government is paid for by the top 53%. The 47% Romney mentions pay nothing for the general operation of the federal government, not welfare, not food stamps, not subsidized housing, etc.etc. There is a limit to how much we can give and how much the middle and upper class can contribute. Society has a powerful thirst that is not easily quenched and only half of us pay for that. The country is broke, our economic growth is barely noticeable, we can’t continue to spend all our time and effort on how to spend more money. You may think it’s cruel not to provide more but we just don’t have it. We have half the country supporting the other half. We need to move that line to a more sustainable level.

ETpro's avatar

@Jaxk You first. It always amazes me that Con Men falsely claim that liberals love taxes. Nothing could be further from the truth. I do not want to pay any more in taxes than is needed to keep the nation I live in free and prosperous. But unlike Con Men, I am pretty well aware that roads don’t build and repair themselves, kids don’t magically acquire the education they need for the 21st century competition we face, and the R&D needed to keep this nation great will not be done entirely by private enterprise.

If we “save money” by killing NASA and the NIH and all other government funded research; that’s as helpful to the long-term health of our nation as it would be if Apple saved a ton of money by eliminating all R&D and laying off their engineers. Great policy if the only thing that matters are this quarter’s profits. Terrible policy for the long haul.

I listed all forms of taxes, federal, state and local because Mitt Romney falsely claimed that the 47 (actually it’s 46.4% but I’ll allow him to round up) all are on the public dole, all see themselves as victims, all want the government to do everything for them, and all want to give nothing in return. Actually, it’s 15% who are on Welfare, and most of those would be delighted to have a job that pays them enough to live better than that dole check does.

The rest of the 47% are students, military personnel, the working poor who do not earn enough in adjusted gross income to hit the threshold for the Federal Income Tax, seniors on Social Security, and even a sizable number of the nation’s millionaires and billionaires who know how to play the tax avoidance game, or have the deep pockets to hire experts to do it for them. Some of those millionaires and billionaires even get checks back from the IRS. And what’s more, most of the deductions that allow the military and low income people to avoid income taxes, plus virtually all of the ones that allow millionaires and billionaires to do so were put into the tax code by Republicans. So spare me the weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth. Our income and wealth disparity is the greatest it has been in the history of this nation, and you and Romney want to claim that the problem is the poor have way too much money. They’ve got it easy.

In saying that the 47% pay nothing for the operation of the federal government, you are wrong. They do pay for the upkeep of the Federal Government as I explained in the OP, in the excise taxes that they pay, and they do in the cost of goods they buy with other peoples’ and corporations’ tax burden factored in.

Mitt Romney has released 1 year of his taxes, and in that year, he paid 13.9% on income of $21 million. If you factor in all the federal, state and local taxes he pays, he actually pays less as a percent of his total income than many of the working poor. That’s why I listed state and local as well as Federal taxes. He definitely pays less than most of the middle class. He says he’s always paid at least 13%, but he asks us to just trust him. He won’t release his tax returns to prove it.

Well, he asked the people of Massachusetts to trust him that he’d always filed as a resident of Massachusetts. Turns out he lied to us about that. It finally came out that he paid state taxes listing his primary residence as being in Utah because it saved him money on state taxes. He was legally ineligible to run for governor. When Mitt Romney wants something and the facts get in the way, he just lies. And I would be willing to bet you he’s lying about having paid taxes in those years he won’t release. It’s easy, in his bracket, to avoid all federal taxes. It’s even quasi legal.

ETpro's avatar

@YARNLADY The true comedy is that 8 of the 10 states with the highest percentage of people in that 47% actually voted for McCain in 2008. And the poor sections of states in the Appalachians broke heavily for McCain and vote Republican in election after election. Romney was dissing a large number of hos own base, including the solidly red South. Be sure to scroll down and check the map. Most of the blue states have the lowest percentage of non-payers.

@6rant6 Thanks.

@janbb A more likely scenario is the cartoon I recall of a gas station on fire. The firefighter is there spraying water on it, and the station owner has the gas hose out spraying gasoline on the fire. The firefighter turns to him and asks, “Insured?”

@Blackberry Roger that. At a time when 30 years of GOP trickle down has driven wealth disparity to the widest it has ever been in the USA, Republicans see the problem as the poor having way too much money. It can only be fixed by more tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires, and hiking taxes on the poor, who aren’t paying their fair share. Now Mitt Romney will say he wants to cut taxes for everybody, but bear in mind he will say whatever he thinks he needs to say to get what he wants. If anyone wants to argue with that, I will be happy to post video clips of Mitt Romney taking diametrically opposite positions on just about any issue you care to name.

