off topic open thread

Debate Night Open Thread

If anyone wants to talk about the debates, or anything else vaguely political, have at it here!

Also, I’m not exactly sure why someone wanted to make wax Romney and Obama heads, but I figured I’d put these up in case any of you were ever wondering what that would look like.

348 replies on “Debate Night Open Thread”

LOL “not to sound mercenary, but fuck homeless people”. And you wonder why everyone else hates libertarians.

As for what it costs you, did you read the posts above about how we ALL pay increased medical costs when people have to rely on the ER for treatment? How about the money that’s not moving around the economy because people who are homeless don’t have much to spend? How about the labor they are unable to contribute because no one will hire them? Ugh, now I sound mercenary. But if self-interest is all that motivates you…

As for Social Security: it’s nice that you make enough that you can afford to set some aside to invest. You’re aware that lots of people can’t spare any money, right?

“not to sound mercenary, but I also don’t see how someone else being homeless costs me anything.”

Emergency medical, which would be their only real resort and even then is limited greatly in treatment options. All damage and costs should they be mentally unsound and unable to get needed treatment, which closely related to all damage and costs involving law enforcement and criminal offenses that a transient lifestyle would possibly cause someone to undertake given their situation.

What else am I missing in the price tag?

Oh yeah.
Basic fucking feeling of empathy to another human being.

For the record, the only reason that homeless and otherwise indigent people are able to drain the ER system is because the government (boo government) passed a cruel, cruel law (EMTALA) requiring emergency rooms and hospitals generally to admit people who are critically ill/injured or in active labor. Before this tragic limitation on freedom, medical establishments had the liberty to let people who couldn’t pay die on their doorsteps. Ah, the good old days.

not to sound mercenary, but I also don’t see how someone else being homeless costs me anything.

1. Fuck you.
2. Right before we created the social safety net, we had this little thing called the Great Depression, where 12 million people died of starvation.
3. Fuck you.
4. The guy who had his face eaten in Florida was homeless. Think he had health insurance? Cause he’s still in the hospital right now as far as I know.
5. Fuck you.
6. Those “makers” that you wank off to are making their money through the labor of others, using a public infrastructure that tax dollars pay for. They can pretend they’re all boot-strappy and shit until the cows come home — they’re lying. Mitt Romney took federal money to keep Bain afloat. He took federal money to keep the Salt Lake City Olympic games solvent. Paul Ryan’s construction company made its fortune on government contracts. RuPaul, your holy father, sticks loads of pork into budget bills that he then votes against because he knows they’re going to get passed and his state will still get federal money, and then continues to pretend that he’s somehow a rogue outsider who speaks truth to power.
7. Fuck you, buy an island, move to Somalia, go Galt, just get the fuck out of here.

And regarding social security, all of those boomers who are reaching retirement age right now spent their entire working lives paying into it. It was running at a surplus, so we raided the fund and spent the money. And now we’re trying to tell those people that there are too many of them, and that we can’t afford their old asses anymore. Fuck that, and FUCK YOU.

I would much rather have the money I earn now, so I can invest it, and actually have something for retirement. Social security isn’t going to do that.

The number of bank failures in 1933: 4,000. Lost of money by depositors? $140 billion. Updated for inflation? $2,331,985,990

Let us say you decide to invest it in the stock market. But unfortunately Bush was in office at the time your retired. Your portfolio loses 20% value. Which means that your annualized returns also are reduced by that much.

Let us say that you invest in the stock market and bonds. Unfortunately your income also takes a massive hit since they lost about 28%.

Unless you happen to have extensive time to devote to keeping up with the various markets, you can easily get screwed out of a decent retirement.

This is why you are supposed to have social security-it is a security against any other life trashing events because governments never go out of business.

Everyone speaks truth, and let’s not forget the possibility that the mighty Diogenes might himself someday be stricken with a chronic illness, lose his job, and find himself homeless and/or uninsured, at which point the system would cost him a great deal.

Diogenes, I just want you to know that if this happened, I would be completely in favor of social programs helping you.

But private charities, Katz! People will pour money into charities once we relieve them of their crushing tax burdens! You know, once you convince them that the epidemic of homelessness costs them something, since that’s what matters…

If social security and pension peograms were run peoperly instead of being gutted and underfunded at every chance, there would be no problems with these programs. The problem here is not that the idea of the program is flawed, but that a lot of very very powerful people have been trying to gut and cut these programs every step of the way and then funnel the money to the rich elite by way of corporate welfare.

Right now, the Governor of CA is doing his damndest to get ahold of CALPERS money, which has been properly funded for years and supports all the public employee health and retirement benefits.

