Scott versus Scott

Welcome to our blog. Here we will debate the days most serious topics and allow users the chance to discuss the topics as well. The range of topics will vary, but one thing will remain certain, the debate will rage on. Scott Lesinski is a proud conservative and Scott Jones is a proud liberal. However, the roles will switch on some topics. Stay tuned.

Scott Lesinski is currently an actuarial associate for a large human resources and insurance consulting firm in Saint Louis. He is also an avid student of US history and enjoys following current events, with an eye to their contextual relationship to the past. He is also, in fact, a former student of Mr. Scott Jones. Scott is working toward his FSA credentials, which is akin to earning a PHD in Actuarial Science.

Scott Jones is currently a high school social studies teacher at a high school in suburban St. Louis, MO. He teaches World History, AP American Government and Senior American Foreign Policy. He has a BS. Ed. (Secondary Social Studies) from the University of Missouri - Columbia and a M.A. (History) from Southeast Missouri State University. He is currently working on a dissertation in character education to earn a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

My Guiding Philosophy - Scott L.

My guiding philosophy is, in a word, Conservatism. Or to be a bit more traditional, Classical Liberalism. I suggested having our opening posts be about our principles so that readers would understand the screen through which each of us views the world. Also, I want to reemphasize what I believe it means to be a conservative in 2009. I have a feeling that many readers may have been slightly ill-informed about the conservative movement (not that it is their fault, conservatives are unfairly maligned each and every day in the mainstream media (MMS)). So here goes:

I am a conservative. To me, this means that I believe in preserving traditional morals and values. I believe in Freedom and Liberty over governmental control. I believe in the 28 principles upon which this great country was founded; that among them are the rights to life, liberty, and property.

As far as economics goes, I favor capitalism over all the other "-isms" out there. I will acknowledge the need for a certain degree of oversight and regulation, but I feel that our government has trampled all over the line of "too much government". I believe that private citizens, whether it be as individuals, companies, or charities, do a far better job at employing our workforce, caring for our needy, and innovating new technologies than the government ever has done or ever will do. I see government as a necessary evil, something to be checked and balanced. I have read our Constitution several times and I am in awe of the brilliant foresight our Founders showed. I am also quite fearful of what I see as the unConstitutional liberties our government has taken in recent months.

I believe in good, but I also believe in Evil. I see the terrorist threat against our nation as something to be dealt with as exactly that, Evil. I know that since 9/11/2001, we have had no further attacks on American soil and I pray that trend continues. I believe that the way to deal with enemies is from a position of strength, not weakness nor appeasement. I believe that this country, in her short but lively history, has been a good nation. In fact, we've been a downright GREAT nation. We, as Americans, have done more in our young life to promote the cause of freedom in a hostile world than any other. We are, as the late Ronaldus Magnus once said, "A Shining City on a Hill". Why else would we continue to have such a problem with illegal immigration?

Speaking of which, I love immigration. Legal immigration. I think we have every right to demand to know who is in our country. At the same time, I understand that many of America's greatest citizens have been immigrants, indeed, all were immigrants at some point in their ancestry.

I believe that abortion is wrong and should only ever be considered as an option when the immediate life of the mother is in peril. I do not have a problem with using birth control. It goes back to personal responsibility.

I believe that the strongest building block upon which we can advance our great population is the intact, nuclear family.

I believe that the federal government has only the powers that are explicitly delegated to it by the Constitution and that many iterations of our government have done things which should have been challenged as unconstitutional.

I believe the best way to grow an economy is by cutting taxes, removing onerous regulation, and freeing the great entrepreneurs of this country to get to work. If Obama truly wanted to get us out of our recession and grow our economy, what he should have done is cut spending by 25%, cut the top marginal income tax rate down to 25%, cut the corporate tax rate in half to 17.5%, and eliminated the capital gains tax for two years, to bring it back at 10% later.

I believe in global climate change. I DO NOT believe that man is causing it. In fact, I believe that for those of you out there who think we are, that you are very arrogant. We have been on this earth for a blink of an eye in Earth Time. We have been measuring climate for 5 millionths of 1% of Earth's lifetime. There is no way for us to know that what we are experiencing right at this moment is "normal". And we could not manipulate the climate of the Earth if we all stopped all actions that produced carbon. I believe that global warming became the next big CRISIS to keep our population living in fear after the Cold War ended.

But allow me to wrap this post up this way. I want the best for every person. I want every person to succeed at whatever he or she loves doing. I want unlimited prosperity for all in this great nation. And I know that the best way to achieve that goal is to teach our citizens how to help themselves. The greatest force for good in the world is a wildly free and prosperous America and I will stand for that cause forever.

Welcome to our blog.



  1. I agree with your comment on my post. However, there are some sticky issues that we will struggle to agree on. It goes to the proverbial line in the sand and where we each draw it. This should be fun.

  2. "Unconstitutional liberties"?????


  3. An example would be forcing private debt holders to accept a crap deal of pennies on the dollar of their shares of an automobile company so that the president can gift 55% of that company to the autoworker's union as payback for election campaign contributions.

    We are not Venezuela.

  4. You want "the best for every person" you say; I'm interested in seeing what this means as conversation progresses.

  5. More people die of coronary heart disease a year than anything else in the US. But were spending 600,000x more money fighting "terrorists" than we are researching a cure to this deadly disease. There are currently over a million people on the Department of Defense's terrorist watch list, showing that a "terrorist" has come to mean anyone who disbelieves in what we believe, and the proof is in a) the number of prisoners in Guantanamo Bay prior to closing and b) as Bush said, "You are either with us, or with the terrorists".

    Now then, National Income is a function of =[consumption(spending by households) - net taxes + investment(spending by firms) + government spending + exports - imports] as any macro book will tell you. So how in the hell can be eliminate a recession by decreasing government spedning? That makes no sense. What Obama's doing is INCREASING government spending and DECREASING taxes on 75% of the population. Now notice how theres a + sign in front of government spending a - in front of net taxes. Debate me sir.

  6. Drew, two comments.

    I understand the heart disease argument. However, you are comparing apples and oranges. Are you telling me that since there EXIST other causes of death that have higher incidence rates than death due to terrorism that we should focus all of our expenditures on the higher causes of death? So we should do away with the department of defense and pour all of our defense spending into researching cures for disease? There is no logic in that argument. You can have both, research and defense spending.

    The people at Guantanamo ARE terrorists. If they are so cute and cuddly, why won't any other country allow us to release them in their country?

    As far as the expansionary policies of Obama compared to what I suggest:

    Yes, Obama can claim that he is "cutting taxes" for "95%" of the population. But sir, we have to talk about magnitude. A $400 tax credit that must be repaid next year is NOT true stimulus. Besides, we did that plan about a year and a half ago under Bush, only it was $600. Didn't really help all that much would you say?

    Obama also wants a cap and trade program that will absolutely cripple this economy. Especially the poor. The Heritage Foundation has done some work on this plan and the results of instituting Cap and Trade would be literally a doubling in energy rates. Think those "95% of Americans" who get a tax "cut" will appreciate when their electric bills end up doubling each month? Lets see, mine is approximately $50 per month. Under Obama, I get $13 per week of tax credit that I have to claim as income and repay next year. Under Cap and Trade, I get to PAY $50 extra per month in energy bills. Real good idea.

