A Philosopher's Blog

53% & Life is Not Fair

Posted in Business, Ethics, Philosophy, Politics by Michael LaBossiere on October 14, 2011
Perot's running mate James B. Stockdale

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As I noted in my previous post, Erick Erickson recently started a movement in response to the Occupy Wall Street movement. The occupiers have as a slogan that they are the 99%. To counter this, Erickson hit on the idea of the 53%. This is the percentage of Americans who pay the federal income tax. His message is that complaints should cease, people should not blaming Wall Street, and people should pay their taxes.

During an interview on CNN Erickson responded to the criticisms of the Occupiers by asserting that life is not fair. He also made this point in his post:

Well, these people apparently forgot that life is not fair and are demanding the government intervene to legislate that life suddenly become fair. They are claiming to be the “99%” against the evil 1% of rich people who work on Wall Street. They are posting pictures to a website holding up their sob stories. Some are terribly tragic, but most? Boo-freakin’-hoo. Life is not, never has been, and never will be fair.

While Erickson does not actually present a developed argument, he seems to be contending that the Occupiers are in error regarding their protest and their desire to change the economic and political system. They are in error, as he seems to see it, because they supposedly want to make things fair and this will never occur. I am not sure if he means that unfairness is a matter of necessity in the sense that fairness is a logical or practical impossibility. However, it seems to suffice to take his claim at face value, namely that life will never be fair.

Interestingly, his response to this is rather like that of the Stoics and reminds me of what James Stockdale wrote about the story of Job: life is not fair and this is something we simply must deal with.

As a runner and martial artist, I have long found Stoicism appealing. However, there is the question about whether or not Erickson is right.

To steal a bit from Thomas Hobbes, life can be divided up into two main domains: the natural world and the artificial world. The natural world consists of all the natural thinks, such as streams, rocks, planets, animals, humans and so on. The artificial world is the domain of what we humans create and includes our social and political structures, including the economy.

The natural world is clearly not fair in the sense that natural processes do not consistently bring about what people (and animals) actually deserve. The just and unjust are killed in earthquakes, the wise and the fools perish of cancer, the good drown as readily as the bad, the kind are consumed in fire as swiftly as the cruel. As I say to my students, stuff just happens and deserving has nothing to do with it (to steal a bit from Unforgiven). As far as the evidence indicates, justice and fairness are lacking in the purely natural world.

This fact does, of course, cause some thinkers to raise the problem of evil in regards to God. After all, if there is supposed to be an omniscient, omnipotent and good God, then we would expect there be to justice in the natural world. It need not be a perfect world (as Leibniz argued), but such a being should surely be up to providing a fair world. There are, of course, various replies to this problem of evil-but none of them really seem to adequately solve the problem. One stock reply is that God balances the books in the afterlife, which hardly explains why He does not get the book keeping done properly here. The most reasonable inferences from the evidence are that either God does not exist or God is lacking perfection in power, knowledge or goodness.

In regards to the natural world, I agree with Erickson-life in the natural world is clearly not fair and this will almost certainly never change. It would be the height of foolishness to protest against this. Rather, wisdom lies in trying to mitigate the situation through preparations, technology, and good decision making.

However, as noted above, we are not merely creatures of the natural world who must live in a world not of our making. We are also the creators of the artificial world-that of society, politics, economics and so on. While this domain is obviously shaped by the natural world, it is a human construct and it is within our collective power. As such, whether our institutions are fair or not seems to be a matter of choice. Since we create and sustain them, it would seem to follow that we can change unfair aspects to be more fair. To think that our creations are beyond our control and that we simply have to live under their unchanging ways is to fall victim to the fallacy of reification.

