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The Policies of Your Ideal Government

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  • Loren MichaelLoren Michael Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Thanatos wrote: »
    Thanatos wrote: »
    Most of my friends are econ majors. They're largely moderate Democrats who are kind of radical (relative to the population at large) in regards to liberalization of immigration and trade.
    Most of the economists I've known have been big-time fans of the free market, and strict believers in rational behavior theory. Of course, they were mostly graduate students and professors, rather than undergrads.

    And who, exactly, is going to determine who gets to be the experts, by the way? Is it going to be the Friedman school, worshipers of the great invisible hand of the free market? Or the Keynesians? Or the soft paternalists? Who, exactly, gets to decide which experts are the expertiest?
    I've had limited exposure to the various schools, but I understand that there is pretty much broad consensus on things like immigration, trade/"sending jobs overseas", education, and affinity for technology. They generally aren't unhappy with welfare (though the ones who are have somewhat disproportionate pull with certain political elements), and they're pro-liberalization of the workforce, in terms of women and minorities playing a larger part.

    That's not to say there is consensus on everything. Clearly, there is not. But there is pretty much unanimity on a good number of key issues, some divergence on others, and yes, some very divergent views on a few others.
    Well, we're talking about economists setting economic policy, right? Business regulation and such?

    So, not immigration, not trade, not education, not technology, and not civil rights. So, everything there's broad agreement on won't matter when it comes to the policies they're setting. And you still haven't explained who picks the experts.

    Fair enough. I'd prefer to have economists' policy input on quite a few subjects they don't currently have a lot of political power in (though trade, which you mention as something they don't necessarily have business touching, is an aspect of economic policy).

    Even still, they're hardly all a bunch of laissez faire zealots.

    And as for coming to some kind of consensus, I agree with SparserLogic that if you put them together they'd be able to pound out a pretty decent policy. As for who's the experts... I'm not sure about a policy mechanism that could nail down who's who. I guess I'll have to think about it.

    Loren Michael on
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  • Loren MichaelLoren Michael Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Speaker wrote: »
    I don't know about coming up with some kind of coherent set of policies that are ideal. That's a bit above my capacity.

    I guess my ideal approach to government would be to have the federal government actively encouraging the states to experiment with policy more than they do now. Give conservative states federal grants to try out conservative policy proposals, and liberal states grants for liberal proposals.

    I feel like in a sense we really overlook one of the core strengths of the organization of our country because we don't push experimentation as much as we could - we always just try to push though whatever we favor at the national level and wonder why D.C. is a political traffic jam.

    We really aren't that smart, and the world is changing in so many ways, so fast, so much of the time, that empirical evolution of national policy working up from lower levels of government seems reasonable.

    Of course, you can't take that approach with everything because some issues are inherently federal. But you see what I'm saying hopefully.

    I like that a lot. I think I might add in some means to mitigate risks and reward states that come up with really good policy initiatives as the means of "active encouragement".

    Loren Michael on
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  • SparserLogicSparserLogic Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Thanatos wrote: »
    Thanatos wrote: »
    Most of my friends are econ majors. They're largely moderate Democrats who are kind of radical (relative to the population at large) in regards to liberalization of immigration and trade.
    Most of the economists I've known have been big-time fans of the free market, and strict believers in rational behavior theory. Of course, they were mostly graduate students and professors, rather than undergrads.

    And who, exactly, is going to determine who gets to be the experts, by the way? Is it going to be the Friedman school, worshipers of the great invisible hand of the free market? Or the Keynesians? Or the soft paternalists? Who, exactly, gets to decide which experts are the expertiest?
    I've had limited exposure to the various schools, but I understand that there is pretty much broad consensus on things like immigration, trade/"sending jobs overseas", education, and affinity for technology. They generally aren't unhappy with welfare (though the ones who are have somewhat disproportionate pull with certain political elements), and they're pro-liberalization of the workforce, in terms of women and minorities playing a larger part.

    That's not to say there is consensus on everything. Clearly, there is not. But there is pretty much unanimity on a good number of key issues, some divergence on others, and yes, some very divergent views on a few others.
    Well, we're talking about economists setting economic policy, right? Business regulation and such?

