Let's Keep
A Progressive Podcast
In The Top Ten !!!


Already voted and want to know other ways to help spread the Blast The Right message? Click here
Play the latest podcast (click here)!
Be notified of new podcasts by
entering your email address:

Thursday, January 07, 2010

161 - 2009 In Review: So Much Potential Unfulfilled, And The Right Still As Toxic As Ever

Today, a review of that not so terrific year 2009, as heard on this show: right-wing reverse Robin Hood economics, health care, the war on terror, GOP racism and more.

Along with plenty of clips of your favorite right-wingers to keep you entertained, if not outright horrified.

The year started out with a lot of potential, but things haven't turn out as progressives like myself would have preferred.

Take a listen...

(PS: Right-wingers, if you want to write in to me, fine, but at least do me the courtesy of listening to the podcast first. Please don't respond just on the basis of the brief preview above. Thanks!!)

Scheduling note: episodes of Blast The Right will be posted every three weeks.

Jack Clark 7:35 PM [+]
Post #7765461112133510497

Comments:  This section is for listeners. To receive a reply from Jack Clark, you should call the comment line.

For the past year or two, I've been trying to learn more about the principles of government, specifically as they pertain to my own. The people I talk with mostly think the same way I do, so in an attempt at learning, I came here seeking rational insight into the opposite viewpoint. I could not help but drop in my opinions on your statements.

> ... severe economic inequality is somehow good.

It doesn't matter so much how people relate to each other economically, but whether they have any control over their own status. For example, some people may prefer to live a simpler lifestyle in which they don't have to try and manage a lot of money. They should not be denied this option, even if the society insists on making everyone equal. Likewise, if someone has no wealth, they should have the opportunity to make a better life for themselves, if they want to put forth the effort to do so. It is not the prerogative of government to use force to make everyone equal (on the contrary, it is the prerogative of government to use force to protect the private property of its citizens.) Government should not impede an environment in which people are empowered to strive for success.

Okay, here's a little parable: Let's say I feel happy when I eat ice-cream. I really like eating it, but it's expensive. My brother likes it too, but he's a little lazy. I go and mow lawns and earn money to buy ice-cream, but the government takes half of what I earned and gives it to my brother, because he doesn't have any money to buy ice-cream, and ice-cream would make him happy, and the government has decided that it isn't fair if some people are happy and others aren't. Thus I am effectively being penalized for seeking after happiness, and my brother's lazy behavior is reinforced, ruining his whole life, because he just sits around eating free ice-cream instead of working on curing cancer to earn money to buy his own ice-cream. Life sucks for everyone.

I have to agree with you that severe economic inequality is bad. It is usually a symptom of government corruption, which can be mitigated when the government has less power over its citizens. Some inequality is required and is healthy. You've got to have someone flipping burgers, or nobody gets to eat any fast food!

I've never heard the argument that severe economic inequality is good. This looks like a straw man you set up in order to knock down. It knocks down pretty easily, but I'm certainly not behind it.
posted by Blogger Eric Wadsworth  3:20 PM   [+]
> ... taxes are always bad. If people could keep the money, they could spend it on what they want. Problem is, sometimes what people want is to collectively pool their money and in the form of taxes, have the government spend it on what they want, for example, highways, Medicare, public university systems.

Taxes are bad for a person only if they are for services that person doesn't want to pay for. This is another straw man, and as you've shown, easily knocked down.

The correct solution to the problem of taxes for stuff you don't want is the properly arrange your government in a hierarchy. We've got one today, with the Federal government on top, then your state government, then your county, then your city, and finally anything even lower, such as a neighborhood government. Maybe a homeowners association fits in that category, in a way.

We pay most taxes to the feds, a little less to the state, and even less to the county and city. The number of government programs and laws is somewhat proportional, we've got all of these federal programs, some state programs, and fewer local programs. This pyramid is completely upside-down!

The highest level of government, the federal level, should be the smallest. It should collect taxes as needed to fund the programs specified in the constitution ONLY, and allow the states to take up whatever else they wanted to (see the 10th amendment). Ideally, the states would also be slim and trim, leaving most government to the counties and cities.

