Conservative Definition of Govt role and rights

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In summary, the conservative perspective on government role and rights is that there should be an appropriate level of taxes to support the constitutionally granted functions of government, with a breakdown of responsibilities between local, state, and federal levels. Conservatives believe that everything else the government does is redistribution of wealth and should be limited. This includes social security, unemployment, welfare, and food stamps, which should be primarily handled by charity and local and state governments. Conservatives also believe in giving people the freedom to succeed or fail on their own ability and that government employees do not need unions. They question the effectiveness of government involvement in areas such as education and banning certain activities, and believe that unions should be voluntary. Overall, the conservative perspective leans towards limited government involvement in
  • #36


Oltz said:
Right now in PA Welfare has no limit to duration (I know a guy in the National gaurd who has been on welfare since 1998)

Limit it to 18 month then you can work or starve. (Social services will take your kids don't worry)
Drug test each time you get a check.
Limit it to use for basic needs shelter,basic clothing, utilities. As in make it more like food stamps (not that they are perfect) you have a card that simply does not work to purchase things that are not covered by it. No Xbox, new TV, manicures or designer coach bags.

Again we are talking welfare not unemployment or SSDI.

Hopefully, PA isn't using federal funds to provide welfare benefits for such a long time. The federal grants received by the states for welfare have restrictions - lifetime benefits can't exceed 60 months (whether continuous or not). States can provide lifetime welfare benefits if they want, but they have to fund those extra benefits themselves.

At least the federal requirements don't depend on employment status - they depend on income. In fact, being in some kind of work training program and actively seeking employment is one of the federal requirements. Once again, individual states can do what they want, but they can't use federal money to fund welfare benefits that don't meet federal guidelines.

And, additionally, there's always the possibility of the restrictions being waived for specific cases, but the federal government does put a limit on how many people a state can waive the requirements for, just to keep the waiver requests realistic. Statistically, it's hard to imagine how a large percentage of the entire state's population would qualify for a waiver, hence capping the number of waivers.

Because states have a lot of flexibility to run their own welfare programs as they see fit (as long as they don't violate the restrictions on the federal money they receive), it's always confusing to sort out which part of a state's welfare program should be changed by federal laws and which part should be changed by state laws.

Generally, I don't have too many gripes with the federal part of welfare programs.
 
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  • #37


BobG said:
For that matter, drug use is illegal and no person should be using illegal drugs. Why not mandatory drug testing for everyone, perhaps as prerequisite for getting a job?

Mandatory drug testing to get a job, mandatory drug testing to receive benefits such as Social Security (whether retirement or disability benefits), mandatory drug testing to receive welfare, and drug use would drop off to zero.

It's doubtful a hard line across the board would ever be accepted. However, SSDI is a medical-based benefit program. There's no reason persons in the program shouldn't be monitored and treated. Failure to stay clean (of illegal drugs) should be grounds for dismissal from the program - quite reasonable.
 
  • #38


Ya know, mandatory drug testing to receive welfare is actually something I support. Also I don't think people on welfare should have more children unless they can prove they can support the children without additional welfare.

Totalitarian? Maybe. A good idea in my head? Maybe.
 
  • #39


WhoWee said:
It's doubtful a hard line across the board would ever be accepted. However, SSDI is a medical-based benefit program. There's no reason persons in the program shouldn't be monitored and treated. Failure to stay clean (of illegal drugs) should be grounds for dismissal from the program - quite reasonable.

SSDI stands for Social Security Disability Insurance. The benefits received are determined by how much the person has been paying in Social Security taxes.

Granted, having been disabled before retiring, the person will definitely receive more benefits than they paid into it, just as if they'd bought a private life insurance policy and got lucky and died early.

The rationale for drug testing or not should be about the same as for a private disability insurance policy (the short term and long term disability insurance some employers offer, for example). In fact, there's probably more reason for drug testing for a private insurance policy, since they could actually offer a discount for people living healthy lives.
 
  • #40


BobG said:
SSDI stands for Social Security Disability Insurance. The benefits received are determined by how much the person has been paying in Social Security taxes.

Granted, having been disabled before retiring, the person will definitely receive more benefits than they paid into it, just as if they'd bought a private life insurance policy and got lucky and died early.

The rationale for drug testing or not should be about the same as for a private disability insurance policy (the short term and long term disability insurance some employers offer, for example). In fact, there's probably more reason for drug testing for a private insurance policy, since they could actually offer a discount for people living healthy lives.

