Mary Barker: Our economic discourse tends to suffer from non sequiturs

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  • GaryO Virginia Beach, VA
    Aug. 28, 2014 6:11 p.m.

    RedShirt -

    " it only took the massive failures of Progressivism to slow its progress for a few decades until FDR took office. Why support a philosophy that turns everybody into a slave to the state?"

    You're doing some HEAVY fantasizing now. Who said Progressivism was a failure? . . . Aside from the dozens of Right Wing pundits, none of whom know what they're talking about. Progressivim was a huge success.

    So you think Theodore Roosevelt was a failure, huh?

    I'll tell you who the failures are . . . People who put ANY credence at all in the senseless blathering of Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck.

  • TheProudDuck Newport Beach, CA
    Aug. 28, 2014 4:00 p.m.

    It may come as a surprise to many left-liberal Americans that the Scandinavian countries' system of government regulation is in many respects more rational and business-friendly than America's. Ditto their corporate tax systems.

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    Aug. 28, 2014 3:40 p.m.

    To "Noodlekaboodle" insurance is like gambling. You bet the company each month that you will give them more money than what will spend on you. They don't save money in an account for you, that is an HSA. The issue is that the government mandates what they will and will not cover, and also mandates reporting and record keeping regulations. The insurance industry and banking industries are the most regulated industries.

    If you look at satisfaction rates, 80% liked their insurance before the ACA. That number has dropped as government regulation kicks in.

    The great thing about private insurance is that their overhead costs are significantly less than the governments. Private insurance runs on 15% overhead, including profits. The Feds run at 25% to 30% for overhead alone.

    Much of what is mandated is based on a heartstrings tug by special interest groups that end up benefitting from the mandates.

  • Kent C. DeForrest Provo, UT
    Aug. 28, 2014 3:30 p.m.

    Thanks for giving my answer, Tyler D. If Obama appears unwilling to talk about issues with the GOP today, it's because he learned through the school of hard knocks that the GOP had only one goal, to destroy him. After having them repeatedly oppose him, even when he promoted their own ideas (ACA, for instance), he realized what he was up against. Interestingly, we have seen a couple of instances where Boehner attempted to promote a nonextreme idea, to which Obama would have agreed, but in those cases Boehner was shot down by his own party. And look who Utah keeps sending to Washington. We're a big part of the problem, not part of the solution.

  • Cincinnatus Kearns, UT
    Aug. 28, 2014 3:18 p.m.

    Aaaaaaand, it's obvious that JCS did not understand the entire point of Mary's article.

    In an economic world as complex as ours, you can't just tell government to play no part at all. That sets things up for its own form of disaster. Yet, Mary certainly wasn't saying that the government should make everyone's circumstance equal. There is a difference between economic equality and an even playing field.

  • Noodlekaboodle Poplar Grove, UT
    Aug. 28, 2014 3:00 p.m.

    The problem I have with the "just regulate insurance less" crowd, is the fact that you treat medical insurance like the manufacturing industry. Manufacturing is reletivly simple, in the sense that you buy raw materials, assemble them to a product, then sell them. Using various methods for efficiency, economy of scale and marketing you try to make your product at the lowest price, and sell it at the highest. The problem with looking at insurance like this, is that you aren't giving us money, then receiving a physical product. You give us money, we hold onto it for months, or even years, then when you want a medical expense reimbursed, we make you jump through hoops to try and get reimbursed. Some companies are better at this than others(curious at who in the state is good from a consumer perspective?, look for the Utah consumer satisfaction report online) So, what ideas do you have that would make insurance less complicated and better for the consumer through deregulation? Because MOST of the regulations I deal with have valid reasons for existing.

    Aug. 28, 2014 2:54 p.m.

    Progressives, like this commentator live in a progressive, fantasyland. They believe that they can compel individuals to act against their own individual desires, and for the good of the group. Progressives believe that if they can just pass the right law, they will be able to live in a utopian paradise. That goes against human nature. We are not ants in a colony, or bees in a hive. People have their own will, and do not work as hard for others as they do for themselves.

    What made the US a super power was RELATIVELY more capitalism, rather than RELATIVELY more socialism. Where markets are RELATIVELY freer.

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    Aug. 28, 2014 2:25 p.m.

    To "airnaut" once again, that is your black/white with me or against me thinking.

    Conservatives do not want Somalia. Somalia is in a state of Anarchy, and no conservative wants anarchy.

