Why are Republicans Wrong about Everything?

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Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Nov 15, 2012 - 11:47am PT
I can't believe you think that "the harder you work the wealthier you are" BS John

People are born with different intellects, opportunities, and INHERITANCES. Moving money around and being a lawyer suing people are two of the richest professions in this country. Are they really making the biggest contributions? CEO salary is up VASTLY more over the past 10 years but worker pay is only up a tiny fraction of that. Did CEO start working 8X harder over their workers than they did 10 years ago

Not

peace

Karl
Dave Kos

Trad climber
Temecula
Nov 15, 2012 - 11:48am PT
How is it fair that those who work harder should pay a greater percentage of their earnings than those who don't work as hard?

It's not about how "hard" someone works, it's about the value that their work produces.

Who works harder, a gardener or an accountant?

Does anyone here pay their gardener a higher hourly rate than their accountant?
(ok, I don't have a gardener either, but hopefully I made my point...)

So who decides the value of someone's work? In a free-market system, we all do.

But the crux of the question is whether those who make more should pay a higher tax rate - in other words are progressive tax rates "fair?"

It's a big question that has been debated for a long time - probably centuries.

My take on it is that those who make more money generally receive a disproportionate benefit from government services and therefore it is fair to tax progressively.

And there's a also a very basic pragmatic argument: There is simply no way we could balance the federal budget today without progressive income taxes. A flat tax would never work.

We've had progressive taxes for a long time, through some of the most prosperous times in our history. Rates have historically been much steeper than today.

The best argument for steeper tax rates at higher incomes is that they have been proven to work.



Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Nov 15, 2012 - 11:49am PT
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/02/ceo-pay-worker-pay_n_1471685.html

It's good to be chief executive.

American CEOs saw their pay spike 15 percent last year, after a 28 percent pay rise the year before, according to a report by GMI Ratings cited by The Guardian. Meanwhile, workers saw their inflation-adjusted wages fall 2 percent in 2011, according to the Labor Department.

That's in line with a trend that dates back three decades. CEO pay spiked 725 percent between 1978 and 2011, while worker pay rose just 5.7 percent, according to a study by the Economic Policy Institute released on Wednesday. That means CEO pay grew 127 times faster than worker pay.....

Must be relaxing to be a blue collar worker chilling more and more each year while those CEOs are working 725% harder!!
John M

climber
Nov 15, 2012 - 11:57am PT
Jingy.. the Bill Maher video is a classic.





Just work harder people. And if you need money, well, borrow it from your parents.

Bruce Kay

Gym climber
BC
Nov 15, 2012 - 12:10pm PT
It seems that most Republicans I know live as if the major determinant in differences in income is a person's decisions, including but not limited to how hard they work. In my personal experience, one does not get to be a CEO of a major corporation without a lot of ability, education, and significant, demanding and hard work.

Well stated and no argument. But that is not the end of story. Other factors are:

1) increased wealth / success brings exponential opportunity for more. The lower on the ladder you are the less opportunity, the higher gives more, etc.


2) The desire for equality has to do with OPPORTUNITY TO IMPROVE not a straight work output / compensation equation.

4) The past thirty odd years of economic policy have favored the successful DISPROPORTIONATE to the less successful for opportunity to advance economically and socially.


None of this is so big a deal except for the disproportionate opportunity to improve part. The fact that this has been a trend is a red flag. The notion that we should continue with this is a bloody air raid siren, which the right won't even talk about let alone engage. This is so unhealthy on so many levels and there is so much dismissal from the entrenched power elite on this that one can only conclude that they prefer it that way.

Clearly, the free market favors this situation. Government must intervene / moderate because no other force will. Tax the bastards because they can afford it easy and with the revenue direct social and economic policy that will help correct the disproportionate opportunities to improve.

Its just like climate change policy. Free Market forces will drive us to burn fossil fuels to the last drop sooner. Tax the bastards, not because they really are bastards, but because it is a tool that works to get to where you want to go.
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Nov 15, 2012 - 12:21pm PT
John, Karl and Dave,

I agree that what one is paid -- per hour, month or whatever -- depends on the market value of the services rendered. I bought most of my initial climbing gear from my earnings picking fruit and driving a tractor. I know plenty about physically demanding work at minimum wage. That's all I earned for the first several years of my working life, and it was, for me, harder work than what I do now, for which I am paid many times the minimum wage.

