Gov't is Of the People, By the People, & For the People. Is it Really

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  1. My Esoteric profile image90
    My Esotericposted 17 months ago

    In that simple phrase Abraham Lincoln captured the essence of the Preamble to the Constitution which says

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

    As everyone knows, a preamble to a document states the vision and purpose of the document to follow.  The vast majority of Americans have no issue with the "Of the People, By the People" part.  It is that last "For the People" idea that divides America ever since the Preamble was penned 225+ years ago.  A little less than half of Americans do not think, given who they vote for, that government is For the People. 

    History has a twice elected president, Grover Cleveland, a Democrat, who, in a veto message, the words that give meaning to the idea that government is Not For the People.  They were:

    I can find no warrant for such an appropriation [money for seeds for Texas farmers during a massive drought in the middle of a deep depression] in the Constitution, and I do not believe that the power and duty of the general government ought to be extended to the relief of individual suffering which is in no manner properly related to the public service or benefit. A prevalent tendency to disregard the limited mission of this power and duty should, I think, be steadfastly resisted, to the end that the lesson should be constantly enforced that, though the people support the government, the government should not support the people. The friendliness and charity of our countrymen can always be relied upon to relieve their fellow-citizens in misfortune. This has been repeatedly and quite lately demonstrated. Federal aid in such cases encourages the expectation of paternal care on the part of the government and weakens the sturdiness of our national character, while it prevents the indulgence among our people of that kindly sentiment and conduct which strengthens the bonds of a common brotherhood.

    So, the question of the day is - "Does the government have a duty to help people who, through no fault of their own and often by the ill-will of others, are in need of help?"

    1. wilderness profile image97
      wildernessposted 17 months agoin reply to this

      "Does the government have a duty to help people who, through no fault of their own and often by the ill-will of others, are in need of help?"

      Does the government have a duty to harm one person by taking the fruits of their labor in order to give it to someone else?  Somehow that question is overlooked by the liberals of the country, almost as if their belief is that government owns all the wealth of the country.  The people that are seeing their belongings confiscated never seem to be one of those people the government is "for".

      Cleveland was also right in that excessive "help" serves only to weaken our people, and that, too, is something glossed over by the socialists as they continue to increase the amounts being confiscated for politicians to buy votes with.

      There is also that little phrase "through no fault of their own".  We have gone a long way down the path of "It's not my fault" today - no one seems to take responsibility for their own actions, always blaming someone else.  In truth, we nearly always share in the blame game for our misfortunes.  Your house destroyed in a flood - not your fault...but the refusal to buy insurance was!  You live in the ghetto and can't find a job - not your fault...but the insistence on where you live is.  Day care for my kids is too expensive for me to work - not your fault...but having the kids in the first place was.

      I watched a short news clip on flood victims in Louisiana - a couple with two small children living in what appeared to be a nice home, but that was stripped to the studding.  Lawyers playing games with the flood insurance issued by FEMA have prevented any work to be done on the home for two years - that family has lived in the place for two years with nothing but studding for walls (I presume they have power and water or they would not be allowed to stay there).

      Absolutely disgraceful, and somebody needs shot over that kind of thing!  But at the same time I have to question two adults that have not put up even one $7 piece of sheetrock in two years.  That rather than doing something themselves, are raising two small children in such a "home" - that depend on someone else to do everything for them.  Yes, the insurance company lawyers carry a good bit of blame and should be jailed, but there can be no reason the parents have not taken some steps themselves.

      1. My Esoteric profile image90
        My Esotericposted 17 months agoin reply to this

        Wilderness, to your question "Does the government have a duty to harm one person by taking the fruits of their labor in order to give it to someone else? " the answer is YES, they are called taxes which are used to carry out the vision and purpose of the Constitution as made clear in the Preamble.

        "Excessive" Help? I don't believe Cleveland said that.  But given that he vetoed a bill to help drought-ridden Texas farmers in the middle of the worst depression in American history (up to that point) to buy $24.000 (maybe it was $40,000) worth of seed, I am guessing ANY help is excessive in his or your mind.  You would rather see people die rather than let the government help them. How Sad is that?

        Given your flippancy about others suffering, I take it you believe there is NEVER a situation where a person's suffering ISN'T their fault.

        1. wilderness profile image97
          wildernessposted 17 months agoin reply to this

          I guess that's one of our differences.  You believe, with all your heart, that whatever other people have earned and built actually belongs to you because your "cause is just".  Because you think you know better than the real owner what should be done with their wealth, it actually belongs to you although you have done nothing whatsoever to earn, accumulate or build it.

          Very simply put, I don't.  I find the concept completely lacking in any ethical or moral sense - you do not have title to what others build simply because, in your opinion, you know better than they do how it should be used.

          "I take it you believe there is NEVER a situation where a person's suffering ISN'T their fault"

          In case you didn't bother to read what was written: "In truth, we nearly always share in the blame game for our misfortunes."  See those bolded words?  Read them carefully.  "Nearly always" does NOT mean NEVER, and "share" does not indicate totality.  So try hard - real hard - to read and understand what is said rather than make up tales.

          "You would rather see people die rather than let the government help them."

          You and I went through this before, as I recall.  When you don't like what was said you tend to invent lies and insults rather than carry on a discussion.  I said then, and I repeat, that if all you have to offer is obnoxious insults that even you know to be false then we won't discuss further.  If you truly want a discussion you'll keep a tether on your mouth; if not I'm outta here.

          1. My Esoteric profile image90
            My Esotericposted 17 months agoin reply to this

            No, I don't "... believe, with all your heart, that whatever other people have earned and built actually belongs to you because your "cause is just"."  Instead, I believe that no man is an island and that their good fortune is partially the result of the society they live in. Therefore, each person has a duty to contribute back to the society that helped them gain whatever fortune they accumulated without hurting others to do it.

            If you don't believe what I say, just try to imagine the world you wish were true. One where there are no public roads and utilities, where there is no government to keep the peace, no national and state banking systems, no government supplied infrastructure, or any of the other benefits with living in an American society provides you so that you may seek your personal American dream.  In my view, those benefits should not be welfare to you. Instead, you need to pay for that for the betterment of the whole society.

            If "I take it you believe there is NEVER a situation where a person's suffering ISN'T their fault" is not true in your situation, give me some examples when a person's suffering is NOT their fault, in your opinion.  You only supplied a broad range of examples where it is their fault. (hence my "I take it" comment.

            Probably a better alternative, based on all you write on the subject is ""You don't seem to care if people die rather than let the government help them." Many people in Texas died during that drought and depression. Some of them as a result of Cleveland's veto, which you say you agree with.  With that veto, farmers didn't get seed, crops weren't planted, people weren't fed and some of them died.  If you cared about that, you would oppose Cleveland's veto.  Your comments suggest strongly that you agree with Cleveland.  It's a binary choice.

            1. wilderness profile image97
              wildernessposted 17 months agoin reply to this

              "Therefore, each person has a duty to contribute back to the society that helped them gain whatever fortune they accumulated without hurting others to do it."

              And yet it's fine that half the country does not.  It's fine that some "contribute" not just thousands but millions of $$.  It's fine that they aren't required to contribute to society but to specific individuals.  No, Esoteric, you most definitely have a very bad case of "All wealth belongs to me, not the one that earned it, because I know better how to use it".

              "give me some examples when a person's suffering is NOT their fault, in your opinion."

              I gave you one in my post - the couple that bought insurance that won't pay off.  A car wreck might be another (or not, depending on the circumstances).  A company folding, leaving employees high and dry.  All instances of people needing temporary help...while you insist that we owe people a lifetime of charity.