    What is wrong with little government. The less power the central government wields, the less it can be used for corrupt purposes. You constantly complain about the corruption in the government, I would think you would like this.

    Little Taxes, tell me who doesn't want to keep more of their money? Even the liberal billionaires are doing all they can to keep more of their money.

    Nothing wrong with guns. Why shouldn't I be able to protect myself?

    No conservative wants unbridled capitalism. You are confusing conservatives with anarchists, they are different.

    You should realize that over a hundred years ago Progressivism was taking root, and it only took the massive failures of Progressivism to slow its progress for a few decades until FDR took office. Why support a philosophy that turns everybody into a slave to the state?

    The question is why do you and your ilk think you can run my life better than I can?

  • NedGrimley Brigham City, UT
    Aug. 28, 2014 2:23 p.m.

    GaryO - 7:30 am: "And then of course there's the fact that quite a few "Conservatives" completely gave up thinking years ago . . . And just recite stuff they've heard on right wing radio."

    Can I get you a new broad brush?

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Aug. 28, 2014 2:19 p.m.

    @JoeCapitalist2 – “Obama is the most uncompromising president this country has every had.”

    Do you guys really believe this stuff? I mean really… deep down… when there is no one around to high five after you tell an Obama joke?

    See this is exactly what the article is referring to – the narrative on the Right has been echoing in the chamber for so long that it is immune to facts (proving Goebbels’ truism).

    The fact is in his first term Obama bent over backwards to compromise on almost every issue (granted he often opened negotiations with the compromise position, which any salesman will tell you is naïve) but was consistently told “no” by the “our goal is to make him a one term president” Republicans.

    As the two biggest examples –

    Stimulus – wanted pure Keynesian government spending but in an effort to win Republican support, included the largest single tax cut in history.

    ACA – wanted single payer but in an effort to gain Republican support went with the Dole/Romney plan instead.

    How did Republicans respond to these overtures?


  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 28, 2014 1:59 p.m.

    Capitalism and socialism form an ongoing pair. One is always an alternative to the other. So we are likely to live in mixed economies for the foreseeable future.

    As an example witness the two largest socialist states of our time - China and Russia. Markets never disappeared from either - that's why they could become more capitalist so quickly.

    Socialism's ace in the hole is the environmental situation, because such requires so much coordination and cooperation. It's easy to see why conservative are so hostile to environmentalism. Nevertheless more socialism lies in our futures, but capitalism will remain a player.

  • airnaut Everett, 00
    Aug. 28, 2014 1:52 p.m.


    Deep Space 9, Ut


    Redshirt1701 and his "ilk" will not be happy until America is like Somalia.

    Little Government,
    Little Taxes,
    No Social Service,
    protect yourself - get a gun,
    Unbridled Capitalism - including drugs, prostitution, and slavery,
    machete massacres between tribes over who's "religion" is right,
    NO Progressvism -
    and going back to the way were over hundreds of years ago...

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    Aug. 28, 2014 1:36 p.m.

    To "Noodlekaboodle" it is called collectivism. That is not a conservative philosophy. The bank bailouts and the farm subsidies are collectivist ideas to make things "fair" or are an effort by the government to control the economy.

    The ironic thing is that the government is the reason why so many people can't afford health insurance. They create the problem by micromanaging the insurance industry, for the benefit of the collective. Then, to fix the problem that they created they create another government program that cannot meet the needs of the people or else causes even more damage. Just look at the numbers for the Obamacare signups. Many of the people signing up for the government plans were put there because the policies that they had either became unaffordable or were dropped altogether.

    In short, the problems that you see are not because of conservatism, but are due to liberalism and the many flavors of collectivism that it brings.

  • Noodlekaboodle Poplar Grove, UT
    Aug. 28, 2014 1:34 p.m.

    @Invisible Hand
    With the vouchers, can you explain to me how this isn't the ACA on steroids? The ACA is essentially subsidies to buy private insurance. To me that and a voucher system seem pretty darn similar. I work for a medical insurance company(and have worked for others in the past) Let me tell you, we are REALLY good at taking premiums, and making you jump through so many hoops you give up on ever getting anything back from your coverage. And the people that work here.....they are really really really smart. Without serious regulation vouchers are nothing but giving us free money. Which goes back to wondering what the difference between vouchers and the ACA are. Personally, I think we should give everyone a catastrophic policy(a scaled down Medicare if you will) then if employers want to offer a supplement plan, the infrastructure is already in place. This would take a huge burden off of doctors offices, having all patients under a single plan, instead of the 1000's that currently exist. For me, it just seems like a better way.

