CorruptUser wrote:GDP =
Why should I care about GDP? (Specifically GDP, not the idea of economic growth)
Because it's probably one of the best ways of measuring economic growth. It is imperfect, sure, but all measurements tend to be. They remain useful all the same.
You should care about it for the same reason you care about the number on the scale when you weigh yourself. Oh sure, this scale might be off a bit, and weight does fluctuate a bit over time due to this and that, but it's a reasonable way to determine if you are gaining or losing weight overall.
ucim wrote:... all things being equal. But they are not.
Yes, life is complicated. However, sometimes one wishes to discuss one subsect, without discussing every element of life. So, one abstracts away the mostly uninvolved aspects with conceits such as "all else equal". This, like GDP, is imperfect, but it is useful.
ucim wrote:And yes, one of the goals we should have is protecting the environment, and one of the best ways to do this is to stop breeding. Most of the problems you're addressing arise simply because there are just too many people.
Well, by far the most successful way to reduce the birth rate is to make folks wealthy. So, if you want a lower birth rate, you want a solid, healthy economy.
In fact, just about all goals are more easy to pursue with a booming economy. Sure, tradeoffs exist, but money does appear to buy happiness for just about all values of "happiness". If you want more McMansions and bigger cars, well, that costs money. If you want to go to all natural energy production, that also costs money(argue all you want about tangential benefits, savings down the road, etc, but to start, it costs money). So, pretty much everyone, regardless of other values, ought to put significant value on a healthy economy.
sardia wrote:Isn't this a rehash of your unabashed support for a yard plus two car garage sized house lifestyle?
I don't have a garage and my house is less than 1000 square feet. In a neighborhood that is politely called lower middle class. And I agree with him wholeheartedly.
I am very much in favor of him purchasing a yard and a garage if he so wishes. I am not in favor of denying others their dreams(be they for the same or different) via community obstructionism. Property rights cut both ways. If you wish to do what you want on your property, it is only fair that you not obstruct others to do as they wish on theirs.
Some folks enjoy smaller spaces. Some folks would like larger, but require a smaller space until they can afford the larger. The existence of these should not be a problem. If someone else prefers a short commute over a large home, why should I get involved with his choice? Unless it poses an actual risk to my home(fire safety, perhaps), my rights ought to end at my property line. If you desire to live in a rich neighborhood, where all the houses are large and impressive, and the values of homes are high, cool. Move there.
Anyway, to bring this back to property taxes, I have grown rather less fond of them after having purchased a property and running into mis-valuation. I bought a bit of land for 18k, and turns out, it's valued at 85k by the state. Clearly, the market does not value it at that price, as it was advertised for 20k for many months, and the neighboring plots, priced comparatively, still remain on the market. So, obviously in error, yes? Ah, but the state has yearly deadlines by which one must challenge the price. I purchased my plot exactly on the date(strictly speaking, on the weekend of the date, during which the appropriate government office was not open). So, I've got to pay on the higher, inaccurate number for this year. This is an issue with the process, rather than the idea in principle, but it's a problem all the same. Just as eminent domain should, in principle, not be used to enrich random business folk, but issues exist in practice, eh? If we were talking a similar scale error, but in proportion to the value of the average US home, the resulting tax bill would be quite annoying for most families. Property taxes, as they exist now, are one form of wealth taxation, and they end up hitting the middle class home owner significantly, and misvaluation can be a large concern(or even a correct valuation, for instance, gentrifying neighborhoods forcing low income families out). I'd rather not add to that.
A "pay what you think is fair" project varies greatly. Cards Against Humanity tried such an experiment at a convention, and were stripped clean, losing a significant chunk of money. I think social context greatly affects how this works out. Does someone feel sufficiently anonymous/free of shame to be a free rider, and not pay at all? I am not sure that the government is beloved enough to maintain it's current income via voluntary donation.