Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Why I'm a Democrat

A new reader, Carissa (welcome to my blog by the way...) asked me to make a case for being a democrat, since she didn't find my balance argument convincing, citing that there are too many mormons in Utah and that half of us should convert to catholicism. I think that is different, because the church does not run the government (for the most part...I acknowledge that some will disagree). I also want to note that in most cases, I typed my views before reading the entire party platform, so although there are some phrases that are the same, it wasn't intentional.

A lot of the reasons why I have chosen to be a democrat have to do with my religious beliefs. I believe that we were given the earth to live on and to be stewards over. That means that we must act responsibly and conserve resources, avoid polluting and otherwise harming the earth as far as is possible. I also believe that we were meant to enjoy the beauty around us and that there needs to be balance as far as land use goes. My Mister, for example, loves to ride dirt bikes. I think it's good that he is able to go out with his brothers and cousins and do something that they all enjoy together. I also think (and he agrees) that he needs to stay on set trails to protect the rest of the land. The world is not his to ride rampantly over. The Utah D. Platform says the following:
Natural Resources: Utah Democrats seek to ensure the protection of public health and create a legacy of clean, safe air, soil and water, and a sustainable and balanced plant and animal wildlife population... We place great value on conserving our diverse natural resources and public lands that belong to all the citizens and future generations...Utah Democrats support the protection of wilderness with the right of access to use it responsibly as well as acting to help preserve critical wildlife habitat. Multiple uses of the public lands in sustainable ways are encouraged.

I believe that we have a duty to care for those who are not as fortunate as ourselves. I don't believe in perpetual welfare, and think that we need to help people learn to help themselves. I think our current welfare policy makes it nearly impossible for anyone to overcome their current circumstances, creating the cycle of poverty. The state platform says...

Utah Democrats believe that all Utahns should labor to the best of their abilities to provide for themselves and their families. In return, employers should pay a decent, life-sustaining wage and appropriate benefits or taxpayers unfairly end up subsidizing those employers who fail to meet these standards... Utah Democrats support programs for low-income working families that break the cycle of poverty, reward industry, promote self-sufficiency, support parenting, and encourage
families to stay together. We also believe that government must continue to provide assistance to the low-income disabled and elderly members of our society who cannot provide for themselves.


I think that laws which attempt to push those in the country illegally to other areas are cruel and ineffective. I think that people should be here legally, but that our policies have created the current mess. I think that there needs to be away to allow those here illegally to pay a fine, or do some kind of community service, and then allow them to get work permits. The state platform says:
Utah Democrats strongly affirm that people who are in the United States should be here legally. We strongly encourage Congress to adopt humane and compassionate policies that control our borders while providing for a viable worker immigration policy that respects the contributions of these workers to our economy and their families and children, many of whom are United States citizens. This policy must not lead to programs of exploitation with employers engaging in a pattern and practice of recruiting undocumented workers, and must include whistleblower protections. We abhor the demonization and politicization – with undercurrents of racism – that has inhibited rational, fair-minded debate of the issue.


As far as health care goes, I think all people should have access to healthcare, and that medical bills should not be causing people to file for bankruptcy. While I have no problem with doctors making a good wage, I think a health care system based on making profit is reprehensible. From the state platform:
Utah Democrats seek solutions to our ongoing healthcare crisis. We affirm that accessible healthcare is a civil right; no person should be denied access to basic and adequate healthcare. It is a national disgrace that the United States lags behind every other developed country in caring for the medical needs of its citizens. It is unconscionable that thousands of Utahns suffer or even die only because they lack access to adequate medical care and that those numbers continue to rise.


I don't think that prayers in schools are appropriate, and it always seems weird to attend a government type meeting and have people pray first. I'm okay with it as long as all religions are allowed to participate equally, but I would prefer a moment of silence where people can pray or not according to their religion. I like what the state platform says about it...
Utah Democrats believe that the constitutional principle of separating church and state maintains the rights of all Americans to worship how, where, and what they may.
We don't need to ban the practice of religion in public, we just need to be respectful, especially in utah, of people who do not share in the predominant religion.

