CrossFit Discussion Board  

Go Back   CrossFit Discussion Board > Community > Community
CrossFit Home Forum Site Rules CrossFit FAQ Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Community Catch all category for CrossFit community discussion.

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 07-03-2007, 11:07 AM   #31
Dale F. Saran
CrossFit Staff Dale F. Saran is offline
 
Dale F. Saran's Avatar
 
Profile:
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Westerly  RI
Posts: 559
I second Bryan's point, Tim. You seem to be more of an "anti-tax" guy at heart, rather than an anti-arts education guy.

It seems to me the core of this philosophy is that you're anti anything that uses your tax money in ways that you don't like or cannot see a direct, tangible benefit from. e.g. educating "other people's kids" in arts or football or anything at all, really.

This to me seems to me to miss the point of a society entirely. Perhaps you would be happier on your own island, but I think there's a pretty good argument that taxes into the coffers for roads, schools, libraries, stop lights, streetlights, sewage, water, electricity, utilities, the registry of deeds, etc. are a good thing. I'm willing to suffer the "theft", as you wrongly term it, of my tax dollars in return for these services, even before I had kids. Because I believe as a whole that educating other people's kids is a "liberty maximizing" kind of thing, in the long run (using our current standard).

Your beer exmaple is a bad one, Tim, based upon your own point about our republican form of government. We all voted on my beer, but I didn't elect you guys, nor consent to my beer being for the common good. But if we had agreed ahead in some kind of "social compact" on the splitting of a pitcher, for which we had all paid and I came out a little shorter than I would have on my own, but I received the benefit of say, a common defense agreement, I've got no problems with that at all.

Man, that analogy is strained.:g:
  Reply With Quote
Old 07-03-2007, 12:55 PM   #32
Barry Cooper
Member Barry Cooper is offline
 
Barry Cooper's Avatar
 
Profile:
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Louisville  KY
Posts: 2,188
I know from experience that if you ask a group of people about any subjective issue--let's say the exact setting of the thermostat in an office--you will get more answers than you have people. Yet they will settle around, in this case, two base set points: one for women, one for men. Generally, the issue is resolved slightly in favor of the men, with theory that women can wear sweaters. Yet, quite often the precise solution is the one in which everyone is equally unhappy. This is a balance of sorts.

If we adopt a position of "I support taxes for this, but not this", there is no end. Some people oppose cars, and would want all traffic to be bicycle trails. Many people oppose war, and don't want ANY taxes going to the military. Some favor nuclear energy; some oppose it. Some people favor development, some oppose it. You cannot, will not, EVER generate a situation, in my view, where you have perfect unanimity of opinion on anything.

Obviously, the counter-argument is being made that, rather than spend less on arts, we need to spend more. This is being made with the same sincerity, the same passion, and the same desire for social improvement you bring to the table. You are, in my understanding, saying "our society would be better if. . .", and so are they. This does not make the positions equivalent in their merits, in my view, but nonetheless deserving of consideration.

Personally, I believe that life outside of a community, outside of a group of people with whom to share ups and downs, trials and tribulations, with whom to socialize, and upon whom you can depend, if need be, is one that falls far short of what is optimal for happiness on this earth.

Now, some want to in effect force this community into existence using the government as the mid-wife, as an intermediary between one segment of society and another. Others view the government merely as a facilitator of liberty, with liberty the best means by which organic communities arise.

I tend, of course, to side with the latter group, but I have to say I don't view the government merely as a parasite. It is a resource as well, a liberty muliplier. If I am responsible, I can go the the Small Business Administration and get a loan guaranteed. If I pay it off, then all that agency has done is act as a catalyst for economic growth, which helps everyone. In my understanding, they don't disburse the money.

Using that analogy, the loans are made based on merit. If my credit is bad, or my business plan is poor, then I won't get them to offset the lenders' risk, and I won't get the loan. Likewise, one could demand similar resistance to intentional provocation by the NEA in it's assessments of would-be grant recipients.

With respect to education, all art programs do is help children become better rounded adults. I agree that our system needs to be much better, but the fact of the matter is that the Chinese and Indian kids who come here graduate from almost anywhere they go knowing a lot. This is not the teachers, but the parents, and what they expect.

It is true that school here was much, much harder 100 years ago, and should be made so again, but it is not true that this is an insuperable obstacle to education, or reason to deny resources to people who want to use them responsibly and in a manner arguably conducive to communal well-being.
  Reply With Quote
Old 07-03-2007, 08:19 PM   #33
David Wood
Departed David Wood is offline
 
Profile:
Join Date: Oct 2002
 
Posts: 3,303
Hmmm . . . so much to comment on.

