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Jon_B
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Fareed Zakaria on the election of Barack Obama

[ Edited ]

I thought this was a timely and interesting video from CNN's website - Fareed Zakaria, who we of course know as the author of this month's selection The Post-American World, responds to the election of Barack Obama to the presidency of the US. He addresses it particularly in the context of the economic crisis we currently face.

http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/americas/11/07/zakaria.electionresults/index.html

 

Message Edited by Jon_B on 11-07-2008 12:16 PM
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Everyman
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Re: Fareed Zakaria on the election of Barack Obama

I found this comment by Zakaria particularly interesting:

 

Zakaria: I think the greatest problem most Americans have with Washington is they see their government as predatory and corrupt.

They look at the tax code and worry less that it "spreads the wealth" than that it institutionalizes corruption through loopholes and special deals.

 

Maybe I missed it, but I didn't see anywhere that Obama laid out any commitment to reforming and simplifying the tax code, to make it more fair.  He wants to change who pays tax, but I don't recall him ever saying that we need to fix the monster that is the tax code, to move as far as we can toward the famous postcard return.  

 

If he commits to and succesfully pushes through serious reform of the tax code, making tens of thousands of tax accountants  and lawyers unnecessary and putting TurboTax and TaxCut out of business, then I'll believe he really is a transformational agent of change. 

 


Jon_B wrote:

I thought this was a timely and interesting video from CNN's website - Fareed Zakaria, who we of course know as the author of this month's selection The Post-American World, responds to the election of Barack Obama to the presidency of the US. He addresses it particularly in the context of the economic crisis we currently face.

http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/americas/11/07/zakaria.electionresults/index.html

 

Message Edited by Jon_B on 11-07-2008 12:16 PM

 

 

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I think, therefore I drive people nuts.
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Choisya
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Re: Fareed Zakaria on the election of Barack Obama

Everyman wrote: 

Maybe I missed it, but I didn't see anywhere that Obama laid out any commitment to reforming and simplifying the tax code, to make it more fair. 

 

 

He has said that he would simplify the tax code 'so that any employed American can do their taxes in minutes if they take the standard deduction' and that he would close corporate loopholes etc., which is what Zakaria was referring to.

 

 


Everyman wrote:

I found this comment by Zakaria particularly interesting:

 

Zakaria: I think the greatest problem most Americans have with Washington is they see their government as predatory and corrupt.

They look at the tax code and worry less that it "spreads the wealth" than that it institutionalizes corruption through loopholes and special deals.

 

Maybe I missed it, but I didn't see anywhere that Obama laid out any commitment to reforming and simplifying the tax code, to make it more fair.  He wants to change who pays tax, but I don't recall him ever saying that we need to fix the monster that is the tax code, to move as far as we can toward the famous postcard return.  

 

If he commits to and succesfully pushes through serious reform of the tax code, making tens of thousands of tax accountants  and lawyers unnecessary and putting TurboTax and TaxCut out of business, then I'll believe he really is a transformational agent of change. 

 


Jon_B wrote:

I thought this was a timely and interesting video from CNN's website - Fareed Zakaria, who we of course know as the author of this month's selection The Post-American World, responds to the election of Barack Obama to the presidency of the US. He addresses it particularly in the context of the economic crisis we currently face.

http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/americas/11/07/zakaria.electionresults/index.html

 

Message Edited by Jon_B on 11-07-2008 12:16 PM

 

 


 

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Everyman
Posts: 9,216
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Fareed Zakaria on the election of Barack Obama

What he said was that he'd "simplify the tax code so that any employed American with a bank account can do their taxes in minutes if they take the standard deduction."  Just a generality, no specifics.   But if this person has any investments at all -- say $1,000 in mutual funds -- he hasn't proposed any simplification to their taxes.  In fact, he has talked about raising capital gains taxes.   If they are saving for college or paying for a student in college is he going to eliminate all the tax provisions about college savings and tax credits for college tuition?   Most homeowners are excluded from this simplification since they take property tax and mortgage deductions, not the standard deduction.

 

So what that really says is "if you rent and all you have is a job and a bank account, you can do a simple tax return."  Which, though being really wealthy he apparently doesn't know this, is pretty much the case today.  Right now, people with only employment income and bank interest can fill out their form 1040-EZ in about five minutes.  

 

So where's the beef?  

 


Choisya wrote:

Everyman wrote: 

Maybe I missed it, but I didn't see anywhere that Obama laid out any commitment to reforming and simplifying the tax code, to make it more fair. 

 

 

He has said that he would simplify the tax code 'so that any employed American can do their taxes in minutes if they take the standard deduction' and that he would close corporate loopholes etc., which is what Zakaria was referring to.

 

 


Everyman wrote:

I found this comment by Zakaria particularly interesting:

 

Zakaria: I think the greatest problem most Americans have with Washington is they see their government as predatory and corrupt.

They look at the tax code and worry less that it "spreads the wealth" than that it institutionalizes corruption through loopholes and special deals.

 

Maybe I missed it, but I didn't see anywhere that Obama laid out any commitment to reforming and simplifying the tax code, to make it more fair.  He wants to change who pays tax, but I don't recall him ever saying that we need to fix the monster that is the tax code, to move as far as we can toward the famous postcard return.  