  • JoeCapitalist2 Orem, UT
    Aug. 28, 2014 1:15 p.m.

    Kent: "most of the non sequiturs...are coming from the conservatives, who,..have given up on rational thinking in favor of an increasingly extreme ideology...we will be in perpetual gridlock until the Republicans figure out a way to return to reality long enough to carry on a two-way conversation."

    You speak of a two-way conversation, yet you believe that the only barrier to it is that the GOP refuses to give in to every demand Obama thows on the table. Obama is the most uncompromising president this country has every had. His "my way or the highway" attitude and complete contempt for Congress has made him enemies even within his own party. If you don't agree with him 100% then you are a "do nothing" Congress. Checks and Balances mean nothing to the man with a pen and a phone.

    I didn't like Bill Clinton's character or his politics, but at least he was willing to reach across the aisle and compromise now and then to get real work done. Not so with King Obama.

  • GaryO Virginia Beach, VA
    Aug. 28, 2014 12:48 p.m.

    Hey Invisible Hand -

    “ . . . downside trade-offs of our semi-capitalist (or whatever you prefer to call it) system”
    Our “semi-capitalist system” is just about as capitalist as it can be and still be workable . . . And it is barely workable as it is, as evidenced by the huge disparity of income and wealth we’ve developed since the implementation of trickle-down economics.

    Our capitalist-centered mixed economy needs to become more mixed. We need MORE government intercession of the right kind.

    Yes, there are trade-offs and we have to be continually vigilant for negative consequences.

    China, a nominally communist country, has found a mix that works reasonably well for them, and they are in the middle of a massive anti-corruption campaign to deal with crony capitalism and graft.

    We could borrow ideas from China too. They subsidize their key industries heavily to start with. That gives companies positive inertia and a skill infrastructure (since foreign companies can’t compete}, and when subsidies are eliminated, the company is off and running.

    We need to rid ourselves of the notion that the government should always just let the economy run itself.

  • Invisible Hand Provo, UT
    Aug. 28, 2014 12:42 p.m.

    @Noodle: I share your frustrations with the current system. I don't think many conservatives will defend bank bailouts or farm subsidies except for the farmers and bankers. I think we all value a social safety net because we all know someone who has suffered medical misfortune and is "uninsurable". If we tone down the rhetoric maybe we could agree to a system of government subsidized care. I favor vouchers because it provides for a minimum level of care with freedom to upgrade your service if you want to pay more. It also introduces marketplace discipline that rewards good service and keeps a lid on prices, which is absent in government run programs. The truth is we already have government subsidized care, it just doesn't work very well and costs way too much.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Aug. 28, 2014 12:22 p.m.

    @Kent C. DeForrest – “conservatives… have given up on rational thinking in favor of an increasingly extreme ideology”

    Kent is exactly right and it is why many of us no longer vote R.

    What’s more today’s conservatives continuously lack perspective – they see religious persecution where there is none, they think our current tax rates are oppressive (by historical standards, they’re low), and they think our current president is the most socialist guy ever to hold the office even when shown repeatedly that Obama is to the right of many past presidents (including Republicans like Nixon and Eisenhower) on a wide range of issues.

    This may be due to the fact that many conservatives are still fighting battles that they won long ago (e.g., market capitalism, strong defense, aggressive policing and lots of prisons, etc…).

    All the current debates on these issues are at the margins (and are about real problems conservatives ignore) with the basic systems in no danger of going away in our lifetime.

    Add to this mix the real decline in quality conservative intellectuals and representatives and we have precisely what Mary so astutely outlined today.

  • Noodlekaboodle Poplar Grove, UT
    Aug. 28, 2014 12:21 p.m.

    So please explain to me how this doesn't happen here? From medical insurance, where the government takes all of the people that corporations can't make money off of and insures them. To banks, where they recklessly invested, where "too big to fail" and we bailed them out, to farm subsidies, where we pay people when their crops fail or won't make enough money. This is exactly what happens here. Call it what you want, but if you disagree, please tell me why this isn't what happens?

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    Aug. 28, 2014 11:47 a.m.