// moderator mode OFF //
// member mode ON //

Re: Taxation: I'm going to generally "vote" with Dale and Barry about the presumed benefits of paying taxes within some sort of (at least vaguely) representative system that allows me some ability to influence what I am taxed for. I guarantee that I don't always approve of everything that is spent for me (I live in NJ, one of the most heavily taxed states in our union, and arguably, one of the least efficient / most corrupt (take your choice)); but I still vastly prefer our current system to the radical individualism.

I view taxes as the regrettable price we pay for not having to live in the wild, wild West every day (see, for example, Russia). I strongly suspect that Tim would survive, and even prosper, in a less lawful environment such as that; not so sure that I would.

Incidentally, Tim, I don't consider it hypocritical at all to vote on something while objecting in principle to the very idea that you are voting to reject. Nor is it hypocritical to use the library (that you pay for) while opposing the basic idea that you should be taxed for them at all. As long as you *are* paying, you *should* make use of the services when you want.

It's only hypocritical to avoid payment and then use the services.


Re: the failing quality of public education: couple of thoughts.

In all honesty, I think there is a great deal of selection bias in any such discussion. Most of us who are writing, reading, or thinking about this issue were probably among the reasonably smart, and reasonably well-educated amongst our peers when we were in school (the ones who weren't tuned out long ago and are looking for something good on YouTube). That (self-congratulatory) perception (reality?) colors our memory of how smart kids were back when *we* were in school . . . and most of us will look at the ones we meet today and shake our heads sadly.

I'm not sure that perception is appropriate. I think we're biased by our own memories of how smart *we* were back then. Looking at it honestly, in my high school (I'm 52 now, so this was back in the early 70's), there were *plenty* of dullards (stoners, jocks, or others) who couldn't form a complete English sentence if their lives depended on it. This, at least, hasn't changed.

My own perception is that kids have gotten both smarter and dumber since my time in the meat grinder (high school). I live in an expensive (read: affluent) school district; kids here can (and many do) take college level courses in high school. My own daughter takes courses in Chemistry (as a high school sophomore) that match or exceed what I took as a college freshman at UCLA. And yes, she can write a persuasive and compelling argument. And no, she's not that unusual in this area (even though she's my daughter).


That said, the curmudgeon in me still rolls my eyes when I meet a kid who can't make change for a $20, or, even worse, can't handle it if I give him $5.17 for a $4.67 item. It's just easy to forget that there were kids like that back 30 years ago, too (I know, because I used to manage a Taco Bell, and had to hire them).


The other thought is that we now live within a "popular culture" that generally glorifies achieving a veneer of beauty, wealth, "glamour", and celebrity . . . preferably without effort.

As long as celebrity is valued over actual achievement, the average intelligence will continue to decline. Schools (public or otherwise) can do little to reverse this. Private schools, charter schools, and home schooling produce better results NOT because of better teaching techniques, or smaller classes (not all such schools *have* smaller classes), or because they can use physical discipline . . . they work better because they have a self-selected population that still wants to learn something.

Except in relatively affluent pockets, public schools are generally becoming the place where those who *don't* care go. There will always be exceptions (the hard-working kid who rises above his or her local standard), but they are becoming notable because they *are* exceptions.

Folks who think that public schools, or public school teachers, can magically make a population that thinks Paris Hilton is important care about Chemistry, or math, or even forming a persuasive sentence, are sadly delusional.

Of course, Tim is free to argue that this is exactly why we *should* stop funding the free public education system, since it can do so little good.:happy:

I'm up for a voucher system, but only if it's on a "level playing field" . . . i.e., any school that wants to take public money has to be willing to take *any* and *all* comers using that money. No entrance criteria or testing. No requirements that the parents do x or y or volunteer 10 hours or anything else. No limits or turnaways because "you're full" . . . again, the public schools don't get that luxury. They *have* to take all comers.

If a kid shows up who has "emotional difficulties" (short of being outright criminal), the school that accepts public money *has* to take him . . . and keep him (no slipping him off to the "public" schools . . . once you take public funding, you *are* a "public" school).

If a kid shows up in a wheelchair and the labs are on the second floor, you build an elevator, or figure out a way to carry him up and down every day . . . no turnaways allowed.

