Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Thin End of the Wedge

Related to my previous post is a problem people have when they take real facts, speculate about them, and eventually turn that speculation into facts, which they then build upon.  And you see this sort of thing when one side presents a policy and the other side rejects that policy, not based upon the policy itself, but for what they speculate the "real" purpose of that policy is; which is always the thin end of the wedge.  The beginning of the end of whatever it is they hold dear.  So no policy is what it seems, as they all have nefarious goals which will eventually undermine our side completely.

And we see this with the current suggestion by liberals that we once again restrict the sort of high-capacity gun clips used by the insane guy in Tucson.  I mean, 2nd Amendment or not, why do we need to have Glocks that hold 33 bullets?  A smaller gun clip would have surely saved lives and even the NRA hasn't proposed any real world situation for why we need them.

But for them, it's not about the clips.  It's about what this ban will mean in future debates.  For them, this is just a nefarious plot: The thin end of the wedge towards a gun ban.  So they oppose this policy because of speculation of what this policy might mean, and the speculation becomes a fact that they now treat as reality.  They've already decided that Obama wants to destroy the 2nd Amendment, all evidence to the contrary, and they can now accept this latest proposal as just more of that push to destroy America.

Social Security Still Safe

And we see the same thing on the left.  Obama came up with an idea for giving workers more spending money by having the government pay a small portion of their Social Security for them.  And from there, liberals began speculating that this will eventually lead to Social Security being defunded and eventually dissolved.  And before you know it, this speculation of what might happen became a reality of what will happen and was a reason for not supporting a policy that will allow people to spend more money.

And this is something to be avoided.  Speculation is great and it's definitely a requirement for us to make educated guesses as to what the future implications of our actions will be; and it'd be irresponsible to not speculate about such things.  But...we shouldn't allow ourselves to convert speculation into reality.  Yes, renewing the ban on high-capacity gun clips might lead to more gun control, and allowing people to keep part of their Social Security tax while it gets paid by the government might lead to Social Security being defunded.  But this is only speculation and not reality.  Simply because a dreaded thing might occur doesn't mean it will occur.

Because yeah, there are real fears of any policy being the thin end of the wedge which helps destroy other policies.  But more often than not, most policies see a pendulum effect, not a momentum effect.  Success on one side makes future success more difficult, not easier.  A ban on high-capacity clips makes future bans more difficult.  And anyone who actually imagines Americans will accept a defunded Social Security just hasn't been paying attention. 

People will accept a lot of things, but hardline gun control and destroyed Social Security will simply not be tolerated.  Anyone who suggests otherwise is deluding themselves.  Maybe I'm wrong, but the evidence is clearly on my side. We must remain vigilant in protecting Social Security, but not allow ourselves to believe it's already been damaged.


mahakal said...

Are you suggesting that the Republicans in the House of Representatives will allow the Social Security tax to be raised when the cut expires? They have already said they won't support ANY tax increases and they will consider the ending of any cut an increase.

So basically your argument is that liberals are stupid and we should take your word for it. But you aren't a conservative, no.

Doctor Biobrain said...

Uh, no. I'm suggesting that you're speculating about an event that hasn't happened while pretending it's a foregone conclusion that should be treated as fact. And you should know that's what I'm saying, as it was the entire point of what I wrote.

And no, I never once suggested that liberals are stupid. I merely said that some of them are incorrect when they say that Social Security has been defunded, and think they're wrong for treating their speculation as fact.

I have no idea where you got the idea I insulted liberals, as I never have. Especially as many liberals supported Obama's tax deal; myself included. As far as I can tell, it was only the liberals who disapproved of Obama who disapproved of the deal.

Perhaps you should stop trying to read my mind and simply accept the words I write as the representation of my beliefs. Instead, you're imagining insults of liberals that never happened, while calling me a conservative for supporting something which hasn't happened and which I wouldn't support if it did happen.

And exactly how will the House Republicans stop the tax cut from expiring, pray tell?

Even IF they could somehow get Democrats to agree to make it permanent, it'd be to make the whole package permanent; including their continued funding of it. There's absolutely no precedent which would suggest Democrats would cave on this issue. Just ask George Bush, who got the hell burnt out of him for merely TALKING about hurting Social Security. Yes, it could happen, but I just don't see it happening.