 

If he commits to and succesfully pushes through serious reform of the tax code, making tens of thousands of tax accountants  and lawyers unnecessary and putting TurboTax and TaxCut out of business, then I'll believe he really is a transformational agent of change. 

 


Jon_B wrote:

I thought this was a timely and interesting video from CNN's website - Fareed Zakaria, who we of course know as the author of this month's selection The Post-American World, responds to the election of Barack Obama to the presidency of the US. He addresses it particularly in the context of the economic crisis we currently face.

http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/americas/11/07/zakaria.electionresults/index.html

 

Message Edited by Jon_B on 11-07-2008 12:16 PM

 

 


 


 

 

_______________
I think, therefore I drive people nuts.
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Choisya
Posts: 10,782
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Re: Fareed Zakaria on the election of Barack Obama

Zakaria also mentioned the British economist Keynes, who advised FDR on The New Deal in the 1930s.  Folks might be interested in this article about Keynesian economics in today's Observer

 


Jon_B wrote:

I thought this was a timely and interesting video from CNN's website - Fareed Zakaria, who we of course know as the author of this month's selection The Post-American World, responds to the election of Barack Obama to the presidency of the US. He addresses it particularly in the context of the economic crisis we currently face.

http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/americas/11/07/zakaria.electionresults/index.html

 

Message Edited by Jon_B on 11-07-2008 12:16 PM

 

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Choisya
Posts: 10,782
Registered: ‎10-26-2006
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Re: Fareed Zakaria on the election of Barack Obama

[ Edited ]

He says much more than the newspaper report and the proposals regarding Capital Gains tax are not substantially different to those proposed by Reagan or Bush.  He is also proposing a $4000 tax credit for all Americans to fund college education.  But until he is President and these proposals are fleshed out by government economists it is impossible to make informed comments about them.  The current state of the economy will have a bearing on any tax proposals.   Over here tax cuts are being proposed as a way of kick-starting the economy.   

 

 


Everyman wrote:

What he said was that he'd "simplify the tax code so that any employed American with a bank account can do their taxes in minutes if they take the standard deduction."  Just a generality, no specifics.   But if this person has any investments at all -- say $1,000 in mutual funds -- he hasn't proposed any simplification to their taxes.  In fact, he has talked about raising capital gains taxes.   If they are saving for college or paying for a student in college is he going to eliminate all the tax provisions about college savings and tax credits for college tuition?   Most homeowners are excluded from this simplification since they take property tax and mortgage deductions, not the standard deduction.

 

So what that really says is "if you rent and all you have is a job and a bank account, you can do a simple tax return."  Which, though being really wealthy he apparently doesn't know this, is pretty much the case today.  Right now, people with only employment income and bank interest can fill out their form 1040-EZ in about five minutes.  

 

So where's the beef?  

 


Choisya wrote:

Everyman wrote: 

Maybe I missed it, but I didn't see anywhere that Obama laid out any commitment to reforming and simplifying the tax code, to make it more fair. 

 

 

He has said that he would simplify the tax code 'so that any employed American can do their taxes in minutes if they take the standard deduction' and that he would close corporate loopholes etc., which is what Zakaria was referring to.

 

 


Everyman wrote:

I found this comment by Zakaria particularly interesting:

 

Zakaria: I think the greatest problem most Americans have with Washington is they see their government as predatory and corrupt.

They look at the tax code and worry less that it "spreads the wealth" than that it institutionalizes corruption through loopholes and special deals.

 

Maybe I missed it, but I didn't see anywhere that Obama laid out any commitment to reforming and simplifying the tax code, to make it more fair.  He wants to change who pays tax, but I don't recall him ever saying that we need to fix the monster that is the tax code, to move as far as we can toward the famous postcard return.  

 

If he commits to and succesfully pushes through serious reform of the tax code, making tens of thousands of tax accountants  and lawyers unnecessary and putting TurboTax and TaxCut out of business, then I'll believe he really is a transformational agent of change. 

 


Jon_B wrote:

I thought this was a timely and interesting video from CNN's website - Fareed Zakaria, who we of course know as the author of this month's selection The Post-American World, responds to the election of Barack Obama to the presidency of the US. He addresses it particularly in the context of the economic crisis we currently face.

http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/americas/11/07/zakaria.electionresults/index.html

 

Message Edited by Jon_B on 11-07-2008 12:16 PM

 

 


 


 

 


 

Message Edited by Choisya on 11-08-2008 01:17 AM
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Everyman
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Re: Fareed Zakaria on the election of Barack Obama

He is also proposing a $4000 tax credit for all Americans to fund college education.

 

Since we already have tax credits of $3,650 available, plus an available income deduction (not as valuable as a tax credit...,  there's nothing particularly new in proposing to add to this (so that the working taxpayer pays even more taxes to cover yet another social welfare program).

 

Plus, you have to do an unspecified (as far as I know) amount of "community service" to get the credit.  So it's really in lieu of paying people to work for the community.  

 

And gee, I wonder how many of these people will do their community service working for ACORN.  Pretty clever idea -- get the taxpayers to subsidize young people working for your favorite social welfare organization.  Whoop-de-doo.  