The qualifications for this program have changed drastically. Accordingly, the program has nearly doubled in size in the past decade - including a great many younger people. I posted recently in another thread (supported) that 9 of the top 10 zip codes for SSDI beneficiaries are in Puerto Rico. I think we need a SSDI specific thread.
 
  • #41


Ryan_m_b said:
To answer the former; because the wealth of some people is reduced and the wealth of other people is increased.

I'm not advocating it purely as a means of redistributing wealth. I'm advocating it because as a society we should protect ourselves from failures in the economy and help out those in need...

Right, you seem to be suggesting however that people would be better of if we didn't pay welfare which I think is rubbish. How exactly would society be better off if hundreds of thousands of people were made to go hungry and homeless?
I know you said you're out, but I'm still going to respond to this.

I said in another thread that I support some welfare, for similar reasons. And you characterize it well: society should protect it's members. To me, that means it's not a moral/ethical requirement, it is just something we feel we should do.

On the practical side, however, we disagree and the reason for the disagreement is focus on short vs long term: you quite correctly state that redistribution increases the wealth of some while decreasing the wealth of others. But that is only the instantaneous effect. What about long-term? If wealth were a zero-sum game, then a more even distribution would be a necessity for the living condition of the poor to improve. But it isn't, as virtually every country with a growing economy sees both an improvement in living conditions coinciding with an increase in inequality. So the risk of forcing a more even wealth distribution in the short term is that you might make everyone poorer than they could have been in the long term by limiting or reversing economic growth.

I think the early history of American capitalism provides a case study for rapid growth under free conditions, but as I said in another thread and implied above, I'm willing to accept slower growth in exchange for certain reasonable safety nets and protections, as long as it is recognized openly that these things carry with them a long term risk of reduced growth and lower standards of living than could otherwise have existed.
 
  • #42


Oltz said:
All of the Functions I listed return a benefit to everyone. The remaining programs Directly transfer funds from one persons pay check to anothers government assistance.

It's not "everyone." Transferring funds from my pay check doesn't benefit me.
 
  • #43
mheslep said:
Jumping in...: NAEP data (from the link) does not support that conclusion. You'd have to measure the score of a child when he/she entered a charter and a district school, measure again at (say) the end of the year and then compare. This measurement detail is particularly important since the call for charter schools is most intense where educational results are traditionally poor - as we might expect. From my following of the public school - charter school debate my take is that many public school proponents are aware of this flaw but put out the information as conclusive nonetheless. As such, it is not just wrong but a lie.

If one wants to know the effectiveness of charter schools I say look at the actions of parents. They vote with their feet, and its a stampede everywhere someone opens the gate.
Edit: Unlike the NAEP data, there are before and after studies as well to back this up. Mass. Dept of Education did one:

http://www.tbf.org/uploadedFiles/tbforg/Utility_Navigation/Multimedia_Library/Reports/InformingTheDebate_Final.pdf

In the report, they compared the charter schools to public schools with similar demographics. I think that works statistically.

And their conclusions support some of what you claimed, even if they didn't say so specifically. In their report, charter schools were most likely to outperform traditional schools in areas where a high percentage of students lived in poverty or a high percentage of students were in English Langauge Learning programs. Both present some challenges to a school achieving high student performance.

In a way, saying charter schools outperform traditional schools when the threshold is particularly low sounds even more biased. It ignores the fact that charter schools face the same challenges the public schools do.

Other than that, the wider report shows performance all over the board. The fact that more charter schools do worse than public schools than do better could be specifically because people are stampeding towards the latest fad in education and perhaps they're being implemented in situations where it wasn't really appropriate to do so. Or, it could be because one big state implementing charter schools badly can skew the overall statistics.

Other than poverty and English learning programs, there is no pattern. In some states that have above average performance, charter schools still have better performance. In some states that have below average performance, charter schools have even worse performance.

My take on the report I linked to is that charter schools may have an advantage in some special situations, but other factors are usually much more important than the style of school in most situations.

I only have personal experience with one charter school. The school it replaced was closed due to poor performance, so it would be hard for this charter school to do worse than the school it replaced. But, even aside from that, there's some real positives. This school has gotten a lot of buy-in from the aerospace companies in our city. They have a Discovery Center (that actually belongs to the district, but is located on the school's campus) that has STK for analyzing satellite orbits in one room and a different room has simulated Mars landscape plus some Mars rovers made by Lego and I think the controllers are made by Honeywell (I can't remember for sure). The students have to program the rovers to accomplish various tasks. They also have a cybercafe that supposed to serve as a community center instead of just being used by the students (the goal is to get students' families more involved in the school environment).