Speculation is great, as long as we remember it's only speculation.

mahakal said...

The cut happened. The defunding is real, the only question is if it is temporary, or if there will be a funding replacement. It's your speculation that the funding will be RESTORED. But your speculations are facts, in your mind.

Doctor Biobrain said...

But there was no defunding because the law forces the government to pay for the portion they're allowing us to keep, the same as the government will replace the funds that it's borrowing from Social Security every year. How is that a defunding?

Now, maybe Republicans will somehow force this cut to be permanent. And maybe they'll do so in a way that the government will stop paying these funds. And maybe they'll even renege on the 2% they're setting aside for us right now. But those are three different pieces of speculation; none of which are part of the current law and all based upon the theory that Obama and Democrats are morons who want to lose elections.

Under the current law, there is no defunding of Social Security. And I'm willing to speculate that it won't happen in the future either. And you're speculating that it will happen and the government will ignore the current law and won't pay the funds they're mandated to pay us.

And that's fine. We both have opinions of what we think might happen. The difference is that you're calling me a conservative because I don't agree with your speculation. How odd.

mahakal said...

So by your reasoning why not keep the cut permanent as long as "the law forces the government to pay for" the reduction in revenue? Heck, why collect any taxes? Just make a law to force the government to pay for everything and don't worry about it.

Doctor Biobrain said...

Yeah, ok. I suppose I wouldn't mind if the government continued to fund 2% into every worker's Social Security account. I could support that.

And hell, I suppose if Obama proposed to fund everyone's Social Security account entirely, I could support that, too. It'd be like a free pension fund for those who work, which would essentially be financed by rich people. Wouldn't you support that?

And of course, it should be noted that you HAVE stated a preference to have the government pay for everyone's basic necessities, like food and shelter; under the premise that it's a form of slavery to make people work for their own survival. Not only do you want the government to take care of our retirement, but believe they should pay for our pre-retirement, too. So it'd seem you're already futher ahead on this than me.

But back to the point: Social Security isn't being defunded and any claim that it has is simply false. And as much as we can speculate about what may or may not happen with Social Security, this is still only speculation and not fact. And yes, that includes my speculation that Obama will not allow Social Security to be destroyed, just as Democrats didn't allow it to be destroyed all the other times Republicans tried to do so.

mahakal said...

Wow. We don't need no revenues ever again, just promises to pay are enough. I think this brave new idea could take over the entire wingnutosphere. No more taxes, ever again!

Doctor Biobrain said...

Mahakal, once again, I have no idea why you bother reading my site if you think I'm so stupid as to imagine that we don't need tax revenues. I can understand why you'd read me if you thought we had a differences of opinion, but I'd have to be a complete moron to believe the things you're ascribing to me, and all my opinions would be worthless.

I was giving you the benefit of the doubt by assuming that when you wrote "why collect any taxes," that you were only referring to Social Security taxes. Apparently, you haven't done me the same honor, and are assuming I'm a moron who doesn't understand the most basic issues under discussion. And rather than deal with things I believe, you ridicule me for things I'd NEVER believe.

But as I keep saying, I support taxation; in particular, taxation of the rich. So your point is entirely moot.

Overall, I think your big difficulty here is that you really SHOULD support having rich people fund 2% into our retirement accounts. But because it came from Obama and was part of a horrid tax deal, you're forced to reject something that you'd otherwise support.

I mean, you're the guy who thinks the government should pay for food and shelter for anyone who chooses not to work. So not only do you want the government to fund our retirement, but our pre-retirement, too. And you call it slavery if the government DOESN'T pay for these things. So why would you oppose having them fund 2% into our retirement accounts?

And of course, we're now WAAAY off-topic, as the topic is whether or not your speculation should be treated as fact. And once again, it should not.

We can speculate about what will happen in two years, but that speculation is not reality until it actually happens. And that was the point of my post; not whether or not the payroll tax cut was a good idea, but whether or not it defunded Social Security. As I keep saying, it has not.

mahakal said...

But the same bill maintained tax cuts on the very rich! So you are just a simple liar.

Doctor Biobrain said...

How have I lied?

And why do you keep ignoring the main point? Speculation of what might happen is not the same as something happening. You know this to be true, yet refuse to acknowledge it.

mahakal said...
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mahakal said...

