Wealth Distribution

Search
Go

Discussion Topic

Return to Forum List
Post a Reply
Messages 1 - 429 of total 429 in this topic
ImplicitD

Trad climber
Boise
Topic Author's Original Post - Mar 6, 2013 - 01:13pm PT
What do you think about this video?

freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2013/03/05/either-tax-the-rich-or-have-a-socialist-revolution/
karodrinker

Trad climber
San Jose, CA
Mar 6, 2013 - 01:29pm PT
I think it clearly shows the results of corruption in America. Imagine if we were all plants, and we all need water to live. If 1 percent of the plants got as much water as the 1 percent of our society get money, the rest of the plants would wither and die. The rich have built a Dam, and have collected all the water for only themselves.

Now imagine if all the water were to pour out of the reservoir and flow in a natural way, all the plants would thrive and flourish. The water cycle would resume, and we would see true growth.

Break the Dam and let the water flow.
Norwegian

Trad climber
the tip of god's middle finger
Mar 6, 2013 - 01:48pm PT
in not good at wealth,

and really i couldn't give a f*#k,

but i can help a brother out
like this

ImplicitD

Trad climber
Boise
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 6, 2013 - 01:49pm PT
Good to hear from you weeg. Now where is the prose? We been friends for how long...and I get no wordy response? Hmmm...feeling well?
kennyt

climber
Woodfords,California
Mar 6, 2013 - 02:41pm PT
This is a depressing topic.
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Mar 6, 2013 - 02:53pm PT
This is actually rather stupid. Wealth equality would be monumentally unfair. Imagine if we magically equalized all wealth. My 101-year-old mother, too old to work, would have the same wealth as my 20-something daughters, just entering the workforce. Someone who saved all his or her life would have the same wealth as someone with the same income who spent every last cent on transitory pleasure.

In fact, I'd bet that if we did a plot of relative wealth vs. age, there would be an exceedingly strong concentration of wealth in those of retirement age.

In addition, data on wealth has major inaccuracy issues. We have excellent data on income, since we tax on that basis. All we have on wealth are guesses, and often wildly wrong guesses, since the value of assets can vary so greatly.

To add to all of this, there is no good data showing how either the distribution of wealth or the distribution of income changes over time. The unstated assumption by those decrying income and wealth inequality is that "the rich" (however they're defined) remain constant over time. Reality differs rather greatly.

Finally, we should recognize the irony of complaining about inequality of wealth, while we tax income. Income is the change in wealth, and our tax structure puts the greatest tax burden on those whose wealth is changing the greatest. This would hinder, rather than promote, change in the identity of "the rich."

I know I'm preaching to deaf ears, so continue on.

John
Gary

Social climber
Right outside of Delacroix
Mar 6, 2013 - 03:17pm PT
John, it's not about wealth equality. It's about people retaining the fruits of their hard work, rather than having it confiscated by an upper class of layabouts.

That's why Chopin wrote the Revolutionary Etude!
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Mar 6, 2013 - 03:21pm PT
Gary, it's also about people retaining the fruits of their savings, investing (which, by definition, is deferring consumption), ideas, actions and labors, rather than having it confiscated by the political powers to distribute to others who didn't earn it to buy their reelection.

John
OR

Trad climber
Mar 6, 2013 - 03:23pm PT
Very good points John.
nevahpopsoff

Boulder climber
the woods
Mar 6, 2013 - 03:28pm PT
i always ask, how much do you need? i think most here are happy to have a modest home, decent car, health insurance, and some time to enjoy our lives. i don't understand what's behind the need to accumulate massive wealth. greed, power, i've got to prove myself to daddy? i just don't get it.
John M

climber
Mar 6, 2013 - 03:29pm PT
Its also about who has control of the power. Its about the simple fact that people are waking up to the wast wealth discrepancies which in America are growing at an incredible rate. Revolutions have occurred because of this discrepancy. The wealthy can wake up and do something about it before it comes down to a revolution, or they can suffer the consequences.

Do you think the poor have the power to make the rules? Nope.. the wealthy do. If you really believe that the poor have the power, then you are a fool. Ideas like flat taxes are propagated by the wealthy. Fair is fair they say as they make rules and regulations that keep the little guy from getting a foothold within their monopolies of power.

People who think I mean that all wealth should be equal are fools.

matty

Trad climber
under the sea
Mar 6, 2013 - 03:32pm PT
Well put John (JEleazarian)

People aren't equal, why should wealth be?

What about people who are "whealthy" but whose wealth is tied up in investments that support other people and companies, should their money be given to other people who would not invest? What about the person with a big salary but who spends a lot more and is actually way in debt, should they be given more money? Trees and plants are not equal either, nor do they require or consume equal amounts of water, breaking a dam and letting the water loose will not ensure all plant get equal water or equal access to water. To me breaking a dam sets water free to flow as it may naturally, just like a society should have a fair set of rules governing the free flow of money.


"The Trees"

There is unrest in the forest
There is trouble with the trees
For the maples want more sunlight
And the oaks ignore their pleas

The trouble with the maples
(And they're quite convinced they're right)
They say the oaks are just too lofty
And they grab up all the light
But the oaks can't help their feelings
If they like the way they're made
And they wonder why the maples
Can't be happy in their shade

There is trouble in the forest
And the creatures all have fled
As the maples scream 'Oppression!'
And the oaks just shake their heads

So the maples formed a union
And demanded equal rights
'The oaks are just too greedy
We will make them give us light'
Now there's no more oak oppression
For they passed a noble law
And the trees are all kept equal
By hatchet, axe and saw



Dave Kos

Social climber
Temecula
Mar 6, 2013 - 03:35pm PT
To add to all of this, there is no good data showing how either the distribution of wealth or the distribution of income changes over time.

I've seen some credible evidence that more wealth is concentrated at the top than it has been over the past century or so. (Don't have links and am not going to bother ...)

The curve is very steep and the trend is that it is getting steeper.

But I don't know if this fact alone is a problem, or even a symptom of a problem. And if there is a problem I don't see what can be done about it without likely introducing other problems that may be worse.


What am I doing about it? The only thing anyone can do about it:

Educate yer kids as best you can.
John M

climber
Mar 6, 2013 - 03:40pm PT
America was better off when it had a strong middle class. That has been eroded and given away and those who are in the middle class now are asleep. They are afraid that they will lose what they have, so they do nothing as the edges are pulled away. They falsely believe that the wealthy have their best interest at heart. Some wealthy people are balanced, but there is a reason the bible says it is more difficult for a wealthy person to enter into heaven then it is for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle.

The wealthy have never been wealthier, yet for some reason we are worried that they are being taxed too much.

Mercy.. God save us from fools.
Chaz

Trad climber
greater Boss Angeles area
Mar 6, 2013 - 03:48pm PT
In America, the poor have also never been wealthier.
John M

climber
Mar 6, 2013 - 03:51pm PT
not true.. but you go right ahead and continue believing that even though many people have attempted to help you understand.

Good luck with your position. Your going to need it.
Wade Icey

Trad climber
www.alohashirtrescue.com
Mar 6, 2013 - 03:51pm PT
let them eat cake...
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Mar 6, 2013 - 03:52pm PT
Dave,

Wealth concentration may have increased, but we don't know in whose hands that wealth belongs, because the data don't purport to reflect the same ownership of wealth. For example, the Mellon family was much more wealthy than the Gates family 40 years ago. Not so now. Are the rich getting richer, or is their identity changing?

In addition, I never know how the surveys that purport to measure wealth calculate their data. Is it, in effect, a mark-to-market? If so, what goes up can go down awfully quickly. If not, how do they measure it?

While I think John M raises a valid point, I find the idea that the wealthy determine elections and laws more an article of faith than one based on evidence. Certainly in California, the most powerful constituencies currently are the public employee unions and the plaintiffs' bar. In addition, the current Democratic Party fund-raising seems to have a rather good tap of the wealthiest Americans. Those on the left decry the use of Hunt Brothers' money, but ignore that of George Soros, not to mention a host of very high-earning (and often very wealthy) entertainment industry luminaries, among others. Besides, everyone gets only one vote -- at least in the absence of election fraud.

John
John M

climber
Mar 6, 2013 - 03:55pm PT
Some unions have gotten too powerful. That is true. Its also true that income disparity is growing.


There is a simple method to balance out the power of the teachers union. But its unlikely that the powers that be will heed it.

Create a fund that schools can apply to from which to pay for the lawsuits that will arise from firing poor teachers. Eventually the unions will wise up and stop defending every crappy teacher.
k-man

Gym climber
SCruz
Mar 6, 2013 - 03:59pm PT
Gary, it's also about people retaining the fruits of their savings, investing (which, by definition, is deferring consumption), ideas, actions and labors, rather than having it confiscated by the political powers to distribute to others who didn't earn it to buy their reelection.

Now there's a cup of total BS. The funny thing, people swallow this as if it were God's own truth.


Let's look at this statement more closely.

It's about people retaining the fruits of:

 Their savings. John, according to the video, those at the bottom 40% are unable to save--even if they work a full-time minimum wage job. The way it's now structured, minimum wage is not a living wage, those at this level live below the poverty line. Even those in the "middle class" can barely make it by.

 Investing - See above.

 Ideas. You're kidding, right? How many people are wealthy because of their ideas? From what I've seen, most are wealthy because they make money off other folks ideas. Certainly there's a few exceptions, but CEOs are rich because of exploitation of others. Prove me wrong.

 Actions. The action of deregulation and tax evasion has lead to many increases in wealth for the top 1%. I agree with you there. But, real actions that benefit the community as a whole? As SNL once gracefully put it: Bill Gates didn't get rich by writing checks. In other words, the actions of the rich is to figure out how to best hoard their wealth. Go ahead, prove me wrong.

 Labors. So, by this I'd figure that if I work hard I get rich, right?

"...having it confiscated by the political powers to distribute to others who didn't earn it ..."

Give me a Big F'in BREAK! How many Billion$ were wasted in no-bid contracts handed out to the firms that "rebuilt" Iraq? The whole military-industrial complex is one Huge funnel that takes from the US taxpayer and gives it to weapons firms, who don't earn it.

Let me ask, do you support a living minimum wage, or is that just giving away a business owner's hard earned money to those who don't earn it?
rectorsquid

climber
Lake Tahoe
Mar 6, 2013 - 04:01pm PT
i always ask, how much do you need? i think most here are happy to have a modest home, decent car, health insurance, and some time to enjoy our lives. i don't understand what's behind the need to accumulate massive wealth. greed, power, i've got to prove myself to daddy? i just don't get it.

That is bizarre. You are typing your comments on a computer that you really really don't need. "Modest home?" your idea of modest is probably not the same as a dirt dweller in Ethiopia and certainly not the same as Bill Gates'.

To suggest that one person knows how much another needs is to suggest that some people can run YOUR life better than you can. that is something that we adults who don't need constant supervision of our parents really don't like.

But move on to a more interesting observation. We are here because our species is greedy. You can't just turn off millions of years of evolution-produced instincts just to get some of some other guys money. The world is about competition and as soon as you start being fair, you stop competing. Then the Chinese or someone else down the block decides to go back to being unfair and we, the fair ones, are all screwed.

Communism doesn't work because of greed. Any attempt to distribute wealth will fail as soon as the cash grab moved low enough on the food chain. But just grabbing the money from the most wealthy is not at all fair.

Dave
John M

climber
Mar 6, 2013 - 04:03pm PT
Unregulated or poorly regulated capitalism doesn't work either, but lots of people seem to think that it does.
apogee

climber
Technically expert, safe belayer, can lead if easy
Mar 6, 2013 - 04:03pm PT
"...I find the idea that the wealthy determine elections and laws more an article of faith than one based on evidence."


Yeah, that's common retort, since it shifts the onus to provide proof that wealth influences our democracy to the person making the charge.

Howzabout providing some direct proof that it doesn't?
Dave Kos

Social climber
Temecula
Mar 6, 2013 - 04:58pm PT
There is ample evidence that elections are influenced by both big corporations and big labor unions.

Start here:

http://www.opensecrets.org/bigpicture/topcontribs.php?cycle=2010

http://www.opensecrets.org/bigpicture/topcontribs.php?cycle=2008&bkdn=DemRep
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
the crowd MUST BE MOCKED...Mocked I tell you.
Mar 6, 2013 - 05:01pm PT
everyone gets only one vote

Do you mean every representative gets only one vote?



I think a lot of the wealthy v. poor discussion doesn't surface the mechanics/the "how, that John's alluding to. The debates are ideological in most cases. Note the lack of citations in the thread.


It's not to say a lot of wealth isn't concentrated. But that's not a moral fault, per se. The systemic rules of right that govern how we make money, and how much care we should be providing to our fellow person are debatable.

Getting away from ideological generalizations is the first step.

Talk specifics.




John M

climber
Mar 6, 2013 - 05:10pm PT
Talk specifics.

The discrepancy in wealth distribution is growing too big. How to fix that, I don't know, though I do believe that the wealthy could pay more taxes. .

Another thing that I would work on in california is prop 13. It makes it difficult for new businesses to start because they have to compete on an uneven playing field. If they buy a property, then their property taxes are often many times greater then established businesses. It also makes it difficult for people to change locations. They can't afford the higher tax rates if they move. Jody gave a prime example of that as a highway patrol person who wanted to move to another area, but couldn't because he wouldn't be able to afford the higher property taxes.

Beyond that.. I don't know all the ends and outs. I only know that people are feeling the pinch and its not the wealthy who are feeling it. The longer that goes on, the more people will rise up. If people want that to happen in a calm manner, then the powers that be had better start working on it now.

Going bankrupt because one has a health issue is another concern. But many people are ignoring that. Everything is fine as Rome burns.

I would also work on balancing unions power, rather then trying to do away with them by demonizing them.
Gary

Social climber
Right outside of Delacroix
Mar 6, 2013 - 05:55pm PT
Gary, it's also about people retaining the fruits of their savings, investing (which, by definition, is deferring consumption), ideas, actions and labors, rather than having it confiscated by the political powers to distribute to others who didn't earn it to buy their reelection.

John, I could not agree with you more. That's exactly why I turned socialist many years ago. I'm happy to see you've finally seen the light, Fellow Traveller.

I think it's a shame that the political process seems hell bent on escalating the confiscatory power of the capitalist class, but in the long run, it will only hasten a better day. People will only take so much, and then like the last era of Robber Barons, the people will awaken and organize once again.
Dr. F.

Big Wall climber
SoCal
Mar 6, 2013 - 05:56pm PT
Wealth distribution was controlled by higher taxes on higher incomes and regulations

The taxes were so high, that it was smarter to not take such a high salary and to use the money to pay higher wages or reinvestment back into your company

Reagan slashed taxes, slashed regulations, gave welfare to Corporations with the direct consequence of Wealth concentration

We got poorer (raises not keeping up with inflation) and rich got richer

Now we are back to the Robber Baron ages, the very laws that stopped the last Great Depression have been overturned and now we have to go through it all over again

And what do the rich do with their money, buy politicians, buy tax loopholes, send their money offshore, do anything to get away with paying the least taxes possible

and we wonder why we have such a high debt, I calculated that Mitt Romney cheated his way out of paying 100s of millions in taxes.

If the Gov. wasn't owned by the lobbyists for the rich, we wouldn't have a debt, and we could fund 1000 things to make this Nation Greater
Dr. F.

Big Wall climber
SoCal
Mar 6, 2013 - 06:02pm PT
Unions are the Lobbyist Group for the People

Corporations and the rich have lobbyists

Yet, the Republicans are hell bent to take down the Unions to stop any concentrated form of money and power from the people

The Middle Class needs a lobbyist group to make sure that we are heard!!
That we are protected, that we can earn a living wage!

Class warfare, and they are winning
since they have the money, the voice and the power to do anything they want, and they want a race to bottom

And the Republicans are making it harder for us every day
Now they are working on taking away more voting rights, so they can steal elections, see Scalia.
Ken M

Mountain climber
Los Angeles, Ca
Mar 6, 2013 - 06:08pm PT
John, it is really sickening to see you defend unlimited and unbridled wealth disparity.

You must have some limit to what you think is a reasonable disparity for a healthy society.....1% owns 99%? do you have no limit?

A large part of the reason that the very wealthy become, and stay that way, is because they manipulate the rules, so as to give themselves an advantage. They create very complex legal protections for certain income streams, that no one who doesn't access very high skill and costly legal talents, can. It doesn't make sense that "access is equal" when the smallest unit of participation is 10 million dollars.

You know this is so.

Despite your cautions to the contrary, you know that the inequality is increasing. You know the range from lowest to highest paid person in a company is vastly increasing over other HEALTHY economies and societies.

Why are you hiding from the truth?
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
the crowd MUST BE MOCKED...Mocked I tell you.
Mar 6, 2013 - 06:14pm PT
Reagan slashed taxes, slashed regulations, gave welfare to Corporations with the direct consequence of Wealth concentration

Citation please.


The Middle Class needs a lobbyist group to make sure that we are heard

Interesting idea. That should be our representatives in the first place, no?


the voice and the power to do anything they want

Not sure this is true. That's a strong statement. Romney didn't get elected, so as a case in point, they don't get anything they want.

Are those individuals that are engaged in this alleged intentional class warfare more organized, smarter, stronger, better armed? Are we deliberately too busy to protest our elected reps and require them to do the putative public's bidding?

Dave Kos

Social climber
Temecula
Mar 6, 2013 - 06:15pm PT
You must have some limit to what you think is a reasonable disparity for a healthy society.....1% owns 99%? do you have no limit?

I think it is an oversimplification to focus on only one metric.

There are places with far less wealth disparity than the US - and in most of those places everyone is poor. Wealth distribution is not the only important measure of whether an economic system or political policy is effective.
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
the crowd MUST BE MOCKED...Mocked I tell you.
Mar 6, 2013 - 06:18pm PT
A large part of the reason that the very wealthy become, and stay that way, is because they manipulate the rules, so as to give themselves an advantage. They create very complex legal protections for certain income streams, that no one who doesn't access very high skill and costly legal talents. It doesn't make sense that "access is equal" when the smallest unit of participation is 10 million dollars.

Ken, how does this work mechanically, say if you wanted to correct those rules?

Are you suggesting someone born into wealth doesn't deserve most of their inheritance because their parents worked their assess off to provide an easier quality of life for their children?

Must each generation "earn" their wealth?

Which income streams seem disparately slighted in the direction of the already wealthy?



Gary

Social climber
Right outside of Delacroix
Mar 6, 2013 - 06:24pm PT
Not sure this is true. That's a strong statement. Romney didn't get elected, so as a case in point, they don't get anything they want.

Munge, you don't think they got what they wanted with Obama?
Dave Kos

Social climber
Temecula
Mar 6, 2013 - 06:30pm PT
A large part of the reason that the very wealthy [...]

People like to make generalizations about the "very wealthy," but we don't really have to generalize. They are a very specific list of people:

http://www.forbes.com/forbes-400/list/

What is striking about the top of the list is that all of them made their money in either one or two generations. Gates, Ellison, Bloomberg, Buffet all started out middle class and made their money during their own lifetimes. The Waltons got their money from their father, who was a middle-class guy until he was in his 40s. The Koch's are the only "old money" in the top ten, and their big wealth really isn't that old. A cursory look at the list shows that more than half of the top 25 richest Americans are first-generation wealth.

I'm not a fanboy for the rich, but there is no evidence - for at least the very richest people - that they had any unfair advantage or "different set of rules."

Mungeclimber

Trad climber
the crowd MUST BE MOCKED...Mocked I tell you.
Mar 6, 2013 - 06:36pm PT
Gary,

Who is "they"?


A sufficient part of the electorate got what that part of the electorate wanted within the confines of a two party system.


Gary

Social climber
Right outside of Delacroix
Mar 6, 2013 - 06:58pm PT
A sufficient part of the electorate got what that part of the electorate wanted within the confines of a two party system.

Said two parties conveniently being the far right wing of the corporate party and the moderate right wing of the corporate party.

Elcapinyoazz

Social climber
Joshua Tree
Mar 6, 2013 - 07:12pm PT
This is all you need to see:





hossjulia

Trad climber
Where the Hoback and the mighty Snake River meet
Mar 6, 2013 - 07:54pm PT
Good thread and topic. Learning much.

Really liked Dr. F's first post, among many others.

matty, "Trees" is my favorite Rush song
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Mar 6, 2013 - 08:06pm PT
Wealth distribution was controlled by higher taxes on higher incomes and regulations

Huh? By controlling or limiting high incomes, all you're doing is making it harder for the identity of the most wealthy to change. Can we please stop confusing income and wealth?

And Ken, I most certianly do not know, much less believe, that the most wealthy achieved their wealth by bending the rules. That, too, is an article of faith by the Enviers, with rather scant evidence to back it up.

Futhermore the idea that only the relatively well-off can save is BS. I don't expect welfare recipients to save, because the system penalizes them for doing so, but 40%? Are you talking in the US? The 40% level was around $3,000.00 per month in 2012 per wikipedia's compilation of US Census data, and I personally know several families who are able to save, and do in fact save, with that level of income. I grew up in such a family. We had one car. Our house had one bathroom. My parents lived very simply, and they used the money they saved to invest in commercial real property, that, after several years, made them enough to provide for my higher education and to support themselves in retirement rather well, and yet still had enough to give generously to church and charity.

I had an uncle and aunt who would tell a similar story. It's a matter of choosing to spend less than you make. That involves sacrifices, for which the capitalist system provides rewards in the form of return on investment.

On the other hand, I had a law partner who 20 years ago told me "How can anybody live on only $140,000 a year?" (That is what he made in the late 1980's at his old firm. By the way, he was a Democrat.) He had no intention of saving. His father was a doctor, and his father-in-law a builder, and they did all the saving. He was just waiting to inherit it. I doubt that his wealth will increase.

I share El Cap's concern about the size of CEO compensation. I don't think many CEO's of publicly traded companies are worth that kind of money, but there's an easy cure for that. The salaries of all high-paid corporate officers in publicly-traded corporations are disclosed on the relevant 10-K's and 10-Q's. I don't invest in corporations whose boards are too inept to control officer pay.

I think that in this area, as in most others, our experiences determine our beliefs. The relatively comfortable people I know made their money honestly through hard work, savings, self-denial, delayed gratification, and smarts. That leads me to a natural hostility toward philosophies that say people in the United States don't deserve the wealth they have. I'm sure the experiences of others differ, so their perceptions do as well. Our sample sizes are probably too small.

For all these resaons, I don't expect to convince those who rail at the level of alleged wealth inequality, but I would appreciate your considering what you imply before you accuse those who believe as I do of intellectual or actual dishonesty. I have very good -- and very personal -- reasons for believing as I do.

Sorry for the rant, but this is a day where catharsis has its uses.

John
bparry

Trad climber
New Haven, CT
Mar 6, 2013 - 08:13pm PT
Reason on the taco -- thank-you JEleazarian

Wealth equality would be monumentally unfair
John M

climber
Mar 6, 2013 - 08:26pm PT

And Ken, I most certianly do not know, much less believe, that the most wealthy achieved their wealth by bending the rules. That, too, is an article of faith by the Enviers, with rather scant evidence to back it up.

Nice John.. real nice..

as for bending the rules. I couldn't begin to tell you all the various ways I have seen rules bent. But that isn't even really the point. They make the rules. They don't just bend them. And if they can't get rules through that suit them, then they control the overseers and those who bring judgment. How many times have we seen giant corporations or extremely wealthy people get slaps on the wrists, while the rest of us pay heavy penalties if we "bend" a rule.

Dr. F.

Big Wall climber
SoCal
Mar 6, 2013 - 08:36pm PT
No Democrat has Ever said that we should take from the rich and give it out to make it equal for all.
Just more slippery slope paranoia.

Crazy talk
canyoncat

Social climber
SoCal
Mar 6, 2013 - 08:37pm PT
How ironic is it that at least half the people on ST who feel the need to opine about the evils and inequality of wealth, are people who blew off their 20's, 30's and in some cases, entire lives pursueing the "dirt bag" lifestyle. These are the same people who have to beg from friends when they have accidents, drop dead, or can't support their dogs, children, or wives. Yeah, you're the peeps who would know a thing or two about wealth, LOL.

I'm not wealthy, my parents were dirt poor, and yet I manage to own my home outright, drive a 2013 car that's paid for, and have enough money to do pretty much anything I want to do. Funny how when you work for things and take responsibility for making your own life comfortable, you no longer have to envy or hate the "wealthy". What they do is their business.

The problem is not the 1% with extreme wealth, the problem is the people who thought slacker was a job description.
TGT

Social climber
So Cal
Mar 6, 2013 - 08:42pm PT
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
What he said!!!!
John M

climber
Mar 6, 2013 - 08:47pm PT
Worked my ass off since I was a kid. Owned my own business. Owned my own home. Put 10 grand in the bank by the time I was 19. Thats when minimum wage was 1.60 an hour. You do the math. If you are able to .

Lost everything when I lost my health.

Kiss my ass CanyonCat and TGT.

This is who you side with JohnE. Envious Pfffffftt..


I wouldn't be you for all the money in the world.

kennyt

climber
Woodfords,California
Mar 6, 2013 - 08:49pm PT
What john M said!!!

EDIT: where do you guys' work?
Ken M

Mountain climber
Los Angeles, Ca
Mar 6, 2013 - 08:50pm PT
And Ken, I most certianly do not know, much less believe, that the most wealthy achieved their wealth by bending the rules. That, too, is an article of faith by the Enviers, with rather scant evidence to back it up.


You might consider the appointment of Ambassadors, who are not part of the professional diplomatic corps, which number in the 40's if I'm not mistaken.

Virtually all of them, for a long time, have been political contributors.

Astonishingly, they do not come from the ranks of the guys who give $10, $100, $1,000 -----they are people who arrange hundreds of thousands, or millions of dollars of contributions, and they unfailingly are among the wealthiest people in America.

Now, as to bending the rules to obtain their wealth......that is not what I actually said. However, once wealthy to a certain extent, THEN they are able to use their wealth as a tool to REALLY accumulate the dollars.
Ken M

Mountain climber
Los Angeles, Ca
Mar 6, 2013 - 08:51pm PT
By the way, on this subject, if you think that people have equal opportunity to succeed, you need to read the fascinating Malcolm Gladwell book "Outliers: The Story of Success ", and you'll never think so again.
Dave Kos

Social climber
Temecula
Mar 6, 2013 - 08:56pm PT
However, once wealthy to a certain extent, THEN they are able to use their wealth as a tool to REALLY accumulate the dollars.

That logic is right out of an old Steve Martin sketch that went something like this:

How to be a millionare

Step 1, get a million dollars.

Step 2 ...

Also, I read the Gladwell book, and his thesis is not that people do not have equal opportunity. His thesis was that there are often unseen circumstances that have an extreme influence on success, but that the successful still work hard at it. One of data points in the book was that most experts typically spend more than ten thousand hours practicing their craft, but still have to have the right circumstances if that expertise is to lead to extreme cases of success (e.g. Bill Gates.)
rick sumner

Trad climber
reno, nevada/ wasilla alaska
Mar 6, 2013 - 09:04pm PT
JEleazarian, i applaud what you refer to as your rant. It is one the clearest articulations i have heard of the reality of the equal opportunity we all have had in this country. Let's hope the the indolent, insecure, and ignorant do not get there way with the ruinous redistribution they are being mass conditioned to desire. It would only lead to a stagnation of creativity, a decline in ambition, and the poor only getting poorer along with us all.
I also second canyoncat's opinion.
kennyt

climber
Woodfords,California
Mar 6, 2013 - 09:13pm PT
I wonder if the son of a plumber has the same oppurtunitys as the son of a wealthy wall st guy?
TGT

Social climber
So Cal
Mar 6, 2013 - 09:22pm PT
What makes you think a plumber might not be wealthy?
kennyt

climber
Woodfords,California
Mar 6, 2013 - 09:25pm PT
because I'm a general contractor and I haven't met many.
TGT

Social climber
So Cal
Mar 6, 2013 - 09:28pm PT
You are hanging with the wrong crowd then.
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Mar 6, 2013 - 09:31pm PT
Kennyt,

My father took an extra year to get through high school, because he had to work in local packing houses in the Fall semester of his junior and senior years. He would have loved to go to college, but the family needed his income.