@Adirondackwannabe Thanks. I should have looked it up. But of course, whatever the employer has to pay, like healthcare insurance, comes out of what could otherwise be paid to the employee.

@FutureMemory I don’t know how you arrive at that. The question at the end of the details just restates the original question in the headline of the OP in a more complete way. Excuse me for not wanting to write a whole paragraph for the Headline question. Somehow, I had gotten the idea that’s what the details were actually for.

@wonderingwhy Great answer. How true. How much a part of the human condition.

@josie Most of us will be lucky if we manage to get back 1 to 1. Live to 110, my friend. Cheat the system all you can.

@Sunny2 Spot on. “I got mine, screw you.” “But hey, I’ll have a little of yours too.” Nice work if you can get it, I suppose. And so in line with the teachings of Christ.

fredTOG's avatar

The only foreign policy experience Mitt Romney has, consists of being bought by Los Vegas Casino Mogul Sheldon Adelson, to the tune of one hundred million dollars [$ – Adelson, who builds casinos in foreign lands, to avoid U.S. income taxes. Mitt Romney also has experience hiding his money in foreign banks to avoid paying his fair share of income taxes. While America was grieving the loss of U.S. lives in Libya, Mitt Romney went on television, wearing his, supposedly, “Magic Underwear”, criticizing the President, when he doesn’t have a lick of expertise in Middle Eastern Affairs. He barely knows how to say, “Arab Springs”, yet offered his lame comments, thereof! Again, this guy is desperate, And, let’s not forget – he is despicable!

Paradox25's avatar

Boy, for disliking big government so much, cons sure love to try to get in government themselves. Maybe Romney could piggyback on Ryan’s shoulders to travel instead of using our tax dollars to fly, if he beats Obama that is.

ETpro's avatar

@fredTOG Ha! I take it you are not a staunch Romney supporter. Obviously, I’m not either.

@Paradox25 Today’s GOP wants to shrink government down to the size that it fits in ever vagina in America, every bedroom closet, every telephone line and Internet connection.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

In my mind, the most hypocritical of all the examples of people being against so-called entitlements are the billions in dollars in subsidies dispersed by the federal government into the overwhelmingly Republican states of the farm belt. It is a fine example of “I’ve got mine and screw the rest of you, you fuckin bleedin heart Democrats.” Not to mention the protective price controls and subsidies which benefit the few families, again overwhelmingly Republican, who control the US sugar industry.

ETpro's avatar

@Espiritus_Corvus Let’s not forget all the subsidies to the oil industry, the most profitable industry in the history of planet Earth to date, and again, overwhelmingly Republican. They are not opposed to welfare at all so long as it only goes to the rich and well connected. It seems that’s the only part of their constituency they really care about.

stark's avatar

There are plenty of business men who are willing to purchase land in order to build roads for profit. The problem, however, is that the government has a monopoly on roads which means the government leaves one with 2 options: use the roads or don’t use anything. In an economic system that requires one to trade goods/services to make a living, it’s suicide to not make use of the roads. As such, one is required to look at the options as follows: make use of the roads or die. With such choices, the government pretty much forces one to use its roads. Banning one right now from using roads would be equivalent to murder, i.e. institutional murder. If business-men were given the option to no longer pay taxes for government roads and given the opportunity to purchase land to build roads for profit, they would gladly accept a permanent ban from government roads. The same line of thought is applicable to all government-related services.

ETpro's avatar

@stark Welcome to Fluther and thanks for another report from the alternate universe where down is called up and dark is called light. It’s amazing how poorly nations with no governments (failed states) do in the actual universe you and I both really live in. Check out the vast superhighway system of Somalia, for instance. No evil gubment [sic] there preventing private enterprise from paving the entire landmass with toll roads, of course. Somehow, in the real universe, that paving never happened though. Show me one failed state with a thriving GDP.

Strange, isn’t it, that the nation with the highest GDP per capita in the world is the USA, with a strong federal system of government that’s essentially been around since the publication of The Federalist Papers. But I know those are just facts, and facts are stuff elitists from Harvard (like Obama) concern themselves with. Facts are stupid in the eyes of the wrong = right crowd, who want a non elitist (like Romney with 2 graduate degrees from Harvard) to lead us into the glory of a Somalia like state.

stark's avatar

Thanks for the welcome.

Your reply (inaccurate at that) has nothing to do with your question which is asking if a government service should be restricted to a certain group of people based on their views.