Such a system would allow the private or charter schools to really show that they work (which I think they still would, because they'd still get the kids whose families wanted to learn).

// member mode OFF //
// moderator mode ON //
  Reply With Quote
Old 07-03-2007, 09:10 PM   #34
Bryan Veis
Member Bryan Veis is offline
 
Profile:
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Arlington  Virginia
Posts: 232
Well, I for one, don't share that dim view of the educational system or of youth today. Maybe I'm just lucky to live in Virginia with one of the best school systems in the country.

My oldest daughter just graduated from VMI, and I have never met a group of young people who were so achievement oriented, competent, and polite as her brother rats.

My youngest daughter attends Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Fairfax County -- it regularly has the highest number of National Merit Scholars in the country. When she graduates next year, she will have taken 9 AP courses and completed two years of college calculus. She's more or less typical of the kids there. Oh, and they have a heck of a football team, too -- they run a full-game no-huddle offense to keep the opposition off-balance; and their crew team regularly medals nationally.

My middle daughter just graduated from our local high school (rated in the top 20 in the country) with numerous International Baccalaureate courses on her transcript. She was often up at 4 in the morning for crew practice.

Through meeting my kids' friends, I have found that there are a lot of very ambitious, sharp, well-rounded and -balanced young people out there. Public education of these kids is definitely not a waste.
  Reply With Quote
Old 07-05-2007, 04:57 PM   #35
Tim Weaver
Member Tim Weaver is offline
 
Profile:
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Phoenix  AZ
Posts: 561
I know there were kids who couldn't make change "back in the day" when I was working at my uncle's gas station (early 1980s) and McDonald's (same time frame). It just seems to me that the situation has gotten progressively worse.

I actually remember people actually flunking grades and being held back. I don't hear about that any more...instead I hear of parents threatening to sue the school district and teachers if they fail to promote their little Johnny or Suzy.

Dale wrote:
Your beer exmaple is a bad one, Tim, based upon your own point about our republican form of government. We all voted on my beer, but I didn't elect you guys, nor consent to my beer being for the common good. But if we had agreed ahead in some kind of "social compact" on the splitting of a pitcher, for which we had all paid and I came out a little shorter than I would have on my own, but I received the benefit of say, a common defense agreement, I've got no problems with that at all.

The problem is that I didn't vote for the members on my city council who are giving away hundreds of millions in taxes (via bonds and increased sales tax rates) to sports team owners for arenas, creating special "taxing districts" in order to give some smaller businesses tax breaks. Or the millions in tax rebates to companies to start their operations in town.

I rhetorically asked, during one of my appearances before the council to NOT approve a sports stadium, if they would be just as willing to give me money to start a Blimpie's franchise...since I also would be paying taxes, employing locals and otherwise contributing to the community.

Not unexpectedly, I got no response apart from some chuckles in the audience. One reporter later mentioned that they weren't the same thing. I countered:

They are exactly the same thing. The only difference is one of size and degree.

A light went off in her head.

So, I didn't elect the city council, nor did I authorize the redistribution of my wealth. According to your retort to my original post, I should have some sort of actionable cause against the city. :-)

Yes, I am anti-taxation. Very much so. Because without the wellspring of a nearly unlimited amount of money to tap into, governments would be very limited in what they offer and what they do.

As it should be.

During the Civil War, Lincoln tried to get an income tax passed. It did, but went to the Supreme Court, who said it was unconstitutional since there was nothing in the original documents giving him or Congress the authority to do so.

So, a couple generations later, the 16th Amendment was passed by Congress and the states, giving themselves a way to have all the money they would ever want.

A fun question I love to ask political candidates is:

"At what point would you consider taxation, at all levels, to be so onerous that a citizen would no longer have any moral obligation to pay?"

Talk about deer-in-the-headlights!
  Reply With Quote
Old 07-05-2007, 05:47 PM   #36
Dale F. Saran
CrossFit Staff Dale F. Saran is offline
 