It seems that there are two issues which keep most utahns from affiliating with the democratic party. Same sex marriage, and abortion. Same sex marriage isn't likely to be an issue in Utah any time soon. We already have a state constitutional amendment defining marriage, and I think the only way it might become an issue is if the federal government forced the state to change, in which case, it wouldn't matter what party you affiliated with. With abortion, I think we should do more to educate (Our current sex education isn't working, and I'm not sure if we could do more to teach parents how to talk to their kids, or if public schools need to expand their program) and prevent, then there would not be so much demand for abortions. I personally think that abortions should only be considered in cases of rape or incest, where the woman did not choose to put herself in the position where she might become pregnant, or in cases where the life of the mother is in danger, and I know many utah democrats feel the same way. The Utah Democratic party has a big tent that allows for differing views. The state platform says:
Utah Democrats believe in a comprehensive approach that protects reproductive freedom while fostering personal responsibility and education for thoughtful and moral decisions about sexuality, childbearing, adoption, and parenting.


I know people who are locally democrats, but still vote for republicans nationally because of those two issues.

I'll end with a quote that I think exemplifies the problems with our lopsided government: The state Republican party platform says:
We demand honesty, integrity, morality, and accountability of our public officials. We will work to expose and stop corruption.
Because of the inbalance, we have dishonesty, lack of integrity, immorality, and zero accountability in many of our public officals. There is no one to keep them in check, and I really think they've become power hungry and are abusing that power.

I also recommend readingThis article.

38 comments:

Carissa said...

Wow, that was fast!

In reading the 2008 platform I was happy to see these 3 things listed:

Democrats expect our political leadership to base war and peace decisions on an understanding of what comprises justifiable war

We believe torture is an affront to values long-cherished by all Americans, erodes our civil liberties, and compromises our security.

Even in wartime, we must safeguard our constitutionally guaranteed freedoms and liberties.

More later...

Allie said...

I liked that part too- there were lots of other things I could have talked about, but my post was getting long.

I did type that kind of fast, so pardon any typos!

Carissa said...

On social assistance:

It seems that a lot of Democrats who are Mormon cite support for their party’s social programs based on Zion Society ideals or the United Order. For example, in the article that you linked to, the author said:

“Mormons are counseled to work toward a society in which "there are no poor among us." Democrats make social assistance a priority in a way that other parties do not. In many ways, liberals see the government as a useful tool that, when used correctly, can improve life for everyone.”

The United Order was never forced upon anyone. One had to voluntarily be a part of it and voluntarily give of his means for it to work. So the two are based on entirely different principles.

There is a great need for charity in this world, but I’m not convinced that is a proper role of government. I don’t believe that role is authorized by the constitution. I believe that the phrase in Article 1 section 8, “provide for the common Defense and general Welfare of the United States”, means welfare of the states (collectively), not personal welfare of the individuals, as it has been more recently interpreted. What do you think?

JM Bell said...

You know, what's frustrating to me is how old a lot of that language is. The UTDems platform language doesn't change much.

However, you should do a side by side comparison to the UTGop platform sometime.

Very enlightening.

Allie said...

I don't think that programs to help the poor should be like the law of consecration.

I think current programs don't work. If we're going to help people and expect them to not need help in the future, we need to help them in ways that teaches them a skill. It would initially be more expensive to support someone with housing assistance, and food stamps (or what, a card is used now? I haven't kept up) in addition to education, but cheaper in the long run, because we'd avoid the mulit-generational welfare.

When bishops provide fast offering funds to help ward members, it's always with the goal of helping the family gain the ability to support themselves. That's not what we are doing on the governmental level, and we ought to be. I imagine it would work better on a local level than a national level.

I think one of the most important roles of government is to make sure people are cared for. We are already doing it, we're just doing it badly.