              But those aren't the people we "help".  Instead we "help" those that refuse to earn a living, and we do it for a lifetime.  Our "safety net" has turned into a way of life for nearly half the country...but that's fine because you feel sorry for them and find it reasonable to take from productive people to give away.

              We have for decades now given money to people - lots of people - because we are sorry for them, just as you are.  And the result?  We have more millions now that demand "help" than we did 20,30, 40 years ago.  Problem is, the liberals like you refuse to recognize what unlimited charity does to people and to the country. You're quite happy to destroy those families because it makes you feel good to shovel other people's money around - the rich are all evil, anyway.  And make no mistake - you and the rest of the socialists ARE destroying lives. 

              And the attitude is shown when you make such stupid comments as "you don't care if people die".  Problem is, you don't care if you ruin lives or the country with your wonderful give-away programs to anyone that refuses to support themselves.  You can pretend that it is reasonable that half the country cannot support themselves plus provide something for the country, but I do not swallow it.  No honest person can possibly believe that.

              1. My Esoteric profile image90
                My Esotericposted 17 months agoin reply to this

                Provide me some statistics that back up you belief that "Instead we "help" those that refuse to earn a living, and we do it for a lifetime."  Something like "when public assistance is given, statistics show that 20% (or some such large number) of them never get off welfare again during their lifetime."  Or "Studies show that 50% of those who receive public assistance absolutely refuse to work"

                If you can find such studies that show more than an insignificant number won't work or will not get off of welfare, then you will convince me your belief is true.  Otherwise, you belief must be false since there are  many, many studies who look at this area.

      2. MizBejabbers profile image89
        MizBejabbersposted 17 months agoin reply to this

        "Your house destroyed in a flood - not your fault...but the refusal to buy insurance was!"

        Not a good analogy, Wilderness, believe it or not. There are certain rules governing whom is eligible for flood insurance. I live on the side of a hilltop so I and my neighbors don't qualify. Yet our houses suffer from flood damage by runoff quite frequently, and we have to pay for our own damages. Fortunately we know how to repair it. But I do know what you meant.
        (By the way, I would never have dreamed that a house on a hilltop would flood or I would have given some more thought and tried to convince my husband that we shouldn't buy this one.)

        1. My Esoteric profile image90
          My Esotericposted 17 months agoin reply to this

          But I think Wilderness might argue that you shouldn't have bought your house on the side of a hilltop, so it is still your fault.

          1. wilderness profile image97
            wildernessposted 17 months agoin reply to this

            The city next to me has a subdivision that is built on the side of a hill.  Many of those houses are now sliding down the hill and have been condemned.

            Do homeowners bear some responsibility for buying a house on the side of a barren hill that is known for having landslides?  IMO, yes, they bear some responsibility, for the danger was obvious.  The city bears some for allowing it to be built and so does the developer.

            Which is what I said in the first place: people usually share in the blame for what happens to them.  "Share" being the operative term in spite of your continued claims that I said it was ALL their fault.

            1. My Esoteric profile image90
              My Esotericposted 17 months agoin reply to this

              They do to the degree they didn't rely on state approval of the construction.  If the state allows a contractor to build there, then there is a reasonable belief by the buyer that it is safe to live there.

          2. MizBejabbers profile image89
            MizBejabbersposted 17 months agoin reply to this

            ME, yes I'm sure that he would. If I could have seen into the future, I would not have. But we buy insurance, when we can, for the unforseeable future. Wonder what he thinks about that?

    2. MizBejabbers profile image89
      MizBejabbersposted 17 months agoin reply to this

      Abraham Lincoln? My history book said Governor Morris,  Alexander Hamilton,  and James Madison, among others. Lincoln came along about 70 or so years later.

      1. wilderness profile image97
        wildernessposted 17 months agoin reply to this

        LOL  I had trouble with that, too.  But the intent was that Lincoln's statement about "of, by and for the people" caught the essence of the preamble, not that he wrote it.

        1. MizBejabbers profile image89
          MizBejabbersposted 17 months agoin reply to this

          Glad I wasn't the only one. I suspected that might have been the intent, but I needed to know for sure.

      2. My Esoteric profile image90
        My Esotericposted 17 months agoin reply to this

        Miz Bejabbers - I was mixing era's.  In 1863 when Lincoln made his famous speech containing those words, he was speaking about the document crafted by those you mentioned in 1787, i.e. the Constitution.  In my mind, Lincoln captured the essence of the Preamble to the Constitution in those nine words.

        1. MizBejabbers profile image89
          MizBejabbersposted 17 months agoin reply to this

          Oh, ok, thanks for the explanation.

    3. GA Anderson profile image93
      GA Andersonposted 17 months agoin reply to this

      You were almost off to a good start My Esoteric, but then you turned the "... for the people" question into a question of assumptions.

      It appears you presume the "for the people" part can only mean what you imply it means by your Texas seed example. My presumption would be that "for the people" part would be determined by the attitudes and prevailing thoughts of the times - none of which would have considered the Texan's relief to be the responsibility of the newly proposed government.

      Strongly to the contrary, I would say that the concentrated effort to define government structure and authorities, and the overwhelming consensus that the government was to be a limited government, would preclude any version of meaning such as yours.

      Considering your reading, (and recommendation), of 'Original Meanings' I am surprised that you would attempt such an interpretation.

      Your question may make a good discussion for changing perspectives - relative to changing times, but to tie your thought to the meaning of the Preamble when written is such a stretch as to be inapplicable.

      I also think that your claim that this "for the people" part has been a major dividing issue since its inception is an inaccurate presentation intended to bolster your contention. But of course that part is only my opinion.

      GA

      1. My Esoteric profile image90
        My Esotericposted 17 months agoin reply to this

        John Locke, Benjamin Franklin, the Preamble to the Constitution, and I would suspect, Lincoln would disagree with you, GA. The 13th Amendment was anything but a poster child for limited government.  Nor was Lincoln's suspension of certain other amendments (which I don't agree with, but then I wasn't president during a civil war).  Had Lincoln been alive, his rhetoric supported the notion of the 14th and 15th Amendments, the bane of conservatives and limited government. 

        How do you read the meaning of the Preamble, GA?  The parts, which I know you know but are listed here for discussion purposes as is part of the Declaration of Independence:
        * DOI - that all men are created equal,
        * DOI - that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable
        ** -Life,
        ** - Liberty
        ** - and the pursuit of Happiness.
        DOI - to secure these rights, -Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,

        P - We the people (and they meant People, not the States)
        P - establish justice,
        P - insure domestic tranquility,
        P - provide for the common defense,
        P - promote the general welfare (not solely public assistance),
        P - secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity

        Now, let's apply the above in a logical fashion to what PROBABLY and LOGICALLY will occur in the Texas example, which is a stand-in for the millions of other similar situations.

        Situation:
        * The nation, and Texas, is suffering in the middle of the worst depression so far in America's history
        * Unemployment was huge
        * There was no semblance of a public assistance system
        * Like in 1929, private assistance was overwhelmed and could not rise to the task, especially for minorities.
        * In modern times, the US is ranked 120 out of 183 in deaths linked to malnutrition (.64 per 100,000. best is Singapore and worst is Somalia)
        * It is logical to assume rates of malnutrition were higher in the 1800s
        * It is logical to assume rates of malnutrition rise during massive economic downturns, e.g. more people die during these events solely due to these events
        * It is logical to assume rates of malnutrition go up when little food is available due to severe drought, e.g. more people die during a droughts that might not have otherwise.