Of course the children of privilege have more opportunity than children of poverty. Just as Dr. F. protests that no Democrat proposes equality of wealth, I doubt that any Republican contends that everyone has the same opportunities. Ultimately, I think our perceptions differ on this proposition: I say that the biggest single determinant of a person's wealth is the decisions and actions they take, not luck or dishonesty.

I think, John M. that you're right on at least this count, though. I was wrong in referring to those expressing concern oover the distribution of wealth as "Enviers." I know you are not, and I can say the same about Ken M and probably most of the others on this thread. I am sorry. I was wrong.

Ultimately, I think I come down where Dave Kos seems to be. The best thing we can do is to teach our children well.

John

cmcc

Trad climber
Redding, CA
Mar 6, 2013 - 09:34pm PT
Looks like Hugo Chavez did a good job redistributing wealth...... to himself.
John M

climber
Mar 6, 2013 - 09:38pm PT
Apology accepted JohnE. I wish that wasn't the automatic response to anyone who questions how fair things are in America.

You're envious
You're jealous
You didn't work hard enough
you should have invested
you're lazy

blah blah blah.. tired of hearing it.

It tells me that people are buying the rush limbaugh, bill oliely fox new version of life and missing out and some important understanding.

Welfare queens aren't bankrupting america. Greed is.

Let them eat cake.. is what many are saying today.

TGT is strongly in the "let them eat cake" category.
TGT

Social climber
So Cal
Mar 6, 2013 - 09:42pm PT
The universe isn't fair!

A whole precession of utopian socialists have killed how many hundreds of millions, and produced unspeakable suffering trying to change that?

kennyt

climber
Woodfords,California
Mar 6, 2013 - 09:44pm PT
The universe isn't fair!
true that. I can remember like it was yesterday when I was bitching about something may dad saying lifes not fair.
Splater

climber
Grey Matter
Mar 6, 2013 - 09:46pm PT
"To add to all of this, there is no good data showing how either the distribution of wealth or the distribution of income changes over time."

That is incorrect. There is abundant material showing that both have become much more highly concentrated in the uppermost percentiles.

At the same time that the rich started earning more, (CEO power, global corporatism, Wall St bailouts, deregulation and loopholes) they spent some of that on lobbying politicians to get even more loopholes, deregulation, and lower taxes. Now we have lower taxes on unearned income (Buffet was exactly right), "carried interest", pension defaults, FDIC bailouts, etc.
kennyt

climber
Woodfords,California
Mar 6, 2013 - 09:54pm PT
Roughster

Sport climber
Vacaville, CA
Mar 6, 2013 - 10:14pm PT
To me the issue of wealth is about fair pay. IMO the average American works very hard at their job and is vastly underpaid. I absolutely disagree with a TGT JZ, et al that it is the lazy and "slackers" that are complaining. I see friends and family working 40-50 hours a week and can barely make ends meet and many of them have college degrees. The people that often get forgotten in all of this is the working poor, and the middle class which make up the largest % of the U.S. Population. These are not people sitting on their asses, these are people who serve you food, check you out at the cash register, work on your car, etc. These people are getting F*#KED given the current economics in America.

Because of the move to large corporations, the good and the ugly is cheaper prices, lower wages. When you are the only gig in town, you pay people what you want, not what the work they do deserves. The $$ they would've/should've paid to their employees goes to the wealthy via "profit" since they own the corporations in the first place. Why is a CEOs 40 hour work week worth 384X the average workers salary in the company? That's f*#king ridiculous. People will say, well they work more than 40 hours a week. Guess what??? EVERYONE DOES!!!

Corporations can further drive salaries down by either threatening or actually shipping your job overseas. The ones that stay here and are now part of a multi-national company get "compared" to the salaries people are making in 3rd World Countries where the cost of living is also a lot cheaper, and they pull the "you are already paid the most in the world" card.

The federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour or $15,080 a year for someone who works 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year (that means ZERO vacation) and that is under the poverty line for anyone other than an 18 year old boy.

This isn't about me and my problems. I am a top 8% single earner and top 5% married earner per whatsmypercent.com. The difference in a lot of these threads is I don't feel it is all about how much more I can get. How about some compassion and empathy. Oh yeah, f*#k the poor, they are just stepping stones to padding the bank account a little more right?
Gary

Social climber
Right outside of Delacroix
Mar 6, 2013 - 10:20pm PT
Let's hope the the indolent, insecure, and ignorant do not get there way with the ruinous redistribution they are being mass conditioned to desire. It would only lead to a stagnation of creativity, a decline in ambition, and the poor only getting poorer along with us all.

Absolutely, comrade! It's time for the fat cats on Wall Street to get off our backs and start pulling their own weight. That's what I'm talking about. Eugene Debs put it best:
“We propose to destroy the capitalist and save the man. We want a system in which the worker shall get what he produces and the capitalist shall produce what he gets.”

It's about time that honest work was respected in the USA.
the Fet

climber
Tu-Tok-A-Nu-La
Mar 6, 2013 - 10:24pm PT
These threads are often more indicative of the various posters biases than any insight into the reality of the situation and any changes that should be made.

At the same time that the rich started earning more, (CEO power, global corporatism, Wall St bailouts, deregulation and loopholes) they spent some of that on lobbying politicians to get even more loopholes, deregulation, and lower taxes. Now we have lower taxes on unearned income (Buffet was exactly right), "carried interest", pension defaults, FDIC bailouts, etc.

That's really what this is about. It's not about making everyone's income/wealth equal and giving income to people who didn't earn it (when someone brings up this childish spoon fed bullsh#t it just shows how biased and/or brainwashed they are). It's not about welfare people vs. people who earn their money. It's about middle class people (the majority if not all the people posting here) vs. the 1/10 of 1% of people who are accumulating more and more of the income and wealth.

Ideologically I'm against things like the estate tax, higher taxes on capital gains, etc. but I know without them the people with a lot of money (I'm talking 100s of millions)(possibly not earned but just inherited) will continue to get a greater and greater percentage of all wealth/income and more and more people will struggle to get by. Right now it's the working poor who struggle to make ends meet and save anything for retirement, but if things keep going the way they are the middle and upper middle class will be stuggling too.

Look at what has happened over the last 15 years. Middle class income is stagnant, while the very rich (e.g. $10 million a year plus annual income) have seen their income grow a large amount.

I'm doing fine. I make good money. I'd prefer to pay less taxes but I'm ok with paying what I do now. What's messed up is the people making 100 times what I do and pay a smaller percent of their income as taxes because most of it comes from capital gains (money making money). But unfortunately you have the Repubs in congress and the conservatives (anyone who is ok with being a conservative is ok with being an ideologue instead of a moderate who knows being pragmatic is more important that sticking to your principles when they cause problems) saying you can't raise taxes at all. Nevermind taxes for the very rich are low historically and low among other 1st world countries.

The very rich have done a great job fooling otherwise smart people into buying the whole "Liberals want everyone to have the same income and take your hard earned money and give it to those who choose not to work". It's hard for me to comprehend that people can be that gullible.
Dr. F.

Big Wall climber
SoCal
Mar 6, 2013 - 10:25pm PT
A whole precession of utopian socialists have killed how many hundreds of millions, and produced unspeakable suffering trying to change that?
Teedle Gee T

What socialist did all this killing??
Oh you mean the Nazis
Just because they used the word socialist in their title
It was German, it translates to something other than socialism
They were the exact opposite of socialist, they were Right wing Fascists.

No Socialist Country did any mass killing of hundreds of millions, I can't think of any mass killings by socialists

Maybe the Communists, but they weren't socialists either
read a dictionary before you spew this crap
Dr. F.

Big Wall climber
SoCal
Mar 6, 2013 - 10:30pm PT
The very rich have done a great job fooling otherwise smart people into buying the whole "Liberals want everyone to have the same income and take your hard earned money and give it to those who choose not to work". It's hard for me to comprehend that people can be that gullible.

Well said
kennyt

climber
Woodfords,California
Mar 6, 2013 - 10:35pm PT
You mean like joe the plumber? that guy would be the guy TGT is reffering to if Obama would have lost!!
rick sumner

Trad climber
reno, nevada/ wasilla alaska
Mar 7, 2013 - 12:03am PT
Dr. F- How about Joseph Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot for starters. They all, at one time or another spouted socialist ideals while enacting policies that resulted in the death of millions of their citizens. They also systematically murdered many millions of others who dissented.
Gary

Social climber
Right outside of Delacroix
Mar 7, 2013 - 08:38am PT
They all, at one time or another spouted socialist ideals while enacting policies that resulted in the death of millions of their citizens.

Talk is cheap. Actions speak louder than words. You can call yourself whatever you want, that doesn't make it so.

I've never read of capitalism being condemned as an economic system just because the majority of its practitioners have been murderous tyrants.
TGT

Social climber
So Cal
Mar 7, 2013 - 09:39am PT
Short, well written, Bastiat's answer to Das Capital.

Still after more than 150 years one of the best answers to the collectivist.


http://bastiat.org/en/the_law.html
Gary

Social climber
Right outside of Delacroix
Mar 7, 2013 - 10:20am PT
This sounds like an excellent summation of Capital:

Property and Plunder

Man can live and satisfy his wants only by ceaseless labor; by the ceaseless application of his faculties to natural resources. This process is the origin of property.

But it is also true that a man may live and satisfy his wants by seizing and consuming the products of the labor of others. This process is the origin of plunder.

Now since man is naturally inclined to avoid pain — and since labor is pain in itself — it follows that men will resort to plunder whenever plunder is easier than work. History shows this quite clearly. And under these conditions, neither religion nor morality can stop it.

When, then, does plunder stop? It stops when it becomes more painful and more dangerous than labor.

It is evident, then, that the proper purpose of law is to use the power of its collective force to stop this fatal tendency to plunder instead of to work. All the measures of the law should protect property and punish plunder.

But, generally, the law is made by one man or one class of men. And since law cannot operate without the sanction and support of a dominating force, this force must be entrusted to those who make the laws.

This fact, combined with the fatal tendency that exists in the heart of man to satisfy his wants with the least possible effort, explains the almost universal perversion of the law. Thus it is easy to understand how law, instead of checking injustice, becomes the invincible weapon of injustice. It is easy to understand why the law is used by the legislator to destroy in varying degrees among the rest of the people, their personal independence by slavery, their liberty by oppression, and their property by plunder. This is done for the benefit of the person who makes the law, and in proportion to the power that he holds.

That's the very heart of Marx's theories on capital and its accumulation:
Man can live and satisfy his wants only by ceaseless labor; by the ceaseless application of his faculties to natural resources. This process is the origin of property.

But it is also true that a man may live and satisfy his wants by seizing and consuming the products of the labor of others. This process is the origin of plunder.

That's the very definition of capitalism.
Gary

Social climber
Right outside of Delacroix
Mar 7, 2013 - 10:48am PT
Jeebus, TGT, did you read that link? It's a complete condemnation of capitalism. Dig this:
Victims of Lawful Plunder

Men naturally rebel against the injustice of which they are victims. Thus, when plunder is organized by law for the profit of those who make the law, all the plundered classes try somehow to enter — by peaceful or revolutionary means — into the making of laws. According to their degree of enlightenment, these plundered classes may propose one of two entirely different purposes when they attempt to attain political power: Either they may wish to stop lawful plunder, or they may wish to share in it.

Woe to the nation when this latter purpose prevails among the mass victims of lawful plunder when they, in turn, seize the power to make laws! Until that happens, the few practice lawful plunder upon the many, a common practice where the right to participate in the making of law is limited to a few persons. But then, participation in the making of law becomes universal. And then, men seek to balance their conflicting interests by universal plunder. Instead of rooting out the injustices found in society, they make these injustices general. As soon as the plundered classes gain political power, they establish a system of reprisals against other classes. They do not abolish legal plunder. (This objective would demand more enlightenment than they possess.) Instead, they emulate their evil predecessors by participating in this legal plunder, even though it is against their own interests.

It is as if it were necessary, before a reign of justice appears, for everyone to suffer a cruel retribution — some for their evilness, and some for their lack of understanding.
The Results of Legal Plunder

It is impossible to introduce into society a greater change and a greater evil than this: the conversion of the law into an instrument of plunder.

What are the consequences of such a perversion? It would require volumes to describe them all. Thus we must content ourselves with pointing out the most striking.

In the first place, it erases from everyone's conscience the distinction between justice and injustice.

No society can exist unless the laws are respected to a certain degree. The safest way to make laws respected is to make them respectable. When law and morality contradict each other, the citizen has the cruel alternative of either losing his moral sense or losing his respect for the law. These two evils are of equal consequence, and it would be difficult for a person to choose between them.

The nature of law is to maintain justice. This is so much the case that, in the minds of the people, law and justice are one and the same thing. There is in all of us a strong disposition to believe that anything lawful is also legitimate. This belief is so widespread that many persons have erroneously held that things are "just" because law makes them so. Thus, in order to make plunder appear just and sacred to many consciences, it is only necessary for the law to decree and sanction it. Slavery, restrictions, and monopoly find defenders not only among those who profit from them but also among those who suffer from them.

Thanks for posting that link, Fellow Worker.
sempervirens

climber
Mar 7, 2013 - 10:51am PT
Let's also remember that we in US do not have a capitalist system because we don't have a free market; it is all controlled by taxation and regulation. Who writes the tax law and regulations? Congress? Or the lobbyists? Do you conservatives want no regulation? No FDA, FAA, anti-trust laws, Glass-Steigel Act? Do you think that would promote a free and democratic society? Do you think the Koch brothers are really interested in your conservative values and your freedoms? How'bout the Fanjul family that controls the US sugar market? They contribute to both parties and have influence either way. That is the 1%. The conservatives are doing their bidding and swallowing the flag waving rhetoric.

As wealth becomes more concentrated what do expect will happen to the nice folks in the middle class who are pulling themselves up by the bootstraps? I think it will be more difficult for them. Who lost a huge part of their wealth in the economic fiasco of 2008? The 1%? Or the middle class? So as wealth concentrates it also pushes more middle class toward poverty and makes it harder to save and get ahead. Then there will be more people for you conservatives to spite for being lazy slackers seeking hadouts. Would that support your flag-waving freedom?

How can the liberal and conservative ideologists be so gullible that they don't realize they're both swallowing the same lie: that Obama operates according to liberal ideals.
bookworm

Social climber
Falls Church, VA
Mar 7, 2013 - 11:03am PT
the water analogy doesn't hold water...

see, socialists conceive of wealth (NOT money(money is only one manifestation of wealth used to ease commercial transactions)) as finite: there's a giant pile of riches from which some people take more than they deserve or need or use unethical means to take from the pile or keep others from getting their "fair share"

but there is no giant pile of wealth...wealth is created by individuals... bill gates didn't take anything from me or anyone else when he founded microsoft...instead, he provided a product that other people valued...all commercial transactions with microsoft are VOLUNTARY...i pay him for a produce that i hope will increase my own wealth, and when i buy a computer, i'm not taking anything from you or anyone else...your bitterness toward those who create wealth (whether by luck or hard work) says far more about you than it says about them


PLEASE, read Friedman's "Capitalism and Freedom"...it's written in language that a high schooler can understand

why, with the full course of history from which to learn, do you still believe the government is immune to corruption and that bureaucrats are more trustworthy with your money?
Gary

Social climber
Right outside of Delacroix
Mar 7, 2013 - 11:12am PT
see, socialists conceive of wealth (NOT money(money is only one manifestation of wealth used to ease commercial transactions)) as finite: there's a giant pile of riches from which some people take more than they deserve or need or use unethical means to take from the pile or keep others from getting their "fair share"

You can cite that proposition, I assume? I'd be interested. I never read that in Harrington or Thomas.

why, with the full course of history from which to learn, do you still believe the government is immune to corruption and that bureaucrats are more trustworthy with your money?

And corporate bureaucrats are much more trustworthy? Having been involved in both systems, my experience is that government bureaucracy is benign, corporate bureaucracy is actively looking for ways to f*#k you over. They'd kill your grandma for a nickel.
Dr. F.

Big Wall climber
SoCal
Mar 7, 2013 - 11:17am PT
Dr. F- How about Joseph Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot for starters.
Those were Communists, Not Socialists

and the farthest possible away from Progressive Liberals

They were Right Wing Tyrants using Communism to subjugate the people under Right Wing Totalitarian Rule.

No one would say that those Countries are anyway near a Liberal Democratic Socialist Government, like Norway and Sweden.

How many people has Norway mass murdered?

Dr. F.

Big Wall climber
SoCal
Mar 7, 2013 - 11:21am PT
Hookworm will never respond to a direct question
he just pops in before going to work at his Gov. job to poop some Breitbart BS propaganda that could be refuted by a kindergarten.

see, socialists conceive of wealth (NOT money(money is only one manifestation of wealth used to ease commercial transactions)) as finite: there's a giant pile of riches from which some people take more than they deserve or need or use unethical means to take from the pile or keep others from getting their "fair share"

No, that is not what socialists conceive

Socialists want the Government to control the commons, so it is available to all, rich or poor, like clean air, police, fire, health care.
You still have to work if you want money, but you won't starve in the gutter and infect your neighbors with TB.


What we have a Rigged Capitalistic system, the worst of all possibilities

sempervirens

climber
Mar 7, 2013 - 11:27am PT
THere is currently a system in place that is redistibuting wealth toward the 1% while the country argues whether or not redistributing wealth is morally wrong. Socialism and Capitalism don't exist.

If we continue to cconcentrate wealth we're moving closer to totalarianism (IMO) regardless of what we call it. Fewer people will hold power to make the rules. Why would they make rules that promote freedom when they can make rules to promote their own wealth?

What would happen if the wealthiest corporate bureaucrats and the top gov. bureaucrats merged forces while we argued over which are more trustworthy? Does anyone believe they have NOT merged forces?
the Fet

climber
Tu-Tok-A-Nu-La
Mar 7, 2013 - 11:32am PT
So you conservatives have no problem returning the the robber baron, monopoly days?

Let free market capitalism run unhindered. Everything will be fair.

You'll pay $300 a month for phone service. $20 a gallon for gasoline. $1000 a month rent for a small apartment. Sounds good. Reminds me of the movie In Time. Not the greatest movie but a good representation of what it sounds like the conservatives want.

Of course full socialism would be would be terrible too. Govt inefficiency in everything and lack of motivation for people to work and innovate and retain the fruits of their labor.

Hmm, could the best thing be somewhere in the middle? I guess not when it conflicts with your black and white ideology.
matty

Trad climber
under the sea
Mar 7, 2013 - 11:35am PT
I'm sorry for posting on this thread (early - first page) I try to keep off the political threads because I want to promote climbing content but I sometimes get sucked in. we really need an off topic tab for shiz like this.

Credit: matty
rick sumner

Trad climber
reno, nevada/ wasilla alaska
Mar 7, 2013 - 11:44am PT
No Dr. F, the cited countries seduced their populace with visions of socialist utopias. In the end it was just another vehicle for evil and greedy despots to achieve a dictatorship. Minus a largely negative document outlining the limitations of government their nations drifted into totalitarianism. So where is the division between a "fair" socialist society and communism? I would suggest it is after the system collapses (see many western european nations) under the inevitable weight of a an increasingly less productive populace and after the citizenry takes to the streets to demonstrate their discontent over the governments failure to deliver on unsustainable promises.At a point like this despots can easily arise. Sweden and Norway are resource rich and the party continues but should they deplete, watch out.
Dr. F.

Big Wall climber
SoCal
Mar 7, 2013 - 11:47am PT
Of course full socialism would be would be terrible too. Govt inefficiency in everything and lack of motivation for people to work and innovate and retain the fruits of their labor.

that is not socialism, that is communism

you keep all the fruits of your labor in a socialist system

The only difference between what we have is:
You pay higher taxes.
The Gov is bigger, and provides health care, clean water, clean air, police fire, military and regulates corporations so everyone gets a fair wage and other perks.

Why doesn't anyone here understand the difference between Communism and Socialism???

They are not the same, No one is promoting communism, No one...

It's like Allan West, calling all liberals communists, it's Just stupid, and Wrong.

The only difference is you pay higher taxes!, but you get more in return.
Randisi

Social climber
Dalian, Liaoning
Mar 7, 2013 - 11:48am PT
Gary

Social climber
Right outside of Delacroix
Mar 7, 2013 - 11:51am PT
Of course full socialism would be would be terrible too. Govt inefficiency in everything and lack of motivation for people to work and innovate and retain the fruits of their labor.

The Fet, the whole point of socialism is that people retain the fruit of their labor. Where is the incentive to work in capitalism, when the fruit of your labor is confiscated and given to the capitalist?

A terrific job of propaganda has been accomplished in this country. The Germans and Russians were amateurs comapared to what we have wrought.
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Mar 7, 2013 - 01:56pm PT
Where is the incentive to work in capitalism, when the fruit of your labor is confiscated and given to the capitalist?

Confiscate vt. 1 to seize (private property) for the public treasury, usually as a penalty 2 to seize by or as by authority; appropriate

Webster's New World Dictionary (Third Collegiate Edition) [Emphasis in definitions supplied]

John
John M

climber
Mar 7, 2013 - 02:09pm PT
I know it goes against the grain of everything some of you believe in, but perhaps one or two of you could believe in this kind of wealth redistribution..

http://www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/2087509/FUNDRAISER-and-AUCTION-for-Big-Mike-Yeah

A quality person. He works hard. He plays hard and he is just an all around decent person who happens to have a had a tough accident and could use a hand.

JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Mar 7, 2013 - 02:46pm PT
Thanks, John. I'm having trouble getting to the correct website, though. Perhaps I missed it in Tami's link. I'm going to try again.

And you're also right that this is the sort of "redistribution" that many of us on the right support, and will participate in.

John
John M

climber
Mar 7, 2013 - 02:54pm PT
John.. I never doubted that your heart is in the right place, though at times some of your angst clouds your view and causes you to make statements that aren't true. My post was pointed more at those who could use a shove in the right direction. Some people don't understand the joy of giving. They think that the only joy is in having.
Dave Kos

Social climber
Temecula
Mar 7, 2013 - 02:57pm PT
The Fet, the whole point of socialism is that people retain the fruit of their labor.

And exactly what does that mean?

If a steelworker shovels ore into a mill all day, does he get to "retain" some of the raw steel that comes out the other end?

What portion does he to "retain" relative to all the other workers, and what would he do with this chunk of steel anyway?

Ok, so he doesn't really get the actual "fruit" of his labor, instead he gets compensated with money, something he can use to buy the stuff he actually needs to live.

So how much money does he get? And why?




Dave Kos

Social climber
Temecula
Mar 7, 2013 - 03:02pm PT
Why doesn't anyone here understand the difference between Communism and Socialism???

Nobody understands the concept of socialism without communism because it is an entirely hypothetical concept.

There has never been a fully socialist economy that did not spiral into communism or some similar form of totalitarianism.

There is a correlation that cannot be ignored.
Gary

Social climber
Right outside of Delacroix
Mar 7, 2013 - 04:01pm PT
And exactly what does that mean?

Dr. F.

Big Wall climber
SoCal
Mar 7, 2013 - 04:04pm PT
Thanks for setting me straight Coz

Why do they call our Military Complex Socialism?
Because we all pay for it, and it's run by the Gov.
And our water, sewage treatment, Court System - all socialism

We are already a capitalistic system with some socialism
but most people can't figure that out.
Yep, flat out wrong.

I think the only last item that all us Progressive Liberals want is Single Payer Health Care, and to make sure that SS stays intact.

No one wants the Gov. making cars or computers, that's communism
Dr. F.

Big Wall climber
SoCal
Mar 7, 2013 - 04:52pm PT
Well it's a yes and a no
Communism is a far Left Wing concept,
But, the leaders of the Communist Gov. are hard core Authoritarian leaders, in other words, they are hard core Right Wing tyrants running a far Left Wing Gov. system.

Communism is so different from the normal form of a Democratic Socialist Country like Norway, Swedan and now France, that it can't be confused.


sorry to anyone I called a moron


Dave Kos

Social climber
Temecula
Mar 7, 2013 - 05:01pm PT
Gary,

Clever comic, but it leads to more questions than answers.

First, it doesn't answer my original question: How much money does [the worker] get?

Other questions are: Why is one man the worker and the other the boss? What is preventing the worker from switching roles?

Keep in mind some data from my earlier posts: Most of the 25 richest people in America, including the top three, were born into middle class families.

http://www.forbes.com/forbes-400/list/
Dave Kos

Social climber
Temecula
Mar 7, 2013 - 05:04pm PT
Communism is so different from the normal form of a Democratic Socialist Country like Norway, Swedan and now France, that it can't be confused.

Some of the largest corporations in the world are based in those countries. They are not socialist economies. Not even close.
Dr. F.

Big Wall climber
SoCal
Mar 7, 2013 - 05:11pm PT
That's my whole point

In a Socialism Gov. you still have capitalism, private Companies making cars and computers
You just have a socialized Commons, and pay higher taxes, it's No different than what we have now, with our Military and all

Only in Communism does the Gov. make the cars.

the Fet

climber
Tu-Tok-A-Nu-La
Mar 7, 2013 - 05:13pm PT
From wikipedia:

Socialism is an economic system characterised by social ownership of the means of production and co-operative management of the economy.[1] "Social ownership" may refer to cooperative enterprises, common ownership, state ownership, or citizen ownership of equity.[2] There are many varieties of socialism and there is no single definition encapsulating all of them.[3]

Yes when conservatives talk about Socialism they usually actually mean communism, except for those that flat out talk about communism, which has no chance of ever happening in America so is a red herring. As I've pointed out before the original American colony, Jamestown, started with communism and was a abject failure and they switched to capitalism, which aligns much better with human nature.

So there's no single definition but when I say full Socialism I mean state ownership of the means of production. I think we should have the freedom of individuals, corporations, co-operatives, etc. owning the means of production (or even limited govt. ownership when it makes sense.) But we need significant safeguards against abuse by ANY of those ownership schemes.

Dr. F it sounds like you like the Swedish system. Sweden is often an example of Socialism but it's NOT socialist. From the interwebs:

Is Sweden a Socialist country?
Answer: No. Since about 1935 Sweden has had a capitalist economy governed by social democratic policies, including with high, redistributive income tax rates and general welfare benefits (even when under conservative governments). After 1935, a collective bargaining scheme was set up which gave both unions and businesses representation and a forum to mediate disputes. This form of class collaboration was intended to stave off socialist ideas of abolishing capitalism for a socialist economic system. The majority of industries in Sweden are privately-owned, with very few collectively-owned and publicly-owned firms.

America's system is not bad based on results. The biggest problems we have (not in order) are special interest influence in politics (from the left and right) due to money being so important in winning elections (thanks conservative supreme court for opening that flood gate with Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, asshats for letting ideology win over practicality), waste and inefficiency in govt., spending is too high, and tax rates for the uber rich being too low (thanks to the influence that their money can buy).

Of course the conservatives say taxes should be cut, nevermind that we haven't made the spending cuts yet so that just increases the deficit. Yeah very conservative, let's cut revenue before cutting spending and increase borrowing and interest costs.

And the Dems don't want to cut spending anywhere like is really required.

But at least the Dems are willing to compromise and cut spending (although not enough). The Reps are stuck in the ideological mud and won't allow any more tax revenue even though that's needed as well. So we have gridlock, dysfunction, and uncertainty which hold back the economy.

Both Dems and Reps have many corrupt and dishonest people (if you can't admit that you have your head up your a*#), but from a policy perspective the Reps are the ones really screwing things up right now with their refusal to compromise.
John M

climber
Mar 7, 2013 - 05:19pm PT
I hope that people wont think that pure socialism is the way to go. I believe that a; mix of socialism and capitalism is a better system. We already have that. What is being argued is what that mix should be. Whats sad to me is the amount of disinformation that is being spread and that people believe.

Plus the fact that some people seem to believe that pure capitalism is the best system. It doesn't work. Lots of people would be crushed by pure capitalism and lots of things would be destroyed, such as the environment, which might take lifetimes to turn around if its even possible to do so. Capitalism has to be balanced with regulation.
Dave Kos

Social climber
Temecula
Mar 7, 2013 - 05:22pm PT
Sounds like we are all in violent agreement.

