Liberal Democrat

Liberal Democrat
Father of American Liberalism

Friday, March 21, 2014

The Fiscal Times: Opinion: Mark Thoma: Inequality in Capitalist Systems: The Role of Social Insurance in a Capitalist System

The Fiscal Times: Opinion: Mark Thoma: Inequality in a Capitalist System is Not Inevitable

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

I would describe capitalism, or private enterprise, meaning private businesses and wealth controlled by individuals or groups of individuals, not by the state, as the worst type of economic system in the world, except for all the rest.  Actually, as has been pointed out on this blog many times, what I call liberal capitalism is capitalism designed to include everyone, where everyone has economic freedom and is not controlled by the special few or by government.  This is the worst form of capitalism, except for all the rest.

I mention that because there are several forms of capitalism, and all developed countries and rapidly developing countries, large countries like Mexico, Brazil, Russia, China, India, and Pakistan, have one form or another of a capitalist economic system. And the beauty of each of these different types of capitalist systems is the idea that your competitors cannot just outclass you but also put you out of business. So in this system, you must deliver the best services possible at the most affordable and competitive prices or be driven out of business.

The disadvantage of capitalism is that some people do very well for whatever reason, for example, starting off very rich along with getting the best education possible, or simply coming from modest roots but working very hard and productively and reaping the benefits so they are more than capable of caring for themselves and their families.

But on the other side, there are people at the bottom who, for whatever reason, either through bad personal choices, such as not finishing their education or having children before they were ready to raise them properly, or coming from a low-income family without access to a decent education, now find themselves living in poverty as adults and perhaps raising children as well.

That is where social insurance, or the safety net, jumps in to help the people at the bottom, where they are ignored by the private market or did not take advantage of the opportunities presented by the private market to make a good life for themselves. The safety net covers temporary financial assistance for people living in poverty and not currently working and provides access to education and job training, which provide the tools needed to achieve economic freedom by finding a good job with a living wage. 

Saturday, March 8, 2014

PBS: Video: NewsHour: Shields and Gerson: Cold War Echos and Campaign Financing

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

I actually agree with Mark Shields on this.  Republicans, especially in the Senate, love to criticize President Obama when it comes to Ukraine.  They blame him for everything from Ukraine to earthquakes thousands of miles away in Asia and perhaps every other problem that has arisen during his presidency. Depending on the day of the week, he is either ineffectual or dictatorial.  However, Republicans never propose alternative solutions and seem bereft of ideas that could have prevented this or that crisis from happening.  Their policy is built on soundbites and talking points and words like tough and decisive, without any real meat on their bones.

Mox News: Video: CNN's Piers Morgan Tonight: RT's Abby Martin Standing Up Against Russian Invasion of Ukraine

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

Someone is finally stepping up to the fascist neoconservative Putin in and saying he is wrong to invade Ukraine. As far as Abby Martin taking on corporate media, guess what Russia Today is.  It is owned by the Russian Government, which could at any time pull people for disagreeing with them or, in Russia, arrest them for disagreeing with them.  Very little independent media in the Russian Federation!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

PBS: Video: NewsHour: The Texas Monthly's Wayne Slater: Previewing The Texas Governor's Race

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

This is Texas Democrats' best opportunity to win the Texas governorship since 1990, when Anne Richards won this seat.  I'm not saying State Senator Wendy Davis is going to win this race, because she is definitely the underdog.  I am saying that she can win this race, and it could become competitive, somewhere around five points by election day in November either way because of the growing Latino population in Texas, especially female Mexican voters, both Democrats and Republicans, and perhaps because of Attorney General Gregg Abbott being too far to the right on social issues, even for Texas as a whole.

Crooks and Liars: Real Time With Bill Maher- Bill Maher Floats Notion of Maximum Wage- On New Rules Segment

Source: Real Time With Bill Maher-
Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat

This is where so-called Progressives, and I use that term loosely for a good reason, as I would call race car drivers athletes, especially when the person making fun of billionaires just happens to be worth 50 to 100 million dollars. Bill Maher didn't get rich by being a Socialist but by working hard and having a skill, talent, and mind that have made him so successful that he could retire today in his late fifties and probably never work again. He didn't get rich by government giving him most of the services and money he needed to be successful.

I can understand people having a problem with the extremely rich having so much compared with the people who are very to extremely poor. But the answer should be about empowering people at the very bottom, close to the bottom, or barely in the middle so they can be successful and not worry about how they will cover their basic necessities, let alone bills, simple things like paying for dinner and so-forth instead of putting down people for being successful. You become successful through marketable talents and skills.

Someone worth 50 to 100 million dollars pouncing on billionaires is like compulsive liars deriding spin doctors for being dishonest or alcoholics deriding narcotic addicts. The hypocrisy is as obvious as knowing water is wet, not to put your finger in a moving fan, or not to jump in front of a moving truck, etc.  A blind person could see that if you make an argument like that, perhaps Bill should admit he makes too much money and should either give a lot of it back or donate all of it to charity or to Uncle Sam.
HBO: Real Time With Bill Maher- New Rule: Inequality in America

Monday, March 3, 2014

The McLaughlin Group: Russia/Ukraine, Military Cuts & the Arizona Gay Discrimination Bill

Source: The McLaughlin Group- In studio-
Source: The New Democrat

I think the panel is correct when they say President Vladimir Putin's real goal for the Russian Federation is to return it to a superpower, or at least a world power, again, at least on the scale of the People's Republic of China, and have Russia grow its military and economy to the same levels as those of the Chinese. But I hope the panel is correct when they say Russia has no intention of invading and occupying Ukraine but is perhaps more interested in simply ending the violence there.

As far as the military cuts go, there is nothing radical here, just an understanding of the reality that we no longer occupy Afghanistan and Iraq and are no longer in a position where we need to police the world. Nor can we afford to do that, especially with our alliances in Europe and now in the Middle East as well. This is not about weakening American power, but paying for the power that we need in an affordable way and cutting back in areas we no longer need to be involved in.

As far as the Arizona gay discrimination bill goes, because that is exactly what it is, which is legally to deny people service simply because they are gay and move us back to the 1960s, when Americans could be denied service because of their race or color. Even if Governor Jan Brewer vetoed the bill for economic reasons, she still did the right thing, and, as we learned today, the Arizona Legislature has no intention of bringing up another gay discrimination bill this session.
The McLaughlin Group: Russia/Ukraine, Military Cuts, & Arizona Gay Discrimination Bill