    What that national income equation doesn't take into consideration is the multiplier effect that getting government out of the way and cutting taxes will have on both consumer spending and investment. Lower the tax rates and more small businesses can hire more people. More employed people grows the tax base. Larger tax base, albeit at lower rates, equals increased government revenues.

    When Reagan took office, the government take was about $500 Billion. When he left, it was $900 Billion. You wanna soak the rich? Cut taxes.

    Consider yourself debated. :)

  7. "More people die of coronary heart disease a year than anything else in the US. But were spending 600,000x more money fighting "terrorists" than we are researching a cure to this deadly disease."

    Uhh, it's called eating healthy and exercising. But I guess you want the government to spend money to figure out and tell us how to eat and exercise.

  8. Jon you should know that eating healthy and exercise are not the only risk factors to heart disease. I could give you the NCEP and JNC VII risk factors but I will not bore you and the rest of the people here with those risk factors. Weight is 1 (count them 1) risk factor. You can be skinny and eat right and STILL get heart disease. Grant it living a healthy lifestyle makes your chance of surviving higher, but lets not just say eating healthy is not how you end heart disease. You can eat healthy and still get it.

    But just to get it straight, more people now die due to cancer than anything else. This is told to me by a friend who is headed to MD school who was told that in his interview. They asked him what the leading cause of death was. He said heart disease, but the professor said that was correct but the newest numbers state it is cancer. This does not change the statement. Our country and its "best health-care system in the world" (according to many conservatives) need to spend way more money on fighting these life long diseases than starting wars that are forced on the American public to be about terrorism and then comes out 5 years later that it really isn't.

  9. Scott, I absolutly agree with almost everything you have said. I am a conservative, but not by any means a radical one. I agree that this country runs best on personal responsability and it was started by people building a better life for themselves without a lot of help and that's the way it should stay. I did say Almost though and here was where I think you are wrong.

    Climate change is real as you said. Humans are mostly responsible! Now having said that, is the Earth in danger, no. But we are. The Earth will bounce back from whatever we do to it after a few million years, and probably restart life as well. I say restart it because we will have destroyed it at this rate. Your right, we can only study the climate so far back, so you may be right in that, like I said, the Earth is not in danger of utter destruction. However, if we continnue to put these gases into the atmosphere and raise global temperatures, we will lose the ice caps which will shut off major ocean currents like the North Atlantic current which keeps the continents of North America and Europe temperate. If this happens, get ready to move to Argentina because it will cause the next major ice age for the entire northern hemisphere.
    So is Earth in danger, no, but all of the life on it is. If we want to let this happen to us fine, but we are taking a lot of other species with us.

  10. You're putting words in to my mouth. I never mentioned anything about eliminating the department of defense or rerouting all of our expenditures. I realize you can have research and defense, in fact we NEED research and defense. I was just commenting on the vast numbers of funds that should be diverted away from lesser threats, such as terrorism, and put towards things that will actually improve our own way of life i.e. research towards heart disease, cancer, aids, ending genocides in africa. I mean it's 2009 for crying out loud. And i firmly believe that if another terrorist attack were to happen, it would be done by muslim extremists pissed off simply at the fact that we've murdered hundreds of thousands of inoocent civilians in the middle east in the name of "freedom".

    And if everyone at Guantanamo IS a terrorist, what have they done to the US? And even so, what defines a terrorist? Anybody that the department of defense suspects may have ever had kind of contact ever with any known Al Qaeda member? By that logic, if Timothy McVeigh was considered an Al Qaeda member, all of his friends and family, regardless of whether or not they knew of his intentions, would have been sent to Guantanamo and stripped of all basic human rights just like they did to the thousand or so detainees that have been through Guantanamo since it opened. For a better example, look up Bisher Amin Khalil Al-Rawi. He, along with the majority of other prisoners, were kept in solitary confinement with the lights kept on, experienced sleep deprivation, sexual degredation, forced drugging, religious persecution, water torture. No wonder most went insane. That entire institution is embarassment to what the United States stands for.

    As far as your arguement goes regarding the cap and trade program, I can't really conunter argue due to my lack of knowledge regarding the subject. However, regarding emmissions in general, I can say that conservative politicians in general have taken the most selfish steps towards inproving our sources of energy. For one, how can you expect our country to move on to clean, alternative sources of energy when, up until a few months ago, the president and especially the vice president of the united states both had backgrounds in the oil industry? Or when republican congressman argue against wind turbines, which could create limitless energy, and cite them as "eye sores" and "dangers to wildlife"? So oil refinerys aren't eye sores? If this isn't an prime example of corruption in governement then i don't know what is.

    And my point about the national income equation is that, plain and simple, you must inject money in to the economy to get it moving. That's just the way it is. And it is my belief that government shouldnt necessarily be big, but as big as it has to be to protect the well being of it's citizens. You may be right regarding the the larger tax base i'll give you that, but still the governement must increase spending to enact expansionary policy. This spending must be paid for through either a) increasing taxes, one flaw i see in obama's plan or b) borrowing, thus increasing our national debt. So perhaps one thing we can agree on is that maybe deficit spending aka b), is the best perscription here?

  11. Merty and Drew,

    Yes, I know eating healthy and exercising aren't the ONLY ways to prevent heart disease. But I'm curious if you have any idea what the numbers and percentages are when it's healthy people of normal weight as opposed to overweight people? I highly doubt it's one of the leading causes of death in people that aren't overweight. Thus is why I say exercise and eating healthy and people being a little proactive can help a lot.

    Anyway, we're getting off topic to delve into that any further.

    You are both drastically missing the main point.

    As Scott pointed out, just because there are other causes of death that have higher incidence rates than death due to terrorism we should redirect all our funding to that other cause?

    I pose a question.

    How do you know that because of the money we are spending fighting TERRORISTS (NOT in quotes; as maybe you think they're just a little made up cartoon character?) it's not combating it to a point that it's preventing terrorism from being the leading cause of death? If we were just like, "Alright, whatever, we have better things to spend our money on," and we had another attack on American soil as a direct result of cutting defense spending, then what?

  12. "Or when republican congressman argue against wind turbines, which could create limitless energy, and cite them as "eye sores" and "dangers to wildlife"?"

    That was Ted Kennedy, hardly a republican.

    "deficit spending aka b), is the best perscription here?"

    I'm sorry, but that has to be the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard! How is deficit spending the best answer to any situation? I mean honestly, if you are in debt how can getting yourself DEEPER in to debt EVER benefit you in the long run? The interest that we're paying on our debt is practically unsustainable just by itself!

  13. SCOTT! I told you your Reagan tax argument was completely BUNK! Tax revenues have increased EVERY YEAR since the 1960's (and probably every year since then, but they don't have the numbers published). So OF COURSE revenues would be higher 8 years later.

    And you know what? The ONLY years we didn't have an increase in tax revenues was from 2001 to 2002 and from 2002 to 2003, which was in response to the BUSH TAX CUTS??!! Check it here:


    You sure debated him, but I don't think you did it well...

  14. We have a lot of issues to discuss in the future good. On the global warming issue, I believe that we are in a global warming cycle. Most of that is natural. However, human activity is causing part of it. It is our responsibility to do what we can to help keep this cycle from becoming cataclysmic to our species. At the same time, the green technologies promise cleaner air for us to breathe, which for someone with my genetic predisposition is nothing but a positive in my attempts to pursue life and happiness.