As far as I am concerned, no one should be allowed to touch money that is set aside for a specific use, especially not by using the old bullshit of “oh I will pay you back later.” Except not. That is why I am so pissed about “pension reform.” Pensions were promised to be funded. Instead, they underfunded and the agencies borrowed from them. Now, we are told that there is no money and sorry but you will have to do without. THAT is bullshit right there. When I see people who worked hard all their lives have that safety net yanked out from under them, many of whom decided to defer to lower wages in exchange for pension security, it fucking pisses me off. Because now they are the suckers, relegated to poverty and no way to recoup the loss of the wages that went to their now defunct pension.

Also please do come visit the Bay Area if you want to see how expensive homelessness can be.

Last year in my county alone, homeless cookong fires created over 6 million dollars in fire damage. Homeless feces and urine has seeped into much of our water sources, requiring more expensive extensive water treatment. Homeless are largely responsible for our meth, heroin and crack cocaine epidemics, which financially support gangs and overseas drug cartels. Many homeless flock here because the weather is not extreme but when they camp en masse, this exponentially increases outbreaks of disease, habitat destruction, pollution of water and soil and many other horrible things. And did I mention that CA is one of the #1 sources of produce for the US?

Homeless are often in and out of jails for petty crimes and drunkenness so they can get shelter. They often go to the emergency room multiple times in a row because they do not have shelter and the unsanitary informal camps breed further infection.

These things alone cost thousands and thousands of dollars. Now multiply them by how many homeless there are. The resulting cost to society is mind boggling.

You know those pesky social welfare programs that allow people not to starve and die of exposure? They cost less, per person, than letting people fend for themselves on the streets. We can always improve our social safety net and make less room for abuse or long term use, but getting rid of them altogether would be a royal clusterfuck.

On Investing for Retirement :

You may remember a little thing called the financial crisis. The market lost 56% of its value between September of 2007 and May of 2009. People who had part of their retirement savings in stocks saw those assets lose 40% of their value.*

Not a big deal, you say? That kind of stuff happens all the time, if you’re smart you can work around it, and most of the time it will all bounce back and you can make up the difference? Well, it’s a big deal if your last day of work was on November 1, 2007. I’m betting the private social safety net of which you speak is supposed to be market-based, too? n a similar situation, that would leave a lot of people screwed. I do privately invest myself. The market may be rockin’ and rollin’ when I pull my own 401K money in 2050 or so. Or it may not. Market corrections happen all the time,** and the invisible hand sometimes gives you the finger right when you could use a high-five.

By comparison, if we do nothing with Social Security as it stands right now, the SSA is projecting that they will still be able to pay three-quarters of promised benefits in 2086.*** So, conventional social security loses 25% of its value in the future. Stock-centric retirement plans lost 40% of it’s value in a little over eighteen months. Sure, all kinds of stuff could happen between now and then to make SSA revise its estimate. But even with the almighty charlie-foxtrot that has been the last decade, they’re still projecting a 75% payoff for my cohort. I’m not about to turn that down.

That’s, of course, assuming that by “investing” your money you mean trusting it to Wall Street. If by “investing,” you mean piling gold bullion in the broom closet, more power to ya.

On the Homeless, Expensive or Otherwise:

A homeless Missouri woman smashed a police car just so that she could get off the streets for a night.**** It’s pretty pricey to repair one of those, not to mention the expense of booking and jailing the perpetrator.

Jacksonville, Florida is the biggest city near me. They’ve been trying to revitalize the downtown for years. The downtown area, however, is full of homeless folks.***** There are private shelters in the area, but they have to lock out residents during the day. These people are not dangerous, but they do tend to scare away the timid. Fewer “normal” people downtown equals fewer people to spend money at the local businesses. The police have to spend a lot of time moving these people if business owners complain. That’s officers’ time, paid for with tax dollars, that is being used for busy work. Since the local businesses won’t allow them inside, and the public library has limited hours and facilities, they often have to take care of bodily functions on the street. Someone has to clean that up, and that someone has to be paid. All of the aforementioned and more are reasons why the city is having a hard time convincing more businesses to move downtown. This has been going on for decades.

TL;DR – In conclusion:
1. The market is at best a fickle lover, at worst a robber baron who will make off with your riches and leave you to scramble until the day you die.
2. There are hidden costs to everything, and
3. Since we’re going along the lines of self-interest here, I completely left out compassion for your fellow man. But that, too.

I have citations, but I’m sure they’re stuck in moderation.

And look – I was ninja’d by pretty much everyone 🙂

Literally the only way not to see how extreme poverty and inequity affect you directly is to be willfully ignorant about how society absorbs the hidden “costs.”

