The Question Of Good And Evil And How It Informs Governance

The Question of Good and Evil and How it Informs Governance

I recently began revisiting a question I dealt with several months ago in my Hub "Musings On The Meaning Of Life". The question is "What is the nature of good and evil?" It is a dilemma that I have examined on and off dating back to a college philosophy course I took in 1977. Different events over the years have caused my reexaminations. Personal events had heretofore influenced these introspections. This time it was different. I was attempting to get my arms around why there were such diametrically opposed political views on almost every issue facing the United States. Why did our politics become so polarized? Everyone seems to see every issue in black and white, right and wrong, or good and evil terms. This realization brought me back to the question of the nature of good and evil.

In this article I will again offer my analysis of this question and I will expand upon it. There are of course examples of absolute or close to absolute goods and evils in both individual conduct and governmental action. Yet there is also so much fertile ground in the middle of these two extremes where most actions fall. I will examine the three major categories of governmental actions and how this question of the nature of good and evil informs them. These categories are national defense and homeland security, the administration of justice and maintenance of civil order, and government social protection. This final function is currently the moost controversial and divisive. I will strive to show where different actions in these three governmental categories fall on my scale of good and evil and why. I will also discuss my personal vision of good governmental actions in these categories. I have performed this exercise because I feel that it is essential for a person to reconcile one's own morality with his or her own vision of the proper roles of governance. I hope this sparks similar considerations for those who read this as well as some healthy and much needed debates on the important questions of our time.

My primary definition of good that I described in my earlier Hub stated that an action is good if it advances oneself or society without hurting someone else or society. Evil is the purposeful hurting of someone else or society for one's own gain or amusement. I also stated that simply going about one's life optimizing one's own good without regard to the damage caused to others is an evil life.

I believe that these definitions hold true for governments also. Government should attempt to create an environment that promotes the most good for the most people. Winning in the marketplace and other areas is good. But that does not mean that governments should also ignore those that lose in the same marketplace and are left without basic human goods and needs. My belief is that government should ensure a fair and safe playing field in the marketplace. The key though in judging how good a government operates is in how it protects all of its citizens and ensures that they have their basic needs met.

In other words, a government should and must protect its people, provide justice and order, and maintain fairness in commerce and society. This is the minimum that I believe a government should provide to its people. What it provides beyond this will determine how good or great that government is. What it provides below this point will in my estimation determine how bad that government functions and in extreme cases how evil they are. Let me now expand upon this in the three main categories of government that I have listed.

I would like to begin with the primary function of all national governments of the world. This is national defense and homeland security. These functions exist to protect a nation's citizens from any external threats to their country. There is no dispute that this is a necessary and proper function of government. Differences arise as to how this should be carried out and how a nation should respond to different national security threats. Everyone agrees that it is a good and vital action to defend against a nation or force that militarily attacks your country. This governmental defensive response would be on the totally good side of my good and evil scale. What about a preemptive action against a neighboring country that is drastically building up its military? Is this a good and just action or is it an evil one?

The keys to assessing this are in the details. If the threat is imminent and totally lethal such as with nuclear weapons, then it certainly could be a good and justified act. If no diplomacy and negotiation has been conducted or attempted during this buildup then the action may be less justified and thus less good. A government would be considered to be evil if they simply invaded another country to acquire their resources, wealth, or for any other reason that did not constitute genuine national defense. The best example of this was Hitler's Nazi Germany. Other examples are Stalin's Soviet Union and Pol Pot's Cambodia where both dictators massacred millions of their own citizens.

We can also measure a nation's diplomatic stances and actions in the same way. A government that promotes its country as a benevolently involved world neighbor and acts as a good friend around the world promoting peace and prosperity is higher on the scale towards being a very good foreign policy actor. A government that chooses to keep its country totally out of world affairs is neutral on my scale. One that stirs up trouble amongst other nations is further away from good and closer to evil depending on the extent of these malevolent actions.

The United States has made great strides under the Obama Administration in moving farther along towards a very good grade in its foreign policy stances and actions in my view. They have intensified their diplomacy around the world and are no longer ignoring the concerns of other nations. The United Nations action in Libya is an excellent example of this. The U.S. joined this action after intensive debates amongst the Arab League and the the U.N.'s Security Council. The United States spent much time marshalling forces for this concerted multinational effort. This action was announced and undertaken for the expressed purpose of protecting the Libyan people from attacks on them by the Qaddafi government forces. The Obama Administration has taken major steps to steer the U.S. away from the neoconservative policy of saber rattling to produce diplomatic results. The diplomatic corps is now in the ascendacy where negotiations come first with military power being held in abeyance as talks move forward. President Teddy Roosevelt's "Speak softly but carry a big stick" policy is wisely guiding current American foreign policy.

Now let me turn to the administration of the criminal and civil justice systems and the maintenance of societal order. A government must perform these functions efficiently and fairly or the society will malfunction. Civil order depends heavily on government successfully administering in these areas. The criminal and civil justice systems of a government are expected to be fair and consistent to all parties regardless of race, religion, class, gender, sexuality, or any other classification. All local, state, and federal law enforcement departments are expected to keep order in their jurisdictions and to not show preference to one group over another. They are supposed to live by the motto that "Justice is color blind".

Those that target and arrest ethnic minorities and the poor to the relative exclusion of all others are failing their communities. Thus they are closer to evil than good on my scale in this category depending on the extent of this discrimination. This also holds true for the criminal and civil courts. Courts that hand out more severe sentences to one group as opposed to another for the same crime are further away from good on my scale than courts that pass out equal sentences. The results of inequalities of court administration and law enforcement manifest themselves by way of unrest in that community. Order is subsequently disrupted and trust in the system greatly diminishes. Law and order subsequently breaks down and the system becomes much less effective. It becomes evil when discrimination within the criminal and civil justice administrations becomes rampant and systemic.

How do we measure a government in regards to its social programs? Of course people have greatly varying views on this subject. Many people feel government should provide no social safety net at all for its citizens. This governmental function illicits much more controversy and disagreement than the other two functions previously described. My personal definition of a good action is one that enhances one's own self or society. My definition of good governmental action in this category would be extended to help prevent and also remediate its citizens' losses of basic goods and needs.

These include lack of food, shelter, education, and healthcare. These are the most important and basic human needs though not the only ones. Most of us measure our personal feeling of good and self worth through the assistance we provide to family, friends, co-workers, church, and charities. I believe the same can be similarly projected on to our governments. A government that provides law and order and preserves free markets and contracts is highly efficient. Is it good if that efficiency causes some of its citizens who lose in the marketplace to suffer alone?

A government should ensure and provide all of its citizens with access to their basic needs at least at a minimum level. This level of social protection would give that government good grades for the providing to its citizens. This does not mean that government needs to provide luxury for the disadvantaged. They should attempt to provide a path to personal independence for these down on their luck citizens. This could be through education, job placement, and transportation assistance to name a few. A government that allows its citizenry to fend for themselves in a "survival of the fittest" manner in my mind is close to evil. Most people's vision of social protection governing lies between these two extremes. Generally one's own perception of good and evil will determine your vision of how government should operate in this area.

Why would I engage in this exercise of reconciling my personal morality with the morality that I expect from my governments? I believe that everyone should examine their beliefs about what constitutes good and evil. I also believe we must be consistent with these beliefs when we select our political leaders. We should vote for politicians who reflect these beliefs and will carry them out in the administration of their office. Some leaders may govern better in one of these areas than in the others. Is this because they are inconsistent or is it because you are inconsistent in your views?

It is essential that we examine our moral beliefs closely so that we are able to accurately make this determination. For example, strict Libertarians such as Ron and Rand Paul, stress individual freedoms and limiting government to performing only essential functions. They want government to stay out of American lives as much as possible. They are opposed to the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars. They believe in only defending our borders from attackers and not engaging in distant wars. They also believe in legalizing many currently illegal conducts such as illegal drug use and prostitution. Their belief is that government has no business criminalizing actions that do not harm anyone else in the society. They would also eliminate most, if not all, social programs. They believe that it is the individual's responsibility for taking care of themselves. Government should stay out of it as part of their system of individual liberty. These are consistent Libertarian views across the governmental spectrum. My views are mostly opposed to them but I do admire their honesty and consistency. I do not admire their lack of compassion for the downtrodden.

I also believe strongly in individual liberty as long as others are not being hurt in its exercise. I also do not believe that we are islands unto ourselves. We are a community. Government cannot be an island unto itself either. It must care and provide for all of its citizens no matter their circumstances. We are all responsible for others in our communities. The governments that we elect are charged by us to carry out this responsibility. This social compact has been developed through legislation by our elected leaders over the past eighty years.