That's not the whole story, though. I am paid now based on what I know and what I can do. That knowledge, experience and ability came, in part, from a natural affinity for remembering and understanding what I study, but most of it came from many years of working, often under extreme pressure. I know of no shortcut for gaining that experience that makes my time more valuable than it was when I was picking figs and grapes.

I won't pretend that there aren't differences in people's natural abilities to earn a living. I do think it's funny that the Democrats on this board gripe about the CEO's pay, but say nothing about celebrities' earnings, when the latter have little more than good looks -- for which they did very little -- to commend them.

Where I disagree with the Rawlsian underpinnings of the "rich need to pay their fair share" debate is the assumption that natural ability is the primary determinant of income. I know of too many people who've done extremely well because of hard work and determination, and too many others (like me, at times) who had plenty of ability but chose not to use it, and were not rewarded for their choices.

Even more importantly, I think the world will be a better place if we act as if our actions, rather than luck, determine our income. Those who believe their actions determine their income will make decisions consistent with that belief. They'll get educated in areas from which there is as demand by others, they'll delay gratification, they'll save, they'll invest, they'll work hard. Those who think those actions make no difference will live for today. I know which society I prefer.


I'm not saying that everyone should try to maximize their incomes, of course. I am saying that they should at least act with the understanding that the way they act today affects what their income will be both today and in the future, and they shouldn't gripe when their choices lead to their receiving a lower income. I chose to get off the rat race, and I don't regret it, even though my income dropped precipitously. My daughter chose to teach math, rather than be an actuary, and doesn't regret it. She makes a lot less money, but loves her work -- and her time off.

The truth is that, contrary to Norton's representation of the CRS study, tax policy affects the economy in both good and bad ways. The CRS study had external constraints on methodology. Every other peer-reviewed study of which I am aware, including that co-authored by the former chief of President Obama's Council of Economic Advisors, concluded that raising tax rates is contractionary, period. I've seen no studies that show that redistribution from higher to lower incomes increases GDP, ceteris paribus.

While I don't have a problem with tweaking what the highest rates pay, I have a big problem with the morality of doing so when I'm not willing to pay more myself. That's not an economic issue, it's just me. If I were in those highest income brackets, I probably wouldn't mind, but I can never find something fair when I benefit at someone else's expense.

John
Bruce Kay

Gym climber
BC
Nov 15, 2012 - 12:32pm PT
While I don't have a problem with tweaking what the highest rates pay, I have a big problem with the morality of doing so when I'm not willing to pay more myself.

The morality you describe sounds an awful lot like that of Ayn Rand.

The lower earners , and I'm talking about the middle class, HAS BEEN PAYING PLENTY already. Sorry to shout but i don't know what else to do. The higher incomers have comparatively GAINED from the past few years of disaster. It is a matter of net result. sure its too bad they half to cough up more but considering how they can afford it easy and how everyone else can't, then thats a morality they can bloody well swallow.
Bruce Kay

Gym climber
BC
Nov 15, 2012 - 12:55pm PT
Even more importantly, I think the world will be a better place if we act as if our actions, rather than luck, determine our income.

All very noble and even moral, but how does that work out in reality?

The wealthier you get, the less risk you have ..... the luckier you are. The odds of failure decrease exponentially as wealth increases. Your actions are increasingly less risky overall, due to diversity of exposure and wealth of resources.

Conversely, the less wealthy you are, the greater your risk .... the unluckier you are. The greater the odds are that your actions will irreparably damage you. Opportunity to recover from unsucessful actions is much less and more prone to total failure than anything the wealthy faces.

Sure, thats part of the reward of being rich but in terms of overall societal health, it is now disproportionate.
Norte_Caroliņa_Climber

Gym climber
BigWall Baller From the Holler
Nov 15, 2012 - 01:03pm PT
this board gripe about the CEO's pay, but say nothing about celebrities' earnings,

I reckon that's cause ain't nobody callin' celebrities "jawb creators" and talkin how we don't dare upset their delicate fee fees, cause they might decide not to "create" any jawbs. Nevermind about the damn shareholders who are getting f*#ked up the bum by these CEOs stealin the profits that rightly belong to shareholders, by stackin up the board and compensation "consultant" with their buddies.