    So, not immigration, not trade, not education, not technology, and not civil rights. So, everything there's broad agreement on won't matter when it comes to the policies they're setting. And you still haven't explained who picks the experts.

    Fair enough. I'd prefer to have economists' policy input on quite a few subjects they don't currently have a lot of political power in (though trade, which you mention as something they don't necessarily have business touching, is an aspect of economic policy).

    Even still, they're hardly all a bunch of laissez faire zealots.

    And as for coming to some kind of consensus, I agree with SparserLogic that if you put them together they'd be able to pound out a pretty decent policy. As for who's the experts... I'm not sure about a policy mechanism that could nail down who's who. I guess I'll have to think about it.

    Experts have a decent idea who the experts in each field are. Its pretty obvious who the serious intellectuals are when you start digging into some of the more influential papers out there.

    My ideal government would require an ideal society. One in which we stopped idolizing tits and gore so much and more on to appreciate those Einstein-like scientists that change the world and power our sexting and beer.

    When a paper revolutionizing solar cells make the evening news and they actually read the thesis statement to the public, then we will be in a good place.

    SparserLogic on
  • slessmanslessman __BANNED USERS
    edited February 2010
    Hey Kamar I like your thread! It really got me thinking. I really like a lot of the amendments that you propose to our current system. I agree with you that it would make it more ideal for the individuals in the society. The only real concern I have is the morality issue. This is not to say that I would be offended by gay marriage, polygamy, etc., but other freedoms that would inevitably follow may push the envelope to the extent where we see a situation where society destroys itself. Let's not forget what happened to Rome when it started to lose its moral fiber. I think that there is a definite need for middle ground. Give people their freedoms, but also make sure that people are free to choose to be protected from things that they don't like.

    slessman on
  • CycloneRangerCycloneRanger Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    slessman wrote: »
    Hey Kamar I like your thread! It really got me thinking. I really like a lot of the amendments that you propose to our current system. I agree with you that it would make it more ideal for the individuals in the society. The only real concern I have is the morality issue. This is not to say that I would be offended by gay marriage, polygamy, etc., but other freedoms that would inevitably follow may push the envelope to the extent where we see a situation where society destroys itself. Let's not forget what happened to Rome when it started to lose its moral fiber. I think that there is a definite need for middle ground. Give people their freedoms, but also make sure that people are free to choose to be protected from things that they don't like.
    You have got to be kidding. What, precisely, do you think is going to "inevitably follow" gay marriage that will cause society to destroy itself?

    CycloneRanger on
  • Crimson KingCrimson King Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    slessman wrote: »
    Hey Kamar I like your thread! It really got me thinking. I really like a lot of the amendments that you propose to our current system. I agree with you that it would make it more ideal for the individuals in the society. The only real concern I have is the morality issue. This is not to say that I would be offended by gay marriage, polygamy, etc., but other freedoms that would inevitably follow may push the envelope to the extent where we see a situation where society destroys itself. Let's not forget what happened to Rome when it started to lose its moral fiber. I think that there is a definite need for middle ground. Give people their freedoms, but also make sure that people are free to choose to be protected from things that they don't like.
    o_O

    I'm not sure what this means, and maybe you're taking the piss, but this sounds an awful lot like a slippery slope argument. What, exactly, is going to follow gay marriage here? Does it go gaymarriage-legalmarijuana-bestiality-heroin-incest-pedophilia-rape-murder?

    Crimson King on
  • QuidQuid I don't... what... hnnng Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    slessman wrote: »
    make sure that people are free to choose to be protected from things that they don't like.

    No, no. You do not ban things simply because you don't like them. That opens way more horrible possibilities than allowing the biracial couple to marry.