Complaining about bootstraps wont solve it. Neither will wringing your hands about teen pregnancy and keeping legs closed.

It takes a small man to be unable to see the big picture. Libertarians are a bunch of small individuals with big denial and entitlement, beating on the drum of ignorance and self-interest.

Blitzgal: RuPaul is awesome, the political one, not so much.

Yeah, I never know how to get around that. Maybe I will start saying “RoPaul.” Yeah. RoPaul it is.

My internet connectons been spotty.

Before this thread I didn’t know I was so fortunate. So privileged. I thought I was an average Joe. Now I’m a rich white guy, except for the fact that I’m Persian, and have never been rich. In fact, I spent the majority of my childhood in poverty you can’t imagine. But I’m a white libertarian guy, so that should be impossible.


How does this magic work? Flattening the income curve prevents murder, and rapine? Incredible!

And a competitive job market also helps protect workers.
Also, notice how I said I’m a libertarian? It means I’m not an anarchist.


1. You really think thats their thought process?

2. Do you work for free? Why would you expect your doctor to do the same? One way or another, everything has a cost, and there’s no such thing as a free lunch.

3. Where did I say I don’t like poor people? You’re putting words into my mouth.

4. Don’t start a flame war. Don’t even try. When everyone is rich, they can afford to be charitable. Its that simple. If your goal is to make everyone equally poor, you’re making the problems you want to solve worse.

Also, where did I say anywhere that someone should be denied healthcare? You think charity isn’t reliable? Ok, start your own.


Its their money. Don’t begrudge them for it.

I know I’m in the minority, but I’d rather take the right position than the popular one. But don’t complain to me when the government blows up kids in another country because I wasn’t the one who supported statism.

Where did I say I don’t like poor people? You’re putting words into my mouth.

I know, seriously, I can’t imagine how saying you don’t care if people are homeless because it doesn’t affect you could be interpreted as not liking poor people. You like ’em just the way they are: homeless and destitute!

I’d rather take the right position than the popular one.

You’ve chosen to take neither.


None of that was free. The money for it had to come from somewhere.


Don’t be an ass. “Extreme selfishness?” Really?

I had one year where I was able to give 20% of my income to charity. Another year where I was underemployed, I drove, and visited sick people in the hospital. Right now I volunteer twice a week. You can take your accusations of “extreme selfishness” and shove it.

You can only have money and time for charity if society doesn’t make you terribly poor. I suggest you read Eat The Rich by P.J. O’Rourke. You don’t even have to read the whole thing either. Just read the last few chapters.

Libertarians’ incessant need to demand that people read their books jives well with my theory that teenagers just end up assimilating the philosophy of the first philosophy or politics-related book they read on their own.


I already said I’m not an objectiveist. You know, its this kind of thing that makes me die a little inside. Its not that you can’t get it. You just don’t want to get it.

There’s a pretty obvious solution to your scenario.

Don’t call me a randoid. I already said I’m not an objectivist.


Do you ever write anything worth reading? Just go. Go fuck yourself. As long as you go.

I’d say aworldanonymous has contributed more and better than you ever have, plus he clearly has a soul and empathy for others.

Even if you’re not a randroid, you’re still operating on the “fuck you Jack, I got mine” principle, which is all you libertarians ever do.

Yes dude, the only two options are maintaining the status quo or everyone becoming poor. Disregard that rich people have trillions of untaxed dollars, which they accumulate through illegal and/or unethical means, trillions.
Do you even comprehend what a trillion is? It’s 1,000,000,000,000 dollars. The median salary in the US is approximately 45,000 dollars, if we round that out to 50,000 dollars, one trillion dollars adds up to 20,000,000 times times that, that’s enough for 200,000 people to live on for 100 years each and that’s just one trillion.


9 million? Citation please.

Also, the social programs didn’t pull us out of the Depression. Read Where Keynes Went Wrong by Toronto University Press if you want to find out why.

Also, I am not an objectivist.

“If you want so much government regulation, why don’t you move to North Korea?”

Its your paradise ready-made for you, and you don’t have to go through the trouble of changing America to get it.


You don’t have to give equally to all programs. Most people I know just take on a pet cause, and work on it. Some charities will have a little more money, and some a little less, but enough volunteering will balance things out. Thats the way it played out in the last town I lived in.

Taxes are a horribly inefficient way to help people. Governments have little incentive to do things well, and things are structured to make problems linger.

An example: When my ex was studying for her social work degree, she came up to me at the end of the day nearly in tears. She has a case where there’s an alcoholic woman being beaten every day by her alcoholic husband. She can’t leave because she’s financially dependent on her husband.