  15. Kyle,

    90% of the change in Earth's climate is caused by solar activity. The most effective "greenhouse gas" in our atmosphere is water vapor, followed by methane. Carbon Dioxide is essential for life on this planet and I am sick of "scientists" and politicians demonizing it for political gain. Don't listen to Al Gore, he is in it for the profits. Don't listen to Obama and the Democrats in Congress, they want to institute Cap and Trade, which I briefly detailed earlier.

    You must follow the money with these fear-mongering campaigns. We actually have not been in a warming trend for the past ten years or so. Many of the so-called global warming proponents have come out saying that global warming is on a temporary hiatus. The bottom line is all humans can do is adapt.

    Don't demonize oil. It is the single greatest resource for energy on earth, not to mention all the wonderful side-products that oil production has given us. Plastics, to say just a word. Plus Jon has a point, the congressman who called wind turbines an eyesore was Kennedy. He didn't want them in Massachusets, just somewhere else. When it comes to alternative sources of energy, once we really need them, a good entrepreneur will figure something out. Necessity if the mother of all invention.

    I appreciate the argument that government always grows. I also think it is total crap. I'm damn glad that government revenue was down under Bush's tax cuts. We also had this little thing called 9/11 that might have put a slight dent in the overall economic numbers those years. Nevertheless, why is it wrong that government should shrink? Whenever government talks about making cuts, all they really seem to mean is slowing of the growth. If I have to tighten my belt, why shouldn't government?

    Drew, one more thing,

    We don't agree on economics. I want to put more money into the hands of American citizens. Their economic activity will spurn overall growth, thus creating more money and investment for everyone.

    Government can ONLY take from us, borrow, or print money.

    Taking from taxpayers stifles their incentives to be productive and produce more goods and services, which actually has a negative effect on the economic pie.

    Borrowing is a temporary fix. As Jon pointed out, the interest on the debt we currently have is already about 9-11% of our budget. We simply cannot borrow anymore and we really need to start paying it back. I'd rather pay China some of our money back instead of offering American lands as collateral.

    That leaves printing money. They did that in the Weimar Republic...soon people were burning their money since it had more value as firewood than it did as currency. Look at Zimbabwe. They just up and decided to take 12 zeros (000,000,000,000) off of their currency. Its worthless. Printing money in the way Obama promises to do can only lead us to hyperinflation, which is also a terrible thing for our economy.

    So no, I don't agree that deficit spending, nor tax increases are a good way to get us out of a recession. The real problem in a recession is lack of consumer confidence. Everyone holes up and stops spending. That is where Keynes said that Government must step in.

    I say, government must step out, cut taxes, encourage growth, and offer the people these actions which will jack up consumer confidence like crazy, thus incentivising increased spending and investment.

  16. baseballjw,

    That's just the thing though, WE'RE NOT FIGHTING TERRORISTS. We were, then we got distracted and went after Saddam Hussein instead. All those muslims you see on CBS news throwing rocks at tanks are Iraqi citizens pissed off that we're still setting up base in their country. Now our military is basically a bunch of sitting ducks until the Obama administration can decide what to do with them. That, to me, is not fighting "terrorism". And the reason i put terrorism in quotes is because I believe the term has simply lost it's value. Terrorism literally has hundreds of different definitions and, when you get right down to it, by our own definition of "terrorism", our actions in the middle east actually literally define us a terrorists. That's right I said it.

    And the reason I even recommended deficit spending was because the United States has never in it's history defaulted on any loan, ever. Typically after a recession we tend to jump up on a rocket ship, economically speaking. Note the early 1990's recession followed by 10 of the best years our economys ever seen. The recession's starting to bottom out now according to many economists, so within the next few years I think it's reasonable to believe that we could pretty easily pay back any loans we take now.

    But since reading Scott's arguement I have to go ahead and agree with a lot of what you said regarding the economy. However, by saying government should step out, what's your stance on the governements billion dollars in aid to major banks? They said they need 10 million more today.

    OH, and i DID NOT demonize oil sir. You are absolutely right, it's one of the greatest natural resources this great planet of ours has to offer. What I demonized was the people that run oil, and the fact that the same people who ran oil also ran the country. I have a problem with THAT due to the obvious conflict of interest. You can't make an honest decision regarding what's best for our nation when you have stock in, a history in, and a campaign funded by oil companies.

    And just to make myself a little more clear than I was last time. I do not believe in big goverment. I also do not believe in small government. I believe in an equilibrium governement that can alter and change itself depending on what the times call for, regardless of who's in office. And right now, Obama obviously is taking the big government approach, so I guess we should all just let time tell how it all plays out.

  17. Drew, you're being naive to claim that we are not fighting terrorists in Iraq. The front against Al Qaida has moved into Iraq, or did. Looks like its moving to Pakistan now that Obama convinced the Pakistani to try out giving the Taliban their own little province for them to govern. Wow, who would've guessed that now those same "moderate Taliban" (an oxymoronic phrase) are attacking neighboring provinces?

    But lets just examine Iraq before and after America's involvement.

    Before, Iraq was ruled by a ruthless tyrant (yes we sent him WMDs in the 80s. Lesser of two evils), who murdered people who had the gall to disagree with him. He murdered thousands of his own people, had established rape rooms, and his population lived in fear. Women were totally subjugated. School was a joke. People were lucky to get by from day to day.

    After America there are schools and hospitals up and running. The Iraqis have had two elections. Women are IN SCHOOL. The people there no longer live in the same constant level of fear they once did. We are working on establishing an ally in a place that once held America in contempt. Do I agree with many in Iraq that they would rather us not be there if possible? Sure! Who wants another country's military present in your own? Nevertheless, the vast majority of Iraqis understand that this is necessary for their safe future and yes, it will help protect American interests going forward.

    I'd call that a pretty outstanding success, wouldn't you?

    As for letting Obama have time...if you knew where Hitler was going with his plans, and you had the chance to vote him and his out of power before all those plans came to fruition, wouldn't you? If you knew where Lenin and Stalin were going, and you had a chance to stand up and dump them out of power before their plans "succeeded", don't you think you would have a moral obligation to do so?

    I know where Obama's spending and political ambitions are taking this country. And I want to stop it. I don't need to give him time.

  18. baseballjw (just to recap),

    defecit spending = government spending w/o raising taxes.


    Comparing Obama to Hitler, Lenin, and Stalin is absolutely outrageous. Until Obama starts systematically killing off entire civilizations of people, Obama is not hitler, no matter the circumstances surrounding the two men's rise to power. The president of the united states also does not have the authority to change the foundations of our entire economy. Though his policies may LEAN socialist, that does not mean we ARE or WILL BE a socialist nation like many conservatives think we're starting to be. "I know where Obama's spending and political ambitions are taking this country". Please. Hell you were the one that mentioned Ronald Reagan, whose economic theories caused him to be dubbed The Great American Socialist.

    But to answer your question yes, given the opportunity I would have voted Hitler, Lenin, and Stalin out of office. However, we do not have that opportunity. Not until November 2012, so yes you DO have to give him time, regardless of whether or not you want to.

    The Republicans had their chance and look where that got us. Now give the Democrats their turn and if that doesn't work, then by all means have a free for all at the polls in 2012.