    Quid on
  • slessmanslessman __BANNED USERS
    edited February 2010
    I am not saying that you should ban things. I just think that in a perfect society people are not going to be subjected to every single freedom. And I acknowledge the slippery slope argument as a fallacy, but I also think that there is a little bit of validity, as I explained earlier. It is not related to gay marriage though. I am all for gay marriage. It is more the drugs that I am concerned about. Not marijuana, more like cocaine and meth.

    slessman on
  • Crimson KingCrimson King Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    slessman wrote: »
    I am not saying that you should ban things. I just think that in a perfect society people are not going to be subjected to every single freedom. And I acknowledge the slippery slope argument as a fallacy, but I also think that there is a little bit of validity, as I explained earlier. It is not related to gay marriage though. I am all for gay marriage. It is more the drugs that I am concerned about. Not marijuana, more like cocaine and meth.

    Okay, so, um, here's the thing. Gay marriage and cocaine have nothing to do with each other. Like, they aren't even remotely connected.

    Crimson King on
  • QuidQuid I don't... what... hnnng Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Also, that's not banning something because you just don't like it.

    It's banning something with real, detrimental effects on society.

    Quid on
  • LawndartLawndart Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    slessman wrote: »
    Hey Kamar I like your thread! It really got me thinking. I really like a lot of the amendments that you propose to our current system. I agree with you that it would make it more ideal for the individuals in the society. The only real concern I have is the morality issue. This is not to say that I would be offended by gay marriage, polygamy, etc., but other freedoms that would inevitably follow may push the envelope to the extent where we see a situation where society destroys itself. Let's not forget what happened to Rome when it started to lose its moral fiber. I think that there is a definite need for middle ground. Give people their freedoms, but also make sure that people are free to choose to be protected from things that they don't like.

    They adopted Christianity as their official state religion and then promptly collapsed like an overly-jostled souffle?

    The whole "Rome collapsed due to decadence and/or tolerance of the gays" concept is laughably divorced from actual history.

    Lawndart on
  • Loren MichaelLoren Michael Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    People discussing Rome should stop discussing Rome, read this book, and then start another thread to discuss it.

    In other news, I am saddened that no one took umbrage at the fact that my ideal society would be a panopticon. I mean, I know I talk about it all the damn time, but, :(

    Loren Michael on
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  • devCharlesdevCharles Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Ideally, I'd want us to move towards a power grid run on nuclear, wind, solar, wave, and various other cleaner, renewable sources and away from fossil fuels with a move towards electric cars. Electric cars, while the power plants are still run on fossil fuels, are still resulting in pollution. I would start development on high speed rail lines as well. I'm not a big environmentalist, actually. I just hate giving money to the Sauds, Russians, and various other terrible national governments.

    I'd also simplify the health care system. We are going to spend 1.5 trillion dollars next year on medicare and medicaid. If that was applied to every American, it would be 4500 dollars a year. Germany makes it work, per capita, for 2500 dollars per person a year. Due to economy of scale, we should be kicking their ass right now. To some degree, their ability to collectively bargain after the drug and medical manufacturers make their profit purely from US sales allows those Europeans to free ride. Free ride, I say! The gravy train stops. We already have a trade imbalance with them. How much more do they need?

    Let adults marry who they want.

    Legalize it. Marijuana that is.

    No more spending surplus social security money as if it's a bonus check. Lock box.

    Cut the military industrial complex down to a more manageable size.

    That's the simpler stuff. Education is a whole can of worms that needs to be reformed. High tech manufacturing development would be another thing that would need to occur, but it's a pretty complex topic.

    devCharles on
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  • emnmnmeemnmnme Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    If you half the size of the military, won't that mean the laid off soldiers and personnel run off to become mercenaries and the weapon manufacturers run off to make tanks and bombs for China?

    emnmnme on
  • devCharlesdevCharles Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    First off, laying off soldiers doesn't really have to be a part of cutting down the military industrial complex. A large part of that would be closing some of the hundreds of bases we have in a variety of countries. Secondly, mercenaries? I seriously doubt there's enough market for mercenaries to absorb half the military personnel. As part of their contract with the government, they would get free education opportunities, and they likely already have a number of practical skills as a result of being in the military. Taking care of veterans and cutting the defense budget can be done concurrently.

    Would weapon manufacturers run off to make tanks and bombs for China? Possibly, but most of the major high tech vehicle manufacturers like Lockheed, Boeing, and Chrysler all tend to be heavily invested in numerous other sectors of the economy outside of the military. Not to mention most of those manufacturers don't sell exclusively to the US but to most members of NATO. If they were willing to exclusively do business with China, what can really be done to stop them now without us either threatening them or with them utilizing extortion?