Dale F. Saran's Avatar
 
Profile:
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Westerly  RI
Posts: 559
Tim,
I appreciate your response, candor, and stance (in a David Thoreau sort of way). But I have to disagree on a few points. Congress specifically has the power to tax and spend. I hear people say a lot that Congress has no authority to tax and then a reference to the 16th Amendment, but it's just not so. Article I, Section 8, specifically authorizes Congress to "tax and spend". To wit: "The Congress shall have Power to lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States." And that whole 16th Amendment history is awfully select, Tim. The 16th Amendment was a consequence of an arguably terrible decision by the Supreme Court in Pollock v. Farmers' Loan & Trust Co. Several other decisions between 1895 (Pollock) and 1913 (The 16th Amendment), namely Nicol v. Ames, Knowlton v. Moore, and Patton v. Brady, were redefinitions of direct and indirect taxes because the Court realized it was threatening to make the country insolvent with the Pollock decision. So, this myth that has grown up around the 16th Amendment is a bunch of bunk. In fact, in a later case, the Supreme Court as much as acknowledged its error by noting that "the Sixteenth Amendment conferred no new power of taxation [on Congress] but simply prohibited the previous complete and plenary power of income taxation possessed by Congress from the beginning from being taken out of the category of indirect taxation to which it inherently belonged." Stanton v. Baltic Mining Co., 240 U.S. 103, 112 (1916).

So, while I don't like being taxed by the govt any more than anyone else, and I have serious issues with the current tax system, I cannot agree that Congress engaged in some usurpation of power, given the plain terms of Art. I, Sec. 8.
  Reply With Quote
Old 07-05-2007, 09:30 PM   #37
Bryan Veis
Member Bryan Veis is offline
 
Profile:
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Arlington  Virginia
Posts: 232
Tim,

I can certainly agree that the use of public funds for professional sports stadia is a bad policy. Economic studies have shown that they don't deliver the purported benefits the public thinks it is getting. The real question in public financing is where you draw the line and how well the private sector can deliver a substitute. Leave aside schools for the moment, what about public utilities, particularly water, which is a municipal function in most cities? What about roads? Finance with tax revenues or by raising private funds?

Perhaps more sensitive even than taxation is the power of eminent domain. Do you oppose government condemnation of private property in all instances? Even for demonstrably public uses, like roads? In Virginia, railroads, gas companies, and electrical utilities have the ability to condemn properties for rights-of-way. Arguably, there is some public benefit to transportation and utilities, but the corporations that benefit primarily are private. Where do you come out on those matters?

You are also right that the income tax has been a boon for the growth of the federal government. Prior to the income tax, the primary source of government revenue was based on import tariffs.

As I recall, it was Wilbur Mills who said something like, "Don't tax you, don't tax me, tax that man behind the tree." Somebody is electing the politicians who are setting up spending programs, and they have to be paid for somehow. (Or we can engage in massive deficit spending.)

It would be easy if we had an effective individual right to secede from the social compact, but that's not the case.

By the way, they do still hold kids back for nonperformance in school, you just don't hear about it, probably because of privacy laws. Where I live, they also withhold high school diplomas from kids who don't pass the Standards of Learning examinations in every core subject.

Dale,

Nice summary on the 16th amendment. It pains me to think how long ago I took that Con Law class.

To expand on one point, the challenge to the income tax was not about whether Congress had authority to lay and collect taxes, but rested on the requirement that direct taxes be apportioned among the states according to their population (Art. I, sec. 2, cl. 3). The argument was that a tax on income was a a direct tax, but was not so apportioned, since it was collected from individuals without regard to state citizenship or residence.
  Reply With Quote
Old 07-05-2007, 10:53 PM   #38
Dale F. Saran
CrossFit Staff Dale F. Saran is offline
 
Dale F. Saran's Avatar
 
Profile:
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Westerly  RI
Posts: 559
Bryan - yep. I didn't want to parse out the whole direct/indirect tax thing, but it seemed to me from both my BarBri materials (hehe!) and some stuff I pulled up online that the rather conservative Supreme Court might have jacked it up in 1895 and then later sort of acknowledged that "hmm. Yeah, I guess we do need taxes, don't we?" The decisions were hard to harmonize - and they tortured language with allowing tax of the "incidents of ownership", finding them to be excise rather than direct taxes. Plus, they had previously allowed such a tax during the Civil War. Anyway, I know many of us feel the sting on taxes and it only makes it worse when our elected officials seem to be pi$$ing it away (as Tim notes, on bonds for sports stadia) or for what seems to be ineffective schools for our kids. But as a product of public schools (and my kids, as well), I believe that schools provide kids an unprecedented opportunity. How many take advantage of that is largely a function of parental involvement, IMO. There's plenty to be learned. And I for one agree with the speech that some arts education is worth paying for - I have seen studies that suggest that Music helps improve math scores, in addition to the possibility that many "band geeks" grow up to be great musicians, for just one example. Drama students become tomorrow's playwrights, authors, and actors. I'm willing to underwrite that, however inefficiently it may be done.
  Reply With Quote
Old 07-05-2007, 11:09 PM   #39
Tim Weaver
Member Tim Weaver is offline
 
Profile:
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Phoenix  AZ
Posts: 561
Thanks for the update on the tax/16th Amendment. I knew the basic argument vis-a-vis direct/indirect taxation. I concede the power of the government to tax. And I still don't like it. :-)

Now, the other thing that gets me is that, since taxation is the wellspring from which all largesse flows, how does one cap that spring?