I pointed out to her that that woman probably just had low self-esteem, and concentrating on that would be the way to get her to move out, and get a job.

“We’re not allowed to change our cases.”

Yeah, they’re hired to perpetuate problems instead of solving them.

@Diogenes The Cynic

We’re well aware that libertarian literature exists. Really. You don’t need to hawk a different fucking book in every post. It’s been done. There’s a reason you can’t type R0n P4ul around here.

Also, what the fuck is that story supposed to be about? You had an ex with a difficult social services case so therefore government sucks? Government workers are hired to perpetuate problems? Have you ever actually been a government worker? Where does this theory come from? You make no sense.

You seem really irked at being called an objectivist. If the shoe fits…

Did it ever occur to you that your ex, as a student, wasn’t allowed to change anything with this patient, because student? That’s if this just-so story even happened, which I doubt, it’s too pat.

Diogynese, dude, not only is this not your blog, you are not well liked by most (any?) of the regular commenters. You do not have the authority to tell aworld to leave.

Clearly having your selfishness pointed out stings, but such is life. You might want to read a few more books if you want to continue discussing how society and economics intersect, because right now you’re barely even at a 101 level and it’s really very boring for everyone else to have to explain things like “why having lots of homeless people wandering around is a bad idea, and not just for the homeless people themselves” to you.

(The reason I’m not even going to try is that you can’t use facts or logic to talk someone into having a conscience or empathy for others, which seems to be the underlying problem here.)

And don’t you just love the way Cynical Dirtbag instantly diagnoses the problem of a woman being abused as really just being her having low self esteem? Presumably she just needed to stand up for herself and suddenly her husband would sober up and stop abusing her. Nice bit of victim blaming there. Unoriginal, though.


I’m not a right-winger.


Yeah, everyone was healthier, and died 20 years earlier for some reason.

@captain bathrobe

I said the government should build roads.

You responded with “WHARRRBLLLLGARBLLL who will build the roads?”

Also, I know enough about mental health. Don’t want to get into it now.

But why do we think we have the power to hold someone against their will if they’re a threat to themselves? There are a lot of legitimate reasons a person would want to kill themselves, and that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re unhinged.

With habitual criminals, we at least imprison them after they’ve committed a crime. But holding someone because they COULD harm others? Thats nonsense.

The whole thing about 72 hours unless there’s a court hearing is bullshit. Shows how much you know about your own industry.

Your charity would have to shut its doors with the government? Sounds poorly run.

Maybe they’re not ignorant. Maybe they’re just disinterested.

“Ignorance and wishful thinking”??

Read what other people here have written about economic theory if you want to see that. We have economics on our side, along with reason and logic. It only makes sense to end the drug war, doesn’t it? It only makes sense to release nonviolent offenders from jail, doesn’t it? How are you going to argue against shrinking the military without cherry-picking weak little arguments?

@cynic- “An example: When my ex was studying for her social work degree, she came up to me at the end of the day nearly in tears. She has a case where there’s an alcoholic woman being beaten every day by her alcoholic husband. She can’t leave because she’s financially dependent on her husband.

I pointed out to her that that woman probably just had low self-esteem, and concentrating on that would be the way to get her to move out, and get a job.”

What the….FUCK with the victim blaming here?

Because abuse victims just have low self esteem, and just need to pull themselves up by their bootstraps. And totally being homeless isn’t a problem at all- everyone knows that women can just cry in the street and get food and a job and a place to stay, amirite?!

And it’s not like battered spouse syndrome is a THING or anything.

Seriously. Get banninated already.

Well color me surprised. The libertarian thinks that everyone just needs enough willpower and reality will magically change to suit them.

Honestly, I think that the unspoken argument here is that they want the poor and homeless and the “takers” and “leeches” to just quietly go die somewhere (or be shunted off to camps to be “humanely euthanized” so that the rich won’t have to see them, ya know, OUT OF CHARITY), all the while acting like it is one’s god given right to be at the topmost echelon of society. Well, actually, until people like Skeptic here gets sent off to a euthanization camp because he is not a rich-rich person, and is therefore considered more of a “taker” because he cannot afford the five million dollars it costs per bottle of clean drinking water.

Yeah, I noticed the women who’re being abused just need to improve their self-esteem thing. Like many of our clueless friend’s ideas about how the world works, not only is he ignoring pertinent information, he’s also creating an either/or scenario that doesn’t actually exist. Why not work to raise the victim’s self-esteem via counselling AND provide a shelter bed so she can leave immediately? Why not government programs AND let anyone who wants to do charity or volunteer work do so as a supplement?