    Basically, my ideal government isn't necessarily the global hegemony.

    devCharles on
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  • QinguQingu Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    I have an idea for the nitty gritty political machinery of representative democracy.

    Instead of states, congressional districts, whatever, you have another kind of unit that divides up a country. I'm just going to call it a "polis." Most polises (like the original ones) are just cities in a country, or "metropolitan areas" made of a number of closetogether cities.

    But there are other polises for those who do not live in a single city. There's the polis that represents farmers. A polis for soldiers. A polis for merchants. And maybe scientists. Any category of "citizen" who is not obviously "located" within the borders of a single city.

    Anyway, each polis would elect a single leader. These we will call "Councilors."

    The Councilors are the legislators. But it's not one-vote-per-legislator. Rather, each Councilor gets a total # of votes equal to the population of the polis they represent.

    So the Councilor in charge of New York would have ~6 million votes. Chicago, ~3 million.

    Also, Councilors can split their votes in whatever proportion they want on any given issue.

    So, health care. Not every Councilor is going to vote with all of their votes. They compromise by adjusting the number of votes they're "dedicating" to yes- or no-votes. So like, a progressive Councilor from Chicago may offer 2 million votes (i.e. around 66%, which probably reflects Chicago's views) for a yes-vote on a modest climate change bill, but would offer the full 3 million for the more forceful bill.

    I don't know if this would be "ideal" but it would be kind of neat to see the system of governance that evolved. like, would certain polises by tradition make their Councilors cast all 100% votes? What pattern of discreet polises would evolve?

    Qingu on
  • CycloneRangerCycloneRanger Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Qingu wrote: »
    I have an idea for the nitty gritty political machinery of representative democracy.

    Instead of states, congressional districts, whatever, you have another kind of unit that divides up a country. I'm just going to call it a "polis." Most polises (like the original ones) are just cities in a country, or "metropolitan areas" made of a number of closetogether cities.

    But there are other polises for those who do not live in a single city. There's the polis that represents farmers. A polis for soldiers. A polis for merchants. And maybe scientists. Any category of "citizen" who is not obviously "located" within the borders of a single city.

    Anyway, each polis would elect a single leader. These we will call "Councilors."

    The Councilors are the legislators. But it's not one-vote-per-legislator. Rather, each Councilor gets a total # of votes equal to the population of the polis they represent.

    So the Councilor in charge of New York would have ~6 million votes. Chicago, ~3 million.

    Also, Councilors can split their votes in whatever proportion they want on any given issue.

    So, health care. Not every Councilor is going to vote with all of their votes. They compromise by adjusting the number of votes they're "dedicating" to yes- or no-votes. So like, a progressive Councilor from Chicago may offer 2 million votes (i.e. around 66%, which probably reflects Chicago's views) for a yes-vote on a modest climate change bill, but would offer the full 3 million for the more forceful bill.

    I don't know if this would be "ideal" but it would be kind of neat to see the system of governance that evolved. like, would certain polises by tradition make their Councilors cast all 100% votes? What pattern of discreet polises would evolve?
    Every single councilor would cast all his votes the same way or risk becoming obsolete either to the ongoing media story (in which he needs importance to secure publicity to secure reelection) or to the political machine as a whole (again in which he needs more importance to secure more spending on his polis to secure his reelection).

    The system you've described is in an unstable equilibrium. If the guy from Chicago creates a total spread of 1 million between his "yes" and "no" votes, he'll be rendered irrelevant by someone from a city of 1.5 million who declares his intention to vote one way or the other with all his votes.

    Basically you'll get the same problem we have with proportional representation in the electoral college; the minute one state goes for it that state becomes irrelevant and so no one is willing to do it first, even though many agree that it needs to be done.

    CycloneRanger on
  • QinguQingu Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Every single councilor would cast all his votes the same way or risk becoming obsolete either to the ongoing media story (in which he needs importance to secure publicity to secure reelection) or to the political machine as a whole (again in which he needs more importance to secure more spending on his polis to secure his reelection).

