News What do you support?

Check what you support

  • Ban all private gun ownership [more or less]

    Votes: 14 23.3%
  • Abortion made illegal

    Votes: 10 16.7%
  • Amnesty for illegal aliens

    Votes: 18 30.0%
  • Allow domestic wire taps without oversight

    Votes: 2 3.3%
  • Strong environmental protection laws

    Votes: 39 65.0%
  • Mostly unregulated imports and trade

    Votes: 18 30.0%
  • Elimination of the National debt

    Votes: 38 63.3%
  • Throw out the existing tax structure

    Votes: 30 50.0%
  • Increase taxes on the rich

    Votes: 24 40.0%
  • None of the above

    Votes: 4 6.7%

  • Total voters
    60

Astronuc

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I think that chronic and accumulating debt is not good. Of course, those doing debt service have a vested interest in maintain or increasing debt. Those cost of debt on the many is the profit/income of a few.
 

ShawnD

Science Advisor
658
1
It looks like "good debt" is when the government takes loans to get the economy going again, such as give tax cuts and run a deficit when the economy is in a slump. Can't find anything else.
 

mheslep

Gold Member
254
728
I'm surprised it's more than zero.
Why would you be surprised?
http://www.pollingreport.com/abortion.htm" [Broken] Poll Oct '07:
"Do you think abortion should be legal in all cases, legal in most cases, illegal in most cases, or illegal in all cases?"
Oct '07 %
Legal in All Cases 21
Legal in Most Cases 32
Illegal in Most Cases 24
Illegal in All Cases 14
Unsure 8
 
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854
16
Why would you make abortion illegal? To me that is nonsensical-- do people not have the freedom of choice in your vision of society?
In my vision of society people would have as much freedom of choice as makes sense and no more. After all, rapists would not be allowed freedom to choose their victims in your vision of society, right? Why are you against freedom of choice? In my vision, women would still have the right to choose, but not the right to choose murder any more than men would. My ancestors in Europe were at the loosing end of a political debate as to whether they were human or not. I don't want to go through that again.
 
854
16
There are also fundamental economic arguments for having a debt. I would have to look them up but I have read about this before.
I don't know all the ins and outs of this, but I wonder if the economic downturn at the end of the Clinton and beginning of the Bush administrations was not caused by the enormous surpluses in the previous years. Perhaps running the government at a profit is no better than running it at a loss.
 
436
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Why would you make abortion illegal? To me that is nonsensical-- do people not have the freedom of choice in your vision of society?
Since you interpreted what I said as a defense of anarchy, I can see that attempting to explain myself to you further would be a waste of time. However, for the benefit of anyone else reading this, I was mainly thinking of partial birth abortion. By defending abortion in general, you actively defend, and thus are guilty of, partial birth abortion. You cannot claim ignorance since a few minutes research reveals the following:

While most babies are in their 20th to 24th week when aborted in this manner, babies are aborted as late as the ninth month. This was admitted to by abortionist McMahon who, in 1995, submitted to the House Judiciary Constitution Subcommittee a graph and explanation that showed he aborted healthy babies even in the third trimester. The graph included a substantial number aborted in the ninth month.

Ron Fitzsimmons, the executive director of the National Coalition of Abortion Providers admitted on ABC’s “Nightline” (11/95) that he had lied when he asserted the procedure was used rarely and only on women whose lives were in danger. The reality is, this method of killing partially born babies is done many thousands of times a year. Abortionist, Dr. McMahon, admitted in 1995 to performing over 2000 partial birth abortions.

Brenda Pratt Shafer, a registered nurse from Dayton, Ohio, assisted Dr. Haskell in a Partial Birth Abortion on a 26-1/2 week (over 6 months) pre-born baby boy. She testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee (on 11/17/95) about what she witnessed. According to nurse Shafer, the baby was alive and moving as the abortionist “delivered the baby’s body and arms - everything but the head. The doctor kept the baby’s head just inside the uterus. The baby’s little fingers were clasping and unclasping, his feet were kicking. Then the doctor stuck the scissors through the back of his head, and the baby’s arms jerked out in a flinch, a startle reaction, like a baby does when he thinks he might fall. The doctor opened up the scissors, stuck a high-powered suction tube into the opening and sucked the baby’s brains out. Now the baby was completely limp.”
 

