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Old 03-04-2009, 07:46 AM   #61
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This isn't a "sunken cost." When we say that a "cost was passed on to the customer" we are really skipping over a few steps, but in the end (after an equilibrium is reached between competitors) in normal markets the final price paid by the customer will be higher by the same amount as any increased costs incurred by producers. Whether we are talking about fuel costs paid by airlines or FDIC insurance costs paid by banks, it is the same.
I think we're a bit off track here; let's get back to deposit insurance and take a look at the steps there. The bank pays for deposit insurance from the Government, which depository banks must have to do business in virtually every jurisdiction that I know these days. Some would equate this as a tax on the business of banking. (The days of uninsured depository banks have been long gone since the fiascos of the 1980's in Ohio, Maryland and Rhode Island where state chartered banks in those states were once permitted to operate without FDIC insurance.)

Traditionally, banks raise most of their funding for assets by their deposit base. They primarily attract this funding by the FDIC logo on the bank, the interest rates offered on the deposit accounts, and the transactional convenience offered by the bank. The depositor is essentially a creditor, lending money to the bank. I don't see how the cost of deposit insurance is passed onto the depositor, which was the original point made before? Just like the bricks and mortar of the bank building, there appears to me to be some costs that can't simply be passed onto a "creditor" of the bank, in this case, a depositor.

The asset-liability spread of the bank, in simple terms, gives the bank its profit or earnings; higher funding/liability costs (including deposit insurance) mean that the bank's earnings may be diminished unless it correspondingly receives a greater return on its assets (through higher interest rates, for example, on borrowers). Perhaps this is the point you're making about the cost of deposit insurance, but to me it does not appear correct to say that the "depositor" is paying for the insurance by reduced interest rates or in some other fashion!
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Old 03-04-2009, 01:10 PM   #62
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I think we're a bit off track here; let's get back to deposit insurance and take a look at the steps there.

I don't see how the cost of deposit insurance is passed onto the depositor, which was the original point made before?

Just like the bricks and mortar of the bank building, there appears to me to be some costs that can't simply be passed onto a "creditor" of the bank, in this case, a depositor.
I mean this seriously & respectfully ChrisC, but if you really don't see how those costs are passed onto the customer, I don't think we can have a discussion on this, or on any other matter of economics. It's basic and fundamental. I certainly wouldn't put you on an ignore list for this, but I might make a note - don't bother to engage in economic debate with this poster, there is a gulf in understanding too wide to overcome.

The customer ultimately pays the price of any and all costs. How can it be otherwise? The only other one to "pay" is the business, and if they can't get enough income, they go out of business, or move their capital and energy to another business where they can make a profit. Where does the income come from? The price of the products.

A business might be able to play a shell game, and rob from Peter to pay Paul, or do some short term covering of costs. But in the long run it has to average out.

Profit = Income minus Expenses. There is no place to hide.

Brick & Mortar? It was an expense, possibly amortized over time by a mortgage, but undoubtedly that cost was passed onto the customer along the way. If not, I suspect that all business building would be gold-gilded architectural wonders of the modern world, rather than cube farms.

On Hypocrisy: Let's try a non-political example.

You are on a bus trip in a group of 30. The driver says there are two places to stop for lunch on the way, and he only has time for one stop. A Pizza place and a Taco place. They take a vote, you vote for pizza, 29 other people vote for Taco. They stop at the Taco place. Now, are you a hypocrite for ordering a Taco? No, you were outvoted, and now you adapt to the new reality. And you decide to enjoy your Taco, though you would have preferred Pizza.

Get it?