  19. @Drewsiph

    I just question your blind faith in Obama not changing the economic foundation of our country. In 100 days, just take a look at what he has accomplished.
    1) 787 billion porkulus "stimulus"
    2) 3.5 trillion budget (more than all previous presidents combined)
    3) 1 trillion budget deficit (record)
    4) Federal takeover of the auto industry, banks, and morgage industry
    5) Taxpayers on hook for morgage defaulters
    6) even more trillions for "bail outs" to TARP, TALF, TIFF, PPPIP etc
    7) Publically demonizing capitalism and the US
    8) Punishing the private sector with more take overs
    9) Reinstating welfare
    10) Raising taxes on small businesses that can't afford them
    11) Putting in power "czars" in his administration who have 0 experience in running anything
    12) Closing Gitmo and freeing the terrorists that no other country wants
    13) Releasing Top Secret National Security documents
    14) Abolishing "enhanced interrogation techniques" (waterboarding) that have saved American lives
    15) Threatening to prosecute the Bush Administration officials for protecting US
    16) Federal funding to international groups that promote/perform abortions!?
    17) Federal funding for the white dream (stem cell research)
    18) Getting dangerously close to Socialized medicine
    19) Cap and trade and "clean energy" initiatives that will literally destroy our economy
    20)Apologizing abroad for America's past
    21) Sending a "strongly worded letter" to N Korea to ask them to stop their nuclear weapon developments

    Did I leave anything out?
    Enough said

  20. Lski, (I guess you have no blind faith in conservative presidents like W.)

    The deficit record was actually set by President Bush. For his last fiscal year, he ran a $1.3 trillion deficit. Since he inherited a $750 billion surplus, I think Obama's current budget isn't so bad.

    He's freed no terrorists despite closing Gitmo

    Waterboarding saved no American lives and destroyed America's international reputation.

    Stem cell research might be a dream, but we don't know that yet.

    President Bush was able to accomplish what on the North Korea issue?

    Top secret national security documents that violate the law should be publicized.

    If Bush officials violated the law, then they must be prosecuted.

    The "czars" with experience under Bush destroyed America's reputation. No experience can't do worse.

    Show me the number of small businesses that have gone down because of the taxes and not due to the economic disaster brought to us by the Bush aministration.

    I guess you mean individual welfare and not the corporate welfare you support.

    I know I left some things out, but you get the point.

  21. SJ
    "(I guess you have no blind faith in conservative presidents like W.)"
    Don't make me laugh W was NOT a conservative. He passed green energy legislation as well as the faulty stimulus etc etc. I was not happy with that man as he had potential to do some great things and he essentially crippled to the pressure of the left.

    "The deficit record was actually set by President Bush. For his last fiscal year, he ran a $1.3 trillion deficit. Since he inherited a $750 billion surplus, I think Obama's current budget isn't so bad."
    That may be, but the goal then would be to reduce the deficit, not increase it, so that at the end of his term we're looking at over a 10 trillion deficit 0.o MY kids have to pay that off

    "He's freed no terrorists despite closing Gitmo"
    Anywhere besides Gitmo is freedom for these terrorists, and the main point here I was trying to drive home is that NO ONE wants these terrorists to come to their country/state, so why close Gitmo?

    "Waterboarding saved no American lives and destroyed America's international reputation."
    You are just wrong here SJ. Thanks to waterboarding key terrorists we've been able to uncover and prevent MANY potential terrorist attacks on American soil. The most recent being a plot to bomb several buildings in San Fran I believe. Plus, we waterboard our OWN troops to toughen them up >.> I know that's a bit besides the point but it's not illegal and it's certainly not screwing nails into their thumbs

    "Stem cell research might be a dream, but we don't know that yet."
    As of today, fetal stem cell research has produced 0 results in cures. I read a fantastic article some time last year where the man compared funding FSC to the story of the prince and the pauper where the Prince was convinced the Pauper had invsible royalty clothes, and gave the Pauper his own clothes for the "better clothes." It was only when a child remarked "but there's nothing there at all" did the Prince realize his mistake.

    "President Bush was able to accomplish what on the North Korea issue?"
    Again, don't attempt to put words in my mouth by suggesting I was thrilled with W as my president. He needed to be tougher on the issue. However as it stands, N Korea has increased their research and all the UN and Obama can do is send a "strongly worded letter"

    "Top secret national security documents that violate the law should be publicized.

    If Bush officials violated the law, then they must be prosecuted."
    Since when is saving countless American lives breaking the law?

    "The "czars" with experience under Bush destroyed America's reputation. No experience can't do worse."
    Except, Bush didn't destroy America in 100 days SJ, in fact, it was until the last couple years things started to go sour (sometime after the midterm elections and the drunk Republicans got tossed out)

    "Show me the number of small businesses that have gone down because of the taxes and not due to the economic disaster brought to us by the Bush aministration."
    1) The economic disaster was not brought onto us by the Bush administration, the housing disaster/bank fiasco was brought on by leftist big wigs like Schumer and Dodd and the manipulating of Fannie and Freddie. BUSH and REPUBLICANS tried 6 times during his 8 years to fix FaF before things collapsed and Democrats rejected them
    2) When massive amounts of spending are inplemanted, we see a slight increase in the economy (we have) then we see a huge downturn in the later months (coming, so it's hard to see right away the effects, give it 6 months to a year)

    "I guess you mean individual welfare and not the corporate welfare you support."
    I support the right to a free market and private citizens being able to do their best. Re-instating redicolous welfare laws that create dependent voters is a waste of potential and like Rush said, "Obama could inspire these people to do great things! He is truly a great speaker, however he elects to promise them that government is the answer." [CPAC] Basically saying that Obama could have done a terrific thing by telling everyone to get off their lazy butts and go out and do great things, rather than saying "Im here to help, talk to my advisors and we'll see what we can work out for you"

  22. "He's freed no terrorists despite closing Gitmo"

    He wants to. Eric Holder was just resoundly rejected by the Germans and other European nations when asked if they wouldn't mind taking some of our prisoners. Also, didn't know if you caught this since the MSM is unlikely to discuss anything that Obama's acolytes might find distasteful, but Obama is restarting the military commission program that Bush had put in place to try these terrorists outside the American criminal justice system.

    "Waterboarding saved no American lives and destroyed America's international reputation."

    SJ, ever heard of Khalid Sheik Mohammed? Waterboarding works, and saved the lives of probably thousands of people from a plot in NYC. Former VP Dick Cheney has asked that Obama make public ALL of the memos regarding the use of harsh interrogation, including the ones that show countless evidences of the successful gleaning of information that directly lead to American lives being saved. But I feel a longer discussion on the merits of "harsh interrogation" is in order. Look for that in the near future.

    "The deficit record was actually set by President Bush. For his last fiscal year, he ran a $1.3 trillion deficit. Since he inherited a $750 billion surplus, I think Obama's current budget isn't so bad."

    SJ, you were the one lecturing me on poor logic, but this statement demonstrates none.

    GWB inherits a surplus (faulty one at best, built on a huge housing industry bubble that was created by Clinton era policies enforced by Janet Reno).

    Then 9/11 happens, causing a recession as people fear travel and commerce for a period. 2003 ends up being a huge year in the markets, as GWB's tax cuts spurn economic growth.

    Finally, the housing bubble bursts in late 2007, into 2008 which ends up causing our current recession. Bush (mistakenly) passes large stimulus bills in a vain attempt to fix the problem. Thus he has a 1.3 trillion deficit (i agree, its bad).