 


Choisya wrote:

He says much more than the newspaper report and the proposals regarding Capital Gains tax are not substantially different to those proposed by Reagan or Bush.  He is also proposing a $4000 tax credit for all Americans to fund college education.  But until he is President and these proposals are fleshed out by government economists it is impossible to make informed comments about them.  The current state of the economy will have a bearing on any tax proposals.   Over here tax cuts are being proposed as a way of kick-starting the economy.   

 

 


Everyman wrote:

What he said was that he'd "simplify the tax code so that any employed American with a bank account can do their taxes in minutes if they take the standard deduction."  Just a generality, no specifics.   But if this person has any investments at all -- say $1,000 in mutual funds -- he hasn't proposed any simplification to their taxes.  In fact, he has talked about raising capital gains taxes.   If they are saving for college or paying for a student in college is he going to eliminate all the tax provisions about college savings and tax credits for college tuition?   Most homeowners are excluded from this simplification since they take property tax and mortgage deductions, not the standard deduction.

 

So what that really says is "if you rent and all you have is a job and a bank account, you can do a simple tax return."  Which, though being really wealthy he apparently doesn't know this, is pretty much the case today.  Right now, people with only employment income and bank interest can fill out their form 1040-EZ in about five minutes.  

 

So where's the beef?  

 

_______________
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Everyman
Posts: 9,216
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Fareed Zakaria on the election of Barack Obama

The proposals regarding Capital Gains tax are not substantially different to those proposed by Reagan or Bush. 

 

It's pretty clear that you don't fill out US tax forms.

 

Bush and Reagan were for cutting capital gains taxes, and did.

 

Obama is for raising them.

 

I happen to think that there is a substantial difference there.

 

But I suppose that since they both argue for changing the capital gains tax rate, one could say that they have a similar policy objectives. What does it matter that one would change up and one would change down.  They're both Change.   Which is what Obama is promising.  


Choisya wrote:

He says much more than the newspaper report and the proposals regarding Capital Gains tax are not substantially different to those proposed by Reagan or Bush.  He is also proposing a $4000 tax credit for all Americans to fund college education.  But until he is President and these proposals are fleshed out by government economists it is impossible to make informed comments about them.  The current state of the economy will have a bearing on any tax proposals.   Over here tax cuts are being proposed as a way of kick-starting the economy.   

 

 


Everyman wrote:

What he said was that he'd "simplify the tax code so that any employed American with a bank account can do their taxes in minutes if they take the standard deduction."  Just a generality, no specifics.   But if this person has any investments at all -- say $1,000 in mutual funds -- he hasn't proposed any simplification to their taxes.  In fact, he has talked about raising capital gains taxes.   If they are saving for college or paying for a student in college is he going to eliminate all the tax provisions about college savings and tax credits for college tuition?   Most homeowners are excluded from this simplification since they take property tax and mortgage deductions, not the standard deduction.

 

So what that really says is "if you rent and all you have is a job and a bank account, you can do a simple tax return."  Which, though being really wealthy he apparently doesn't know this, is pretty much the case today.  Right now, people with only employment income and bank interest can fill out their form 1040-EZ in about five minutes.  

 

So where's the beef?  

 


Choisya wrote:

Everyman wrote: 

Maybe I missed it, but I didn't see anywhere that Obama laid out any commitment to reforming and simplifying the tax code, to make it more fair. 

 

 

He has said that he would simplify the tax code 'so that any employed American can do their taxes in minutes if they take the standard deduction' and that he would close corporate loopholes etc., which is what Zakaria was referring to.

 

 


Everyman wrote:

I found this comment by Zakaria particularly interesting:

 

Zakaria: I think the greatest problem most Americans have with Washington is they see their government as predatory and corrupt.

They look at the tax code and worry less that it "spreads the wealth" than that it institutionalizes corruption through loopholes and special deals.

 

Maybe I missed it, but I didn't see anywhere that Obama laid out any commitment to reforming and simplifying the tax code, to make it more fair.  He wants to change who pays tax, but I don't recall him ever saying that we need to fix the monster that is the tax code, to move as far as we can toward the famous postcard return.  

 

If he commits to and succesfully pushes through serious reform of the tax code, making tens of thousands of tax accountants  and lawyers unnecessary and putting TurboTax and TaxCut out of business, then I'll believe he really is a transformational agent of change. 

 


Jon_B wrote:

I thought this was a timely and interesting video from CNN's website - Fareed Zakaria, who we of course know as the author of this month's selection The Post-American World, responds to the election of Barack Obama to the presidency of the US. He addresses it particularly in the context of the economic crisis we currently face.

http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/americas/11/07/zakaria.electionresults/index.html

 

Message Edited by Jon_B on 11-07-2008 12:16 PM

 

 


 


 

 


 

Message Edited by Choisya on 11-08-2008 01:17 AM

 

 

_______________
I think, therefore I drive people nuts.
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Choisya
Posts: 10,782
Registered: ‎10-26-2006
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Re: Fareed Zakaria on the election of Barack Obama

Everyman wrote:- 

It's pretty clear that you don't fill out US tax forms.

 

  

No, but I have read the website, which says that he will 'cut taxes overall, reducing revenues to below the levels that prevailed under Ronald Reagan', that he will 'eliminate capital gains tax for smaller businesses' and 'entrepeneurs' and that 'no family will pay higher tax rates than they would have paid in the 1990s'.   This is all anyone has to go on at the moment.