We also require government to keep order and execute justice fairly. This is because our elected government is the government of all of us and not just the privileged class. Our social compact relies on this fairness because otherwise government becomes illegitimate and society begins to break apart. Our government must also protect us from foreign enemies but that is not the full extent of our proper foreign policy. They must conduct effective, respectful, and collegial diplomacy amongst the other nations of the world.

We as individuals do the same amongst our friends, colleagues, neighbors, and our community as a whole. Solid respect and admiration in the world community begets us tremendous influence and prestige in the world. We are then able as a nation to preserve our national security in a much more effective and proactive manner. A strong military is important as a last resort and an impetus for other countries to support us. Friendly and truly cooperative relations though is our most important national security tool.

To sum up, my vison of governmental actions in all categories reflects my nature of good and evil view. I consider an individual to be most truly good when he or she uses their individual liberty to maximize their own good in concert with maximizing the good of their entire community. A government must do the same to achieve a maximum good grade in my opinion. It must protect all of its citizens while also being fair to all. The government must also ensure that the basic needs of its citizens are met. Our government foreign policy must portray us as a good global neighbor just as we aspire to being good community neighbors. This way far fewer nations will look to attack us and our prestige will grow. This is similarly true in our own communities. I hope my reflections have been consistent and clear.

This is an exercise that I intend to continually reflect upon and revise where I find it necessary. No one is perfect. Besides, events and experience help to broaden our knowledge and wisdom. My hope is that everyone will give this subject and exercise some consideration so they may develop a more consistent and honest theory of government. After all, without this self knowledge one cannot truly make correct decisions when they enter their voting booth or when they petition their leaders.

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Comments 106 comments

junko profile image

junko 5 years ago

I believe that in most cases we all know right from wrong but don't always choose good over evil or right over wrong for whatever reason. I believe we base our decisions on our life experiences. I believe that man is not perfect and will choose evil over good and wrong over right sometimes. I also believe that you reap what you sow, and if you are too evil and wrong minded you can have have your hell on earth and hope to die, but can't die. A nation of men also can have hell on earth.


Fay Paxton 5 years ago

Hi Schneider:

Yet another well-written, though-provoking hub. I agree with you and find that I am in the “live and let live” crowd. But I have problems with the Libertarian view.

At what point does one draw the line? When is the government’s duty to provide for the common welfare of its citizens too much government? Besides, if men were fair-minded and functioned with equity, we wouldn’t need any laws. Perhaps we wouldn’t even need government.

up/useful and awesome


Wil C profile image

Wil C 5 years ago from United States of America

Nice article HSchneider. I agree that many people must take the time to figure out where they stand on the issues. Our foreign policy should never take the stance of complete isolationism. Being proactive and working with other nations will ensure our safety. United States had an isolationist stance prior to WWII and everyone knows how that played out. In regards to the civil and criminal justice system, I believe we have quite a ways to go. If we had a stronger community that helped each other there would be less crime therefore less need for jails which also need to be restructured. People leave jails ill prepared to deal with the world and as a result typically end up back in jail. This is where all these social programs really come into play. If we were to take away these programs the inevitable would be a rise in crime. Is that what we want in our country. More and more jails with less and less tolerance. We are all in this together. If our nation is to remain a world power we must unite and lift each other to new levels of awareness and community. About the only thing I could agree with libretarians on is civil freedom, but not at the cost of the nation. Thanks for the great article.


HSchneider 5 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey Author

I believe you are correct in your observation Junko. Most people do know the difference between good and evil but they do not fully examine it when choosing their government leaders. People strive to be good though greed, expediency, or laziness often prevent them from doing so. I still believe it is a very useful philosophical exercise to perform both for one's own life and for judging their government leaders. Thank you for commenting.


HSchneider 5 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey Author

Thank you Fay. I am also in the "Live and Let Live" crowd especially with personal actions and behaviors. The line to draw when providing for the welfare of its people is a difficult one to draw. I do believe a government and society should provide enough food, shelter, education, and healthcare to at least survive. What level that is will be up to each community. Giving a person assistance to get a new job is crucial also. Finally if people were fair minded and equitable, capitalism would flourish and we wouldn't have anywhere the near the same need for social regulation that we have now. Social regulation grew out of capitalism's excesses.


HSchneider 5 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey Author

I see we are on the same wave length regarding this subject. I also believe strongly in personal liberties. The Obama Administration is doing a very good job so far in their foreign diplomacy and I believe it is and will continue to pay dividends. Our justice system is out of whack in many areas and much work needs to be done about it. The social programs are crucial to keeping crime down but also for raising people up and attempting to get them out of poverty. You are also correct in stating our country's historic isolationism before WWII. It took a Japanese attack to get us into that war. Being involved in the world and preventing trouble before it starts is much more preferable. Thanks for your great comments.


Credence2 profile image

Credence2 5 years ago from Florida (Space Coast)

Hello, HS, as WilC has said, the world is too small a place for the isolationist stance of an earlier era. I do say that being engaging does not justify interfering in the affairs of others. I believe that U.S. foreign policies has been leaning too much toward the intervention side of the ledger.

"I consider an individual to be most truly good when he or she uses their individual liberty to maximize their own good in concert with maximizing the good of their entire community."

It is not only good but prudent (sensible) if they are large groups of people in distress, the relative few that are not are certainly not going to truly be able to live in comfort. If you see stark differences in wealth in developing nations in the Caribbean, as I have. The privileged few live in walled compounds with security guards. The life of ease comes with a great deal of fear, insecurity and uneasiness that the rabble on the outside will eventually break through and appropriate what it considers its fair share.

What you speak of is not just goodness in a moral sense, but that "goodness" in the areas you discuss preserves us all, and ultimately is the wise and prudent way to go.

As always, thanks again.


HSchneider 5 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey Author

Thank you for your insightful comments Credence2. I agree with you that we have been going too far into invading countries in our foreign policy. I think that it is changing though. Iraq is winding down and I believe President Obama will slowly disengage us from Afghanistan through 2014. Libya was a good action with the Arab League then the Security Council taking action. This is what the U.N. is for. You are right on target about it being a prudent good to care and assist the downtrodden in society. FDR knew this. Revolution was a real possibility in the 1930's. The Republicans have forgotten this and are now just the party of the rich and Corporate America and greed. They will pay a heavy price for this. They are on the wrong side.


Amanda Lacasse profile image

Amanda Lacasse 5 years ago from Massachusetts

Hi H,

My husband and I, early in our marriage, had an ongoing debate about "good" v. "evil" (these terms being used to describe human actions, not religious doctrine). His position was that people are born good, but get corrupted by society; mine is that humans are born evil, and must fight against this innate mindset and be taught by society how to reign in these inborn tendencies. He eventually came over to my side, more because of his observations of human nature than by my persuasive debate tactics.

As far as government goes, it seems to me that societies are set up, pyramid-style, so that those with great resources can make money from the masses. Government organizes society for the capitalists, which is why tribal societies are so frowned upon and made to "enter the 21st century" whether they like it or not. Try selling your product to a million widely scattered tribes! The type of government doesn't matter - democracy, socialist, communist - they all serve the same purpose, though the trade-off for this is usually a social safety net to keep abject poverty from igniting revolution.

Good work, H., and I think you've given me the topics for my next couple of hubs...


HSchneider 5 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey Author

Your welcome Amanda. I did not think of the question of the nature of good and evil from the birth angle. I think we are born neutral. Experiences, nurturing, and probably some innate DNA properties are determinant on how we evolve on this matter. Just my early thoughts on that. I'm not an expert but it is food for thought. I am going to give that a lot more consideration. You are correct that societies mostly are formed pyramid-style. The moneyed classes on top with it all trickling down. I don't know why but they all end up evolving into that manner. Please explain to me why the Republicans now want to end the social safety net. You are right that revolution could spring from this. Do they and the rich and Corporate America want all of the money? The greed and the unmitigated gall drive me crazy. Thank you for your thought provoking comments.


Wil C profile image

Wil C 5 years ago from United States of America

I believe that once people get past this idea that they are somehow better than others and deserve so much more and realize that every person has a unique ability to offer it's community we will get past this pyramid archetype that seems to always form.


HSchneider 5 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey Author

Amen Wil C. Unfortunately I do not see this ending any time soon. You are right. Everyone has something to offer and is worth giving help to get back on their feet. We are a community and we need to act that way and govern that way.


Petra Vlah profile image

Petra Vlah 5 years ago from Los Angeles

Governments are NOT for the people, but for themselves; politicians elect themselves and serve the interests of the elite; it has always been that way and it will always be the same, no matter who is ruling.

Knowing the right thing to do and choosing the wrong is more evel that being ignorant. I have very little faith in any form of government and I don't believe the voice of the people will ever be heard.