    The system you've described is in an unstable equilibrium. If the guy from Chicago creates a total spread of 1 million between his "yes" and "no" votes, he'll be rendered irrelevant by someone from a city of 1.5 million who declares his intention to vote one way or the other with all his votes.
    But why would the guy with 1.5 million votes spend all of them when he can wheel and deal and play brinksmanship with a smaller number?

    If the councilors all got together and it looked like a legislation has more than enough votes to pass then every Councilor is going to reduce the number of votes their committing so they have more things to bargain with. Most legislation isn't "all or nothing" in their content.

    I also imagine there would be "independents" within each polis who punish Councilors who vote with 100% of their votes. Or certain polises would have this tradition and others wouldn't. Sort of like the difference between the Democratic and Republican presidential primaries.

    Qingu on
  • CorlisCorlis Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    This is beyond policies that a government can apply, but I always wondered how a society would work where there was indefinite, anonymous, indubitable reincarnation. That is, everyone knows that they will come back again as a new baby when they die, and that there will be no way at all to determine who was who in their previous lives. Would people be far kinder to the less fortunate parts of the world, in case they got reincarnated in some cesspool that their previous self had created?

    In more practical terms, as a Canadian I might merge the Liberals and the NDP. Get somebody with charisma in there to keep it all together, and maybe they'd be able to defeat the Conservatives.

    Corlis on
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  • CycloneRangerCycloneRanger Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Qingu wrote: »
    Every single councilor would cast all his votes the same way or risk becoming obsolete either to the ongoing media story (in which he needs importance to secure publicity to secure reelection) or to the political machine as a whole (again in which he needs more importance to secure more spending on his polis to secure his reelection).

    The system you've described is in an unstable equilibrium. If the guy from Chicago creates a total spread of 1 million between his "yes" and "no" votes, he'll be rendered irrelevant by someone from a city of 1.5 million who declares his intention to vote one way or the other with all his votes.
    But why would the guy with 1.5 million votes spend all of them when he can wheel and deal and play brinksmanship with a smaller number?
    He would spend all of them so that he becomes more important than the guy with 3 million who divides them proportionally. If he is in a position to play "brinksmanship", then anyone else who is not yet fully committed to either position will do the same thing, altering his vote admixture to defeat our guy with 1.5 million votes. This will proceed until everyone is voting in one direction with their full complement of votes.

    Doing anything else will leave a councilor less important than someone who chooses to go all-in. Again I'd draw attention to the situation with the electoral college; no one state can adopt proportional allocation of their votes because once that happens the state becomes far less important.
    Qingu wrote:
    If the councilors all got together and it looked like a legislation has more than enough votes to pass then every Councilor is going to reduce the number of votes their committing so they have more things to bargain with. Most legislation isn't "all or nothing" in their content.
    Right, and in response the "other side" (specifically the guys who were going 60/40 or whatever on the other side) will increase their commitment to compensate. Eventually one side hits a wall (they're going in at full strength while the other side is not). The other side now gets to play games if they want to—but why would they? If one councilor decreases his support until his constituency is given X denarii worth of government spending, another will simply increase his support until one councilor reaches his limit.

    Imagine the current situation in the Senate recast using your model: The Republicans are up against a wall, and each will vote 100% against some hypothetical bill. The dems have sufficient votes to push it through anyway, but start to play the usual "give me X to secure my support" games. Only now someone else says "no, I'll just up my committment" and this proceeds until all players are fully committed.
    Qingu wrote:
    I also imagine there would be "independents" within each polis who punish Councilors who vote with 100% of their votes.
    Why on Earth would anyone do that? If I believe either X or Y, I will want my councilor to vote 100% behind whichever one I believe. If he votes 60/40 in my favor, I (and anyone else who holds my opinion) will still prefer a councilor who votes 61/39 or more in my favor.
    Qingu wrote:
    Or certain polises would have this tradition and others wouldn't. Sort of like the difference between the Democratic and Republican presidential primaries.
    But those polises with this tradition will become unimportant compared to those that don't. It would be like if New York started awarding electoral college votes proportionally based on its constituent's votes. You'd see campaigning there all but stop, as the number of votes to be won or lost drops massively relative to winner-take-all setups.