Denial isn't a river in Egypt. And I really appreciate the irony of your ridiculing a proposal that Martin Luther King Jr. supported, on this day.

The bill you supported cut both the rate on Social Security and maintained the rate cut on the rich, it was a REVENUE cut NOW, not a speculative cut in the future.

Doctor Biobrain said...

Yes, the tax deal cut tax rates for the rich, as well as for working Americans. How does this make me a liar?

Did I say we paid for the 2% tax cut through that bill? No, I didn't. I didn't even imply it, as that wasn't the point I was making at all If you like, I could explain what I meant. can keep insulting me for saying things I never said.

And did I condemn that plan today? No, I did not. I merely referenced it, because I felt it applied to what we were discussing.

You derided the idea that the government should pay for our retirement, and I pointed out that you already support an even stronger and more expensive plan. After all, your plan would be a HUGE cut in tax revenues, as people stopped working because they didn't need to. And it would surely add to the deficit, as it'd make government spending increase immensely. So I referenced it, as I saw how it related to what we were discussing.

But I wasn't making a judgment on that plan whatsoever, and wasn't discussing the merits of it at all. Once again, you're accusing me of doing something I never did.

And look, there's no reason for you to mind-read me. If you have any question about what I'm writing, just ask. As I've made obvious, I LOVE explaining myself.

mahakal said...

"Did I say we paid for the 2% tax cut through that bill? No, I didn't. I didn't even imply it, as that wasn't the point I was making at all If you like, I could explain what I meant. can keep insulting me for saying things I never said."

Okay. Explain how the 2% tax cut is paid for.

Doctor Biobrain said...

It's paid for the same way the government pays for everything else: The rich.

As we both know, the rich pay far more in taxes than the rest of us, because they make so much more than the rest of us. And so MOST spending is paid for by them, including the 2% tax reduction.

And yes, this is just adding to the deficit right now; though since both of us are Keynesians, this shouldn't be a problem as we both believe that properly aimed deficit spending is good policy.

And at some point, we're going to have to raise taxes on the rich and make good on this debt, and it'll again be the rich who pay for it. Now, perhaps we'll have some drastic change in our taxing structure, which will make it so the non-rich have to pay significantly more than they currently do. But in no case is it imaginable that the rich won't continue to pay the majority of taxes.

Alright, well that was the short answer. I wrote a bunch more, but decided to save you the hassle of having to read it. But if this wasn't enough, let me know and I'll post the rest. It gives examples of how many middle-class people don't pay income taxes, and explains how the "paying for it" semantics doesn't really work for this discussion, and that sort of thing.

Frankly, I was really in the zone on this, as I LOOOOVE explaining myself, as it helps me understand my own beliefs better. But I understand how hard it can be to read this stuff, so I decided to not bother you with it. But...if you need more, I've got it. All you got to do is ask.

mahakal said...
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mahakal said...

I think we're done here. The foregoing speaks for itself.

Doctor Biobrain said...

Any chance you're going to retract calling me a liar, seeing as how I wasn't lying? How about a retraction about your speculation being fact, which was the main point of my post? Or is it simply impossible for you to retract any statement at all?

Needless to say, I'm still a narcisstic coward and I should still be fucking myself, because you can't possibly retract any of the negative things you say about me.

I think I liked you better back when you were into the whole Jesus thing. Love your enemy? You can't even like your friends.

makeinu said...

Seriously, mahakal, why do you bother to post?

And DB, why do you respond?

I mean, it's fun to read, but really! It's a pissing contest. No matter who wins, you're still both covered in urine.

Doctor Biobrain said...

Makeinu, believe it or not, I enjoy this shit. I really do. As much as I like having people tell me that they agree with me, I prefer people who tell me I'm wrong, as it gives me an opportunity to become even righter. I'm just weird that way, I guess.

In fact, to be perfectly honest, I'm not the sort of person who has feelings that get hurt and really don't mind being insulted in the least. I just think it's really tacky and should be avoided when possible. Plus, it's fun to point out when people hurl insults in lieu of arguments. That's all part of the thrill, I suppose; though I prefer insult-free debates when possible.

makeinu said...

More than fair enough. I've done my share of this stuff before, I just don't blog. I can't say why other than I just don't find myself that interesting, I guess.