HSchneider 5 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey Author

I agree with you Petra that governments and leaders are often voting in their own interests and not the people's interests. I believe there are 2 major reasons for this. The first is that the influence of money in our elections is so huge that it skews the way our leaders conduct themselves in office. Money from corporate interests and the rich is so huge that politicians feel they cannot ignore them. The second reason relates to the first. People need to know what the candidates are actually saying and standing for. They also must know what they themselves stand for. Then they must know if the candidate's platform meshes with theirs and then vote for who is best. But they must also hold them accountable once they are in office. If they change their policies and follow big money instead, this must be recognized and they must be voted out. Complacency must end. Thank you very much for your comments Petra.


BobbiRant profile image

BobbiRant 5 years ago from New York

Great hub. As a sociologist, I must say I Really think that the majority of people Do obey laws. If the majority of people in the world decided Not to obey the law on their own, there is NO police or military force big enough to control them. We see it in small ways when riots begin, as they are hard to contain even on a small scale. We are fortunate most people do choose to behave.


someonewhoknows profile image

someonewhoknows 5 years ago from south and west of canada,north of ohio

I agree that we are fortunate that most people choose to behave in a civil manner too,up to the point of getting up the courage to do something more positive than just the usual going along to get along mentality.

People in Lybia went along with their lifestyle for forty years until they decided enough is enough.

If,the United states stands for a more perfect union then the people really believe that ,then they should show it,by example.


HSchneider 5 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey Author

Bobbi, The vast majority of people do obey the laws and I agree that if they did not our society would be in total chaos. But they would be breaking laws because of the illegitimacy of the government. Lately it seems that our citizens are so disillusioned that they are tuning out to elections and our political leaders. I am afraid that if it continues there will be chaos in our country. People need to become involved and vote for candidates that reflect their good views. Thank you very much for your comments.


HSchneider 5 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey Author

Thanks for your insightful comments Someonewhoknows. The American people should stand up more for what they believe. Right now the Tea Party is the only group we hear from and I believe they are way off base. The rest of us need to get involved and make our good views known for the sake of our society and republic.


Wil C profile image

Wil C 5 years ago from United States of America

If Machiavelli is right in saying, "Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely" then all citizens should recognize the power grab by the TEA party. Our country does not want extremist policies suited to benefit a small amount of people. Our country wants fiscal responsibility tempered with social compassion. We want corporations to get out of our goverment. We want enviromental issues to be addressed. Why is it so hard for these two parties to understand that? Do we really need to make a left wing party like the TEA party to wake people up? I completely agree with you though, HSchneider, we need to stick it to them in the polls. Let the TEA party know, we are not on the same page.


HSchneider 5 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey Author

Right on Wil C. We need to keep our voices raised over these issues and challenge the loud and misinformed Tea Partiers. They were actually formed by politicians such as Dick Armey with ample money from the Koch brothers. Their issues are tax cuts for corporations and the rich and cutting off of all regulations on them. We need to vote the GOP and the Tea Party down in 2012. Keep the healt on them through 2012.


Mimi721wis profile image

Mimi721wis 5 years ago

Most people know the difference between right and wrong. I believe the average politician starts off with good intent. Power and money usually interferes with a decent agenda. Paul Ryan would listen to poor people if they had the money to throw at him like the Koch brothers and large corporations. Newt Gingrich finally said something that made sense when he called Ryan's plan radical. Look what happened. Newt's been apologizing and back pedalling constantly since he made that comment. We all see how the price of oil is affecting our economy. Two democrats and practically all of the GOP voted to continue giving subsidies to the oil companies. So, there's no shared sacrifice. Just the working class and the needy paying their fair share. I agree with Ron and Rand Paul on legalization of some drugs. Take away the profit and you will see a change. Every year our youth are exposed to new home made drugs by sleazy people that make really large profits off of them.


HSchneider 5 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey Author

Thank you for your comments Mimi. Most politicians do start off doing the right thing and following their consciences but money then comes into play and they buckle. But the electorate also forgets and does not hold these leaders accountable. Then the only influence is the corporate money. We all need to know what we stand for then vote for and hold our leaders accountable. Otherwise the same old nonsense will perpetuate itself.


Wil C profile image

Wil C 5 years ago from United States of America

I agree that we need to hold our politicians accountable. Life long politicians with records of voting against the will of the people need to be ousted. How can we do that? By staying informed and passing the information along to others. 2012 is going to be a huge election. We need to stop this shift to the right that is seeking to eliminate all aid to people, lower wages and send our jobs overseas.


HSchneider 5 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey Author

I could not have said it better myself Wil C. I have been preaching this for a while now on my Hubs and comments. The Republican Governors have way overstepped their mandates by serving their corporate masters and ignoring the people's needs. We need to vote them out in 2012. It's already started in Wisconsin, Jacksonville, Florida, and hopefully upstate NY tomorrow.


BobbiRant profile image

BobbiRant 5 years ago from New York

Having people get outside and get involved would be refreshing. But from the 90's until now, many do not get concerned enough to gather in person. Governments turn to media to lull people because an informed population spells t-r-o-u-b-l-e for government officials. Too many believe if they just buy one more item, they will achieve the happiness they seek. Great hub though.


Wil C profile image

Wil C 5 years ago from United States of America

To true Bobbi. The media as far as I can see is not doing it's job any longer. They spend far too little time reporting on exactly what it is the politicians are doing up there on capitol hill. They like to focus on a few things for a while and then when it seems like ratings are slipping they shift into some sensationalized story and forget about covering what really matters.


Wil C profile image

Wil C 5 years ago from United States of America

What I'm really curious about is how the republican governors believe that by giving tax breaks to rich, trying to lower wages, exporting more jobs over-seas and trying to make it more difficult to vote so they can maintain their position will say to the people in the next election. I guarantee they won't be saying any of those things.


HSchneider 5 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey Author

You are right Bobbi. Most people have not been involved so politicians know they can rely on expensive media campaigns to influence the elections. This way they are now beholden to wealthy donors and corporate interests that pony up campaign funds. The Tea Partiers have been getting involved but even they were organized by career politicians such as Dick Armey and funded by corporate money. People need to be involved and get out and learn about their candidates.


HSchneider 5 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey Author

Wil C, The media does look for ratings and do not dig deep on issues unless it is some scandal. The TV news channels also have their own political bias one way or the other. Also I have no idea how any working class person would vote for the GOP in good conscience. They are against all of their interests. You are right. The GOP will lie about them and just legislate as they wish and against their electorate. We must remember this and hold them accountable.


Wil C profile image

Wil C 5 years ago from United States of America

I have noticed that news channel tend to slant far too much in one direction or the other. That is okay though. All we need to do is watch opposing views and do a little online research. I have noticed that they like to piece meal legislation dividing us just enough to get it passed. That needs to end. Everyone needs to realize that any infringement against any one group will eventually be used on another.


HSchneider 5 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey Author

You are right Wil C. MSNBC slants left, FOX slants right, and CNN is more down the middle. I just hope people are not so lazy that they do not do the research and justmake knee jerk decisions.


Wil C profile image

Wil C 5 years ago from United States of America

I totally agree with your assessment of the three major media providers. I just hope people don't buy what fox is selling. I would encourage them to at least do a little online research. Worst case, they don't have the internet, is to talk to some peers who do. Voters need to be reminded at the last possible moment about what the republicans are trying to do. Which means lots of big signs talking about taxes(especially tax breaks for the rich), entitlements(which they want to take away), civil rights(no bargaining allowed says the giant elephant), foreign policy(they don't want Israel to make peace) and they want to stop the youth from being able to vote and people who rent. There needs to be a clear message 2012 that the people want moderation.


HSchneider 5 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey Author

Wil C, I think that most of the people who watch FOX are already very conservative voters and their minds are already made up. I agree with you that the Democrats and anyone who cares has to be thoroughly involved in 2012 the way the Tea Party was in 2010. The actions that the Republican Governors have taken and the Paul Ryan budget has everyone energized and ready to go. The Democrats upset the GOP in that upstate NY Congressional race with medicare the front and center issue. I wish it was 2012 now.


Wil C profile image

Wil C 5 years ago from United States of America

Yeah, I would say most people who watch FOX are like you said conservatives who just want to find out how to justify their unjustifiable positions. I knew that the Ryan bill would hurt the GOP. Attacking the Boomers Medicare was a huge mistake since they typically vote republican. I am glad they decided to show their true colors though. Now everyone that voted for the TEA party realizes exactly what these people want to do.


THAT Mary Ann 5 years ago

This is such a thoughtful and thorough expression of good ideas and hopefulness that government could ever really give a damn. I appreciate your good writing and your glass-is-half-full desire to see "good" triumph. I regret to say that I have abandoned such hopes and I despair that "good government" turns out to be an oxymoron, despite the wisdom in much of what you write. I will be happy to be proven wrong in my cynical view of government, but, frankly, I don't see that happening.