    To "airnaut" actually conservatives know what socialism is better than liberals do. So far not one of the liberals (you included) can defend socialism once facts and history are brought into the discussion. Your ilk has yet to realize that socialism is just one name for the collectivist mentality that you have.

    To "Noodlekaboodle" what you describe is the collectivist philosophy known as Fascism.

    Under capitalism, you cow dies, your company dies too.

  • Noodlekaboodle Poplar Grove, UT
    Aug. 28, 2014 11:18 a.m.

    Lets throw out the split american capitalism and replace it with what actually happens.
    American Capitalism
    You have 2 cows. You milk those cows till they are bone dry, use all sorts of risky drugs to keep the milk going, and disregard and common sense or fear of losing your investment. Then when the cows die or stop producing milk, you get a lobbyist to convince the government to have the taxpayer bail you out. Then you buy two new cows and start the process over, meaning that you get to keep the profits, but the taxpayer subsidizes your losses. And this is not a partisan comment, all of the politicians do it.

  • Invisible Hand Provo, UT
    Aug. 28, 2014 11:16 a.m.

    @GaryO: You make good points about the fuzzy lines between capitalism and socialism. We can agree that good governance is a high priority. But you haven't answered my question about specifically what are the downside trade-offs of our semi-capitalist (or whatever you prefer to call it) system. I believe they include cronyism. Those railroads you referred to made some people rich because the government chose winners and losers. And most of those railroads ended up going bankrupt and costing taxpayer money for what was essentially a misallocation of capital. Maybe you believe there is some system of good governance that can overcome this weakness but I think it is a flaw in the system. People who don't have "skin in the game" should not be making decisions about how to allocate capital because they don't have the right incentives. They won't suffer if the project fails.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Aug. 28, 2014 11:09 a.m.

    Invisible Hand,

    Agreed. But many who used to be considered within the conservative fold are now considered outsiders - moderates or (worse) liberals. It would be well to consider that they too and yes, even the true liberals have some good ideas now and again.

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    Aug. 28, 2014 10:53 a.m.

    "If you oppose minimum wage or unions you must be "anti-worker". If you think Obama's policies hurt the poor and middle classes, then you must be racist. If you want the border controlled and immigration laws enforced, you are "anti-immigrant". Etc., etc."

    Joe, I'm actually going to give you the first one about workers. I actually do think that occurs a lot.

    The second one is pure nonsense. It's a Republican meme that Democrats and liberals believe all opposition to Obama is racist. You got this one backward. That doesn't mean we don't think racism is present in some opposition.

    I don't think the third is very accurate either. The actions of the President himself in enforcing the laws would tell you the third is inaccurate. Even in the latest kerfuffel he proposed hiring more agents and possibly using the national guard. Most of the differences the Democrats have with Republicans regarding immigration are about effectiveness not appropriateness.

  • GaryO Virginia Beach, VA
    Aug. 28, 2014 10:50 a.m.

    Hey Invisible Hand - “ . . . you think the European socialism like they have in Finland is the model that will work best in the US . . . ”

    Well . . .

    Again, I only refer to it as “socialism” because that’s what other people call it. As Mary pointed it out, it’s really a Capitalist-centered mixed economy.

    And that is what we ALREADY have here in the US, because that is what works. When the US government paid huge amounts of money to Railroads to unite the nation, that was some pretty serious government interference that set this nation up for success and advanced capitalistic enterprise.

    So we already are “socialist” in that very loose sense, if you want to call it that. But plenty of people are terrified of the term, so let’s not call it that.

    Basically all I’m talking about is good governance. Let’s do what works.

    As for Finland, their system works great for them, and yes we should emulate best practices from many sources (Why not?), and adapt and apply what can work for us.

    That’s just common sense.

  • CLM Draper, UT
    Aug. 28, 2014 10:49 a.m.

    Well said, Invisible Hand, both comments. I think many of us in the readership would welcome thoughtful discussion/debate on the various economic systems and philosophies. Or as SEY suggests, the clarification, sans mudslinging, of terms such as "liberal" and "conservative," "capitalism" and "socialism."

    However, I presume you will agree that the possibility of either here is likely wishful thinking...

  • CLM Draper, UT
    Aug. 28, 2014 10:38 a.m.

