Sustainable Development (environmental, population, economic, resources wars, ext.)

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by Darth_Yuthura, Jan 4, 2010.

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  1. Darth_Yuthura Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 2007
    star 4
    I don't know that much about Haiti, so I won't be very able to contribute to this subject.

    But the way I understand this statement is not what's going on. Aid is being provided primarily for relief efforts from the quake. It's not like resources are being poured in for the sake of rebuilding everything. It might make a lot of difference for people whom lost what little they had and will die without help.

    That may then lead to the next question as to what will happen after that. Since it's described as such a terrible economy and unsustainable to begin with, providing aid may just save their lives long enough to die of something over a longer course of time. At least the people who're rescued may appreciate knowing they didn't die alone.

    Tough subject.

  2. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    This is why you have to admire what Castro achieved in Cuba, which could easily have become another Haiti. Dictators do well in Caribbean island nations because few other can superimpose the kind of stability you're talking about over the kind of poverty you have witnessed. Rafael Trujillo made Fidel Castro look like Mr. Rogers by comparison, but he kept DR from devolving into a Haiti.
  3. Darth_Yuthura Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 2007
    star 4
    Remember King Louise XIV? Yeah, he was that French King who was overthrown during the French Revolution.

    Here's just one example where a very powerful nation's monarchy had been overthrown, due to a powerful dictator oppressing the people to an outrageous extent. If a dictator can hold his control through fear, then perhaps it can cause stability. But people generally don't like being oppressed.

    It just may be a matter of time before people become so desperate that they no longer care about whether they live or die. The only way you can control someone through fear is if they have something worth losing, otherwise the people will lose their fears and eventually go rampant. Whether against the dictator or each other... that's what's uncertain.
  4. Espaldapalabras Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 25, 2005
    star 5
    When I was there, I never understood the admiration and longing for the days of Trujillo the old illiterate maid I had expressed, and it was fairly common thing for especially old people to say.

    They would always say you could lie in the street asleep with a bag full of money next to you and nobody would steal it because they feared it was a trap set by the secret police.

    He also had the ugliest mansion I've ever seen, that had turned into what was a haunted mansion replet with bats and all.
  5. Kimball_Kinnison Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    Once more, Espy, you are letting your heart overrule your head, and in so doing you are employing a wide variety of fallacies.

    My argument has been based completely in what the role of the federal government is, as defined by the Constitution. There is a world of difference between unequal taxation (a violation of equal protection by singling out one part of the population to pay a significantly greater tax burden) or implementing federal social programs, and providing foreign aid. Foreign aid falls under the authority granted to the federal government under Article II Section 2 to make treaties, as well as the authority to regulate commerce with other nations in Article I Section 8.

    If you are going to call someone out on a policy or viewpoint, you might want to make sure that the person you are calling out has actually expressed the view that you are criticizing.

    Kimball Kinnison
  6. Espaldapalabras Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 25, 2005
    star 5
    That's why I said or some other free marketer. And also I was arguing with a coworker about it so was a little frustrated at the time.
  7. Darth_Yuthura Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 2007
    star 4
    Please reframe from making this statement. Overlooking fallacies in human behavior is not emotional; it's making an argument based on the assumption that humans are rational creatures. Under such assumptions, many such arguments have no flaw in logic.

    Okay, so what about your own arguments? What the role of government as defined by the constitution was drafted by people. They were originally written on a piece of parchment, not carved in stone. And even if they were, so what? A bunch of people just made them up. There's nothing to stop people from changing it. They often do when they see the need to adapt it to suite their needs.

    And it should be recognized that the role of government is directly associated with the people they represent. If the rules don't suite the majority of the population, then they can be changed. If the rules aren't enforced, then why should people follow them? J-walking is not legal, yet people do it all the time. Speeding is illegal, yet the majority of the population drive over the speed limit... any average above 1 MPH is considered speeding. Since humans are so irrational, then any argument about what the constitution represents is just playing games on paper.

    How is there unequal taxation?