(Except for the commies...they are always causing trouble!)
Dr. F.

Big Wall climber
SoCal
Mar 7, 2013 - 05:25pm PT
The Dems have offered to make more cuts than the Republicans want
The Republicans only want to cut social services

The gridlock is 100% being caused by the Republicans, they won't even agree to things that Were their idea, just because Obama want to push it forward
Gary

Social climber
Right outside of Delacroix
Mar 7, 2013 - 05:44pm PT
You people are quoting wikipedia and "Interwebs" for your definitions of socialism. I'd be more impressed if you actually quoted something about socialism written by socialists. Say, Norman Thomas, or Michael Harrington for instance.

For the most part, people who rant against socialism have gotten all their information from anti-socialists. They've never actually read anything by Marx, Thomas, Harrington, etc. They just know what their enemies say about it. That's how effective the lockdown on information is in this society.

Anyone who says the social democracies of Europe are not socialist is ill-informed.

A famous incident was when Michael Harrington was going to speak to some auto workers. The organizer wanted to introduce him as the author of The Other America. He wanted to be introduced as head of the Socialist Party. He was, of course, booed. Only in America would union workers be antagonistic to a socialist.

By the time he finished his talk, they were cheering him. That's the power of information.
TGT

Social climber
So Cal
Mar 7, 2013 - 05:47pm PT
Dr. F.

Big Wall climber
SoCal
Mar 7, 2013 - 05:49pm PT
Just take a listen to Bernie Sanders, our Only Socialist in Congress

He is so right on about everything, he has been named the "America's Senator"
Norton

Social climber
the Wastelands
Mar 7, 2013 - 05:52pm PT


Socialism: "Government ownership of the means of production"


exactly what "socialism" is currently going on in America right now?
John M

climber
Mar 7, 2013 - 05:58pm PT
Hey JohnE, would you comment on TGT's poster.
Dave Kos

Social climber
Temecula
Mar 7, 2013 - 06:41pm PT
exactly what "socialism" is currently going on in America right now?

The military industrial complex is one of the largest socialist economies on earth.
Gary

Social climber
Right outside of Delacroix
Mar 7, 2013 - 10:16pm PT
Clever comic, but it leads to more questions than answers.

First, it doesn't answer my original question: How much money does [the worker] get?

Dave, here is your answer, I believe. This fellow, a climber from another forum, puts it pretty well.

Capital doesn't stimulate production. It is the result of production. The real problem is that the result of production (capital) is stolen from those who produce it.

Money cannot produce money, Assets cannot produce more assets. The only thing that can produce is labour.

It is tempting, and understandably so, for those people who have worked their rings off and look at the rewards for their own labour, to say to themselve "this is capital - the reward for my labour" and this is, of course, true. No socialist worth his salt is going to deny anyone the fruits of their own labour. The rewards justly belong to the producer of the wealth - which is precisely why these rewards can never justly belong to those whose only "input" into a process is capital.

This is the source of a lot of muddled thinking. It's the muddled idea that workers who do well for themselves, by their own effort are "middle class". They are not. They are simply successful and relatively well off workers. The middle class are those who seek to earn an income from investing capital, instead of working for a living. In a nutshell, they are bludgers who seek to tax production. Furthermore, unlike elected governments who at least have a mandate to tax (by free consent of the governed), the capitalists have never been given the free consent of the true creators of capital (the workers) to tax their labour.

The proof of this is self evident. If I add my pile of money to your pile of money, If I add my iron ore deposit to the stash of gold you have hidden in your chimney, without adding labour to the equation, the result is obvious - Diddly Squat.

Even if the workers did freely consent to this theft of the fruits of their labour, it would not solve the central economic problem of capitalism - it doesn't work. This is why we have repeated boom-bust cycles, people lose their investments and the whole cycle repeats itself with a whole new bunch of suckers to invest their money and an inexplicably willing next generation of workers who acquiesce to this absurdity as a result of relentless propaganda exhorting them to be patriotic, not to be "unamerican", not to be goddammed "pinkos", "commies" and any other totally meaningless epithets that the right wing can come up with. " John Locke's tacit consent" ?? I don't think so. This is onerous persuasion. It's intellectual repression. It's the implicit threat of some undefined disenfranchisement of those who dare to refuse to conform - those who are "unamerican", god will curse you, you don't belong here, you are not part of the herd...................

I haven't had time, frankly, to read the whole thread, but I'd be willing to bet that it (in places, and from the usual suspects) follows the usual hackneyed formula of comparative morality, eg. because Joe Stalin was a monster, then it "logically follows" that socialism is fundamentally at fault. (This makes about as much sense as the Wright Brothers saying to themselves "Because powered flight hasn't been made to work successfully to date, we shouldn't try to build on the experience of others and see if we can't get an aeroplane to fly".
Gary

Social climber
Right outside of Delacroix
Mar 7, 2013 - 10:19pm PT
TGT, let me fix that last line of the poster for you:
"and you create a lifelong Republican plutocrat.

TGT, could you put into your own words why you think one economic system might be superior to the other? No cut and paste, your own thoughts. I know you're not stupid, and I'm interested.
SteveW

Trad climber
The state of confusion
Mar 7, 2013 - 10:24pm PT
As the song went

"where have you gone Jstan, our taco turns it's lonely
eyes to you. . .woo woo woo"
Guangzhou

Trad climber
Asia, Indonesia, East Java
Mar 7, 2013 - 11:27pm PT
Credit: Guangzhou
Ken M

Mountain climber
Los Angeles, Ca
Mar 8, 2013 - 12:02am PT
John E made a silly assertion that questioned the wealth gap.

Here is a program from today that addressed that exact issue.

One of the discussants was Sheila Bair, Republican appointed by GW Bush as head of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

No doubt she is unqualified to speak on the subject.

http://www.kcrw.com/news/programs/tp/tp130307is_corporate_wealth_

Today's Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped over yesterday's record high. It's a "golden age" for corporate profits, which are the largest share of the economy since 1950. But the portion that goes to employees is close to the lowest since 1966. Both liberal and conservative economists are worried because the gap between the rich and the poor is growing so fast. The gap is also alarming Democrats — and some Republicans.
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Mar 8, 2013 - 03:02am PT
Ken, my "silly asserton," as I clarified later, was that we don't know how the identity of the rich or those earning high incomes has changed over time. While I don't enjoy being corrected, I appreciate it. Please direct me to a study that shows whether the identity of those with high incomes or high net worth hsa stayed constant, as opposed to whether different people are earning the high incomes in different years.

I'm not only unaware of such a study, I cannot even determine a valid methodology.

John
Stefan Jacobsen

Trad climber
Danmark
Mar 8, 2013 - 03:13am PT
Thanks Guangzhou. We need a little humor in the trenches.
Guangzhou

Trad climber
Asia, Indonesia, East Java
Mar 8, 2013 - 04:55am PT
With pleasure.

Trenches for sure.
Splater

climber
Grey Matter
Mar 12, 2013 - 09:44pm PT
Here are some links on Wealth / Income / Economic Mobility"

The conclusion is that It is not nearly as easy to move up in the US as people like to think.
Of course there is still a lot of mobility, but it is less than you would think, less in the US than most similar countries, and less than it used to be 30-40 years ago. There is a strong correlation between growing income inequality and decreased economic mobility.

Keep in mind that any data not including the latest recession will be out of date.

http://www.economist.com/node/15908469
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/05/us/harder-for-americans-to-rise-from-lower-rungs.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
http://www.nytimes.com/packages/html/national/20050515_CLASS_GRAPHIC/index_03.html
http://www.oecd.org/tax/public-finance/chapter%205%20gfg%202010.pdf
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/03/17/social-immobility-climbin_n_501788.html
http://www.decisionsonevidence.com/2012/06/how-does-the-u-s-rank-in-economic-mobility-among-countries-in-the-developed-world/
http://www.star-telegram.com/2012/11/29/4448848/upward-social-mobility-in-us-isnt.html
http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2011-11-09/opinions/35281146_1_economic-mobility-project-sons-fathers
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:The_Great_Gatsby_Curve.png
http://vergemm.com/featured/looking-into-social-mobility-in-the-united-states-is-american-dream-alive/
http://www.pewstates.org/projects/economic-mobility-project-328061
http://www.pewstates.org/research/reports/pursuing-the-american-dream-85899403228
http://www.pewstates.org/research/data-visualizations/economic-mobility-of-the-states-85899381539
http://www.forbes.com/sites/robertlenzner/2012/03/26/the-great-gatsby-curve-is-a-threat-to-the-american-dream/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economic_mobility
http://mattbruenig.com/2012/07/21/us-wealth-mobility-in-one-chart/
http://www.brookings.edu/research/books/2012/inequalityinamerica
http://www.brookings.edu/~/media/Research/Files/Reports/2008/2/economic%20mobility%20sawhill/02_economic_mobility_sawhill_ch3.PDF
http://www.urban.org/publications/412728.html
http://ftp.iza.org/dp1938.pdf see conclusion


rottingjohnny

Sport climber
mammoth lakes ca
Mar 12, 2013 - 10:32pm PT
John Lezarian...Your point of veiw on wealth distribution reminds me of the time when Dan Quayle , on the campaign trail , jumped out of his limo at a fast food restaurant that had a help wanted sign posted...Dan wanted to prove that there were jobs and used this as a sound bite opportunity...In my world i see the cost of living sky-rocketing and my wages buying less and less..I'm sure many of the posters here are in the same boat..? Sincerely...RJ
couchmaster

climber
pdx
Mar 12, 2013 - 10:40pm PT
...Your point of veiw on wealth distribution reminds me of the time when Dan Quayle , on the campaign trail , jumped out of his limo at a fast food restaurant that had a help wanted sign posted...Dan wanted to prove that there were jobs and used this as a sound bite opportunity...In my world i see the cost of living sky-rocketing and my wages buying less and less..I'm sure many of the posters here are in the same boat..? Sincerely...RJ

Sooo, let me get this right, you f*#k off, don't get your sh#t together and those of us working our tails off should give you our money? For @ 20 years, starting with near nothing, I worked weekends and evenings in my own real estate gig as needed. I had a regular job as well, which I spent extra time at too so that they would feel the need to give me extra money and keep me employed. Any free time I had I committed heavy to being the best damn father I could be. After all that, if I had time, I went climbing or for a hike.

Have you done this as well? Cause if you have, I apologize for my comment.
rottingjohnny

Sport climber
mammoth lakes ca
Mar 12, 2013 - 10:48pm PT
Real esate...? Now there's a noble pursuit....Skimming the cream off the top and speculating to the high heavens...Nothing personal Couch...I occasionally work weekends in addition to the 50 hrs. i work during the week while finding time to ski...RJ
John M

climber
Mar 12, 2013 - 10:50pm PT
.I occasionally work weekends in addition to the 50 hrs. i work during the week while finding time to ski.

slacker..
rick sumner

Trad climber
reno, nevada/ wasilla alaska
Mar 12, 2013 - 11:04pm PT
Exactamundo couchmaster. I too started from nothing, worked myself through the ranks from carpenter to general contractor while raising three fine kids with my wife of 30 years. Well the kids are all now adults, highly educated, hardworking and productive. I'll be damned if i would ever agree to having them support legions of slackers in the interest of social equality or fairness. Anyone can make it to any height they apply themselves to in this country-just look at our dear leader as living proof.
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
Mar 12, 2013 - 11:55pm PT
The only problem I have with rich people is how it gets condensed into certain families, whose progeny have never worked a day in their life yet stand back and preach about getting ahead because of hard work.

How is it that all of these Senators come out of office as millionaires is another question I have.

Seriously, though. I work in the oil business and I have to deal with these people now and then. Most of them are OK people, but they didn't earn their wealth. They won the vaginal lottery.
rick sumner

Trad climber
reno, nevada/ wasilla alaska
Mar 13, 2013 - 12:31am PT
Well Base, i went to a lease sale today in Reno. The leases offered, mainly a mop up affair, went with bonus bids as high as 152/acre. Noble wouldn't allow anyone to step on their toes. Shows a lot of confidence in their data or a massive error. Don't worry about my kids becoming indolent little brats, i had them all working at an early age and they are all now self supporting. That is as we should all be unless legitimately disabled. Also, you know as well as i that those politicians didn't earn those millions through representation of their constituents.
slayton

Trad climber
Here and There
Mar 13, 2013 - 01:38am PT
Some people work hard, some don't, and some have won the vaginal lottery. This, I think, is as true today as it has ever been. Some people succeed through their hard work, some people fail despite their hard work, some people fail because of their lack of hard work, and some people succeed because they won the vaginal lottery and simply don't have to work but rather shuffle money around. Same as it ever was.

With all of this being the same what has changed in this country to allow the rate of wealth discrepancy that has taken place over the past forty years or so? Does it matter specifically the identity of those who hold it or is it enough that the discrepancy is growing to be a concern? Is it a concern for the health of us as a nation or society?

The idea of the American Dream still exists, if only evidenced by some posting here. For some, working hard and saving is still a means to enter the middle class. But to look at the numbers it seems overwhelmingly obvious that isn't necessarily the norm any more. The middle class is shrinking and becoming more poor, the poor are becoming more poor. While the wealthy have only become more wealthy. Is it a lack of work ethic in the poor and middle class as opposed to a superior work ethic in the wealthier that has led to this?

I'm not proposing anything in regards to Socialism or Communism in my words here. Just looking for ideas on why we are where we are, specifically in the rate of change in financial inequality that has taken place over the last forty years, whether it's healthy or not, and if not, what we can do to effect change.
Ken M

Mountain climber
Los Angeles, Ca
Mar 13, 2013 - 02:16am PT
And Ken, I most certianly do not know, much less believe, that the most wealthy achieved their wealth by bending the rules. That, too, is an article of faith by the Enviers, with rather scant evidence to back it up.

You might consider the case of capital gains. Hugely biased towards the rich.

To save taxes on a million dollar property:

1. Buy a million dollar property.

2. When you sell, only be taxed on the profit at a very low rate.


There are those who say, well, it is passive income, based on investing the money.

HOWEVER, the same is EXACTLY true for interest income, which is taxed at FULL RATES.

Guess where the poor and middle class tend to make most of their passive income, and guess where the rich make most of theirs......the rich have their investments sheltered, the middle class and lower class do not.

THAT is what I'm talking about, in terms of stacking the deck.
Chaz

Trad climber
greater Boss Angeles area
Mar 13, 2013 - 02:30am PT
Ken M writes:

"......the rich have their investments sheltered"



Explain please. How do "the rich" make that happen? And what prevents anybody else from doing the exact same thing, and sheltering their investments, too?
Peter Haan

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
Mar 13, 2013 - 02:33am PT
I think in this country and perhaps some others, we still hold on to the belief that money is God's report card. Perhaps even one's manifest destiny.

And yet statistics have shown us that wealth is actually simply distributed randomly, hardly by merit. (Many are wealthy by luck, many are dirt poor by luck, as noted just above in Slayton's post). We believe that aptitude and being "chosen" is why someone has billions.

The concept of pooling our resources more effectively than by luck or random is anathema to those who imagine they have been blessed, but a terrific bright dream to those who go scratching the dirt tonight. There are other ways of holding capital than to allow it to attach in this crazy manner. One need only look at a myriad of anthropological studies to see how this could be done and how goods are brought into the circle elsewhere.

With our original Puritan and Deist roots, our predilection still is to "award" rather than to bring to and share at the fire. It is a daunting sociology to overcome and has many adherents who would defend their gains for themselves to the death.
John M

climber
Mar 13, 2013 - 02:44am PT
How do "the rich" make that happen? And what prevents anybody else from doing the exact same thing, and sheltering their investments, too?

Its simple. The rich can make their money through investments, thus taking advantage of the lower capital gains tax.

The poor do not have enough money to be able to live off of their investments. Their primary income comes from earned income, which is taxed at a much higher rate.

They say.."everyone can do it", but reality says you can't. Sure you have access, but access doesn't matter if you don't have enough funds to make it work.

Thus, the wealthy have gamed the system and they manage to keep it in play by using the middleclass who have just enough extra income to allow them to take advantage of that tax break on some of their earnings.

...


Thanks Slayton, ken and Peter for great posts.
Chaz

Trad climber
greater Boss Angeles area
Mar 13, 2013 - 02:47am PT
You could take all the money in America, divide it up evenly so that every person has the exact same ammount, and within a year or two, the same people who were poor before would be poor again, and the same people who were wealthy before would be wealthy again.

I don't know who first discovered that truth, but my Mom used to remind me of it back when I was a young, long-haired liberal shithead.
John M

climber
Mar 13, 2013 - 02:51am PT
Thats not the point Chaz. The point is the system is now gamed to favor the wealthy. America use to support a strong middle class with laws and rules and incentives that helped people better themselves. Over the last 40 years or so those things have been eroded.

Prop 13 is one of those ways. It was sold to the public as a way to help people on fixed incomes. The true outcome is that new businesses find it harder to compete because they pay a higher property tax.

There are other examples.. such as what Ken posted.
rick sumner

Trad climber
reno, nevada/ wasilla alaska
Mar 13, 2013 - 02:54am PT
Well Mr. Hahn i suppose you have shared and equally redistributed the fruits of your labor and good luck and as a result are contented to be in the median, neither holding more than your neighbors nor wanting what they hold? So, if this ideal is followed to its logical conclusion where is the incentive to create, to excel,to achieve a dream?
John M

climber
Mar 13, 2013 - 03:04am PT
Well Mr. Hahn i suppose you have shared and equally redistributed the fruits of your labor and good luck and as a result are contented to be in the median, neither holding more than your neighbors nor wanting what they hold?

Some people are stuck on the notion that all people want is to take from someone else.

I'm sure some people do, but that isn't the point of this conversation, at least as far as I can see anyone on this thread talking about. Except those like Rick who want to make the conversation about that.

Too bad.

If you believe the wealthy haven't gamed the system and if you believe that the poor have as much chance today as they did 40 years ago, then you are a blind.

We use to have the number one education system in the world. We don't anymore. At least not on the lower grades. We have fallen behind. We also use to support the middle class. We are doing that less and less as we move closer and closer to a flat tax and as we create laws such as prop 13, which make it more difficult for small businesses to compete.

But if you just want to gripe that people just want hand outs. Well... go ahead. But you miss the point entirely.
slayton

Trad climber
Here and There
Mar 13, 2013 - 03:35am PT
Chaz:
Quote You could take all the money in America, divide it up evenly so that every person has the exact same ammount, and within a year or two, the same people who were poor before would be poor again, and the same people who were wealthy before would be wealthy again.

I don't know who first discovered that truth, but my Mom used to remind me of it back when I was a young, long-haired liberal shithead.Here

Please Chaz, define truth. And then please define how this ancecdotal example actually relates to reality. Any examples?
slayton

Trad climber
Here and There
Mar 13, 2013 - 04:04am PT
Again, I ask, why the discrepancy in the past forty years where the wealthiest have gained so much more wealth, the middle class have lost ground and the poor just keep getting poorer? Why is this seemingly a new thing in the US? What does this speak about our past and what does it portend for our future? The demise of the middle class has never been a good portent of any civilization. Ours is dying. Quickly.

Or do you disagree?

I specifically ask those that seem ok with the status quo. TGT? JEleazarion? Chaz? Others?
Dave Kos

Social climber
Temecula
Mar 13, 2013 - 10:16am PT
You could take all the money in America, divide it up evenly so that every person has the exact same ammount, and within a year or two, the same people who were poor before would be poor again, and the same people who were wealthy before would be wealthy again.

Massive hyperbole.
Malemute

Ice climber
the ghost
Mar 13, 2013 - 10:22am PT
You could take all the money in America, divide it up evenly so that every person has the exact same ammount, and within a year or two, the same people who were poor before would be poor again, and the same people who were wealthy before would be wealthy again.
Sounds like theft to me.

why the discrepancy in the past forty years where the wealthiest have gained so much more wealth, the middle class have lost ground and the poor just keep getting poorer?
The methods of legalized theft have been expanded.
sempervirens

climber
Mar 13, 2013 - 11:09am PT
Did any of you lose some wealth in the economic disaster of 2008? I did, and I work, pay taxes, pay my mortgage, I'm not on unemployment. Hasn't your equity dropped? Is selling your home more difficult? If so, doesn't that limit your opportunities for career growth and gain in wealth? Didn't many middle class HARD-WORKING Americans lose their retirement wealth? Do you think it was the socialist policies that caused that disaster? Was it the poor slackers who caused it by sucking up other's hard earned income?

Who gained in that debacle?
That ain't no equitable redistribution of wealth.

And you offer heart warming stories about working your way up. Obfuscation. Gullible. Those of us working our way up are the ones being cheated. We don't want a handout but we're being forced (or in the case of you neo-con spouting foxx news shills, FOOLED into) to support Steve Shwartzman, the Koch brothers,Tim Geitner, Dick Chaney. They are making the policy and they don't have your apple-pie-Mom's-wise-advice-hard-working ideals in mind when their lobbying lawyers write laws like Obama Care.

Ken M

Mountain climber
Los Angeles, Ca
Mar 13, 2013 - 12:37pm PT
Explain please. How do "the rich" make that happen? And what prevents anybody else from doing the exact same thing, and sheltering their investments, too?

The rich have the ability to make large political contributions.....millions. This allows them to influence/buy votes on things they want.

Yes, it is true that the poor can save a few pennies, and the middle class can save a few dollars, but they also don't have the lobbyists that keep them informed, on a daily basis, of anything that threatens their hegemony on income and wealth.
Ken M

Mountain climber
Los Angeles, Ca
Mar 13, 2013 - 12:41pm PT
You could take all the money in America, divide it up evenly so that every person has the exact same ammount, and within a year or two, the same people who were poor before would be poor again, and the same people who were wealthy before would be wealthy again.

I don't know who first discovered that truth, but my Mom used to remind me of it back when I was a young, long-haired liberal shithead.

The problem is, it is NOT truth, it is a highly speculative OPINION. Of course, you can cite the specific examples of where it has happened, verifying those truths. I would suggest looking at Russia, or China. Perhaps Cuba?

Or perhaps you can't, demonstrating that in the exchange with your Mom, you weren't the LHLS.
Ken M

Mountain climber
Los Angeles, Ca
Mar 13, 2013 - 12:47pm PT
Well Mr. Hahn i suppose you have shared and equally redistributed the fruits of your labor and good luck and as a result are contented to be in the median, neither holding more than your neighbors nor wanting what they hold? So, if this ideal is followed to its logical conclusion where is the incentive to create, to excel,to achieve a dream?

Obviously, there was no such incentive back in the time of Saint Ronald Reagan, when tax rates for the wealthiest paid 70%....and managed just fine. They still bought their yachts, drove their 50 cars, flew around in their private planes, sat court side at the Lakers.
Rick Krause

Trad climber
Madras, Or
Mar 13, 2013 - 01:13pm PT
If you want to see how wealth distribution really works you need to go visit Cuba. Everyone is equally poor.
rick sumner

Trad climber
reno, nevada/ wasilla alaska
Mar 13, 2013 - 01:24pm PT
Exactly Mr. Krause-equality of misery-the final common denominator of communism, unless of course your favored by the poliboro or its equivalent. Ken i wasn't complaining so much about higher taxes as outright seizure and redistribution of wealth as some on this thread are trending to. Mr. Hahn seemed to advocate voluntary sharing to the point of homogeneity, i wondered if he practiced it in his own life.
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Mar 13, 2013 - 01:26pm PT
Learned some basics in my teens, dollar cost averaging, diversification, dividends yield.

At 21 I added a digit to my net worth, and even though I spent half my twenties living out of a Ford Pinto my wealth grew ever so slowly.
At 42, another digit added, and if things go as they are seeming to, at 63 I might have one more.

Wealth is easy (although execution can be hard)

1) live well within your means. Pay cash or DO WITHOUT! (the key to happiness actually).

2) a part of everything you earn is yours to keep





Currently my portfolio is peaking and my gun collection doing even better.

You can whine or you can make it happen.
The US is still the land of opportunity and might remain so for another decade or two, but others are passing us by.
rick sumner

Trad climber
reno, nevada/ wasilla alaska
Mar 13, 2013 - 01:37pm PT
I couln't agree more Toker. Living within your means and a little sacrifice builds character and with it happiness with lifes simple pleasures. Now on the other hand, if one thinks they are owed a certain standard of living and entitlements it leads to a laziness of spirit and dissatisfaction with life and such people will always envy those with more accumulation.
couchmaster

climber
pdx
Mar 13, 2013 - 01:45pm PT
RJ said:
"Real esate...? Now there's a noble pursuit....Skimming the cream off the top and speculating to the high heavens."

One thing I found interesting is that in the early years, my tenants ALL had so much more money than me. I could tell by the deposits they gave me or all the made in China sh#t they bought and left like so much detritus in the yard when they moved out. Or the many trips they would take to places like Disneyland. Over and over and over they bought things and did things which I felt I could not afford. So I saved and invested. I never heard of any of them having eaten potatoes for dinner one day and then pulling the peelings out of the garbage for the next 2 days meals like I did. Or riding my bike the 12 miles to work for over a year, they all could afford cars. Eventually, 20 years later, I could a garbage disposal for myself. Later we even got a dishwasher.

Yet none of them wanted to take the time to buy a dilapidated house, where all the copper pipes had been hacksawed off, the last tenants had smashed the tiles by the fireplace by splitting wood in their f***ing living room, the doors kicked in, needles strewn throughout, the solar system busted up by kids throwing rocks, trash everywhere....and spend the hours and days over there fixing it up so that instead of a useless hulk, someone had a decent place to live. You ever stick a needle over a 1/2" into your middle finger scooping up some piece of shits' leftover garbage? I have. Noble indeed. Perhaps someday I will be lucky enough to find a "noble pursuit" just like you evidently have.

Mostly it's about choices.
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Mar 13, 2013 - 02:07pm PT
You might consider the case of capital gains. Hugely biased towards the rich.

To save taxes on a million dollar property:

1. Buy a million dollar property.

2. When you sell, only be taxed on the profit at a very low rate.


There are those who say, well, it is passive income, based on investing the money.

HOWEVER, the same is EXACTLY true for interest income, which is taxed at FULL RATES.

Guess where the poor and middle class tend to make most of their passive income, and guess where the rich make most of theirs......the rich have their investments sheltered, the middle class and lower class do not.

THAT is what I'm talking about, in terms of stacking the deck.

Ken, I don't know where "the poor" make most of their passive income, but I'm willing to bet that the "middle class" make most of their passive income on their house, where they can shelter the first $500,000 of capital gain from recognition as income.

As discussed many months ago on the "Republicans" thread, there's a unique problem in dealing with capital gains in a progressive income tax system. We only recognize the gain when we sell the asset. We don't recognize the change in asset values as income or loss year-by-year. This can lead to massive distortions in tax rates.

As a personal example, my father-in-law started a business making wooden boxes for local fruit packers when he was discharged from the Army Air Force in 1945. He operated it with his younger brother, and his wife's (my mother-in-law's) brother-in-law. He lived relatively frugally for the first 15 years or so, until he bought a 1900 square foot house in 1960. While he and his family enjoyed a middle class lifestyle from then forward, he never had close to a six figure income, or put money into a retirement plan. He put his money into his business instead.

When corrugated paper boxes started to supplant wooden boxes, they converted the business to a packing house. That meant they had to go deeper in debt, and limit their spending. They retired (or thought they did) in 1983, and sold the business for enough cash to pay his debts, and share in a note secured by the business assets. The buyer turned out to be inept, and -- after a few years of payments and years of litigation -- my father-in-law and his partners got the business assets back.

They couldn't just return to the packing house business, though, because all of their growers had gone elsewhere, so instead of trying to resurrect that business, they sold off the packing equipment, and converted the real estate into a flea market. They were in their mid-to-late seventies at the time, and returned to full-time work to make it happen.

Eventually, my father-in-law sold his share of the business to his brother for $400,000 cash. Without special capital gains treatment, he would have paid an enormous tax on that sale, even though he accumulated it over sixty years and, if the income had been averaged and taxed at the applicable rates, he would have paid perhaps a quarter or less of what his full rate would have been. We no longer have income averaging, and even when we did, it would not have accounted for my father-in-law's situation.