I wonder if he doesn’t realize that most people who’re interested or motivated enough to want to do charity or volunteer work are already doing so. Those people don’t stop volunteering just because there are also government programs in place, and the much larger group of people who just don’t really give a shit aren’t going to start giving a shit jut because government program are cut.

Diogenes, I can’t tell whether you’ve got a lot better opinion of human nature than I do, or if you’re a lot tougher.

Yes, there are rich, middle class, and poor people who do incredible works in their spare time. You sound like you put a lot of time and effort into making your community a better place. I bet you probably had a good upbringing where you were encouraged to remember the least of us, even while your family had little.

You’ve asked us all several times to please stop projecting our own selfishness on you. But I can’t help but think that you’re projecting your own philanthropic impulses onto the rest of humanity. I wish that I could believe that if everyone in the nation had an extra thousand dollars in their pocket, that they’d give $200 of it to headstart program or donate it to a shelter. However, I’ve had a woman tell me that the ideal social solution would be to feed the homeless to the hungry. When I was collecting cans for the local food pantry in high school, a man stopped to lecture me on how I was enabling people by giving them free food. There are some ugly people out there, and they have no interest in doing good for anyone but themselves.

You could argue that this is just our flawed society, and that if we could just embrace our old values of community and camraderie, we would be back on track. After all, you’d never let a neighbor want for anything. But if we changed the structure of our government tomorrow, we’d still have our anonymous society to go along with it. An anonymous society with no food stamps, no grants for homeless shelters, no subsidized medical care for poor kids, no aid for the elderly and alone, and no help for the severly handicapped.

Would some rich people give more if their tax burden was lifted? Sure. People from all over the social strata would. Would it equal the loss of the current government programs, and the grant dollars and special projects money that the Feds and state administrations routinely hand out? I don’t know, and that’s a scary proposal for someone who’s having a hard time making ends meet.

I said something rude about how Libertarianism makes me feel in an earlier comment, and this is why. All of the libertarians I’ve met IRL have been the types who were happy as long as they got theirs, and oh, yeah, other people can do charity. Now I’m willing to admit that there may be another branch of the cause that are willing to put their backs into helping the non-winners. But I can’t agree that slashing the social safety net in the name of liberty will help anyone at the bottom make their way to the top.

TL; DR – We have a lot of people who fall through the cracks in this country, and charities have a hard time keeping up with just those folks. If we take the entire floor away, how can you be sure that the empowered will come through with all the help that they need?


IME with people who’re fixated on the idea that all assistance to disadvantaged people should be provided via charity there’s also a really icky tendency to prefer things to work that way because it forces the recipients to be “grateful” and display their gratitude in ways that give the charity provider the warm fuzzies. I’ve seen those folks get downright incensed about the idea that if the government just gives people help when they need it then the people being helped won’t be pathetically grateful for any scraps thrown their way, which is clearly not on because then people won’t know their place at all.

It’s a social control mechanism, basically.

Taxes are a horribly inefficient way to help people.

When it comes to health care, this is a bunch of hooey. Single payer (a tax-funded government department) vs a kijillion insurance companies, each of which skim off money to make a profit? Yah, no.

I’m always boggled by North American libertarians who spout nonsense about how bad life would be under a big (and socialist) government, as if there weren’t all kinds of examples in the world about how life is actually pretty good in such countries.

Can’t imagine a life in which you:

– don’t have to worry about being one step away from poverty because you have national health care
– don’t have to spend more than half your income on childcare because that’s nationally provided too
– don’t have to go into thousands of dollars of debt to get an education that will lead into a high-paying job because that’s also provided?

Lots and lots of people in northern Europe are living the dream, man. Last time I checked, the only people unhappy with their nanny state in Norway and Sweden are right-wing, MRA terrorists.

@Diognenes – Not an right-winger. Noted. I have read that PJ O’Rourke book, BTW. He made some interesting points. But it didn’t change my life.

And leave aworldanonymous alone.

Everyone else – have fun! I’m calling it a night.

I didn’t bother with the debate. Tweedledum versus Tweedledee. They’re basically the same to me.

I see Diogenes the Naïf is back.

case in point:

when I say marriage shouldn’t be regulated. I mean it.

But trying to get that by fighting a culture war is pretty stupid.

Because marriage is just going to become unregulated the way the Soviet State was going to just melt away.

Pecunium – and if it came to a literal choice of being screwed by one or other, Obama would win hands down anyway ‘sfar as I’m concerned! 😀

Seconding what Katz said.

Aworldanonymous – yayy!

Diogenes the Septic – fuck off.

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