If you ain't really seein a problem with this here chart, you might be a moran or a doofus.

JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Nov 15, 2012 - 01:08pm PT
The wealthier you get, the less risk you have ..... the luckier you are. The odds of failure decrease exponentially as wealth increases. Your actions are increasingly less risky overall, due to diversity and wealth of resources.

Conversely, the less wealthy you are, the greater your risk .... the unluckier you are. The greater the odds are that your actions will irreparably damage you. Opportunity to recover from unsucessful actions is much less and more prone to total failure than anything the wealthy faces.

Not sure I agree with that. As Bob Dylan would sing, "When you ain't got nothin, you got nothin to lose."

You're assuming that the policies of the last 30 years have caused the perceived income inequality. I have an alternative explanation for your consideration -- the greater participation in the labor force of women, and their much greater economic advancement.

As a father of daughters, and an older brother of sisters (both of whom went into professions when and where women's participation was rare), I greatly support that change. One consequence, though, is that we have many more families where both spice are professionals, and the gap in income between those sorts of families and ones with a lower-paid breadwinner is certainly greater.

I've known plenty of people who've "lost everything" when "everything" was an awful lot (at least measured materially). I know one of them intimately, because it's me. More than once, when I was actively practicing law, I got a call from a business owner asking if suicide voided his life insurance. Desperation, sad to say, has many fewer boundaries than most people realize. Don't kid yourself. The entrepreneur puts his or her net worth on the line every day.

I know most of the critics of my position only consider the highest paid CEO's, because the left has concluded they are the most undeserving and the people most able to afford paying more, apparently unaware that the policies they advocate affect much greater numbers of upper middle class persons, including most professionals, but perhaps that just reflects our different experiences.

I'm sorry, Bruce, but I can't get myself to advocate that someone else do something that I'm not going to do myself.

John
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Nov 15, 2012 - 01:12pm PT
Norte_Caroliņa_Climber,

You're comparing apples and oranges. Most CEO's compensation is tied to their company's profitability, so of course it rises and falls with profits.

When you compare average pay to total profits you're cheating. If you're comparing average pay to profitability, the proper comparison is average profit rate. Otherwise you're comparing a total to an average.

Somehow, I never see those on the left making that comparison, or comparing total compensation to total profits.

I don't need to wonder why.

John
Norte_Caroliņa_Climber

Gym climber
BigWall Baller From the Holler
Nov 15, 2012 - 01:15pm PT
but I can't get myself to advocate that someone else do something that I'm not going to do myself.

Which I reckon explains why Republicunts are war mongers. They ain't really chickenhawks, they's all willin to fight. Really. They are. None of em actually join up, but they do plenty of advocatin for war. Really, they'd join right up, but you know that ol knee injury from football is actin up and besides they're like Mitt's boys servin the country by being campaign lackeys and religion mongers.

Just so long as they can "fight" by posting on message boards while stuffin their chubby little pasty jowls with cheetos and imaginin themselves as a big old tuff hero, them republicunts will be happy to do themselves what they advocate, fightin in wars and such.

Norte_Caroliņa_Climber

Gym climber
BigWall Baller From the Holler
Nov 15, 2012 - 01:20pm PT
Most CEO's compensation is tied to their company's profitability

Son? Can you read figures? Have a look-see at them two lines there called "CEO's pay" and other other-un called "Corporate profits".

CEO pay up 300%, while the profits only up 100%. And don't give that pappycock about risin and fallin, that graph is what smarter fellers than me call a time serious, you know it don't take one cherry picked spot it shows the trend over decades. And what happens to us plain ol country folk, "production worker"?
Dave Kos

Trad climber
Temecula
Nov 15, 2012 - 01:20pm PT
I reckon that's cause ain't nobody callin' celebrities "jawb creators" and talkin how we don't dare upset their delicate fee fees [...]

This is an interesting point.

The notion of a "job creator" caste is a completely artificial division created for political purposes.

It has no basis in economics. In a free market, anyone can buy and sell labor. Anyone can be an employer, anyone can be an employee.

Bruce Kay

Gym climber
BC
Nov 15, 2012 - 01:21pm PT
Now you're getting all Zen on me (Dylan)!