        As I read what is a fair reading of the DOI and Preamble, what follows must be true:
        * the gov't has a duty to protect the right to life. 
        * Therefore the gov't has the duty to protect an individual's right to life.
        * During depressions and droughts, among many other things, the life of a certain group of Texans is logically threatened through no fault of their own (well maybe they should have moved to Canada or something). 
        * Consequently, the gov't had a duty to protect those lives.
        * Therefore, vetoing the TX seed bill violated that duty and therefore the Constitution.
        * Cleveland thought otherwise and he had no duty to save the lives of Americans.

        1. wilderness profile image97
          wildernessposted 17 months agoin reply to this

          If the writers of our constitution intended that government be responsible for the needs of individuals, it seems rather odd that they made no provisions for funding those needs, no provision for who was to get what or exactly what needs would be guaranteed.

          1. My Esoteric profile image90
            My Esotericposted 17 months agoin reply to this

            They did, actually. 

            Article 1, section 8 The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

            AND -

            To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.

            Definition of general Welfare -  health, happiness, or prosperity; well-being (modern addition - Public assistance) . General Welfare does not mean the latter, although the latter certainly could be a way of providing for the former.

        2. GA Anderson profile image93
          GA Andersonposted 17 months agoin reply to this

          Hi My Esoteric, my apologies for jumping straight to the Preamble and DOI, (Declaration of Independence), earlier. I would have ended-up there, but I shouldn't have ignored your preface - Lincoln's quote.

          It appears his "... of the people, by the people, and for the people..." phrase wasn't original. It is first noted back in the 1300's, in reference to the Bible as a manual for "... government of the People, by the People, and for the People", There is a story that Lincoln heard this phrase in a friend's recounting of an 1800's  sermon. I only mention this to raise the question of whether Lincoln just liked the phrase as a summation of his view, (the story says he noted the phrase), of what our Constitution established, or whether he liked it because he agreed with the biblical inferences that would probably match your interpretation and argument.

          I would judge that he just liked the phrase - without the biblical inferences. It carried the point of his address. And it should be noted that  in the context of the Gettysburg Address, Lincoln determined the foundation of our nation was more the DOI than the Constitution. So it is there that we should look for his intent for "for the people."

          If that is true, then the logical point of comparison would be the phrase "... pursuit of Happiness." Do you contend that your interpretation also falls within that parameter? (hopefully it is not the "Right to life" phrase you would allude to)

          Also, I don't recall any historical precedents - prior to Lincoln's time - that would equate to your Texas seed example, that might have been on his mind as he considered the phrase.

          My thoughts are that his view was a macro one. One that would encompass events of national measure - like emancipation, and your referenced 13th Amendment. Do you know of any "localized" government bailouts, (like the Texas seed event), that might have been in his consideration? Do you know of any other Lincoln writings that infer he would view "for the people" to mean what you say it means? I don't. Which to me means we must follow the thought back to the DOI and Preamble, which I am confident Lincoln very much kept in mind. My first response was to that point,

          Relative to your questions, I would say my perception of those phrases probably align with yours - with a couple-three exceptions. I suspect we might differ on what the "pursuit of Happiness" and " promote the general welfare " phrases mean. And I think those differences would be ideological, and irreconcilable, with both of us offering citations of support. But of course I think my citations would carry the day, authoritatively. :-)

          I believe the pursuit of happiness refers to inequitable government, (then), or societal, (modern times), restrictions. I do not believe it is the government's job to facilitate that pursuit, but just to prevent hindrance of it.

          Jumping down to your logic trail.
          Don't you see limitations on what the government could be expected to do to "protect" our "Right to life?" I feel certain our perception of those limits differ, but do you at least acknowledge there are limitations?

          I don't see a need to go further in your example, because I believe it is flawed. You take your point all the way to the government being responsible for every individual person's circumstances - which is much different from my perception that the government's job is to prohibit restrictions, not guarantee outcome. Your logic might even be compared to a Christian's view of God. Sees all, knows all, helps all. Do you really intend to equate God with Government?

          Using your logic, wouldn't you have the government being responsible for every single ill event across our nation? Seeds in Texas, crop failure in Florida, Maple Tree disease and infestation in Vermont, and so on down the line?

          How many localized tragic situations would you imagine occurred during the Great Depression? Your logic demands the government provide relief for all of them. Is that really your point, or were you intending to draw lines of what is nationally tragic and what is only locally tragic?

          ps. I would enjoy looking at your Locke and Franklin points that you think disagree with my perspective. I am more familiar with Franklin than Locke, but would enjoy a dive into either.

          GA

          1. wilderness profile image97
            wildernessposted 17 months agoin reply to this

            "I do not believe it is the government's job to facilitate that pursuit, but just to prevent hindrance of it."

            I had never thought of it in that manner, but I like it.  The thought is along the lines of how I see government should be.  Facilitate the pursuit for the general population (build roads, keep foreign armies at bay, etc.) but just stay out of the way of the individual.

          2. My Esoteric profile image90
            My Esotericposted 17 months agoin reply to this

            That may very well be true, GA. Even the Athenians had that concept for a short while.

            From my readings, the "pursuit of Happiness." phrase is a shortened form of Locke's "health" and "property" part of his Life, health, Liberty, and Property paradigm and Aristotle's concept on Happiness. Here is something akin to what I learned from a lecture on it.
            https://www3.nd.edu/~afreddos/courses/180/nicomach.htm

            No, I think the Life part is what I was thinking of given that was the point of the bill, to provide $10,000 (that's the final number) worth of seed so that farmers could grow food to eat.  I think the "pursuit of Happiness" refers to removing those obstacles which are placed in your way by others to achieve your goals, e.g., laws against discrimination, or applying the Bill of Rights to the States (14th Amendment).

            It would seem to me that one reading of "to prevent hindrance of it" is to "facilitate it".  Am I wrong in thinking that "facilitate" means something like making everything equitable?  I don't agree with that interpretation either.

            However, there are many, many people in America who think laws against discrimination in any form is a step too far; that it means giving somebody and extra advantage they don't deserve.  Those same people think supplemental food programs for children is going too far.  I don't understand that mindset, but it appears around 25% of Americans think that way. (SAD)

            I do, however, think that encompassed in the ideas of 'general welfare' and "pursuit of happiness" is each person's right to the basics that make life possible, i.e., a roof, food, and health.  No person (especially children who don't get a say in the matter) in a country as wealthy as ours should ever not have a roof over their head, food in their mouth, and access to health care ... unless that is their choice.  Amazingly, there are homeless who prefer it that way.  I am not sure why but their are many anecdotes where a homeless person refused to go to a shelter.

            Yes, I do believe there are limitations.  To take Texas as an example, I don't think spending $10,000 (about $300,000 today) on seed to give to people to grow food to reduce malnutrition and ultimate death is too much (although I think Wilderness does).  But spending the same $10,000 when the drought and depression are over is too much.  (I also think giving major oil companies with huge, record profits production tax breaks is way too much.)

            Yes, I guess I do subscribe to the idea that Society (which is the government, after all) is responsible for every individual person's circumstances - within limits.  That is what gov't, in my view, is supposed to do, protect its citizens to the best degree feasible. 

            I feel the same way about my family, which is just a miniature version of the same thing.  In this case, "society is the family and its citizens are the people (adults and children) who make up the family"  I have the same responsibility to each member of my family as gov't does to the citizens who  created it.