Hurkyl

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You know, none of that is relevant, fleem. Unless this one man, all by himself, makes up a signficant proportion of all abortinists, his testimonial doesn't tell us anything about the general state of things. And the emotional appeal emphasizes that you really don't have a rational argument.

(And, for the record, I am generally against abortions)
 

russ_watters

Mentor
18,849
5,039
Could you specify what you didn't understand?
It wasn't a lack of understanding. "Increase taxes on the rich", for example, is basically just a meaningless slogan and so unanswerable. There are proposals that I would support and proposals that I wouldn't. For example, I would not generally support the increase of only the top marginal tax bracket. I would, however, support the closing of a number of tax loopholes, such as the use of capital gains as income being taxable as income. Of course, I'd also want to include in that another exception for waiving capital gains for someone selling one house to buy another one.

"Strong environmental protection laws" is obviously a matter of opinion. What I would consider "strong environmental protection laws" and what you would are likely to be entirely different things. So the poll question really is very generic.

"Elimination of the national debt" has already been covered. As others pointed out, you probably don't want to eliminate it completely, but dropping it to 1/10 or 1/100th (perhaps) of its current size should be universally seen as a good thing.

Actually, maybe there is one that I just don't understand: By "Throw out the existing tax structure", do you mean just trashing the existing tax code and writing a new, simpler one but with the same structure? That also sounds good as a slogan, but may or may not be practical. Or do you mean getting rid of the progressive income tax and going for a flat tax, national income tax, or something else? I would definitely not be in favor of that (heck, most people who are in favor of those things aren't as in favor of them as they think they are).
 
436
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You know, none of that is relevant, fleem. Unless this one man, all by himself, makes up a signficant proportion of all abortinists, his testimonial doesn't tell us anything about the general state of things. And the emotional appeal emphasizes that you really don't have a rational argument.

(And, for the record, I am generally against abortions)
How on earth can you say a claim that partial birth abortion is done fairly frequently, which is made by the Executive Director of the National Coalition of Abortion Providers (who most certainly has a reason to downplay the frequency of partial birth abortions), tells us nothing about the probable frequency of partial birth abortion?

Certainly very few things in life are absolutely provable. That's why the vast majority of decisions we make must be based on probabilities. The statement by this fellow, in light of who he is and what his agenda would be, notably increases the probability that partial birth abortions are occurring frequently. No, it doesn't prove it. But the scientific process never said that all statements are false until absolutely proven true.

You also appear confused about the purpose of the last paragraph. Logic is a tool we use to attain our goals, but it cannot possible tell us what those goals should be. Only desire can do that. An "emotional argument" is an argument that uses emotion in an attempt to prove what could otherwise be obtained through logic. A desire to value a future life is certainly not something that can be "logically obtained". The purpose of the last paragraph was (assuming there really is such a thing as partial birth abortion going on) most certainly filled with emotion, for only emotion can provide us with our life goals. For example, why is it "logical" to do things that increase your own probability of survival or increase the probability of survival of mankind?

(Now I speak to everyone). And speaking of the survival of mankind, if your desire is to improve mankind's chances, then we must embrace an attitude of valuing life just a tad blindly. And thus we should value potential life, as well. This is a purely emotional appeal, although it is also a logical conviction of hypocrites claiming to desire the survival of mankind, but who also embrace an attitude that devalues life. Certainly the argument can be made that evolution should be allowed to do its work via a mother's decision to kill her child. But when a society condones that attitude, it gets generalized by later generations into an attitude that generally devalues life.
 

cristo

Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
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In my vision of society people would have as much freedom of choice as makes sense and no more. After all, rapists would not be allowed freedom to choose their victims in your vision of society, right?
This is a strange analogy, since by saying that rapists do not have the freedom to choose victims, then you are implying that rapists' victims are fixed by someone else. What you mean is that rapists should not have the freedom to decide whether they rape someone or not. And, of course they shouldn't, but then rape is detrimental and does not serve any useful purpose.
Why are you against freedom of choice? In my vision, women would still have the right to choose, but not the right to choose murder any more than men would.
So, what about a woman who was raped. She should not be allowed to terminate the child? If you make abortion illegal on the grounds that noone should be allowed to murder, then you can't allow abortions in some cases and not others. What about the 15, or younger, year old girl who made a naive mistake? Should she have to ruin her life, throw away her education, and bring up a child that she doesn't really want?