People that have a place to live, feel safe, have food to eat, and feel hope for their future make a safer, happier society.

JM Bell, I was going to try to compare the dem platform and rep platform, but the rep platform is several years old and doesn't really give any helpful information to compare. :) Why do you think the language is old in the dem platform?

TheYoungGuy said...

Allie,

Why do you think health care professionals making money is reprehensible? Is it the 11+ years of school they attend? Is it long hours on the job? Is it being wakened up in the middle of the night because someone was in a car accident and they need a doctor to perform a triple arthrodesis of the ankle? Is it people coming to THEM seeking help? Is it that they have insurance premiums that cost more than the average American home? You tell me another profession that does that and tell them they shouldn't be making money.

Maybe we should all be lawyers who just sue the bejebbers out of people. Or maybe we should be salesman that sell you garbage products for bucko bucks.

Just remember this, if you start taking money away from doctors, then you start taking doctors away from the people. If you think I would do all this for $80,000 a year - huh, I would say you're crazy and go to Law School.

CER

Allie said...

Young Guy-

Nice to see you on my blog! Obviously I struck a chord with you, but you missed where I said, "I have no problem with doctors making a good wage".

I was referring to our health care system. The system in general is not set up to take care of people, it's set up to make money. For example, my friend's brother had colon cancer. As a sibling of someone with colon cancer, my friend was told by her doctor that she needed to have a colonoscopy at an earlier age than is usually recommended. She had it, and had to pay much more than her normal copay would be for something like that. She asked, and was told that insurance companies don't cover much of the procedure because it is cheaper to treat someone with colon cancer than it is to provide everyone with a colonoscopy.

So, I have no problem with you or any other doctor being paid well. I recognize the challenges you face getting through school and with malpractice insurace (which is another issue that needs to be fixed).

May you graduate, and earn enough money to live comfortably and pay back your student loans, and enjoy life!

Carissa said...

You're right. There is a big difference between how the church handles its welfare issues and how the government does. But I don't forsee the government changing how it does things and I don't see the Democrats wanting to restructure the way they do it, just add more programs.

It sounds generous to want to take care of people this way, but is it worth it if character is sacrificed? Are the recipients grateful for the help (I know some are) or do they simply feel entitled to it? On the other end of it, are those who are taxed to pay for the charity doing it out of love and generosity? (Maybe some are- though they're still deprived of the choice) Is their character benefiting or are they bitter about it? I just don't think forced charity is good for either group. It's missing the essence of what it should all be about for the trade-off of less temporal risk.

edwardvanroberts said...

Like pay off your motorcycle loan!

Allie said...

I think if people start on a government program knowing that there is an end, and they can get help and education, then they will have to take care of themselves, it will help with the feelings of entitlement.

I agree, that currently no party is looking to change welfare programs to something like I am suggesting here, lets all contact our representatives and tell them our ideas, if more people were involved in the way their government operated, we could make changes like this happen.

I can understand the idea of not wanting to force "charity" on people, but think of it this way.

People who have a place to live, who have decent jobs, and decent access to health care, and food to eat are less likely to commit crimes. We can pay for social programs aka "charity" to help people rise above their circumstances, or we can pay for more police and larger prisons.

I view social programs in the same way I view roads, police, and other services provided by the government. It's one of the costs of living in a society.

Carissa said...

Has it been proven that we have less problem with crime than we did before social programs existed?

You say you view social programs the same as you view government services like roads, police, etc. Why? Have you ever heard that story about Davy Crockett? There was a bill in the house to appropriate money for the widow of a naval officer. Crockett stood up and told the speaker:

"We have the right, as individuals, to give away as much of our own money as we please in charity; but as members of Congress we have no right so to appropriate a dollar of the public money.
I cannot vote for this bill, but I will give one week’s pay to the object, and if every member of Congress will do the same, it will amount to more than the bill asks."
The Life of Colonel David Crockett by Edward Sylvester Ellis

Sadly, nobody took him up on the offer. I agree that there is no authority in the constitution to use public money for charity, even if the outcome proved to be favorable. Even if you chose to claim that the authority is derived from the welfare clause, it seems inconsistent with the 1828 definition of welfare.