            It was the inability of a private solution to the misery of the Great Depression which led to what many people consider welfare today, e.g., social security, unemployment insurance, food programs, and in that case, work programs (which I think need to be brought back when things like the 2008 Great Recession happens).  But yes, the gov't did have a responsibility to alleviate the tragedy its own actions (or lack thereof) and that of the wealthy caused.

            However, I do have a question.  How encompassing does your term "every individual person's circumstances " go?  Does that include Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, or just those suffering for no fault of their own?

            How about "very single ill event across our nation?" ?  Does that include bad business decisions or a person's decision to parachute without one?  What is the limit to the "ill" to which you refer?

            When you say "crop failure in Florida, Maple Tree disease and infestation in Vermont, ", I need to know if people can't feed themselves or can't find work as a result of the above.

            Franklin was responsible for one of the first public works projects to help the citizens of Philadelphia by proposing and finally getting approved a bill to pave the streets.

            Pardon the length of this, but I found an additional couple of paragraphs from Franklin's autobiography that public monies to help the public is not new to liberal Democrats:

            "On this I formed my plan; and asking leave to bring in a bill for incorporating the contributors according to the prayer of their petition, and granting them a blank sum of money, which leave was obtained chiefly on the consideration that the House could throw the bill out if they did not like it, I drew it so as to make the important clause a conditional one, viz., "And be it enacted, by the authority aforesaid, that when the said contributors shall have met and chosen their managers and treasurer, and shall have raise by their contributions a capital stock of-value (the yearly interest of which is to be applied to the accommodating of the sick poor in the said hospital, free of charge for diet, attendance, advice, and medicines), and shall make the same appear to the satisfaction of the speaker of the Assembly for the time being, that then it shall and may be lawful for the said speaker, and he is hereby required, to sign an order on the provincial treasurer for the payment of two thousand pounds, in two yearly payments, to the treasurer of the said hospital, to be applied to the founding, building, and finishing of the same."

            "All the inhabitants of the city were delighted with the cleanliness of the pavement that surrounded the market, it being a convenience to all, and this raised a general desire to have all the streets paved, and made the people more willing to submit to a tax for that purpose. After some time I drew a bill for paving the city, and brought it into the Assembly. It was just before I went to England, in 1757, and did not pass till I was gone, "

            http://www.ushistory.org/franklin/autob … page60.htm

            1. GA Anderson profile image93
              GA Andersonposted 17 months agoin reply to this

              I will get back with a reply My Esoteric, but first a note about what I consider an astounding coincidence of thoughts.

              Regarding you link to notes on Nicomachean Ethics.  What is astounding to me is the similarity of our readings.

              I am in the midst of a Constitution 101 course, and one of the reading assignments a couple weeks ago was... *drum roll... Aristotle's 'books', (they weren't really books), on Nicomachean Ethics!

              Come on you gotta admit that's an eerie coincidence. At least it seemed enough so to me to jet off this quick note before diving into a reply to your comment.

              GA

              1. My Esoteric profile image90
                My Esotericposted 17 months agoin reply to this

                Yep. I wish more who participate in these dialogues had interest in such things.  Most of my learning since retiring from civil service is through The Great Courses audio/video series and researching questions on the Internet.

            2. GA Anderson profile image93
              GA Andersonposted 17 months agoin reply to this

              Hello again My Esoteric. Given that I am still in amazement of the coincidence of our readings, and that indication that the foundations of our perspectives are so similar - I should probably wait a day or so to regain my equilibrium before responding, but I am too imprudent for that.

              With just a quick note that my readings also required Aristotle's 'The Politics' before the  Nicomachean Ethics reading, for whatever that is worth. I would suggest we leave ancient history perceptions where they lay, and try to determine where our interpretations diverged. Which I believe could be the DOI, (Declaration of Independence).

              Strangely, I feel your Franklin - Philadelphia illustration bolsters my perspective as much as you must feel it bolsters yours. It was an action presented to the people's representatives for affirmation - not an edict of a mandated requirement.

              At the time of the DOI, the conceptual thinking was not of individual, or localized instances, (again, your Texas seed example), but of a people, (the colonies), as a whole. Also understanding that there are multiple references to Lincoln's reverence of the DOI and its purpose, I further believe that his reference of "for the people" was in the same context -  for the government of a nation of people as a whole, not as individual segments of the whole.

              So, that leaves us to decide whose perspective of;
              "...  that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, " is most correct.

              I say we focus on that final quantifier; "... deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, "

              That reads to me as saying it is the governed, (the people), that determine what the government's responsibilities for promoting; ... Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness..." are. The DOI doesn't say anything specific about that, so the next step is the Constitution.

              I also suggest that it is the Preamble's "...promote the general Welfare..." that should be the area of focus.

              Obviously that phrase means one thing to you, and another to me. Does the Constitution offer any indication of which perspective is right? Here is my exposed chest - your point of attack. I say yes it does. By it's very nature of 'general' instructions - as in it does not attempt to be a step-by-step instruction manual, (Madison made the same point), it only attempts to lay the foundation of our new national government, and define the ground rules. I believe "general welfare" was purposely chosen - to relay a concept, not a definition.

              I believe that to see that phrase in your light would require the Constitution to provide some specifics. Such as; when a state is failing the Federal government shall take "X" steps to save it. When a state's citizens are destitute, the federal government shall take steps to relieve that destitution.

              No such instructions exist in our Constitution. It was left for the people to decide. My perspective, then, is that the definition of the scope of that phrase, "promote the general welfare," is a function of the people's sentiment, as voiced through their election of representatives, that determine that scope - not a mandate of a phrase's terminology, but an interpretation of that terminology by the citizens.

              And that is where I think we diverge. I see a conservative view that it is government's job to keep the road of possibilities open, and I perceive your interpretation to be that it is government's job to make sure there is a bus for everyone to ride on that road.

              I think a sentiment in your response affirms my impression. You said, "I do, however, think that encompassed in the ideas of 'general welfare' and "pursuit of happiness" is each person's right to the basics that make life possible, i.e., a roof, food, and health. "
              [*my bolding]

              And there in a nutshell is our disagreement. You believe our founding guarantees a Right to those basics, and I believe it guarantees a Right of opportunity for those basics.

              Nothing you have provided changes the foundation that forms my belief that I am right, just as I am sure I haven't changed your mind. But I still think that realistically, my perspective is contextually supported, whereas yours appears to be only ideologically supported - your ideology.

              GA

              1. My Esoteric profile image90
                My Esotericposted 17 months agoin reply to this

                Not sure what you mean by "It was an action presented to the people's representatives for affirmation - not an edict of a mandated requirement."  What laws passed by Congress do you consider an "edict  ..."?

                To "At the time of the DOI, the conceptual thinking was not of individual, ", I would argue it was specifically about the individual, given the writers of the DOI were liberals - men of the enlightenment. -  John Adams of Massachusetts, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, Robert R. Livingston of New York, and Roger Sherman of Connecticut.  Interestingly, only Sherman and Franklin signed the Constitution (Adams and Jefferson were out of town, so to speak) while a cousin of Livingston was also a signer.

                To these men, as well as the signers of the Constitution, it was all about individual liberty. The States/Colonies were secondary in their minds (as evidenced by subsequent writings). Granted, at the time of the DOI, that believe had not yet coalesced in action but it had to be on their minds because that was the fundamental force behind the Constitution.

                Agreed, Lincoln was a fan of the DOI, but it was the Constitution that he went to war for.  Again, Lincoln was a liberal (active as opposed to minimal) which meant, by definition,  he held the individual more important than the state.