To use an obvious analogy, imagine that I ran my classes in a way comparable to our economic system. For example, while students could work hard to get good grades, the grades also could be bought or acquired in other ways (like family influence or via connections). Also, the students would have access to the class material and my time on a non-equal basis (well off and well connected students would have the most, while the poor students would have far, far less). Imagine that some students complained that it was unfair. If I replied “life is not fair”, that would be absurd. After all, the class is under my control-I could just as easily make the class fair in the sense that the grade each student receives is  primarily dependent on their effort and ability. The same could be done with our economic system. After all, it was not forged by the hand of God and dropped from the sky. Nor is it ruled by unbreakable laws of nature. True, people do like to talk as if the economic system is an entity in its own right that follows immutable laws-but this is no more true of our economic system than it is true of my classes. The rules are ours to change, be they fair or unfair. As such, to say that life is not fair is merely an expression of a problem rather than a refutation of criticism of unfairness. Naturally, it could be argued that it is right to be unfair, but that seems to be absurd.

To forestall an obvious mistaken  reply, unfairness and inequality are different things: it can be completely fair to have an unequal distribution of goods. To go back to the class analogy, it can obviously be just and fair for students to have various grades-provided that the grades are based on merit. In fact, it would be unfair for students to get the same grades regardless of effort and accomplishments. To use another obvious analogy, a race can also be fair and yet end with an unequal distribution of awards. After all, not everyone can be first-just the best runner.  People often “confuse” calls for fairness with calls for equal distribution (often as an intentional part of a straw man attack) but they are not the same thing at all.



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  1. T. J. Babson said, on October 14, 2011 at 7:00 am

    Wait until these kids realize they will get stuck paying off the debt we are running up.

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 14, 2011 at 9:36 am

      That is a good point-I think that one demand that should be made is reducing the deficit. We know it can be done-we did it when Bill Clinton was president and we can surely do it again. The problem seems to be that we elect Republicans and they jack up the deficit. 🙂

  2. T. J. Babson said, on October 14, 2011 at 7:04 am

    The mask slips, or, more charitably, they were too stoned to realize that a member of the Coast Guard is unlikely to be one of those “millionaires and billionaires” Obama has targeted.

    BOSTON (FOX 25 / MyFoxBoston.com) – The Coast Guard in Boston confirmed that a woman in uniform was harassed and spat upon by Occupy Boston protesters.

    The woman was walking to the train and said protesters spit on her twice, called her foul names and even threw a water bottle at her.

    Now, the Coast Guard is warning all staff working on Atlantic Avenue to avoid those protesters while in uniform.

    Read more: http://www.myfoxboston.com/dpp/news/local/occupy-boston-protesters-spit-on-coast-guard-member-20111013#ixzz1akkA5Dib

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 14, 2011 at 9:32 am

      Again, one does not rationally judge a group (especially a vague group) based on the actions of a few. As I noted before, the Tea Partiers should not be judged by the fringe folks who carry racist signs, Christians should not be judged on the basis of the God Hates Fags people and so on. What would be needed is showing that a significant proportion of the Occupiers are attacking unformed people in this manner-then that would provide grounds for criticizing the mass, rather than merely chastising a few idiots.

      • T. J. Babson said, on October 14, 2011 at 12:49 pm

        Since it is a vague group with no clearly defined agenda, one needs to use whatever evidence is available in order to form a working hypothesis of what is motivating the group. (Technically, this process is known as Bayesian Inference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bayesian_inference )

        Right now my working hypothesis is that these are more or less the same people who formed the anti-war/anti-WTO/anti-globalization crowd, which is entirely consistent with the attack on the woman in uniform.

        • dhammett said, on October 14, 2011 at 4:25 pm

          And it’s good to note that that wiki article points out clearly that ‘probability’ as it is referred to there is ” also termed uncertainty, confidence or belief.” “The uncertainty is repeatedly adjusted as fresh evidence is observed.”

          The information in that article bolsters your belief as of now. We are, I assume, at a very early stage of this occupation process. I assume, your beliefs may be subject to modifications as evidence accrues. Your working hypothesis works for you now.