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Old 03-04-2009, 03:41 PM   #63
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The same argument, IMO, applies to Taxes. At the heart of most business is RISK. Depending on the risk, the owner/investor will want a certain return on their investment. Expenses, taxes, insurance and all other expenses will be passed on to the customer to the max extent possible. In the situation where all banks pay the FDIC Ins. fee, then it is easier for them to pass it along. If some paid and some did not then the bank might either have to eat it, or make it up in some other area, like increased fees. At any rate, if the return on investments fall below their risk comfort level, they will either take action to raise the rate of return, or find another place to invest their time and money.
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Old 03-04-2009, 03:47 PM   #64
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I mean this seriously & respectfully ChrisC, but if you really don't see how those costs are passed onto the customer, I don't think we can have a discussion on this, or on any other matter of economics. It's basic and fundamental. I certainly wouldn't put you on an ignore list for this, but I might make a note - don't bother to engage in economic debate with this poster, there is a gulf in understanding too wide to overcome.

The customer ultimately pays the price of any and all costs. How can it be otherwise? The only other one to "pay" is the business, and if they can't get enough income, they go out of business, or move their capital and energy to another business where they can make a profit. Where does the income come from? The price of the products.

A business might be able to play a shell game, and rob from Peter to pay Paul, or do some short term covering of costs. But in the long run it has to average out.

Profit = Income minus Expenses. There is no place to hide.

Brick & Mortar? It was an expense, possibly amortized over time by a mortgage, but undoubtedly that cost was passed onto the customer along the way. If not, I suspect that all business building would be gold-gilded architectural wonders of the modern world, rather than cube farms.
I guess there must be a serious defect in my understanding of basic finance; kind of odd to me that the supplier of credit/funds, a depositor (a lender supplying the service, i.e. money), is "paying" for insurance that the bank must have to do business -- call me dense I suppose. Since I might just be too stupid (or as you charitably put it have "a gulf in understanding") to understand your points, you should ban me to your ignore list -- I can handle it.

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On Hypocrisy: Let's try a non-political example.

You are on a bus trip in a group of 30. The driver says there are two places to stop for lunch on the way, and he only has time for one stop. A Pizza place and a Taco place. They take a vote, you vote for pizza, 29 other people vote for Taco. They stop at the Taco place. Now, are you a hypocrite for ordering a Taco? No, you were outvoted, and now you adapt to the new reality. And you decide to enjoy your Taco, though you would have preferred Pizza.

Get it?

-ERD50
This is a very flawed example. It's not hypocritcal to go along with a consensus vote on something even though you're in the minority. But it's two-faced and hypocritical for someone to say, for example, I don't believe in the Government providing welfare assistance to anyone and then applying for welfare at the first instance you need it -- without any other considerations, seems plainly hypocritical to me.

I don't begrudge anyone who disagrees with some program or benefit and then decides to take advantage of it for human survival purposes. But simply saying that it's not hypocritical to take advantage of a program you despise merely because the program or benefit is available for the taking, well that does sound hypocritical to me.
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Old 03-04-2009, 03:50 PM   #65
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This is a very flawed example. It's not hypocritcal to go along with a consensus vote on something even though you're in the minority. But it's two-faced and hypocritical for someone to say, for example, I don't believe in the Government providing welfare assistance to anyone and then applying for welfare at the first instance you need it -- without any other considerations, seems plainly hypocritical to me.
I strongly disagree. If I am forced to pay for something, it's not hypocritical to accept some of the benefits of it. I'm getting what I paid for, even if the payment was coerced.

What would be hypocritical is if you had the ability to opt out, you chose to opt out and then you hit tough times and crawl to the government for help. Too bad -- you opted out of paying for it. No soup for you. But if are forced to pay for something, there's nothing hypocritical about accepting something for it in return.
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Old 03-04-2009, 04:08 PM   #66
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I strongly disagree. If I am forced to pay for something, it's not hypocritical to accept some of the benefits of it. I'm getting what I paid for, even if the payment was coerced.