Voted Up for the writing and the hopefulness.


HSchneider 5 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey Author

Thank you Mary Ann. My Hub was meant to be more of a primer on how people should look at and research their candidates before choosing and voting. I totally agree with you that government has gone off the rails and looks to have no way back. I do feel that if everyone looked beyond the media soundbites and studied their candidates and voted with the ones that matched their true values, government would be better. Too many people do not even know what good and evil actions are in their own opinion.


nitin.pant profile image

nitin.pant 5 years ago from New Delhi, India


HSchneider 5 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey Author

Thank you Nitin for your very interesting Hub on some of the rituals in your country. I know they are outdated and do not perform any good but old rituals die hard. It takes generations. All societies have them especially when it comes to religion. I do not necessarily consider them to be evil unless they hurt others. They may be evil if it is holding society back. Your society in general is growing and flourishing due to your excellent educational standards. These rituals will probably lessen as time goes by.


nitin.pant profile image

nitin.pant 5 years ago from New Delhi, India

Thanks for your insight HSchneider. However I would not agree with you when you say that the Indian society is growing and flourishing. People form society and until every Indian villager is getting the basic necessities of life i believe that the society has not even formed,let apart flourishing. Do you know that 17000 farmers commited suicide last year in the state of maharashrta alone primarily because of debts poor irrigation and poverty! How would you say that the society is grown when it has two faces one thats developed and one that is not. I have formed a little poem on my current view on Indian society , here it is : http://hubpages.com/politics/Economy-Rise-in-India


HSchneider 5 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey Author

Nitin, I meant by growing and flourishing that your economy is growing at a rapid rate. It seems to me that our 2 countries are having the same problem but are coming at it differently. The U.S. has been on the decline in comparison to other nations. We were once by far the largest economy. The disparity between the rich and poor is growing unbelievably fast here. Some leaders want to change the tax structure here where that gap will grow even faster. India is growing very fast after being so poor for so long. But it is obvious from what you said that too many are being left behind. The company owners are getting rich while others starve. I hope your leaders are taking actions to fix this. They are not doing so in my country.


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James Agbogun 5 years ago

I think the everyday man is open to common sense if there is a limit to excessive unsolicited persuation from communication media. But such approach do not necessarily have to be by using Legislation, but by appealing to innate morality as represented in this Hub. Thanks!


HSchneider 5 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey Author

Thank you very much for your kind comments James. Most people do utilize their common sense when making these decisions. I also wish they researched the candidates a little more and made sure they were in line with their own morality. Legislation is certainly not needed but a certain amount of research and introspection would be ideal.


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James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago

Why not just skip the preliminaries and have the government confiscate all wealth, property, and income in the United States. Then, it can make sure than no one person has more of anything than another. Why should a nuclear physicist make more money than a janitor? That is unfair.

I say we should institute the utopian dream of Karl Marx: everyone with the same house, same car, same food, same clothes, same school, same wealth, same income.


HSchneider 5 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey Author

James, There was no need for the sarcasm. I was attempting to explain to my readers that an individual needs to determine for themselves what they consider to be a good and an evil as far as governance goes. My definition and yours is much different. I stated mine because it is mine and it is my Hub. My main point of the article was to state that each citizen should determine their own view on this subject while making an educated vote in any election. My corollary point to that is that too many elections are won by sound bites, massive advertising, and gimmicks. This happens on both sides. Each citizen should have a full view of how they want their governance to be and it should match one's own view on what is good and evil. Your use of hyperbole in your comment was amazing. I have NEVER advocated for Marxism or equal pay no matter the job. You should stop seeing these issues in black and white. We live life in the gray areas. Strict capitalism hurts the mass of the citizenry because it operates on the grounds of "To the victor goes the spoils". This extreme needs tempering because there would be too many impoverished people to continue a smooth running society. It could lead to riots in the street. Therefore the question lies on how much should government ameliorate this extreme. You argue for very little and I argue for much more. I am for capitalism but not an unfettered form. Government has a proper role to play the fair referee and make sure its citizens are being treated fairly and are having their needs, not wants, met a a minimal but livable level.


Sun-Girl profile image

Sun-Girl 5 years ago from Nigeria

Great and excellent info you actually shared in here which is well shared.Am glad to come across this.


HSchneider 5 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey Author

Thank you very much Sun-Girl. I am glad you found it informative.


Kathryn L Hill profile image

Kathryn L Hill 4 years ago from LA

You are a really good writer who makes a lot of sense. But sometimes what makes sense in theory does not end up working out in reality. You have utopian beliefs and sound like a hippie. Wake up and smell the coffee before we give away our independence, our power, our strength of individuality and our will to live.


HSchneider 4 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey Author

I am far from a Hippie but yes I have some utopian beliefs, Kathryn. I believe we need to, at least, strive to understand the issues and what we believe. I also do not like your propensity for dismissiveness and name calling. I do not understand where in this Hub I am advocating giving up one's independence, strength, and individuality. Instead I am asking voters to get involved and not just follow inane media sound bites.


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Kathryn L Hill 4 years ago from LA

Have you read Road to Serfdom by Friedrich Von Hayek or Road to Servitude by Alexis de Tocqueville? I urge you to read these books! We must avoid the "...tyranny that results from government control of economic decision making through central planning..." (quote from Wikpedia.)


HSchneider 4 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey Author

I have not read those books but I am acquainted with their line of thought, Kathryn. Tyranny would occur if government made all the economic decisions through central planning. History shows this. Our government is nothing like this. Yes, we provide a much needed social safety net for those who fall through the cracks. Yes, we have regulation on industries to protect us from their excesses. But we are nowhere near the tyranny you are getting at.


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Kathryn L Hill 4 years ago from LA

You do sound like a spokesperson for progressive government propaganda.

I am mostly responding because I do not want others to buy or be misled by the misinformation you are providing.

Tyranny is a constant threat, (especially ay the end of the 200 year deadline when most democracies fail.) A democratic republic must carefully guard its politics and be ultra vigilant in order to prevent tyranny. It has definitely crept into current political philosophies.

And you are advocating it. If you do not know you are, it is because you have not read or understood the federalist papers which explains the basis of our freedom. To not abide by the Constitution of the United States is to loose what the framers brought to America. Obama doesn't get what the framers wanted for America. I wish he did. People need power to be independent. The federal government will take away our power. We cannot let it. End of story.

For instance, we cannot allow the increase of taxes or regulations that stop and impede the flow of business. We cannot allow the government to control our health insurance. I have great insurance. Why would I want the government to step in and make it WORSE! I know people who are closing down restaurants and other businesses or leaving California because they are required to provide health care for their employees. It is a matter for the individual business owner to choose, not the Federal Government. I am a Substitute teacher. The state does not provide me with insurance. Oh well, I pay for my own. I know many people who do not have insurance. when my children were growing up we did not have insurance. oh well, I watched them like a hawk and stayed healthy by eating well and getting plenty of exercise by swimming riding bikes, etc. We were proactive and careful. When I broke my wrist the hospital let me pay it over time. I paid all my children's hospital or doctor's bills. My husband worked and I worked. My children have become successful people and I want the same independance of thought and action that I had when I raised them. I was not born with a silver spoon in my mouth. I have as many disadvantages as any one else but have managed just fine. What is everyone's problem?


HSchneider 4 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey Author

I am for progressive government, Kathryn. You are absolutely right. Tyranny would be the result of allowing business to run roughshod over the bulk of the citizenry. Companies would not think twice about jeopardizing the health of its customers if they made a profit. Look what happened when the financial industry melted down in 2008. That was the result of many things but began with the gutting of Glass-Steagall in the late 1990's. Yes, the Clinton Administration pushed that and they were wrong. They followed the advice of Alan Greenspan, the disciple of Ayn Rand. Greenspan helped destroy our economy. Taxes are necessary for the national defense and now for providing a social safety net for its people. Get used to it. It is right and humane. Why should having healthcare insurance be tied to employment? That is truly inhumane. I lost my job in 2007 due to working for a firm in the financial industry that failed. I lost my healthcare insurance through no fault of my own. It is unfair and wrong. We all try to be careful but in this day and age, affordable healthcare insurance is a necessity for EVERYONE. I have read the Federalist Papers. James Madison also wrote the initial Bill of Rights. He knew, and stated, that it was meant to be an elastic document to adapt to changing times. It is not a piece of cement in time.


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Kathryn L Hill 4 years ago from LA

Changes should be made in strict adherence with the principles so carefully stated. That's why we must choose our judges very carefully. Our legislatures must respect the rights of the people which are guaranteed in the Constitution. Life comes from the freedom to guide our own wills. Liberty is the freedom to guide our lives and our choices. Happiness comes from freedom of choice. Why should the government demand health care coverage for all. Someday we will wake up and the have the government tell us that we must pay health insurance for our pets!