In the way people fail to differentiate between income and wealth, many on the left would call him part of "the rich" (in fact, pretty close to the 1%) the year he sold his share of the business. The fact that he was ensconced squarely in the middle class (and not even that high in the middle class) for most of his life would be completely lost. All they could know from available data was that one "rich" person "sheltered" most of his "millionaire's" [to use Obamaese] income because of the special treatment of capital gains.

Now Peter Haan, on the other hand, hits on something that I think is very real, and very wrong both morally and theologically. Our wealth is not "God's Scorecard." As the Bible states, God makes his rain fall on the just and the unjust. When I'm blessed materially, I need to share it. I'm not opposed to that (of course, since my debilitating depression caused me to lose everything but my family and start all over again six years ago, I don't have nearly as much to share).

I am opposed, however, to the idea, expressed by some, above, that those who won the "vaginal [really uterine?] lottery" somehow don't deserve, and therefor should lose, most of their wealth. If we take the lottery analogy to its Rawlsian conclusion, the only differences in income and wealth are due to winning or losing that lottery. After all, if you're smart, it's because you inherited intelligence. If you have the capacity to work hard or to defer gratification, it's because you inherited that capacity.

I don't buy that. While no one can seriously dispute that differences in birth and family upbringing, etc. affect how we end up, I think we turn ourselves into automatons if we accept that premise, and humans are not automatons. We make decisions, and those decisions affect how we end up. those who pursue dirtbagging for years, decades or a lifetime will have many more mountain experiences and, generally, much less income, than those who choose to spend more of their time on activities for which others are willing and able to pay more, to give just one example.

My (very long in arriving) bottom line: I'm not nearly as disturbed by the alleged increasing concentration of wealth as I am by the idea that only the rich can accumulate wealth. We're seeing this on a national level, where we say the government can't cut expenses, and on the personal level when we say even the middle class can't spend less than they make. This becomes self-defeating.

John
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
Mar 13, 2013 - 02:19pm PT
Get rid of capital gains and its 15% tax rate, and you will see Warren Buffett paying at least as much as his secretary.

Seriously. Our tax code is horribly skewed against wages and withholdings.

When you go over 107K you get to stop paying Social Security. That is 12% right there if you own your own business and pay yourself.

The entire way of not paying taxes is to avoid paying yourself in wages, because wages are taxed at the various rates.

A person who makes a billion dollars does not pay wage tax rates on that income because it will be structured as capital gains or through clever accounting somehow not be put on the books as income at all.

The biggest vaginal lottery winner that I have ever met is like this: He spends a whole day memorizing details about everyone near him on the seating chart at his next social function. He has a tax attorney and a hot CPA and pretty much does little more than cash checks.

He's a Republican who thinks Obama is going to come and take his money away. No sh#t.

I was going to a lease auction with him, the attorney, and a couple of bankers. We stopped for lunch and at the table one of the bankers started bragging about this big 5000 acre farm he just bought. The CRP payments covered the loan payments. CRP is a farm subsidy where you get an actual check for not farming on land.

Farmers are the biggest titty suckers in the country, and if you look at the plains states, where farming is big in the economy, they take actual checks from the U.S. treasury. It isn't a tax break. It is actual checks.

They all drive around in their hundred grand air conditioned tractors listening to Rush Limbaugh. At the least, I have never met one who is a democrat.

If all income were taxed as regular income, then taxes would be fair. The problem is that both parties are constantly tweaking the tax laws to provide breaks for certain industries or behaviour. It should all be on a level playing field. The person behind the counter at the convenience store is doing honest work, yet pays a higher overall rate than a billionaire.

I'm not talking about raising taxes on the rich, I'm talking about a fair tax code that will be simple and put all of the tax attorneys out of work.
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
Mar 13, 2013 - 02:23pm PT
I am opposed, however, to the idea, expressed by some, above, that those who won the "vaginal [really uterine?] lottery" somehow don't deserve, and therefor should lose, most of their wealth. If we take the lottery analogy to its Rawlsian conclusion, the only differences in income and wealth are due to winning or losing that lottery. After all, if you're smart, it's because you inherited intelligence. If you have the capacity to work hard or to defer gratification, it's because you inherited that capacity.

This is a classic example of a non sequitur.
John M

climber
Mar 13, 2013 - 02:26pm PT


topic isn't about how to grow wealth.

Topic is about why the middle class is shrinking. Why comparatively the wealthy are so much more wealthy, yet so many people are worried about them being overtaxed.

But go ahead. tell me more about how to grow wealth. ( actually don't ) I learned plenty about it from my father who started out poorer then poor and is now fairly wealthy.

JohnE, you complained that small businesses are over burdened. I agreed with you and pointed out prop 13 as one problem.

So again.. why are the wealthy getting so much wealthier while most other folks have taken a big hit. And why is the middle class shrinking..

Or do yall just wnat to keep the parade going about how you made it, so that means everyone should be able to?

The middle class is shrinking. Do you deny that?

Gary

Social climber
Right outside of Delacroix
Mar 13, 2013 - 02:26pm PT
Sooo, let me get this right, you f*#k off, don't get your sh#t together and those of us working our tails off should give you our money?

Well, that's how capitalism functions. We work, the capitalist collects the capital we produce. You don't like? The do something about it.
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Mar 13, 2013 - 02:34pm PT
This is a classic example of a non sequitur.

I agree, but I think I may have stated the point poorly. I intended to set forth how many defenders of steeply increasing marginal income tax rates used John Rawls's "A Theory of Justice" to justify their position during the late 1970's. I assumed the absurdity of that position would be apparent.

Even though I believe that the "birth lottery" has very definite winners and losers, I don't think that, alone, accounts for differences in wealth

John
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Mar 13, 2013 - 02:35pm PT
the capitalist collects the capital we produce

No. The government may collect some of the capital we produce, but workers produce capital only if they save some of it, just like anyone else.

John
Snowmassguy

Trad climber
Calirado
Mar 13, 2013 - 02:57pm PT
Well stated DMT
Peter Haan

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
Mar 13, 2013 - 02:59pm PT
There is an illusion at work in most of our opinions here. It's that what we have is ours absolutely. Different social systems are possible than ours and if stark human need is factored in, there has to be a constant process of reaching balances between those who have a ton and those who have nothing, in one way or another.

If you wish not to essay towards this adjustment, of course you will have eventually the choice of reckoning with the mob. All through history, too.
Gary

Social climber
Right outside of Delacroix
Mar 13, 2013 - 04:04pm PT
No. The government may collect some of the capital we produce, but workers produce capital only if they save some of it, just like anyone else.

John,

Workers produce capital. They don't save capital, they produce it. Capitalist do not produce capital, they accumulate it.
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Mar 13, 2013 - 04:24pm PT
Gary, we obviously have different definitions of capital.

John
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Mar 13, 2013 - 04:45pm PT
So, just how is this redistribution going to happen? At gunpoint? It isn't
gonna happen by ballot cause a lot of people, make that a whole lot of people,
still believe they can get ahead of the Jones and don't want that opportunity
taken from them. That's what made this country what it is. So I suggest
y'all discuss something more practical like, let's say, universal healthcare!
Hey, it could happen!

ps
the above is not an editorial, merely an observation or two.
Dave Kos

Social climber
Temecula
Mar 13, 2013 - 04:56pm PT
Well, that's how capitalism functions. We work, the capitalist collects the capital we produce. You don't like? The do something about it.

Gary,

Have you heard of CalPERS?

$260 billion dollars. Money that is invested on "Wall Street"

It's one of the world's largest sources of capital.

Who owns all that money? Who benefits from the investment returns?

Who receives the capital gains?

There are more capitalists out there than one might think.


Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Mar 14, 2013 - 08:27pm PT
Real estate agents are worse than car salesmen.

One of them bragged to me that he would either tell prospective buyers that a property was "nice and flat" or that it had "good drainage".

We need to put commission caps on lawyers and realtors.
Ken M

Mountain climber
Los Angeles, Ca
Mar 14, 2013 - 10:49pm PT
Even though I believe that the "birth lottery" has very definite winners and losers, I don't think that, alone, accounts for differences in wealth

Quite hard to believe that, when of the 75 richest people in history

14 Americans are on that list, born within a 9 year window.

Think about that for a moment. Historians start with Cleopatra and the Pharaohs and comb through every year in human history ever since, looking in every corner of the world for evidence of extraordinary wealth, and almost 20 percent of the names they end up with come from a single generation in a single country.

Here's the list:

01. John Rockefeller, 1839.
02. Andrew Carnegie, 1835.
28.Frederick Weyerhaeuser, 1834.
33. Jay Gould, 1836.
34. Marshall Field, 1834.
35. George Baker, 1840.
36. Hetty Green, 1834.
44. James G. Fair, 1831.
54. Henry H. Rogers, 1840.
57. J.P. Morgan, 1837.
58. Oliver Payne, 1839.
62. George Pullman, 1831.
64. Peter Widener, 1834.
65. Philip Armor, 1832.

What's going on here? The answer is obvious, if you think about it. In the 1860's and 1870's, the American economy went through perhaps the greatest transformation in its history. This was when the railways were built, and when Wall Street emerged. It was when industrial manufacturing started in earnest. It was when all the rules by which the traditional economy functioned were broken and remade. What that list says is that it really matters how old you were when that transformation happened.

If you were born in the late 1840's, you missed it. You were too young to take advantage of that moment. If you were born in the 1820's, you were too old: your mindset was shaped by the pre-Civil War paradigm. But there is a particular, narrow nine-year window that was just perfect for seeing the potential that the future held. All of the 14 men and women on that list had vision and talent. But they also were given an extraordinary opportunity. . .
Dave Kos

Social climber
Temecula
Mar 14, 2013 - 10:56pm PT
We need to put commission caps on lawyers and realtors.

There are already commission caps on lawyers and realtors.

If you don't like a lawyer or a realtor's rate, don't do business with them.

I don't care about the price of your guns and ammo, why should you care what others charge in their private transactions?

Dave Kos

Social climber
Temecula
Mar 14, 2013 - 11:02pm PT
Ken, that's from Gladwell's book.

It's a curious historical statistic, but it really says nothing about relative opportunity for anyone in the US today.

And I think his conclusion really confuses the point.

Many of the men on that list were not born into wealth, and there were probably about a million people born during that time period in the same circumstances. (E.g. Carnegie started out as a "bobbin boy" in a textile mill.)

Why were these men so successful while about a million others born in that time/place were not?

There is no single answer, but it certainly was not because the the system was "rigged" in the favor of these few.
rottingjohnny

Sport climber
mammoth lakes ca
Mar 14, 2013 - 11:09pm PT
Kos...I think Toker meant caps as in bullets...?
Dave Kos

Social climber
Temecula
Mar 14, 2013 - 11:13pm PT
Could be...It is all he talks about.
Jingy

climber
Somewhere out there
Mar 14, 2013 - 11:20pm PT
leave it to republicons to completely loose all perspective on this subject.

Apparently the graphic in the video was not enough to show the stark reality of the American wealth degeneration. The same ones who probably view this video as a blessing:




Nobody should to work until they die unless they choose to. Life is more than a collection of money.

Shame on republcons starting with Reagoon for ruining America
graniteclimber

Trad climber
The Illuminati -- S.P.E.C.T.R.E. Division
Mar 14, 2013 - 11:28pm PT
This is actually rather stupid. Wealth equality would be monumentally unfair.

You're right, John, what you said IS actually rather stupid.

It's stupid to assume that there is no choice between monumentally warped wealth inequality or complete wealth equality. You'd have us have only one extreme or the other.
John M

climber
Mar 14, 2013 - 11:31pm PT
It's stupid to assume that there is no choice between monumentally warped wealth inequality or complete wealth equality. You'd have us have only one extreme or the other.

Good catch graniteclimber.
graniteclimber

Trad climber
The Illuminati -- S.P.E.C.T.R.E. Division
Mar 14, 2013 - 11:37pm PT
Learned some basics in my teens, dollar cost averaging, diversification, dividends yield.

At 21 I added a digit to my net worth, and even though I spent half my twenties living out of a Ford Pinto my wealth grew ever so slowly.
At 42, another digit added, and if things go as they are seeming to, at 63 I might have one more.

Wealth is easy (although execution can be hard)

1) live well within your means. Pay cash or DO WITHOUT! (the key to happiness actually).

2) a part of everything you earn is yours to keep





Currently my portfolio is peaking and my gun collection doing even better.

You can whine or you can make it happen.
The US is still the land of opportunity and might remain so for another decade or two, but others are passing us by

Good advice, but easier to apply by people who already have wealth, through trust funds or inheritances. These are great times for people who inherit wealth. It's easy to grow your wealth, so long as you just don't spend it all and don't do anything stupid.
graniteclimber

Trad climber
The Illuminati -- S.P.E.C.T.R.E. Division
Mar 14, 2013 - 11:42pm PT
[quote]]

Here’s John Boehner: “We’ve seen over the last 30 years that lower marginal tax rates have led to a growing economy, more employment and more people paying taxes.”
But it’s very hard to find evidence for that view in the economy itself. Michael Linden at the Center for American progress graphed the economy’s average real GDP growth rate at different top marginal tax rates. Apologies to Speaker Boehner, but what we’ve seen over the past 30 years is that lower marginal tax rates have not led to particularly impressive economic growth, labor markets or revenues. Growth was actually more impressive back when marginal tax rates were higher:



The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Mar 14, 2013 - 11:48pm PT
You could take all the money in America, divide it up evenly so that every person has the exact same ammount, and within a year or two, the same people who were poor before would be poor again, and the same people who were wealthy before would be wealthy again.

One of the biggest crocks of sh#t I've read here
Peter Haan

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
Mar 14, 2013 - 11:51pm PT
I agree Kevin-Warbler. Amazing isn't it. It's like Romney's 47 % video, isn't it. This person believes that money is God's report card.
Gary

Social climber
Right outside of Delacroix
Mar 15, 2013 - 12:02am PT
Gary, we obviously have different definitions of capital.

John,
That could be. How about this?

In classical and neoclassical economics, capital is one of the factors of production. The others are land, labour and, according to some proponents, organization, entrepreneurship, or management. Goods with the following features are capital:

It can be used in the production of other goods (this is what makes it a factor of production).
It was produced, in contrast to "land", which refers to naturally occurring resources such as geographical locations and minerals.
It is not used up immediately in the process of production unlike raw materials or intermediate goods.
Gary

Social climber
Right outside of Delacroix
Mar 15, 2013 - 12:03am PT
There are more capitalists out there than one might think.

Dave, who produces capital, and how is it accumulated?
Ken M

Mountain climber
Los Angeles, Ca
Mar 15, 2013 - 12:03am PT
There is no single answer, but it certainly was not because the the system was "rigged" in the favor of these few.

Kos, what I dont think that you can deny, is that in the decade before, or after, there were people who had every attribute of these very wealthy people.....and yet, they were not able to do the same.

Or here is another thought....there were no women. Surely you don't argue that the American women of that time were not as intelligent, industrious, devout to work, or any other attribute that you care to name.

They were not given the same opportunity of fortune.

Otherwise, you are saying that 1 Egyptian woman was the superior of all American women in history, are you?

Circumstances are far, far more important that anything else, in astonishing accomplishment.
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Mar 15, 2013 - 12:29am PT
Hey Peter -

Only from the mind of a true republican.

It's actually funny, in a way.

I live in a town full of people born with a silver spoon in their mouths. LOTS of them have substance abuse issues, a full range of personality disorders, and few marketable skills, if any. Yet many outright own million dollar homes, and have assets and bank accounts that make them wealthy on paper. All thanks to family wealth.

I'd wager if you split their money with the workers that serve them, undocumented included, that most of the "wealthy" ones would be homeless or worse in a few years, and most of their workers would be prospering.

It's hard to make real money when you have none to start with, far harder than making money when you have family money to work with.


There are no doubt also self made entrepreneurial types whom I have great respect for, generally, and most of them would bounce right back from a sudden drop to average wealth, but I'd say they're by far the minority. To be fair, many poor people in the above scenario would likely return to poverty for lack of education and experience in the business world.

But that sweeping generalization upthread is laughable and can't go unchallenged.


Ken M

Mountain climber
Los Angeles, Ca
Mar 15, 2013 - 12:35am PT
conference I'm attending tomorrow.

Interesting to hear this perspective:


AMARTYA SEN, Ph.D.

Nobel Laureate
Thomas W. Lamont University Professor, and Professor of Economics and Philosophy, Harvard University

Social Welfare Economics:
A Discussion of Health Care, Education, and Freedoms

FRIDAY, March 15 @ 12:00 noon

NRB Auditorium
(Room 132 Neuroscience Research Building)
UCLA

Amartya Sen won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 1998 for his work on social welfare economics and social choice theory. Dr. Sen is one of the most economics and philosophical thinkers of our era. Among other topics, he is known for his work on the causes of famine, which led to the development of practical solutions for preventing or limiting the effects of real or perceived shortages of food. He helped to create the United NationsHuman Development Index. In 2012, he became the first non-U.S. citizen recipient of the National Humanities Medal. Dr. Sen's work focuses on the interconnection of social developments and freedoms with economic developments. We will discuss issues of health care,education, the US economy, and issues related to gender and minority inequalities.
Dave Kos

Social climber
Temecula
Mar 15, 2013 - 10:14am PT
Dave, who produces capital, and how is it accumulated?

Gary, like John said, you and I have a different definition of capital.

Capital is an input, not an output.

And not all wealth is capital; I think that's where our definitions deviate.


Ken M

Mountain climber
Los Angeles, Ca
Mar 15, 2013 - 01:25pm PT
Here's a current example of the rich using their power to tilt the rules in their direction:

Ryan budget’s tax cuts would benefit the very wealthy, nonpartisan group says

From Wa Post today....


The tax plan embedded in the House Republican budget would cut taxes by $5.7 trillion over the next decade, with the benefits flowing disproportionately to very wealthy households, according to a new analysis by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center.

Taxpayers earning more than $1 million a year would benefit the most from the GOP tax plan, the analysis shows, reaping an average $400,000 tax break that would send their after-tax income soaring by nearly 20 percent.

Those earning more than $1 million a year would gain the most from the GOP plan, Tax Policy Center says.

Meanwhile, taxpayers earning between $40,000 and $50,000 a year — closer to the national average — would see their taxes cut by about $666 on average, increasing their after-tax income by less than 2 percent.

Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Mar 15, 2013 - 01:28pm PT
So Kos, flaming me, but how many digits you got.

Hey granite, you read the part about being homeless? No trustifarian there. Got $35K when my dad died in '85, not exactly the kind of wealth to make you independent.

The fact is that if you can live within your means you can acquire wealth. Warren Buffet lives in a modest home. The people that don't need to keep up with the Joneses are better off.






edit
and where on the list was Czar Nicholas, reputedly the richest man to ever live?
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Mar 15, 2013 - 01:49pm PT
Gary,

Capital,in my economic definition, can be consumed in the production of goods and services. The hope of the entrepreneur is that the capital will be replaced, with an increase. The nature of entrepreneurial risk is that if the capital gets replaced with an increase, the entrepreneur gets the increase. If any capital is lost, the entrepreneur eats the loss.

Suppose I wanted to open a real estate or law office (to take to professions vilified herein) with normal accouterments. I need to undertake the following expenditures before i can earn dollar one:

1. I must acquire sufficient education to qualify to take the professional examination to be licensed;

2. I must pay rent for an office;

3. I must pay for office equipment, furniture and supplies;

4. I must pay for insurance;

5. I must pay employees' salaries and fringe benefits; and

6. I must pay for professional dues, subscriptions, etc.

Again, I need to pay all of this before I receive any payment. If we're talking about manufacturing a product, we can add huge production equipment expenditures, research and development, etc. etc.

Without someone accumulating enough money to make all these expenditures, and someone willing to take the economic risk of success or failure, there will be no enterprise. In my economic terminology, that expenditure needed to produce a product or service for sale constitutes capital.
Off-hand, I can't think of any important good or service in our modern economy that would be realistically available without capital. We can gripe that some people don't "deserve" the wealth they have, but the fact remains that without wealth, there is no capital, and there is no modern economy.

I realize this is an aside to those who decry that alleged change in the distribution of wealth, but I think this difference in definitions of capital may account for our different conclusions concerning how it should be rewarded.

John

kennyt

climber
Woodfords,California
Mar 15, 2013 - 01:50pm PT
And at that point you can really start putting the screws to people.
Dave Kos

Social climber
Temecula
Mar 15, 2013 - 01:53pm PT
So Kos, flaming me, but how many digits you got.

Ten fingers and toes...although my grandfather lost his ring finger on a fall from a ladder.

Yes, though hard work and dedication, I overcame the lack of digits in my family!

JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Mar 15, 2013 - 01:59pm PT
I love the use of the graph with the highest marginal rates plotted against the rate of growth of GDP. I wonder if the creators of that graph would care to plot the percentage of tax paid by the top, say, 5% of income earners against the rate of growth. Perhaps they might also wish to plot the overall tax take of federal state and local governments against the rate of growth.

Plotting the highest marginal rate against GDP growth and attempting to draw a rational conclusion has two problems, at least. First, virtually no one paid those confiscatory marginal rates, because tax shelters existed then -- that do not exist now -- to avoid paying those taxes. Accordingly, the nominal highest marginal rate was, as a practical matter, meaningless.

More importantly, there is no testable hypothesis showing a causal relationship between a higher nominal maximum marginal rate and GDP growth. It is simply a nonsense correlation, in the same way that beer consumption per capita is correlated with infant survival rates. By and large, the greater the per capita beer consumption, the higher the infant survival rate. Does that mean that we could increase infant survival rates by distributing free beer? Of course not (unfortunately!) In fact, both rates reflect per capita income.

Every rigorous econometric study of which I am aware, including those by fairly liberal economists, shows that tax increases in general -- and on any income level, including the highest -- have a contractionary effect on the economy.

Frankly, though, any study of income tax rates is irrelevant to the topic of this thread, which deals with wealth. There is such confusion on this issue -- particularly from those who want to get at the income or wealth of someone else -- that meaningful comparison and intelligent discussion blurs.

John
sempervirens

climber
Mar 15, 2013 - 02:01pm PT
But John, do you deny that those with greatest wealth can and do rig the system? They use PAC's, lobbyists, the Citizen's United ruling, the American Heritage Foundation, etc.

I agree with your concept of taking risk and reaping the reward or the loss. But the wall street bankers risked taxpayer money and recieved the reward even when their firms lost huge sums. The losses became ours - taxpayers, those who lost their retirment accounts, loss of equity in our homes. Isn't that the opposite of the free enterprise you're promoting? This is the whole point of the 1% campaign. THe 1% is cheating, that isn't free market capitalism, is it?

That is how they redistributed wealth. Not becuase lazy welfare Mom's and social security recipients sucked up our tax money.
karodrinker

Trad climber
San Jose, CA
Mar 15, 2013 - 02:10pm PT
good post sempervirens
Dave Kos

Social climber
Temecula
Mar 15, 2013 - 02:15pm PT
Our tax code is flawed and rates need to be made more consistent across all income levels.

However, this does not mean that capitalism is failure.
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Mar 15, 2013 - 02:19pm PT
sempervirens,

I think that any time you have a government that intervenes in an economy, you run the risk that the powerful will try to rig the system. That was the main argument of Adam Smith in The Wealth of Nations, and remains one of the strongest reasons for skepticism in the face of calls for governmental intervention.

I think the enterprises that got bailed out during the last four years, by and large, took the taxpayers for a ride, but those enterprises were hardly limited to "Wall Street Bankers." In Chrysler and GM, the lenders got shafted, to cite just two cases. In the case of Fannie and Freddie, the taxpayers generally took the hit and a bunch of other lenders -- and hundreds of thousands of borrowers -- got the benefit.

Am I angry about it? Yes. Do I blame "The One Percent?" No more than I blame all the rest of us, since I see rather little evidence that The One Percent were the main beneficiaries of this (choose one)[]Monumental stupidity []Theft.

I still know a great many people who have been living in their houses without paying a dime on their mortgages for anywhere from a year to, in one case, three years. The three year case involves someone employed (by the State of California, by the way) who can afford to pay for the house, but knows that under California Code of Civil Procedure 580b, the lender cannot obtain a deficiency judgment against him, and the amount of the loan now exceeds the value of the house by plenty. They aren't The One Percent, but the taxpayer funds that insured their mortgages are paying the cost of this.

If the expenditures of the last five years have increased the share of wealth of the wealthiest Americans, where does the blame lie? We had a Democratic House for three of those years, a Democratic Senate for all five of those years, and a Democratic President for four of them. If the wealthy can control both parties to bring about this result, we're probably screwed anyway, but I rather suspect the situation has more aspects than "the rich gaming the system."

John
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Mar 15, 2013 - 02:36pm PT
Kos, I was talking net worth so I'm sure you've got a hand to cover it.

But I understand how you could be upset when last spring you sold all your ammo and invested everything on margin in the Carnival Cruise Line.
sempervirens

climber
Mar 15, 2013 - 02:55pm PT
Well first forget the Democrats and Republicans. There are plenty of lobbyists who contribute to both in order to hedge there bets and maintain influence. So the blame lies with most of congress, senate and presidents. This is not a conservative vs. liberal issue because politicians and lobbyists care naught for these kind of values. Those values are smoke screens to keep you all riled up about the lazy poor people wanting handouts from you.

The evidence for the gains by the 1% are in the graphs that started this thread. THough I admit I have not checked their sources and we should always be skeptical. Have you seen the film, "Inside Job". It lays out a lot of evidence. Check it out on Netflix.

Now how about the banking system itself. The Fed. Reserve is accountable to nobody, right? See Alan Greenspan's testimony of 2008; it's on youtube along with the testimony from Moody's and S&P who rated the bundled loans as safe. Basically their answer is "oh dang, we goofed". But those execs were paid, and paid well. That is more evidence. How is money created? It's just zeros on spreadsheets and the fed. can control those spreadsheets. That isn't free market capitalism.

The gov. is involved whether you call it socialism or not. And it is staying involved. It was involved the whole time while Reagan was decrying that gov. is too big. If there were no gov. intervention there would be no capitalism, right? That's why we have anti-trust law, right? So maybe here is where we disagree - we don't have a free market system, absolute capitalism does not and cannot exist. That is why I think its ridiculous to argue in general against gov. regulation. What matter is HOW it is regulated.

I keep saying this on several threads so I'll shut up now.
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Mar 15, 2013 - 03:22pm PT
Please don't shut up, sempervirens. I, for one, appreciate your arguments and the way you present them.

I don't think anyone would seriously say that we need no regulation in an economy. The question is whether a particular regulation is better than its alternative. In that analysis, we can make unwarranted assumptions in either direction. We can assume that the regulators possess knowledge, wisdom and trust that they, in fact, lack. We can assume the same about how the current relevant market, with current regulations (or the lack thereof), operates. Most often, though, we succumb to the "Grass is Greener" fallacy: We show that the alternative to our desired outcome is imperfect, and "therefore" our desired outcome is better. Those who disagree with us respond by showing our desired outcome is imperfect. Few make serious comparisons of the imperfections, and the outcomes those imperfections generate.

By definition, any politically powerful group can game the system. The difficulty is determining, in the real world, who constitutes the "politically powerful." IMHO, most of our arguments about this rest on untested (and often untestable) assumptions.

John
sempervirens

climber
Mar 15, 2013 - 04:39pm PT
Good. Now we're getting to the substance of it here.
But I gotta do some earning right now.
More later. I'll look up some better economic references.
Later.
Gary

Social climber
Right outside of Delacroix
Mar 15, 2013 - 04:46pm PT
Capital is an input, not an output.

But where does it come from?
Big Daddy

climber
mammoth
Mar 15, 2013 - 05:21pm PT
http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2011/02/income-inequality-in-america-chart-graph

Dave Kos

Social climber
Temecula
Mar 15, 2013 - 05:44pm PT
But where does it come from?

Capital does not exist until someone makes the decision to risk wealth in an attempt to create more wealth.

Like I said earlier, not all wealth is capital.

Embellishing on Toker's example:

 Someone shoots all their ammo in a glorious day of plinking. The wealth is used to fulfill a want or need, but there is no capital involved.

 Someone trades their ammo for a cruise ship and sell tours in attempt to make more money for ammo (hoping for enough to supply two glorious days of plinking.) The ammo used to buy the ship is capital.