What would be hypocritical is if you had the ability to opt out, you chose to opt out and then you hit tough times and crawl to the government for help. Too bad -- you opted out of paying for it. No soup for you. But if are forced to pay for something, there's nothing hypocritical about accepting something for it in return.
What does coercive taxes have to do with it? You're not forced to accept the benefits of a program you dislike, are you? You're just forced to pay for programs that the consensus has decided should be funded.
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Old 03-04-2009, 04:41 PM   #67
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With all due respect samclem, I see nothing in what you have suggested that would do anything to help address the economic meltdown that we are facing. You've admitted that you basically want govt. to get out of the way, and let the chips fall where they may. That may satisfy your desire for a smaller and less intrusive govt., but it does nothing to constructively address the situation we are facing. It is possible that the current mess we're in would eventually self-correct without govt. intervention, without leading to a major crisis far worse than anything we have now, but I wouldn't want to bet the whole economy on it, as you seem willing to do.
Interesting point of view RAE.... but couldn't the same arguement be made the other way? As in betting the whole economy that we can somehow "BUY" our way out of this situation, and make the economy better? The economy got to where it did (we WERE doing really well till about two years ago and had been for almost a decade... easy to forget that sometimes...) largely because of individual businesses, and individual choices that people made.

Inherently, the govt is the champion of the "one size fits all" solution. I believe that our economy is far too complex to every be "solved" by a govt edict. The govt cannot "force" people to start buying cars again. They cannot "compel" banks to begin lending money again (at least the ones that gave the money back... and I hope more do soon). If you think about it, the govt is dangerously close to going on a totalitarian slant. I am listening closely at this point for statements like... "for the good of the people the govt is forcing you to do XXXX". That will be a very sad day for all of us.

We must accept the fact that for a "free" society to exist, people will make their own choices. And the moment that those personal choices are taken away for the "common good" we cease to be a free society any longer. Something about living a single day on my feet as I choose to, rather than a lifetime on my knees to service a govt master.
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Old 03-04-2009, 04:56 PM   #68
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What does coercive taxes have to do with it? You're not forced to accept the benefits of a program you dislike, are you? You're just forced to pay for programs that the consensus has decided should be funded.
In general, taxes are supposed to be used by things that everyone either has used, will use, or will almost certainly one day use. Things like schools, roads, hospitals, traffic signals, the military, are all examples of things that taxes should go for. All of these things you have either used at some point in you life... like schools, use every day like roads, or will need one day like hospitals.

However, the problem comes in when tax money is used for things that most people will never be able to use in any way, or would not want to. For example.... what percentage of people in the US are on welfare, or have been that way for more than one year? Many people loose their jobs every year and never apply for, and never go on welfare. Yet their tax money (in larger and larger amounts) keeps going to these social type programs. Whereas things like roads and traffic signals are used by pretty much everyone... almost every day.

While I certainly understand that I am not always going to get my way on where my tax dollars are going. This is the benchmark that I would tend to use. If those tax dollars can only help a small group of people... young, old, rich, poor, etc, then it is probably a mis-use of my tax dollars. If that tax money is spent on things that everyone can use equally reguardless of their gender, age, profession, financial status, etc.... then it was probably a good use of those tax dollars. Very rich and very poor still need roads, hospitals, the military, etc.

Hope this helps to clarify and explain my position...
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Old 03-04-2009, 05:34 PM   #69
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I understand your position Armor; I just don't agree that when the elected consensus decides to use my tax payments for programs and benefits I don't think are wise that such a "use" entails a misuse of my payments. I don't have a social contract with my Government that comports with your understanding of things.

But it doesn't mean that I have to accept every benefit or program that my tax payments are funding. If I don't believe, for example, in public education, I think it would be hypocritical for me to send my children to public schools simply because I fund the public school system with my taxes, assuming I have a choice in the matter.
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Old 03-04-2009, 06:37 PM   #70
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I understand your position Armor; I just don't agree that when the elected consensus decides to use my tax payments for programs and benefits I don't think are wise that such a "use" entails a misuse of my payments. I don't have a social contract with my Government that comports with your understanding of things.

But it doesn't mean that I have to accept every benefit or program that my tax payments are funding. If I don't believe, for example, in public education, I think it would be hypocritical for me to send my children to public schools simply because I fund the public school system with my taxes, assuming I have a choice in the matter.
That's not hypocritical. If you're paying for a service against your will it would be idiotic to not use that service. Hypocritical is telling people they should ride their bikes instead of drive to cut down on pollution and then taking your fleet of SUVs to your private jet.

