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View Diary: Diane Ravitch calls it "the most brilliant post of the day" (147 comments)

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  •  More important is the next question (23+ / 0-)

    We have to explain why the government should do these things.   It's because a) they need to be done, and b) the free market has already failed to do it right.

    Government programs and regulations only ever come about to repair failures of the market to do what is just or what is right.  Otherwise, why bother with government intervention?   We never have our government do things for shits and giggles.  Why do we have a minimum wage?  Because the market already failed to ensure that an honest day's work earns a decent pay.  Why do we have socialized roads?  We didn't always, but the market failed to ensure the widespread availability of quality roads.  Why does government build the TVA and the REA? Because the market failed to bring electricity to rural areas (many of which had no electricity until after WW2).  And so on.

    Why do we have public schools? Because we need universally accessible and adequate education, and the free market already failed to deliver it.  We had a system of only private schools before.  It failed, and that's why we built public schools in the first place.  

    Emphasize that--- the public system only exists because the private system already failed to satisfy our needs.  Going back to the private system (emphasize "back", to undercut its shiny newness) would only reintroduce the problems we already had before.  Then we'll just have to rebuild another public school system.  Eventually, it'll work itself out to something like what we have now.. but all the kids who go to school in the meantime will suffer, needlessly.  

    Conservatives need to realize that their Silent Moral Majority is neither silent, nor moral, nor a majority.

    by nominalize on Mon Mar 25, 2013 at 09:34:22 AM PDT

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    •  Great Explanation (7+ / 0-)

      I've been racking my brain trying to figure out a way to answer the inevitable from the right "What does gov't do right?" snark.

      Railroads, roads, telegraph and telephone lines, sewer infrastructure, banks, electric and utilities, schools - all these started out in private industry, with the failures and useless multiplication of effort replaced by a centralized gov't system. While some of the small private systems may have been exceptional, the separation of effort and resources meant that the large majority was barely adequate at the best. Not to mention the lack of longterm planning - something that the federal gov't (aka, we the people) are more suited to handle.

      •  Health care is a great case in point (1+ / 0-)
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        Privatized health care and insurance can give amazingly fantastic care, but not universal care.  Purely public care and insurance can give universal care, but not amazingly fantastic care (it does deliver on adequate, though, but this is America, damnit!)  

        The same with education.

        Conservatives need to realize that their Silent Moral Majority is neither silent, nor moral, nor a majority.

        by nominalize on Mon Mar 25, 2013 at 04:47:47 PM PDT

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      •  sometimes I walk in the mall (3+ / 0-)
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        Linda Wood, ClapClapSnap, ladybug53

        when its raining or snowing outside; the old timers always gang up on me. One asked, what does gov't do? I saidwell did you take a nice shit in the toilet here? that's because the health dept checks the toilets. did you eat at the burger king here in the mall? the health dept checks for rat shit and roaches. did you enjoy your walk? has the mall stayed up for 40 years? that's because the owners had to follow regulations about architecture and pass inspections so the place doesn't collpase. now go have a drink of the clean water from the fountains, and drive safely on the slated roads going home. And when you talk to folks, ya gotta talk rat shit, toilets, and roaches to get them thinking....

      •  See (1+ / 0-)
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        in Life of Brian.

        Reg: All right, but apart from the sanitation, medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, the fresh water system and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?

        Attendee: Brought peace?

        Reg: Oh, peace—shut up!

        Reg: There is not one of us who would not gladly suffer death to rid this country of the Romans once and for all.

        Dissenter: Uh, well, one.

        Reg: Oh, yeah, yeah, there's one. But otherwise, we're solid.

        And you thought that was satire.

        Now is it the Tea Party Express, the Tea Party Patriots, Tea Party Nation, or the Congressional Tea Party Caucus who are the splitters?

        Ceterem censeo, gerrymandra delenda est

        by Mokurai on Sun Mar 31, 2013 at 03:58:25 PM PDT

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    •  yeah but gov't fails and that's why (1+ / 0-)
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      it should be privatized is the counter.

      so what tips it in favor of gov't?

      people are confused about how taxes work... when they hear privatized perhaps they think less taxes. so how do they work?

      more importantly, citizens can still wield power (whenever we figure out how to do it efficiently, non partisan and smart) when the gov't provides the services. how?

      many here see how capitalism, consumerism, unregulated markets and growth are killing us. many do not.

      we need to build better NON partisan arguments ... more visual, more common sensical, more thought provoking. less answer-based, but data driven. if that makes sense.

      •  Then we have to ask How does Gov't Fail? (4+ / 0-)

        The idea about taxes is a good one, but quite frankly, I think one of the main bases is dealing with the personal.

