This is one horribly long, rambling post, and I apologize, but a lot of things hit me at once.
A Republican friend (yes, I have a couple) is convinced the current health care reform proposals are all about encroaching government control, i.e., Socialism. He has no problem with the Department of Homeland Security, warrantless wiretaps or torture.
A Libertarian friend (only really have one that I'm aware of) is convinced that the controls are already there, but that some form of universal health care should be part of what government does anyway. He's not a very good Libertarian, apparently.
Both of them think the tax structure stinks (one says he's paying too much taxes, the other says no income tax at all), and in this I heartily agree, but for different reasons. With which they will both disagree. No big surprise there.
What I am finding is common ground. And it's disturbing me. But I'm not sure the R will believe my side of things. I'm certain the L will, but again, he'll have different reasons.
The bank bailout: I agree with you both, we bailed out the wrong people. But to the R, remember: the bailout began under Bush with zero restrictions. Only when Obama continued it did he say, well, if we're going to do this we want to know how you're spending it. Oh, and bonuses? You're kidding, right? You're gonna get bonuses for reaming out our economy? This idea of treating the banks as if we're the shareholders (which, under the Obama plan, we are) is regarded as socialism by the right, justice by the left, and as an example of everything that's wrong with our whole economy to the Libertarians.
Personally, I regard the whole thing as socialism. These guys make record dollars by rigging, gaming, and then tanking the whole system, and then they want the rest of us to bail them out? Not on your nelly. Private profits should not equal socialized losses. There is a special ring in Hell assigned to Joseph Cassano.
We could halve our military expenditures and still be spending more than China, Russia, the UK, France, Japan and Germany. Combined. My L friend would say, oh, so true - bring back state militias, and kill the Standing Army. My R friend has said, "we have enemies." Apparently that's all you need to know in terms of whether or not we're spending enough on the army - if we have enemies, no amount of money is too huge or ridiculous. Our 2008 military budget is 48% of the entire world's military budget. And we're mostly fighting guys who occasionally resort to muskets and rocks.
We watch television - while one side says something very provocative, and the other side responds with something very provocative, no one actually comes out and says one of you is lying, or both of you are lying. But someone has to be lying, or wrong, or stupid. The Right has no problem calling the Left liars, cheats or thieves, and the Left goes along its merry way trying to be "fair", "nice", or whatever you want to call the affliction of having no damn spine.
Here is my problem with news and newspapers - when someone says something that's not true, don't just print the other side and call it "balance." Balance equals justice, and justice requires facts and proof, not consensus or worse, "fairness."
True fairness is about being fair - not just giving everyone equal time to be stupid. But we accept the dumb with the smart as if both were equally valuable. We trust the large, two-legged beings that feed us, and ignore rumors about the "slaughterhouse."
Will Work for Food, Shelter,
Warmth and Dignity
People should be allowed to work for a living, even a job they may not like, but at least they have the option, and they should make enough money to survive on the one job. Welfare does indeed corrode society, especially if it's unending and simply gives one no incentive for getting a job. Forcing people to work for their welfare, or worse, forcing people to work more than one job for their welfare, on the other hand, is cruel and unusual punishment.
We are the world's richest country, and I'm sure there are quite a few people who live here that simply don't want to work. That doesn't mean everyone who can't find a job doesn't want to work. Poverty breeds illnesses of all kinds.