 


Everyman wrote:

The proposals regarding Capital Gains tax are not substantially different to those proposed by Reagan or Bush. 

 

It's pretty clear that you don't fill out US tax forms.

 

Bush and Reagan were for cutting capital gains taxes, and did.

 

Obama is for raising them.

 

I happen to think that there is a substantial difference there.

 

But I suppose that since they both argue for changing the capital gains tax rate, one could say that they have a similar policy objectives. What does it matter that one would change up and one would change down.  They're both Change.   Which is what Obama is promising.  


Choisya wrote:

He says much more than the newspaper report and the proposals regarding Capital Gains tax are not substantially different to those proposed by Reagan or Bush.  He is also proposing a $4000 tax credit for all Americans to fund college education.  But until he is President and these proposals are fleshed out by government economists it is impossible to make informed comments about them.  The current state of the economy will have a bearing on any tax proposals.   Over here tax cuts are being proposed as a way of kick-starting the economy.   

 

 


Everyman wrote:

What he said was that he'd "simplify the tax code so that any employed American with a bank account can do their taxes in minutes if they take the standard deduction."  Just a generality, no specifics.   But if this person has any investments at all -- say $1,000 in mutual funds -- he hasn't proposed any simplification to their taxes.  In fact, he has talked about raising capital gains taxes.   If they are saving for college or paying for a student in college is he going to eliminate all the tax provisions about college savings and tax credits for college tuition?   Most homeowners are excluded from this simplification since they take property tax and mortgage deductions, not the standard deduction.

 

So what that really says is "if you rent and all you have is a job and a bank account, you can do a simple tax return."  Which, though being really wealthy he apparently doesn't know this, is pretty much the case today.  Right now, people with only employment income and bank interest can fill out their form 1040-EZ in about five minutes.  

 

So where's the beef?  

 


Choisya wrote:

Everyman wrote: 

Maybe I missed it, but I didn't see anywhere that Obama laid out any commitment to reforming and simplifying the tax code, to make it more fair. 

 

 

He has said that he would simplify the tax code 'so that any employed American can do their taxes in minutes if they take the standard deduction' and that he would close corporate loopholes etc., which is what Zakaria was referring to.

 

 


Everyman wrote:

I found this comment by Zakaria particularly interesting:

 

Zakaria: I think the greatest problem most Americans have with Washington is they see their government as predatory and corrupt.

They look at the tax code and worry less that it "spreads the wealth" than that it institutionalizes corruption through loopholes and special deals.

 

Maybe I missed it, but I didn't see anywhere that Obama laid out any commitment to reforming and simplifying the tax code, to make it more fair.  He wants to change who pays tax, but I don't recall him ever saying that we need to fix the monster that is the tax code, to move as far as we can toward the famous postcard return.  

 

If he commits to and succesfully pushes through serious reform of the tax code, making tens of thousands of tax accountants  and lawyers unnecessary and putting TurboTax and TaxCut out of business, then I'll believe he really is a transformational agent of change. 

 


Jon_B wrote:

I thought this was a timely and interesting video from CNN's website - Fareed Zakaria, who we of course know as the author of this month's selection The Post-American World, responds to the election of Barack Obama to the presidency of the US. He addresses it particularly in the context of the economic crisis we currently face.

http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/americas/11/07/zakaria.electionresults/index.html

 

Message Edited by Jon_B on 11-07-2008 12:16 PM

 

 


 


 

 


 

Message Edited by Choisya on 11-08-2008 01:17 AM

 

 


 

Inspired Contributor
Choisya
Posts: 10,782
Registered: ‎10-26-2006
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Re: Fareed Zakaria on the election of Barack Obama

What is wrong with getting people to do community work for their benefits?  And there must be many more charities than ACORN in the US.  Perhaps you could persuade your community to use a local organisation.    But of course if you are opposed to all forms of social welfare then no tax redistribution will suit you.  What happened to the Golden Rule 'Do as you would be done by' or the Christian mantra 'There but for the grace of God go I?

 

 

 


Everyman wrote:

He is also proposing a $4000 tax credit for all Americans to fund college education.

 

Since we already have tax credits of $3,650 available, plus an available income deduction (not as valuable as a tax credit...,  there's nothing particularly new in proposing to add to this (so that the working taxpayer pays even more taxes to cover yet another social welfare program).

 

Plus, you have to do an unspecified (as far as I know) amount of "community service" to get the credit.  So it's really in lieu of paying people to work for the community.  

 

And gee, I wonder how many of these people will do their community service working for ACORN.  Pretty clever idea -- get the taxpayers to subsidize young people working for your favorite social welfare organization.  Whoop-de-doo.  

 


Choisya wrote:

He says much more than the newspaper report and the proposals regarding Capital Gains tax are not substantially different to those proposed by Reagan or Bush.  He is also proposing a $4000 tax credit for all Americans to fund college education.  But until he is President and these proposals are fleshed out by government economists it is impossible to make informed comments about them.  The current state of the economy will have a bearing on any tax proposals.   Over here tax cuts are being proposed as a way of kick-starting the economy.   