    Well said, Invisible Hand, both comments. There are many of us out here in the readership who would so welcome a thoughtful discussion/debate on the strengths and weaknesses of the various economic systems and philosophies. Or as SEY suggests, clarifying words such as "capitalism" and "socialism", "liberal" and "conservative," sans the mudslinging. However, I presume you'll agree that here those possibilities are likely wishful thinking...

  • Invisible Hand Provo, UT
    Aug. 28, 2014 10:11 a.m.

    It would be nice if the regulars on this board would admit that not all people who call themselves conservatives are extremists, and occasionally even the extremists can make a good point. If you can't admit that then you are just as extreme as those you so arrogantly dismiss.

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    Aug. 28, 2014 10:10 a.m.

    @ Irony Guy. A better definition of liberal Capitalism is the government redistributes two cows that they confiscated from GOP Capitalists and then the EPA fines you because your cows exhaled CO2. NSA spies on you, Eric Holder sues you because you violated affirmative action laws and the IRS targets you because you donated campaign funds for the "other guy". Your healthcare costs double with your Obamacare mandates, your cows go on food stamps and have no incentive to produce any milk and you are forced to borrow money from your grandchildren to pay for your entitlements. Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid say you never paid taxes for ten years and claim you are being greedy and selfish. Not very funny but much more accurate!

  • Kent C. DeForrest Provo, UT
    Aug. 28, 2014 9:58 a.m.

    Another superb editorial by Mary Barker. And Joe2, the reason she didn't point out all the misdeeds of the liberals is that most of the non sequiturs that are damaging our ability to move forward are coming from the conservatives, who, as GaryO pointed out, have given up on rational thinking in favor of an increasingly extreme ideology. Having any sort of intelligent conversation with someone who engages in endless non sequiturs is impossible, as Mary's funny and spot-on example (snow in Boston) illustrates. Which means we will be in perpetual gridlock until the Republicans figure out a way to return to reality long enough to carry on a two-way conversation.

  • airnaut Everett, 00
    Aug. 28, 2014 9:49 a.m.

    Conservatives don't know the difference between Socialism and Capitalism.

    It's simply a trigger used to insight the boogeyman under the stairs
    -- like McCarthyism did with Communism.

    The Tea-Party is nothing more than a 21st century version of the John Birch Society.
    Guns, Bomb-shelters, and Anti-Government run amok.

  • Irony Guy Bountiful, Utah
    Aug. 28, 2014 9:47 a.m.

    GOP Capitalism (with due respect to Mountanman's ancient joke): You inherit two cows and you graze them on public property without paying for the privilege and then pull a gun on the people's representatives when they come to collect what is owed to them. You become a hero on Fox News and Mike Lee worships at your feet.

  • JoeCapitalist2 Orem, UT
    Aug. 28, 2014 8:59 a.m.

    Logic often has little meaning when politics is being played. Both sides of the aisle engage in this kind of behavior so you are just purely partisan if you can only see the misdeeds of the "other side".

    Ms Barker has clearly pointed out some misdeeds from the right in the economic debate. I wish she had been a bit more balanced by pointing out some equally agregious violations from the left, but I never expect such an unbiased piece from anyone these days.

    In the interest of balance, I will point out a couple from the left but that doesn't mean I don't agree that the right is often guilty as well.

    If you oppose minimum wage or unions you must be "anti-worker". If you think Obama's policies hurt the poor and middle classes, then you must be racist. If you want the border controlled and immigration laws enforced, you are "anti-immigrant". Etc., etc.

  • SEY Sandy, UT
    Aug. 28, 2014 8:43 a.m.

    GaryO: to be fair, you should also note that the term "capitalism" means many things to many people, just as the terms "conservative" and "liberal" have different meanings. Whenever a person uses one of them to describe his or her opposition, it's meant in a pejorative sense, not as an accurate description. I think that's what Mary Barker is talking about. As a result, we end up inflaming the conversation and talking past one another.

    Before we can engage in meaningful discourse, all participants need to agree on definitions of "liberal," "conservative," "socialism" and "capitalism." Of course, there's not much chance of that, but that's the very problem, isn't it?

  • Invisible Hand Provo, UT
    Aug. 28, 2014 8:42 a.m.

    @GaryO and JCS: You two are talking past each other again. That type of ranting and insulting people who don't agree with you isn't constructive. You aren't going to convince anyone you are right with that approach. Seek first to understand, and find common ground. I'll go first. GaryO, I take it that you think the European socialism like they have in Finland is the model that will work best in the US. Is that true? If so, what do you see as the strengths and weaknesses of their system? Every system has trade-offs, so it comes down to the value you put on the strengths and weaknesses.