In that year, according to Webster, welfare was listed as defined within 2 specifically different contexts. One definition applied to persons and one applied to states. The latter being, “exemption from any unusual evil or calamity; the enjoyment of peace and prosperity, or the ordinary blessings of society and civil government” The personal meaning, on the other hand, included exemptions from sickness and the enjoyment of health. I believe that the founders were using the definition that applied to states, not to individuals.

TheYoungGuy said...

Allie,

I have two thoughts.

You are 100% correct that the Health care system is set up to make money! My question to you is, why is that a bad thing? When money is involved, there is an overwhelming desire to work harder, get above the competition, develop new techniques and procedures, get an edge over the competition to be the best. And being the best in this arena results in better health care, new and amazing techniques that simply would not be possible without competition. As soon as you take out that competition, there is no desire to develop new testing procedures, or make the hospital better, and have new equipment that will better suite patients, because there is no purpose. There is a reason people travel to the University of Utah for heart transplants is because they have developed better procedures than the next hospital. And the reason they develop new procedures is that better procedures cost more. If people want to pay more money for it, then sure that is fine, they will get the best treatment.

And this brings me to my next thought. I vehemently disagree with the democratic platform in which is states, "We affirm that accessible healthcare is a civil right; no person should be denied access to basic and adequate healthcare." Since when is healthcare is a civil right and when did this civil right revolution start taking place? Did our forefathers who were sick demand healthcare? Did the doctors HAVE to treat them? I just don't see where this whole healthcare for all evolved from. Cable companies provide a service, phone companies provide a service, general contractors provide a service, Fisher company provides a service, and Healthcare is a service that is provided to the general public for their general well being. It is not a right of the people that if they get sick they MUST see a doctor. It is just ridiculous that if I turn someone away, because they can't pay me for my service, I have a potential lawsuit on hand. Say what? That right there is an outright atrosity against the American way. It goes against everything I believe in regarding business and the American dream. If I am forced to provide a service, then that is Socialism in its most blatant form and we have it right here in our country. We fought for years against socialism in middle/late part of the last century and and it has slowly crept into our society. When I am forced to do provide something against my own will for the benefit of the society, I can't think of a better example for a socialist way of running things.

Anyway, I just don't get why I HAVE to provide a service. And I very much dislike the addage, "well, this is different." It's not different and in fact it is the same thing.

Now in saying that, SHOULD we provide healthcare for those who can't afford it? The answer to that question is simple, YES. We need to make it cheaper and more affordable. We need to make it more accesible so that more people can access it. I know this and realize this a huge problem in our society, but saying healthcare is a right and everyone gets to have it, just by living in this country, then that is wrong.

By the example you gave, it sounds like you have a problem with the insurance coverage rather than medical practices making money.

CER

Carissa said...

My next "qualm" is that same sentence about health care being a civil right. It is certainly not a natural right or an inalienable right. You cannot have a "right" to someone else's service because that would violate the other person's rights. The only case I can think of when it might be possible is the unique situation of a baby or child dependent on a parent. Maybe the child has a right to be taken care of since the parent brought them into the world. Anyhow, that doesn't apply to this situation where it would involve potential patients and doctors.
Now, with that said, I would say we have a right to pursue or seek healthcare if we desire- but that is very different from the "right to receive". Here's how:

We all agree we have a right to life. What does that mean? It does NOT mean other people must feed us and clothe us so we can stay alive, it means we have the right to earn our food and our clothes and that no one can forcibly take away our life or our opportunity to sustain ourselves (without just cause of course).