 

 


Everyman wrote:

What he said was that he'd "simplify the tax code so that any employed American with a bank account can do their taxes in minutes if they take the standard deduction."  Just a generality, no specifics.   But if this person has any investments at all -- say $1,000 in mutual funds -- he hasn't proposed any simplification to their taxes.  In fact, he has talked about raising capital gains taxes.   If they are saving for college or paying for a student in college is he going to eliminate all the tax provisions about college savings and tax credits for college tuition?   Most homeowners are excluded from this simplification since they take property tax and mortgage deductions, not the standard deduction.

 

So what that really says is "if you rent and all you have is a job and a bank account, you can do a simple tax return."  Which, though being really wealthy he apparently doesn't know this, is pretty much the case today.  Right now, people with only employment income and bank interest can fill out their form 1040-EZ in about five minutes.  

 

So where's the beef?  

 


 

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thewanderingjew
Posts: 2,247
Registered: ‎12-18-2007
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Re: Fareed Zakaria on the election of Barack Obama

I am not an academic and I can only respond in a simple way to this ongoing dialogue. In America, we have separation of church and state. I do unto others by choice, not by government mandate. There but for the grace of G-d go I is what moves me to donate so much to charity. The government cannot mandate what I give to those in need only my conscience can do that.
Biden equates patriotism with paying more taxes. My definition of patriotism is quite different. I believe patriotism is the love of one's country and the willingness to support and sacrifice for it. Charity is providing financial aid to the "poor and huddled masses yearning to breathe free".
In fact, while Obama and Biden want to redistribute the wealth, through higher taxes to help the needy, they don't want to redistribute their own. Biden gives almost nothing to charity and Obama only recently began to give more. This could be due to political reasons as well as the fact that he now earns more. However, neither seems to give much of their own free will and perhaps that is why they believe it needs to be mandated.
I don't need the government to tell me that people are in need. My eyes are open and I donate accordingly, without being forced to, as all good citizens should. Most of my adult life I have volunteered for a variety of charitable causes involving education, health and the welfare of others. Perhaps if there were more good citizens, we wouldn't have to have higher taxes. I believe the key to solving the problem, as always, is personal responsibility.
twj
Choisya wrote:

What is wrong with getting people to do community work for their benefits? And there must be many more charities than ACORN in the US. Perhaps you could persuade your community to use a local organisation. But of course if you are opposed to all forms of social welfare then no tax redistribution will suit you. What happened to the Golden Rule 'Do as you would be done by' or the Christian mantra 'There but for the grace of God go I?

 

 

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Everyman
Posts: 9,216
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Fareed Zakaria on the election of Barack Obama

What is wrong with getting people to do community work for their benefits? 

 

That's not community service, it's just public employment.  I work, I get money for it.  Why dress it up as looking like something special when it's just plain old capitalist employment at work?  

 

Remember Abraham Lincoln ans the five legged sheep  Things are what they are, not whatever fancy names you try to call them.  Snails are still snails and fish eggs are still fish eggs no matter what exotic names you put on the menu. 

_______________
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Choisya
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Registered: ‎10-26-2006
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Re: Fareed Zakaria on the election of Barack Obama

So call it public employment to earn benefits.  The words do not alter what it actually is.  It isn't capitalist employment because that is freely found by the employee.  A person on benefits is given a certain kind of work for a certain kind of job.  Would you rather they be given benefits for no return or would you rather they were not given benefits at all? 

 

The UK has been wrestling with this problem for some years because it has been thought that giving benefits for no return has engendered a 'benefits culture' and that making people do certain kinds of work (not usually wanted by others)  is not only a form of job training but a way of getting them out of the 'benefit culture'.      

 

 


Everyman wrote:

What is wrong with getting people to do community work for their benefits? 

 

That's not community service, it's just public employment.  I work, I get money for it.  Why dress it up as looking like something special when it's just plain old capitalist employment at work?  

 

Remember Abraham Lincoln ans the five legged sheep  Things are what they are, not whatever fancy names you try to call them.  Snails are still snails and fish eggs are still fish eggs no matter what exotic names you put on the menu. 


 

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Choisya
Posts: 10,782
Registered: ‎10-26-2006
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Re: Fareed Zakaria on the election of Barack Obama : Charity

I don't think that what any of the candidates do with their money is the issue - we do not elect people for their charitable giving but for other qualities. If Obama institutes higher taxes his income and the income of all those in his party will also be redistributed.  Also what any leader or statesperson gives to charity becomes a matter of public scrutiny and they have to be very careful to whom they give.   Nor does it matter of whether the church and state are separate - I was using the christian 'mantra' as an example only.  Let's look at the principles rather than take a purely partisan approach. 

 

The British Victorians were great philanthropists and established many of the charities both our countries have today.  However, research into poverty and deprivation found that charities did not distribute their income fairly and were very partisan in their approach to their clients.  This is when the term 'the deserving and undeserving poor' was coined by Beatrice Webb who, together with Charles Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, did a great deal of research into the problems of the poor.  For instance, no charity then gave money to 'immoral' unmarried mothers and they and their babies had to resort to Oliver Twist type workhouses.  Catholics gave to catholics even though there were starving Jews their neighbourhoods and vice versa.  There were very many examples of such partisan approaches to charity and this meant that thousands fell through the net and starved or became criminals to support themselves.  We still see this happening today when, say, charities working with AIDS sufferers have a lesser share of the communal pot.  It was because of this that state help for the poor came about in the majority of western democracies and the same principle still underpins most welfare programmes. 

