Friday, January 28, 2011

On Compromise

This post is a bit dated now but this was in response to the uproar over Obama compromising with republicans over taxation.

There is, unfortunately, no perfect formula that defines exactly how much tax each person should pay. There are really only ideological trends on this issue. But I think we do the entire process a bit of a disservice when we over-react to compromises on such issues. There are issues that we shouldn't compromise on (e.g. constitutional rights) but tax rates seem like the wrong place to draw a hard line in the sand, to me anyway. There just seems to be so many more critical issues to address in the shorter term.

To me, this rigid ideological thinking is the fundamental problem with religious thinking. Once you buy into a fixed set of beliefs you risk forcing all facts to fit that model.

Avoid ideological traps, try not to think that every conservative opinion is automatically invalid. View the options as a spectum whenever possible, and really consider the merits of each one. And some of these issues are extremely deep and complex, some have no perfect answer but require a balance between different harms and benefits to be struck -- and different people can legitimately place values in different areas. Try to identify the REAL harms and benefits (not just imagined ones) before coming to a conclusion.

I do not believe the common retort that all government is inefficient while companies are magically efficient. The Government is made up of the people of this country, the same as companies. And where there are gross inefficiencies in government We The People are to blame and we should DEMAND those issues be fixed. This is just a clearly fallacious argument. And having worked extensively in the private sector I can tell you there are vast inefficiencies there, even in competitive markets.

I do believe (rather strongly) that competition is an absolutely wonderful tool but not all problems are nails (if I may mix an old metaphor). There ARE areas where monetary competition leads to corruption or other negative outcomes. And a persons basic health needs should NOT be held for ransom for a profit motive.

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