I may have enough money saved that I would need welfare if I lost my job, and I believe the whole system is a killing our economy but that doesn't mean I'm not going to squeeze every last penny out of the welfare office they'll give me if I lose my job.

If a guy mugs you in the street but decides to just keep the cash and give you back your license and credit cards, do you tell him to keep it because you don't think you should have been mugged in the first place?
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Old 03-04-2009, 08:27 PM   #71
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That's not hypocritical. If you're paying for a service against your will it would be idiotic to not use that service. Hypocritical is telling people they should ride their bikes instead of drive to cut down on pollution and then taking your fleet of SUVs to your private jet.

I may have enough money saved that I would need welfare if I lost my job, and I believe the whole system is a killing our economy but that doesn't mean I'm not going to squeeze every last penny out of the welfare office they'll give me if I lose my job.
I'm sorry but I don't understand why you think it's not hypocritical to believe that a program sucks and yet take advantage of that messed up program; if it's your heartfelt conviction that "welfare" is an abominable program, I just don't see how you can have your hand out for the program and not have your convictions undermined -- you're saying one thing but doing another thing, isn't that the hallmark of being two-faced?

In another thread it was mentioned that it's hypocritical to say you support being taxed at a higher level and then not voluntarily make additional tax payments to the IRS. Assuming you agree with that proposition, I fail to see why it's not equally hypocritical to say you detest the Government's efforts at encouraging homeownership and yet accept the mortgage interest deduction on your tax return filing.

Maybe I need a refresher course in logic (and perhaps basic economics too), but I'm just puzzled by this view that the hypocrisy is purged because you've paid for something.

You point out other acts of hypocrisy, but they still don't undermine, in my view, the basic point I'm making.
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Old 03-04-2009, 08:54 PM   #72
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I'm sorry but I don't understand why you think it's not hypocritical to believe that a program sucks and yet take advantage of that messed up program.
Four different people have explained it in several clear ways. (I personally like ERD 50's Pizza and Tacos scenario). You are either pulling our leg or there is another problem.

Similarly, it is hard to believe you think the expenses that go into making a product (in a mature, highly efficient and competitive market) are not reflected in the price of that product. Again--I think you are pulling our leg.

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I think we're a bit off track here; let's get back to . . .
the topic of this thread:

- - What do you think will serve as the trigger event that will cause the great mass of "I'm fed up with the big-buck government takeover of everything" people to finally take action?
- - Is there any leader (maybe not a political leader) with the charisma, standing, and ability to harness the outrage?
- - Is there a grass-roots group that shows signs of gaining some traction to reverse the trend?
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Old 03-04-2009, 09:09 PM   #73
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- - What do you think will serve as the trigger event that will cause the great mass of "I'm fed up with the big-buck government takeover of everything" people to finally take action?
It's probably worth noting that the electorate is pretty evenly divided between blue and red, if you will. So, the blue part was more energized this last election, I suppose because they were fed up with whatever it was they were fed up with. If the economy doesn't pick up soon, I expect the pendulum will swing back the other way, as early as 2010. The electorate is fickle...
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Old 03-04-2009, 09:25 PM   #74
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You are on a bus trip in a group of 30. The driver says there are two places to stop for lunch on the way, and he only has time for one stop. A Pizza place and a Taco place. They take a vote, you vote for pizza, 29 other people vote for Taco. They stop at the Taco place. Now, are you a hypocrite for ordering a Taco? No, you were outvoted, and now you adapt to the new reality. And you decide to enjoy your Taco, though you would have preferred Pizza.
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This is a very flawed example. It's not hypocritcal to go along with a consensus vote on something even though you're in the minority. But it's two-faced and hypocritical for someone to say, for example, I don't believe in the Government providing welfare assistance to anyone and then applying for welfare at the first instance you need it -- without any other considerations, seems plainly hypocritical to me.
I see others have tried, I guess I'm still up to this challenge. The difference is, whether you were forced to contribute or not.