 

Personal charity is not enough and never will be, it is only the state which has a duty to care for all of its citizens.  How much the state mandates towards various social welfare programmes is another matter but that it has a duty to care for everyone should not be in dispute.  Your eyes may be open and you may give widely and fairly but as can be seen by the many milliions who are in dire need, personal charity has not been enough and something more needs to be done.  I agree that if there were more good citizens who gave generously, state help might not be needed but that is a Utopian dream. 

 

I realise that this is a very different approach than yours but it is nevertheless an honourable and widely held view of how to alleviate the problems of poverty and deprivation in today's complex societies.      

 

(My definition of patriotism is much wider in that I believe that I should be willing to help all the people in my country as well as the country itself in time of need.  I see charity as being part of that patriotism.)

 

 

 


thewanderingjew wrote:
I am not an academic and I can only respond in a simple way to this ongoing dialogue. In America, we have separation of church and state. I do unto others by choice, not by government mandate. There but for the grace of G-d go I is what moves me to donate so much to charity. The government cannot mandate what I give to those in need only my conscience can do that.
Biden equates patriotism with paying more taxes. My definition of patriotism is quite different. I believe patriotism is the love of one's country and the willingness to support and sacrifice for it. Charity is providing financial aid to the "poor and huddled masses yearning to breathe free".
In fact, while Obama and Biden want to redistribute the wealth, through higher taxes to help the needy, they don't want to redistribute their own. Biden gives almost nothing to charity and Obama only recently began to give more. This could be due to political reasons as well as the fact that he now earns more. However, neither seems to give much of their own free will and perhaps that is why they believe it needs to be mandated.
I don't need the government to tell me that people are in need. My eyes are open and I donate accordingly, without being forced to, as all good citizens should. Most of my adult life I have volunteered for a variety of charitable causes involving education, health and the welfare of others. Perhaps if there were more good citizens, we wouldn't have to have higher taxes. I believe the key to solving the problem, as always, is personal responsibility.
twj
Choisya wrote:

What is wrong with getting people to do community work for their benefits? And there must be many more charities than ACORN in the US. Perhaps you could persuade your community to use a local organisation. But of course if you are opposed to all forms of social welfare then no tax redistribution will suit you. What happened to the Golden Rule 'Do as you would be done by' or the Christian mantra 'There but for the grace of God go I?

 

 


 

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KathyS
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Barack Obama : Giving back

I'm only going to give, here, what I heard in one of Barack Obama's speeches, and my personal opinions, as they relate to it.  I'll paraphrase as I tried to understand what he said. 

 

President-elect Obama said, that with tuition, money, when given to these students (as student loans), there needed to be a program for them to pay some of this back, by giving back 'time' to thier community, in community service.  When I heard this, I thought: 

 

One, it's a way to relieve these students of this burden of paying back money, which most do not have, and which can take years to do.

Two, it's a way for them to learn what it means to earn what they get, money, even though they are getting an education for this money, and are still working for that education through study and diligence, as well.  Three, it's a way to learn what it means to give something of themselves, and find out that these communities, in which they live, appreciate their contributions to them.   It becomes give and take, in learning.

 

If you simplify giving a child an allowance; money given to a child for what they give back (in work) to their family.  We all want to earn, and give back.  It's just that some of us have been given and given for so many years, we tend to forget what it means to give back.  I know an education is earned, by the money that goes into the system, for teachers, who in turn have earned their way to give back to students.

 

No matter how you slice this, and these slices haven't (I'm sure) been worked out to what is equal justice for all, it all comes back to learning.  Children, as well as adults, don't always know what this means.  We aren't born with these qualities, we are taught.  So, contributions come in all forms.  The thoughts of getting something for nothing is not what this country, or any country, should base their standards on.

 

Recently, on the news, there has been reported that some of these 'once students', who are now, years later, working in their chosen professions, 'never' paid back their student loans, or never finished paying them back.  Millions of dollars have been given 'away', and lost in the loop holes of these agencies.  Structure of all institutions is necessary to prevent this.  

 

I had the feeling that Obama wanted to see some of these new changes that he may, or may not, get implemented, to be a re-process of learning for all of us.  There are lots of sayings that can be said, one of which think that "charity begins at home".  We can broaden this to mean our own country, and the people within it.  This country has given so much money to other nations, but without the contrabution of our own thoughts, as individuals, as to how we can give to our own, without some kind of tragedy to force this "giving" upon us.  Do we always need a tragedy to prompt us?  I would hope not.

 

I'm not zeroing in on anyone here, this is just a general perspective of what I've felt over a long period of time, living in this country.  We need to know we make a difference in what we say and do for each other, and for our country.  These views will be felt around the world.  There needs to be an active view, not a passive view, of what we can do for each other.  And if giving a few hours of my time towards a community service, to better it, [and to pay back what is given to me], will bring this good will, then I agree with this strategy wholeheartedly.

 

Kathy

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TiggerBear
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Re: Fareed Zakaria on the election of Barack Obama


Choisya wrote:

So call it public employment to earn benefits.  The words do not alter what it actually is.  It isn't capitalist employment because that is freely found by the employee.  A person on benefits is given a certain kind of work for a certain kind of job.  Would you rather they be given benefits for no return or would you rather they were not given benefits at all? 

