Michael Wald 94wp

Michael Wald

Michael Wald's activity stream


  • commented on The rising cost of education. What do we do? 2018-06-28 23:36:30 -0500
    I’ve heard this argument before. It boils down to “if the Feds were not subsidizing education, fewer people could afford to go to college, and that would reduce tuition for the people who could still afford it.” That’s not really a solution, unless we’re willing to subscribe to an elitist philosophy that education is for the wealthy, and everybody else should just work for them.

    Really, what we have here is a market failure, and it can’t be solved by doubling down on market solutions.

    Why I’m replying to a three year old post is another question entirely…

  • commented on A Democratic Republic... 2016-11-21 03:36:33 -0600
    “For what it’s worth, pretty much no one that studies politics professionally has a strongly positive view of democracy… and if this recent spate of democides is any indication (see Brexit) they are horribly prone to manipulation – particularly in the contemporary social media era.”

    Indeed. It’s the worst form of government—but still the best we’ve ever had. Hence the necessity of checks and balances amongst all organs of power in society. It’s the only way it can work.

    “I agree that we should found our philosophy in some political thought, but it seems both symbolically violent to ally the MWP with a philosophy to which is was expressly opposed in its original form, and pratically unwise because direct democracy works terribly and has an abysmal track record (They killed Socrates!). It’s a system that works strongly against the rule of law (which is what makes populism so dangerous). "

    On the other hand, we’ve had New England town meetings for almost 400 years now, and that seems to working out pretty well.

    It may be that more direct forms of democracy just don’t really scale well. Initiative is probably best at a community size no larger than a county. Referred measures may work fine up to the state level as long as it’s used mainly for constitutional amendments or as a sanity check for controversial legislation.

    But on a national scale?
    • shudder**


    We’d wind up with a bunch of West Coast liberals voting to ban oil, or something equally ridiculous.

    “I, for one, would have trouble being in a movement that had such reckless views on constitutional matters…. moreover, there is already plenty of 3rd party choices out there for hard core democrats (the Greens, for one). What we don’t have is a place for Federalists.. and they are a strong, intellectually and organizationally deep constituency.”

    Exactly right. We actually have a very good system in this country already. Sure it has a few flaws, but then so does everything invented by man.

    We should focus more on reforming the current system rather than thinking up ways to replace it:

    Fix the broken primary system. Use a proportional vote in the electoral college. Overturn /Citizen United/ and reform the campaign finance system. Enlarge the House of Representatives and/or introduce multi member districts. Stop gerrymandering.

    And most importantly: Particulate! Discuss issues. Vote. Educate yourself. I can’t say I’m as active as I should be (nowhere near), but you can’t really have a liberal democtratic republic without full participation of the citizenry. It’s a fundamental impossibility.

  • commented on The Loyal Opposition Revisited 2016-11-13 01:13:48 -0600
    I wonder if it might be possible to partner up with a local Toastmaster’s club to do something like this. Their members are trying to better their public speaking and leadership skills anyway, public debate seems like a good complement.

  • commented on The Loyal Opposition 2016-11-13 01:08:05 -0600
    Tom Powers: Yes. Loudly and proudly. And I agree, he did make some great points. I’ve been mulling that chairmanship suggestion all day.

    I don’t think we have an answer to the ACA at this point. We should definitely discuss it. Even better if we can get some expert opinion. I’m mostly saying that right now we should try to protect what we have. We probably can’t stop the repeal—too many politicians are now too heavily invested in that—but we might be able to affect the length and type of the transition period and the shape (and possibly the very existence) of the replacement plan.

  • commented on Are the whigs isolationist/protectionist? 2016-10-28 03:45:10 -0500
    I’m certainly not. I’m all for free trade, assertive foreign policy, selective engagement and muscular multilateralism.

    Given that this party is formed partly (mostly?) from refugees from other parties, there will be a wide range of viewpoints.

  • commented on Focus on the Federal Budget 2016-11-04 01:39:52 -0500
    “Ignoring the current level of debt is irresponsible. It seems to me that adding more social programs such as universal health care, free college, and basic income are problematic.

    An excessive focus on it is just as irresponsible. It’s nowhere near the most important issue right now. Also, the services above may actually save money vs the current system (our health care and welfare systems are extremely inefficient) and/or lead to greater GDP growth overall.

    “Providing universal health care and other new social services, will necessarily require much higher individual tax rates, as they are in Sweden and other countries that provide many social services.”"

    Yes, they will require higher taxes. But perhaps not to Sweden levels. It all depends on how it’s structured.

    In any case, “it’s too expensive”is not a good reason for inaction. As a nation, we have obligations to each other, and among those obligations is the responsibility to take care of our poor and sick.

    “Secondly, universal health care will wipe out the health insurance business, and that is socialism.

    Germany has a private health care system. So does Canada, Australia, and a whole lot of other countries with public health care. They seem to coexist just fine.

    Anyway public health care is NOT just a socialist idea. It’s also a component of Christian democracy (not to be confused with the Christian Right, which is completely different, much more insane, and almost unique to the U.S.), one-nation conservatism, ordoliberalism, and several others, many of which are hostile to socialism.

    “When the economy returns to a more normal level, it jumped to 2.9% in this last quarter, if that continues and it hopefully would, then there will be added inflation. Additional inflation will snowball the interest on the debt.”

    Growth is certainly the preferred method of raising revenue. Any resulting inflation should be manageable.