We can create whatever civil rights we want through legislation (like the UDHR) but that doesn't make them natural human rights. We can say everyone has a right to free bread, but in order to make good on that entitlement the government would have to take money from the people to pay the farmers and the bakers to make the bread. What if not enough people wanted to be farmers or bakers to make enough bread for everyone? What then? Government force? Rights don't come with entitlements to other's services. That just wouldn't make sense, would it?

adam said...

theyoungguy/allie - I can see both sides here. While I detest that capitalism is run by greed, I don't believe there is a better system for our current Babylonian state. Yes, money certainly is a big incentive.

I do have to ask though, youngguy, you don't think 80k is a lot? While I certainly don't think you should be forced to provide care nor should your hard earned dollars be taken from you, I strongly believe, especially as a Mormon, that we have a responsibility to help others with our excess. Where does one draw the line? I.e. I'll keep my first 100-150k and give away the rest?

The arguments over socialism would be lessened if there was less greed in the world. People who have should be voluntarily paying the health insurance of those who have not.

Allie said...

"Sadly, nobody took him up on the offer."

Which is why I think social welfare programs are necessary.

In college, when I was studying sociology and social work, it was generally taught that people who had their basic needs met were less likely to commit crime than those who did not. I'm sure google would turn up some research on the matter.

Youngguy- I can see the benefit of competition in developing new medical techniques. I don't think that we will ever have an ideal system that works perfectly in every way. What I do see all around me though, is that the current system is working for fewer and fewer people, and is costing more and more. We need to find a way to get people the care they need without forcing them to sell their home or declare bankruptcy. (And I agree with Adam, $80 thousand seems like a lot of money to me)

We're paying for the uninsured to receive medical care through our premiums anyway- and they are generally showing up in emergency rooms plugging those services up, it would be much cheaper to make sure those people had a doctor they could see if they were ill.

I don't think it is right for people to be getting so wealthy on the backs of those whom they find a way to deny care to. It seems cold, and selfish.

Carissa, I'm not trying to make a case that basic affordable health care is a right guaranteed to us in the constitution, only that it's something we ought to be doing.

Carissa said...

Do you not think that the powers the government exercises should be limited to what is authorized in the constitution? Or can it simply do anything as long as it's a good idea?

Carissa said...

I strongly believe, especially as a Mormon, that we have a responsibility to help others with our excess. Where does one draw the line?

That is a personal decision that should be left up to each person. I don't think government or anyone should be drawing the line for someone. As Mormons we know life is a testing ground. If we are not given the opportunity to exercise charity of our own free will (or not) how can we learn or be accurately judged of our works? Agency always involves risk, sometimes big risks.

Allie said...

I think that living in a democracy, we can do anything that we, as a country set our minds to.

TheYoungGuy said...

Good question, do I think $80,000 is a lot? Huh, well to me right now having $80,000 is unimaginable. I can't even dream of that making that much money right now, considering I am close to $100,000 in debt right now at about 8-10% interest. So when my schooling is finished I will be sitting right around $200,000 in loans at the same interest rate. I then start my residency in which I DO NOT have to start paying my debt back until my three years is up. So 200,000 plus interest over seven years - I had better make more money than $80,000 that is all I have to say - For my lively hood and the lively hood of my family.

You are right though about taking care of people. But I have a question, as a mormon, when that utterly heavenly day arrives and I finish paying off my loans and making the average salary of a podiatrist around $175,000, would I be any less an individual to the Lord if I paid an honest tithe and paid a generous fast offering. And I say that with hesitation in saying that the word generous is different from person to person. the widow's mite was very generous to her, but to others it was nothing. So I would pay a generous fast offering, in my mind. Would that make me less of a person who doesn't make as much money as I do and they do the same thing?