    It seems to me that if you earn a billion dollars, you would pay the same as anyone else who earns a billion (not taking into account the various loopholes or the different local/state levels) Progressive taxes don't single out anyone, as Bill Gates wouldn't be on a different level from anyone else if they got the same level of income. He could just as easily give all his earnings away and be taxed the same as anyone else who gets a billion dollars in tax exemptions.

    Who would be singled out, if I may ask?
  8. SithLordDarthRichie London CR

    Chapter Rep
    Member Since:
    Oct 3, 2003
    star 8
    If you earn so much that higher taxation does not affect your everyday life and spending then why not pay more tax?
    Those who can afford it can eas the burden on those who can barely afford to get by as it is without a massive tax looming over them.

    After all, it's not like all the rich people work so much harder to earn it (bankers are still getting bonuses worth many times their own salary, can't they be taxed more it's not like they need all that money). I've seen many Head Office executives who tend to sit around and take lots of holidays and buy multiple cars without actually seeming to do very much at all. Why not tax them more I doubt it will prevent them from leading the excessive lifestyle they already have. I doubt they'd even notice.

    If I was earning £50,000 a month and got taxed £5000 I'd not exactly be unhappy with the £45,000 I still had left. Heck even £10,000 would be pretty insignificant compared to the amount left over.
  9. Kimball_Kinnison Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    You might now want to interject in comments like that. I've known Espy for many years, and have had him as a guest in my home. That comment was not directed at you, and you are missing a good bit of context.

    Yes, they can be changed, but there is a process for that. If you want to change those rules, then propose amendments to the Constitution to actually change them. Alternately, get enough states to agree with you to call a constitutional convention and write a new constitution.

    Until then, the Constitution establishes the rules of the game. You can't just throw it out the window because you don't like it or find it inconvenient.

    You are singling out those who make more on the basis of their income. That is violation of equal protection because you are treating those with more differently than those with less.

    The Fourteenth Amendment was meant to fight class warfare just as much as it was meant to fight racial conflict. As Senator Jacob M. Howard said when the Amendment was being debated in Congress:
    The entire purpose of the Amendment is to protect all the rights of the citizens of the US equally. That means that you don't protect the right property of one person less than you protect the right to property of another person. The wealthy have just as much a right to property as the poor do.

    When you tax the rich more than you tax the poor, you are essentially saying that the rich don't have as much of a right to property as the poor do, because it's justifiable to take more from one group than from another.

    Kimball K
  10. Darth_Yuthura Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 2007
    star 4
    No, it has nothing to do with rights. Bill Gates will be taxed just as heavily if he earned $50,000 a year as anyone else earning the same. Anyone earning 50 million dollars a year will not be singled out from anyone else earning that sum per year. It's the same way for everyone... no one is above taxes, nor are they deprived any more than anyone else. You can change how much you earn per year, whereas you can't change your skin color, gender, sexual preference, age... ext. No one is exempt from paying the same higher taxes if they prefer earning a 6-figure-income.
  11. Kimball_Kinnison Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    It has everything to do with rights!

    Right now, taxes are calculated based on a marginal rate (i.e. in your tax bracket they take a certain percentage of each additional dollar that you make). However, if the government is taking 40% of one person's next dollar and 10% of another person's next dollar, then how is that not saying "you don't have a right to this money". It's saying that the second person has more of a right to their next dollar than the first person does.

    Remember, it's not the government's money, no matter how much you want to think of it that way!

    Also, the government is outright prohibited from taking private property (which would include money) for public use without just compensation. How does taking more money from the rich to provide more services to the poor provide the rich with "just compensation"? It becomes even less just if your suggestions (such as raising the tax rate to 90%) were to be implemented.

    Quite simply, your entire position goes against the Constitution on several levels. You are free to disagree with how things should be done, but until you get the Constitution amended or replaced with a new one, you still have to at least try to make sure that your policy ideas follow it. You don't seem to care for it at all.

    Kimball Kinnison
  12. Raven Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 5, 1998
    star 6
    I would say that for the majority of people, living safe, healthy, prosperous, long and secure lives outweigh their attachment to democracy. I definitely don't think that that applies to everyone, but I do believe it applies to the majority of humanity.