The person who produced the ammo does not influence the definition. It's the decision to invest that defines capital.

Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Mar 15, 2013 - 06:40pm PT
I disagree Dave, not all capital is venture capital.


But there is another fallacy in your argument; namely that anybody could shoot up all my ammo in a day or two.
Gary

Social climber
Right outside of Delacroix
Mar 15, 2013 - 07:44pm PT
Dave:
Capital does not exist until someone makes the decision to risk wealth in an attempt to create more wealth.

To quote a friend of mine:
Money cannot produce money, Assets cannot produce more assets. The only thing that can produce is labour.

Capital is simply the result of resources and labor.

John wrote:
Off-hand, I can't think of any important good or service in our modern economy that would be realistically available without capital.

Couldn't agree with you more.

We can gripe that some people don't "deserve" the wealth they have, but the fact remains that without wealth, there is no capital, and there is no modern economy.

No, rather without capital there is no wealth.

Without someone accumulating enough money to make all these expenditures, and someone willing to take the economic risk of success or failure, there will be no enterprise. In my economic terminology, that expenditure needed to produce a product or service for sale constitutes capital.

Why does it have to be "someone", why shouldn't capital be controlled by those who produce capital?

Our system is one where losses are socialized. Not true? So why not socialize the rewards?
Gary

Social climber
Right outside of Delacroix
Mar 15, 2013 - 07:45pm PT
But there is another fallacy in your argument; namely that anybody could shoot up all my ammo in a day or two.

Wanna bet?
Dave Kos

Social climber
Temecula
Mar 15, 2013 - 09:29pm PT
Capital is simply the result of resources and labor.

I guess we have a fundamental disagreement on semantics.

The stuff on my climbing rack is the result of resources and labor but, by my definition, it's not capital.

It only would be capital if I choose to become a guide or a pro climber. I'm not interested in the first, and there's no chance I'd ever be the second.
TGT

Social climber
So Cal
Mar 15, 2013 - 09:35pm PT
The stuff on my climbing rack is the result of resources and labor but, by my definition, it's not capital.

does it have any market value?

Could you sell it?

Then it's capital.
Dave Kos

Social climber
Temecula
Mar 15, 2013 - 09:54pm PT
Nope.

Not all wealth is capital.

Look at any company's financial statements. There is a difference between an expense and an investment (capital), and the amounts are categorized as such. You won't see money used for investment on an income statement.

It's all about how you use it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capital_(economics);

Last sentence of the first paragraph 'splains it:

Homes and personal autos are not capital but are instead durable goods because they are not used in a production effort.

My climbing rack is not capital. Not likely it ever will be.
Gary

Social climber
Right outside of Delacroix
Mar 15, 2013 - 09:56pm PT
Not all wealth is capital.

We agree there.
TGT

Social climber
So Cal
Mar 15, 2013 - 09:59pm PT
All wealth falls into four classifications

1. Capital
2. Labor
3. Raw Materials
4. Entrepreneurial Talent

#4 Is the rarest.


What you are missing is the monetization and mobility to differing degrees of all four.

Capital is the only classification that can be monetized completely and will flow to where it gets the best return

Dave Kos

Social climber
Temecula
Mar 15, 2013 - 10:03pm PT
TGT, your definition is more consistent with Marx than it is with Friedman.

Are you losing your faith?
TGT

Social climber
So Cal
Mar 15, 2013 - 10:04pm PT
Nope

Adam Smith came up with it, not Marx.

And Marx stole the whole dialectic shtick from Hegel.

Just took God out of it.

Dave Kos

Social climber
Temecula
Mar 15, 2013 - 10:18pm PT
I missed Adam Smith's thesis on entrepreneurial talent. Sounds more like something Steve Jobs would say.

Maybe those two are talking in the afterlife. Although I suspect the two of them didn't end up in the same place.
froodish

Social climber
Portland, Oregon
Mar 15, 2013 - 10:26pm PT
More importantly, there is no testable hypothesis showing a causal relationship between a higher nominal maximum marginal rate and GDP growth. It is simply a nonsense correlation

If that's true, then the converse must be true as well, but you rarely see this foundation of conservative thought challenged.
TGT

Social climber
So Cal
Mar 15, 2013 - 10:26pm PT
Maybe then you need to go take an undergraduate econ class.


To quote my boss from yesterday when we closed a high six figure deal, made one of our principals an unexpected windfall,and ourselves a fat commission

"You pay us for our cunning."

Dave Kos

Social climber
Temecula
Mar 15, 2013 - 10:34pm PT
They teach Adam Smith in undergraduate econ?

Things have changed since when I used to teach them.
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Mar 15, 2013 - 10:36pm PT
Are we talking about Marx?

Didn't he say that, "Time flies like an arrow, but fruit flies like a banana."?
TGT

Social climber
So Cal
Mar 15, 2013 - 10:36pm PT
How do #1, #2 and #3 do anything without #4?

Why would they?
Dave Kos

Social climber
Temecula
Mar 15, 2013 - 10:37pm PT
Marx, also said something about not wanting to belong to a club that would have him.

Which explains why I'm here...I think...
TGT

Social climber
So Cal
Mar 15, 2013 - 10:38pm PT
Dave Kos

Social climber
Temecula
Mar 15, 2013 - 10:48pm PT
How do #1, #2 and #3 do anything without #4?

Why would they?

I didn't say they weren't all important. They are. I just don't think Adam Smith classified wealth according to those categories. But I didn't read everything he wrote (he wrote a lot), so maybe he did write that somewhere.

Although he is often credited as the first economist, Smith was more of a philosopher than what we would call an economist today. He never played with numbers.

But Marx was big on classifying labor as capital, or at least treating it as of equal or greater importance. Most economists (especially conservative ones) do not categorize labor as wealth (an asset), it is simply a cost. This is why many find the "capitalist model" to be distasteful, as it sounds as if it is de-humanizing workers.
TGT

Social climber
So Cal
Mar 15, 2013 - 10:57pm PT
Where do you get that?

Skilled labor, (at some point a crossover to entrepreneurial talent)

is easily the most important asset any organization has.

Marx was locked in his 1850's conception that labor was just sweat and not brains.

Dave Kos

Social climber
Temecula
Mar 16, 2013 - 12:30am PT
I think we are in violent agreement.
rick sumner

Trad climber
reno, nevada/ wasilla alaska
Mar 18, 2013 - 09:23pm PT
Well folks,
What's your take on the wealth redistribution news out of Cyprus today? I would call it a seizure of assets equally distributed up and down the economic ladder. Is this the ultimate state of a social democracy run amok?
Captain...or Skully

climber
Mar 18, 2013 - 10:57pm PT
Cypress is good wood. Weird but good.

Gary

Social climber
Right outside of Delacroix
Mar 19, 2013 - 12:05am PT
Marx was locked in his 1850's conception that labor was just sweat and not brains.

TGT, when you're wrong, you're really wrong.
bookworm

Social climber
Falls Church, VA
Mar 19, 2013 - 07:01am PT
"I would call it a seizure of assets equally distributed up and down the economic ladder. Is this the ultimate state of a social democracy run amok?"

it is NOT equally distributed...those with the most SAVINGS (yes, the eu is going to take money from peoples' savings accounts) have more taken away. and the money will NOT be distributed to anyone--it will go directly to the eu coffers

there are a lot of guns in cyprus; let's see if their protests remain peaceful...my guess is the eu will back off and probably accept russia's deal--a bailout for drilling/mining rights, which is the greater long-term threat (by the way, where's barry? probably still trying to persuade the uk to stay in the eu)

how much more proof do you libs need that euro-style economics are not sustainable...that a powerful government can, and WILL, do whatever is necessary to protect itself, which means going after the easiest targets (i.e. poor people, preferably unarmed poor people)


as per the above conversation: if your labor is not capital, then why is it taxed as income? in reality, my paycheck is COMPENSATION; it's not "income" because i have not received anything of greater value in return...my time and energy are simply being recompensed...interest on a savings account or return on a capital investment is income

in fact, the government is telling you that your labor is not worth anything, that your compensation is not really yours
Dave Kos

Social climber
Temecula
Mar 19, 2013 - 09:51am PT
if your labor is not capital, then why is it taxed as income? in reality, my paycheck is COMPENSATION; it's not "income" because i have not received anything of greater value in return...my time and energy are simply being recompensed...interest on a savings account or return on a capital investment is income


gibberish

Taxation has nothing to do with the definition of capital.

--------------------------------------

From Investment Theory 101:

Capital is an asset that is put at risk with the hope of making a return.

The defining characteristic of capital is risk.

If a company builds a factory and the factory doesn't produce, their investment is lost. There is no recourse. Nobody is going to give them their money back. The money used to build the factory is capital.

An employed laborer does not take a risk. Employment is a contractually obligated exchange of a service for money. If the employer doesn't pay the employee can sue. Even in bankruptcy, employees have precedence over investors.

(Of course if someone has their own business, then their labor is capital because there is a risk that they won't make any money from the labor they invested.)

If you are a regular "W2" employee like, say, a school teacher, your labor is not capital because the law requires that you get paid and there is effectively no chance of a loss. There is no risk.





rick sumner

Trad climber
reno, nevada/ wasilla alaska
Mar 19, 2013 - 05:05pm PT
It looks like, for the time being, Cyrus' government has backed off of outright seizure-and yes, as discussed earlier than the 6.7% and 9.9% rate, it would have been equally distributed.So what happens now? Will the banks there default, with all remaining deposits frozen while they sort through the detritus and exit the Euro? Will the Russians demand hard assets to replace the lost fiat currency? What if their is euro protest to Russian demands, is Cyprus protected under nato treaty? Almost all wars, our civil war included, start for economic reasons.Is this the messy model of social democracies demise, will it eventually play out here with the chinese owning large swaths of american resources? I would look to problems like these in Europe as the catalyst for war as much as North Korean or Iranian saber rattling
TGT

Social climber
So Cal
Mar 19, 2013 - 05:14pm PT
War seems to come out of nowhere, like rust that suddenly pops up on iron after a storm.
sempervirens

climber
Mar 19, 2013 - 06:33pm PT
More evidence for the "1% theory". This is just a book review, I've yet to read the whole book, but will soon. This review is by Robert Reich, UC Berkeley Economist. It's probably easier to read the review the NY Times website. But I posted the first few paragraphs below. I don't believe everything I read. IF this is true it is very damning evidence that the rich 1% are cheating, controlling the economy, and stealing from the middle class. (and that foxx news is a pile a' shite)

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/29/books/review/book-review-reckless-endangerment-by-gretchen-morgenson-and-joshua-rosner.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

Washington and Wall Street: The Revolving DoorBy ROBERT B. REICH
Published: May 27, 2011
It’s hardly news that the near meltdown of America’s financial system enriched a few at the expense of the rest of us. Who’s responsible? The recent report of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission blamed all the usual suspects — Wall Street banks, financial regulators, the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and subprime lenders — which is tantamount to blaming no one. “Reckless Endangerment” concentrates on particular individuals who played key roles.

‘Reckless Endangerment’ by Gretchen Morgenson and Joshua Rosner (June 28, 2011) The authors, Gretchen Morgenson, a Pulitzer Prize-winning business reporter and columnist at The New York Times, and Joshua Rosner, an expert on housing finance, deftly trace the beginnings of the collapse to the mid-1990s, when the Clinton administration called for a partnership between the private sector and Fannie and Freddie to encourage home buying. The mortgage agencies’ government backing was, in effect, a valuable subsidy, which was used by Fannie’s C.E.O., James A. Johnson, to increase home ownership while enriching himself and other executives. A 1996 study by the Congressional Budget Office found that Fannie pocketed about a third of the subsidy rather than passing it on to homeowners. Over his nine years heading Fannie, Johnson personally took home roughly $100 million. His successor, Franklin D. Raines, was treated no less lavishly.

Ken M

Mountain climber
Los Angeles, Ca
Mar 20, 2013 - 12:58pm PT
This is a superb video that lays out the perspective of what has happened:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QPKKQnijnsM&feature=youtu.be

Gary

Social climber
Right outside of Delacroix
Mar 20, 2013 - 01:13pm PT
IF this is true it is very damning evidence that the rich 1% are cheating, controlling the economy, and stealing from the middle class.

Hardly news. The IWW and socialists told us all that 100 years ago. They got beaten, jailed, shot and lynched for saying so.
Dave Kos

Social climber
Temecula
Mar 20, 2013 - 01:30pm PT
The IWW and socialists told us all that 100 years ago.


Has the standard of living for the average American changed for the better or worse in the past 100 years?

sent from my iPhone



Ken M

Mountain climber
Los Angeles, Ca
Mar 20, 2013 - 01:37pm PT
Dave, as measured by what metric that you will accept?
Dave Kos

Social climber
Temecula
Mar 20, 2013 - 01:51pm PT
Let's see if y'all can come up with a metric that supports the idea that standard of living has not improved in the past century...
Chaz

Trad climber
greater Boss Angeles area
Mar 20, 2013 - 02:14pm PT
100 years ago, most Americans spent most of their time growing food to feed themselves. Took the whole family to do it. Now, thanks to mechanized agriculture, almost nobody grows food anymore, and our time is freed-up to do other productive or entertaining things.
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Mar 20, 2013 - 02:47pm PT
Rick,

What Cyprus tried to do explicitly, the Fed may have been doing for the last 4 1/2 years. As a letter to the Wall Street Journal today pointed out, the effectively zero rate of interest is really just a depositor fee to fund the banking system.

I personally think that the effects of QE [fill in the blank] are something the media of all stripes overlook. I rather suspect that the demographic with the most money in interest-bearing deposit accounts are the retired, most of whom are probably members of "The Greatest Generation." We've been robbing them, by taking away the interest on their savings, to support our spending on ourselves. For shame.

Ken,

A while back, I referred to certain critics of the current wealth distribution as "enviers." After considering your comments and those of John M., I decided and stated that I was wrong to call them "enviers." Unfortunately, the video you post makes me think that I wasn't as far off the mark initially as I thought.

As Dave and others point out, the material standard of living for virtually every socio-economic stratum of the U.S. has improved dramatically in the last 100 years. The point of the video is not that "the 99%" are doing worse; it's that "the 1%" are doing better. The relevant question, to me, is this: If we change the relative wealth distribution over the long run, who will be better off and who will not be better off, in absolute, not relative, terms?

Using the implicit logic of that video, I should be happier if I get no raise -- as long as everyone else I work with gets no raise -- than I would be if I got a 5% raise, but everyone else got a 10% raise. Sorry, but I don't measure my well-being on a comparative scale.

John
new world order2

climber
Mar 20, 2013 - 04:13pm PT
You guys are plenty intelligent. But you don't see the forest for the trees.

What's happening in Cyprus, will happen in Italy, Spain, and (edit) the rest of Europe. It will then occur here.

The masses of sheeple aren't needed, for we are no longer in an industrial age. We are in a robotic/computer age.
There isn't any need for the useless eaters. Why do you think there aren't any jobs?

Do you know about Agenda 21? Do you think it's cool to be a Communist?

For a look into our future.... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IRFsoRQYpFM

Euthanasia....At first voluntary, then mandatory, unless you're clone worthy.

So goes the new world order.

photo not found
Missing photo ID#269454
rick sumner

Trad climber
reno, nevada/ wasilla alaska
Mar 20, 2013 - 05:18pm PT
John,
Yes ,i agree our seniors who are dependent on interest earnings to augment their fixed incomes are being robbed blind.Also you can't ignore the fact that we've had massive inflation (regardless of the bogus C.P.I. index) while wages and earnings for almost all demographics have stagnated or actually declined.In short, our standard of living for the first time in 100 years or so is declining in real terms. When the whole global free trade push started over 20 years ago and one of it's stated purposes was to raise up the third world-this can't be accomplished without lowering America's standard of living.We are not through this process yet, much worse times are ahead. With our massive debt and inevitable increases in interest rates to come, the government will loot the citizenry through greatly increased tax rates for all income groups to perpetuate it's existence. With full implementation of Obamacare the working populace will also see, in effect, a huge increase in taxes as they subsidize healthcare for those not working. I believe there will be death panels for the baby boom generation as acute long term care will simply be unaffordable for so large of a demographic considering the lower volume of those below supporting the system. These are just two of many problems facing this country, cultural degradation issues are just as serious.A conscious decision by the powers-to-be as New World Order implies with U.N. agenda 21? Who knows. I do know that humanity is best with new frontiers to explore and the IT age seems like a turn inwards instead of adventure outwards.Almost like a diversion.
khanom

Trad climber
Greeley Hill
Mar 20, 2013 - 05:25pm PT
100 years ago, most Americans spent most of their time growing food to feed themselves. Took the whole family to do it. Now, thanks to mechanized agriculture, almost nobody grows food anymore, and our time is freed-up to do other productive or entertaining things.


Am I the only person who sees a serous problem with these statements?
RyanD

climber
Squamish
Mar 20, 2013 - 06:06pm PT
will happen in Italy, Spain, and Europe.



Uh yeah italy & spain are in europe. jeez.
Gary

Social climber
Right outside of Delacroix
Mar 20, 2013 - 06:15pm PT
Has the standard of living for the average American changed for the better or worse in the past 100 years?

As labor unions slowly gained strength, and the New Deal co-opted parts of the Socialist Party platform, things like Social Security, unemployment insurance, worker's rights, the standard of living rose for the average American indeed. This culminated in the '60s. Even a working class slob could afford a home and send his children to college.

Then folks lost sight of the past, the conservatives reemerged. The average Americans standard of living has been in slow decline ever since.
Bruce Morris

Social climber
Belmont, California
Mar 20, 2013 - 07:20pm PT
Also Gary the US didn't lose WWII. We came out so far ahead that we could afford to underwrite the middle classes with entitlements and goose egg interest student loans. The middle class flourished and paid taxes with under inflated currency. When I was a kid everything was free. Now it always costs more and more. A lot of the downward spiral has to do with the fact that high-paying manufacturing jobs has all traveled to cheaper labor markets overseas where they have a lower standard of living. I don't see anyway of easily correcting this situation myself. Moving citizen armies to break down trade barriers just doesn't seem a viable option in the nuclear age.
Dave Kos

Social climber
Temecula
Mar 20, 2013 - 07:26pm PT
The average Americans standard of living has been in slow decline ever since.

Since the 1960s?

I think that claim is based more on nostalgia than any measurable data.
Ken M

Mountain climber
Los Angeles, Ca
Mar 20, 2013 - 08:48pm PT
John E,

With respect to your "enviers" comment, I return to a question I asked you before, which I did not see you address (you may not have seen):

This inequality which is getting progressively worse, does not pose to you any limit: if the trend continues, ALL the wealth, and ALL the effective income will go to the 1%, as an extreme.

Surely you don't accept that as being good, because you and me, my friend, will not be addressed as "Lord".

So what is the limit that you think is healthy? There must be some.

Otherwise, we move to a royalty-servant system.
Ken M

Mountain climber
Los Angeles, Ca
Mar 20, 2013 - 08:58pm PT
Kos, this would say that the middle class is being eradicated:

http://finance.yahoo.com/blogs/daily-ticker/middle-class-broke-pew-study-reveals-real-problem-155018682.html
Ken M

Mountain climber
Los Angeles, Ca
Mar 20, 2013 - 09:02pm PT
Kos, I find your question remarkably difficult to answer, only because I find it difficult to find comparative data for 100 years.

GENERALLY, I would say the middle class is much better off, due to the social programs enacted by democrats.
Norton

Social climber
the Wastelands
Mar 20, 2013 - 09:03pm PT
oh Ken

you just don't get it, do you?


you see, the more wealth is concentrated in the hands of the already extremely wealthy,
the more likely and appreciative they are to hire an extra gardener

this greatly benefits the economy, "creates jobs"

studies have been done about this strange and nonsensical "defense" of the wealthy by those who don't have a chance in hell of being even remotely wealthy

when interviewed, these people say oh no! don't make the rich pay ANY more taxes.

because.....wait for it.

"because someday I hope to be rich and if I am then I don't want to pay any more taxes"

Dave Kos

Social climber
Temecula
Mar 20, 2013 - 09:35pm PT
Kos, I find your question remarkably difficult to answer, only because I find it difficult to find comparative data for 100 years.

GENERALLY, I would say the middle class is much better off, due to the social programs enacted by democrats.

Data about standards of living?

We don't even need numbers.

How about:

Infant mortality?
Life expectancy?
Available transportation?
Types and availability of leisure?
Availability and variety of food?
Means of communication?

Take a drive to the local supermarket and have a look around. The richest man on earth didn't have all those choices 1913, and now they are available to everyone, every day.

I'm not against social programs, but it wasn't social programs that created this massive wealth available to so many. It was a capitalist economy that made it happen.



rottingjohnny

Sport climber
mammoth lakes ca
Mar 20, 2013 - 10:43pm PT
Dave K....You are right about more choices and higher standard of living unfortunately a large part of America struggles to afford these choices..Since 1999 the living wage has fallen behind inflation while wall street wallows in profits...I call Vons the 5 dollar store...Just about everything in there costs 5 bucks...Now if you work for minimum wage it is difficult to buy many of those 5 dollar items and this doesn't include the other necessities to live....The new battle cry of the middle class is " i'm lucky to have a job " and that's the way the elite want you to feel...Same as it ever is only getting worse....
TGT

Social climber
So Cal
Mar 20, 2013 - 10:45pm PT
http://www.wordaroundthenet.com/2013/03/self-made-men-and-participation-trophy.html#links

I've written over and over on this theme, but its true: people sense something is terribly wrong, particularly with America. But their aim is totally off, so they are shooting at their own foot instead of the target. They blame businesses, capitalism, and the free market rather than cronyism, vast government overreach, wasteful spending, and a culture of getting everything without doing the work to get it.
When you're raised to think you are a special gleaming diamond, a unique wonderful snowflake that gets a graduation ceremony for going from the 5th to 6th grade, and a prize for simply playing in a game instead of winning, the idea of having to work hard to accomplish something is alien. Its outside your entire world's reference, you have nothing to compare it to.
Raised in a bubble of protection to keep them from skinning a knee, told they are golden star dust from birth, and praised for doing only what they ought, young people grow into middle aged people without a clue how life works or what it takes to make it.
So you have people on the streets angry that they're expected to pay back a loan, angry that they have to pay for a house, angry that they can't live on that McDonald's fry cook job, and calling for the government to fix it all.
Ken M

Mountain climber
Los Angeles, Ca
Mar 20, 2013 - 10:57pm PT
Ok, fair.

What has happened is that we have fallen behind other countries in all of these things, with the possible exception of food. That one is because we are the largest food producing machine on the planet.

Infant mortality?
Life expectancy?
Available transportation?
Types and availability of leisure?
Availability and variety of food?
Means of communication?
Dave Kos

Social climber
Temecula
Mar 20, 2013 - 11:01pm PT
I agree that there is some evidence that growth of the standard of living for the middle class may have slowed and, possibly even reversed slightly in the last decade or two. But this recent phenomenon hardly means that capitalism and our basic economic model is a failure. The US economy is, by every conceivable measure, the greatest long-term success in human history. And just about everyone in America has enjoyed the benefits of that success to a great degree.

I believe the long-term trend will continue, but we need to adopt policies that will provide an equitable distribution of wealth without stunting the process that creates the wealth. Regulation and safety-net programs can support these goals, but fully socialist/command economies will fail, as they have in the past.
Ken M

Mountain climber
Los Angeles, Ca
Mar 21, 2013 - 12:30am PT
I think we agree on that Coz.

Of course, it means that we should be burned on crosses by Teabaggers.
khanom

Trad climber
Greeley Hill
Mar 21, 2013 - 01:19pm PT
Seems to me lamenting the destruction of the middle class is a bit like worrying about the stains on the upholstery while your car is on fire.
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Mar 21, 2013 - 04:01pm PT
his inequality which is getting progressively worse, does not pose to you any limit: if the trend continues, ALL the wealth, and ALL the effective income will go to the 1%, as an extreme.

Surely you don't accept that as being good, because you and me, my friend, will not be addressed as "Lord".

So what is the limit that you think is healthy? There must be some.

Otherwise, we move to a royalty-servant system.

Ken, you're right. I didn't see the question the first time. In answer, I don't particularly care about the supposed increase in concentration of wealth nearly as much as I care about how the least fortunate fare in absolute terms. If a more equal wealth distribution increases the absolute wealth of the least fortunate in the long run, then that would be good. If it diminishes the absolute wealth of the least fortunate in the long run, that would not be good.

Frankly, extrapolating trends on a straight line seldom survives logical analysis. If our wealth is as concentrated as people say (and I remain skeptical of this, since our data on wealth is not nearly as accurate as that on income), and -- and this is a big condition -- the identity of the wealthy remains relatively stagnant, then that certainly would seem uncomfortable, but I think the evidence -- with due respect to (but great disagreement with) New World Order -- of wealth buying our government or turning us back into either serfs or lords is much weaker than the somewhat alarmist view I see expressed so often. Joe Hedge certainly seems convinced that the left will be in ascendancy for the foreseeable future. I don't see that as likely if the concentration of wealth disenfranchises ordinary people.

Of equal importance, I don't see that the identity of the wealthy is in any way constant. There are still lots of people making small fortunes starting with nothing, and many making small fortunes starting with big ones.

I also find Robert Reich's thesis -- that the concentration of wealth has made Americans poorer because the super-wealthy invest internationally, thus depriving the U.S. of investment funds -- questionable both as a matter of economic fact and of morality. The implicit moral argument is that the residents of the U.S. have some inherent right to be better off materially than the rest of the world. It is, in effect, saying that it's wrong to make the rest of the world richer if it means that our middle class isn't as wealthy as we would like. Put more starkly, it implies that the American middle class can only stay comfortable by insuring that the world's poor don't get richer. I have yet to see a satisfactory system of morality or ethics that justifies this.

There's also a lack of factual economic backing for the thesis, because it assumes that only the rich would invest internationally. The opportunity is there for everyone, and many pooled investment funds (often in the form of large pension and retirement systems) do so. While certain "captured" retirement funds (I've represented several union pension funds over the years that would be in this category) look not only to the rate of return but to helping out their friends in making investment decisions, most are looking for the optimal return, considering safety, stability, etc. If that happens to be outside the U.S., that strikes me as an issue unrelated to wealth concentration.

Finally, in all of this talk, I see very little sound economic theory come into play. I believe that the most important factor affecting the relative return to capital and labor in the last 40 years has been the greatly increased labor participation rate, particularly by women, coupled with the decreased saving rate. The Law of Diminishing Returns says that if I increase one factor of production (i.e. labor), without a proportionate increase in other factors of production (i.e. capital), the rate of return on the disproportionately higher factor of production falls, because you have to use inferior factor combinations.

If we examine real wage data during the last 40 years, they show real wages increasing rather slowly, while the return to capital has increased at a greater rate. That's exactly what economic theory would predict, since the supply of labor rose faster than the supply of capital.

(DISCLAIMER: I'm talking about averages here. I often see people purporting to show how "obscenely" the share of profit rose by comparing total profits to average wages. Anyone who does that is either ignorant or dishonest. You can make a meaningful comparison of totals to totals to determine the relative share of income, or you can compare average profit rates to average wage rates, but average-to-total comparisons are worthless).

(SECOND DISCLAIMER: I am the father of daughters and an older brother of sisters, so I think the increased participation opportunities for women in the American economy is a good thing.)

And frankly, I still don't see the arguments that ordinary people "can't save on their incomes." If I look at the material possessions of my Baby Boomer generation and compare them -- at similar stages in life -- to those of our parents, I can only conclude that delayed gratification was not part of our lifestyle, and now we're paying the price with insufficient assets to retire comfortably.

While I know we don't disagree as much as this response suggests, Ken, I really have a very hard time getting alarmed by the statistics I see about relative wealth.

John
Dave Kos

Social climber
Temecula
Mar 21, 2013 - 04:23pm PT
Good stuff, John.
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Mar 21, 2013 - 04:37pm PT
That's exactly what economic theory would predict, since the supply of labor rose faster than the supply of capital.

Exactly what Malthus predicted 200 years ago, more or less.
Norton

Social climber
the Wastelands
Mar 21, 2013 - 05:02pm PT
Regarding the thread topic, Wealth Distribution


can we discuss WHY we have tens of millions of Americans who badly WANT to find a job but are unable to ?