          As for me, I currently see precious little evidence to support it. I hear of a few people,most likely fringers, who have been clearly denounced by whoever seems to represent the group now. At this point I can’t get anywhere near your hypothesis that lumps the whole group together with the anti- WTO, anti-globalization crowd. jSure, there’s potential there for that kind of problem. These are young people, not old codgers like the ones in videos of early Tea Party rallies. The oldies can probably work ups some saliva, but –depending on the age range we’d be considering (45-50 and upwards seems to be general estimate from many google searches)– they wouldn’t be too physically violent. They’d be more likely to break a hip than a window. Unless they’re packin’.

          Early on in Palin’s campaign for Vice-President I suspected her motives and abilities. That working hypothesis has held up over the little time we’ve gotten to know her. When a late-night comedian quipped that “Palin said she would love to be president but she just couldn’t handle the two-year commitment.” ,it sounded more grounded in truth than any line from an Onion article.

          Early in Rush’s career I thought he was the “harmless little fluff ball” he repeatedly said he was. I thought that he was, at least, harmless. That he was”the kind of person you could trust in a hotel room with your wife and daughters for the weekend”. . . ?Well. After I heard of his settlement agreement on drug charges and his (now three, er four) marriages, I’m not so certain he’s that harmless or trustworthy. Wonder if there’s a pre-nup? Or do you think she married for love? Is he looking for someone to bear his first child? BUT, He’s media savvy. These days I’ve got a lot more respect for his raw influence on political events and a lot less respect for the messages he cranks out on a daily basis.

          What can I say about Obama? The evidence isn’t in yet, but there’s no doubt he’s pissed off a lot of voters, including some in his own party. And that’s what politics is about. Did he (and Bush) do everything right with the economy in ’08 ’09.? No. But no one has been able to provide evidence convincing to me that letting GM and Chrysler go would have made the economy or unemployment better than it is now. As far as I know, no one has a crystal ball that can return to the past then see events that never happened to predict what ^may^ have occurred. And as rotten as the Wall Street mess was and is (lack of criminal prosecutions, etc) I feel pretty certain our economy would be worse now than it is without the steps that were taken. And we know that his stimulus plan was evidently neither too soft nor too hard nor just right. Whatever it was, and I vote for too soft, the administration’s crystal ball was malfunctioning when Obama predicted a quick drop to 8 percent unemployment. We’ll see. It’ll all come down to political winners and losers.

          • T. J. Babson said, on October 15, 2011 at 10:38 am

            “I assume, your beliefs may be subject to modifications as evidence accrues.”


            • dhammett said, on October 15, 2011 at 12:02 pm

              With that reply I’ll make an appropriately minor adjustment to the working hypothesis that was the basis of that assumption. 🙂

          • T. J. Babson said, on October 15, 2011 at 10:49 am

            The evidence keeps coming. One can almost start thinking about it as a pattern:

            • dhammett said, on October 15, 2011 at 11:32 am

              Almost– And then only IF there’s enough evidence to prove that the occurrence of such anti-Semitism within the “Occupy” groups is greater than anti-Semitic sentiment in the general population.

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 15, 2011 at 6:20 pm

              What percentage of the protestors are anti-Semitic? I know that one of the talking points out there is that the Occupiers are like Nazis, but there seems to be inadequate evidence for such a claim. In any case, a movement is not to be judged by cherry picking “evidence.” I’ve said this about conservative movements as well-such as the Tea Party. Almost all movements or groups would seem crazy and awful if we just focused on the worst or most crazy people we could find associated with them.

        • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 15, 2011 at 6:36 pm

          A working hypothesis is fine-but the proper methods of inductive generalization have to be used to draw a conclusion about the group as a whole. This requires proper sample size and diversity.

      • magus71 said, on October 14, 2011 at 3:16 pm

        There’s only a few hundred people in this protest, Mike. What do you suppose a church congregation of a few hundred would do if a member spit on a Soldier while in church?

        A few hundred protesters compared to a few billion Christians.

        Bad analogy.

        • dhammett said, on October 14, 2011 at 4:30 pm

          What about Rev. Fred Phelps’ congregation?
          How would they react to the burial of a soldier returned from war?