I have also thought about the word greed as you put it. I am not going to lie. Probably the top reason I went to graduate school is to make a lot of money. I thought about all the ways I could make a lot of money so I could support my family and live a happy life where money is NOT my number one concern in life. I didn't want to have think about the next months mortgage and phone and utility bills hoping I have enough to get gas groceries and buy my kids some shoes. I hope to not be like my parents who after 24 years finally paid off their home (although that is AWESOME they did) I just hope it won't take me that long - which is why I choose a profession that will hopefully be able to fulfill those dreams. If it does fine, but you know what I am saying. So is that greedy of me? Am I being greedy that I want to make a lot of money? I could be a teacher like my Dad and be just as happy in life, but I won't make as much money? Which is better? Is one better than the other?

This is what gets me and you said it best. Where much is given, much is expected. You said that those who are rich should help those who are not. What wasn't mentioned is that the said person doesn't get the choice on who to give his money too. It all goes to Uncle Sam. It would be interesting to see just what would happen if the welfare system of our country was taken away. I think we would see that people would be much more generous than they are now. I think people have the thought process, mainly because I have the thought process, that we pay so much in taxes, why should I help the poor, because the government is already doing that. I already gave to my society, in my taxes. What if we gave all the tax money we pay to the government and give to the church. Just think of the better system it would be. I know that is not even close to a reality, but what if we gave it to a non-profit private organization (where most things should be anyway) like the Red Cross, and let them deal with the poor. It would be so much better than what we have at the present. I know, because I have to deal with the gov't agency down here and it is a complete and total disaster. You know, I waited three hours to talk my counselor about food stamps! Three hours!!! What other organization can get away with that? Only the gov't. If I had patients wait three hours for an appointment - I would be out of a job. How come the gov't shouldn't be held as responsible. Who will guard the guards? Anyway, through the diatrribe of ramblings, I am trying to get across the fact that in the day I do really earn money, I would pay taxes that help the hungry and poor. I pay tithing to to the Lord, and I pay a generous fast offering. Are you expecting more from the people who do make a lot of money?

I guess it all comes back to the American dream. Anyone, and I mean anyone, can do what I am doing. Flip if I can do it, then so can my neighbor! Anyone can go out and earn money. Allie said it best that people should have to get off the welfare system after a certain amount of time, except the few exceptions of disability and the elderly. Our current system is not set up that way. You don't even have to be a citizen of this country to receive help from the government let alone a time-line to get off! People get so upset over the greed of this country and while I completely agree there is probably too much greed, I get likewise upset at all the people on welfare. It works both ways.

Carissa said...

If we decide to give the government power it doesn't already possess under the constitution, we should at least have respect enough to amend the document.

Allie said...

"a non-profit private organization"

A non-profit private health care system would be a step up from where we are now. Good idea.

Carissa- you're getting outside of my (self proclaimed) "expertise", so I don't have a comment on whether the constitution should or should not be amended, or whether basic health care really is a right or not. I'm not sure that where the constitution talks about welfare, I don't think that it means specifically individual welfare, but I'm not sure it would exclude it either.

Carissa said...

Here are a couple of quotes to ponder:

“With respect to the words general welfare, I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its creators.” James Madison, Letter to James Robertson, April 20, 1831 _Madison_ 1865, IV, pages 171-172

“Congress has not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare, but only those specifically enumerated.” Thomas Jefferson

For what it's worth, the Republican Party has pretty much shown they don't care about the constitution either.

As Latter Day Saints, though, I think we really need to be familiar with and defend the constitution. In D&C it says that the Lord "established the Constitution of this land". President Benson said this:

I reverence the Constitution of the United States as a sacred document. To me its words are akin to the revelations of God, for God has placed His stamp of approval on the Constitution of this land. I testify that the God of heaven sent some of His choicest spirits to lay the foundation of this government, and He has sent other choice spirits—even you who read my words—to preserve it.

Allie said...

I do need to study the constitution more.

While I was reading your quotes and thinking about the constitution I had this thought- so it's not well worked out, but is definitely something that I will be thinking more about...

In the constitution it talks about the general welfare. If it is true that having a place to live, food to eat, and a feeling of safety (in which I would also include health) creates a safer, happier society, couldn't a basic health coverage be counted under the "general welfare" part?