                Let me ask this question.  Absent protection from harm, which statement most closely reflects your view?\
                1. The needs of the society are more important than the needs of any individual that make up that society.  OR

                2. The needs of each individual member that make up a society is more important than the society as a whole.

                That is not a trick question.  One answer leads to liberal thought and the other leads to either conservative or socialist thought. (yes, they have the same root)

                " Such as; when a state is failing the Federal government shall take "X" steps to save it." - While yes, words to that effect are not in the Constitution, but the whole Supremacy Clause exudes the idea.  When you read Madison's notes or Original Meanings you find two telling concepts behind that Clause.

                To begin with Madison, among many others, after studying each state's constitution and form of government, found the states wanting.  That  led to the Supremacy Clause to fill in the gap when state legislatures were incompetent to the task.  The other, which didn't quite make it directly into the Constitution but was a Madison favorite right up to the end was to give the federal government absolute veto power over any state law.

                Also debated, but not for long, was the idea of having no states at all.  The point there is that it was considered.  But behind all of the above was a measurable distrust of the signers of the state's ability or even desire to do right by the citizens of that state.

                1. GA Anderson profile image93
                  GA Andersonposted 17 months agoin reply to this

                  Regarding the 'Franklin' example, My Esoteric, it was not that I consider any laws, (with the exception of laws determined by our Supreme Court as to fall into a "mandated" status; ie. anti-discrimination laws), passed by Congress as fulfillment of an edict or mandate. What my intended meaning was that the Franklin initiative was a decision by the people's representatives - as a proposal, not as an action mandated by the "for the people" interpretation that would have said, "This you must do. In short, it was a choice, not an acquiescence to a mandate.

                  To the"individual" thing. I agree, you are right. The DOI, and Founder's thinking was of course relative to individual Rights. Rights every citizen had - rich or poor, farmer or merchant. They certainly were thinking of the "individual."  My intended point was of the concept. The application of their proposals was for the new nation, not an individual subset or locale. For instance; the Right to Life certainly applied to every individual citizen, but I believe the intent of the declaration was addressed as a Right for all citizens as members of a group. That group being citizens of the new nation.

                  Now to those men of  "enlightenment," or the Liberal designation of those DOI and Founder folks. Your comments on that matter are, I think, again completely correct. I haven't decided, yet, if I misspoke, or was unclear in my point, which was that they certainly were addressing individual liberties, but in a context that would encompass a nation of individuals. Such as, they didn't set one standard for the slave-holding states, and another for non-slave states, even though several aspects of the Constitution being constructed was inconsistent with the reality of their beliefs, ie. all men are created equal.

                  And, yes, your question was a trick question. You should have baited your question trap with Cheetos? I love Cheetos. You could have condensed your two questions into one; "Have you stopped beating your wife yet?"

                  Of course I would answer yes to the first question. But that doesn't make me a Liberal, it just makes me a reasoning person. Only an unreasonable person, or an anti-social hermit would answer yes to the second question.

                  To your point about all those names you mentioned as being Liberal thinkers. Again, I agree with you. But, that concept of their 'liberalism' is not today's concept of Liberalism. By their standards, I am a flaming liberal. By today's standards I am a Purple - a Moderate or Progressive Conservative. Then and now is an apples and oranges comparison in this regard.

                  Concerning your thoughts about the Supremacy clause; Madison's noted, (and I think a justified notation), disdain for the State's ability to govern with reasonable justness, and his advocacy for the Federal negative; once more I agree with you, (although I don't agree with Madison's thoughts on the Federal Negative Power).

                  I am left with the feeling that I was much less than clear on what I meant when I was discussing the "individual" aspects of the points I addressed. I hope this helps clear that fog.

                  GA

                  1. My Esoteric profile image90
                    My Esotericposted 17 months agoin reply to this

                    Then I have to ask "How are anti-discrimination laws "mandated"?" Didn't they go through the same process as say, the Transportation bills?

                    - "For instance; the Right to Life certainly applied to every individual citizen, but I believe the intent of the declaration was addressed as a Right for all citizens as members of a group. That group being citizens of the new nation." -- I would have to suggest that the two ideas are not equivalent because
                    " if each individual member of a group has a right to life, then, by definition, the group has the same right" BUT
                    "if the group has a right to life, it does not necessarily follow that each individual member does as well. It is only necessary that the Group has such a right"
                        I, obviously, believe the former is the case and that that was the intent of Jefferson et al.

                    Also, did the DOI address a nation, as it were, or just the people of the 13 confederated colonies (I think they were called states by then) that were joined together by a contract? OR, does it make any difference?

                    - "which was that they certainly were addressing individual liberties, but in a context that would encompass a nation of individuals. " - Agreed

                    The accommodation for slave-holding states was, as I interpret what I have read and heard, was a necessary evil to get the ball rolling.  To tell the truth, I was surprised the Southern representatives agreed to a time limit for importing slaves.

                    The reason my questions weren't a trick question is that roughly 25 to 35% of Americans would pick #2.  Because you believe #1 is the correct answer, it is very hard to conceive that any thinking American would choose #2, as you said.  But the same is true for those who pick #2, they think those who pick #1 are unreasonable and nuts.

                    Many studies show that those who pick #1 fall into the liberal camp, because that is what defines a liberal, while those who pick #2 are not.  Other questions will determine if a #2 is a conservative or a socialist.  The same is true of #1 pickers except the two subdivisions are active state and minimal state. (the difference being the role the gov't plays)

                    That is where I think you and I differ.  I am an active state liberal and you are a minimal state liberal.  We both believe in the same fundamental premise that the rights of the individual, in most situations, trump those of the state.  It is just how much a role the government plays in guaranteeing those individual rights.  Keep in mind that neither conservatives nor socialist have an issue with government enforcing their particular social and religious beliefs on the group as a whole and will punish individuals who deviate.

                    To repeat myself, but addressing the next comment you made, philosophy doesn't change with time regardless of whether people try to change the meaning.  A liberal in 1700 is still a liberal in 2100 because the underpinning value, the supremacy of the individual, hasn't changed.  A liberal, active or minimal, would never abide by slavery.  A conservative has no problem with the idea as it fits a conservatives view of hierarchy and tradition.  (note that I didn't say conservatives prefer slavery, only that they don't oppose it)  Even prior to 1864 there were progressive conservatives. They believed slavery was OK, but that the slaves ought to be treated better than they were.  See the distinction?

                    I agree with you, I am happy Madison failed in his attempt at the Federal Negative. (Although today, I wish they had chosen the single year option for the  term for the presidency)

              2. My Esoteric profile image90
                My Esotericposted 17 months agoin reply to this

                When you say "And there in a nutshell is our disagreement. You believe our founding guarantees a Right to those basics, and I believe it guarantees a Right of opportunity for those basics." - you hit the nail on the head.  That is the difference.

                Keep in mind those words "general Welfare" and the others were meant to be broad concepts which the federal government has a duty to make happen.  Since Article 1 Section 8 included that specific preamble item, along with common defence, it would seem that was of specific concern to the Constitution's creators. 

                While strict constructionists want you to believe the writers ONLY cared about 2) borrowing Money on the credit, 3) regulating Commerce, 4( establishing uniform Rules of Naturalization and Bankruptcies, 5) coining Money  and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures, 6) providing for the Punishment of counterfeiting, 7)  establishing Post Offices and post Roads, 8) promoting the Progress of Science and useful Arts ..., 9) constituting Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court, 10) defining and punishing Piracies and Felonies,11) declaring War ..., 12) raising and supporting Armies, 13) providing and maintaining a Navy, 14) making Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces, 15) providing for calling forth the Militia, 16) providing for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia ..., 17) exercising exclusive Legislation [over D.C.],
                —And
                18) making all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.