    CycloneRanger on
  • ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    emnmnme wrote: »
    If you half the size of the military, won't that mean the laid off soldiers and personnel run off to become mercenaries and the weapon manufacturers run off to make tanks and bombs for China?
    God, if only we had a shitload of money to spend on creating a bunch of jobs, and a fuckton of failing infrastructure that needs to be shored up and built.

    But where would we get the money to do that, after halving the military budget? And where would we ever find infrastructure projects that need to be done (you know, things that society actually benefits from, rather than the giant money toilet that is military spending)?

    Thanatos on
  • ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Qingu wrote: »
    Every single councilor would cast all his votes the same way or risk becoming obsolete either to the ongoing media story (in which he needs importance to secure publicity to secure reelection) or to the political machine as a whole (again in which he needs more importance to secure more spending on his polis to secure his reelection).

    The system you've described is in an unstable equilibrium. If the guy from Chicago creates a total spread of 1 million between his "yes" and "no" votes, he'll be rendered irrelevant by someone from a city of 1.5 million who declares his intention to vote one way or the other with all his votes.
    But why would the guy with 1.5 million votes spend all of them when he can wheel and deal and play brinksmanship with a smaller number?

    If the councilors all got together and it looked like a legislation has more than enough votes to pass then every Councilor is going to reduce the number of votes their committing so they have more things to bargain with. Most legislation isn't "all or nothing" in their content.

    I also imagine there would be "independents" within each polis who punish Councilors who vote with 100% of their votes. Or certain polises would have this tradition and others wouldn't. Sort of like the difference between the Democratic and Republican presidential primaries.
    Is the effect of legislation going to be reduced depending on how many votes it gets? No? Then it literally doesn't matter how someone splits their votes. Either one side won by a margin that one of the splitters could have changed, in which case if those councilors split their vote at all they may as well have put all of their votes to the winning side, or there were no split-vote councilors with a margin that could have changed the vote at all, in which case splitting votes didn't matter.

    Either way, splitting votes doesn't matter.

    Thanatos on
  • MagicPrimeMagicPrime FiresideWizard Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    I would also embrace high-speed rail. Whatever the engineers can reasonably prove to be safe, reliable and obtainable would be the new "soft cap" for speed.

    MagicPrime on
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  • Modern ManModern Man Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    MagicPrime wrote: »
    I would also embrace high-speed rail. Whatever the engineers can reasonably prove to be safe, reliable and obtainable would be the new "soft cap" for speed.
    I'm a fan of high-speed rail, but it's really only viable in the densely populated portions of the country, such as the Northeast Corridor.

    Modern Man on
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  • emnmnmeemnmnme Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Modern Man wrote: »
    MagicPrime wrote: »
    I would also embrace high-speed rail. Whatever the engineers can reasonably prove to be safe, reliable and obtainable would be the new "soft cap" for speed.
    I'm a fan of high-speed rail, but it's really only viable in the densely populated portions of the country, such as the Northeast Corridor.

    What about that planned LA to Vegas rail?

    emnmnme on
  • Modern ManModern Man Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    emnmnme wrote: »
    Modern Man wrote: »
    MagicPrime wrote: »
    I would also embrace high-speed rail. Whatever the engineers can reasonably prove to be safe, reliable and obtainable would be the new "soft cap" for speed.
    I'm a fan of high-speed rail, but it's really only viable in the densely populated portions of the country, such as the Northeast Corridor.

    What about that planned LA to Vegas rail?
    I'm kind of cynical- it's tough to get Angelinos out of their cars, and Southwest runs hourly flights that get you to Vegas in less than an hour.

    Trains work really well in Europe because the population is dense, distances are less and there tends to be good public transit available when you get off the train (take the Underground to the train station in London, ride the train to Paris, get off and get on the subway there). There are only a few areas in the US where that's the case and LA- to Vegas doesn't qualify.

    And I say this as someone who thinks the Acela from DC to NYC is awesome.