          • magus71 said, on October 15, 2011 at 1:29 am

            Not sure. What about Rev. Wright’s congregation?

            • dhammett said, on October 15, 2011 at 9:09 am

              I’m not sure why you’re not sure about Rev. Phelps’ congregation The congregation protested at the burials of soldiers returned from war because, they believe the current wars are a sign of God’s wrath against the US for allowing military service by gays and lesbians. This, while clearly a matter of free speech, is arguably a worse and more ridiculous action against a military person (in Phelps’ dead ones) than a few protesters spitting and throwing a bottle of water.

              You can’t just pull one or two bad fruits out of an arguably good barrel of fruit and by association set them as an example of the whole barrel. Can’t be done with spitting protesters, the wacky Rev. Phelps, or Rev. Wright.

            • dhammett said, on October 15, 2011 at 9:15 am

              Post edit:

              (in Phelps’ case dead ones)
              And, while I’m at it, stick a ‘comma’ in after “believe”

        • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 15, 2011 at 6:35 pm

          Depends on the congregation and the church. After all, some alleged Christians cheer the death of American soldiers.

          • magus71 said, on October 16, 2011 at 5:21 am

            sophistry [ˈsɒfɪstrɪ]
            n pl -ries
            1. (Philosophy)
            a. a method of argument that is seemingly plausible though actually invalid and misleading
            b. the art of using such arguments
            2. subtle but unsound or fallacious reasoning
            3. an instance of this; sophism

            I notice you never argue with dhammet. Interesting.

            • dhammett said, on October 16, 2011 at 8:45 am

              We’ve had a few disagreements about the arts and movies, if I recall. I was erik, or someone else at the time. 🙂

              Hey. I notice you and TJ nearly always argue with me. And vice versa. Interesting

              We disagree. That makes me wrong. Right?

              What I write is wrong , because it doesn’t fit your idea of what is right.. Right?

          • WTP said, on October 16, 2011 at 9:16 am

            And the vast majority of Christians denounce and oppose them. Sophistry again.

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 17, 2011 at 1:26 pm

              Presumably most of the Occupiers would also be against spitting on Coast Guard people.

    • dhammett said, on October 14, 2011 at 9:54 am

      This following reinforces Mike’s point. The article you link to also says:

      “Devon Pendleton, a spokesman for Occupy Boston, doesn’t believe that those male protestors are actually part of the movement. However, Pendleton wants to be clear, that if protestors are responsible for doing something so disrespectful, he’d like to apologize on behalf of Occupy Boston.
      . . . .
      “The peaceful protestors say the violence wasn’t supposed to happen and a group of anarchists were the ones rebelling. They say they do not condone that type of behavior.”

  3. WTP said, on October 14, 2011 at 7:36 am

    “While Erickson does not actually present a developed argument” – And where are your “developed” arguments? You put up numerous posts that are not thought through, that have glaringly large logic holes or are based on fallacious assumptions and beliefs.

    I know nothing of Erik Erickson beyond what Wiki has to say, and I’m not very impressed by that. But the realities which Erickson makes reference to are neither confirmed nor refuted by Erickson’s ability to form an argument that you consider “developed”.

    On the other hand, I’m sure Erickson’s opinions will be vetted far more thoroughly than certain college professors.

    • WTP said, on October 14, 2011 at 7:37 am

      But then again, life is not fair is it?

      • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 14, 2011 at 9:26 am

        No it is not, but that is the problem. We are rather limited in what we can do in regards to the natural world but we can do a great deal in regards to the artificial world.

        • WTP said, on October 14, 2011 at 10:14 am

          The artificial world is a subset of the natural world. It exists within it. But the major problem with your addressing “fairness” is that we don’t all agree on what is fair. What is fair to me is not what is fair to the Occupiers and vice-verse. Many of them complain that they borrowed tons of money to study art history and such and then got into the real world and found their supply far exceeded the demand for them. For a person such as myself, studying art history or poly sci (and what a misnomer that one is) would sure have been more “fun” than learning the various computer operating systems that no longer exist. But I realized that the world needs people to do the difficult work, so I studied difficult subjects because I needed to have a job when I got out of college. I needed to have a job so I could pay for the rest of my education. I took responsibility for my future. Many of these occupiers did not. Would it be fair for them to have a life similar to mine when they certainly had far more “fun” than I did all those years ago?