                The specific items list in Section 8 were of particular concern of the writers (or there due to a compromise), but they are not limiting.  When you read Original Meanings or Madison's notes, that becomes very clear because it was debated whether to have an all inclusive list or not.  What won out, and the Supreme Court recognizes this, is that it is impossible to have an exhaustive list.  As a consequence, the writers understood more could be read into the intent than the written words portray. (I included the whole list to prevent sharpshooting from commenters, sorry)

                In my view of my readings, it is clear to me they were concerned about the general Welfare of ALL factions of society.  They were concerned with the plight of the poor ( e.g.,Franklin's public assistance to the sick poor of Philadelphia).  To me, it is easy to make the jump that included in the concept of general Welfare that ensuring people have the very basics to survive in society (not even prosper, just stay alive) fulfills the promise of "Pursuit of Happiness".

                Behind that thinking is the belief (at the moment I haven't researched this) that, As A Rule, a rational person will not choose to live a life of misery; that something outside their control is preventing them from prospering.  And therefore, until those obstacles can be overcome, their lives must be protected by providing the very basic things they need to stay alive.

                Further, I do not hold to the idea that because a few people abuse the system, ALL people must be denied help.  To me, that is just selfish.  As a member of society, I want to see society prosper because if society prospers I have a much better chance of doing so myself.

                If it is allowed for a larger and larger chunk of society not to prosper (e.g. income and wealth inequality) then society as a whole fails and only the chosen few will succeed, for the rest, it will just be a hard-scrabble life in a land of plenty.

                The same is true if a measurable portion of society is left to suffer because they don't have the basics in life from which to build a better life.  In that case Everybody suffers except for the chosen few.  I think the Constitution's creators understood this and hence the term "general Welfare" used at least twice in the document.

                1. GA Anderson profile image93
                  GA Andersonposted 17 months agoin reply to this

                  I think we have come full-circle on this one My Esoteric. At least we reached agreement as to what it is we disagree on.

                  You make a sound argument for your perspective, if I shared that perspective. But I don't, as you noted in your lead.

                  I agree "... general welfare and others" are broad concepts, but where you interpret the government's duty as to make them happen - in a manner of your interpretation, I interpret the government's job as to promote them - in a manner I have described, (my perspective). As logical as your argument is to your perspective, it offers no contextual counter to mine.

                  Hence my "full-circle" comment. I noted early on that our different interpretations, in my view, were irreconcilable ideological differences. I feel comfortable with the support I have offered for my perspective, just as I am sure you feel the same.

                  There are no  " hard facts" to discover which would concretely validate either of our positions, (although I do feel most/many of the Court's decisions support my view more than yours), so our only avenue is to convince the other that their view is wrong. Have I done that? Have you changed your mind? Of course not. We have both disagreed with the other's interpretation - but without being able to 'prove' the other was wrong.

                  Even so, I do still believe my interpretation is more than just mine - I believe it is right, and yours is wrong. And so far, I think the Court agrees with me.

                  GA

      2. My Esoteric profile image90
        My Esotericposted 17 months agoin reply to this

        I thought I would toss this into the discussion -

        "December 4: In church it occurred to me that it is time for the public to hear that the giant evil and danger in this country, the danger which transcends all others, is the vast wealth owned or controlled by a few persons. Money is power. In Congress, in state legislatures, in city councils, in the courts, in the political conventions, in the press, in the pulpit, in the circles of the educated and the talented, its influence is growing greater and greater. Excessive wealth in the hands of the few means extreme poverty, ignorance, vice, and wretchedness as the lot of the many. It is not yet time to debate about the remedy. The previous question is as to the danger—the evil. Let the people be fully informed and convinced as to the evil. Let them earnestly seek the remedy and it will be found. Fully to know the evil is the first step towards reaching its eradication. Henry George is strong when he portrays the rottenness of the present system. We are, to say the least, not yet ready for his remedy. We may reach and remove the difficulty by changes in the laws regulating corporations, descents of property, wills, trusts, taxation, and a host of other important interests, not omitting lands and other property. " - President Rutherford B.Hayes (R-OH)

        1. wilderness profile image97
          wildernessposted 17 months agoin reply to this

          Sounds like what you're saying - that what one person builds actually belongs to another, at least as long as that person is declared to have built too well.  Not too difficult as we will always have people happy to take what others have but they don't.  Normally we use the term "thief", but as long as what we take can be labeled "taxation" it's all right.

          1. GA Anderson profile image93
            GA Andersonposted 17 months agoin reply to this

            Come on Wilderness, as much as this sentiment, (the Hayes quote), goes against your grain, are you comfortable denying the truth of it?

            GA

            1. wilderness profile image97
              wildernessposted 17 months agoin reply to this

              Dividing wealth does not create wealth.  That one person uses high levels of skill, ability, knowledge, etc. to build wealth does not mean anyone else must be poor.  On the contrary, building massive wealth always requires transferring money to others - the employees - with very few exceptions.

              Is anyone poverty stricken as a result of Bill Gates's wealth?  Oprah Winfrey's?  Dolly Parton's? Does the wealth of Mel Gibson, Sylvester Stallone or Clint Eastwood require that someone be homeless?  John Hansen founded Winnebago, and the company recently paid $64M for his widow's shares of stock in the company - he created other millionaires, not paupers, with his wealth accumulation.

              No, accumulating wealth does not mean poverty for anyone else.  Not when done legally, anyway - criminal activity is another story.

              1. GA Anderson profile image93
                GA Andersonposted 17 months agoin reply to this

                Let's stick with context Wilderness. And that context is the "Industrial Age." Carnegie forced his workers to overtime hours for regular time pay - or, lose their jobs, With a family to feed, what choice would you have made?

                Were Carnege's wealth not diluted in passing to his heirs,(the point of his later conversion to giving away his wealth is moot to the point), would they have not inherited the same employment power he had? Now, before answering, consider the era. You either bit the bullet of your employer's demands, (there were no government oversight groups), or you were unemployed. The kids are waiting for dinner, what is your decision?

                I am with you on the principles of the matter - it isn't right to penalize achievers because they are achievers, but I fall by the wayside when you introduce the reality of the power of their money. Carnage and Morgan conspired to elect a president amendable to their perspective, do you see nothing wrong with that power?

                https://usercontent1.hubstatic.com/13904420.jpg

                1. wilderness profile image97
                  wildernessposted 17 months agoin reply to this

                  OK - we were talking apples and oranges.  Certainly the massive wealth created in the middle ages by nobility and gentry left poverty, just as it did when Carnegie and the other moguls were in operation.

                  But those were not the conditions that people operate under today, and it doesn't take confiscation to prevent the poverty.

              2. GA Anderson profile image93
                GA Andersonposted 17 months agoin reply to this

                But, it wasn't dividing the wealth Wilderness, it was diminishing it. And we are not talking about the era of Gates and Oprah.


                https://usercontent1.hubstatic.com/13904420.jpg

              3. My Esoteric profile image90
                My Esotericposted 17 months agoin reply to this

                "Dividing wealth does not create wealth"  Actually, Wilderness, in a sense it does (it is called redistribution, btw).  In a society like ours, besides being the right thing to do to keep society healthy, money is created through the loan making process in our banking system.  Money is also effectively created when  the general populous has money to spend.