    Modern Man on
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  • SparserLogicSparserLogic Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    emnmnme wrote: »
    Modern Man wrote: »
    MagicPrime wrote: »
    I would also embrace high-speed rail. Whatever the engineers can reasonably prove to be safe, reliable and obtainable would be the new "soft cap" for speed.
    I'm a fan of high-speed rail, but it's really only viable in the densely populated portions of the country, such as the Northeast Corridor.

    What about that planned LA to Vegas rail?

    I wish they would have built a Portland to Seattle set. I know quite a few people that commute back and forth, would clear up a lot of traffic around here.

    SparserLogic on
  • Loren MichaelLoren Michael Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Modern Man wrote: »
    emnmnme wrote: »
    Modern Man wrote: »
    MagicPrime wrote: »
    I would also embrace high-speed rail. Whatever the engineers can reasonably prove to be safe, reliable and obtainable would be the new "soft cap" for speed.
    I'm a fan of high-speed rail, but it's really only viable in the densely populated portions of the country, such as the Northeast Corridor.

    What about that planned LA to Vegas rail?
    I'm kind of cynical- it's tough to get Angelinos out of their cars, and Southwest runs hourly flights that get you to Vegas in less than an hour.

    Trains work really well in Europe because the population is dense, distances are less and there tends to be good public transit available when you get off the train (take the Underground to the train station in London, ride the train to Paris, get off and get on the subway there). There are only a few areas in the US where that's the case and LA- to Vegas doesn't qualify.

    And I say this as someone who thinks the Acela from DC to NYC is awesome.

    I think the population density isn't as much a problem as the other part you mention: once you get off the train, you're still fucked. Local mass transit generally isn't so great, and many towns aren't built in such a way as to make such transit particularly convenient.

    Loren Michael on
    a7iea7nzewtq.jpg
  • ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    My ideal government would be a benevolent dictatorship with me in charge.

    I mean, I really wouldn't trust anyone else with that sort of power.

    Thanatos on
  • Modern ManModern Man Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Thanatos wrote: »
    My ideal government would be a benevolent dictatorship with me in charge.

    I mean, I really wouldn't trust anyone else with that sort of power.
    How long would it take you to become hopelessly and completely corrupted by absolute power?

    People being people, giving any one of them ultimate power is a really bad idea.

    Modern Man on
    Aetian Jupiter - 41 Gunslinger - The Old Republic
    Rigorous Scholarship

  • ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Modern Man wrote: »
    Thanatos wrote: »
    My ideal government would be a benevolent dictatorship with me in charge.

    I mean, I really wouldn't trust anyone else with that sort of power.
    How long would it take you to become hopelessly and completely corrupted by absolute power?

    People being people, giving any one of them ultimate power is a really bad idea.
    Eh. I don't know.

    Claudius was a pretty good guy with it.

    Thanatos on
  • CycloneRangerCycloneRanger Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Thanatos wrote: »
    Modern Man wrote: »
    Thanatos wrote: »
    My ideal government would be a benevolent dictatorship with me in charge.

    I mean, I really wouldn't trust anyone else with that sort of power.
    How long would it take you to become hopelessly and completely corrupted by absolute power?

    People being people, giving any one of them ultimate power is a really bad idea.
    Eh. I don't know.

    Claudius was a pretty good guy with it.
    Cincinnatus was the man.

    CycloneRanger on
  • Loren MichaelLoren Michael Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Modern Man wrote: »
    Thanatos wrote: »
    My ideal government would be a benevolent dictatorship with me in charge.

    I mean, I really wouldn't trust anyone else with that sort of power.
    How long would it take you to become hopelessly and completely corrupted by absolute power?

    People being people, giving any one of them ultimate power is a really bad idea.

    Can you define personal corruption in the context of me (or Than) being the ruler of a dictatorship?

    Loren Michael on
    a7iea7nzewtq.jpg
  • Modern ManModern Man Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Modern Man wrote: »
    Thanatos wrote: »
    My ideal government would be a benevolent dictatorship with me in charge.

    I mean, I really wouldn't trust anyone else with that sort of power.
    How long would it take you to become hopelessly and completely corrupted by absolute power?