It's not as simple as just saying "ban all abortions."
 
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436
0
Why is it that abortion defenders always dwell on that .2% of special cases of rape and health? Because they do not wish to discuss the 99.8% of the cases, which are abortions used as a form of birth control by those too lazy and stupid to use something profoundly more convenient and profoundly more accepted by the majority.
 

cristo

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Why is it that abortion defenders always dwell on that .2% of special cases of rape and health? Because they do not wish to discuss the 99.8% of the cases, which are abortions used as a form of birth control by those too lazy and stupid to use something profoundly more convenient and profoundly more accepted by the majority.
I'm not dwelling on what seems to be some random percentage you've plucked out of the air. I'm simply saying that, if you make abortion illegal, then you can have no excpetions. So, the statistics don't matter in this case, since there are lives that will be ruined by the fact that they could not abort the baby. It doesn't matter what proportion of these make up the total.

Note, I'm not condoning abortions used as contraception. I'm just saying that it would be foolish to make abortions illegal.
 
854
16
If you make abortion illegal on the grounds that noone should be allowed to murder, then you can't allow abortions in some cases and not others.
But those are not my grounds. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Justifiable_homicide" [Broken]

What about the 15, or younger, year old girl who made a naive mistake? Should she have to ruin her life, throw away her education, and bring up a child that she doesn't really want?
By all means.

It's not as simple as just saying "ban all abortions."
I didn't say that. It's an example of the vagueness of the poll questions.
 
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854
16
What you mean is that rapists should not have the freedom to decide whether they rape someone or not
And what you mean is that women should have the freedom to decide whether to abort or not. Why did you bring up the issue of freedom of choice at all then. As far as I know, freedom of choice is not a legal right, it's a slogan for selling hamburger sandwiches.
 
436
0
I'm not dwelling on what seems to be some random percentage you've plucked out of the air. I'm simply saying that, if you make abortion illegal, then you can have no excpetions. So, the statistics don't matter in this case, since there are lives that will be ruined by the fact that they could not abort the baby. It doesn't matter what proportion of these make up the total.

Note, I'm not condoning abortions used as contraception. I'm just saying that it would be foolish to make abortions illegal.
Yes, I guess having a law with certain execeptions would be an unreasonable request of our lawmakers. We certainly wouldn't want them to get too confused.
 

cristo

Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
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But those are not my grounds. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Justifiable_homicide" [Broken]
It seems that we don't actually disagree at all! Sorry for misinterpreting your comments.
 
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cristo

Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
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Yes, I guess having a law with certain execeptions would be an unreasonable request of our lawmakers.
My point is, where do you draw the line? You can't possibly put every clause of exception into such a law.
 
436
0
My point is, where do you draw the line? You can't possibly put every clause of exception into such a law.
According to a recent Gallup poll, 61% of people are against generally available (not rape or health-related) abortions. Yet lawmakers do not provide a referendum to make that opinion official, nor do they even provide the most lenient of laws designed to unquestionably have no impact on those very few abortions that really are health or rape-related. This shows that the lawmakers are obviously disobeying the will of the people. For example, we are not even provided a law like, "A woman that has had three abortions within ten years will pay a fine of $100". Surely that wouldn't hit that many rape or health related abortions, but would stop at least some casual abortions. We don't even get that! So it is the lobbyists that run the country rather than the people.
 

ShawnD

Science Advisor
658
1
I would, however, support the closing of a number of tax loopholes, such as the use of capital gains as income being taxable as income. Of course, I'd also want to include in that another exception for waiving capital gains for someone selling one house to buy another one.
Wouldn't this hurt the middle class more than it hurts the rich? For most middle class people like myself, and probably you, our retirement depends entirely on how we invest our money. People think a 401k (US) or RRSP (Canada) is tax free, but it's only tax free until you sell it. Once you start selling that off, you'll find the government is taking a significant chunk of your retirement. From what I can find on wiki, the tax rate on stock for the lowest 2 income brackets in the US is 5%, or 15% past 30k per individual, which would be 60k per couple. That seems fairly reasonable. In Canada you pay 50% of your normal rate; so if your regular tax rate was 30% for that income bracket, the tax on capital gains would be 15%. That's a bit higher, but still manageable.