          • dhammett said, on October 14, 2011 at 12:04 pm

            A recent poll of “occupiers”, students, union members, and others, across the country has determined that (some, many, none, all, most)of them believe they did take responsibility for their future. They followed the rules, and they’re now among the 9.1% (14million people). (Some, many, all, none, most) don’t believe that (some, many, all, none, most) of those in the 90.9% all took responsibility for their future. (Some, many, all, none, most) feel that (some, many, all, none, most) were just lucky and that others are benefiting, occasionally excessively, from some unfairness in the system, and they feel that (some, any, all, none, most) of the occupiers are unlucky and/or have suffered because of unfairness in the system.

          • dhammett said, on October 15, 2011 at 4:54 pm

            This is interesting. Practically all of of the CNN/Money’s 100 Best Jobs in America 2010 (easy to Google) are science, health care, or finance related. . .in that order. No college professors or editors, thank you.

            Money Magazine’s 100 Best Jobs in America 2006 had College Professor at #2!! No subject is specified. Probably because universities, by definition, cover the universe of knowledge— under the old, apparently mistaken notion, that all that knowledge is important. Advertising manager appears at #11. . .Curriculum Developer (What could they have been thinking?!) places #18. Editor comes in at #19. And, right hand up to God, Writer is #25.

            So one might reasonably wonder what went through the minds of many of those who entered college in the early 2000’s, up until, say, 2008.
            Something like the following, perhaps?
            “I’d like to be a professor. It’s a good, well-paying, respected job. I enjoy. literature, writing, the liberal arts. Would I be irresponsible to use my college education to prepare for #2 on this list? Or #s11, 18, 19, or 25? Or should I have try to find a nicely polished crystal ball to tell me what life in America would be like in 2008-11 so someone won’t be implying that I’m a lazy shiftless bastard because I made the wrong choice?”

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 14, 2011 at 9:29 am

      The arguments are in the post. Should I start labeling the premises and the conclusion of each argument for clarity? Also, you cannot just say I have holes in my logic-you need to show the holes. Also, an assumption can be false or ill founded, but (being a claim and not an argument) cannot be fallacious. Being a fallacy is a property that only arguments can possess.

      Fortunately, I have you to check my opinions.

      • WTP said, on October 14, 2011 at 10:03 am

        Fine, let’s get back to your belief that the amount of wealth is static and we all fight over pieces of a finite pie. I said that this was a very materialist-based view and not consistent with history. There are more people alive today than ever before and they are all wealthier than those in the relative hierarchic economic layers of the past. Where did this extra wealth come from? You never responded to my point. Is it not worth considering?

        • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 15, 2011 at 6:39 pm

          The pie has to be finite, at least on earth for the obvious reason that the earth is finite. Now, if the universe is infinite then this would change things-assuming we can get to that stuff.

          • WTP said, on October 16, 2011 at 8:33 am

            OK, so you are responding…didn’t see this until now. I’ll put my previous post on hold so long as you’re willing to discuss this. Yet again, you choose to simply repeat what you said before and avoid my point. The earth does not define the economy. I’ll repeat my question above…

            There are more people alive today than ever before and they are all wealthier than those in the relative hierarchic economic layers of the past. Where did this extra wealth come from?

      • WTP said, on October 14, 2011 at 7:39 pm

        And another thing, cut it with the childish word games. “Being a fallacy is a property that only arguments can possess”. Says you…

        3) disappointing; delusive: a fallacious peace.

        So “peace” is an argument? Last time it was “executive”. Must we purchase a LaBossiere dictionary? Perhaps we should take this discussion all the way back to a point where we need to first agree upon what language in which we will be speaking.

        • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 15, 2011 at 6:28 pm

          As an engineer, you surely are aware that fields have technical terms that are also used in popular (or not so popular) usage in ways that do not match said technical terms. In this context, the technical (and correct) usage is the one I used.

          You can, if your wish, refer to any number of texts on logic and see that this is not just my personal usage.

          • WTP said, on October 16, 2011 at 8:39 am

            Again with the petty semantics. If we were discussing the usage of the term when you used it, I’d grant you that. But it is perfectly acceptable within the bounds of the English language to use the term as I intended it. As an engineer, if you told me that your system “crashed”, I would not criticize your point if it technically was really just caught in an infinite loop.

            • WTP said, on October 16, 2011 at 8:42 am

              heh…missed a bracket-backslash-b after that “you” part. It’d be nice if there was a Preview button on WordPress…

  4. magus71 said, on October 14, 2011 at 7:51 am

    “People often “confuse” calls for fairness with calls for equal distribution (often as an intentional part of a straw man attack) but they are not the same thing at all.”

    Yes, most liberals do confuse these two issues. And reading the Wallstreet protesters demands, it appears they’ve confused the two issues, too.

    Again Mike, for my edification, what exactly are they protesting?

    • dhammett said, on October 14, 2011 at 9:03 am

      Get me up to speed here. A week has passed since the following article was published on Oct. 6:


      As of today, Oct. 14, have the Wall Street protesters issued an official list of demandss? If so, post the link and prove its credibility. If not, explain how you know that “it appears they’ve confused the two issues” based on your “reading [of] the Wallstreet protesters demands”

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 14, 2011 at 9:25 am

      Most people do, and that does include liberals (being people).

      There is, as far as I know, no official list of demands from the occupiers. It is yet to reach the point where it has a defined leadership and official spokespeople. Once that happens, then it will make sense to talk about the demands of the movement.

      They seem to be protesting the influence of money in politics, corruption, the undue influence of corporate America and related issues. In short, they seem to be concerned about the problems with our political and economic system. That is, I think, a general point that they and the Tea Party can agree on: we have serious problems in our social/political/economic institutions that need to be addressed for the good of the nation.

  5. magus71 said, on October 14, 2011 at 9:37 am


    In response to your God-taunting.

    1) The “evil” or amoral god that you speak of allows you to think and say your “blasphemous” ideas. You should give him some points for that. As you’ve pointed out, if God or a god finds something reprehensible he could smite the offenders at any moment. Interestingly, your argument seems to be that if God does smite someone he is evil but if he doesn’t he simply isn’t there. It seems to me however, when I look at the Jews, that God has done a fair amount of smiting in their favor, though some like Hitchens and Dawkins have argued that the suffering of the Jews is proof that they are not God’s chosen people. However, it certainly can be argued that the Third Reich didn’t represent God in any fashion, because the Jews, and not the Third Reich still exist. In fact, the Jews have a state and the Nazis do not.

    2) Not sure if your argument is that if God does exist, he is evil, or simply not good enough. I’d argue that God is probably not evil, because there are lots of good things, no? I’d say most of your life and mine as well as most people’s lives are filled with things they enjoy. They don’t walk around all day with burning oil being poured on them. So, obviously, God, if there is such a being, has created many things that make people happy. I suppose your argument is that God has not done enough, because if their is the smallest iota of suffering in the world, it proves that God is not truly good because he allows it. Not to get all biblical and turn people off, but Paul states: ” I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”

    3) As you know, the problem of evil does not disprove a creator. It merely makes the creator unsatisfactory to you. It’s interesting to me, that the people who truly suffer the most are the ones most likely to believe in God; it’s the elite who thinks it proves their intelligence when they don’t believe. I, as did Voltaire, will continue to believe that a watch proves a watchmaker.

  6. A J MacDonald Jr said, on October 14, 2011 at 12:22 pm

    I think you are missing the point here. Life, in the natural world, is overwhelmingly good. We cannot even define evil as such without first using good as it’s antithesis. Good exists in itself, ontologically, whereas evil, as a thing, does not exist at all: evil is a negation, or a taking away from, that which is, in itself, good. Open your eyes Mike, and look around the natural world. Do you not see good everywhere! What is evil but that which nips at the heels of an ever advancing good world of life and beauty? You are somewhat of a Stoic already.