You’re arguing a point that I never gave an opinion on. A misrepresentation of one’s position is an informal fallacy, also known as a strawman which you’re guilty of doing.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

@stark Relax, man. He was agreeing with you ~ with a little sarcasm thrown in which was not directed at you, but more from the fatigue of covering this material a thousand times. If anyone is versed in the basic fallacies of Logic 101, it is @ETpro. Welcome to Fluther.

Brian1946's avatar

@ETpro @Espiritus_Corvus Just a hunch, but I suspect that @stark/lawkes/garb/vitro isn’t really “new” to Fluther.

ETpro's avatar

@Brian1946 I had that feeling myself when I saw his off-target response. He posts a straw man answer which I respond directly to, then he accuses me of erecting a straw man. To quote Yogi Bera, “It’s deja-vu all over again.”

FutureMemory's avatar

@ETpro @FutureMemory I don’t know how you arrive at that.


It just read funny, after all that info the very last paragraph starts “So my question is..”

I’m on your side, btw.

ETpro's avatar

@FutureMemory On “reading funny” I plead nolo contendere. :-)

Ron_C's avatar

I just came from a job in North Carolina. The yards are full of Romney signs and Obama under a hammer and sickle. Then some of the business claimed to do everything themselves. Ironically one was a paving company. You just can’t fight stupidity. Ignorance can be cured but stupidity is permanent.

Ron_C's avatar

Thanks Espritus, How’s your sailing? Are you still distributing drugs to crazy person’s like me?

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

@Ron_C I left the unit ten days ago to spend time on the rigging overhaul. Fell from the top of the mast last week, spent two days in the hospital on morphine watching TrueTV thanks to my young roommate. Jesus. Thank God for morphine. I couldn’t handle the World’s Stupidest Countdowns without it. I am fine now. Got a kid to do the high work now. I’m not leaving the deck for awhile. No pain since the second day, so I saved the vicodins for when the sun drops over the yard arm—they don’t do shit for pain anyway, but 4 sure as hell will improve my mood. About 3 days ago the temps dropped to the mid eighties (60s at night!) and all the humidity was sucked south. Goddamn, it’s about time. Autumn has arrived and the wind is back. Huge, white, billowing cumulus in the east everyday. To hell with Chokoloskee; I’ll let the heat get a head start sout before I head that way. I’m heading north to Cedar Key as soon as possible until it cools off in Nov/Dec..

Ron_C's avatar

I notice that all Vicodin does for me is make me itch, so good luck with the recreational use.
I picture your boat sailing into the sunset following summer around the world. Fair winds, brother!

Nullo's avatar

I’m pretty sure that those people are referring to people who take without giving, not to taking in general. They may not add up to Romney’s 47%, but they are out there.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

I wonder how fast ultra-conservative NJ governor Chris Christie got on the phone to Obama to beg for federal aid? “Beyond anything I thought I would ever see,” he said. What a dumbass.

Strauss's avatar

@Nullo you mean like the petrochemical companies that take federal subsidies and pay virtually nothing in taxes? Or the agribusiness congloms that get federal subsidies for genetic research and pay virtually nothing on the profits from GMO’s? Or the….. I could go on and on!

ETpro's avatar

@Yetanotheruser Those don’t count. It is only when those who truly need help ask for it that it is outrageous. Every good Con-Man knows that welfare should be confined only to the rich.

Paradox25's avatar

Right wing aholes aren’t going down without a fight, as can be witnessed by their propaganda on tv. Now they have foreigners (now Americans allegedly) promoting reasons to vote Republican because they see the same things occuring here as they did in their former aristocratic home countries. Damn, my entire family roots came from Soviet blockade nations, and even they would laugh at that right wing garbage. Yes, in a way I can agree with these paid off ‘anticommie foreigners’, except that it should be the corporatist right they should be concerned about, not the political misnomers invented by the right that they use to label their opposition with.

ETpro's avatar

@Paradox25 Those ads infuriate me too.

JenniferP's avatar

If you pay taxes, yes.

JenniferP's avatar

Besides, what is the fire department supposed to do? Let your house burn down and endanger other people. If you are murdered are the police not going to investigate it?

ETpro's avatar

@JenniferP Don’t we pay taxes to fund entitlements as well? And the argument about the fire department and the risk to other homes or buildings is a perfect example of why certain things are best assigned to government and provided to all to promote the common good. Imagine if we privatized fire protection, expecting each property owner to contract with a corporation to provide firefighting services. It’s a safe bet that some property owners would bet they wouldn’t have a fire, and they would save the money needed to hire a firefighting contractor. When their place catches fire, nobody shows up to put it out. If it happens on a windy day, and block after block may burn.