 

The UK has been wrestling with this problem for some years because it has been thought that giving benefits for no return has engendered a 'benefits culture' and that making people do certain kinds of work (not usually wanted by others)  is not only a form of job training but a way of getting them out of the 'benefit culture'.      

 

 


Everyman wrote:

What is wrong with getting people to do community work for their benefits? 

 

That's not community service, it's just public employment.  I work, I get money for it.  Why dress it up as looking like something special when it's just plain old capitalist employment at work?  

 

Remember Abraham Lincoln ans the five legged sheep  Things are what they are, not whatever fancy names you try to call them.  Snails are still snails and fish eggs are still fish eggs no matter what exotic names you put on the menu. 


 


What ever you want to call it does exist in this country, it's just being done privately by charities. Food banks often pay with food. One of our local homeless shelters pays people with a phone number, address,  food, and pocket money to homeless people looking to get employed; in turn for selling copies of their circular around town.The Savation Army pays people who need help on their feet, to collect donations.

 

But would you really deny a woman with 4 kids who needs help with support? Yes she could go work a minimum wage job earning less than $200 a week take home, mabey even two of those. Guess what child care alone for one child a week costs, upwards of $300. There is no way she colud pay for child care much less than any thing else. There are reasons some people can not work. 

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Everyman
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Re: Fareed Zakaria on the election of Barack Obama

But would you really deny a woman with 4 kids who needs help with support? Yes she could go work a minimum wage job earning less than $200 a week take home, mabey even two of those. Guess what child care alone for one child a week costs, upwards of $300. There is no way she colud pay for child care much less than any thing else. There are reasons some people can not work.

 

Which is why I have long supported publicly funded day care, just as we have publicly supported schools.  The quality of learning is much more critical at ages 0-5 than it is at ages 10-15.  We have research coming out our ears to show that children who don't get adequate intellectual stimulus in their first few years are behind for the rest of their lives, and make up a grossly disproportionate percentage of our prison population.  The public won't spend $5,000 a year to care for an infant's emotional and educational development, but as soon as they commit a crime the public demands that we spend  $30,000 a year to keep them in prison.  Stupid.  Just plain stupid.  

 

 

_______________
I think, therefore I drive people nuts.
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Choisya
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Re: Barack Obama : Giving back

Your kind heart always shows through KathyS.  I hope that one day you will get a lovely coronet:smileyhappy:

 


KathyS wrote:

I'm only going to give, here, what I heard in one of Barack Obama's speeches, and my personal opinions, as they relate to it.  I'll paraphrase as I tried to understand what he said. 

 

President-elect Obama said, that with tuition, money, when given to these students (as student loans), there needed to be a program for them to pay some of this back, by giving back 'time' to thier community, in community service.  When I heard this, I thought: 

 

One, it's a way to relieve these students of this burden of paying back money, which most do not have, and which can take years to do.

Two, it's a way for them to learn what it means to earn what they get, money, even though they are getting an education for this money, and are still working for that education through study and diligence, as well.  Three, it's a way to learn what it means to give something of themselves, and find out that these communities, in which they live, appreciate their contributions to them.   It becomes give and take, in learning.

 

If you simplify giving a child an allowance; money given to a child for what they give back (in work) to their family.  We all want to earn, and give back.  It's just that some of us have been given and given for so many years, we tend to forget what it means to give back.  I know an education is earned, by the money that goes into the system, for teachers, who in turn have earned their way to give back to students.

 

No matter how you slice this, and these slices haven't (I'm sure) been worked out to what is equal justice for all, it all comes back to learning.  Children, as well as adults, don't always know what this means.  We aren't born with these qualities, we are taught.  So, contributions come in all forms.  The thoughts of getting something for nothing is not what this country, or any country, should base their standards on.

 

Recently, on the news, there has been reported that some of these 'once students', who are now, years later, working in their chosen professions, 'never' paid back their student loans, or never finished paying them back.  Millions of dollars have been given 'away', and lost in the loop holes of these agencies.  Structure of all institutions is necessary to prevent this.  

 

I had the feeling that Obama wanted to see some of these new changes that he may, or may not, get implemented, to be a re-process of learning for all of us.  There are lots of sayings that can be said, one of which think that "charity begins at home".  We can broaden this to mean our own country, and the people within it.  This country has given so much money to other nations, but without the contrabution of our own thoughts, as individuals, as to how we can give to our own, without some kind of tragedy to force this "giving" upon us.  Do we always need a tragedy to prompt us?  I would hope not.

 

I'm not zeroing in on anyone here, this is just a general perspective of what I've felt over a long period of time, living in this country.  We need to know we make a difference in what we say and do for each other, and for our country.  These views will be felt around the world.  There needs to be an active view, not a passive view, of what we can do for each other.  And if giving a few hours of my time towards a community service, to better it, [and to pay back what is given to me], will bring this good will, then I agree with this strategy wholeheartedly.

 

Kathy


 

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thewanderingjew
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Re: Fareed Zakaria on the election of Barack Obama : Charity

edited by twj:...
Choisya wrote:
Let's look at the principles rather than take a purely partisan approach.
I disagree with you on this point. Noting the fact that Obama and Biden gave very little to charity is not partisan. It is a statement of fact about the candidates that want to redistribute wealth without giving much of their own. If McCain had advocated the same position, I would have made the same judgement.
Choisya wrote:
The British Victorians were great philanthropists and established many of the charities both our countries have today. However, research into poverty and deprivation found that charities did not distribute their income fairly and were very partisan in their approach to their clients.