High taxes will put us to sleep. Who wants to get up and work for the government? It is human nature to work and live according to our own desires for ourselves and our loved ones.


HSchneider 4 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey Author

Kathryn, Your strict adherence to Constitutional principles would probably have landed this country into a communist or fascist government during the 1930's. Our country was hungry and angry that pure capitalism had failed them. One quarter of our country was unemployed. President Roosevelt responded by expanding government to help the people and stave off the radical elements that wanted to take over the country. You called me a spokesman for progressivism. Fair enough. But you are a spokeswoman for conservatism or statism. Our laws and Constitution expand and change to accommodate a changing country. America was like a bomb in the 1930's and FDR let it expand to avoid blowing up. A truly non-changing Constitution and country would result in disaster. As for healthcare insurance, everyone eventually must partake in the system. Those who end up in the emergency room, get treated, and cannot pay are not turned away. They are treated because we demand it and we are a humane society. The mandate makes everyone pay, at least some, up front. This was a conservative society idea as a response to more extreme liberal ideas from years ago. I forget if it was Cato, Heritage, Hoover or some other.


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Kathryn L Hill 4 years ago from LA

Don't you care about your freedom and a life of keeping the money you make?


HSchneider 4 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey Author

I absolutely do but I see no threat from the government at least not to the extent that you do. Yes, we are taxed a lot but not nearly as much as Europe and they have stronger social safety nets. That of course is because they spend much less on defense and homeland security. A lot of our spending is due to our becoming a militarized country. As for freedom, I worry more about the internal spying on our citizens due to terrorism than the government regulations and taxes.


Kathryn L Hill 4 years ago

Some people who watched communistic governments take over their country see similar things happening here. THEY are concerned!

Power for the people depends on keeping the power away from the government. If you give it money, you give it power... and what will they do with it? Consider NCLB (No Child Left Behind). Ted Kennedy helped pass that legislation with glee. Through this bill, the democrats gave the federal government more control over education and now, the schools are worse than they have ever been. Bush just wanted a way to measure student achievement and reward successful schools with more funding. It was supposed to encourage incentives. Instead, we have 25% more federal spending on education thanks to how the democrats took advantage of the bill.

Furthermore, why do states pick the text books? We need to allow our teachers and even the parents to choose which text books are best for their pupils. I have a hunch the states are requiring certain text books with the goal of reeducating all of us, as far as American history, anyway. I read for myself ... Hamilton, according to one State text book, (which I was reading to a class,) offered "propaganda" to the people in persuading them to adopt the Constitution.


HSchneider 4 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey Author

No Child Left Behind was a Republican plan, launched by President Bush, that was ill-conceived and did not work. I find that it is the more conservative states that have had agendas in taking classical texts off reading lists and re-writing history books. Yes, these states are attempting re-education. We need independent school boards who are education professionals choosing the books and curriculum. Yes, this should be in conjunction with parents. The federal government sends money to states to support education but almost all critical choices are made at the local and state levels. We always must look out against tyrannical governments both communistic and fascist. But we are nowhere near that. You seem to look at all federal government actions as dangerous. I look at each and look for their benefits and liabilities. Government can be both good and bad. I believe ours is good but needs improvement. Their programs, for the most part, helps its citizens. So on the whole, I believe our government is doing well.


Kathryn L Hill 4 years ago

How did we loose our car industry? Deregulation, yes, thanks toBush. How have we lost our exports and we are in the midst of trade wars?? (Some people think we are already in WWIII.) How have we lost so many jobs. Why are gas prices so high? Why do we not have our own oil production, yet? Why are there no jobs for college graduates? Why are college tuitions so darn high? Why are our schools failing? Why are families struggling? Why is there a growing division between the rich and the poor? What is happening to our once supremely prosperous nation? Where are record stores, video stores? Even my JCPenny's was understocked today when I went there to buy a pillow!


HSchneider 4 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey Author

Our auto industry is booming because of both innovation and the Obama administration helping to prop them up when times were hard. Our exports are improving but developing nations have lower labor costs. We need to move to higher tech industries. The jobs are coming back albeit slowly. Gas prices are high due to the high demand in the world due to the demand of developing countries such as China, India, Brazil, etc. Jobs will return for college grads but I do not know why tuitions are so high. Our schools need increased innovation in teaching methods. Families are struggling because of the 2008 financial meltdown. It was the worst downturn since the 1930's. The division between rich and poor is a direct result of the Bush Tax Cuts. I would let them all expire and return us to the Clinton era of prosperity. As far as the stores being gone or understocked, that is their retail problems whether they be cyclical or internal.


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Kathryn L Hill 4 years ago from LA

Thanks! I just was wondering about all that, not pointing fingers..

( But, dare I say that Clinton inherited the prosperity set in place by Reagan? The Reagan Library is close to where I live. It is a very impressive museum and tribute to his successful economic and political policies.

Here is another question for you... why does he get such a bad rap by the progressive democrats. Some of his policies were similar to JFK's!)


HSchneider 4 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey Author

Clinton inherited an economy by the first President Bush, who I like, that was just coming out of a bad recession. Clinton raised taxes and made for a fairer system that yielded a nice surplus. I wish the second President Bush had not squandered it. I also wish Clinton had not gone along with Senator Phil Gramm and Alan Greenspan and gutted Glass-Steagall. That laid the ground work for the 2008 financial debacle. President Reagan's terms are a mixed bag to me. His tough defense stance against Russia certainly helped to usher Gorbachev in and the collapse of the Soviet Union. His tax policies have led to a much greater widening of the gap between the rich and poor. The economy certainly improved greatly after the recession of 1982. That was because Fed Chairman Paul Volcker wrung inflation out of our economy. He caused the severe recession but also laid the ground work for a strong rebound.


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Kathryn L Hill 4 years ago from LA

(I wonder if second Bush had a choice in the matter? He ended up being a disappointment to everyone! He let Republicans down... why would he do that or be like that?) I thought first Bush kept up what Reagan had brought forth. I did not know there was a recession after Reagan left office. Does all this have to do mostly with economics? Is politics mostly about economics? I am actually new to thinking about and following all this stuff because I was just enjoying life up until now. It seems like everything is falling apart. I sometimes wonder if it is not because our parents generation is passing on. They were a tough bunch that we fought so hard against. Now I miss them. What have we done. I just hope everything will be alright for America. I get the sense that you do too. Even though you see things in the light of economics only.

I noticed today when I taught History that life is very cyclical... the rich become abundant during a golden age...(ours was short lived: late 50s and 60s) and the poor get jealous or feel deprived. Then they start splitting off hating those in charge who seem to have it all.


HSchneider 4 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey Author

I agree that life is cyclical but not all cycles are the same. The financial mess of 2008 was brewing for almost 10 years and could have been avoided. There are some parallels to the Great Depression but did not become that. We learned from that era and did things that stopped our slide. The much maligned Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke taught and studied the Great Depression. His policies kept money flowing. Bush and Obama's TARP policies propped up banks and auto companies until the fall ended. Events and the results of these events are why I believe we cannot be pure capitalists. There is too much greed, stupidity, and chaos in the system. You may want to read my, "The Causes of the 2008 Financial Meltdown and the Reforms Enacted - Are They Enough". I explain all the causes. Everyone was to blame for that. I agree that our parents' generation were a tough and gallant bunch. I do think things will be alright but some tough decisions need to be made and our politics are too polarized for them. I am also a student of history not just politics. Also many other subjects.


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Kathryn L Hill 4 years ago from LA

What would the founding fathers think if they came back today?

Thanks for the info. I have to look it all up!

I agree... what is the check on greed of those running corporations? The founding fathers knew that we cannot have a democratic republic without morals and values and that comes with the belief in a higher power. I would say that if we became a more spiritual nation things will get better. We cannot get lazy about the reality of faith in goodness, common decency and common sense. Prayer and focusing on the metaphysical realm of life can help us. Maybe only that: parents raising God-believing children who know God loves them.

That is how I was raised. It certainly helped me as a young adult. I had become rebellious and angry for almost no reason as a teen in the 70's! Just because every one else was, I guess. When I had children I determined to make a happy life and create a happy family. The hope is in our children and their children. I heard they will be more interested in planting and nature than even we were in the 70's! Some are calling them "The Homelanders". They may feel very protective of the country. And they may not want to travel as much as previous generations. The airplane/jet has caused many of our problems, but we have to rise to the occasion and deal with a smaller globe... but not enough to become a "One World"... do you agree?


