Friday, September 19, 2008

As Heard on Randi Rhodes

Republicans want to privatize profits and socialize losses.Damn, she's pithy woman! She drops graphic truths like this all the time!

I was listening to Randi in the car yesterday, and she used this aphorism again, mentioning that she'd like credit for originating it. Apparently it's much-quoted, with the serial numbers filed off.

There's a damn good reason why it's widely quoted: it's so freakin' obviously true! Nothing could be a better example than the bailouts of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac; the huge mortgage brokers that were privatized and deregulated so that all the profits could be sucked off when times were good.

Of course, now that times are not so good - it's time to socialize the losses. After all, the credo of Republicans is that "Rich People Should Not Have to Pay Taxes."

You know what a tax really is? A tax is the price of doing business in this nation. It's a fair share (well, if the tax system is fair) of the costs of getting stuff from here to there, the costs of regulating things in such a way that actual free and fair markets exist, ensuring that investments are secure, that money is safe in the bank, that the currency itself retains it's value. And, obviously, some portion of taxation is essentially an insurance premium against the unforeseen.

Sensible governments, rational, professional governments put a good deal of time into forecasting trends and foreseeing and preparing for all sorts of eventualities so that their citizens and the businesses that are the engines of their economies do not have to seek out and pay extra for such services. In other words, a proper government socializes the costs so that the profits are maximized and the BS is minimised.

Socialized medicine, for example. It's a common cost. By making it a profit center, you essentially make it cost more - in random, catastrophic chunks, rather than as an even, shared cost. And frankly, even if the cost is born disproportionately buy business, it should still end up being a hell of a lot cheaper, both in direct and in indirect compliance costs - paperwork - than the "free enterprise" version.

There are some things that a competent government can do better than free enterprise. The fact that this does not appear to be true in the United States is because the government has been lobotomized; it does NOT work for the common good, it's corrupt, it's riddled with ideologues and people who's sole qualification is that they WERE given substandard educations at religious colleges that leave out all kinds of vital ideas that might "inconvenience the faith," like the distinction between private matters (Terri Schiavo , birth control, sexual choice, recreational drug use) and matters common, public concern that is to say, the whole economy that is NOT based on making people pee in a cup and keeping the people who fail such tests in prisons run for profit.

Generally, these seem incapable of comprehending actual cause and effect relationships. They have regulated in that way, even when regulations still exist, and even a grasp of basic ethics would council against their "interpretation." In fact that's one of the points Randi was making.

So before you dismiss government and government regulation as an inherently bad thing, at least consider the idea of what a competent entity would have to do in order to do the job properly - public, private, automated, whatever. That is what the standard should be. A government does not exist for it's own sake, nor is it supposed to randomly grant boons and equally randomly impose costs. It's supposed to be worth it's keep, and in order to do it's job best, do as little governing as possible. I may be a minarchist - but I'm no anarchist. What we have IS a sort of limited anarchy - as long as you are rich enough, for you, there is no law.

So here you go. Grab it as a sig or blog graphic. I made it on Zazzle, (it's a template, for there are many other things she's famous for saying) and then I downloaded it and cropped the white space away. You may now use it any time you feel the need to remind friends who said it first, and you can do the same thing yourself for the quotes you want to preserve on your blog or your bumper.

I'd like credit, of course. So feel free to link to it. If you want to use it as a template quote engine, you kinda have to. I'll feel less guilty about link-begging if I suggest you sign up as an affiliate. If you just want to use this image to credit Randi, download it to your own space and link it to

When I have some more time on my hands I'll try to come up with something more sophisticated and useful. Right now, you can simply use the zazzle engine to create your own quote graphic the way I did. If you do that, though, either link to the graphic, or to this post. :)

I have to say it - these are awesome stickers; I've proofed other designs and they come out spectacularly.

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