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Sender: Michael Strong
Subject: An Ideological Turing Test featuring arguments against Raddatz's "Cap and Prioriitiz
Date: Fri, May 16, 2014
Msg: 100986

In an earlier thread, I was surprised that after I came out supporting Rick Raddatz's "Cap and Prioritize" proposal, there were many follow-up posts that struck me as completely unrelated to my post. In going through to see how these well-intentioned people had thought they were responding to my post, I realized that if I put myself back into the progressive mindset, their seemingly unrelated comments might make sense.

This sense of temporary disorientation led me to attempt to pass an "Ideological Turing Test" by presenting a progressive's argument against Raddatz's "Cap and Prioritize." I'd love to hear if progressives here have a significantly different set of rationales for not supporting Raddatz's "Cap and Prioritize" proposal, or if this is a roughly decent articulation for a progressive's rationale for not supporting his proposal:

Conservatives and libertarians want to cap government spending and then work with transpartisan progressives to improve the manner in which government funds are spent. While we respect the transpartisan spirit of this proposal, in a world in which inequality is the over-riding issue of our time, in a world facing severe environmental challenges, and in a nation with inadequate public goods, the cap-and-prioritize proposal is unacceptable.

There is abundant evidence that above a certain point, more wealth does not increase happiness. At the some time, there is abundant evidence that poverty and inequality result in severe harms to the health and well-being of the least disadvantaged in our society. There is also abundant evidence that our environment is at risk, including global warming, over-fishing, water scarcity, ecosystem vulnerability, loss of species and habitat, dead zones in our coastal waters due to excessive pesticide and fertilizer usage, etc. Finally our public goods are undersupplied: our infrastructure is crumbling, our schools are broken, our universities are underfunded, we are at risk of falling behind globally due to cuts in research, etc.

We believe that it is self-evident to a moral human being that once one's basic needs have been met, most of the rest of one's wealth and income should be devoted to helping those in need. Thus over some income threshold, most additional income should be taxed to support programs to help those in need. Additional funds should be devoted to preserving our ecosystem and financing public goods.

Therefore because of:

1. The scale of need among the disadvantaged.

2. The urgency of ecosystem preservation.

3. The need to finance our public goods properly.

4. The clear evidence that additional wealth does not increase happiness.

We therefore resist any notion that "government is too large" or that "government spends too much." Indeed, any artificial limit to the financing of public needs is immoral. Instead of setting arbitrary "limits to government," such as are proposed by Rick Raddatz's "cap-and-prioritize," those of us who live comfortable lives should all willingly devote whatever it takes to solving the other important problems faced by our nation. As a consequence, we should wisely implement whatever policies are needed to create a better America, and we should proudly pay whatever level of civic contribution is needed through our taxes in order to do so. "Cap and Prioritize" is therefore a misguided policy proposal insofar as it aspires to set limits on what Americans can or should do for their fellow citizens, for their country, and for the world.

-- Michael Strong CEO and Chief Visionary Officer FLOW, Inc.

For the definitive Conscious Capitalism book, see Be the Solution: How Entrepreneurs and Conscious Capitalists Can Solve All the World's Problems, by Michael Strong with John Mackey, CEO Whole Foods Market, Muhammad Yunus, founder of Grameen Bank and 2006 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Hernando de Soto, Co-Chair of the U.N. Commission on the Legal Empowerment of the Poor, and others, and listen to John Mackey's audio CD Passion and Purpose: The Power of Conscious Capitalism, both available at or

Liberating the Entrepreneurial Spirit for Good

When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.

Leonardo Da Vinci


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