The more local government is, the more transparent and accountable it can be, and the more control the citizens have over it. If you find that you and your neighbors are are paying $9000 per year to your local fire department, you can drive over there and talk to those guys, and see what they are spending the money on. If you don't like it, you talk to some more locals, and decide to vote in some changes at the next election.

Like you said, sure, sometimes people like to pool their money and buy a service for the community. It's a good thing, government is good for that, but it needs to be at the appropriate level. If this were run through the federal government, for example, you lose visibility and accountability in all the red tape. There is supposed to be some control by the people, but it's lost in the hundreds of layers of bureaucracy. Life sucks, and if you hate it, you can try to vote differently, talk to people, but your voice is just lost. You can try to move out of the country or just kill yourself.

On the other hand, if it's a local program you don't agree with, and you can't find enough neighbors who see it the way you do to influence the vote to change it, you can always pack up and move to a community that has taxes you agree with.

There are some other issues around this: for example, what if there are two neighboring towns, one full of fat rich people, and the other one starving to death. Should the government layer over the two towns step in, seize money from the people in the fat town and give it to the starving town? Actually, no, it should not, because this violates the mandate of government to protect people's private property. In practicality, the rich town would probably hire people from the poor town to come work for them, and give them money to buy food in exchange for their labor. Private charitable organizations would step up and expose the dreadful problems, and most of the fat rich folks would likely help out. Charity should never be coerced, however.
posted by Blogger Eric Wadsworth  3:21 PM   [+]
> ... Americans have a right to, among other things, a decent education, a living wage job, adequate medical care, affordable housing and old age security.

I would say that these things that he listed are certainly nice, but not appropriate for the highest levels of government to provide, or even to be involved with. For example, what if the public school system isn't doing a good job? It's costing seven thousand dollars per year per student, and consistently turns our dunces. Since the system is supported by tax money, everyone pays for it, whether or not they like it; there can be no real competition for such a program. I have reason to believe that multiple private schools, competing for students, would keep costs down and drastically increase the quality of education.

As for living wage jobs, my free-market libertarian leanings will show through here. The government should not be involved at all. We should have no minimum wage laws preventing people from working. Get the government out of it, and let the system balance itself. If someone wants more money, they should learn skills that are in demand and get a better job.

Adequate medical care, affordable housing, and old age security are more of the same. The Free Market is the answer. Any government interference will just upset the balance. But there is a caution; the regulating hand of government has been pushing the balance scales out of whack for so long, that removing it immediately would cause a catastrophic upset as the system corrected itself. Best to gradually lessen the pressure over a period of time to avoid disaster.

This also addresses what you rightfully call "deregulation mania". If deregulating causes problems, it does not mean that we should not deregulate, it means that we should not have regulated in the first place!

Your reference to derivatives and wall street brings up another huge point. Just because I'm against Big Government, does not mean that I'm in favor of Big Business. The worst possible scenario, which is what we have today, is when Big Government gets into bed with Big Business. Oh, what a mess. Government really needs to back away from business. There are only two situations that I can think of in which government and business need to talk: First, when a contract needs to be enforced, government needs to enforce it. Second, when a business is being evil enough that the people get together and tell the government to do something about it, for anti-trust, environmental, or other issues. That needs to be done on a case-by-case basis, and at as low a level of government as possible.
posted by Blogger Eric Wadsworth  3:21 PM   [+]
> ... the Bushians had let companies both steal with impunity from low income workers as well as fire workers with impunity.

See what I said above about government staying away from business. But stealing is a crime, and if a company steals from employees, the employees have a right to appeal to government for justice. As for companies firing workers for any reason, government should stay out of it.

> Also as a result of deregulation, we discovered that one-third of our children's toys are contaminated with toxic chemicals.

Okay, I admit I don't know the whole story here. Are you saying that toys were contaminated before the deregulation? That shows how useless the regulation was. Or are you saying that after the deregulation, companies started contaminating toys? This is a prime example of a good business opportunity, and a demonstration of how the Free Market beats up regulatory governments:

A bunch of people learn that some toys are unsafe. A guy forms a business that guarantees that toys are safe. He does the research, goes to the toy companies, and sells them his certification sticker to put on their packaging. He gets paid by the companies, and he goes and inspects the toys. Customers who care about it see the stickers on only some of the toys, and make sure they only buy those. After a while, everyone wants a certification sticker on their packaging, and a handful of competing companies form to provide this service, keeping prices low and quality high. If someone tries to cheat, the government is justified in stepping in and exerting force to keep it honest, and all the people pay for that service with their taxes.