Still, all the money being pumped into the school only has an effect if the school can actually integrate that into its core curriculum. This even applies to the guest speakers from local companies that come in. In fact, I was one of the guest speakers and making sure what I did synched up with what they were learning in class was pretty important to me. Tools are nice, but the people implementing them will really determine whether its successful or not. (And, while I'm a little dubious about how well they'll actually integrate all of this stuff, I am very impressed with their principal.)

The thing is, there's nothing that special about charter schools. They still succeed or fail on the same things that traditional public schools succeed or fail on.
 
  • #44


BobG said:
In the report, they compared the charter schools to public schools with similar demographics. I think that works statistically...
No, if they used similar demographics that helps, but it does not provide decisive information. These snapshots only tell us who holds captive the best group of students; they do not tell us which school is doing its job, which is to educate them over time.

Imagine at the end of the year that school A has score 100, school B 90, so, aha, naively school A is better. But then digging deeper we find when tracking the same body of students, that back at the beginning of the year school A's score was 98 and school B's score was 70. Now we see school B is likely doing the better job of educating while school A simply enjoys a better crop of students and likes to say so with the help of NAEP reports.

BobG said:
... The fact that more charter schools do worse than public schools than do better
If to "do" means to house a better group of students then perhaps some charter schools do worse than public. If to "do" means educate them, then charter schools are better according to data measuring change over time.

BobG said:
...The thing is, there's nothing that special about charter schools.
Not so. The meaningful data shows otherwise. See the Massachusetts data.
 
  • #45


Oltz said:
EPA/National Parks/ Museums/Monuments – Should have a component at each level of government– Essential and needed but the EPA needs to be more controlled by congress and less by the executive administration’s policies so that both business and environmental groups have a more consistent and predictable landscape year to year. (My degree is Environmental Geology I work for “Big Oil” in the Marcellus shale Natural Gas Play of PA)
Yes I think rules are needed and are a good thing

You barely touch on this part of things, but I do feel the government does need to regulate things such as what types of waste are discharged into the environment and to regulate things such as financial transactions.

For the latter, the important thing is to ensure enough transparency that investors know what they're buying. During the big corporate scandals, I didn't feel the WorldCom and Enron scandals were nearly as damaging as scandals such as Arthur Andersen. Accounting firm scandals undermine confidence in the entire system rather than confidence in just one or two companies.

You didn't mention what role the government should have in stimulating the economy. Personally, I think that's a role that's beyond the scope of the federal government. Tax decisions should be made based on what's needed to run the government - not based on stimulating jobs through either increased spending or reduced taxes.

But, given the reality that government will try to control the direction of the economy in some fashion, you don't mention how globalization figures into things - whether the government should encourage global free trade or protect American jobs.

I think that's a math problem more than a problem of ideology. If a person is a consumer, then there's different ways to increase how much they can consume - either make more money themselves, or lower the cost of the items they consume. Globalization lowers the cost of goods, but lowers consumer salaries whether they lose their own jobs or not. Higher tariffs on imported goods raise employment and consumer salaries, but also raise prices.

Additionally, a person only works for so long, while they consume goods for their entire life. In other words, having profitable companies to invest in is one way to increase your capability to continue consuming later in life (in which case, policies that create high inflation are robbing people's investments). Another would be defined benefit retirement programs with cost of living increases, but the guarantees would still depend on the company remaining healthy after you retire.

Selfishly, the best policy would be protectionist trade, increasing the amount of money that a person earned throughout their career, right up until I personally retire, at which point the best policy would be to keep prices as low as possible at any cost. Realistically, there should probably be some sort of balance that keeps most people happy while ensuring very few people are terribly unhappy.

Both ignore the fact that the only way to make it a non-zero sum game is to sell more American products to foreign customers than we buy from foreign customers. Does our foreign policy create a bigger market for American goods or does it create more competitors?

This kind of figures into education, as well, since creating low tech manufacturers in third world countries creates a market for goods that only a high tech country can produce, but you can only capitalize on that if you actually have workers that can create those higher tech goods.

