Quote from the Governor of Texas

Quote from the Governor of Texas

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"I believe the federal government has become oppressive." - Governor of Texas, 4/9/2009 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0LHrIxc-QyE
  • When liberals lose elections they talk about moving to Canada. When conservatives lose elections they talk about seceding. Though I don't think I've ever heard a liberal governor talk about leaving the country. Conservatives are better at electing their wingnuts I guess.
    • Does that mean you don't think the federal government is oppressive?
      • Let us begin with a definition of oppressive. Looking at the relevant definitions.

        1. Marked by unjust severity or arbitrary behavior
        2. Tyrannical or exercising unjust power
        3. The act of subjugating by cruelty
        4. The state of being kept down by unjust use of force or authority

        The current federal government holds power due to winning a free and fair election where its candidates got the majority of the votes. Its came to power thru just means, not thru unjust use of force. The federal government ended the practice of torture and just came clean on the previous use of torture (cruelty is on the decline).

        So no, I don't think the federal government is particularly oppressive.
        • Weird.
          • How so?
            • Presidents in this country are selected by plurality elections which should be outlawed and replaced with condorcet elections. The Republican vs. Democrat game is nothing more than a distraction, an attempt to keep the people convinced they're in control. Unfortunately I think we've been through this before and it didn't go anywhere. But I do not consider our government to have been selected in a fair or just manner.

              I prefer the definitions from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/oppressive :
              1. unreasonably burdensome or severe <oppressive legislation>
              2. tyrannical
              3. overwhelming or depressing to the spirit or senses <an oppressive climate>


              Taxes. I believe the federal government is massively inept at handling our money and should not be allowed to touch more than a small fraction of what it does. I do not want socialist programs like welfare, social security, medicaid, and medicare.

              There are so many laws that everyone is always guilty of something. And the laws can't begin to be sorted out by anyone that hasn't dedicated their life to it.

              Read this: http://www.apatheticvoter.com/ViolationsConstitution.htm
              • 1. Obama won a majority of 52.9%, not a plurality. [1]
                2. The recent tax change lowered taxes on everyone making less than $250,000 a year. Unless you make a lot more money than I think you do, your taxes just got lower.[2]
                3. The top marginal tax rate peaked at 94% at the end of WW2. It was 50% in the middle of Ronald Reagan's presidency. It was 35% last year[3]. Obama's tax plan has raise the top marginal rate to 39.6%.[4]
                4. The majority of Americans support a social safety net for poor an elderly people.
                5. re: Violations Constitution - The US is an industrialized nation in a global economy, and while the recession might be long and bad, global civilization is not collapsing. The clock is not getting turned back by leftist protesting "globalization" or by right-wing folks who wishes the confederacy won the civil war.

                [1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_presidential_election,_2008
                [2] www.barackobama.com/pdf/taxes/Factsheet_Tax_Plan_FINAL.pdf
                [3] http://www.taxfoundation.org/publications/show/151.html
                [4] www.barackobama.com/pdf/taxes/Factsheet_Tax_Plan_FINAL.pdf
                • I really appreciate your perspective and willingness to discuss it. It's a shame we don't seem to make much progress.

                  1. Obama was still elected through plurality voting. If condorcet were used, the kind of candidates that the Republican and Democrat have been putting up for election would not be elected, because the people would be able to vote for candidates that actually deserved their votes without dramatically increasing the likelihood of the worst of two evils winning. (Correct, my salary is nowhere near $250k.)
                  2. The taxes are still "unreasonably burdensome or severe".
                  3. Same as previous.
                  4. Do they also support the number of their tax dollars that it requires? What percentage of the federal budget is spent on socialist programs?
                  5. I think you skipped something here. Or you made a jump from constitutional violations to collapse of global civilization that I missed.

                    I don't think whither or not global industrial civilization is going to collapse or not is a factor in whither or not the US federal government is oppressive, but I'm happy to discuss it. Do you believe that the fossil fuel supply is unlimited? Or do you think we'll find a way to smoothly transition away from it? If so, how? I think the Dilbert comic I recently posted is the best argument I can give for why I believe the transition will not be smooth. People are refusing to pay attention to the problem while they have fossil fuels to utilize in the transition, so nothing gets done until its too late: http://www.dilbert.com/strips/comic/2009-04-16/
                  • Condorcet
                    You put awful lot of faith in a voting system that has never been tried in a large nation state. I applied a little game theory to a condorcet system to see what the equilibrium party structure might look like. The answer I got was a maximum of three viable parties (by viable I mean having a real chance to get elected on a large scale), with the possibility of evolving back and forth between 1 and 3 parties.

                    At most you would have a liberal party, a conservative party, and a status quo party. The liberals wanting to make liberal changes (e.g. gay marriage, universal healthcare), the conservative party wanting to go back (e.g. overturn Roe v Wade, remove healthcare regulations), and a status quo party that wants to keep things the same.

                    The status quo party is likely to have the advantage when there are three parties which could cause either or both the liberal and/or conservative party to crumble. A two party system would be stable unless until they create a large enough status quo gap between them. A single party system could similarly be fairly stable so long as it keeps a status quo position. My point is that in all cases you wind up with a party structure which is very similar to our current one. Under none of these scenarios do I see a radical libertarian party (which seems to be your political persuasion) being viable.

                    I don't think any election system is going to be perfect. Good arguments can be made for various tweaks based upon democratic principles, stable outcomes, and other factors. But if your premise is that anything other than condorcet is oppression it is hard to take your conclusions seriously.

                    Correct, my salary is nowhere near $250k
                    Congratulations, your tax burden has been lowered.

                    "socialist" programs
                    You throw the word socialist around a lot. I define socialism as government ownership of the means of production (this is the definition I learned when getting a degree in Political Science). You seem to be defining socialism as any government program that spends money to help people medically or economically. There are lots of people (likely the majority of Americans), who for instance, want the government to ensure retirement income for senior citizens but don't want the government to own all businesses.

                    In terms of support for these programs I offer two pieces of evidence. First is that only one of those programs has either party tried to destroy in the last several decades. The one that was threatened with destruction was Social Security. And when the Republican's tried to undermine Social Security (by effectively refunding it) they didn't try to sell it as eliminating the hated Social Security but instead as "saving it." The American people didn't buy this and the resurgence of the Democratic Party began with its defense of Social Security.

                    Constitutional violations, and collapse
                    The US Constitution was written to govern an agricultural nation where most economic activity was local. The interpretation of the US Constitution has always been flexible, that is why the text has changed so little (only 27 Amendments).

                    The reason that US Constructional tradition over the last 150+ has been towards bigger federal government is because it is difficult if not impossible to confront national and global problems with state and local government.

                    There were two big issues facing pre Civil War America. There was the moral issue of slavery, and there was the economic issue of industrialization. These were both national issues requiring a national solution. The pre Civil War government was unable to address these problems and the nation descended into Civil War.

                    Today we face moral issues on a national scale. We also have economic issues on a global scale. A pre Civil War style government would be even less able to address our modern national and global issues than it was to deal with slavery and early industrialization. A pre Civil War style government could survive is without a global economy where we start ignoring the moral issues across state lines. Massive global economic is the only path I see to that situation.
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