HSchneider 4 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey Author

The Founding Fathers would be astounded as to what this country has become. Both good and bad. They would be astounded as to the prosperity and complexity of our lives. Many would be appalled at how strong our government has become but they would also realize that these are not the simpler times of their generation. I believe if they had witnessed the changes in our economy and society they would understand why our government was further strengthened. I also grew up as teen in the 70's and I was also somewhat of an angry teen. I was always out the door because I was fighting with my Dad. Getting a job and moving out into the real world can really mellow you and focus you. I hope you are right about this new generation. Our planet needs a new more caring generation. I know there are naysayers, but the evidence on global warming is clear. We need their generation to focus on the earth and preserving it. We need to do so also. New ways of living and new industries will spring from it.


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Kathryn L Hill 4 years ago from LA

In the Fourth Turning, Neil Howe and William Strauss explain that there is a new turning every couple of decades. (It seems that they discovered a pattern occurring here in America.) There are four turnings within a saeculum ( a unit of time of about 80 years) and the turnings reflect growth, maturation entropy and death. The first turning is a High, then an Awakening, then an Unraveling, and then a Crisis. It was written in 1997. We are headed, they explained, for the Fourth Turning, the Crisis:

"History warns that a Crisis will reshape the basic social and economic environment that you now take for granted. The Fourth Turning necessitates the death and rebirth of the social order. It is the ultimate rite of passage for an entire people requiring a liminal state of chaos whose nature and duration no one can predict in advance."

To prepare for the Fourth Turning, (which we are now in) these authors advised in '97:

For people in businesses:

1."Expect your reputation to matter... The fourth Turning will not be kind to the free agent (or organization) with a reputation for discarding loyalties, revising settled deals, or pressing every point of leverage. The more your bottom line is interwoven with other people's (and your community's), the more helpful these other people (and public officials ) will be in an emergency."

2. "Move toward structures that combine teams and hierarchies using technology (including computers) as tools to bring people together.

For individuals:

1."Do not isolate yourself from community affairs.. and build personal relationships of all kinds."

2. Build your own financial security ... you should discount government promises about the reliability of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid and even public employee pensions. ...save plenty of money even if that means cutting back on your current lifestyle. "

3. During the Fourth turning today's generous government supply of senior benefits ( cash, health, housing, and social services) could erode sharply.

4. A wealthy elder might consider transferring as many assets as possible to heirs during the Unraveling, thereby avoiding the risk of confiscatory estate taxation later on.

5. Avoid leveraged investments on long term debt including massive student debt.

6. Keep in mind that the closer we get to the Fourth Turning, the greater will be the risk of a Great Devaluation. Try to ensure that no one severe outcome (inflation, deflation,, market crash, bank panic, default on the national debt) would destroy your entire asset base."

etc.

Do you think these things can happen? Do you foresee an economic unravelling?


HSchneider 4 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey Author

I do not know if the cycles we go through are as concise as they write in the Fourth Turning but we most certainly go through cycles. If they are correct, I believe the crisis was the financial fall of 2008. The advice they give for businesses and individuals are good ones but that is in general not just for crisis periods. Businesses and people should always keep good reputations and stay honest. They also should, if possible, keep low debt and stay as financially independent as possible. The economy can certainly unravel. That is true for any economy at any time. Our debt levels are too high and we need to re-adjust. The financial cliff that both sides created may hit at the end of this year. This is where the Bush Tax Cuts expire if not renewed, and other payroll tax cuts expire, and huge cuts are made to both domestic and defense spending automatically. Many economists feel that if all of these are allowed to occur at the same time, we are likely to go back into a recession or worse.


Kathryn L Hill 4 years ago

I f you do not mind my needling you, what caused the stock market crash in '87? what caused the financial fall in '08? I have a book, a biography, I am looking through about Alan Greenspan. Many have pointed out that he is a villain and is even for a One World Government.

However, he looks O. K. to me. He sees the evil of crony capitalism, and sees the benefit world wide free market capitalism. I see that he was chairman of the Federal Reserve for 14 years, and appointed by Reagan in 87. He retired in 06. He was surprised that 9/11 did not cause the economic fall of the United States. He stated at that time, " I was gradually coming to believe that the U. S. economy's greatest strength was it resiliency--its ability to avoid disruptions and recover, often in ways and at a pace you'd never be able to predict, much less dictate. Yet in this terrible circumstance there was no way to know what would happen." He want on to emphasize," Over the past couple of decades, the American economy has become increasingly resilient to shocks. Deregulated financial markets, far more flexible labor markets, and more recently the major advances in information technology have enhanced our ability to absorb disruptions and recover." And we did recover well after 9/11, aided, he explained by the Fed's (continued) cutting of interest rates which allowed people to continue borrowing and spending. This book was published in 07. Does President Obama plan to renew the Bush tax cuts and the"other tax cuts" including "defense and domestic" cuts ?

I would say he certainly needs to!


HSchneider 4 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey Author

Alan Greenspan's culpability in the financial fall of 2008 is twofold. The first was his heavy backing of the repeal of most of Glass-Steagall. This allowed the banks to enter into investment banking and investing their own funds. The reason this was bad was that banks are stewards and guardians of a lot of people's money. When allowed to enter into high risk investment banking, these monies are now also into heavy risk. His second mistake was initially the right thing to do. His dropping interest rates after 9/11 was the exact correct thing to do. Unfortunately he did not reverse course until 2006. This allowed these new high risk investments to take off. It overheated the housing market and everyone jumped in including with predatory practices. In other words, a very large and artificial housing boom. Greenspan began lowering rates much too late. When he did, the bubble burst. At first a slow leak, but it built upon itself. My belief is that his "irrational exuberance" for free markets blinded him to the greed and stupidity that is also inherent in the system. President Obama has stated that he only wishes to continue the Bush Tax Cuts for those making $250,000 and less. The Republicans in Congress want them all to continue but they do not want defense cuts. The Democrats in Congress agree with the President, as expected. It is a classic stand-off that will not be addressed, if ever, until after the election.


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Kathryn L Hill 4 years ago from LA

Across the board tax cuts, (as Kennedy implemented in '63,) to shore up the uncertain economic climate, is the only solution. Who can argue that? In fact, Kennedy convinced congress to lower taxes from 79% to 26% and the result in three years, was an increase in the amount of tax revenue. The businesses became more profitable, hired more employees, thereby increasing the number of taxpayers. Why do corportains get a bad rap? Why? They are taxed just like individuals.

( Even if the rich were taxed 100% of their income, it would be a drop in the bucket compared to the debt that we have acquired in the past 50 years, anyway.)

The word that is ignored is one simple word: Motivation.

With out motivation nothing happens. Incentives to motivation is the key. Nought else.


HSchneider 4 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey Author

Kennedy's lowering of taxes worked because they were so onerously high. That is not the case today. We are the least taxed of all the developed countries. I agree with you that just taxing the wealthy more will not come close to balancing the budget. I would let all the Bush Tax Cuts expire now. You would get a lot more revenue and come much closer to balancing the budget. This would get our rates to the Clinton era where we had prosperity. I would also cut many tax preferences and other things. I wrote an entire Hub on what I would do to balance the budget. Motivation is needed. Maybe it will occur after the election. We do need it.


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Kathryn L Hill 4 years ago from LA

You know, your hub, "The causes of the 2008 financial meltdown and the reforms enacted... Are they enough?" is truly excellent and I really agree with what you advocated in the end about instituting, maintaining and monitoring adequate boundaries to prevent it from happening again. I think that article could help any president. Could you please send it to the next one?

If all men and women were angels, we would not need laws. Unfortunately, angels we are not.

PS I think 37 is an important one to pass. Why? to provide a check on the greed of Monsanto which respects neither People or Nature. Profit, Profit cannot be the mantra of a nation. We the people must put a stop to the greed of this corporation which is poisoning us with their genetic engineering. Stick to nature. That is the safest thing for us. Corn tastes terrible now. I won't touch it. Yet it provide necessary amino acids for vegetarians. Sounds so simple and it is. It is our patriotic duty to pass 37.

Thanks, HSchneider for all you do to educate.


HSchneider 4 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey Author

Thank you very much for your kind comments, Kathryn. I tried to take a non-partisan look at all the causes involved and what could be done to prevent a recurrence. I wish our politicians of all stripes would get together for some real and thorough solutions. I agree with you that industry needs to be checked for excesses where they hurt the people. I am not acquainted with what 37 is but I know Monsanto has been a company guilty of many violations. Let me know what 37 is. If I do not respond to your comments in the next few days, please do not feel I am ignoring them. I am in New Jersey and it is very possible we many lose power due to Hurricane Sandy. I will certainly respond when power returns. Hopefully I will not lose power. I am in Northern New Jersey.