We have the highest number of people in this category in American history, even more in gross numbers than during the Depression

We continue to turn out literally millions of college graduates who are lucky to find even a part time job at Starbucks

We have people with Masters degrees and Doctorates unable to find work.

I submit for discussion that this grand human experiment we call capitalism has very perhaps reached its maximum ability to provide "full" employment (5%) in America, that we have entered a new economic reality for the foreseeable future

The causes, the reasons for this new chronic and unsolvable mass unemployment issue cannot be solved by government, nor can it be solved by the private sector, it just is what it is.

Productivity is at all time historic highs, robots and machines now do the jobs that literally millions of Americans used to do, millions of jobs have been outsourced overseas to both compete in a global market and to boost corporate earnings, etc etc etc

The result of all this is record high corporate profits, a roaring stock market driven by earnings,
and a rapidly growing part of our populations that from cradle to grave is essentially unemployable, though no "fault" or lack of will of their own.

The "safety net" we have in place for the poor and near poor will remain a major driver of deficits and the national debt regardless of which political party is in power, these are built in structural pure spending issues.

comments?
Bruce Morris

Social climber
Belmont, California
Mar 21, 2013 - 05:50pm PT
We have people with Masters degrees and Doctorates unable to find work.

I submit for discussion that this grand human experiment we call capitalism has very perhaps reached its maximum ability to provide "full" employment (5%) in America, that we have entered a new economic reality for the foreseeable future

The causes, the reasons for this new chronic and unsolvable mass unemployment issue cannot be solved by government, nor can it be solved by the private sector, it just is what it is.

Where can I rent a Mexican robot with a Masters or Ph.D. to pull weeds in my backyard this afternoon? Accept your cruel fate middle-class untermenschen!
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Mar 21, 2013 - 08:25pm PT
There is no one reason for the lack of jobs, but lets face it, we shipped our jobs overseas and are no longer competing effectively in many fields of manufacture.
A college education is not a guarantor of a good job.

We ARE creating a giant underclass, and the people in the 1% elite will be the ones who figure out a successful way to exploit the new paradigm.
sempervirens

climber
Mar 27, 2013 - 11:03am PT
Here is some more good evidence of how corporations are redistributing wealth around the globe. And they're not distributing it to the lazy entitled liberals (big surprise, eh). They're selling "capitalism" to gullible Americans but they're delivering socialism for themselves. Have a look and see what you think. This system is not favoring or supporting democracy, quite the opposite.

http://werenotbrokemovie.com/
Dave Kos

Social climber
Temecula
Mar 27, 2013 - 11:36am PT
We ARE creating a giant underclass, and the people in the 1% elite will be the ones who figure out a successful way to exploit the new paradigm.

The 1% ?

You mean the folks with all the digits?
Dropline

Mountain climber
Somewhere Up There
Mar 27, 2013 - 12:13pm PT
I know it goes against the grain of this thread, and I am but one person, but capitalism, and trickle down economics, do work for me and my team at work.

My small company competes with other companies by innovating to provide clients with more value. We work like hell, and smartly, to grow and when we do we hire more people. And I make more money. Everyone that works for me has full medical coverage, matching 401k, and profit sharing. And four weeks paid vacation a year. Some of them get company vehicles. Priae we call them. Team members (employees) buy houses, have families, and send their kids to college. And save money for retirement.

I feel very fortunate in this regard, as do my employees. So it kinda cracks me up when someone suggests I've been sold a bill of goods believing in capitalism.

Wishing you all good fortune. May you live long and prosper.
sempervirens

climber
Mar 27, 2013 - 03:49pm PT
Hi Dropline,
When I say you've been sold a bill of goods I don't mean that capitalism does not work. I mean that we do not have capitalism. Examine the way we create money in the US (and the global economy)- it's by creating debt. Examine the tax structure and who writes the tax code. See some of the references I've posted up thread. Our economy is not functioning by capitalist principles.

You've given an excellent example with how your company operates. But it is not an example of trickle down economics. Your example doesn't address the theory of trickle down economics.
John M

climber
Mar 27, 2013 - 03:56pm PT
So it kinda cracks me up when someone suggests I've been sold a bill of goods believing in capitalism.

If a system works for a few people, does that mean it works for everyone? Or even the majority of people?

I'm sure dictators think their system is great because it works for them.

I know that is an extreme example, but your statement is overly simplistic.
Dave Kos

Social climber
Temecula
Mar 27, 2013 - 03:59pm PT
When I say you've been sold a bill of goods I don't mean that capitalism does not work. I mean that we do not have capitalism.

In order for us to read each other's posts here on the taco we are utilizing machines made by hundreds of different organizations, all of them funded by capitalist investors.

There are easily a million people involved in the technology that make this conversation possible. All of them got paid to make it happen. Most of them make a pretty good living by first-world standards.

Your very post is overwhelming proof that capitalism exists on a large scale, and that it is working.

BTW: "Trickle down economics" is not a theory. It's a political catch phrase.

John M

climber
Mar 27, 2013 - 04:03pm PT
Your very post is overwhelming proof that capitalism exists on a large scale, and that it is working.

Another silly post. Communism made all sorts of things many many people used. Does that mean its a good system? Or that it works well for the majority of people?
Dropline

Mountain climber
Somewhere Up There
Mar 27, 2013 - 04:04pm PT
I say trickle down only because most of our clients, by any measure, are wealthy.

And I didn't say our current system works for everyone, but rather that I am just one person. But it does work for me and many I know whom I collaborate with.

Regarding tax policy, there are things in the tax code that motivate me and people like me, in ways that stimulate economic activity. Accelerated depreciation for example. Really, that's probably the single biggest tax policy that motivates me to grow the company, and my income.
Dropline

Mountain climber
Somewhere Up There
Mar 27, 2013 - 04:07pm PT
John M, communism, for the most part, made a lot of crap. When was the last time you owned a Lada, or flew on an Aeroflot?
John M

climber
Mar 27, 2013 - 04:12pm PT
Its just that your argument that it works for you isn't a very good defense if it doesn't work for the majority.

John M

climber
Mar 27, 2013 - 04:15pm PT
I agree dropline that communism made a lot of crap. But that wasn't the argument given. The argument was that capitlaism made a lot of things people use, as though that somehow made capitalism good. Well, communism made a lot of things people used. Maybe not very many good things, but it did make a lot of things people used.

Sure capitalism makes a lot of things we use, even good things. But that still isn't a very good defense if it fails lots of people. Are you saying that we can't do better?

Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Mar 27, 2013 - 04:21pm PT
This is such a ridiculous discussion when terms like 'trickle down' and
socialism are bandied about ad nauseum as if there is some ironclad definition
of socialism or even capitalism for that matter. It is all a matter of
degree and the extent to which you would like to see government muck up
markets and 're-distribute' wealth. It should be patently obvious by now
that the Great Social Experiment as practiced by Italy, Spain, and France
is teetering on the edge and would go quickly but for the 'capitalist'
Germans' belay. Even the vaunted Socialist Swedes have pulled back from
their excesses of the past when it bacame apparent they were going the way
of the French and Italians. Thank heavens for Nordic practicality.
John M

climber
Mar 27, 2013 - 04:25pm PT
If capitalism was so perfect, then we wouldn't need laws against monopolies. Yet we do. The markets need to be regulated. What most people are really arguing about is how much regulation.

And sometimes, the profit factor of capitalism isn't necessarily the best way to provide something for the majority. Such as health care.

There doesn't exist a single system that works perfectly because people aren't perfect nor is the supply of information perfect.

Monopolies are a good example of why its not good to have the vast majority of wealth/power held by the few.
Dave Kos

Social climber
Temecula
Mar 27, 2013 - 04:26pm PT
The argument was that capitlaism made a lot of things people use, as though that somehow made capitalism good.


The argument was that capitalism made a lot of things people use that did not exist before.

Stuff that was never created in any other economic system.

Let's make a list of significant innovations - stuff that people want and use - that were developed and made available to the masses in capitalist economies.

Now let's try making the same list for socialist economies.

The first list is too easy. The second list is surprisingly difficult.

If capitalism was so perfect, [...]

Nobody claimed it was "perfect." You are making straw-man arguments again.

I have claimed that it is the best economic system that exists. ("Best" being measured by a track-record of sustainable improvement in the standard of living for the majority of people.)



John M

climber
Mar 27, 2013 - 04:27pm PT
It is all a matter of
degree and the extent to which you would like to see government muck up
markets and 're-distribute' wealth.

The other way to say that is to say its all a matter of how much you want to allow the greedy to muck up the markets and re-distirbute wealth to the few.
John M

climber
Mar 27, 2013 - 04:28pm PT
Stuff that was never created in any other economic system.

The communist put a man in space before we did.
John M

climber
Mar 27, 2013 - 04:29pm PT
Fine Dave, capitalism is the best system going. In fact everything is perfect just as it is. Lets leave it all alone.


Let them eat cake..
Dropline

Mountain climber
Somewhere Up There
Mar 27, 2013 - 04:31pm PT
John M, what do you think would work for the majority?
Dave Kos

Social climber
Temecula
Mar 27, 2013 - 04:33pm PT
Fine Dave, capitalism is the best system going. In fact everything is perfect just as it is. Lets leave it all alone.

Why do you have to interpret everything in extremes?

It is the best system going, but there is room for improvement here in the USA.

We'd probably agree on many of those potential improvements.
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Mar 27, 2013 - 04:37pm PT
John M, get a subscription to The Economist for a year and check back with us.
Argentina and Venezuela have 'mucked up' markets. We have regulated markets.
Some are better than others but at least here we have a certain amount of
say in the matter. Europe also has mucked up markets that ironically favor
the big corporations that keep the Great Socialist Experiment afloat.
John M

climber
Mar 27, 2013 - 04:41pm PT
I still believe that capitalism is for the most part the best system. I just think that profit should be taken out of the health care system and a single payer system investigated. I also think that we have had too big of a push lately to deregulate and we shouldn't have lowered the taxes in the wealthiest as much as we have. I also think that capital gains should have a tiered system rather then a flat tax. The flat tax of capital gains favors by a great margin those with vast amounts of money.

We have spent the last 20 or 30 years demonizing goverment, when we need government and its regulations. We have to find a way to get honest politiciains into office and give them enough support to get some change done, but I have little faith that we will be able to do that.

We also have given too much power to corporations.

When you demonize government, you need to remember that before their were governments, the land was lawless. The powerful simply took what they wanted. I don't want to go back to that anymore then I want to go to an all powerful government.

Its about balance.
John M

climber
Mar 27, 2013 - 04:43pm PT
I will repeat this statement Reilly..

Your wrote,

It is all a matter of
degree and the extent to which you would like to see government muck up
markets and 're-distribute' wealth.

I responded..

The other way to say that is to say its all a matter of how much you want to allow the greedy to muck up the markets and re-distirbute wealth to the few.

You were the one demonizing government.
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Mar 27, 2013 - 04:53pm PT
Our economy is not functioning by capitalist principles.

If you mean that the assumptions of a "perfect market" aren't met, well, perfectly, I agree, but so what? As many are trying to point out, we're comparing relative imperfections.

In John M's comment above (that I hope is still above when I'm finished typing), we have, at least, a basis for discussion. Specifically:

1. Have we had too much (de)regulation during the last [fill in the blank] years?

2. Do corporations have too much power in today's economy?

3. Should health care be rationed by price, or should the government decide who gets what?

4. Are income tax rates for the highest income earners too high?

I realize I'm re-phrasing what the issues you raise, John, so I am assuming you'll correct me if I've strayed too far from your intent. As just one example of why I did so, though, I substituted "highest income" for "wealthy" because we tax income, not wealth.

I'll give my thoughts on these questions once I've actually thought, and not reacted.

John
John M

climber
Mar 27, 2013 - 04:58pm PT
Your restatements are generally correct John. Though I notice your reworded some of it with a slant towards the wealthy. Its subtle but its there.

I'm having a bit of trouble with my health today.. nothing new there. so my statements probably aren't that clear.

I fully believe that we are out of balance right now and that the little guy is getting hosed pretty thoroughly. I include the middle class as the little guy. Though I realize that many in this group are still doing just fine. But the middle class is shrinking while the wealthy have made great gains.
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Mar 27, 2013 - 05:08pm PT
John M,

I've taken on the health care issue in the "Republicans are wrong" thread enough that what follows should qualify as "thought." Besides, I have just enough time to take this one on again before I need to get back to doing what gets me paid.

When you say we should take "profit" out of health care, my immediate reaction is to ask why we should reward people less for providing vitally-needed goods and services than we do for more frivolous things. Most docs make a lot of money, and I don't begrudge them that. First, they've delayed gratification for a long time, through med school, internship and residency, fellowships, etc. Second, they've chosen fields of study and work where there is a tremendous need and demand. In addition, through native intelligence, drive, ambition and a willingness to work hard, they've demonstrated the sorts of personal traits that would tend to get rewarded highly in any capitalist society. Frankly, I want someone like that to be my doctor.

Similarly, those who have developed medical devices, drugs and all of the other things that would make modern medicine seem nothing short of miraculous when my father was born in 1901 deserve, to my mind, a richer reward than those who came up with the Pet Rock.

The real problem that I see in the economics of modern medicine is that this is a market rationed by price, but the price-setters and payers are not, by and large, the doctor and patient. I've posted my proposed changes to deal with this elsewhere, and I need to get back to paying work, so I won't repeat them, except to add this: We have the quality and quantity of resources devoted to medical care in our economy precisely because of the profits people make there. Eliminating profit there will change those services both quantitatively and, in my opinion, qualitatively because the sorts of lock-step compensation typical of governmental enterprise would be odious to most of the sorts of people who currently pursue a medical career.

John
Majid_S

Mountain climber
Bay Area , California
Mar 27, 2013 - 05:38pm PT
The fall of capitalism

Create a war or an event every 10 years




sempervirens

climber
Mar 27, 2013 - 06:57pm PT
Several of you have quoted my post. Check out the movie I referred to(it's on netflix, and probably hulu)and you'll understand that I'm not debating the advantages or disadvantages of capitalism. I'm saying that free market principles of supply and demand are not driving the economy. And neither is trickle down economics (whether its a buzzword, theory or concept). The controllers of this economy are deliberately preventing a free market while they tell you how bad gov. regulation is, and how socialism will limit your freedom. If we have taxes and gov. regulation we don't have a free market, and that is why I'm saying we don't have capitalism (JohhL understands in his post). Agree, disagree or whatever you choose, but I'm hoping you understand my position. I keep explaining it.
Dave Kos

Social climber
Temecula
Mar 27, 2013 - 07:09pm PT
sempervirens,

What you are talking about is nothing new:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rent-seeking

But there is still plenty of capitalism driving the economy.

Do you use google or bing?

A Mac or a PC?

Drive a Ford or a Honda?

Who are the "controllers of the economy" ?

You are.
sempervirens

climber
Mar 27, 2013 - 08:35pm PT
I'm not intending to say this is new. It seems new to many who post to this thread, including you because you're opposing my basic premise that supply and demand are not driving the economy. Lobbyists may be rent-seeking, no disagreement on that from me. Corporations are literally (I mean literally in the literal sense) writing the regulations of their own industry. And their lobbyists write the tax codes that they must abide by. This allows them to pay very low taxes. Also allows them to heavily influence prices of their products and limit competition from others. Do you still believe consumers are controllers of the economy?
rick sumner

Trad climber
reno, nevada/ wasilla alaska
Mar 27, 2013 - 11:37pm PT
We are beginning to witness the first cars going off the track on the huge train wreck that is the Affordable Care Act. Of course, those that designed this obamanation (pun intended) will claim that if it hadn't been for those rascals on the other side of the aisle we would have a system that really works. Obviously, never wanting a good crisis to go waste, they'll then push for their ultimate goal for this legislation-a single payer (government) system.Full implementation of the law ,with single payer added, will be as large of a transfer of wealth as we have ever seen.This wealth transfer will not fall upon it's stated targets of the 2% and large corporations so much as it will hit it's real targets:the responsible legions of working class people better known as the middle class, outside of government in the private sector, and the younger generations more than the old.
Can anyone show me how i am wrong in this thinking?



TGT

Social climber
So Cal
Mar 27, 2013 - 11:42pm PT
Nope.

In CA rates for health insurance are going to go up by 62%.

Not because of greedy insurance companies, but because of changes mandated by Obamacare.

No free lunch.

If you are a twenty something and healthy you are going to pay thru the nose for some crackheads or 50 yo smokers free insurance.

They can just wait till their teeth fall out or the lung cancer cough starts and opt in with the "no preexisting conditions" clause.

You get stuck with the bill.
Jorroh

climber
Mar 27, 2013 - 11:45pm PT
"Obviously, never wanting a good crisis to go waste, they'll then push for their ultimate goal for this legislation-a single payer (government) system."

...thats what I'm hoping for.
TGT

Social climber
So Cal
Mar 27, 2013 - 11:52pm PT
you are hoping for the government to intrude in every action you take?

If they are paying for your health don't you think they will then have an obligation to regulate everything that you

participate in,

eat,

recreationaly indulge in,

since that will directly impact the cost of taking care of you?

Climbing is dangerous

orthopedic surgeries are expensive.



John M

climber
Mar 28, 2013 - 12:23am PT
Frontline did a documentary on healthcare around the world. Its worth watching. Its on netflix if you have that. Its called "sick around world".

JphnE,

I believe that people who work hard should be rewarded well. I also believe that healthcare professionals do an important job and should be paid well. I have a problem with health insurance companies and believe that it can be done better. The above documentary gives many good examples.

Chaz

Trad climber
greater Boss Angeles area
Mar 28, 2013 - 12:36am PT
TGT writes:

"If they are paying for your health don't you think they will then have an obligation to regulate everything that you participate in,"




They DAMN WELL BETTER regulate everything risky or potentially dangerous, if they expect ME ( the Taxpayer ) to cover someone else's healthcare.

I don't want to see any fat people, any smokers ( pot smokers included ), or anyone engaging in homosexual activity ( homos enjoy lower life expectancy - higher health care costs. look it up ), because all those optional conditions unnecessarily add to the cost of care.
rick sumner

Trad climber
reno, nevada/ wasilla alaska
Mar 28, 2013 - 12:57am PT
Now Chaz-Your post was not very PC with the powers that want to be. Hell you're even demonstrating a mind and voice of your own and that is not thing they want in the highly regulated world we are headed for.
Chaz

Trad climber
greater Boss Angeles area
Mar 28, 2013 - 01:01am PT
I'd rather not have to pay for anybody else's healthcare but mine.

In a system where we're all responsible for our own health care, we can tollerate fat-asses, homos, smokers, climbers, racers, flyers, motivated people of all kinds, all doing their own thing, and not have to worry how much their chosen unconventional behavior will cost me in taxes.

John M

climber
Mar 28, 2013 - 01:02am PT
You already pay for a lot of these people.

You just don't seem to know it.
Chaz

Trad climber
greater Boss Angeles area
Mar 28, 2013 - 01:06am PT
We're already paying for Socialism. We're just not seeing any of the benefits. Tax money just goes down a big toilet. Proof once more that government here isn't working. Let's not saddle government with any more responsibilities it won't be able to handle.
John M

climber
Mar 28, 2013 - 01:08am PT
We are seeing plenty of benefits from things like social security. But since you don't seem to have ever studied the past, you are ignorant of how.
TomCochrane

Trad climber
Santa Cruz Mountains and Monterey Bay
Mar 28, 2013 - 01:13am PT
hmmm...who owns all the money??? Perhaps the Vatican bankers, i.e. Jesuits...????

http://www.remnantofgod.org/blackpope.htm
Chaz

Trad climber
greater Boss Angeles area
Mar 28, 2013 - 01:13am PT
As far as investment returns go, Social Security is at the bottom of the list. If S.S. was a good investment, why would contributions need to be mandated by law? If S.S. was a good investment, people would contribute voluntarily. You wouldn't have to force people into it.
John M

climber
Mar 28, 2013 - 01:14am PT
Your world is perfect.
rick sumner

Trad climber
reno, nevada/ wasilla alaska
Mar 28, 2013 - 01:17am PT
It's safe, it's good, it's in a lockbox with the rest of the loot.Haha.
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Mar 28, 2013 - 10:29am PT
John M, if SS is in such good hands then why is its long-term viability in
such doubt?

Government, by definition, is inept, corrupt, and inimical to the peoples'
interests, most especially when its practioners are almost wholly insulated
from the threat of dismissal for any reason. Restore some accountability to
government and you will have made a major step. No, make that a huge step.
Dave Kos

Social climber
Temecula
Mar 28, 2013 - 11:06am PT
Government, by definition, is inept, corrupt, and inimical to the peoples'
interests,

Gee, then why were the Founding Fathers so hell-bent on creating a government back in the 1780s?

They didn't even know the definition of government?

Why do we even put these people on our money?
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Mar 28, 2013 - 11:19am PT
Gee, then why were the Founding Fathers so hell-bent on creating a government back in the 1780s?
So we could bitch about our own guvmint, not one in London.

They didn't even know the definition of government?
It is well documented that they were a bunch of starry-eyed idealists.

Why do we even put these people on our money?
Gud question. Or is it more about how did we allow them to put themselves in charge?
sempervirens

climber
Mar 28, 2013 - 11:41am PT
The anit-government and anti-tax rhetoric of TGT, Chaz and Rick Sumner is without substance. Would anyeone deny that corporate lobbyists are writing the regulations and tax codes? So for sake of discussion let's say we agree that the lobbyists are doing so. Would they be writing these tax codes to save you (the middle class)money on your taxes? Would they write regulations to protect consumers?, inform consumers?, support free market competition?, promote healthy forests? create jobs?, cause a "trickle-down" of wealth?, encourage education?, etc. Or would they write regulations and tax codes to support their own profits? And simply pay congressman to vote for the laws they've written? Like the laws that support Monsanto's seed policies, for instance. Or the laws that allow corportations to keep profits off-shore in the Cayman Islands where they are not taxed. The banking deregulation? The federal policies that allowed for Credit Deriviative Obligations that were heavily involved in the collapse of 2008?

Meanwhile the anti-tax rhetoric is swallowed by many Americans who's taxes are increasing not decreasing. Yet the services that your taxes could pay for (SS, education, NPS, forest service, emergency services, highways, etc) are being cut. Who is benefitting from the anti-gov. rhetoric? You? Whose taxes are going down? Yours?

No, this is not new, but the level of rhetoric is ever increasing. And more importantly the level of corruption, and legal corruption if you will is extreme. The citizens united ruling made it legal, remember?

Isn't this a logical example (albeit I'm not presenting data here, I have posted references several places upthread) of how wealth is being redistributed away from the middle class toward the very rich? It's stupid for liberals to support Obama because he pretends to be a liberal. And just as stupid for conservatives to oppose Obama because he pretends to be liberal. Meanwhile Obams supports the corruption I've just explained.

How 'bout we skip the rhetoric and consider Move to Amend? i.e. amend the constitution to nullify the citizens united ruling.
Jebus H Bomz

climber
Peavine Basecamp
Mar 28, 2013 - 12:57pm PT
The anit-government and anti-tax rhetoric of TGT, Chaz and Rick Sumner is without substance.


The only thing that needs to be watched more closely than our government is the jackhole mafia that pretend they want to do away with it.
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
And every fool knows, a dog needs a home, and...
Mar 28, 2013 - 01:00pm PT
BEIJING — Life for the almighty Chinese government official has come to this: car pools, domestically made wristwatches and self-serve lunch buffets.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/28/world/asia/xi-jinping-imposes-austerity-measures-on-chinas-elite.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

Remember your Animal Farm lessons, kids! Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

Gold loves itself and wants to gather into one place. Thus it has always been.

DMT
Majid_S

Mountain climber
Bay Area , California
Mar 28, 2013 - 04:29pm PT
German reaction to Cyprus situation

http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=K5R2JyU_MKg&feature=endscreen
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Mar 28, 2013 - 06:07pm PT
Would anyone deny that corporate lobbyists are writing the regulations and tax codes?

Yes. I would. Congress is writing the tax codes, and the regulatory agencies are writing the regulations. Lobbyists are doing all they can to influence them, but lobbyists come in all stripes, and don't always get what they want. In California currently, the trial lawyer lobbyists, anti-business wing of the environmentalist lobbyists and labor union lobbyists carry the most weight, because they largely paid for the election of the current members of the majority party.

You'll be amazed to see, however, that sometimes, even influential lobbyists don't get what they want, but I suspect I'll have communication problems discussing this with you, since apparently by your definition, Obama is not a liberal (I presume you're referring to his domestic policy. To the extent he has merely veered from consensus bipartisan foreign policy of the past, I agree that he is not a reactionary leftist (who refer to themselves, paradoxically as "progressives")).

Sorry, but I don't share your degree of cynicism on this issue.

John
sempervirens

climber
Mar 28, 2013 - 09:16pm PT
I'll look for the references. But several congressman have gone on record stating that congress does not write legislation. There are some congressman and several economists who address this in the documentary I referred to upthread (werenotbrokemovie.com). Corporations heavily influence the tax code and their lobbyists do write tax codes (check out the references, I'm putting them in here for people who think, not for the knee jerkers). Corporate tax rates in US are higher than any other nation! (neo-cons cite this) but they don't pays those rates!!! Their effective rates are much lower because they legally off-shore profits. Liberal Obama doesn't mention that.

Cynicism doesn't interest me, reality does. Obama did not write obamacare and it does not control healthcare costs. During the obamacare debates in congress in 2009 there were 10 healthcare lobbyists for every member of congress (that's according to npr, and yes I'm skeptical of them and all the info I receive, but I do my best to base my opinions on info). They effectively squelched single payer option by scaring the sh#t outta conservatives around the nation who have no knowledge of healthcare economics and act as if we're still in the cold war. Whether you agree with the single payer as a better system or not I think you'll agree that most Americans have little technical economic knowledge of it and yet have very strong opinions. THose opinions (IMO) were formed for them by propaganda.

The citizens united ruling has greatly influenced the elections of 2012 all around the country. Many PACs and advocacy groups (American Heritage Foundation and Americans for Prosperity are two that are funded and controlled by Koch brothers) crushed opponents by outspending on campaign propaganda. Monsanto put financial muscle against the GMO labelling in CA.

Liberal Obama puts Tim Geitner in charge of Treasury. THen Obama ignores the banking scandals and prosecutes no body. LIberal vs. conservative is a red herring to keep us all so worried about each other that we vote against the other party and accept the sell outs. It's ridiculuous to think a president shares liberal or conservative values just because they speak of those values. How gullible are we?
kennyt

climber
Woodfords,California
Mar 28, 2013 - 09:28pm PT
In CA rates for health insurance are going to go up by 62%.

Not because of greedy insurance companies, but because of changes mandated by Obamacare.
we've been getting f*#ked by the insurance companies since before you even heard the name Obama.
TGT

Social climber
So Cal
Mar 28, 2013 - 10:39pm PT
There isn't a "wealth distribution" problem,

There's a wealth mobility problem!

The "progressive" (Marxist) solutions of regulation and redistribution only exacerbate accumulation by the nouveau nobility and stifle any mobility.

All hail the Neo-feudalists!




He's really f*#king you now Kenny.
Dr. F.

Big Wall climber
SoCal
Mar 28, 2013 - 10:47pm PT
THen Obama ignores the banking scandals and prosecutes no body.
wrong
Obama has prosecuted many people, they are just starting the procecutions, these things take time, google it

But the real Problem!
What they did wasn't illegal, because of the Republican deregulation

and what John said about Congress and the regulators making the laws was laughable

It's all about lobbyist money, and how the lobbyists control the Republican Party to do their bidding for massive cash bribes

It's all about coerporate welfare and low taxes for the "takers", the rich and well connected

They are beleeding us dry, and expecting the poor, the old and middle class to make up for their greed.
Dr. F.

Big Wall climber
SoCal
Mar 28, 2013 - 10:47pm PT
all the money in the world isn't going to create a single job if it's locked up in a Swiss bank account
Dr. F.