  7. magus71 said, on October 14, 2011 at 4:10 pm

    This is the group that started the wall street protests:


    I saw their magazine-adbusters-when I was in SC; it’s a full on anarchist/Marxist group. And Mike buys into their crap.

    There’s another video with a guy making a great point: Why do the hot chicks like all the good looking guys? I mean, shouldn’t there be a government regulation that makes it so average looking dudes can have sex with a hot chick as often as good looking guys? This is just simply not fair at all.

    Where are the “good” people among the protesters coming to stop this type of thing?:

  8. T. J. Babson said, on October 15, 2011 at 11:15 am

    Constitution? We don’t need no stinkin’ Constitution…

    • dhammett said, on October 15, 2011 at 11:58 am

      My dad, undereducated in Twenties rural schools, worked on roads for the WPA in the late Thirties. He took some of the little money he made back to his brothers and sisters. I never heard him bad-mouth the WPA.

      The WPA was the result of an executive order by Roosevelt. Some people opposed it for the usual catalog of reasons. But it could be argued that it kept the country moving forward and kept many people working, earning, and buying during the Depression until the war started.

      • T. J. Babson said, on October 15, 2011 at 4:01 pm

        “The WPA was the result of an executive order by Roosevelt.”

        But is was funded by Congress, so no problem. J.J. Jr. talks about “extra constitutional” measures.

        • dhammet said, on October 15, 2011 at 5:39 pm

          Quick googling produced this:

          “Executive Orders do not require Congressional approval to take effect but they have the same legal weight as laws passed by Congress. The President’s source of AUTHORITY TO ISSUE EXECUTIVE ORDERS CAN BE FOUND IN ARTICLE II, SECTION 1 of the Constitution which grants to the President the “executive Power.” Section 3 of Article II further directs the President to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” To implement or execute the laws of the land, Presidents give direction and guidance to Executive Branch agencies and departments, often in the form of Executive Orders.”
          . . .
          “President Clinton has come under fire for using the EO as a way to make policy without consulting the Republican Congress”.

          But also this:

          “Executive Orders have two main functions: to modify how an executive branch department or agency does its job (rule change) or to modify existing law, if such authority has been granted to the President by Congress. EXECUTIVE ORDERS ARE NOT MENTIONED BY THE CONSTITUTION, but they have been around a long, long time. George Washington issued several Presidential Proclamations, which are similar to EO’s (Proclamations are still issued today). EO’s and Proclamations are not law, but they have the effect of statutes. A typical modern Proclamation might declare a day to be in someone’s honor. Historically, they have had broader effect, such as the Emancipation Proclamation. A typical EO might instruct the government to do no business with a country we are at war with. Executive orders are subject to judicial review, and can be declared unconstitutional. Today, EO’s and Proclamations are sequentially numbered. The average president issues 58 EO’s a year. As of March 13, 1936, all EO’s must be published in the Federal Register.”

          So, it’s in there; it’s not in there. If it is there, then an executive order to establish a 21st Century WPA in this case would not be extra-constitutional. If it’s not there, it would be extra-constitutional. ‘Tis a puzzlement said the King of Siam. Do you have a definitive answer?

          These are extreme times. Just offhand, what do you think ^can^ get funded by THIS Congress that will get people back to work (and feeling like they’re contributing to society again), earning and buying? Do we need a third war to supplement the two we’re in right now to pull us out of this?

          Oh. All the words in caps are in caps for emphasis. They weren’t in caps in the original articles, and I didn’t accidentally hit the “caps lock” button.

  9. magus71 said, on October 16, 2011 at 2:38 am

    What would it take to convince you, Mike?


  10. Asur said, on October 19, 2011 at 11:57 pm


    You mentioned that you train a martial art…what style? For how long?

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