The kids win, the parents win, the toy producers win, and the certification companies win, all without a single law being passed. The only loser is the government employee whose job it is to run the toy regulation program; oh, nevermind, there isn't a guy at that desk anymore, he's working for one of the certification companies.
posted by Blogger Eric Wadsworth  3:22 PM   [+]
Eric: We want a world in which opportunity is unlimited and those who work hard are rewarded.

You assume the free market does this naturally, when no economic theory suggests such a thing.

Fairness and rewards for work or innovation are social goals and are usually pushed through Government. The countries that do this the best (low poverty, high mobility, high education, high research, etc) are the high-tax "socialist" countries.

The highest-tax nations have the best healthcare, education, mobility, happiness, wealth, and lowest poverty in the world.

They achieve this success because they force everyone on a level playing field, distributing opportunity to everyone in the country. You cannot go bankrupt from a medical condition. You do not have to pay to go to the finest universities. If you want to start a business, the Government has incubators and free programs to assist you along the way.

A random person has a much better chance of being wealthy in a nation such as Denmark, than they would in the US. Likewise, the Paris Hilton 's of the world statistically do much better in the US, where wealth is carried more through families than individual effort.

If unregulated markets really produced safe products, then why are the safest products always in the most highly regulated markets of Northern Europe?

We know what the world looked like when private industry regulated itself. Companies sold poisons to customers and would simply change their names frequently, funding their own "certifications" so consumers never knew what was real. It took Government to change this, and the change was dramatic and fast.
posted by Anonymous Nietz  4:59 PM   [+]
the problems with out US are this: wall street has created and enabled jobs to leave the country. Right winger politicians have given tax breaks to the rich. Wages have stayed flat since Reagan and rich people get richer. Wars continue to be created for profit. Right wing media spews 100% LIES. Eric Wadsworth and people that think like him are ignorant
posted by Blogger BugBitBirder  4:22 AM   [+]
It's so odd to me the way Libertarians assume people haven't heard their arguments before--just got me to wondering if their arrogance is somehow passed along from Rand's arrogant style. Eric: socialism(s) (as usually conceived) reward work; capitalism rewards wealth (the latter, apart from being immoral, is obviously unsustainable).
posted by Anonymous Anonymous  6:40 PM   [+]
  Post a Comment

08/15/05     08/22/05     08/27/05     09/01/05     09/05/05     09/08/05     09/15/05     09/22/05     09/29/05     10/06/05     10/13/05     10/20/05     10/27/05     11/03/05     11/10/05     11/17/05     11/24/05     12/01/05     12/08/05     12/15/05     12/22/05     12/29/05     01/05/06     01/12/06     01/19/06     01/26/06     02/02/06     02/09/06     02/16/06     02/23/06     03/02/06     03/09/06     03/16/06     03/23/06     03/30/06     04/06/06     04/13/06     04/20/06     04/27/06     05/04/06     05/11/06     05/18/06     05/25/06     06/01/06     06/08/06     06/15/06     06/22/06     06/29/06     07/06/06     07/13/06     07/21/06     07/27/06     08/03/06     08/10/06     08/17/06     08/24/06     08/31/06     09/07/06     09/14/06     09/21/06     09/28/06     10/05/06     10/12/06     10/19/06     10/26/06     11/02/06     11/09/06     11/16/06     11/23/06     11/30/06     12/07/06     12/14/06     12/21/06     12/28/06     01/04/07     01/11/07     01/18/07     01/26/07     02/01/07     02/08/07     02/15/07     02/22/07     03/01/07     03/08/07     03/15/07     03/22/07     03/29/07     04/05/07     04/12/07     04/19/07     04/26/07     05/03/07     05/10/07     05/17/07     05/24/07     05/31/07     06/07/07     06/14/07     06/21/07     06/28/07     07/12/07     07/26/07     08/09/07     08/23/07     09/06/07     09/13/07     09/20/07     09/27/07     10/04/07     10/11/07     10/18/07     10/25/07     11/01/07     11/08/07     11/15/07     11/29/07     12/13/07     12/27/07     01/10/08     01/24/08     02/07/08     02/21/08     03/06/08     03/20/08     04/03/08     04/17/08     05/01/08     05/15/08     05/29/08     06/12/08     06/26/08     07/10/08     07/24/08     08/07/08     08/21/08     09/04/08     09/18/08     10/02/08     10/16/08     10/30/08     11/13/08     11/28/08     12/11/08     12/26/08     01/08/09     01/22/09     02/05/09     02/19/09     03/05/09     03/19/09     04/02/09     04/16/09     04/30/09     05/14/09     05/28/09     06/11/09     07/02/09     07/23/09     08/13/09     09/03/09     09/24/09     10/15/09     11/05/09     11/26/09     12/17/09     01/07/10     01/28/10     02/18/10     03/11/10     04/01/10     04/22/10     05/20/10     06/10/10     10/21/10     01/17/11     10/03/12    