    As for the French Revolution, I don't think that the dictatorship was the reason Louis XVI (I assume Louise XIV above was a typo) was overthrown. Look instead to steep inflation during the 1780s-90s combined with extremely high taxes combined with several years of bad harvests. An economic crisis, created through long term poor fiscal management by the government of France, was the primary cause of the revolution - not the King's actions. Louis XVI actually was somewhat better in some ways than his predecessors; for one thing, he decided to call up the Estates-General for the first time in almost 200 years.
  13. Darth_Yuthura Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 2007
    star 4
    I disagree with that. You are right that it wasn't directly because of Louis' rule over the French people that they rebelled, but his rule augmented the causes for the revolution.

    These are secondary consequences of the dictatorship. Wars started by Louis for pointless goals contributed to why taxes were so high. The bad harvests raised the price of bread above what people could afford. Had the French simply suffered setbacks in their food production, the people would have been more likely to afford a living had so much grain and funding not been demanded for the military.

    Could you elaborate on this?

    Is this in regards to his level of power over the people? I agree with this point, but if the people were made desperate enough, it wouldn't matter to them whether Louis was trying to be fair or not. He and those in the first estates were the ones with the wealth and power. (I'm not saying this was what happened, but it's a reason someone would rebel) If you have desperate people, they would be far more likely to go after those with the wealth. They would do so because the richest would have everything and the majority of the population would have nothing.
  14. Darth_Yuthura Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 2007
    star 4
    So what about those bonuses that some of the major banks are expected to give out this year? Weren't they only bailed out by taxpayer money a year ago? They're now making the same mistakes they did before and learned nothing from their first screw up. And taxpayers were the ones who who were ripped off! How dare they abuse the bailout funds they didn't deserve!

    Here is a perfect example as to one of the flaws in the capitalist system. If people are gripping about how the richest individuals have to pay heavier taxes, don't forget that the lower 95-99% of income earners had to pay for the mistakes of major corporations when they were on the verge of bankruptcy. Now as Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase prepare to dispense huge bonuses for 'such as great year,' they're neglecting that it was only a short-term output they produced. Even though they repaid much of what was borrowed from taxpayers, their growth was stunted by how close they came to bankruptcy within the last 18 months.

    This does not apply to all corporations which received huge bailouts or not, but it goes to show how all taxpayers are liable for the incompetence of only a few at the top. This bailout was only done because the consequences of having major corporations fall apart would have been devastating to the entire US economy. If there was nothing at stake for simply letting those corporations fall, they would have gambled everything and would have gone bankrupt... as they deserved.

    Making the claim that such an economic structure as the US corporations being sustainable is just foolhardy and wishful thinking. Many huge corporations dodged a bullet with the bailouts which came after the recession, but only because taxpayer's were forced to foot the bill. This is unfair to the other corporations which didn't need to be bailed out. Allowing bailouts whenever someone gets in trouble is nothing short of promoting bad business practices for huge rewards in the short run.
  15. Alpha-Red Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 25, 2004
    star 5
    Well to be fair, corporations didn't have to be bailed out until just recently. Bailouts seem to be the exception rather than the rule.


    So what are you saying, that all progressive tax should be abolished? Or just evened out a bit? If it's the latter, then it means you favor some level of progressive taxation and that you must have a reason for wanting to keep it in some form.

    Also, isn't the point of capitalism to bring jobs and prosperity to people? If wealth is being concentrated up within the top 5% or whatever of the population while others are struggling to get by, then doesn't that mean that capitalism isn't working as well as advertised, or that we're looking at a market failure?
  16. Jedi_Keiran_Halcyon Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 17, 2000
    star 6
    No, it's saying something like:

    Each person has a right to 100% of the first dollar they make
    Each person has a right to 100% of the second dollar they make
    ...
    Each person has a right to 75% of the 75,000th dollar they make
    ...
    Each person has a right to 1% of the billionth dollar they make
  17. anakin_girl Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 8, 2000
    star 6
    Exactly.