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Kathryn L Hill 4 years ago from LA

Proposition 37 is advocating the right to know what foods are genetically engineered. What is wrong with genetically engineered foods? Some scientists and doctors proclaim that they are the cause of allergies and who knows what else down the line. The way I see it, the human body is equipped through evolution to process naturally grown foods. When we alter what we eat for the sole purpose of increasing revenues, those foods may play havoc with our bodies. For instance, all corn is now genetically altered to produce ears which have kernels that contain a chemical that will kill the bugs that try to eat them. This chemical actually explodes the inside of the bugs stomach. What is it doing to the inside of the human's stomach? There is no proof that over the long term the genetically altered foods will not cause harm.

Europe, Japan, China and India already require labeling. The opposition proclaims that labeling would increase the cost of food. No, it won't. There will be a phase-in period for manufacturers to print the information. I, for one, want the right to know if something was not grown naturally.

Good luck in the storm. I hope you have candles, kerosine lanterns, and a generator! You are enduring what the founding fathers and the strong people of the 1700's endured! ( We are so spoiled out here in sunny CA.)


HSchneider 4 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey Author

I totally agree with you in regards to Prop 37. Thank you for explaining it. I have Ulcerative Colitis and Irritable Bowel Syndrome and I have been told by my doctor that it is both genetic but also a result of so many processed foods. He said the incidence of these conditions are rapidly rising due to these foods. All foods and products should have total disclosure on their labels. Thank you for best wishes with this storm. I just got back from work. Yes, I had to work for 4 hours. I am currently a Shift Supervisor for a store in a major Drug and Pharmacy chain. Luckily the roads were not too bad yet so all was well. Our power is still on but it could go any time. We do not have a generator but we have ice, oodles of candles, and several flashlights. I will keep on answering you and others as long as my power holds. Also Kathryn, we do have these storms; but we do not get get the earthquakes and mudslides hehehe. I couldn't resist. I always say that to my sister who lives in San Diego when she teases me about the eastern weather.


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Kathryn L Hill 4 years ago from LA

I hope you will refer to my Hub "Healing Ourselves"!


HSchneider 4 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey Author

Thank you, Kathryn. I will read that Hub and comment to you there regarding it. I lost power last night but luckily only for two hours. It has been on since and I hope it holds. I know from listening to the local news that I am one of the lucky ones.


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Kathryn L Hill 4 years ago from LA

I am listening to the news right now. "New Jersey: Winds 60mph. Houses ripped from their foundations. River rose five feet over its' banks. No phone lines or electricity. 60 percent of citizens have no power. 'The power and the awe of the storms,' one lady declared, ' was surreal.' Torrents of water and sand. Looking for victims on Jersey shore. Could take several days or more. Breezy Point: Smoldering buildings from wind that whipped through. Fires still smoldering. 3/4 of New Yorkers lost electricity. Lower Manhattan: Problems in the Hospitals, generator failure! :(

Rush of wind and water closed the stock market. 911 site of train station (still under reconstruction) is flooded. Rooseveltian undertaking is needed to rebuild. 'We are dealing with extreme weather patterns which are occurring more often than they ever have.' " claimed one official.

"Meanwhile, the campaign is still underway , but Presidential politics is hanging in the balance."

Jeep production will not be sent to China.

I think they said that President Obama is going to visit New Jersey! Here is your chance to bring him this article! Give him a hug for me! Ha Ha!


HSchneider 4 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey Author

Presidential politics is still underway with Mitt Romney holding a fake relief rally. It just so happened to be held in the swing state of Ohio. The Obama campaign put out Ads to refute the constant Romney lies about Jeep sending jobs to China. In the meantime, one of Romney's top endorsers and campaigners, my Governor, Chris Christie, has been effusive in his praise for The President and the aid and support he has given him. I guess it will be Christie giving that big hug to the President for you.


Kathryn L Hill profile image

Kathryn L Hill 4 years ago from LA

Effusive: Expressing feelings of gratitude, pleasure or approval in an unrestrained or heartfelt manner. Well, I certainly hope the help will come forth. But where is the money coming from. Yikes! Get those money trees cranking!


HSchneider 4 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey Author

This is an example where a federal government is really needed. I agree that we are already heavily in debt but my state, especially along the shoreline, has been devastated. I am not sure what type of funds flow in but I think most is in the form of loan guarantees and low interest loans. I may be mistaken. The money trees are not there; they fell down and took out our power lines hehehehe. Sorry I could not resist that one.


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Kathryn L Hill 4 years ago from LA

lol :) I saw a video on the news of big pines trees just being pushed over by the wind! I am so sorry if those were your money trees!

This is a time for the Fed to help... if it still has a little money left for the purpose of disasters and emergencies.


HSchneider 4 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey Author

I agree that this is the time for the Federal government to help. I wish those money trees would blow my way.


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Kathryn L Hill 4 years ago from LA

me too. What gets me is that many people want to work but they can't find any. l wish I had a full time job. I work as a Substitute teacher, but I would rather do something full time. I have been looking for full time work. But almost no one is even hiring full time any more. Companies are afraid that they will have to contribute to their worker's health care. What do you think about that? (Are you home having a snow, er... storm day?)

PS I heard Rush L. with his crazy theories about why your republican governor is kissing up to Obama... But, I think it is just to get some desperately needed money!


HSchneider 4 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey Author

I agree with you. Many companies are either only hiring part-time or on a Temp basis. I believe this is because most of them are waiting for a more robust economy as well as the outcome of next week's elections. Also, the Congress has to work on settling on what they will do about the financial cliff we are facing at the very end of the year. They are afraid that if all of tax cuts expire and the huge spending cuts are put in place, the economy will quickly fall back into a recession. I am home today because my store has no power. I will be going in tomorrow to help receive supplies from the company's delivery truck. This is a once a week process. No perishable foods will be delivered. I will be up at the crack of dawn for that one but probably off for several days afterwards. Power may not come back on in that town for several days. As for Governor Christie, I think he is both acting diligently to help his citizens but he also knows that if he works hard, looks bi-partisan, and talks tough, the country will greatly admire him. Just look what it did for Mayor Giuliani after 9/11. He looked busy and diligent. Of course, in actuality, I feel he was doing very little. Giuliani is a media hound and the Republican party rejected him soundly in 2008.


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Kathryn L Hill 4 years ago from LA

You just don't like republicans do you. Me either. I consider myself a Conservative. I think it is now the Progressives vs. the Conservatives. But, maybe they can both help each other! Freedom within boundaries is what we all need. Then we can confer with each other to determine proactively what the best course of action is to take. See I am also idealistic! (But, in a practical sort of way.)


HSchneider 4 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey Author

I used to like Republicans a lot more. The intransigence of this newer Tea Party group scares me. I am a Progressive but I do not feel that I have all the answers. Nor do I operate under a 'My Way or the Highway" attitude. Mayor Giuliani did a lot of good things for New York but he also alienated a lot of people and also grandstanded. Governor Christie has done some good things for New Jersey and is moderate but he loves to bully people who disagree with him. I would love to see some more bi-partisan compromise to solve our difficult problems. Unfortunately both sides are knocking off each other's moderates. To be conservative is fine but one must be set to compromise. The Tea Party faction is punishing Republican politicians for even talking to Democrats. I agree we need freedom but I especially agree that we need to confer with each other and each side to work proactively. Both sides need to learn to listen and respect.


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Kathryn L Hill 4 years ago from LA

Intransigence: "Unwilling or refusing to change one's views or to agree about something." All they have to do is calm down.

aummmmm.... :)


HSchneider 4 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey Author

John Boehner in the House had a deal where he would get 10 dollars in spending cuts for every one dollar in tax increases. Eric Cantor and the Tea Party faction shot that down. That is called intransigence to the max. Also plucking defeat from the jaws of victory.


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Kathryn L Hill 4 years ago from LA

This is over my head. What is a spending cut. Please excuse my ignorance.


HSchneider 4 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey Author

The House Republicans were offered a deal similar to a 10 to 1 ratio of domestic spending cuts for every dollar raised in tax. That means they would get 10 billion dollars in domestic spending program cuts for every 1 billion dollars raised in taxes. Almost all of them said they would reject it because they wanted no tax revenue raised. They all signed Grover Norquist's no raise in tax pledge. That is what I call intransigence.


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Kathryn L Hill 4 years ago from LA

Still clear as mud. What would the advantage be... and to whom?


HSchneider 4 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey Author

The advantage would be that our budget deficit would be cut dramatically by mostly domestic spending cuts with only a fraction in tax increases. Most of the cuts would be in programs like education, social programs like Medicare and Medicaid, and any programs except defense spending. To me, and most Progressives, we consider it a bad deal. We think conservatives in Congress should jump at it but they refuse any tax increases.


Kathryn L Hill profile image

Kathryn L Hill 4 years ago from LA

Maybe you need to explain it to them. Does Guv. Christie live far from you?