Speak to Jack and other listeners! (a separate show from numbered shows to the left)

Live shows are currently on hiatus. In the
meantime, listen to Jack debate Jenn from www.screwliberals.com  Debate

* Subscribe in iTunes
   (if you already have iTunes installed)
* About Jack Clark   
* Podcast Feed

Great podcast - a must listen to
Jack Clark documents the right's wars on the poor, civil liberties, the right of workers to organize at work and obtain a decent working wage and work conditions, and against other countries who refuse to accept American domination. Jack provides all the sources so that you can see for yourself how the right is out to enrich itself at the expense of everyone else. Great job, Jack!
Submitted By: magyarbill
awesome show
Clark always backs up his statements against the right wing with fact and data, which gives him all the more credibility. As conglomerate media controlled by politics clouds the mainstream news media, Jack Clark, along with NPR and Democracy Now! have become my primary news source. Awesome podcast!
Submitted By: jgates118
In-Depth, Meaty, Hardcore Knowledge
This podcast is not just entertainment, humor, chimp-bashing, or gee-whiz recap of the weeks events. Instead, it hits hard and in-depth on the world economic situation and how right-wing policies impact the poor and less advantaged all over the world. He examines Americas support of the World Bank, IMF,multinational corporations, etc., and connects the dots. This is a podcast for grown-ups. He gives good reasons why the right wing is NOT living up to its precious Bible, without putting down the Bible. As a Jesus-loving Christian and moderate Democrat, I respect this podcast for its subject matter. The grown-up manner of the speaker is just icing on the cake. He IS funny, but hes not trying to be, he just has a deadpan delivery but doesnt have to make jokes to make it interesting. The facts make it interesting and devastating.
Submitted By: ebrenn1
A Breath of Fresh Air
Jack Clarks Blast the Right podcast is truly a breath of fresh air when it comes to political commentary. Jack is not like some commentators who simply climb on their soap box and state their own opinions as fact. Instead, Jack welcomes competent challenges to his way of thinking, and with logical analysis and sound research, debunks the lies, distortions, and self-deceptions of the right wing. I strongly recommend Blast the Right for people who seek the truth and care more about the long term health and well-being of the whole citizenry than the short term personal gain advocated by modern conservatives. Listen as Jack carefully shows how the high-sounding "God and country" rhetoric of the right wing is really just a smokescreen for policies that ultimately lead only to the increased misery, suffering, and death of the less fortunate for the particular benefit of the wealthy and the well-connected. And, if you find yourself in agreement, return to Podcast Alley to place your vote! Thanks!
Submitted By: automatic



Jack Clark interviewed by
“Check It Out” podcast
Comment Line
Skype: jackfromblasttheright
From any phone: 310-933-5891
Music Resources Page
Data Resources Page
Progressive Podcast Directory




Make your Amazon purchases through this link, and at no cost to you, Amazon will send Blast The Right a small commission.

|   Home   |   Email   |   Send this page to a friend   |