But seriously, philisophically i think we are closer than further away on this. Thats what cracks me up half the time. Essentially we (most of us) can all agree on the principles of hard work leads to success, requirement for risk, strong middle class, even the logical necessity for a persistent economic class structure.

It all boils down to how we get there. System a vs system B. I think we have had system A running full tilt for a while with scary results - not all bad, I am a capitalist after all! I think System A has gone too far A with really high risk results. I don't want or suggest B either. Its like soup. If its not salty enough put a little in... just not too much.

Some think its salted just right for them and everyone else can suck on the bones
Dave Kos

Trad climber
Temecula
Nov 15, 2012 - 01:28pm PT
Most CEO's compensation is tied to their company's profitability, so of course it rises and falls with profits.

Although this is true in theory, NCC is correct about the reality.

There is evidence of a disconnect between CEO pay and performance in recent years. I recall reading a few articles in Economist magazine a while back that tried to explain this phenomenon, but there is no agreement on why shareholders are paying more and getting less.

I personally don't have a problem with CEO pay - that's between them and their shareholders.

I do have a problem with tax rates. While the rich have gotten richer, the public debt has grown larger. There is a correlation and I believe there is a causation. The people who have benefited most from policies that created the debt are the ones who should be responsible for paying it down.
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Nov 15, 2012 - 02:16pm PT
I do have a problem with tax rates. While the rich have gotten richer, the public debt has grown larger. There is a correlation and I believe there is a causation. The people who have benefited most from policies that created the debt are the ones who should be responsible for paying it down. [Emphasis added]

Dave, that would probably be those of my generation (I'm 8 months away from being eligible for a Golden Turkey [aka Golden Age Passport], but who's counting?) and older. While I hear lots of speculation about which income levels benefit most from government expenditures, I see no hard data -- or even an attempt at a theoretical justification -- to substantiate that speculation.

Your hypothesis of causation of the deficit, though, runs counter to the workings of increasing marginal rates. IRS data show that those with higher incomes pay the highest average rates. If income is more concentrated, then the average income tax rate rises, not falls. If it's more dispersed, the average rate falls.

And Norte_Caroliņa_Climber. I have a very simple policy concerning that hobgoblin of the left -- CEO pay -- that works for me every time. I don't invest in companies whose CEO pay exceeds what I find reasonable. The pay information is available in the companies' 10-K's and 10-Q's. If enough other investors did the same, you'd see CEO pay much more in line with CEO value. Frankly, I agree with your implicit point that overall compensation for many CEO's far exceeds their worth.

And yes, I can read. I can read that your graph, from a very non-objective source, stops in 2005, when times were still booming, but that's not my major gripe. My major gripe is with those who compare wage rates to profit totals. That's an invalid comparison for the reasons I stated earlier.

And Bruce, I've found over the years that you and I agree on much more than we disagree. In fact, I even found that Obama and I have a 73% agreement rate (of course, my agreement with Romney was higher, but hearing his post-election whining makes me think I really agreed with him less than that particular website's measure suggested). It's a pity we emphasize our disagreements rather working together on areas where we agree, but a logical argument could be made that the title of this thread is designed for emphasizing those disagreements.

John
jstan

climber
Nov 15, 2012 - 02:54pm PT
There needs to be some agreement on this.

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-250_162-57546553/in-record-spending-year-millions-in-election-cash-not-disclosed/


In record spending year, millions in election cash not disclosed
CBS NEWS
NEW YORK On a crisp October morning, a group of high school students taped one dollar bills over their mouths as they approached the Lower Manhattan offices of JP Morgan Chase. Danielle Raskin, a 17-year-old senior at Eleanor Roosevelt High, was among them.

"Those with more money should not have a larger say in politics than the rest of the people," Raskin said. "It frustrates me that these people create policies only for profit and not for the benefit of people, which is not how government is supposed to work."

Raskin and other members of 99Rise, an outgrowth of last year's Occupy Wall Street movement, were at the offices of the nation's largest bank to protest the deluge of political spending bankrolled by undisclosed donors.

While spending by independent political groups on races for the presidency, the Senate, and the House of Representatives topped $1.3 billion this year, according to the Sunlight Foundation at least $300 million was spent by groups that are not required to disclose their donors -- so-called "dark money."