HSchneider 4 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey Author

Maybe but I doubt they will listen. Governor Christie lives in the same county as me. Probably about a 20 minute drive away. By the way, I hope you do not actually think I am trying to make you a Progressive as I stated in your last Hub. My hope, and you stated correctly that you are, is to be a practical conservative. I would add to be a reasonable one. Both sides actually have good ideas. Ideologues of all stripes, who think everyone else is wrong, are bound for extremism. World history is littered with examples of despots, both left and right, who have terrorized their citizens out of a righteous sense.


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Kathryn L Hill 4 years ago from LA

(It would be great if you could write a book titled Beyond Partisan Politics.)

Oh I agree. The reality is that we are a confederation of states. We really need to focus on what is good for us as a country despite party affiliation. Like I told another hub author, I wish whoever finds himself in the oval office would ask himself, "What is truly good for the people?" rather than trying to come up with pie in the sky, (e.g,Universal Health Care) agendas. (hehehe, touche) (By the way, I am eligible to be a DAR if I so choose, and my grandfather worked in Washington DC as a purchasing agent for the Treasury Dept., involved in the production of the dollar. ( He had to go find the green ink) My favorite bill is the ten dollar bill. Hamilton is so dreamy.

But speaking of Madison and Hamilton, even they were at odds with one another. And yet they did not reveal their differences clearly even though one was a northern centralizer and one was a southern agrarian. In fact the Federalist states in the Introduction," Later disputes between the two men led critics to look for the seeds of contention in their period of collaboration as Publius. But that often meant that differences were read into the text. The so-called Hamiltonian positions can be found in Madison's contributions to the Federalist and vise versa."

Furthermore,

"There was a certain ambiguity forced on Publius as a propagandist. He had to argue for a stronger government and at the same time quiet the fears of a strong government. It goes on and it is interesting, because I guess this is essentially what the argument is to this day: "When calling the Articles inadequate, Publius was a champion of of centralization. When assuring the nervous states that centralization would not mean obliteration of lesser units, Publius can be quoted as champion of the dispersion of power out to subordinate parts of the government." In other words we have to have a balancing act and not end up hurting each other as seems the case when I read on line and in real life what people are saying, thinking and feeling.


HSchneider 4 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey Author

Quite impressive family legacy, Kathryn. Madison and Hamilton joined together for the Federalist Papers because they knew our infant country was quickly breaking apart under the Articles of Confederation. You very astutely identified their very different views of government that are still true today. The Party system developed during the George Washington administration. His Secretary of State, Thomas Jefferson believed in a weak central government and states rights. His Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton, believed in a very strong federal government. They were fierce rivals but even they teamed together when necessary. Jefferson agreed to Hamilton's plan to adopt the states' war debts by allowing Jefferson to have our proposed national capitol be in the south. They teamed up to defeat Aaron Burr in the Presidential election of 1800 because they both knew that Burr had no scruples. Finally, Jefferson was fully intent on dismantling the new national financial system of Hamilton's when he was elected President. He thought it was corrupt. That is until he came into office, found he was wrong, and that it made the country run smoothly. I too am a big fan of Alexander Hamilton. I enjoyed your comments and I find we both have a lot more in common with our practical political thoughts than I think we both thought each other had at first.


Kathryn L Hill profile image

Kathryn L Hill 4 years ago from LA

Great U.S. history lesson. Thank You! (Who are you, one of their ghosts?)

Back to the matter at hand: Do you know Why the republicans in the House do not agree with the reduction of spending cuts? There must be a reason, besides intransigence.


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Kathryn L Hill 4 years ago from LA

Here is the reason (reasons) on a philosophic level:

No. 1: The republicans consider that the Government will be penalizing the citizens to pay for the debt through taxes. They do not care about the debt.

Why not?

Because "The Debt" does not really affect their lives. "Taxes" DO!

"Taxes" makes people depressed. "Taxes" represents paying for that which does not affect the lives of anyone directly in a concrete way.

Think about it: I need that money that would go to the debt for a stick of margarine. (My GMO corn tastes so bad I have to put something on it!)

No.2: And who the heck is to say that if you do pay some more of your hard earned money in the form of increased "taxes" for the sake of getting a reduction in "spending cuts" to eduction, welfare, etc. as you mentioned...for the sake of diminishing the amount of money being poured into the education and welfare departments... that the money WILL be applied to the debt??? Maybe, instead of enjoying my GMO ear of corn that I paid top dollar for, I will just be paying for more abortions, or Michelle Obama's extravagant spending sprees...Her $4,000 bling and her family photos with Nelson Mandala, and her trips to Spain, Etc. (Or did she earn that money herself in some manner? if so never mind and pardon me.)

And what about the causes of education and welfare? Maybe (OK, lets give them the benefit of the doubt,) those causes are more important than the debt, as well!

The debt is all numbers floating around in the minds of the politicians and in the books of Treasury accountants, Let the President wring his hands over the debt. Thats why we elected him. It is now out of our hands. A

No. 4 If we went around worrying about a debt that we dertainly di not contribute to...we tax paying citizens... we might want to pay more taxes. But honestly? we don't. we cant not afford to. If we did it would affect our survival. You know the republicans...(Some might have a purely profit based agenda....only they know in their hearts. They need to get a grip on a moral level. A democratic republic can only work with a belief in God, Morals and Values.) So let me start over

Conservative Thinking concerns itself with the bottom line:

Survival on an individual level, through one's own efforts, produces a person posessing the capability to live in an independent fashion.. This is the Freedom that George Washington led his men into battle for: His cause was A Free Nation for a Free People. (A good Hub title for me...)

Another of my heroes is John Adams. He totally understood what I am saying here. In fact, I got it from him. Independence is what John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both agreed on. That is the common quest for both/ all political parties:

Independence. Not only on a National level, but

On an individual level.

If you over-tax the people even a little bit, YOU ROB them of their ability to maintain their independence.

Without the will to stand up on one's own two feet and execute command over one's own life, motivation, incentive, enthusiasm, and joy of life in general, all diminish. And if you want us to all get along YOU guys will have to come to the table and pick up a forkfull of independence and freedom for yourselves.

Furthermore, we can't be afraid to be self-oriented. Let the people work for themselves. Communism was tried in the beginning in the history of this country. I am not going to care about whoever is not my true loved one. If I live in a commune and am expected to help Suzie over there because she gave birth to another baby, because she is just so fertile...Well, I can tell you I will be dragging my feet. And Suzie is too busy to return any assistance to me because she has so many children. Communal living did not work. However, when people were given their own plots of land and were allowed to work and keep what they sowed, the community thrived. Why? Because the motivation became 100%. It is human nature.

Furthermore, let people each other help on a heart level when they deem they are willing and able to help. When I have an abundance, I am more than happy to help my neighbor.

We need to get back to a more common sense and simple understanding of the nature of happiness.

In conclusion, The government CANNOT solve the problems of individuals. The government CAN stop the injustices, and promote for the general welfare.

At one point you agreed with my concern for the importance of motivation. This comment explains the basis of that concern.

Thanks for all this space and free expression.

Kathryn L Hill


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Kathryn L Hill 4 years ago from LA

my mouse battery was dying, so I couldn't fix all my typos :(

I meant "we can't afford to worry about the debt." (And this might be exactly where you disagree.)

I think you can get the gist of the rest of it.


HSchneider 4 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey Author

I do agree that motivation is important but I also believe that it is important to help people who have fallen on hardship or cannot help themselves for legitimate reasons. I also do not believe that we are over-taxed. Since rates have begun lowering since the Reagan Administration, we have become the lowest taxed country among the developed world. Also, we have to worry about the debt. If we fail to pay it, we will become an international pariah and we will be shunned. A Great Depression will surely follow. As for communism, I do not recall us ever starting this country off in this manner. Please explain what you mean by that? Also, Michelle Obama spent that money out of her own accounts. The Obamas have plenty of their own money. Not Romney rich, but they are well off. I believe taking care of the collective good rises above the drive for individualism. Both are important but my emphasis is different than yours. Sorry for not answering sooner. We lost our cable internet access for 18 hours.


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Kathryn L Hill 4 years ago from LA

I have heard that story many times and I do not know how to cite its origins. I will look it up. I am going to research some of the thoughts of John Adams, but My eyes are blurry from that last hub! Thanks for the comments and inspiration. Peace.


HSchneider 4 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey Author

Have a good night's sleep. I am ready to go back to work. It is before dawn here, my store has regained power, and I have a LONG day of work getting things together again there.


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tobusiness 3 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

This is very interesting, I'm fascinated by how others define good and evil, you've taken it to another level, when you applied it to governments and their policies. An excellent write.


HSchneider 3 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey Author

I believe that citizens need to explore these issues and see how they measure up against candidates they are voting for or voting against. Too often we vote for politicians with the catchiest phrases or most interesting commercials. That is a waste of a vote in my mind. Thank you for your comments, tobusiness.

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