There was a lot to unpack there and digest, so I let your response “cook” a few days in my cranium before responding (plus work and life interceded…).

In the case of background checks, that all sounds great to me, until I start to think about (and I know other legislators do) setting the precedent of the government doing a background check on you before you are granted a constitutional right. When I think about that, suddenly my “sounds great” turns into “that sucks”.

[snip] — “Other legislators?” Are you an elected official?

This now-familiar voting pattern, in which Democrats are concentrated into urban areas (with a few indian reservations thrown in) also concentrates the support for background checks to urban areas.


So, maybe there’s a better example for money-in-politics reasoning than background checks?

First. Background checks have a 90% approval rating. Period. Not 90% approval rating from (D)s and/or (I)s; 90% across the board. Maybe you are of the 1 in 10 that doesn’t approve, but it is an issue that has nearly universal US support.

Second. Background checks are already federal law. The issue is legal loopholes such as allowing gun purchases without a check at gun shows, and stopping “straw man purchases” where some person with a clean record buys multiple guns legally and then sells them to criminals illegally.

Third. Constitutional rights are all limited. We have, “free speech,” but not the right to threaten to foment violence (for example). We have the right to own arms, but you can’t open up “Bazookas ‘r Us” and start selling RPGs to the general public. So we are discussing degrees of limitation on a constitutional right, not whether there should be limitations at all.

Finally, if this issue is too contentious, let’s look at the issue of allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices for seniors with pharma companies. This has 77% support from (D)s, 67% support from (R)s (numbers from Nov. 2015). This level of support (varying a bit up and down) has been the case since Medicare D was rolled out in 2003, and yet, 14 years later, it is still not law. Hmmm…couldn’t be all that pharma money going to politicians, could it? [cough] corey booker [cough]

Well, we need to get there [labor and management being roughly equal]. SOME of the younger labor leaders have made noises in this direction. We’ll see where that goes. But automation does not bode well for that dynamic.

Agree on both points.

Here you are completely ignoring (or are unaware of) the power of big business and the completely lopsided power balance in the US.

Wait a second…that was my point. I think you just forgot the quotes. Solving it is another matter (your point) and I agree. A great first start would be to make it easier for workers (blue and white) to organize. That is currently not the case.

I didn’t suggest prohibiting public assistance. My proposal was to make people CHOOSE between the job and public assistance.

The “all or nothing” plan will lead to more people (albeit in low percentages) staying on public assistance than moving off. Having a sliding scale so that people can “work up” to where they need no assistance has a much better chance of success. This is partly because getting public assistance is not a, “I lost my job — now I get assistance” process. Getting off of assistance is quick. Getting back on…not at all.

Tell you what. *I* will tell *you* what I believe. *You* don’t tell *me* what I believe. And I’ll do you the same courtesy. Discussions end the moment people start putting words into the other’s mouths.

That’s good. I specifically used the words, “you apparently are arguing for” to try not to put words in your mouth (actually, fingers). I appreciate the courtesy, and hopefully I’ve returned it!

I am an advocate of rationality and equality between economic actors. I recognize that there is no scenario one can dream up (short of dumping capitalism completely, which historically doesn’t end well) where labor prospers while corporations do not.

I totally agree. It has got to be a win-win. People need to be able to live on their pay, and companies need to be able to make a profit. Capitalism is the worst economic system…except for all the others! The devil is of course in the details.

A free market can have regulations. This is a deliberate obfuscation.

Now before we get all kumbuya and share cat videos, I’ll be very purposefully anal retentively precise: “free markets” have no regulation. Full stop. If you say:

The *extent* to which a market is free is indeed determined by the level of regulation over it

Then the logical and correct conclusion can only be that a “free market” is one in which there is no regulation. And saying:

(a “regulation” is simply a business decision which the government makes on behalf of the business).

is correct (or at least I agree with your statement), but a business may not agree with a government’s decision on behalf of the business — ergo, the business is not “free” to decide on its own.

The dodge used by most of the capitalist world to leave off the word “regulated” and just say “free markets” is a trick to allow wiggle room when defining the amount of regulation that is acceptable.

Goat herders 5000 years ago on the Eurasian Steppes traded without governments. It was a free market. People in Somalia trade with each other whether there is a gov’t there or not. It is a failed state now, thus there is no regulation, so it is a free market. You have some weapons which you can’t buy in the US (an allegedly “free market”)? Well, you can buy them in Somalia. Because it is really a free market. Why can’t you sell them in the US? Because it is not a free market. Those weapons you bought may not work, or you may be cheated by your business partner when you come to pay, and you have no legal recourse, but that is because there is no regulation of the market. It is completely free.

Summary: What the industrialized world has are “regulated markets” that are incorrectly called, “free markets” for the political purposes. A “free market” has no regulation. I will nominate you as today’s internet empress (emperor? I think you’re a woman from your user name, but I’m not sure) if you can find a definition of “free market” that is more precise than mine.

OK. I’ve climbed off my, “free market definition” soapbox. I totally agree that regulations (world-wide) are a hodge podge mess. I’m not sure how much we agree on where and how to make improvements, but at least we agree on that! I’m not a fan or “left/right” definitions either. I think that as well is a misnomer used to divide those without power by those with power. I have my own theory there as well, but that is a different conversation, and I’ve dragged this one on long enough!

Ending on a friendly note: I appreciate very much your cordiality and debate. As a olive branch I don’t have any cat videos to share, but I’ll point out that my avatar is actually my real dog’s snout (I think he’s very cute).

US expatriate living in the EU; seeing the world from both sides of the Atlantic.

US expatriate living in the EU; seeing the world from both sides of the Atlantic.