Ron_C's avatar

I am at a loss to understand why the word “entitlemets” is suddenly a cuss word. I have paid into Social Security for 50 years and I am “entitled” to a montly check when I finally retire. I have been paying into Medicare since its inception and am “entitled” to medical insurance when I retire. Why should I be ashamed of taking mone that I have paid into all my adult life? The only people that can afford to ignore Social Security and Medicare are retired gvernment officials and really rich people.

If you want to have a discussion about people that never worked paid into those programs, I am more than willing. For those people that say that I don’t deserve and shouldn’t take my entitlements, well, they can kiss my ass!

JenniferP's avatar

@ETpro- I don’t even give a second thought to politics. The only thing that got me mad was when they taxed us in Green Bay to pay for the building of the Packer stadium.

ETpro's avatar

@Ron_C I totally agree. It’s a name Republicans dreamed up to help them in their efforts to kill both Social Security and Medicare.

@JenniferP If it were any other NFL team, I would agree. But the Packers are a special case. The team isn’t owned by a billionaire or an investment group; it’s owned by the people of Green Bay. So building a stadium is part of investing in the future of the team they own.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

@Ron_C & @ETpro I’ve been waiting 12 years for a liberal backlash from these insane, hypocritical NeoCon policies from that crappy presidential election in 2000 through to anti-FEMA Republicans crying for help after Hurricane Sandy and I am wondering if it will ever occur. The latest election at 49% vs 49% isn’t really a backlash. We now have a generation of people in their twenties who have grown up with the Patriot Act, a highly manipulated stock market and no sense of privacy rights. Although they may have degrees, they are less educated. They have grown up under a post Fairness in Broadcasting Act mass media that presents yelling matches as argument and editorial as news 24/7. Many of them buy into the Limbaugh lie that the most radically liberal generation since the American Revolution (Our generation) were all about sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll perpetrated by spoiled rich-kid socialists merely rebelling against their parents. But the same Baby Boomers have supposedly produced the “Angry Old Men” that keep the Republicans alive. Today’s Twenty-Somethings have grown up during a time when preemptive war and US government sponsored extra-national assassinations are the norm. (Remember the massive, popular disgust in re FBI/CIA in-country student investigations and extra-national assassinations, and the resultant Church Committee?) They have grown up with daily news stories about the slaughter of innocents by ground troops and drones (Remember My Lai and the reaction and massacre at Kent State? Prosecutor: “Women and children?” A: “Yes.” Prosecutor: “And Babies?” A: ”....Yes Sir…And babies.”) And, like cows to the slaughterhouse, they see elderly, middle class working class voting repeatedly against their own interests—but I doubt if most of the Twenty-somethings see that. I don’t see a lot of reaction to any of this.

I wonder if this generation is equipped to render proper resistance to these NeoCon policies. I’m sure you feel the same frustration. Your comments, please.

ETpro's avatar

@Espiritus_Corvus We’re not there yet, but at least we’re moving closer now instead of drifting further away.

JenniferP's avatar

@ET pro-It is a common misperception that we own the team. We own the stadium but not the team.

ETpro's avatar

@JenniferP I beg to differ. The Packers are a non-profit owned by the people of Green Bay. If you won the stadium too, more’s the better.

JenniferP's avatar

ET pro- I beg to differ. I am from Green Bay. We don’t own the packers. The Shareholders own the Packers. They sell worthless stocks and then people buy them and put them up on their office walls at work (the administrators where I work do this) so they can brag about it. They are the owners. But we as a community do not own the Packers. I have lived here since I was 18. Even some of the people from here are under the impression that Green Bay owns the Packers but they are wrong. I know people on the city council and the county board and know the interworkings of the city.

ETpro's avatar

A sizable percentage of people of the Green Bay area own stock in the Gray Packers. There are as many stock holders as there are people in Green Bay, but it is true that some reside elsewhere in Wisconsin or the adjoining states.

The Packers are the only remaining sports enterprise that is a non-profit and owned by a large group of investors rather than a single billionaire, a limited partnership of rich guys, or a tightly held corporation.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

And what did the Tax Foundation find? Six of the ten states with the largest number of residents who didn’t pay federal income taxes in 2010 were in the South. The remaining four states were in the West. All of them, except NM, were solidly Republican (Red States) in three of the last four elections. They are poor states and solidly Republican. What a paradox.