    I agree with Keiran as well.
  18. Darth_Yuthura Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 2007
    star 4
    And what I was going for was to emphasize that there's no difference in how much you tax a person when they reach a certain income level. So it would not be unfair to anyone to simply assume you get taxed a certain rate once you earn a certain dollar income. Bill Gates would be taxed just as much if he earned a billion dollars as I would if I earned that much.

    The problem I've had with people posting about the unfairness is that you're discriminating against certain people just because they happen to have a lot of money. You're not. These people who earned a lot of money were (or should have been) aware that much more of their income was going to be taxed once they reached a certain earnings bracket. They are not singled out simply because they're rich... but because they're the only ones rolling in dough. They wouldn't be singled out if they were just one of millions only earning ~$25,000 a year. If one of those millions were able to reach Gate's level, they would be treated with the same respect. If Gates wanted to keep more of his earnings, he has the option working a normal job.

    However, I think that he would be satisfied to get only 10% of his earnings after getting a billion dollars. If he would be more satisfied to earn more (and get taxed a higher rate) then I see no problem with it. If someone struggling to get by on $25,000 a year, then it generates more stability to give them entitlement to all their earnings up to a certain point. Not like you'd be likely to collect many taxes from someone earning so little.
  19. JediSmuggler Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 5, 1999
    star 5
    I would argue, yes. On equal protection grounds as a matter of principle, but also on practical grounds of failing to maximize the dollar amount by not being so damn greedy in the first place.

    Here's the principle matter: What is to stop a politician from deciding to try to take money from one of the top 1% (or a billionaire) to buy votes with $100 a week for grooming (or other stuff)? And yes, Maxine Waters actually attached that to an appropriations bill.

    There has to be a limit as to how much a government takes from a person. Both as a matter of principle (to wit, respecting a high-income person's right to his property - which includes his income), and as a practical matter. Small business is about 2/3 of the individual tax filers in the top 5% that seem to be a favored target for higher taxes among some here.

    Small business is, I might add, a major factor in getting the economy back on track. Especially when they grow to be not so small businesses. Apple started out as two guys in a garage. Microsoft was once a small business in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Today, the founders (Bill Gates, Steve Jobs) are billionaires, but employees of Microsoft haven't done too bad, either - 12,000 of them are millionaires.

    A tax rate too high may very well strangle the next Apple or Microsoft in the crib - or lead to the next Jobs or Gates deciding not to bother. Why should he labor merely to see the fruits of his labor taken for a handout to another? Particularly when the handout programs of the Great Society have, by all appearances, failed almost catastrophically?

    Think of it this way: 15% of a billion is a lot higher than 50% of $500,000. Yeah, a 50% tax rate might make you FEEL better because you are "soaking the rich" who can "afford to pay more" - but it's not as much as it could be.
  20. Darth_Yuthura Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 2007
    star 4
    Consider this. If you had the option of working in a job for a six digit figure ($400,000 for instance) and accept that you would be taxed at 25%, would you be less inclined to work because a higher proportion of your income will be taxed? Would you really expect people to be griping about paying higher taxes just because their profits increase?

    The only time when you would really have reason to gripe about progressive taxes is if you're getting a seven digit income. I don't know many who are doing that. And your comparison (50% on 500K vs. 15% on 1B) is backwards. Taxing the top 1% of income earners at 50% would represent more than taxing the lower 70% at the same rate. Only those in the lower 70% cannot afford to get by with having half of the fruits of their labors extracted through taxes.

    And be serious. Declaring that you'll be taxed more heavily when you earn a seven-digit income won't diminish your drive to work or become the next Bill Gates. If I had the option of getting his salary each year, but then losing 99% of it through taxes, I would still be in a much better situation than most people. I would be satisfied to work for only 1% of his yearly income... rather than working in a standard wage-earning job with ZERO taxes.