And, of course, attitudes about globalization depend on whether a person takes a more nationalistic view or a more global view. Globalization is more fair, globally. Instead of a few developed countries consuming the resources of undeveloped countries that are left in poverty, some of that wealth goes back into those third world countries, raising their standard of living closer to the level of the developed countries.

But, that wealth redistribution usually does come at the expense of the developed countries low skill workers, plus raises the issue of whether the planet can support an entire world of countries consuming as much as the developed countries. And some would suggest the solution would be to lower the standard of living in developed countries to provide a more balanced global standard of living without increasing overall consumption of resources - or even allow less developed countries to operate on lower standards regarding the environment until they catch up in standard of living.

I think the role of the federal government is to look out for the citizens of the US, even if one were to expand that role to serving as Americans' representative to the global community - and even more justifiably and to a larger extent than the representative of a Congressional district representing the interests of the residents of his district in the US government (there's always an inherent conflict of interest in Congress between the interests of the nation as a whole and the interests of the voters that put that Congressman in office). Maybe the federal government shouldn't be isolationist, but it should definitely be an America first type of organization.
 
  • #46


Also remember there's different forms of conservatism. For example, here's part of the description of a neoconservative from a 1976 article by Irving Kristol, titled, "What is 'Neoconservative?'"

Here is the type of welfare state neoconservatives generally support, as outlined by a Irving Kristol article from 1976:

Neoconservatism is not at all hostile to the idea of a welfare state, but it is critical of the Great Society version of this welfare state. In general, it approves of those social reforms that, while providing needed security and comfort to the individual in our dynamic, urbanized society, do so with a minimum of bureaucratic intrusion in the individual's affairs. Such reforms would include, of course, social security, unemployment insurance, some form of national health insurance, some kind of family assistance plan, etc...In contrast, it is skeptical of those social programs that create vast and energetic bureaucracies to "solve social problems." in short, while being for the welfare state, it is opposed to the paternalistic state. It also believes that this welfare state will best promote the common good if it is conceived in such a way as not to go bankrupt.

Neoconservatism has great respect-it is fair to say it has learned to have great respect-for the power of the market to respond efficiently to economic realities while preserving the maximum degree of individual freedom. Though willing to interfere with the market for overriding social purposes, it prefers to do so by "rigging" the market, or even creating new markets, rather than by direct bureaucratic controls. Thus it is more likely to favor housing vouchers for the poor than government-built low-income projects.


~~~the source for this article was in the book The Neoconservative Persuasion (it's a collection of his columns from over the years).

Most free-market types, except for some ultra-libertarian types, seem to believe in basic forms of social safety nets, the degree of which can depend depending on the type of conservative.
 
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  • #47


CAC1001 said:
Also remember there's different forms of conservatism. For example, here's part of the description of a neoconservative from a 1976 article by Irving Kristol, titled, "What is 'Neoconservative?'"

Here is the type of welfare state neoconservatives generally support, as outlined by a Irving Kristol article from 1976:

Neoconservatism is not at all hostile to the idea of a welfare state, but it is critical of the Great Society version of this welfare state. In general, it approves of those social reforms that, while providing needed security and comfort to the individual in our dynamic, urbanized society, do so with a minimum of bureaucratic intrusion in the individual's affairs. Such reforms would include, of course, social security, unemployment insurance, some form of national health insurance, some kind of family assistance plan, etc...In contrast, it is skeptical of those social programs that create vast and energetic bureaucracies to "solve social problems." in short, while being for the welfare state, it is opposed to the paternalistic state. It also believes that this welfare state will best promote the common good if it is conceived in such a way as not to go bankrupt.

Neoconservatism has great respect-it is fair to say it has learned to have great respect-for the power of the market to respond efficiently to economic realities while preserving the maximum degree of individual freedom. Though willing to interfere with the market for overriding social purposes, it prefers to do so by "rigging" the market, or even creating new markets, rather than by direct bureaucratic controls. Thus it is more likely to favor housing vouchers for the poor than government-built low-income projects.


~~~the source for this article was in the book The Neoconservative Persuasion (it's a collection of his columns from over the years).

Most free-market types, except for some ultra-libertarian types, seem to believe in basic forms of social safety nets, the degree of which can depend depending on the type of conservative.

I think this can be interpreted and presented in a very simple statement.

Conservatives will gladly participate in necessary programs if the real costs are known through due diligence, agreed to by all parties, and managed within these agreed upon limits.

If a program is to be funded with a 1% tax - the tax will be collected and the amount collected will be spent - nothing else.
 

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