Carissa said...

Well therein lies the real debate I believe. In studying the constitution I think it's best to try to understand it from the perspective of the founders themselves (ie- what did they mean by this) instead of "could this mean what I want it to mean?"

Again, I would refer you to the quotes by Madison and Jefferson to gain some insight as to what was intended by their words. Good luck with your research, I'd love to see what you come up with. And by the way, Allie, you are a joy to have a conversation with- thanks for your decency and honesty in discussing politics. It's a great example to us all!

Allie said...

Thank you Carissa- I like debate, when we can debate without making light of the other person's view.

I agree that it is good to look at what the original founders meant when they wrote the constitution, but I also think we need to look at how society has changed and consider how the constitution meets the needs of people today.

Allie said...

Oh- I also meant to say, that it seems like most social programs would be more efficient if they were run on a state or local level.

Carissa said...

Human nature doesn't really change though and this was well understood by the framers- thus the limits placed on central power.

One really cool thing about the constitution is the 10th amendment which basically says any powers not specifically designated to the federal gov (and there aren't many specified) are reserved for the states and/or the people. So your idea about state and local programs would have no conflict with the U.S. constitution. And I agree that would make them much more efficient and cost-effective.

adam said...

“If we are not given the opportunity to exercise charity of our own free will (or not) how can we learn or be accurately judged of our works?”
Carissa, this is how a lot of people feel about issues like abortion, in that our free will should dictate the law. I’m not sure exactly how I feel about this principle, but just being a citizen limits our free will in the way you described it.


youngguy – I don’t envy your debt load. I’ll probably be around 50-100k when I’m done (although I'm looking at 100k max for my profession). 200 is a ton! My home teacher is an eye surgeon, but his loans are around 3% (when the rates were better), and he is in no hurry to pay them off. 8-10% is crazy.

Nice thoughts as well. “What wasn't mentioned is that the said person doesn't get the choice on who to give his money too.” In the best societal situation, I am all for freedom of the direction of one’s generosity. And I don’t think wanting to be financially stable is greedy, as financial problems can be such a strain in relationships…

As for “expecting more” from people, obviously we cannot judge individuals, only ourselves, but I would expect myself to do more than tithing and generous fast offerings (although they are important), as they only help build churches, and help struggling members. Whether it’s the humanitarian fund, other charitable works, or non-monetary service to people inside AND outside the church, I am VERY worried about my own judgment in the next life in the sense of doing what is “required” “because I have been given much.”

Also, the issue of laziness is equal to that of greed, I agree. What I worry about is the people who, for whatever reason, are not able to "fulfill the American dream" due to mental illness (and Medicaid stinks by the way, I'll agree to that!) or that they just need someone caring to help.

Carissa said...

this is how a lot of people feel about issues like abortion, in that our free will should dictate the law

Adam, you're right. In the absence of anarchy (which would not be desirable, to say the least!) we can't just go around doing ANYTHING we want. I think where the line needs to be drawn (and this can be a fuzzy line, for sure)is where one's actions deprive another person of his/her rights. In the case of abortion, the argument could be made that the unborn person's rights would be infringed upon- therefore legislation against it is justified in the same way laws against murder are justified (though, of course, the situation is more complex). Of course, being deprived of the fruits of your labor, or your income, by way of taxation for certain things like the military, police, etc. can be justified because these things are specifically listed in the constitution as something the government is allowed to do.

I think it's a good rule of thumb to allow the people as much freedom as possible without allowing them to abuse the rights of others around them. It logically follows that if people are given as much freedom as possible, with that comes the risk that they will not be charitable and take care of their fellow citizens. Thus the appeal of allowing the government to "force" them to do it by way of a social program.

MORE AGENCY w/ MORE RISK or...
LESS AGENCY w/ LESS RISK

What to do???

Salt H2O said...