    Obama enters the WH and promises to jack up deficit spending, offering a budget that the CBO claims is unsustainable and will DOUBLE our already $10 trillion debt in 10 years...and you say "its not so bad."???

    An explanation for your comment would be very enlightening. I'm sure you didn't mean it to come across the way that it did.

    "Top secret national security documents that violate the law should be publicized."

    It is absolutely unclear whether the opinions given by the lawyers from whom Bush requested legal opinions were "illegal." Infact, how could they be illegal? They were interpretations of the law. The interpretation was, and still is according to Holder, that the difference between torturing somebody using these "harsh interrogation" techniques and not is "intent." The same interpretation was used by Holder to justify sending this Nazi war camp guard back to Germany. He feared he would be tortured, but Holder said that since the Germans didn't intend to do so, he could not be.

    Besides, this should have been handled under the radar until it was known for absolute certainty what the situation was. Giving away top secret information can only aide and embolden our enemies. Revealing our interrogation methods (some claim torture, I do not), can only serve to prepare future detainees for what to expect and make the job of protecting America that much more difficult.

    "I guess you mean individual welfare and not the corporate welfare you support."

    I, like my brother stated above, support the individual. Corporations are run by individuals. I want INDIVIDUALS, all working for their own self interest, to be NUMERO UNO in America. (a little spanish lingo there, since Obama wants us all to learn to speak another language, even though HE cannot)

    SJ, it would be an impossible task to sit here and list out all the small businesses that are laying people off, closing down, or simply won't be started because of Obama's coming tax hikes and his malevolent attitude toward business.

    Remember back during the presidential primaries when Charlie Gibson pointed out to Obama that the past several times it was tried, that lowering the capital gains tax actually increased government revenues? Obama's reply?

    (paraphrasing) "Its not about that, its about fairness..."

    Obama doesn't want economic success for all Americans, he wants redistributive equality for all Americans. Which, my friend, is definitely NOT fair.

    I'm going to say this again to ward off attacks of cold-heartedness and mean-spiritedness, and I know you talked about the teachings of Jesus on your post a while back.

    I believe in helping your neighbor. I believe in giving to charities and offering a helping hand. I support organizations like the United Way, which is doing a fantastic job at doling out charitable funds to needy organizations here in Saint Louis. I WANT TO HELP.

    I don't want government to FORCE the charity. Because when charity is forced, its called theft. And there ain't nothing Godly about that.

  23. As it stands, and I will probably post on this in the near future, overall charitable contributions have decreased steadily over the past 5 years when compared to giving to gdp. We currently give less to the needy than anytime in our recent history when compare to the gdp.

    I am sorry about the Obama budget quote. I tried to sum up a paragraph in a sentence in order to keep the theme Lski used. We can, and we have, argued about the stimulus plan and its merits. However, the only increase in the deficit brought to the table by President Obama is the stimulus. What he is guilty of is being too honest. President Bush tried to use accounting tricks to look like his deficit was only $500 billion. However, after all the speding was accounted for (Iraq and several other things were not part of the publicized debt under W), President W. Bush was running a deficit close to $1.35 trillion.

    My point was that President Obama is not a miracle worker (I know some people think he is Go - see the poll on the first page, it wasn't me), but to fix the deficit problems overnight is something that the Almighty Father couldn't fix quickly. Give the President a chance.

    At current spending rates, you a right about unsustainability. However, ending President Bush's abuses would go along way to balancing the budget. After all, he inherited a budget that was not only balanced, but running record surpluses.

    You guys want to plan Frannie and Freddie for everything. Yes they had problems, but you need to look at the whole picture. The number reason for this mess is the Republican decision to end Glass-Steagel and allow the banks to invest directly in the market. That was the beginning of the derivative craze.

    Both conservatives and liberals are to blame here. Liberals weren't willing to negotiate until conservatives were willing to give in on Glass-Steagal. Conservaties were't willing to negotiate until liberals were willing to give in on Fannie and Freddie.

    Scott L., I think you do a disservice to the debate when you claim things are happening now because of something that may or may not happen in the future. If the tax increase on small businesses happens, then we can discuss the merit and effects. Until then, it is all hyperbole.

  24. Sorry for the typos in the previous post.

    One more thing, the harsh interrogation debate would be great. We can't be for sure that waterboarding led to the information. It is possible the same information could have been gained in more humane ways.

    All these techniques have caused is bad PR for the nation. We used to be the ones that could always take the moral high road when it came to these issues. No longer. The number one reason that Germany and other countries won't take our Gitmo prisoners is because they don't want to be associated with our human rights abuses.

    It is time American stand up for thing wrong and try to make amends to the world community for our mistakes on this topic. On this issue, I think President Obama has been brilliant. Scott and Todd, I know you'll disagree with that one.

  25. "As it stands, and I will probably post on this in the near future, overall charitable contributions have decreased steadily over the past 5 years when compared to giving to gdp. We currently give less to the needy than anytime in our recent history when compare to the gdp."

    Maybe we should be raising the deductibility on charitable contributions to help this out...instead of lowering the deductibility on charitable contribtutions which is what Obama wants to do.

    I went over the "surpluses" that Bush inherited. When you get the boom at the end of your presidency, it kinda helps out the "legacy". See President Clinton about that one.

    " If the tax increase on small businesses happens, then we can discuss the merit and effects. Until then, it is all hyperbole."

    It is not hyperbole when it is true. And the point of me posting on this and putting my opinions and thoughts out there on the WWW is to attempt to instruct and influence as many other people as possible. I don't want to wait and see if Obama does the tax increases. I believe him when he says that he is going to and I know from experience what happens to small businesses when that happens. They hire fewer workers, they close up shop, or they are simply lost in a wave on opportunity destroyed.

    SJ, we can be sure that waterboarding led to the info. You want to claim there "may have been more humane ways" of getting that information. Maybe you're right, but what if it would have taken two or three more weeks to get that info, and by then its too late?

    And Scott, gimme a break! Germany doesn't want to be associated with our human rights abuses??? THAT'S why they don't want to take these people?

    You don't think it may have a TINY bit to do with the fact that they are captured terrorists who were either attacking or plotting to do so against the US and our interests? Why are you libs SO freaking worried about the "rights" of these terrorist monsters? What about OUR rights as Americans to not live in fear of attack? Because the islamofascists are SO worried about their detainees' rights. Right up until they chop their heads off on live TV.

  26. "The deficit record was actually set by President Bush. For his last fiscal year, he ran a $1.3 trillion deficit."

    Oh for the love of God!

    Alright, I don't know if you believe this or I'm just reading in to it but just because Bush has an "R" next to his name, does not mean I agree with everything he did! You keep using the same argument about how big the deficit was after GW.

    Please if you take nothing away from this post other than this next point, please take away this...


    There, please, quit bringing up the point that he spent soooo much money because you know what, two wrongs don't make a right! I don't care if Obama ends up spending $5 less than GW, IT'S STILL WAAAAAY TOO MUCH! And at this rate he's going to spend WAY more.

    In fact, I don't really like referring to those in the house and senate as liberals and conservatives because there are too many like Arlen Specter, Olympia Snowe, and Susan Collins on the right side of the aisle that are so far from being conservative it's ridiculous.