    Progressive taxes only become a problem for people actually earning a huge annual income. Otherwise it's hardly on the consciousness of someone wanting to have a six figure income. So long as everyone gets taxed equally per a given dollar, there really is no problem with progressive taxes. Bill Gates gets taxed the same for his first dollar as anyone else. He gets taxed the same rate for his 45,000 dollar as anyone who earns that annual salary. We would be taxed the same for our billionth dollar, but only if we actually earn it.
  21. Raven Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 5, 1998
    star 6
    Don't confuse Louis XVI for the kings before him. Louis became king in 1774, and his foreign adventures were minimal, though significant in a historical sense. Essentially, his military actions were to support the American Revolution against the British, to support local factors in Vietnam to ensure a favorable regime there (similar in scope and nature to France's involvement in the American Revolution), and he supported some action in India against the British. In all three cases, the French essentially supported local proxies against the British or British proxies. French expenditures and manpower involvement was minimal.

    However, Louis did inherit massive war debts from the Seven Years War and other conflicts initiated by Louis XIV and XV, and France did not have the mechanisms that the British did to pay for them. British financial organs were much, much healthier, ensuring that the British maintained financial stability despite an enormous debt. In 1783-1789, Europe was going through a "little ice age", and French reliance on grain products that were unable to prosper in the colder weather turned into a very, very bad thing. While wages didn't increase during the 1780s, the price of a loaf of bread approximately doubled. None of the other European states faired as poorly as France - Britain and Germany had turned to cultivation of the potato (which did fine in the colder weather), Italy and Spain had naturally warmer climates and were less affected.

    So, you had a nation struggling to pay for war debts accumulated by previous leaders while a mass famine hit. Louis was not responsible for either problem. Louis made attempts to tax the nobility, attempts which met with failure - ironically, had he been a true dictator like Louis XIV he probably would have succeeded in his tax reform.

    To sum up:
    -Enormous debt resulting from multiple wars initiated by previous leaders.
    -And unsound fiscal sector, with major lending agencies unwilling or unable to extend further credit to anyone.
    -The rich wanting to minimize taxes on themselves, and blocking attempts to raise taxes on themselves as a way of fixing the debt problems.
    -Crushing inf
  22. anidanami124 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 24, 2002
    star 6
    It does but you also have to look at how many people are need for said job. Look at it this way. We all know about MC Hammer. He was paying people just to stand on stage and do nothing. If there is work that needs to be done and you need more people you let people know.

    If you watnt to be one of those people that one day will make the big bucks. Well there is going to be a lot of work and a lot of up and downs. Not ever one will make it. If you try and fail well at lest you tried. Not ever one in life can make it to the top.

    No it's more the fact that we have be lied to ever day about how we can do any thing we set are minds to. Biggest lie ever not ever one will be able to make the big bucks. Just like not ever one is good in math or not ever one is good at football or what ever else. You have something that you are good at you just have to figure it out in go with it.

  23. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    Interesting piece from Science:

    Food Security: The Challenge of Feeding 9 Billion People
    A threefold challenge now faces the world (9): Match the rapidly changing demand for food from a larger and more affluent population to its supply; do so in ways that are environmentally and socially sustainable; and ensure that the world?s poorest people are no longer hungry.


    The article mentions overfishing and fossil fuel inputs and water scarcity but from my standard doomer POV glosses over a fundamental question of whether we are able to even feed our current global population sustainably. Given the draining of fossil fuel resources to sustain agricultural production, the inevitable collapse of global fisheries and the permanent loss of some water supplies, the answer I think is an obvious no.

    Any gains in food production efficiency and sustainability must first account for our current overshoot before underwriting additional population growth.

    The mere fact that we are currently feeding 6.7 billion people more or less in no way suggests that the level is sustainable. If crop irrigation permanently fails in vast swaths of the world's agricultural regions and the global seafood catch collapses we'll see just how far we are from genuine sustainability.
  24. ShaneP Ex-Mod Officio

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 6
    There is no doubt the developing world, with its massive increase in population for the foreseeable future, will likely suffer some bad events(drought, famine, etc) in the coming years.
  25. Raven Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 5, 1998
    star 6
    Canada should do fine. Plenty of fresh water, good climate, more arable land than we know what to do with, minimal population. :)


    Uh, sucks for the rest of you. :(
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