More than 100 dark money groups have been active, and overall, 80 percent of their spending supported Republicans, according to Sunlight's analysis. The top seven non-disclosing spenders backed a conservative agenda -- Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies ($70 million); Americans For Prosperity ($35 million); U.S. Chamber of Commerce ($33 million); American Future Fund ($21 million); Americans For Job Security ($16 million); Americans For Tax Reform ($16 million); and American Action Network ($12 million).

The ballyhooed super PACs, which spent at least $625 million by Election Day are registered with the Federal Election Commission and are required to disclose the sources of their unlimited funds. But the dark money groups, registered with the Internal Revenue Service as 501c non-profits or social welfare organizations, do not. (They disclose only expenditures to the FEC).

"I want big companies to say how much they are giving and to whom in these elections," said Jenny Ferreiras, a 17-year-old senior at the Bronx High School of Science, who participated in the protest at JP Morgan Chase. The demonstrators had no specific evidence of bank political donations to dark money groups.

Classmate Carolein Mossel said, "It shows that the one percent can buy politicians, while the 99 percent just sit there and watch."

Mossel and Ferreiras watched as Raskin and two other young women went inside the bank's lobby and staged a sit-in. They held an American flag and a sign demanding greater donor disclosure. After an hour of refusing to budge, the NYPD arrested them.

In Washington a few days earlier, Public Citizen had left gift-wrapped boxes of fake money on the front steps of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce as a mock presents for the Chamber's 100th birthday.

"What the Chamber is doing is taking money from the giant multinationals around the country, laundering it, and then spending it in huge ways in election races across the country," said Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen. "We don't know which companies are behind this money. Today, we are calling as a first step for the source of that money to be disclosed."

A study by Public Citizen found the Chamber was the top or second-biggest non-disclosing outside spender in 29 of the 35 congressional races where it spent $100,000 or more.

Public Citizen also found 86 percent TV advocacy paid for by all independent groups, were negative attack ads.

Like other watchdog groups, Public Citizen has called for passage of the DISCLOSE Act, which would require all groups that spend $10,000 or more on campaign communications to reveal their donors. The Senate bill died in a Republican filibuster over the summer.

"I think at the very the minimum what we need to is make sure it's all transparent," said Jon Tester, the Montana Democrat who won a close battle Tuesday for a second U.S. Senate term. "So we know who's giving the money."

Tester was subjected to most of the $7.5 million in dark money ads aired in Montana, seen as a linchpin to the Senate majority Senate candidates in Wisconsin, Nevada, Ohio, and Virginia, were hit with millions more - with mixed results.

"I've been told that there's very few people that are making these contributions. Let's find out who they are," Tester said. "I mean, freedom of speech is great, but if we're giving freedom of speech to a hundred people and not the rest of us, that's kind of crazy."

Norte_Caroliņa_Climber

Gym climber
BigWall Baller From the Holler
Nov 15, 2012 - 03:03pm PT
your graph, from a very non-objective source, stops in 2005

Again, I ask feller, can you read? It stops in 2005 cause the paper was published in 2006. You really want me to find another that goes more recent? It ain't gonna change the gist. CEO pay way up, profits modestly up, worker pay barely up at all.

Rich get richer, workin man gets the shaft. Seems about time to invest in a torches and pitchforks company to this observer. You seem like a weasely dishonest type to me, with your bs nitpicks and misdirection plays, are you a Republican?
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Nov 15, 2012 - 04:04pm PT
You seem like a weasely dishonest type to me, with your bs nitpicks and misdirection plays, are you a Republican?

Republican, yes. Others can judge the rest of your surmise. No misdirection. If you're going to compare rises, you need to compare falls. And comparing totals to averages, which is what your graph does, is, indeed, dishonest. Sorry to harp on that, but I've seen too many on the left make that same, meaningless, comparison.

By the way, the greatest ratio of CEO pay to average workers pay occurred in 1999 and 2000. http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2011/oct/10/facebook-posts/viral-facebook-post-ceo-worker-pay-ratio-has-obscu/
Last time I checked, a Democrat was president then.

Sorry to be so harsh, but too many people use exaggerated CEO pay as an excuse to make policies that affect people who make a lot less than that. Making policy that affects hundreds of thousands, if not more, small business owners and professionals based on distortions of "the rich" is bad for the country, so I choose to speak out.

John
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