OK, so let's turn my Pizza/Taco example around and see if that helps. In the first case, we assume that lunch was part of the cost of the trip, OK? So, now, let's picture another planned trip...

TRIP #2: This time, before they leave, you vote on whether they should provide lunch with the trip. Since we all know, there is no free lunch ( << extra points for using that phrase in context! ), they will charge an additional $10 for lunch.

You decide you'd rather brown bag it than pay $10 for lunch, so you vote no lunch. But 29 people vote for lunch, so lunch it is. Everyone, including you, pays an additional $10 for the included lunch. Now are you trying to tell me that it is hypocritical to eat lunch with everyone else? The lunch that you paid for? Just because you would have preferred that you could bring your own lunch on your own dime? What would you do, skip the lunch you paid for and go hungry? Bring your own lunch even though you paid for a lunch?



And if that still didn't do it, one more trip to demonstrate hypocrisy...

TRIP #3: This time, they decide to leave it up to the individual. You either pay $10 additional for a lunch ticket in advance so they can make sure they have the right amount of food at the stop, or pay nothing additional, and lunch is up to you. You decide to pass on the $10 lunch ticket, figuring you won't be that hungry, you'll just skip lunch.

But you get to the lunch stop, and you ARE hungry, and the meal looks good. So you sneak in line, and just figure that there is enough to go around, and anyhow, those other people could stand to lose some weight.

Not *THAT* is hypocritical. And my work is done here.

--------------------------------------------------------------------


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Since I might just be too stupid (or as you charitably put it have "a gulf in understanding") to understand your points, you should ban me to your ignore list -- I can handle it.
Nah, I don't have *anybody* and my ignore list, you certainly would not be the first! Even if I give up on economic topics with you, you might post something else of interest to me, it would be my loss if I had you on ignore.

I'm glad you liked my "a gulf in understanding" phrase, I was pretty proud of that one. It does not infer stupid, more like two people who speak a different language, they simply do not understand each other.

I'm sure we could have a nice conversation over beer and pizza, I mean Tacos, no pizza, no Tacos.... I'll buy the first round.


-ERD50
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Old 03-05-2009, 07:39 AM   #75
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Four different people have explained it in several clear ways. (I personally like ERD 50's Pizza and Tacos scenario). You are either pulling our leg or there is another problem.

Similarly, it is hard to believe you think the expenses that go into making a product (in a mature, highly efficient and competitive market) are not reflected in the price of that product. Again--I think you are pulling our leg.
Seriously, I'm not pulling any legs here. The examples are defective, in my view, which is a view that appears to be problemmatic to you. Forced contribution or coercion to support a program does not alter the equation; the hypocrisy is still there as long as there is an element of choice to take advantage of a program you find abhorrent! I'm just surprised that you and others just don't admit it and just say that sometimes it makes no practical sense to be logically consistent about things. It is idiotic to insist on standing on principle when your own self-interest might harmed, correct -- isn't that how we generally roll? I think the examples provided tie up a lot of contrived thinking, perhaps in my jaded or disjointed views about things. There is no moral imperative that you be logically consistent in all things.

Well, Samclem, I never said expenses that go into a product are not reflected in the price of the product. What I said was that a lender/depositor/creditor that provides funding or money to a bank is not paying for the insurance that the bank is taking out to do business. In my case, the depositor is providing a product -- funding. And the bank/debtor is required to have insurance to do business. You and others appear to believe that the lower interest rate that the lender/depositor/creditor obtains from the bank includes that insurance premium, when all I have been saying is that it ain't so. I have no doubt the "insurance premium" is reflected in some other service or product of the bank -- I just don't see how it gets reflected in a reduced interest rate to someone advancing funds to a bank. So, perhaps I have a fundamental problem with basic finance, as I don't see eye-to-eye with you and your esteemed colleagues. I'll go back to school on this one and perhaps cure my educational deficiencies.
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Old 03-05-2009, 08:38 AM   #76
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Seriously, I'm not pulling any legs here.
This is getting tough to swallow. But what the heck, I've already got enough invested in this, I'm going to take the bus trip group one step further. After that, you just *gotta* explain to me where the inconsistency is, deal?