  27. "One more thing, the harsh interrogation debate would be great. We can't be for sure that waterboarding led to the information. It is possible the same information could have been gained in more humane ways."

    To be honest, if it saves AMERICAN LIVES, Im glad they did what they had to do to get that information. When it comes to AMERICAN LIVES, I am all for the offensive because America is the greatest country in the world and those that want to destroy us and are way of life need to be taken down. "Humane" runs second to saving lives.

    "All these techniques have caused is bad PR for the nation. We used to be the ones that could always take the moral high road when it came to these issues. No longer. The number one reason that Germany and other countries won't take our Gitmo prisoners is because they don't want to be associated with our human rights abuses."

    Contrary to your belief SJ, I belief that America has actually been under attack for many years before harsh tactics even became an issue. Scott may be able to direct me to the exact quote, but there was a Canadian a few years ago who came out with a statement about the US and the world.
    paraphrasing, it went something like,
    "Whenever a country has been in need, the US has been there for it. Hurricane, earthquake, natural disaster the US is there with man and money power. But when the US is in need, nobody is there for it." That's not it and the real quote is much longer but that's the rough idea behind it. If Scott or Jon can find it :) I would appreciate it since Im sure they can remember his name

  28. OK baseballjw,

    First of all, SJ was just correcting a typo by Lski regarding the budget defecit, not accusing you, a conservative, of supporting W, a republican. God forbid.

    But more importantly if spending isn't the way to end a recession, then what is?

    And to Scott L.,

    ....You really think about deductability when donating to charity? They could eliminate charitable contributions from tax deductions all together for all I care. That's not why I, at least, donate to charity.

    And as far as Gitmo goes, it's about having compassion for human life. It's about admitting that we can't find who's ACTUALLY responsible, so we try to compensate by locking up everyone and their brother who looks like your typical middle eastern terrorist. I mentioned before the one-million-man-strong terrorist watch list. One million men that could have gone straight to Guantanamo Bay had they been captured and identified. Up until a little over a year ago, 14 of the 19 hijackers we're on the list. THEY'RE DEAD! How can you not look at that and go "Hm, the DoD must not have a god damn clue what they're doing". The FBI ADMITTED that at least 35% of the names remaining on the list are still there despite inadequate evidence to do so. That's 350,000 people, or every single person in St. Louis County, locked up without reason.

    What about the right to a fair trail? What about due process of law? What about innocent until proven guilty? Why do conservatives throw all these key aspects of our Constitution out the window when the word "terrorism" comes in to play? No matter how scared of these people you are, you can't deny them these things, which the Bush administration did despite continuous (although in my opinion, not well enforced) pressure from the Supreme Court to do so. Holding them there against their will only increases their hatred for Americans, thus increasing the likelihood they'll attack the US again. It's just illogical to do so all together. And I'm not talking about just the Guantanamo inmates themselves, I'm talking about all the friends and family members of each and every one of the inmates as well. If you REALLY think that every prisoner there was spending all their free time at home secretly plotting to attack the US, then why not try to resolve our issues like men? Like I said, keeping them there (assuming they actually are terrorists) only builds more tension for the future. You're only delaying the issue, not eliminating it. Like, for lack of a better anology, putting on body spray as an alternative to showering. Consider closing Gitmo like washing ourselves of the stains Gitmo has left on our humans rights record. For god sakes we probably don't look much different than North Korea to the rest of the world. OK, maybe that's a TAD extreme, but my point remains valid. Thanks to Obama's closing of the prison, perhaps that's just one step towards peace, and one step away from cowardous tension.

  29. To add one more thing to Drew's statement.

    How many terrorists have been recruited because of our actions at Gitmo and the use of waterboarding?

    If we are doing things that are actually increasing the number of terrorists worldwide, then how is that keeping America safer?

  30. Scott L, will you PLEASE explain to me the point you're trying to make with your Reagan tax revenue example. Your argument (from what I'm reading) is that the best way to "soak the rich" is to lower taxes. And the way you illustrate that is by saying that the tax revenues at the end of Reagan's 2nd term were far higher than when he came into office. I'm saying first that you can't form an argument based solely on an example of ONE President's economic policies. Second, that American tax revenues have grown EVERY year since they started keeping track of the number. It's simple: if you have a consistent tax on income, and income grows every year, then OBVIOUSLY tax revenues are going to be higher.
    Federal tax revenues nearly doubled during Clinton's presidency from 1.1 trillion to over 2 trillion. At the end of Clinton's term, the top marginal tax rate was 39.6%. So, obviously, by using YOUR logic, the best way to "soak the rich" is to increase taxes. If you DON'T agree with that statement, then QUIT trying to make your point by citing the tax revenues during Reagan's term!

  31. I love how Lski put quotes around something that wasn't really a quote.

  32. "What about the right to a fair trail? What about due process of law? What about innocent until proven guilty?"
    "How many terrorists have been recruited because of our actions at Gitmo and the use of waterboarding?"
    "If we are doing things that are actually increasing the number of terrorists worldwide, then how is that keeping America safer?"

    Do us the favor of not constructing horrible straw men arguments in a last ditch effort to protect the enemy.
    The same thing could be said for, well, how do we know that every rapist we prosecute doesn't just make 10 more rapists because they're angry that one guy got a bad rap.

    Drew, those rights you talk about, are guaranteed to in the US constitution, which applies to US CITIZENS, NOT TERRORISTS HELL BENT ON DESTROYING THE WORLD. This is the problem, you cannot sit down and talk to people who's objective in life is to kill us. Radical jihadists don't deserve US RIGHTS. Jeez

    "I love how Lski put quotes around something that wasn't really a quote."

    Would you prefer I gift-wrap it and mail it to you first class?

  33. Lski,

    I am not protecting the enemy. All I am arguing for is to treat them with the same rights we would treat our worse criminals. Timothy McVeigh was a domestic terrorist who did terrible things. He got a fair trial.

    Yes, the United States Constitution technically only protects Americans. However, the principles of the Constitution are found in the Enlightenment, which applied to all humanity.

    We are not saying we need to set the terrorists free, but if they are guilty, then let the criminal justice sort it out. That is what it is there for.

    By the way Lski, great job of using the straw man rapist line to try to defeat what you claim is a straw man. I don't think a discussion on how US policy is creating terrorists is a straw man. Especially considering the discussion is currently about the recruitment of terrorists and how to keep America safe.

  34. "This is the problem, you cannot sit down and talk to people who's objective in life is to kill us. Radical jihadists don't deserve US RIGHTS. Jeez"

    To reverse your argument would be to state that

    "You can't sit down with people who believe in a US policy hell bent on destroying Islamic Fundamentalism. They don't deserve Sharia rights."

    If you disagree with the above statment, Lski, then you must disagree with your original argument.

    You have to reach for a higher moral ground to counter Islamic Fundamentalism. However, that moral ground is compromised when things like waterboarding are used by the people trying to argue from the higher moral ground. It goes something like this, "People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones."

    This is the point we are trying to make. We must reclaim the moral high ground that Reagan talked about when he described America as the "city on a hill." The last six years have destroyed that standing. We must reclaim it by actually adhering to the human rights we claim to embrace.

  35. One more thing to Scott's arguement...

    Could the reason they're hell bent on killing us be the same reason we're hell bent on killing them?