Allie-

I agree with almost everything in the democrat platform- where I think I differ is in how it is executed.

The best example we have is Katrina. The Federal government spent millions and millions were wasted- $70,000 for emergency trailers to house people when that money could have easily been invested in restoring damaged homes and property. Looking at Katrina, the most good, the best work, the change has been created not by the government but by private citizens and organizations. Force me to pay more in taxes that spend more on government waste I have less money to donate to private charities that really do execute change and assistance.

I believe Education should be a priority for the state- but the best way to enhance the quality of education is to create competition in the public education system. Reward good teachers with good pay, fire terrible educators. Get rid of tenure. Force educators and schools to live by the principles which have encouraged this countries industry and growth-that being financial compesation and competition. I'm really surprised that more parents aren't angry that if they don't perform at their job they get fired, but if their teachers don't educate their kids they don't get fired.

I believe in protecting the environment- it would be great if this state would catch up to the rest of the country and have a statewide recycling program. It's innane that I have to drive my recyclables to a center rather than get them picked up with the trash each week. I think nature is a resource, and while it should be protected- human needs should be placed above the needs of a fish.

If we socialize our healthcare system we will have fewer doctors and they will be less qualified. We've seen examples from our neighbors and history. Everyone should have access to basic healthcare- but if they chose to buy a new SUV and not buy adequate health insurance they should have to live with the consequences.

So there's where I differ. I think the platform is a fairly general statements (but most politics is general statements where the specifics tend to get lost), like I said it's the area of execution in which we differ greatly.

Allie said...

H20-
I'm really starting to think (this is new thoughts, so they aren't fully formed yet) that it would be more effective for all welfare programs to be administered on a state level. In the case of Katrina- I would imagine state officials knew better than the federal government what people really needed...

When you say competition in public schools, are you referring to vouchers? Or just encouraging good teachers and getting rid of bad ones like you say in the next sentence? I think a lot of times it is way too difficult to get rid of bad teachers, I also think that we ask teachers to do a lot, and give them very little in return. So far, my son's two years in public ed have been great. His teachers have been incredible.

And socialized medicine- honestly, I'd like to see a national program- I am interested in reading about lack of doctors or training under socialized programs- my canadian friends are quite happy with their health care. If a national program isn't feasible, I'd be satisfied to see a state program.

Ideally I'd like to see an end of HMO's. Health care should be carried out based on the health of people, not on what is best for their stock.

Carissa said...

It's interesting that HMO's arose to their current status because of government mandates a few decades ago (HMO Act of 1973). And now we want more government intrusion to fix the problems they helped create.

Allie said...

I've heard that argument before Carissa- I don't buy it.

Should the government sit back and do nothing to correct mistakes it made in the past?

Carissa said...

Nope, it should absolutely learn from those mistakes :) All I said was that it was interesting. I used to think the rise of HMO's was due to the free market... recently discovered that was not the case at all.

Allie said...

I used to think that too. There's a segment in Sicko that shows Nixon talking about the HMO act.

Salt H2O said...

Welfare on a state level? I like it- A LOT.

As for competition in public education, I think vouchers was a flawed idea- but the concept doesn't need to be thrown away. Washington DC has the most highly funded schools with the lowest results. They're trying to initiate a program where teachers would get paid a great deal more, but they'd have to give up tenure. The teachers union isn't thrilled at the idea of pay for performance. I don't think educators should be any more exempt than the general workforce form getting fired when they underpreform, and paid highly when they over-perform.

In addition- parents should have a choice in public education, and where to send their kids. How this is to be executed, I haven't quite figured out just yet. I do know that competition breeds excellence.

I don't see how you could be for socialized medicine and against HMO's- what is national healthcare going to be but one freakin' huge HMO?

Allie said...

It's the "for profit" part of HMO's that I have the problem with.

A national (or state) program would be non-profit.

Allie said...

...no one would be getting ridiculously rich off of the people they deny care to.