                It can, and has, been shown that past a certain point, wealth no longer contributes to a growing GDP because the wealthy use their money on unproductive things (their right, of course, but nevertheless true).  This is even more true when talking about inherited excessive wealth (welfare is the way I look at it)   

                As has happened prior to the Great Depression, this leads to a stagnant society where the only beneficiaries are the rich. Wealth and Income inequality is quickly approaching the same levels.  It was only the leveling effects of WW 1, the Great Depression, and WW II that allowed for the amazing growth following WW II.  Now that inequality is becoming a major thing, growth is slowing down.

                1. wilderness profile image97
                  wildernessposted 17 months agoin reply to this

                  Yes, if you stretch it far enough, and ignore the reality, redistribution creates wealth.  Of course, if you take it from the rich there is nothing to make loans with, so that fails.  If you then give it to the poor to buy things with, it goes no further than if the rich buy things with it.  Bottom line is that dividing it, whether called redistribution, wealth sharing, the humane thing to do or anything else creates nothing.  It just redistributes what is already there.

                  The idea that the wealthy spend their wealth on "unproductive things" is much the same.  What makes it more "productive" to give it to the poor who then buys 5 cars than leaving it with the one that earned it, who then buys a yacht, or loan it back out or supplies start up capital to a fledgling business?
                  You appear to think the the wealthy stuff it in their mattress, but we both know that isn't happening.  True, they might take it overseas, but is that any different than the 5 poorer people that bought imported cars because they're cheaper?

                  I don't see any value in leveling wealth via a depression,  It certainly didn't create any wealth, or we wouldn't have seen people hawking apples on the street corners.  Instead, when the wealthy lost their wealth the entire nation suffered, and suffered greatly.  That loss of wealth didn't produce amazing growth at all - it virtually stopped growth.  Only when the wealth slowly came back did we find growth.

                  You do the same thing with WWII - I don't see how you can possible support that statement.  The war produced wealthy people, not robbed from them.  And when it was over and growth took off it wasn't because the wealthy had joined the middle class; it was because the work force doubled in size.  Women didn't go back home, after all - after entering the work force while the men were overseas they stayed there when the men returned.  Which in turn points to why growth has slowed - rather than adding to the work force we reduce it by simply giving people what they want instead of demanding they produce something of value in exchange.

                  But what never ceases to flabbergast me - what I cannot understand at all - is when you (and the other socialist liberals) say things like it is the right of the rich to spend their money as they wish...but I'm going to take it away from them before they can because I think they should give it to the poor.  The poor that you will then teach, through years or even generations of experience, that they do not need to be productive to live a good life.  The same thing for confiscating what the recently dead built - they have a right to give it (as charity if you wish) to whomever they wish, but you will take it from them because you wish to choose the recipients of it.

                  This is a moral conundrum that I simply cannot understand.  I can't crack it for the life of me.  Do you folks truly feel that you have the right of ownership to what others produce?  Do you simply set it aside, ignoring it as it doesn't exist?  Do you subscribe to the theory that "My actions are moral because (in my opinion) my cause is just)?  Do you rationalize it, as you've done here, until it IS moral and right - do statements like "Money is created when the general population spends it, but not when the wealthy spends it" help spin the action into a moral one?  I certainly don't think you (all the modern day socialists, not you in particular) regard yourself as a thief, but however hard I pound my head on the wall I cannot understand what thought process can produce the willingness to play Robin Hood far beyond what is necessary to maintain the country.

                  1. My Esoteric profile image90
                    My Esotericposted 17 months agoin reply to this

                    "Yes, if you stretch it far enough, and ignore the reality, redistribution creates wealth.  Of course, if you take it from the rich there is nothing to make loans with, so that fails." - Actually, WIlderness, that is not true; nor does it make sense.  The rich don't loan money like a bank does.  Instead, they deposit it in banks who then make loans with it.  Please don't tell me that a person who makes $100 million and pays $25 million (at their effective rate) in taxes can't live a lavish lifestyle or keep massive amounts of cash in American banks to loan (or off-shore banks to hide) on the remaining $75 million PER YEAR. Even if you drop that down an order of magnitude to $10 million. After taxes these poor folk only have $7.5 million left to spend on themselves.  Now let's slap 5% surcharge.  What are we talking about? Having a measly $7 million to play with rather than $7.5 million? 
                    Won't have money to make loans indeed, lol.

                    Why is it that 20% of the very rich have effective tax rates lower than yours? 
                    How fair is that?

                    You said today's wealth distribution is not like it was before the Great Depression, think again.  In 1929, the top 1% owned 51% of the wealth. In 1976, 77 years later, it hit a low of around 23%. In 2012, after another 36 years, it was back up to 42% in 2016.

                    The same is true for income inequality.  In 1928, the top 1% garnered 23.9% if income.  In 1976, it was 8.7% (sounds right to me). Now, in 2014, it's about 22%.

                    In 1976, the wealthy were still very, very wealthy and there was still a middle class.  In 1929 and 2017, not so much.

                    What changed?  Did the wealthy get that much better and deserve the increased disparity, or was the system rigged in their favor so that wealth could be transferred from the poor to the rich?

                  2. GA Anderson profile image93
                    GA Andersonposted 17 months agoin reply to this

                    Okay now bud, let me draw a line just before your last paragraph - but only because that is your own expression of angst ...

                    To all that precedes that line, Damn! that was well said. And not just because the content agrees with my perspective. It is because I think the content's points were well supported. History can be a great arbiter in discussions like this.

                    I think the Great Depression example, although open to debate, was a good one. And I don't recall seeing the explanation for post-WWII's production boom being attributed as you did. That would be another interesting topic to pursue.

                    GA

                  3. My Esoteric profile image90
                    My Esotericposted 17 months agoin reply to this

                    "True, they might take it overseas, but is that any different than the 5 poorer people that bought imported cars because they're cheaper?" - did they buy cars built overseas with foreign labor or foreign-named cars built in America with American labor?

                  4. My Esoteric profile image90
                    My Esotericposted 17 months agoin reply to this

                    Prior to the combo of WW I - Great Depression - WW II there was NO middle class, just a few rich and a whole lot of poor; not much in between.  A few years after WW II, gov't policy helped create a thriving middle class, at the expense of making the wealthy a tiny bit less wealthy (not so they noticed though and they never joined the middle class as you claim; they remained wealthy).  While there was balance between the rich and the poor, the economy expanded greatly.  Consider after things settled down after the Korean War.
                      GDP Growth:
                    1955 - 1960:  3.04% (Eisenhower - R) - top 1% has 12% of Inc
                    1960 - 1969:  5.40% (Kennedy-Johnson - D) - top 1% has 11% of Inc
                    1969 - 1977:  2.88% (Nixon-Ford - R) - top 1% has 8% of Inc
                    1977 - 1981:  3.73% (Carter - D) - top 1% has 9% of Inc
                    1981 - 1993:  3.14% (Reagan-Bush 41 - R) - top 1% has 13% of Inc
                    1993 - 2001:  3.77% (Clinton - D) - top 1% has 18% of Inc
                    2001 - 2009:  1.58% (Bush 43 - R) - top 1% has 22% of Inc
                    2009 - 2017:  1.87% (Obama - D) - top 1% has 22% of Inc
                    2017 - 2018:  2.86% (Trump - R) - top 1% has 22% of Inc

                    NOTE that from near the end of Clinton's term, the top 1% controlled the same percentage of income as they did in 1929.

                    Now let's look at what you said about that: "Only when the wealth slowly came back did we find growth."  Actually, when wealth took off after 1990 did growth finally slow down once the Clinton boom ended.  Why is that?

                    What the above set of numbers suggest to me is that growth happens when wealth and income are more reasonably distributed and not lop-sided as they use to be and are again.