  • E Sam Provo, UT
    Aug. 28, 2014 8:21 a.m.

    So Mary Barker produces another sensible, intelligent, beautifully reasoned and written piece, about the illogic of much of our current political discourse. And immediately two regular posters provide splendid examples of precisely that same illogic. Kudos.

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    Aug. 28, 2014 8:01 a.m.

    GOP CAPITALISM: You have two cows. You sell one, and buy a bull. Your herd multiplies, and the economy grows. You sell them and retire on the income.

    LIBERAL CAPITALISM: You have two cows. You sell one, and force the other to produce the
    milk of four cows. You are surprised when the cow drops dead.

    You have two cows. You strap dynamite to them hoping they will save you 2 suicide bomber resources - they blow up accidentally, you have no cows.

    You have two cows. You go on strike because you want three cows.

    You have two cows. You reengineer them so they live for 100 years, eat once a month, and milk themselves.

    You have two cows. Both are mad.

    You have two cows. You count them and learn you have five cows. You count them again and learn you have 42 cows. You count them again and learn you have 12 cows. You stop counting cows and open another bottle of vodka.

    You have two cows. You have 300 people milking them. You claim full employment, high bovine productivity, and arrest the journalist who reported the numbers.

  • GaryO Virginia Beach, VA
    Aug. 28, 2014 7:30 a.m.

    Our economic discourse tends to suffers from non sequiturs

    . . . Which is the very basis of "Conservative" reasoning.

    And then there's the fact that the word "Socialism" can mean so many different things depending on Context.

    Obviously the Marxist Socialism of Stalinist Russia is not at all similar to the Socialism of Finland or Sweden, which really have Capitalist mixed economies.

    And then of course there's the fact that quite a few "Conservatives" completely gave up thinking years ago . . . And just recite stuff they've heard on right wing radio.

  • John Charity Spring Back Home in Davis County, UT
    Aug. 28, 2014 7:28 a.m.

    History has shown that too much interference by the government in the economy inevitably destroys the economy. Government should limit itself to the protection of private property.

    Charles Dunoyer famously stated that"one consequence of the industrial regime is to destroy artificial inequalities, but this only highlights natural inequalities all the more clearly." Dunoyer continued "superior abilities . . . are the source of everything that is great and useful . . . Reduce everything to equality and you will bring everything to a standstill. " This is why state intervention of any kind must be rejected. Natural inequalities such as differences in physical, intellectual, and moral capabilities are crucial to an economy of growth and innovation.

    The problem with Marxism and left-wing theory is that they ignore the fact that when a government tries to put everyone at the same economic level, it fails. This is irrefutable fact. The way to achieve success is through hard work and study, not government entitlement programs.

    Shame on those who think that they are entitled to have everything handed to them, simply because they exist. That is not the American way.

  • SCfan clearfield, UT
    Aug. 28, 2014 7:26 a.m.

    Funny that Mary would use IKEA as an example. Take a look on Wiki at how they get around big taxes, using non-profit covers ect. No different than the rich Americans try to do. Waltons, Koch Bros. Buffett ect.

    P.S. You know things are getting bad in the U.S. when a corporation like Berger King is looking to Canada to relocate. Thank you BO. It's been fun but time for you to go.

  • micawber Centerville, UT
    Aug. 28, 2014 7:07 a.m.

    Great piece again, Mary Barker.

  • ECR Burke, VA
    Aug. 28, 2014 6:16 a.m.

    Thank you, Ms. Barker, for another common sense essay, pleading with the American public for civil discourse. It seems like a basic and honorable request but it also means that if it is implemented, many or most political arguments will be proven hollow and without substance. A continuing discourse about what is best for the nation as a whole, not just the benefit of the few, is the only way to move our country forward. We are and have been a great nation, but we can always do better.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 28, 2014 12:08 a.m.

    "It would be great if we could listen to one another and benefit from our different perspectives rather than assuming that “this” really means “that” and the defense of some really means an attack on others."

    I agree. I consider myself a Marxist because I think Marx's sophisticated economic tools need to be part of mainstream economic theory. Were Marx to be included I strongly believe (based on my own reading of Marx) that we would have a much better economic map to follow.

    But in now way do I see Marx's theory replacing the rest of economics.