Big Wall climber
SoCal
Mar 28, 2013 - 10:49pm PT
Hey TGT?
who spent all the money?
Who created the last 3 Depressions?
Who robbed your 401K in 2007?
TGT

Social climber
So Cal
Mar 28, 2013 - 10:54pm PT
Hey TGT?
who spent all the money?
Who created the last 3 Depressions?
Who robbed your 401K in 2007?

The federal government

sempervirens

climber
Mar 29, 2013 - 01:08am PT
I googled financial fraud prosecutions by Obama as suggested by Dr F. Yeah, I stand corrected. I found no articles about those they have prosecuted, but several articles noted no SENIOR Wall St Executives have been prosecuted. But some financial fraud has been investigated and prosecutions have been made. Link below for a 13 minute news segment about this. The points I raised are still damn valid. Wealth was shifted, and too many got away with a grand deception - some legal, some not. Ideology (lib and con)matters less than reality.

http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=9567


Obama Admin. Fails to Prosetcute Banking Fraud to 'Save the System'

James S. Henry commenting on PBS documentary "The Untouchables": If one of these institutions was indicted and made an example of, it would have a profound affect on the whole industry - but Obama raises money on Wall St. - January 29, 2013
the Fet

climber
Tu-Tok-A-Nu-La
Mar 29, 2013 - 01:31am PT
LIberal vs. conservative is a red herring to keep us all so worried about each other that we vote against the other party and accept the sell outs.

Word. Whenever I hear conservatives spend all their energy attacking liberals or vice versa I think of how much they are JUST LIKE their opponents. Attack each other, don't compromise, demonize, and focus on what's wrong with someone else instead of what you can do to make things better. A bunch of stupid f*#king stupidity.
rottingjohnny

Sport climber
mammoth lakes ca
Mar 29, 2013 - 09:21am PT
sempervirens....good analysis...we need more realist like you to cut thru the sh#t....
rick sumner

Trad climber
reno, nevada/ wasilla alaska
Mar 29, 2013 - 10:26am PT
Yes we need more literalists like Sempe.The ruling class (dominated by career pols)do keep us divided,distrustful,antagonistic against each other along the artificial line of party affiliation while perpetuating and enriching themselves,ultimately at the expense of the grand experiment that was the U.S.A.Neither party holds anything close to a lock on the rational solutions needed to get this country back on track.Dr. F and his merry band of minions are mindlessly doing the bidding of one side of a two headed coin every time they spew the party line propaganda. It is our job to deconstruct their exaggerations and lies, not to bolster the arguments of the reverse side of the coin , but rather to open some eyes and progress forward on rational middle ground.
If the people can ever wrest control of government back from the monstrosity of the ruling class perhaps a new constitutional amendment could be adopted to limit control of it by special interests. To be effective, this amendment would have to ban all campaign contributions, strictly limit terms, and make registration for government service mandatory for all citizens.Say at a certain age all citizens are required to put their hat in the ring for a political post of their choice.Tests winnow out a number of candidates and those remaining provide a verifiable biography along with an essay laying out what they hope to accomplish. This is all posted via available media and the people vote their choice for representation for a single term.After their term, having done their duty, the amateur pol returns to private life. Sounds like pie in the sky doesn't it?
Norton

Social climber
the Wastelands
Mar 29, 2013 - 10:49am PT
when are you planning on starting?
the Fet

climber
Tu-Tok-A-Nu-La
Mar 29, 2013 - 11:39am PT
Dr. F and his merry band of minions are mindlessly doing the bidding of one side of a two headed coin every time they spew the party line propaganda. It is our job to deconstruct their exaggerations and lies, not to bolster the arguments of the reverse side of the coin , but rather to open some eyes and progress forward on rational middle ground.

So let's hear who you think on the right is doing this. It's easy to criticize the people who you usually don't agree with. Let's see the courage to deconstruct those on the right as well. Then I'll believe you actually want the rational middle ground.
rick sumner

Trad climber
reno, nevada/ wasilla alaska
Mar 29, 2013 - 11:45am PT
How about for starters; Geore W. Bush and most of his cabinet and appointees,John McCain, Lindsey Graham,Rob Portman,etc, etc.Basically most of the old guard and those who's opinions change as fast as the political wind. Now,can you offer up some of the other side?
Dr. F.

Big Wall climber
SoCal
Mar 29, 2013 - 11:55am PT
I'm a secular progressive liberal first, a Democrat second
I don't do the bidding for the Democrats,

I fight the forces of evil
And those my friend, are the Republicans
You may think they are all the same, but then you a fool

There are 10000000s of differences

Just look at what Bush did to us
and what Mitt would have brought, and he was the best choice out all the Republicans could offer.

Obama is not perfect, He is actually an Old School Republican, he is no where near left of center

McCain was screaming at Hagel for him to take back saying that the Surge in Iraq wasn't a success!!!, What kind of success was the surge? just more deaths and money wasted on an illegal war.

McCain, Graham and the rest Republican Congress should be run out of town as treasonous scum. Every one of them are pathetic despicable people, especially the Tea Baggers.

Here's a question, What have the Republicans done that was good in the last 20 years? They ran this country into the ground, that is what they given us, suffering, death and dispair.

I can think of many things good that the Dems have done.


forces of evil?
illegal wars
torture
wire tapping
letting the banksters steal our treasury
the huge debt they left, and now blame on Obama
the constant lying and BS propaganda
being in bed with oil
denial of science
using God for their agenda of taking away rights and privileges

I can write a whole book on their obvious evil policies and ideology
Dr. F.

Big Wall climber
SoCal
Mar 29, 2013 - 12:03pm PT
Here's a topic...

The Minimum wage.

What do you think, should it be raised, or banished

I would like to hear John's opinion,

My opinion, raise it, WTF are we waiting for, F-ig Republicans are holding it back, while millions are in utter poverty.

to bad we can't keep this political talk on one thread
but the Right Wingers just won't go there, pussies


I like hearing the Fet's opinion on all subject matter
kennyt

climber
Woodfords,California
Mar 29, 2013 - 12:08pm PT
I make up my own minimum wage for anyone that works for me, why would you want your employees struggling?
Norton

Social climber
the Wastelands
Mar 29, 2013 - 12:14pm PT
why would you want your employees struggling?


the less you pay them, the more you get to keep for yourself


kennyt

climber
Woodfords,California
Mar 29, 2013 - 12:17pm PT
When you pay the minimum you get minimal returns. I'm never gonna be rich so if I pay someone with an unemployed wife and a kid a few extra bucks it's not changing much for me. Am I redistributing my wealth?
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Mar 29, 2013 - 12:19pm PT
If people had fewer kids that stayed in school and got a decent education
employers would have to pay them more - supply and demand, pure and simple.
Dr. F.

Big Wall climber
SoCal
Mar 29, 2013 - 12:27pm PT
If people had fewer kids that stayed in school and got a decent education

I just can't figure out why these people are so stupid to not realize this?

WTF! are you kidding me!!!
This will never happen, people are stupid, and no one thinks about the future, Did you?

and don't forget, less education means more time to have lots of babies with no way support to support them.

The Churches should go on a lowering the population campaign, and give everyone birth control and teach sex education
Norton

Social climber
the Wastelands
Mar 29, 2013 - 12:33pm PT
The Churches should go on a lowering the population campaign, and give everyone birth control and teach sex education


+1
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Mar 29, 2013 - 12:36pm PT
Well, I thought I did but as medical science has now shown the brain's frontal
lobe development (where logic occurs) sorely lags behind a young adult's ego.
John M

climber
Mar 29, 2013 - 12:39pm PT
Here's a topic...

The Minimum wage.

What do you think, should it be raised, or banished

I would like to hear John's opinion,

JohnE has said the minimum wage hurts small businesses and keeps them from hiring more people, implying that if the minimum wage was lower, then the unemployment rate would also be lower. As if there are tons of people out there who want to work for slave wages.
Dr. F.

Big Wall climber
SoCal
Mar 29, 2013 - 12:41pm PT
Yes
If the min. wage was only a $1 /hr, I would hire my own personal slave to do all my work.

It's win win!!
Norton

Social climber
the Wastelands
Mar 29, 2013 - 12:44pm PT
so how does the minimum wage "hurt" thousands of large companies?

how does Taco Bell or McDonalds get hurt by being "forced" by law to pay a min hourly wage?


go ahead, take a shot at relating min wage to their stock price, I dare ya
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Mar 29, 2013 - 12:45pm PT
John, let's look at the flip side of the minimum wage dilemma - what they've
done in Europe. It is well accepted that unemployment remains high there
because the minimum wages and onerous hiring laws cause employers to put off
hiring until it is absolutely necessary. To be fair, it is more of the latter
but the labor market is probably the freest market that exists, at least in
Europe.
John M

climber
Mar 29, 2013 - 01:29pm PT
If Europe is such a free market for labor, then why do they get 5 to 7 weeks of paid vacation while in America in the lower paying jobs its hard to even get one week? Their vacation time is mandated.
Patrick Sawyer

climber
Originally California now Ireland
Mar 29, 2013 - 01:44pm PT
I know I'm preaching to deaf ears, so continue on.

Back to you John.
kennyt

climber
Woodfords,California
Mar 29, 2013 - 01:47pm PT
What's a vacation is it one of those things you put on a credit card and then work all year to pay it off?
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Mar 29, 2013 - 01:47pm PT
Neither party holds anything close to a lock on the rational solutions needed to get this country back on track.

True, that. For all of our railing, though, we forget that politics really is "the art of the possible." Once we recognize that not everyone else shares our worldview (and, consequently, our preferred policies), we realize the need to form a large enough coalition to obtain our optimal government. Hence the formation of political parties.



Dr. F.

Big Wall climber
SoCal
Mar 29, 2013 - 01:54pm PT
Neither party holds anything close to a lock on the rational solutions needed to get this country back on track.

One Party has a Lock on having No rational solutions to getting this Country back on Track

and that same Party does hold a Lock on keeping any Rational solutions from being implemented

True Dat

They are Holding this Country back on Purpose

They rail about 4 dead in Benghazi, and at the same time 100s are dying in their district because of lack of affordable Health care Insurance

1000s without jobs, as they send them to China

1000s of their homes are being foreclosed on, and at the same time they are giving the banks free money

and after taking money from Big Oil, They argue that there is No Climate Change as their district gets torn down by a freak Tornedo, it was an act of God

Complete Hypocrites that feign ignorance of the truth and the ready solutions
Dr. F.

Big Wall climber
SoCal
Mar 29, 2013 - 02:00pm PT
What is the difference between a Libertarian and a Republican?

Social issues

homosexuals, abortion, immigration, the separation of the church and state, drugs, civil rights

if you are against abortion, or equal rights for same sex marriages, you are a Republican, not a libertarian

If you believe as a libertarian but also believe that we should regulate Corporations and tax the rich, then you are a Democrat


The Pauls (Rand and Ron) are Not true Libertarians, they are more like Republicans, since they are against many freedoms that any true libertarains would advocate for, like abortion, civil rights, same sex marriages, they are just another version of the cult of greed and evil, Tea Baggars
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Mar 29, 2013 - 02:01pm PT
John M, sorry, there's no sarcastic smiley face available. There's no free
lunch nor vacation and that's largely why Greece, Spain, Portugal, Italy,
and France are in such dire straits and why employers hate to hire people
over there. Did I mention that it is nigh impossible to even lay somebody
off even in dire times? It is sheer insanity.
kennyt

climber
Woodfords,California
Mar 29, 2013 - 02:03pm PT
Don't libertarians always vote for the guy who has no chance of being elected So makes their vote useless?
Dr. F.

Big Wall climber
SoCal
Mar 29, 2013 - 02:05pm PT
Kenny
yes
But I think that they should form another Party

There could be the Republicans, the Libertarains, and then the Tea Baggers

That way they will Win For Sure!
John M

climber
Mar 29, 2013 - 02:06pm PT
Dr F.. sometimes you are like a dog with a bone. There isn't any way to have a conversation with you because you are going to keep pounding those same line. Can't you see that for a Republican to admit his party is whack, even partly, thats a big step? Thats when you can start a conversation on what to do about our current problems. Rather then just keep pounding the party line. At some point America has to have a conversation if its going to ever get better.

Or should we just resort to a civil war? Us agin them. Like I overheard in the supermarket in Oakhurst.
John M

climber
Mar 29, 2013 - 02:07pm PT
Okay.. thanks Reilly for the explanation. I missed the sarcasm completely. By the way, I love your photos. You have been to some Rad places.


Time to head outside.. Its too pretty of a day to just sit inside yacking on the crazy making machine.

Credit: John M
Dr. F.

Big Wall climber
SoCal
Mar 29, 2013 - 02:15pm PT
I am one of many that are pushing the conversation
I thought I posted some good stuff, impassioned, right?

but go ahead and carry on

My solution to our dilemma,
1) expose the problem by education
2) vote them out

That has been my only agenda from day one
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Mar 29, 2013 - 02:21pm PT
JohnE has said the minimum wage hurts small businesses and keeps them from hiring more people, implying that if the minimum wage was lower, then the unemployment rate would also be lower. As if there are tons of people out there who want to work for slave wages.

What I, and most other economists, say is that if the minimum wage is high enough to make a difference, it will lower employment of the least productive workers. Norton correctly tells us why: the employer makes less money. The issue, though, is not whether, but how much.

Supporters of a higher minimum wage argue that the reduced employment effect of a higher minimum wage is negligible, and the benefits to the lowest paid workers are tangible and real. The opponents of a higher minimum wage argue that the reduced employment is significant, particularly for teenagers and other workers who are not the primary source of support for their families.

"Slave wages" and minimum wages differ greatly. The only persons working for slave wages after the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment are prisoners. The issue is whether the minimum wage protects the wages of higher-earning workers. While I personally doubt it, the unions obviously think otherwise.

I do note that a 2006 survey of PhD members of the American Economics Association by Robert Whaples found that 37.7% of respondents supported an increase in the minimum wage, 14.3% wanted it kept at the current level, 1.3% wanted it decreased, and 46.8% wanted it completely eliminated! (Robert Whaples (2006) "Do Economists Agree on Anything? Yes!," The Economists' Voice: Vol. 3 : Iss. 9, Article 1). Not exactly a ringing endorsement of any position, but nonetheless quite surprising to me, because most of my fellow members of the AEA hold views far to my left.

To me the more important question is the one Norton raised much earlier, about whether, in the current and future economy, there will be enough "good jobs" to allow upward mobility from lower to middle class. While all past economic history says those jobs will exist, I can see Norton's point and cause for worry. In addition, past economic history says that whenever we have changes in production technology, economic shocks, resulting in painful dislocations, will result.

I think we've spent the last 70 years or so in a sort of idol worship of education, i.e. "Get a good eduction[usually meaning a college degree] and you'll get a good job." Not surprisingly, that paradigm didn't hold up too well for those getting degrees in areas without significant demand outside of academia. It doesn't surprise me that someone with a PhD specialty of gender studies criticism of classical composers, say, has a hard time getting a job.

In fact, jobs in many lines of work requiring a lot of education aren't easy to come by, particularly those for professorships. My nephew, with his PhD in math, is in the second year of a post-doc fellowship still looking for where he really wants to end up. The boom time market for newly-minted lawyers dried up. Pretty soon, even medicine could become much less lucrative. By definition, a capitalist economy has no guaranty of a good job for any particular individual.

I believe, however, that employment for those younger than Baby Boomers will, in fact, continue to provide upward mobility for those engaged in it, and that most everyone who wants a job in that generation will be able to find one, as the Baby Boomers retire, and those Baby Boomers remaining in the workforce will lose attractiveness to employers because their productivity won't justify their high cost.

Frankly, for Baby Boomers, I worry more about investment returns, because a very large segment of the population will rely on those investments for income. Increasing demand for investments will raise the price of those investments. For those unfamiliar with finance, the higher the price of an investment, the lower the return. (For example, we say bonds are "cheap" when they pay a high rate of interest, and "costly" when they pay a low rate of interest.) It has been my belief for several decades that my generation is going to discover that retirement requires a much more frugal lifestyle than the one to which most of us became accustomed. Personally, I think we're simply reaping what we've sown.

John
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Mar 29, 2013 - 03:57pm PT
It's worth comparing the current minimum wage with the minimum wages of the past (in inflation adjusted dollars) and correlate them with employment figures of the past. Doing so it becomes obvious that the current minimum wage is Low by historic standards and when it was higher, the economy was doing much better than it is today.

The Dow and SP just set new records. Business is doing fine and CEO are getting double digit increases every year while the little guy gets squat. Somehow the conservative never worry about CEOs getting millions (and many times higher compared to a regular worker than in the past or in other countries) as a factor on the bottom line but a living wage will somehow destroy a business

Peace

karl
Dr. F.

Big Wall climber
SoCal
Mar 29, 2013 - 04:09pm PT
Very good point karl

greed has won out
Bruce Morris

Social climber
Belmont, California
Mar 29, 2013 - 05:06pm PT
Very good point, Karl. I have to agree with Naomi Klein that the single biggest factor leading to the various economic bubbles we've experienced since 1980 is that the government has abandoned its traditional role of regulating 'greed'. Also, in the 30s and 40s there was an overwhelming public consensus that outrageous profits during an economic downturn or a war with high casualties was not acceptable. Even the CEOs agreed about that back then. I have to agree with the new Pope that worship of the buck has gotten way out of hand. But that's a easy thing to say and a lot harder to do something about. I think about that Asian Tigers who build beach resorts in Ceylon where they can go mellow out with their own personal retinue of meditating Zen monks, but in the process kick all the starving fishermen off the beaches because their catch smells up the neighborhood and blows their buzz. We live in a world full of paradoxes, don't we? And today I have to go down and get my BMW smog tested. What a hassle? The worst bummer ever!

I was thinking too about all the odd-ball specialty Ph.D.s in niche disciplines. After WWII you could go into any field, get a Ph.D., and get a tenure-track university position (if you were a white male of course). It is in the greater interest of society at large if lots and lots of people go into a variety of academic pursuits that do not necessarily fit into the existing economic profit scheme. More ideas our there leads to more creative cross-overs between disciplines that in turn lead to more areas of knowledge. What if Robert Sapolsky hadn't learned swahili gone gone to Kenya to study baboon societies? I can just listen to a little Philistine saying, Why'd he do that? Now those studies of baboon societies are having a direct impact on neuroscience and the biochemistry behind the operation of the human brain. We really owe it to ourselves to underwrite the study of fields that don't have direct economic results on the profit ledger because they certainly will have an impact in that area in the future. A little Philistine with a two-bit gift shop out in Nevada on I80 doesn't see it that way of course, but he's feeding on the free market place of ideas as it flows by him from the major metropolitan areas. He just wants to install a few more slot machines and maybe invest in a few more hookers in the trailers out back. He doesn't read Newman on the purpose of a university either in his spare time. I used to think that 19th century logical positivist social utilitarianism had died with WWI. Don't you believe it. It was transplanted to the Brave New World of America where it still alive an well and flourishing among the petite bourgeois shop keepers and accountants call "The World".
Dr. F.

Big Wall climber
SoCal
Mar 29, 2013 - 07:51pm PT
It's referred to as "the race to the bottom"
John M

climber
Mar 29, 2013 - 08:07pm PT
The issue is whether the minimum wage protects the wages of higher-earning workers. While I personally doubt it, the unions obviously think otherwise.

We really do need to protect those CEOs..
Norton

Social climber
the Wastelands
Mar 29, 2013 - 08:21pm PT
No, the "issue" is that American workers "deserve" a minimum wage that their employers cannot pay less than.

Just as American workers deserve to not be discriminated against on the job for race, creed, color, sex, or national origin.

Bear in mind that there are plenty of "outs" for employers to NOT pay the full federal minimum wages such as high school kids, students, etc


The issue is not whether the federal minimum wage is "enough" to live on, but that an hourly minimum amount cannot be paid less than.

Come on, this is 1900, we are better than that now.

No one who has thought this through should actually support employers paying as little as they can find someone desperate enough to do the work.
rottingjohnny

Sport climber
mammoth lakes ca
Mar 29, 2013 - 11:13pm PT
The haves' cry foul for the have-nots' bringing up class warfare then they turn around and fight tooth and nail to defeat minimum wage legislation....Classic golden rule politics....
rick sumner

Trad climber
reno, nevada/ wasilla alaska
Mar 30, 2013 - 03:36am PT
Well folks i've been away busy all day and into the night.Just now tuned onto the forum to read the latest installments of this thread. No surprise
here; Dr. F, Hedge, and other less vocal minions keep railing on and on and on. You would think by their vemonous derogation that they won't be
satisfied until guns are blazing in a new civil war and all the evil, greedy, wealthy republicans are rounded up and hung. All the power to them, but why stop there? Do they not realize that there are even more evil,greedy,wealthy and likewise stupid legislators on the other side of the aisle? Dr. F, what do John Kerry(retired to state secretary),Jay Rockefeller,Mark Warner,Jared Polis,Herb Kohl, and Nancy Pelosi all have in common? Well i'll answer for you: they are all have fortunes of over 100 million dollars. Do you think they came about these fortunes by the wit of their minds and sweat of their brows? Do something different for a change will you;check out these rascals.

It is reassuring to see level heads like John E, John M, Reilly and others countering steadily, but damn those minions sure make a hell of a racket. It is like fingernails being dragged across a chalkboard.

Hey Reilly- I know what you mean about the socialist European's reluctance to hire their natives. My daughter just did two three month stints over there to fill a temporary position in a scientific lab. It seems the labor laws are so onerous that they would prefer importing than being saddled with the almost lifetime commitment of hiring in country.

Klimmer

Mountain climber
Mar 30, 2013 - 11:29am PT
Mar 29, 2013 - 11:00am PT
What is the difference between a Libertarian and a Republican?

Social issues

homosexuals, abortion, immigration, the separation of the church and state, drugs, civil rights

if you are against abortion, or equal rights for same sex marriages, you are a Republican, not a libertarian

If you believe as a libertarian but also believe that we should regulate Corporations and tax the rich, then you are a Democrat

The Pauls (Rand and Ron) are Not true Libertarians, they are more like Republicans, since they are against many freedoms that any true libertarains would advocate for, like abortion, civil rights, same sex marriages, they are just another version of the cult of greed and evil, Tea Baggars


Just to let you know there are Democrats who are Believers, who beleive in social justice, who know what to do with true wealth -- pay your fair share in taxes, share your wealth and help others. They know the Good Word, and they live by it:


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_democracy
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_democracy#Christian_democracy_in_the_United_States

The Christian Democratic Union of the United States of America

http://cdusa.org/

http://www.uschristiandemocrats.org/

http://ipost.christianpost.com/news/why-start-a-christian-democratic-party-in-the-united-states-10353/

Saved from homosexuality. There is no such thing as a Gay Christian.
http://ipost.christianpost.com/news/saved-from-homosexuality-there-is-no-such-thing-as-a-gay-christian-10039/




Dr. F.

Big Wall climber
SoCal
Mar 30, 2013 - 11:37am PT
John Kerry, Jay Rockefeller,Mark Warner,Jared Polis,Herb Kohl, and Nancy Pelosi all have in common? Well i'll answer for you: they are all have fortunes of over 100 million dollars. Do you think they came about these fortunes by the wit of their minds and sweat of their brows? Do something different for a change will you;check out these rascals.

No difference????
Wake up and you can see the difference, are you that dense?

These people above, along with George Soros, Bill Gates and Warren Buffet is: They are fighting for equality, fighting to pay higher taxes, fighting to increase the minimum wage, fighting for more safety net policies, helping the poor, trying to provide affordable health care
They care about others and want to help all Americans, not just themselves.
That is the difference!

The Republicans are fighting for the exact opposite, FACT
They are fighting to enrich themselves and the people that lobby them with big bucks. They are doing absolutely nothing for 99% of America.

No Liberal is against having wealth, it's just a matter of what you do with it, in a word, it's all about "greed"

Equality isn't about wealth Redistribution, No liberal or sane person wants to take from the rich and give to the poor, we just want the poor be able to raise above it, to be able to get an education, a good job, affordable health care,

And that is done with Liberal Gov. policies, tax the rich, stop the Corporate welfare, the militarization of the Country,
and instead subsidize science, education and green energy
Dr. F.

Big Wall climber
SoCal
Mar 30, 2013 - 11:41am PT
Credit: Dr. F.
rick sumner

Trad climber
reno, nevada/ wasilla alaska
Mar 30, 2013 - 01:12pm PT
Dr. F, i would say the same to you; wake up, your brain may be calcified with hatred, your neurons and synapses could be hardened to the point that the little thought produced through them travel along a single narrow path-tunnel vision.So let's throw out a few ideas and see if you can process them independent of that tunnel.

Do you think their is a possibility that those liberal names you mentioned, along with the list i previously provided ,just might have a personal enrichment motive behind advancement of social justice issues?Let's do a cursory examination of a couple of them and ask a couple questions about their actions versus personal benefit.

Warren Buffet; Sometimes richest man on the planet who cultivates a folksy,benevolent image of himself in pushing equality of taxation issues that would have the effect of weakening the balance sheets of his fellow hedge fund managers and corporate raiders.Meanwhile old Warren has been quietly fighting the i.r.s. over a billion dollar back tax bill-why doesn't he just do the right thing and pay up uncle Sam so that money can fund additional social safety nets and battle the dramatized effects of sequestration? Did you also know that old uncle Warren was up to his eyeballs in the reinsurance market that enabled the housing bubble mortgages to be sliced and diced and packaged into AAA investment grade products that unraveled and largely caused the great recession? These policies were written in such a way as to satisfy federal regulations while excusing Warren's insurance companies from all liability.Did you know that Elliot Spitzer was investigating these activities (which were fraud plain and simple) when he was conveniently brought down by by a little prostitution patronizing scandal?

Nancy Pelosi: Miss "we'll just have to pass it to see what is in it".The highest percentage of wavers to the ACA were issued to businesses friendly to her in her own congressional district-did you know that? In a recent bill raising the federal minimum wage, American Samoa was exempted from it. Star kist Tuna has a large plant there that is tied to her husbands investment empire-how convenient.Their little empire also has ties to investments into "Green Energy" that their is little risk in due to federal loan guarantees.

Just a few items you might ponder Dr. if you can somehow step outside your bigotry.I'm not defending evil greed, just pointing out it is a cancer killing our country and it has metastasized throughout our government and is blind to political stripe.
John M

climber
Mar 30, 2013 - 01:14pm PT
your brain is calcified with hatred,

Man, I would say the same thing about you.
rick sumner

Trad climber
reno, nevada/ wasilla alaska
Mar 30, 2013 - 01:26pm PT
Yes John M you may be correct. I do have a hatred for the people responsible for greedily and systematically dismantling the hopes of a bright future for this country. You see John, i have kids and ,like my parents before me, i want them to have the same opportunities i had. You guys on this forum, by virtue of being climbers who cherish freedom , have a possibility of rejecting the total loss of freedom of the cradle to grave safety net (actually total government control) that is being foisted upon us disguised as "social justice".
Gary

Social climber
Right outside of Delacroix
Mar 30, 2013 - 08:33pm PT
Yes John M you may be correct. I do have a hatred for the people responsible for greedily and systematically dismantling the hopes of a bright future for this country.

Couldn't agree with you more, Rick Summer. We need to tell those Wall Street thieves to take a hike. We can no longer afford to carry the weight of those capitalist leeches on our backs. It's time for them to pull their own weight.

It's time the work ethic got a little respect in this country.
Dr. F.

Big Wall climber
SoCal
Mar 30, 2013 - 09:08pm PT
You guys on this forum, by virtue of being climbers who cherish freedom , have a possibility of rejecting the total loss of freedom of the cradle to grave safety net (actually total government control) that is being foisted upon us disguised as "social justice".

Classic
Please, elaborate, who is doing what now?
Dr. F.

Big Wall climber
SoCal
Mar 30, 2013 - 09:24pm PT
It's all about the "Slippery slope"

Any acceptance of socialism will Transform us sooner or later into a "Marxist Russia Style Communism"

and we all know that they killed millions of innocent and dissenters, right?

So this is how it works, they just change the definition so that to a Right Winger:
A Progressive Liberal = Stalinist Communist

Even though it's the complete opposite, and liberals are not communists, it doesn't matter, that's what they believe, and they will believe anything the right wing media says.