            2. wilderness profile image97
              wildernessposted 17 months agoin reply to this

              Did you hear about Amazon?  The city of Seattle, where they are building a second HQ, is instituting a $500 per head tax on employees of large companies "because they can afford to pay it".  Amazon took a look, figured it was going to cost them $20M+ a year and has stopped construction on that building.  Some 45,000 Amazon jobs are at risk in Seattle because of the greed of the city government.  "No, you can't have my wealth; I'll take it elsewhere".

              Something that the greedy never seem to understand: stop the accumulation of wealth and the wealthy will take their business, jobs and money elsewhere.  This isn't the first time government greed has "killed the golden goose" and lost the "golden eggs" as a result.  Unfortunately, they never seem to learn: Seattle had a similar program in the past and got rid of it as "uncompetitive"...so they will repeat the process again, once more driving away those that accumulate wealth.  And the jobs that are creating that wealth.

              1. GA Anderson profile image93
                GA Andersonposted 17 months agoin reply to this

                i guess I miss the point bud. I agree, the details of your story point to dumb government, but, I don't see how that applies to the reality of the Hayes statement..


                https://usercontent1.hubstatic.com/13904420.jpg

                1. wilderness profile image97
                  wildernessposted 17 months agoin reply to this

                  Unless I missed Hayes' point completely, I understood him to be advocating for confiscation of wealth.  Through taxation, loss of inheritance rights and a host of other measures, not omitting lands and property.

                  And if we go too far down that road the Goose will leave.  Just as it will leave Seattle if they don't change their mind.  Amazon (and the other geese) will tolerate a certain amount of wealth confiscation, but when it goes too far they simply leave.  They aren't there to feed the poor; they are there to accumulate wealth, and if they are not allowed to do so, well, there are always greener pastures.

                  1. GA Anderson profile image93
                    GA Andersonposted 17 months agoin reply to this

                    Confiscation - redistribution, that is just semantics Wilderness, and I agree with you. If you look back at my comment, you will see that I did say that particular sentence, (his ideas of possible remedies), was where my agreement ended.

                    I really think that the reality of our society; then and now, prove the "dangers" he speaks of. (I don't agree with the "evil" description).

                    I would also imagine that for each Gates and Oprah you mention, there are other counter examples, (Soros, Koch?)

                    I don't think you misunderstood Hayes' point, I think you misunderstood mine.

                    GA

              2. MizBejabbers profile image89
                MizBejabbersposted 17 months agoin reply to this

                Wilderness, I agree with you in the case of Seattle and Amazon. (I hope you have a cushion behind you.)

                1. wilderness profile image97
                  wildernessposted 17 months agoin reply to this

                  Whew!  Fell right out the chair!  But at least it was soft carpet.

                  It just amazes me how the people making tax laws demand more and more and more but never consider the effects.  It's as if they think there is unlimited wealth out there, all theirs for the grabbing.

                  I see state after state crying that the cigarette tax is declining...after taxing it so high no one can afford to buy cigarettes as a way to control the population.  They got the result they wanted - an effective ban on smoking anywhere - but now cry there's no money!

                2. My Esoteric profile image90
                  My Esotericposted 17 months agoin reply to this

                  This is what Seattle is trying to accomplish - Three-quarters of the estimated $75 million that the tax raises would go to building almost 1,800 affordable housing units in the city, with the rest funding services for the homeless, the City Council said.

                  Keep in mind, the City Council is duly elected (think Franklin and paving the roads of Philadelphia) body charged with serving all of the citizens of Seattle.  One of those things is providing affordable housing in a very expensive city and help the homeless.

                  Question - How would you go about raising that money?  (If you disagree and think they have no right to make such a decision, why bother having an elected government?)

                  1. wilderness profile image97
                    wildernessposted 17 months agoin reply to this

                    "(If you disagree and think they have no right to make such a decision, why bother having an elected government?)"

                    Why have an elected government?  To plan and provide for the common good of the city.  To make sure roads are there, and usable.  To provide for clean water, and sewer.  To provide protection (police) for the population.  To relieve the citizenry of the necessity of checking for health hazards at every turn (thinking restaurants here).  To provide for the education of the children. 

                    There is a long list of needs government supplies, but nowhere in them is that government is responsible for the personal needs of every citizen.  This is purely a liberal conclusion, not supported at any time in our history. 

                    A while back, one of the Scandinavian countries debated giving every person a stipend, enough to live on, each year.  It was dropped, primarily because it would make that country a magnet for the rest of the EU - it was recognized that those wishing a life of leisure would flock to that country simply to get that stipend.

                    Seattle is doing the same thing.  They spend millions each year to support the homeless, and the homeless population grows every year as a direct result of that spending.  They have created a haven there with their unlimited charity and are now talking of expanding it...but appear incapable of recognizing that their large homeless population is the result of their own actions even as they decry what it is doing to the city.

        2. GA Anderson profile image93
          GA Andersonposted 17 months agoin reply to this

          That was a pertinent addition My Esoteric. One that I almost completely agree with. It is the path of his last sentence, being undetermined, that stops my complete agreement.

          For example; I completely disagree - philosophically, with our Inheritance Tax, but, I can see the logic of the need for it in a just society. Without something like it - as much as I disagree with the premise - I think we would have already devolved into fiefdoms similar to that portrayed in The Hunger Games." I think the giants of our industrial age are the proof of that thought.

          GA

          1. My Esoteric profile image90
            My Esotericposted 17 months agoin reply to this

            If you have the patience and inclination, you might tackle Piketty's "Capital in the 21st Century" (a little over a 1,000 pages with lots of numbers, lol)  He tackles exactly what Hayes is talking about.

            You don't even have to buy it like I did - https://dowbor.org/blog/wp-content/uplo … iketty.pdf

            Here is a summary - http://www.robertdkirkby.com/blog/2015/ … f-piketty/

            1. GA Anderson profile image93
              GA Andersonposted 17 months agoin reply to this

              Damn! Another reading assignment! Don't you have any 'honey-do' lists to keep you busy? I know I do. I am still trying to complete a major home addition I started 2 years ago.

              You know. if  this 'at least know what you are talking about' requirement for intelligent conversation continues, I just might toss it all and simply resort to hyperbole. That seems to work for some. And it seems a lot less demanding.

              I will check out your summary, but if past experience is an indicator, I will probably be looking for my own copy. I will get back to you on it.

              GA

  2. GA Anderson profile image93
    GA Andersonposted 17 months ago

    My Esoteric, Wilderness, I can't help an interjection here.

    Regarding My Esoteric's points, and I recall a Senator or Congressman making the same point by a publicity stunt of trying to live on SNAP benefit amounts for a month...

    Why is it being ignored that Food Stamp-type benefits, (SNAP), aren't intended to feed you, they are intended to supplement a food budget. Hell the "S" in SNAP stands for Supplemental!

    Wait, before anyone says, but that's all the food money they have, I understand that, but that still does not change the purpose of the program. Using My Esoteric's math, SNAP offers a supplemental $7.92 per day.

    If the program is supposed to be a supplement, how valid is the criticism that it isn't enough to provide all one's food expenses?

    And to those meal prices quoted ... sure eggs, home fries and peppers are a good breakfast - at $2.50. but so is oatmeal, buttered toast, and milk or juice - at about 75 cents. (a guesstimate)

    GA

    1. wilderness profile image97
      wildernessposted 17 months agoin reply to this

      I remember that, GA.  I also remember that I laughed about it because I do fine on less than maximum SNAP and have for years.

 
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