Do you believe that my government distributes the wealth fairly? Earmarks are a perfect example of how the government misuses its power when it comes to money. I think the prevailing opinion is that when the government runs programs they are often mismanaged, wasteful and even corrupt. (That is not to say that private companies aren't susceptible to the same sins, but I can usually opt out of participation in a private company but not one run by the government.)
I, for one, give to Catholic Charites, Jewish Charities, Cultural Charities, the USO, The Boys Club, etc. I am an equal opportunity giver. You are right, alone I can't give enough to solve all the problems of the world but if we all tried to take care of our own as well as those in need, to the best of our ability, we could make great progress in solving the problems we face. Rather than solving the problems by going through the cold layers of bureaucratic red tape we could solve them with the warmth of human intervention.

Choisya wrote:...
(My definition of patriotism is much wider in that I believe that I should be willing to help all the people in my country as well as the country itself in time of need. I see charity as being part of that patriotism.)
I guess I separate the two...I think we both want the same end result, we just have a different approach.
twj

 

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Choisya
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Re: Fareed Zakaria on the election of Barack Obama : Charity

I disagree with you on this point. Noting the fact that Obama and Biden gave very little to charity is not partisan. It is a statement of fact about the candidates that want to redistribute wealth without giving much of their own. If McCain had advocated the same position, I would have made the same judgement.

 

I just see it as totally irrrelevant to their policies.  It is like saying that if they do not carry guns they should not support the gun lobby or if their wives did not have abortions they should not support abortion.  They are after all supporting a policy which will redistribute their wealth.  And as I have said, there are also a lot of problems around charitable giving when you reach the top of the political ladder. I think you will find that when they are both in office a list will be drawn up of the charities they feel able to support which won't alienate the public and that list will be changed frequently to be representative of national 'causes'. It is a minefield for them and particularly for Obama.  Imagine if he had, until now, always supported more black charities or a worthwhile Muslim charity - there would be a furore - 'terrorist', 'racist' would be the cry.  Supposing McCain had supported naval charities and not army ones - soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan would be furious.   But however much top people give it is never considered enough by the public.  The Queen has a lot of hassle over this.       

 

 

Do you believe that my government distributes the wealth fairly? Earmarks are a perfect example of how the government misuses its power when it comes to money. I think the prevailing opinion is that when the government runs programs they are often mismanaged, wasteful and even corrupt.

 

I cannot possibly judge your government in this, I just make the point that IMO democratic governments have to pay attention to all needs because they seek votes, and private companies and citizens can pick and choose amongst the needy and thereby neglect some.  In my lifetime I have not seen any evidence that western governments are any more corrupt or less accountable than private companies. And the amount of information we can get about our governments is far greater than the information we can get on private companies, so I see governments as being more accountable.  Because of my background, I perhaps trust them more than you do and believe that our representatives are trying to do their best, whatever their party.  

 

I agree that private charity should be enough but it never has been.  All three of the monotheistic religions have always tried to get all of their believers to give one-tenth of their earnings to charity but this has never taken place. If it had, no government would have to set up welfare schemes.  This is why some governments in our more enlightened times, try to bridge the gap. 

 

I give very little to British charities because we have national welfare schemes which benefit everyone.  I give more to overseas causes, particularly African, charities.  I have been supporting a young woman through school in Kenya for some years and I buy Fairtrade groceries and my birthday and Christmas presents from Oxfam whenever I can.  But I would far rather that Africans did not have to rely on charity from people like me and that their governments provided for them - hasten the day!   

 

 

 

 


thewanderingjew wrote:

edited by twj:...
Choisya wrote:
Let's look at the principles rather than take a purely partisan approach.
I disagree with you on this point. Noting the fact that Obama and Biden gave very little to charity is not partisan. It is a statement of fact about the candidates that want to redistribute wealth without giving much of their own. If McCain had advocated the same position, I would have made the same judgement.
Choisya wrote:
The British Victorians were great philanthropists and established many of the charities both our countries have today. However, research into poverty and deprivation found that charities did not distribute their income fairly and were very partisan in their approach to their clients.

Do you believe that my government distributes the wealth fairly? Earmarks are a perfect example of how the government misuses its power when it comes to money. I think the prevailing opinion is that when the government runs programs they are often mismanaged, wasteful and even corrupt. (That is not to say that private companies aren't susceptible to the same sins, but I can usually opt out of participation in a private company but not one run by the government.)
I, for one, give to Catholic Charites, Jewish Charities, Cultural Charities, the USO, The Boys Club, etc. I am an equal opportunity giver. You are right, alone I can't give enough to solve all the problems of the world but if we all tried to take care of our own as well as those in need, to the best of our ability, we could make great progress in solving the problems we face. Rather than solving the problems by going through the cold layers of bureaucratic red tape we could solve them with the warmth of human intervention.

Choisya wrote:...
(My definition of patriotism is much wider in that I believe that I should be willing to help all the people in my country as well as the country itself in time of need. I see charity as being part of that patriotism.)
I guess I separate the two...I think we both want the same end result, we just have a different approach.
twj