        The belief argument is that gov't fails. For example, gov't fails at delivering mail. When you ask why, it devolves into the "there are three people at the counter and only one is actually working", or "My mail was delivered in three days instead of two", or "My package was damaged" or "all I get is junk mail". Very subjective, and very personal anecdotal. If you tell them that the USPS delivers over 2 billion pieces of mail a year with a less than 1% error rate (misdelivered, misdirected, late, or damaged mail) they can't imagine it, because they were personally inconvenienced and were not immediately made right to their complete satisfaction.

        They equate privatization with being able to personally demand special service (aka, the customer is always right) and gov't doesn't do that. Business has a personal touch that gov't doesn't have for these folks - and that personal touch is that the customer is always right.

        The necessity for depersonalizing gov't transactions that the sheer bulk and the necessity of fairness dictates means that folks don't have a good sense of when gov't is working. They remember the lines, the waits that they encounter when they try to deal with their problems.

        •  Trying not to derail... (2+ / 0-)
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          nominalize, ClapClapSnap

          So I'll try pulling my previous comment into the diary subject. When parents have to deal with Junior's school because Junior is not getting good grades, they don't see the large picture. They see the teacher and the school as the large opponent that is not giving them the satisfaction that they and Junior needs.

          They don't see the infrastructure or the legal framework (they regard this as useless bureaucracy) - they see that Junior is not getting a good grade that their taxes pay for. (They understand the paying taxes part). Where's the route to satisfaction? Arguing with the teacher for a better grade? More likely than not the browbeating and lack of support from the school means the teacher gives in, and Junior is promoted to a grade that he's not ready to handle. Which means that he fails again, and the process starts over.

          Which means that the parents now believe that public education doesn't work, since Junior isn't performing as he should be. Their personal experience and lack of awareness of the larger public picture keeps them looking at their experience as the norm. Thus gov't always fails.

          Sorry for potential derailing, but the idea sprang at me as a possible explanation, and then it kinda spread...

        •  People never notice government... (4+ / 0-)

          ...when it works.

          I had an FDA-inspected hamburger the other day and I did not die of food poisoning.

          I bought something over the Internet and my money wasn't stolen.

          I crossed the RFK Bridge and my car did not go plunging into the Hell Gate.

          But if the Post office messes up my delivery, I will howl and wail...

          •  well it probably wouldn't be the first car (0+ / 0-)

            sitting at the bottom there. I remember I used to take my boat through the Arthur Kill off SI, kids used to steal cars and ride them down to the water front. I'd see em sitting there rusting all summer. Not to mention all the " stolen cars" reported to insurance companies that can be found at the bottom of various waterways in the area.....

        •  The problem is that (0+ / 0-)

          mail volume is dropping, especially the higher price per ounce stuff.

          About half the time the postman (a very nice, hard-working Democrat) drives past my mailbox without stopping.

          I electronically pay my electric bill. I'm down to one check. I might have to order new checks this year.

          I mailed a proxy simply because it was easier for me to vote by mail.

      •  Government does fail (1+ / 0-)
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        though far less often than we like to think.  For instance--- our education system is actually among the best in the world, when you factor in economic segregation.  The postal service would make money if it weren't hobbled (on purpose) by ridiculous directives from Congress.  And so on.  

        But the counter to the counter is--- government wouldn't even try if the market hadn't already failed.  And if you think about why the market failed, you'll see why it will fail again.  If the government fails, too, it simply means it cannot be done.  

        Conservatives need to realize that their Silent Moral Majority is neither silent, nor moral, nor a majority.

        by nominalize on Mon Mar 25, 2013 at 04:45:39 PM PDT

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      •  also, to be fair (2+ / 0-)
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        UntimelyRippd, pfiore8

        my argument actually is non-partisan.  Conservatives also have the government solve what it sees to be problems but the market fails to fix.  Abortion for one--- the free market leads to a million abortions a year; they want government intervention to stop it.  

        "But abortion is murder" they might say.  Then the question goes further:  Why is murder illegal?  Why not let the free market handle it when you kill someone?  Well, privatized security fails miserably (see Crassus for a good case), and without laws and police, we end up with blood feuds and vendettas that wreak far more violence than the original murder.  That is, the free market FAILS to keep murder rates down.  So we have government intervene.  Is it perfect? No. Does it fail sometimes? On occasion.  But it is still so preferable to the alternative that we even equate it with basic civilization (even if we grumble about "the man")

        Conservatives need to realize that their Silent Moral Majority is neither silent, nor moral, nor a majority.

        by nominalize on Mon Mar 25, 2013 at 04:53:47 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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