    It's a never ending cycle. Which is why Scott J was talking about the moral high ground. You want to keep them locked in isolation thus causing MORE violence between us and them. We want to end the violence.

    So I ask you sir(s),
    DO you want to end the violence? And if so, how?

  36. Tim McVeigh was a US citizen, a terrorist yes, but a US citizen, nonetheless.

    SJ, Obama is starting up the tribunal system again. Guess maybe he found out something he didn't know before he became president.

    You ask if I want to stop the violence?

    Absolutely. Yes. I want the killing stopped. I want the strapping of bombs to teenagers to stop. I want the subjugation to stop. I want to live in a world free of fear that the building in which I work could one day have an airplane flown into it.

    Guys, we already have the moral high ground.

    SJ, I don't want sharia rights. But how someone so versed in the history of this country and what our founders had to go through to earn our way of life and protect our rights could so easily extend all those protections and freedoms to anyone in the world willy-nilly, I just don't understand that.

    Generations of Americans have given their lives to protect our freedoms and the constitution. The men in Gitmo want to ERADICATE our constitution, and all of us who love it so much.

    I claim the moral high ground for America over those terrorists. Like I said before, I do not see the moral equivalence between waterboarding somebody (successfully, I might add) to glean information that has protected American lives and chopping off someone's head on live TV. Those two actions are NOT equal.

    We have been fighting against islamofascists (we=America) since 1801, when Jefferson launched the US marines against the Barbary coast pirates. What made them want to attack us back then? Were we waterboarding them back then?

    What about in 1979 when they took our marines hostage? Waterboarding then?

    What about 1993 and the first attack on the WTC? Waterboarding then?

    NO! But we should have been. Maybe we could have stopped some of those attacks with the intel it would have provided.

    The hardcore islamofascists believe, in their heart of hearts, that God has issued a decree telling them to spread Islam, at whatever cost, by whatever means. They listen blindly to their mullahs who tell them that America is the Great Devil.

    We cannot soften their hearts to America by telling them we are sorry for waterboarding their prisoners. They laugh at us, knowing we are being naive.

    "Walk softly, but carry a big stick." - Teddy

  37. Greiner, I'm going to admit that my argument is weak. Doesn't make what I'm trying to explain untrue, but only giving you one such example in the face of ever growing government is insufficient.

    But allow me to just pose a thought question, then follow the answer out.

    When government raises taxes, especially on the "rich", people have less money to spend on things they want or need. Also, wherever you set the next break point for a higher marginal rate becomes a disincentive point for earning more.

    Pick $250,000, as Obama kept saying throughout the election. So if you are somebody who could earn $265,000 if you spent an extra 125 hours at work during the year, but your marginal rate would jump up, causing your net take home pay above that bracket to be marginally less, you may decide its not worth your time to put in the extra hours at work. Therefore, the gov't loses out on $15,000 taxable dollars, and the economy as a whole loses out due to the opportunity lost.

    If you apply this principle to an entire economy, what you end up with is more people feeling as though they'd rather just do the minimum and get by, since why bust their butt for not that much extra take-home pay. Make sense?

    Less taxable earned income, less economic spending and growth, implies less government revenue (all thing being equal, that great economist assumption)

    Also, this has a much greater affect on rich people, because they end up putting effort into sheltering their wealth from the government instead of putting their wealth to work in the economy starting up new businesses or expanding others. When the wealthy stop spending, jobs are lost.

    So when I say, if you want to soak the rich, cut taxes, what I mean is you'll encourage more spending (taxable), more earning (taxable), and more jobs will be created, thus creating more income earners, who will in turn be taxed on their income. This all makes perfect sense. Grow the economy using the private sector to do it. Cut individual and corporate taxes and people won't be spending their time trying to hide their money, they'll go out and put that money to work. Its human nature, you might say "well screw those people and their 'tax loopholes'!" You can scream all you want, people are people. Stop trying to crush the individuality out of them and instead encourage it, and you will get economic BOOMS.

    And Drew, you may not consider the deductibility of donations to charity. But like I just said, "human nature" wins. Some people DO, and why not use the tax code to encourage things we think are beneficial?

    Also, think of it like this Drew.

    I make $50,000 per year. Say my total tax is a third of my gross pay (pretty accurate for my actual situation). So, barring deductions, the total of the money I have left to spend on all my expenses, leisure, needs, and yes, charitable contributions, is $33,333.

    There is only so much I am physically able to give, maybe $2,500 total. But, if you said that I could deduct 50% of what I donate to charity, I could instead donate $5,000 and have not changed my economic outlook.

    The only problem with this arrangement is that the government gets shafted my $2,500.

    I don't see this as a problem.

  38. Scott L.,

    There is only one problem in your argument on donating to charity. We ALL agree that giving is good. However, the tax deduction argument is not much different that government assisted charity. The only difference, and I'll admit a big one, is that the individual gets to give to his/her favorite charity.

    I agree that individual giving is incredibly positive, not only for the individual giving, but the organization getting it as well. The only problem occurs, and this has been consistent in eras of high deducations and low deductions for giving, is that some charities go wanting if for no other reason than they weren't the "hot" charity.

    What if everyone gives to the American Heart Association (it is a great and well run charity), but no one gives to Susan Komen Foundation for Breast Cancer Research (I know they are well funded, but go with me). What then?

    My point is that the soup kitchens in St. Charles are much more funded through donations than those operating in the city, where the need is actually greater. The reasons are numerous and could get controversial, but the funding fact remains. My question is how to remedy this situation through private donation and not government assistance? I don't see an answer that will actually solve the problem.

    "There is only so much I am physically able to give, maybe $2,500 total. But, if you said that I could deduct 50% of what I donate to charity, I could instead donate $5,000 and have not changed my economic outlook. "

    Scott, the only problem with that is that the deduction would not make up the $2,500 difference you are talking about. The only thing that would work in you hypothetical scenario is a tax credit for charitable giving. It would be a you choose, the governmnet pays. Is that what you are proposing?

    If it is your proposal, it is a radical proposal, but I think I might like that as a compromise. Unfortunately, I don't know how we'd pay for it. But I'd be willing to think about it, but it could solve almost all of our problems from hunger to homelessnes, to health care, to...

    I'm sorry, but I'm getting carried away in my mind. What if the role of the American government would be to pay for the common defense and basic infrastructure and then reimburse Americans for giving to the common welfare? Would it work? Is this the answer to the best of both worlds? Okay, we haven't solved the interrogation issue yet, but what about this one?

  39. It certainly sounds like it could work.

    The only problem(s) I could forsee would be the government taking too much off the bottom line of what the charity would be able to spend. However, the way it's sounding is that these charities would be getting more money in the long run; and these private charities are WAY more efficient than the government could ever be. It also is still a solution that could be a way to grow the government. However, if this was a substitute for EBT and Welfare and you wouldn't need as many government employees because it was being partially privatized, thus shrinking the gov't a little, then it sounds like a great step in the right direction.

  40. "Scott, the only problem with that is that the deduction would not make up the $2,500 difference you are talking about. The only thing that would work in you hypothetical scenario is a tax credit for charitable giving. It would be a you choose, the governmnet pays. Is that what you are proposing?"

    In my scenario, I am assuming that I would donate to charity whatever was left over after all my needs, some leisure, and taxes were taken out. So the increased deductibility would make that difference.

    I've actually considered a type of program like the one you mention before, but I never thought it would be practically implemented.