    People being people, giving any one of them ultimate power is a really bad idea.

    Can you define personal corruption in the context of me (or Than) being the ruler of a dictatorship?
    Using your position of ultimate power to serve your own whims and desires. See, for example, the epic and impressive orgies thrown by Roman Emperors, their use of the power to enrich their family, friends and cronies and the like.

    The concept that using power to enrich yourself and your supporters is a bad thing is a pretty modern and local notion. Throughout most of human history, being able to bugger whoever you wanted and showering gold on your buddies were just the standards perks of being the King.

    Modern Man on
    Aetian Jupiter - 41 Gunslinger - The Old Republic
    Rigorous Scholarship

  • TalleyrandTalleyrand Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Modern Man wrote: »
    Thanatos wrote: »
    My ideal government would be a benevolent dictatorship with me in charge.

    I mean, I really wouldn't trust anyone else with that sort of power.
    How long would it take you to become hopelessly and completely corrupted by absolute power?

    Isn't that what makes it so attractive? I know I sure wouldn't mind having a gold toilet or two lying around.

    Talleyrand on
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • emnmnmeemnmnme Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    What describes North Korea's situation now? Military dictatorship with hints of Stalinism? Monarchy with royal lineages and serfs? Workers' paradise?

    emnmnme on
  • CycloneRangerCycloneRanger Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    emnmnme wrote: »
    What describes North Korea's situation now? Military dictatorship with hints of Stalinism? Monarchy with royal lineages and serfs? Workers' paradise?
    I normally just go with "complete and utter disaster", but from among your list the first choice seems most apt.

    CycloneRanger on
  • DirtyDirtyVagrantDirtyDirtyVagrant Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    I too would approve of my being a dictator, although not in the sense that we think about it today. My government would be built from the ground up. Everything pristinely planned and executed, with a working system for quickly amending the law under the proper circumstances. Most government funding would go toward the furtherance of science and education, particularly medical science, physics, and robotics. Early childhood education, and a large commitment toward pioneering new techniques and approaches.

    My government would be one of accountability, with those guilty of corruption meeting proper (possibly ironic) justice. Every citizen carries an identification license, Common sense applies to all things, and if we cannot figure out what common sense is, we call a bunch of thinkers and sample the people and we fucking figure it out. When does life begin? What are the boundaries of free speech really? Do the benefits of an armed populace at all outweigh the drawbacks? Where's the line between dead and alive? You sit down and fucking discuss it, because nobody is leaving until we come to a fucking agreement.

    My contribution to the world would be a city, built using modulation. The infrastructure designed to be straightforward and easily maintained. Good public transit. Homes and businesses arranged in a decentralized networking scheme, built and customized by their owners to order from recycled parts. All wastewater is recycled. The city is designed entirely around clean energy, with expansion made easy by the formulaic manner of its construction.

    I don't pretend to know anything about politics or the issues, but I do know that we as a people desperately need to cut the fat.

    DirtyDirtyVagrant on
  • Andrew_JayAndrew_Jay Registered User
    edited February 2010
    First welfare policy would be a guaranteed annual income (say several thousand dollars per person each year). It sounds expensive, but you fund it through cutbacks in the other programs that will become redundant and by tax rates that progressively claw-back the cash transfer for higher income earners.

    Overall tax mix would be moderate sales taxes, relatively high personal income taxes and low to non-existent corporate taxes. Don't get me wrong, income earned by corporations would still be taxed, just it would all happen when it goes into the hands of natural persons such as employees, shareholders, directors, etc. This introduces fewer distortions and inefficiencies.

    Also on the topic of revenue and the economy, the general policy towards economy should be to encourage a market economy that effectively incorporates externalities (such as pollution based taxes, etc.). There would basically be an understanding that businesses can enjoy low tax rates and generally operate freely (within obvious and robust health, safety, environmental, etc. regulations) but will have to pay for all of the resources that they use, be they widgets that have obvious prices or carbon, which is currently not priced.

    Would also like to see better city planning and promotion of greater density and less sprawl through zoning and protected green belts. Makes it much easier to provide services, especially transit, and preserves wilderness areas.

    Andrew_Jay on
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