If you remove the capital gains tax loophole, you're talking about literally doubling the tax rate on every middle class person.


Also, I didn't vote for higher tax on rich people because that wouldn't accomplish anything. Politicians would just piss it away like they do now.
 
854
16
Wouldn't this hurt the middle class more than it hurts the rich? For most middle class people like myself, and probably you, our retirement depends entirely on how we invest our money. People think a 401k (US) or RRSP (Canada) is tax free, but it's only tax free until you sell it. Once you start selling that off, you'll find the government is taking a significant chunk of your retirement. From what I can find on wiki, the tax rate on stock for the lowest 2 income brackets in the US is 5%, or 15% past 30k per individual, which would be 60k per couple. That seems fairly reasonable. In Canada you pay 50% of your normal rate; so if your regular tax rate was 30% for that income bracket, the tax on capital gains would be 15%. That's a bit higher, but still manageable.

If you remove the capital gains tax loophole, you're talking about literally doubling the tax rate on every middle class person.


Also, I didn't vote for higher tax on rich people because that wouldn't accomplish anything. Politicians would just piss it away like they do now.
Withdrawals from a 401k are treated as regular income, not capital gains.
 

ShawnD

Science Advisor
658
1
Woops, you're right. 401k and RRSP are taxed as normal income because you didn't pay income tax to fund either of them. It's the ones outside of that where you pay capital gains.

In any event, middle class people usually have investment plans on the side as well. It's sort of an unwritten rule that you keep bonds in your 401k/RRSP and stocks outside of that, because bonds have the higher tax rate. If you ask somebody about their stock portfolio, there's a good chance everything/most is held outside of their 401k.
 
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Contrapositive

Which positions or agendas do you support [U.S.]?
'Strong environmental protection laws' is the one I probably feel strongest about. Specifically, I believe people have should have the right to clean air. I don't want people coughing up black goo here in the US like they do in Europe. That's is just unacceptable.
 

BobG

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The options provide a pretty limited choice of yes/no and require some reading between the lines to figure out what you're really asking (which might be the reason only 3 received 50% or more support).

Ban all private gun ownership [more or less] - NO, although I do support some gun control laws. Since I don't believe in very restrictive gun control laws, no seemed to fit best.

Abortion made illegal - YES, which isn't exactly true, but I do think we need more restrictive abortion laws.

Amnesty for illegal aliens - YES. I don't like the wording, but a yes comes closest to my opinion. Deporting everyone in the US illegally isn't a very realistic option and the immigration problem is blown way beyond the priority it deserves in any event.

Allow domestic wire taps without oversight - NO. The wording of the choice doesn't really capture current issues over electronic surveillance, but I'd answer NO to a question about the current surveillance policies as well.

Strong environmental protection laws - YES comes the closest to my position in that I tend to view most environmental protection laws favorably, at least initially. (How much am I willing to pay for stronger environmental protection laws would be a tougher question.)

Mostly unregulated imports and trade - YES

Elimination of the National debt - YES, although a more accurate statement would be a major reduction in debt. Total elimination isn't worth the effort and could be undesirable economically in any event.

Throw out the existing tax structure - NO.

Increase taxes on the rich - YES. Or decrease spending. I guess most of the solutions I favor for current problems right now would effectively involve rasing taxes for the rich (fighting a war and cutting taxes at the same time is pretty ludicrous, for example). I'm not pro-tax in general, but it's more important that tax policies adapt to current problems. In fact, paying for policies as you go does a better job forcing people to decide just how important a particular problem is to them. It's pretty easy to favor nice things if you don't have to pay for them until some indefinite time in the future.
 

BobG

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My point is, where do you draw the line? You can't possibly put every clause of exception into such a law.
You have to draw a line somewhere, regardless. Drawing the line at the moment of birth may be the simplest place to draw the line, since it's a line pretty obvious to everyone, but valuing simplicity a tad bit blindly is hardly an improvement on valuing life a tad bit blindly.

(I think claiming "valuing life a tad blindly" would improve mankind's chances of survival was a pretty thin argument, by the way; especially since it could actually reduce mankind's chances of survival if the size of human population bumps up against the limits of the Earth's resources.)
 

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