Here’s the list, with the percentage of nontaxpayers.
1.Mississippi, 44.5 percent.
2.Georgia, 42.5 percent.
3.Alabama, 40.3 percent.
4.Florida, 39 percent.
5.Arkansas, 38.8 percent.
6.South Carolina, 38.8 percent.
7.New Mexico, 38.7 percent.
8.Idaho, 38.6 percent.
9.Texas, 38.5 percent.
10.Utah, 38.3 percent.

JenniferP's avatar


You do realize you called them the Gray Packers, don’t you?

ETpro's avatar

@JenniferP Well… I do now. I have this laptop’s keyboard.

Ron_C's avatar

@Espiritus_Corvus You’re right about a generation that has university degrees but are less educated than their predecessors. Not only that, they have a debt equivalent to a new house.

When these kids finally find jobs, they’ll become slaves to their employer. The south, Mississippi, Alabama, and Texas have already degraded education to the point that teenagers entering eastern colleges need remedial education to bring them to a level acceptable for a start earning a college degree.

I have met a number of these kid during my travels. They know nothing about how laws are made, think the Patriot Act protects Americans, and think Fox is “fair and balanced”. In other words they are becoming more and more ignorant and that’s the kids headed to higher education! Just imagine the ignorance and susceptibility to deliberate misinformation that the lesser educated suffer.

Paradox25's avatar

@Ron_C The education on the compulsory is really that bad in many southern states?! I’ve always thought that most compulsory level education, regardless of state, would be at least somewhat similar.

ETpro's avatar

@Paradox25 The while point of the drive to keep education at the state and local level is so that it doesn’t have to be equal. Those states that are most vehement in their support of local control of education use that control to deliberately dumb down their electorate in order to make manipulating them easier and more politically effective. My very blue state of Massachusetts is number 1 in public education in the nation. The deepest red states are at the bottom of the barrel. Their curriculum is slanted toward indoctrinating youth with political propaganda rather than facts and critical thinking skills.

Paradox25's avatar

@ETpro Ah, education for the authoritarian mindset. I don’t think that ‘freedom’ loving libertarians realize that they’re playing into the right wing authoritarian’s hands in some ways.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

It is becoming increasingly obvious that the purpose of the American educational system, like their British counterpart, is to pump out somnolent, unquestioning workers unaware of their rights and incapable of critical thinking who will complacently accept low wages to feed the corporate maw and become the permanent working poor. Perfect wage slaves without a voice or representation who can be cast aside when necessary and kept desperate and uncomplaining until they are once again required to mow the lawns, dig the ditches, serve the fries, and push the buttons. They will also teach, police, nurse and manage for increasingly lower pay. The ripest environment for this is the former slave states where, on many levels in many localities, they still haven’t recovered from the Civil War and antebellum attitudes. I don’t think this was the initial design, but I do think corporations know a good thing when they see it.

Paradox25's avatar

@Espiritus_Corvus @ETpro I find this funny actually, implying that there’s a conspiracy theory here relating to education and the workforce being propagated by the ‘right’. Don’t get me wrong here, I’m about as far from a right wing conservative or Christian that you can get, I disagree with them on about 99.9% of their stances and in fact I have almost no respect for most conservative politicians, but I do have to ask a few things here. Fluther’s userbase has always struck me as being atheistic, pro-orthodox/status quo, and very anticonspiracy theorist, definitely not the type of site that would attract New Age spiritual hippyish antiinstitution type of liberals. However I’ve found many comments on fluther that seem to imply a right wing conspiracy relating to education and the workforce, and not just on this thread but others I’ve read too. What gives? I guess that the whole point of my rant here was to ask whether there is evidence of a massive right wing plot (or dare I say ‘conspiracy’)? Personally I think there may be alot of truth to this, but then again I’m not a sceptic, or a great representive of the typical userbase on here.

Ron_C's avatar

@Paradox25 I don’t think that anyone was implying that the southern state approach is part of a conspiracy. The fact is that the southern United States and Texas were forced to stop slavery. They didn’t and don’t accept defeat. Many of the residents still sport Dixie flags and don’t see a problem with slavery and actually think that slavery and share-cropping were a way for the dis-advantaged to survive.

Texas was stolen from the Mexicans so they have a long history of oppressing not only black people but Mexicans, and poor white people. I personally don’t think that there is a organized conspiracy, just a mindset that devalues “certain types of individuals”. It has been that way for hundreds of years and I don’t expect it to change soon.

Paradox25's avatar

@Ron_C I actually agree with everything you’re saying, but sometimes it’s just the way some people say/write things. There are conspiracy theorists on both the left and the right.

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