TRIP #3 - on the way home: The 10 people sitting in the seats on the far left of the bus start talking among themselves. They agree that the bus driver has done an outstanding job, and figuring he could use the money, agree that everyone should chip in $1 and they can then give the driver a $30 tip.

They mention this to the 10 people in the middle seats. Those ten people are not impressed with the driver at all, they don't think he put forth any extra effort. They say that the driver is getting paid by the bus company, that was reflected in the price they paid for their tickets, and that is good enough.

Word gets to the people on the far right seats of the bus. They agree with the people in the middle. Further, they say they saw the bus driver buy cigarettes and lottery tickets when they stopped for lunch. They figure the driver would just waste the money anyhow. The far right sitters are not interested in parting with anymore of their hard-earned money.

The far left of the bus wants to put it to vote. Predictably, they are overruled, 20 against a tip to 10 for a tip.

As they get off the bus, the 20 middle and right voters notice that the 10 far left voters don't leave any tip for the driver. The 20 say that the 10 are hypocrites.

The 10 could have chipped in the $1 that they all said was the "right thing to do". No one would stop them, they are free to do so. It is what they said everyone should do, it what they said they should do. Isn't a $10 tip for the driver better than no tip? They could even say "This tip is from this group of people". Or, they could have agreed to chip in $3 each to come up with the full $30, since they felt the driver was so deserving.

But, to chip in NOTHING, after claiming that EVERYONE should do it, is HYPOCRISY. No?

This is EXACTLY like the "every high income person should pay more taxes" argument. OK, go ahead - if you feel that way - pay. You are free to do so, you don't need my approval, you don't need the approval of Congress. Make an annual donation to the Federal Govt, I assure you they will accept it. You can even take credit for it, like charitable donors do when they donate a big check and the press is there and everything. Get that website together, collect a few million from like minded people, and put your names up there for all to see. I'll even thank you for your contribution.

It comes to that old saying: Put up or shut up.

Now, tell me where there is anything wrong with any of that thinking. I think it is EXACTLY correct, and EXACTLY an analogue to the tax situation.

Show me you are not just pulling our legs, and set me straight if I am off the mark.

-ERD50
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Old 03-05-2009, 08:43 AM   #77
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Seriously, I'm not pulling any legs here. The examples are defective, in my view, which is a view that appears to be problemmatic to you. Forced contribution or coercion to support a program does not alter the equation; the hypocrisy is still there as long as there is an element of choice to take advantage of a program you find abhorrent! I'm just surprised that you and others just don't admit it and just say that sometimes it makes no practical sense to be logically consistent about things.

Well.... I guess I cannot argue with that.... Reminds me of when people say things like.... "Well my reality and your reality are different"... or "it does not have to make sense.... that is the way I like it." etc.

Fact and opinion are two completely separate items. Two people look at a thermometer that reads 100 degrees. One is from Alaska, and the other is from Arizona. The one from Arizona thinks the weather is nice... the one from Alaska thinks the weather is really hot. Which one is right? Well... neither of them are right or wrong... it is an opinion. The FACT is that the temp is 100 degrees. If you want to believe things that are not true.... be my guest..., but your thoughts do not alter reality in the slightest.
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Old 03-05-2009, 08:46 AM   #78
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Old 03-05-2009, 08:51 AM   #79
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Forced contribution or coercion to support a program does not alter the equation;
Then tell me what you would do in my trip # 2 scenario:

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Everyone, including you, pays an additional $10 for the included lunch. Now are you trying to tell me that it is hypocritical to eat lunch with everyone else? The lunch that you paid for? Just because you would have preferred that you could bring your own lunch on your own dime? What would you do, skip the lunch you paid for and go hungry? Bring your own lunch even though you paid for a lunch?
?

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Old 03-05-2009, 08:59 AM   #80
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This thread is becoming circular and repetitive, and its wheels are spinning in the mud. Can we find some different ground to trod on, since it's obvious this particular item is going nowhere?
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