I don't know if it can be done. But there are things that one can do to try and stop/rectify issues.

In one instance, I tried to get a referendum on the ballot to get one of the sports stadiums axed. A technical issue surrounding the deadline date for the petitions nixed that idea, and I didn't have time to go get more signatures. Basically, the city told me the deadline, which was MLK day, was a holiday and therefore the deadline was the next day, Tuesday. Reading the law and some case law seemed to support this.

However, a group that was funded by a local public employees union sued to get the petitions tossed as being late. The judge ultimately ruled that the deadline, if it fell on a holiday, was a hard-limit and, thus, the actual deadline fell to the business day preceeding the deadline...in this case the Friday before. Case closed.

I cannot write here my reaction to that. But anyway...that was a different chapter in my life.

Again, I think it can be argued that public utilities are part of a basic health and safety issue that even I can concede a city has the responsibility to provide, especially if they refuse to allow people to dig wells, erect huge wind/solar generators, etc.

Roads, again, the concept of freedom of travel/association.

Don't get me started on eminent domain. We had several cases here in Arizona where cities tried to bully property owners, and they've lost. It got so bad a referendum was sponsored, voted on and passed that limited cities to what they could do in terms of eminent domain.

Our State Constitution was very clear on something being required to be of the public good...when they tried to bully Bailey's Brake Shop (which had been in it's location for 20+ years) in order to give the land to a developer for a strip mall/shopping center, that was the straw that broke the camel's back.

I am not in favor of corporate subsidies and such, nor of their power to condemn property for a right-of-way. If someone wants to build a road through my property, the answer is "yes", but the question will be "how much?". If a private corporation is trying to take my home without offering my asking price, well, "there will be words."

One of the elements of this country's founding, as far as I am concerned, is with the protection of the minority from the "tyranny of the majority."

Just because a black man wants to eat at a lunch counter contrary to the wishes of a community doesn't mean that the majority is correct. Just because several politicians decide that my AR-15 rifle is scary looking (even though it functions like many hunting rifles) doesn't mean they have the right to ban it. Just because someone wants to smoke dope to alleviate cancer treatment symptoms, or glaucoma, or to just get a buzz, doesn't mean the government should be able to prohibit it absent any other criminal activity or injury to others on the part of the person using it.

In many ways, I am a libertarian...but don't agree with some of the tenets of the Libertarian party (vis-a-vis borders).

I know this post is all over the place and for that, I am sorry...it's late. :-)
  Reply With Quote
Old 07-06-2007, 02:33 PM   #40
Bryan Veis
Member Bryan Veis is offline
 
Profile:
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Arlington  Virginia
Posts: 232
Dale,

You still have your BarBri books? Wow, my wife and I couldn't wait to send them back and get our deposits back. (We took the bar several years apart and didn't even meet until later, but neither one of us wanted to hang on to the cursed brown books.)

In retrospect, maybe I should have held on to them in case I ever have a case involving a bailment and the disclaimer on a claim ticket. (That's kind of an inside lawyer joke, for the rest of you who might read this -- the law of personal property is the one thing that you are guaranteed not to have studied in law school, that you have to know to pass the bar, and that you are very likely never to see again. We lawyers think its a lot funnier than "What do you call 100 lawyers in cement overshoes? A good start." Less hostility, for one thing -- we're very sensitive, you know. :lol:)
  Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Another excellent day at the Monkey Bar Gym Kelly Moore Community 3 03-22-2006 09:27 AM
Excellent quote about specialization Frank DiMeo Community 19 01-17-2006 05:35 PM
Excellent way to help your planche Ben Kaminski Exercises 3 11-18-2005 06:48 PM
CONCEPT II Rowing Machine - excellent! - $495 Cassi Nesmith Equipment 2 08-29-2005 02:24 PM
Been Rocking Some Excellent Tunes Tom Schneitter Community 9 06-09-2005 03:58 PM


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 09:12 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.6.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
CrossFit is a registered trademark of CrossFit Inc.