    Here's the thing. If 28% deductibility is good, isn't 50% deductibility better? But you make a valid point about the problem with some charities being underfunded while others are (is it possible?) overfunded. The difference is organizations like the United Way. The United Way does not actually give any money to recipient consumers, rather, it serves to dole out funds accordingly to all the 220 foundations in Saint Louis. But the United Way is a national organization, and there are smaller versions of the United Way all over the country. The main advantage that the UW has over the govt is the fact that it IS local.

    I rant and rave about government waste all the time. And its true, the government does a TERRIBLE job of managing cost overhead, following budgets, remaining timely, avoiding fraud and abuse, etc, etc. While I maintain that there are countless corrupt government bureaucrats funneling money to pet projects or what have you, I do think the government has a lot of faithful civil servants who are honestly trying their best. They are just too damned big. This is the main pitfall of centralized planning, especially in a country like the US. There are too many variables, all moving in millions of different directions, for any one entity to have a snowball's chance in hell of ever doing anything as efficiently as smaller, well run, private sector organizations.

    The government suffers from a problem of size and red tape, plus they are full of lawyers who don't know the first thing about running a business.

    But back to the topic at hand, maybe in addition to increasing the deductibility of contributions, the government could do a couple of things.

    1. Instead of having these public welfare and unemployment benefits, just have the government give funds to United Way, Salvation Army, Good Will, etc. They can just evenly divide up the available funds and let the private guys do the rest. This will ensure that all the small charities receive funding, even the less popular city foodbanks. Instead of heading on down to the unemployment office, individuals in need can head over to their local Salvation Army or food pantry location. There is something inherently motivating about having to go to a food pantry and have your neighbors sacrificing to take care of you. When its just a faceless check from "the government" people have no human connection with those who are giving them assistance, and thus less personal incentive to get off of the dole, if for no other reason than the guilt factor of knowing that Jon or Scott or Todd down the street is the one who made your dinner possible.

    2. Publish a list of all private charities in each city. I personally don't know of all 220 groups in Saint Louis that benefit from the United Way, but if that was made public information, say, at tax time you could get a mailing with a listing of available charities and if you haven't made many contributions for the preceding tax year, you get one last reminder from Uncle Sam to reach out and help your neighbor.

    This is the kind of action I envision when I read "Promote the general welfare". Taking action to encourage us to help each other and making it more affordable to do so. The biggest part of the Government's budget is transfer payments. Well, if we jacked up charitable giving to equal that magnitude of funds, but eliminated the government middle-man, we'd not only save a ton of money, but I think people would be encouraged to take less from their neighbor than they currently do from "the government".

  41. Remember Scott, the taxing and spending clause says Congress has the power to PROVIDE for the general welfare, not just promote it. I point this out because of a discussion we had earlier about the difference between provide and promote. The word promote is used in the Preamble, and provide is used in the actual enumerated power (where Congress is given the explicit power to do it). I think provide means a lot more than just "taking action to encourage us to help each other and making it affordable to do so."

  42. Provide, to me, means directly helping those that are in need, not just making it more convenient for others to donate.

  43. Promote : to help or encourage to exist or flourish; further
    Provide : to make available; furnish

    We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, "provide" for the common defence, "promote" the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

    Seems pretty simple to me. They wanted to "provide for the common defence" which means to make available/furnish the common defence of the people meaning basic protection.
    They wanted to "promote the general Welfare" or encourage people to do their best, not line up for government hand outs. Seems to me then that charity would be the best option for what they were aiming for since charities make possible for people to do better, akin to encourage/help as opposed to this train of thought were forcibly take and welfare to someone else.

    FYI the definitions are courtesy of

  44. Hey, buddy, LOOK AT THE FIRST SENTENCE OF SECTION 8 OF THE FIRST ARTICLE OF THE CONSTITUTION. You will see where the word "provide" comes immediately before the words "common defence" AND "general welfare." If I have to explain this one more time, I'm going to crack.

    FYI you can find the Constitution at

  45. The welfare system was put into place with the assumption that sometimes, people need help, and if they were able to keep their self-esteem, they would be able to pick themselves up. However, I think, especially in CA, illegal immigrants are taking advantage of this system. I know most of them were at home during the day, playing loud music and partying. It didn’t seem to me that this money was used to “pick themselves up”. Welfare should provide just enough to help people begin to support themselves instead of making their life comfortable as it is. I personally don’t believe people change habits, whether good or bad, until they are forced to do it.

  46. I agree with Jenny... I think the whole welfare system needs to be changed. I went to the grocery store the other day and was in line to checkout, the lady in front of me was paying with foodstamps... When they were bagging her groceries I couln't believe what I saw. She was eating better than I was, she had porter house steaks, beef roasts and ect.. Now tell me how is that right? I work full time and go to school full time but yet I get no assistance from the government. I was told that I could get assistance if I let my car go back, change my skin color, or have a baby.. I'm not saying they should get rid of the welfare program, just improve it. Limit what they get in order to make them get out and find a job in order to provide for their family. There are plenty of jobs out there, I see help wanted signs everywhere.It may not be what they want, but it could be a start to getting what they want. We all start at the bottom some point in our life, but we work hard in order to get ahead to where we want to be.

  47. The welfare system is a joke. It definitely does need to be adjusted. When I worked at Schnucks as a checker, the people that had WIC or food stamps would buy the things they could and then have a second order. The second order would usually consist of junk food, alcohol, or cigarettes. They would usually pay cash or charge for this second order. I would always wonder why they would be spending the money they do have on unnecessary things like that. I am also a full time student and I work part time as much as I can, and I am also not qualified to get assistance from the government. I also believe that the women that are receiving assistance need to be drug tested. I think many of these women are abusing the system. Something needs to be done to make sure the welfare program is equal.

  48. I do agree with a lot of you, the money is not being distributed the right way. I think we need to stop spending a lot of the war, and spend it on other things. I think we should be spending the money on finding treatment or cures for disease, education, the planet, healthcare, and more. I heard on Oprah, that we are less than 10 years from curing Parkinson Disease. This is a huge breakthrough. Shouldn’t we be spending more money on that to help move the process along. What about heart disease? It was mentioned that it is the number 1 killer for both men and women. Yes, diet and exercise help, but family history has a major part in it. Just like somebody said, you can eat healthy and thin and still get heart disease. What about breast cancer, HIV/AIDS, cancer, and more? These are things that people are dying from everyday, what about these people? I think we owe it to them to try and find treatment or even a cure.

  49. I do kind of agree that the welfare system is kind of a joke. I honestly do think that people abuse the welfare system, but there are people who use the welfare system properly. For about three months, my mom was laid off and we were on food stamps. I really enjoyed the food stamps because we got to buy things that we normally would not buy. We got to purchase more fruit. Fruit is so expensive and goes bad so quickly that we would normally just buy apples and oranges that came in the same bag and bananas. We did not use the food stamp card to buy cigarettes and beer.
    I am also very thankful for WIC. My sister is a young mom, and WIC paid for the formula for my nephew. My nephew needed a very expensive type of formula that cost at least $26 for a small can. I remember when we would go to Schnucks to get the formula; they would cross out the bar code. I asked them why, and the cashier told me it was because people would resell the cans. I could not believe that people would do that. I hope that I never have to use WIC, but I am thankful that there are organizations that help people in need.