Why?
The Right Wing media tell them this, how could it not be true?
Why would they lie?

why?
Captain...or Skully

climber
Mar 30, 2013 - 10:19pm PT
But how will we shoot the Wall Street as#@&%es in the head with no guns?
You can't deny that they richly deserve it.

edit: Frickin' Tiggit. You believe what you're told to, Drone.
TGT

Social climber
So Cal
Mar 30, 2013 - 10:27pm PT
"Men are qualified for liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains upon their own appetites. Society cannot exist, unless a controlling power upon will and appetite be placed somewhere; and the less of it there is within, the more there must be without. It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things, that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters."
-Edmund Burke

John M

climber
Mar 30, 2013 - 10:33pm PT
Every city on that list is in a country that has outlawed guns.

This list?

Vienna, Zurich, Geneva, Vancouver, Auckland and...Dusseldorf!

They can own guns in these countries. What are you talking about? They certainly own guns in Canada.
rick sumner

Trad climber
reno, nevada/ wasilla alaska
Mar 30, 2013 - 11:44pm PT
Just got back from a trip to the east side of Winnemucca Lake (dry since about 1910 when the inlet channel was diverted for irrigation for ranchers and farmers) to explore the Fishbone Cave area, which some controversial archaeological evidence points to paleoindian occupation as early as 15,000 years ago.Anyway i wanted to photograph any rock art and stand in the caves, looking out over an ancient lake, to get a feel for the place and imagine what those early occupants might have seen and felt so long ago.

Those stone age frontiersman were among the first wave of humans to set foot in the western hemisphere ,a frontier far wilder and less known to them than any colonists we might send to Mars.They lived, hit and miss i imagine, only by their code of conduct within the family groups and as dictated by the natural laws of this new land.They shared the land with the now extinct mega mammals; Mammoths, mastodons, giant sloth,Bison Antiquis (far larger than modern bison),Horse, Camel,Giant Beaver, and many more. There were also the familiar modern Bighorn Sheep, Deer,Elk,Pronghorn Antelope,Ducks,Geese,Etc., which they hunted or captured for food. There competition were the mega carnivores (now extinct) Short Face Bears, Saber Tooth Cats, American Lion, Dire Wolf, all of which were far larger and more dangerous than their modern counterparts.
The plants were all new also, nobody knew what was poisonous or nutritious or how to prepare it so it wasn't the former.Their isolation was total, their survival was in doubt, they stayed alive only by wit of mind and sweat of brow. Because of all this they lived to the utmost of human potential and were rewarded by complete freedom of spirit unhindered in its creative expression.

Now fast forward fifteen millennium to today in America which has often been referred to as the "last great hope of mankind". We've largely halted our expansion outwards, the nearby solar neighborhood being the logical next frontier, and instead have taken a turn inwards into the information age.While all good and well for efficiency and entertainment the IT world is largely diversionary and certainly no substitute for the human spirit's need for frontiers.We are at our best pushing the envelope both mentally and physically.

We have a 60,000 page tax code as the indecipherable law of the land,we have a homeland security to keep us all safe from each other,we have an EPA whose function now seems to be to stifle all development rather than encouraging environmentally sound development,we have the worlds most powerful military
constantly deployed nation building (or ruining) and policing the planet lest terror reach our shore,we have a FEMA to save our property and homes in the event we come face to face with the natural ferocity of nature,we have an Energy and Interior department engaged in picking losers over winners with the taxpayers dime,we have an Education Department and public school system that seemingly put the systems employee's welfare as a priority over education of children,we have a new, supposedly all inclusive, health care system that will likely leave multitudes uncovered and subject many categories of middle class to unaffordable costs, Etc., Etc. In short we have laws and regulations covering virtually all aspects of our lives, promote losers over winners, stifle anything but virtual creativity, and we (the working people be they rich or poor) are supposed to be good little consumers and taxpayers with ever larger chunks of our incomes being eroded or taxed away.

Who do we have to thank for all this? Personally, i don't blame the corporations,the environmentalists lobby, the lawyers lobby,the union's lobby's, state and local lobby's, etc. etc. No ,i blame the corrupted political system that is filled with crooks, cronies, and rigid idealogues
of both parties. Now they (one party or another) have spent vast amounts of time and treasure to convince their respective supporters that their path is the path of intelligence,compassion,forward progress while representing the opposing party as responsible for all that ails us as a country. It amazes me that they still, either party, have gullible supporters. Folks, the system has been overwhelmingly perverted by career politicians whose primary concerns are to maintain their reign on power while enriching themselves.Our wealth and potential is being redistributed to this new ruling class and those they represent while a large portion of the citizenry have been duped into confrontational debate over which party is worse than the other.
Dr. F.

Big Wall climber
SoCal
Mar 31, 2013 - 11:13am PT
What's your solution?
Fight everyone, they are all bad/evil.

Good luck with that, I see a way out, and it can only be done with the cooperation with one side, the side that works for the people, not only to enrich themselves
There are many good people on that side, (and I can't think of any good on the other side)

read the letter posted on the Republican thread

Do you have any idea of what's going on in Congress? apparently not, maybe you need some more education on the facts.
Dr. F.

Big Wall climber
SoCal
Mar 31, 2013 - 11:15am PT
Credit: Dr. F.
new world order2

climber
Mar 31, 2013 - 11:55am PT
Fixed it for ya :)

Saying that both parties are the same is just what the new world order WANTS you to say.

How does it feel to be drunk on kool-aid? Bah-ah-ah-ah....

photo not found
Missing photo ID#269454
Gary

Social climber
Right outside of Delacroix
Apr 1, 2013 - 11:39pm PT


The workers know perfectly well that the thieves don't wake up at 6 in the morning. The real thieves, those who enrich themselves by robbing the fruits of our labors are those capitalist sons-of-bitches.

Durruti, of course, is correct. Unfortunately in America, we have been lied to for so long, and so well, that we no longer know who are the producers and who are the leeches. We despise and have no respect for honest work and instead hold paper shuffling conmen in the highest regards.

God save the Republic.
BBA

climber
OF
Apr 2, 2013 - 01:46pm PT
I have a simple question, given the first chart from the video on the first post: How do you redistribute wealth in the U.S. if not by changing the tax code to bring it back to a more progressive mode?

Credit: BBA

If one cannot propose another solution then isn't the argument over?

A society with too great inequalities may become unstable. Nations have a history of revolutions in wealth inequality has been causative, and the results are usually worse than a change in the tax code.
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Apr 2, 2013 - 03:46pm PT
I have a simple question, given the first chart from the video on the first post: How do you redistribute wealth in the U.S. if not by changing the tax code to bring it back to a more progressive mode?

Bill, I have to answer that with another question. If income is the change in wealth, doesn't making the tax code more "progressive" merely make it harder for anyone new to enter the highest wealth strata?

The arguments of those who use the data estimating the current distribution of wealth to decry that "the rich just get richer" rest on an implicit assumption that the identity of "the rich" remains relatively constant over time. I personally think reality contradicts that assumption, and the relatively scant data on the subject backs this up.

Specifically, comparing the current, static wealth distribution says nothing about whether a household with low income now will remain one with low income in the future. Time series studies of individual households suggest that this is not the case -- household incomes tend to rise over time, and households still tend to move up, not down, in economic well-being.

That said, the trend has not been steady. One famous study by the Boston Fed showed that the rate of household upward mobility has, in fact, lessened. Ironically, though, that decline started not in the 1980's, or the 2000's, when marginal tax rates on the highest incomes decreased, but in the 1990's, when those rates increased. http://www.bos.frb.org/economic/wp/wp2009/wp0907.pdf

What I find particularly worrisome about that study is not the obvious, viz. that how much you start with affects how much you end with. Rather, I find particularly troubling the conclusion that upward mobility for black households in particular has gotten harder over the study period (from 1967-2004). To me that shows at least two things: significant barriers to prosperity remain for huge numbers of black households (not surprising) and most of government policy designed to help the situation has either been ineffective or counterproductive.

I'd love to see some rigorous treatment of the latter possibility.

John

Elcapinyoazz

Social climber
Joshua Tree
Apr 2, 2013 - 04:03pm PT
"If income is the change in wealth"

Income is not the change in wealth, it is one variable.
BBA

climber
OF
Apr 2, 2013 - 06:18pm PT
John - I'm looking for something clear and simple. The terms used and the the reality that exists are clear enough. I just want to know by what means you make money go from one group to another in our democratic, rule of law system? I don't think you answered that.
Dave Kos

Social climber
Temecula
Apr 2, 2013 - 06:24pm PT
I just want to know by what means you make money go from one group to another in our democratic, rule of law system? I don't think you answered that, or I need a bigger fan to get through the smokescreen.

Start with a simple example.

Who is the richest man in America?

Did he start in that group?

If not, how did he move from one group to another?

Gary

Social climber
Right outside of Delacroix
Apr 2, 2013 - 09:44pm PT
BBA, it's called being a thief. Dave points out that many thieves don't start out as top dog, but that does not change their status. They are leeches that suck the blood of the producers, plain and simple.
TGT

Social climber
So Cal
Apr 2, 2013 - 09:46pm PT
At about 8-9 min the origin of this thinking is explained, but you really should watch the whole thing.

BBA

climber
OF
Apr 2, 2013 - 10:30pm PT
I'm not looking for an answer that says some are thieves or how things got this way. People who think my proposition is correct should hold their peace. Let's hear someone who has written passionately that tax change is bad to tell what the alternative is. Consider it a thought experiment.

What is your a simple answer to this: How do you redistribute wealth in the U.S. if not by changing the tax code to bring it back to a more progressive mode?

Credit: BBA


Dr. F.

Big Wall climber
SoCal
Apr 2, 2013 - 10:36pm PT
Good points BBA, yes we need a progressive tax system to adjust the wealth despartiy, which is corrosive to our nations health

Republicans have created our huge debt and given the rich free wealth with their policies and blocked the Dems from fixing the situation,
and then have the gall to complain about how the Gov. is broke, pure hypocrisy

John E just likes to muddy the waters with the what ifs, slippery slopes and other discredited BS

There is no convincing him that he is wrong, he will cherry pick through the gates of hell to make a point that will satisfy him alone.

But he is The Only Right winger that can make a point, the others will just accuse you of wanting communism.

rottingjohnny

Sport climber
mammoth lakes ca
Apr 2, 2013 - 10:40pm PT
BBA...We could start re-distributing wealth by having a judicial system that enforces long standing law in a more equitable manner...Petty thief steals TV and gets 1 year in the hooska...Enron steals billions and the perpatrators might have to do time in a country club prison while the victims lose their life savings...? ...Is anything more perverted than our judicial system...?
Dropline

Mountain climber
Somewhere Up There
Apr 2, 2013 - 10:52pm PT
I'm looking for something clear and simple. The terms used and the the reality that exists are clear enough. I just want to know by what means you make money go from one group to another in our democratic, rule of law system?

Read The Millionaire Next Door

BBA

climber
OF
Apr 3, 2013 - 12:16am PT
Oh well. I didn't want to hear people agreeing with me or coming up with tiny solutions like convicting the Enron crooks. I know the answer to my question - unless some god or gods really exist and miraculously do the redistribution. You never know now that the Pope is kissing the feet of the poor, unless it's just another priestly fetish.

I suppose one could posit no growing wealth distribution problem, but even the Economist and the WSJ says there is one.

If John's statement is the best the right can offer, they have nada. I vote for Dr. F's opinion(s) and gracefully retire from this thread.
Gary

Social climber
Right outside of Delacroix
Apr 3, 2013 - 12:20am PT
How do you redistribute wealth in the U.S.

The correct question is how do you STOP redistribution of wealth in this country.
Dave Kos

Social climber
Temecula
Apr 3, 2013 - 12:44am PT
How do you redistribute wealth in the U.S. if not by changing the tax code to bring it back to a more progressive mode?

You are asking the wrong question.

It's not about redistributing existing wealth.

It's about how to create more wealth while distributing the new wealth equitably.

rottingjohnny

Sport climber
mammoth lakes ca
Apr 3, 2013 - 01:05am PT
How do you stop trickle- up economics or in construction lingo , wicking....?
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Apr 3, 2013 - 02:28am PT
Sorry for my slow response, Bill, but juggling three different jobs at the moment -- law, economics and classical music (in order of profitability -- there is, after all, a reason why we call the opposite of classical music popular music) left me too little time to play.

First, as I noted much earlier upthread, I have no particular desire to redistribute wealth. Neither I nor my family are among the particularly wealthy by United States measure (though we certainly are by the world's), so I'm not being merely self-interested. I find it appalling that so many think the way to "fairness" is through what looks to me more like theft. Thrift serves a vital economic purpose. What right have we to punish it?

More fundamentally, focusing on the wealth share alone ignores far more important issues:

1. Has absolute wealth increased? If my wealth, measured in constant dollars, increases by, say, 10%, but my share of total wealth diminished, am I worse off or better off? Unless you legitimize envy, I'm better off. Charts like the one you've posted don't mesaure anything but the share of wealth.

2. Similarly, shouldn't we know why the relative distribution of wealth changed, and who got more and less, before we conclude that greater wealth inequality is bad? Maybe the share of the most wealthy in the 1990's increased because of the boom in information technology, which enriched the world but enriched its pioneers more. Is that bad? Similarly, if certain groups are becoming less wealthy because of their behavior, shouldn't we try to recognize what behavior enhances increasing wealth and encourage it, rather than creating a moral hazard by rewarding wealth-dissipating behavior.

Understand, I'm not saying that everyone who lost wealth did so because they acted badly. The nature of a market economy provides rewards for anticipating what people want, and punishment for failing to do so, but many, if not most, economic actors have neither the temperament nor the ability to truly direct their paths. I would have a hard time berating construction workers, say, who are out of a job because of a building boom and bust over which they had no real say. Moreover, I think a just society will try to aid people like that when times are tough. I have no trouble with the concept of using income taxation to bring about that aid.

I feel the same way about those who made an honest attempt at running a business, but didn't make it. A just society shows compassion.

I feel a lot less sorry, though, for a dirtbag climber who bemoans the fact that he lacks the wealth of a doctor who spent his weekends and nights in the library, in school, in internship, residency and fellowships, instead of on the rocks and in the climbing gym. They had a choice. It strikes me as unjust to take from those who made wise choices to give to someone who consciously chose self-gratification over doing something for which others were willing to pay.

3. Also, as Dave and I and others have been unsuccessfully trying to point out, the identity of the wealthy isn't a constant. I think it's a good thing that new people can join the wealthy.

Nonetheless, for the sake of argument, let's assume that the country has decided that theft is moral and wants to redistribute wealth. My objection remains that if you want to redistribute wealth, why redistribute income instead? Despite Hedge's objection, the way people move up in wealth is to obtain income, then spend less than they obtained. If you tax the highest marginal incomes heavily, you simply guarantee that it will be a long time before anyone new joins the very wealthy.

More importantly, the empirical evidence shows that it does not work. I already cited one famous Federal Reserve Bank of Boston study showing that the increasing disparity of wealth started in the 1990's -- after we raised the marginal rates on the highest income brackets, rather than in the 1980's or 2000's, when we lowered them.

Therefore, if you want to redistribute wealth, go directly to wealth. We did that for decades in the form of gift and death taxes. Set a floor of some fairly high level (say, $10,000,000) and tax the excess of that amount, either as a flat tax or in increasing marginal rates. That would be the way most likely to change the short-term wealth distribution. Of course, it has several problems, which is why we've tended to move away from it:

1. Wealth isn't as easy to verify as income. We have a reporting system with a long history that makes it difficult for people to hide income. We have the payors filing W-2's and 1099's, reporting large cash transactions, and an IRS geared to spot income tax cheats. If we still have tax cheats now, imagine what would happen if we try to do that with wealth.

Here in the San Joaquin Valley, we already have lots of experience with that, in the form of the "Mississippi Christmas Trees" farmers put together for receiving federal water project water in the days of the 160-acre limit. They made elaborate confections of persons and entities allegedly owning land that made it quite difficult to determine the number of acres in which any particular individual had a beneficial interest. How do you determine if John Doe owns Blackacre when title is in the name of XYZ, LLC, an entity each of whose members is an off-shore trust?

2. Wealth is difficult to calculate. What accounting system do we use? Must the taxpayer hire independent appraisers each year and require mark to market, or do we just calculate GAAP wealth based on cost?

3. Wealth is illiquid, so paying a large tax on it could require economically costly liquidation of assets with great economic disruption. Again, I've seen this over the years in farming when the death taxes were particularly onerous. Even though the death tax was payable in installments, it was often way too high (40% + of the taxable gross estate) to pay ever using historic American profit levels. I've seen far too many family farms gobbled up by large farming organizations when the family was forced to get outside land financing to pay the death tax within the deadline, then couldn't service the new debt.

Similarly, the value of a business, which is the primary source of wealth of most business owners, does not lend itself well to paying high taxes without destroying the business itself. In contrast, the income tax has several rules that recognize income when the taxpayer is sufficiently liquid to pay, and ignore it when the taxpayer is not.

Those considerations, along with a feeling among a substantial part of the population that the estate and gift tax was manifestly unfair because of its very high rates, led to a de-emphasis on death taxes and more reliance on income taxes. We've already seen how well that worked out.

So in the real world, there's no easy answer. Still, to me, if you want a different distribution of wealth, you tax wealth, not income.

Sorry to be so belligerent and rambling. If I were less tired, I'd be more succinct and conciliatory.

John
Dr. F.

Big Wall climber
SoCal
Apr 3, 2013 - 11:29am PT
Trickle up economics, the Conservative Promise

and they will do it by confusing you with complex theories of how we will all get rich soon, so you should be glad it's like this, because when you strike it rich-you will get your just reward
sempervirens

climber
Apr 3, 2013 - 11:38am PT
JohnL, there are some holes in your arguments.

We don't have a free market economy. I've shown that a couple times up thread.

Marginal tax rates are not the same as Effective tax rates (i.e. the rates actually paid). Corporate tax rates in US are high, but if profits are sent off-shore and thereby taxes avoided the effective rate can be zero, or even negative when other tax deductions and credits are figured in. In some cases the effective rates are simply very low because not all the profits are sent off-shore and therefore some tax paid.

As you state wealth is difficult to calculate, verify, report and tax. Perhaps that is why we tax income instead.

Let's forget about comparing the dirtbag non-working climbers to the hard-working entrepreneurs. There will always be both of these who get what they deserve. But the graphs presented at the start of this thread show the growing wealth divide. We probably agree on how that divide negatively affects democracy, jobs, education, society and the economy.

Have you checked out the documentaries: We're not Broke; Inside Job, The 1%? They are well done and informative, not the Michael Moore-type cheap shots or typical liberal biased rantings. Many interviews slamming Clinton, Bush, Greenspan,et. al.
Ken M

Mountain climber
Los Angeles, Ca
Apr 3, 2013 - 12:39pm PT
I feel a lot less sorry, though, for a dirtbag climber who bemoans the fact that he lacks the wealth of a doctor who spent his weekends and nights in the library, in school, in internship, residency and fellowships, instead of on the rocks and in the climbing gym.

John, there are some implicit issues that you don't appear to recognize:

library-which the doc didn't pay for
school-which the doc didn't pay for
hospitals-which the doc didn't pay for
loan programs for all-which the doc didn't pay for
entering a profession which entails license protection....investigators, prosecutors, judges, courts, juries, courthouses-which the doc didn't pay for.


So your theoretical doc takes basically free advantage of all of these things provided by *society*

Where is the payback?

We can look at your profession, or any occupation that has a huge payback....developers, for example.

Where is the payback?

All of these people think they are ENTITLED to all of the benefits that came their way. That University just sort of materialized (even private Universities get enormous tax deductions and incentives.)
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Apr 3, 2013 - 02:12pm PT
Where is the payback?

Ken, I actually recognize and agree with that. It was one of the biggest arguments I had when I was a partner in a law firm. I believe that professions owe duties to society irrespective of payment. I had several partners who felt under no obligation to do anything for which they were not paid in full, and wanted no firm resources committed to helping those that could not pay unless the firm got substantial PR as a result. If for no other reason than to deal with people like some of my former partners, we need an income tax to pay for providing those minimum goods and services we deem essential to those who cannot afford them.

Every doc I know (and, for that matter, every med student I knew) worked terribly hard, and had lots of options available that would have given him or her much less stress and much more immediate gratification. Thus, to me, the doctor/dirtbag contrast was one where differing income and, likely, differing wealth, depended directly on the person's choices and actions.

Somewhere in my postings I must have given the impression that I have a philosophical opposition to income taxation, or to progressive income taxation. I have no such opposition -- at current rates. I don't resent paying taxes. I do so gladly, because I am grateful for all that the state, local and federal governments provided and continue to provide. When I started at Berkeley, a UC education was tuition-free. When I finished law school at UCLA ten years later, annual tuition was only $750.00 (it's now well north of $40,000 for law school). Even with my almost 50 years of paying taxes and my direct gifts to UCLA and Berkeley, I know I got a great deal and hope that I can help others get what I got.

I do have a personal problem requiring someone else to pay a higher rate than I, because that smacks of hypocrisy. Similarly, I have a personal problem requiring someone with substantially less income to pay at my rate.

With that aside, let's remember that the discussion was about the relative share (not absolute amount) of wealth. There, I would ask you a question: What constitutes a "just" distribution of wealth, and what constitutes a "just" change in that distribution? If we can agree on those definitions, we could be a long way toward a meaningful discussion about what to do with the current distribution of wealth.

As I mentioned in last night's post, I am up to my ears in work (paid and volunteer) for the next few days, so my breaks to participate here will be limited. Please don't take my silence as disinterest, hostility, or anything else other than the blessing of abundant, enjoyable, but currently rather insistent work.

John
sempervirens

climber
Apr 3, 2013 - 02:18pm PT
Ken M's comments are an excellent rationale for scrapping the socialism vs capitalism paradigm. (same goes for liberal vs. conservative, entitled class vs. the job creating wealthy). Those paradigms are inadequate models of the economy and society. Reality is more complex than that kind of naive thought.
Gary

Social climber
Right outside of Delacroix
Apr 3, 2013 - 02:54pm PT
Sorry for my slow response, Bill, but juggling three different jobs at the moment -- law, economics and classical music (in order of profitability --

John, you know very well music is very profitable. As long as you're not talking money.

...

First, as I noted much earlier upthread, I have no particular desire to redistribute wealth. Neither I nor my family are among the particularly wealthy by United States measure (though we certainly are by the world's), so I'm not being merely self-interested. I find it appalling that so many think the way to "fairness" is through what looks to me more like theft. Thrift serves a vital economic purpose. What right have we to punish it?

And I ask by what right do we have to punish honest and hard work? The Walton's become billionaires while the taxpayers have to subsidize their employees with medical care, child care, food stamps, etc. Who's the producer and who's the taker there?

...
I feel the same way about those who made an honest attempt at running a business, but didn't make it. A just society shows compassion.

Exactly right.

...
Nonetheless, for the sake of argument, let's assume that the country has decided that theft is moral and wants to redistribute wealth.

The country made that decision a long time ago. We despise hard work and only feel sloth and greed should be rewarded. Paper shuffling and financial system gaming is all that we value in this day and age.



Sorry to be so belligerent and rambling. If I were less tired, I'd be more succinct and conciliatory.

You are not belligerent at all.
Dave Kos

Social climber
Temecula
Apr 3, 2013 - 03:12pm PT
library-which the doc didn't pay for
school-which the doc didn't pay for
hospitals-which the doc didn't pay for
loan programs for all-which the doc didn't pay for
entering a profession which entails license protection....investigators, prosecutors, judges, courts, juries, courthouses-which the doc didn't pay for.

Most of the above is true, but you seem to be suggesting that the doctor made no contribution whatsoever to their education. The major costs of becoming a doctor or other professional are not provided by the government. (For example loans need to be paid back. The carrying cost that the government provides is a very small part of the total cost.)

But all this doesn't address JE's core point: The doctor and the dirtbag had a choice: One chose to climb, the other chose to work toward a skill the provides a benefit to both themselves and to society.

Many of you seem to be advocating a society where individual choices do not matter.

I'm no doctor, but I make a similar choice almost every day. There are five days a week that I don't climb so that I can have medical insurance today and savings that will pay for it later when I'm not able to work. When someone - especially an older person - does not have medical insurance or other basic needs, I am sympathetic to their situation but I do wonder if perhaps their situation is a result of them making different choices.
Ken M

Mountain climber
Los Angeles, Ca
Apr 3, 2013 - 05:36pm PT
Kos, you talk about choice.

No doubt, there is a reason you made the choice not to study the differential calculus that John and I both had to take, and excel at, to enter our professions.

Is the work HARDER than the work a less gifted person might do, when they were not able to qualify for college, and worked instead, at a hard, manual labor job?

We, in the white collar workforce, almost never risk our lives or limbs in our occupations. It happens, but is rare, compared to the DAILY risks to simple laborers.

Where is the risk adjustment?

>Most of the above is true, but you seem to be suggesting that the doctor made no contribution whatsoever to their education. The major costs of becoming a doctor or other professional are not provided by the government.

They make a contribution, but the infrastructure is NOT something that they paid for, and the costs of that are enormous. Someone else paid.
Dave Kos

Social climber
Temecula
Apr 3, 2013 - 05:57pm PT
Differential calculus ... you mean like math?

I often hear people argue that "harder" and "riskier" jobs should be paid more, but I've never met anyone who pays their gardener a higher rate than they pay their accountant.





Elcapinyoazz

Social climber
Joshua Tree
Apr 3, 2013 - 06:00pm PT
The major costs of becoming a doctor or other professional are not provided by the government

Incorrect. By FAR, the major "cost" of becoming a doctor or any other white collar professional is educating the person to a level that they are even prepared to attend a medical/business/grad school in the first place. Which happens, mostly, on the public dime in public schools.
Dave Kos

Social climber
Temecula
Apr 3, 2013 - 06:24pm PT
Incorrect. By FAR, the major "cost" of becoming a doctor or any other white collar professional is educating the person to a level that they are even prepared to attend a medical/business/grad school in the first place. Which happens, mostly, on the public dime in public schools.

The major cost of what differentiates doctors from other professions is not borne by the government. We are talking about the differences between the rich and the poor here.


And I'm not sure that the cost of K-12 education is really more than medical school. A quick google shows that California pays about $9K per year per student.

I'll let the differential calculus folks do the rest of the math.
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Apr 3, 2013 - 09:17pm PT
Incorrect. By FAR, the major "cost" of becoming a doctor or any other white collar professional is educating the person to a level that they are even prepared to attend a medical/business/grad school in the first place. Which happens, mostly, on the public dime in public schools.

That is certainly a major cost, but hardly the only one. You're ignoring the cost to the professional-to-be in doing homework for 13 years to get into a good college, majoring in the right majors and getting superb grades to get into the right grad or profesisonal school, and foregoing all of the other opportunities that presnted themselves until they start a well-paying practice.

Also, I'm fairly certain that the K-12 cost to society to educate a future professional differs little from that to educate anyone else who graduates from high school. So why does the professional owe more to society? I think the real reason is simply that most professionals have been inculcated with that sense of duty in their training.

Re-reading the posts on this thread reiforces something I said on the Republicans thread: One of the major differences between liberal and conservative policies are that conservative policies are based on the idea that the economoic condition of people primarily depends on their choices. That of liberal policies are based on the idea that those with the most wealth accumulated it illegitimately, or else did so primiarly because of factors other than their own decisions.

John
Norton

Social climber
the Wastelands
Apr 3, 2013 - 09:24pm PT
That of liberal policies are based on the idea that those with the most wealth accumulated it illegitimately, or else did so primiarly because of factors other than their own decisions.

how non parisan!

how very condescending

how without merit, with nothing but your own personal opinion to back up that BS

and given your history how nauseatingly typical

just gotta always throw in some denigrating "liberal" crap don'tcha?

ignorant horse's ass
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Apr 3, 2013 - 09:44pm PT
Ken, it seems to me that you're missing something vital in what people make. Our economic transactions are primarily voluntary. The "risk adjustment" for which you search is one of numerous calculations that individual actors process in deciding where to work.

If I don't like the risk of being a lumberjack (to select a rather risky job), I won't take the job, and will do what it takes to make sure I have a choice of a job I can tolerate.

I know physical labor quite well. I paid for my first climbing gear by harvesting fruit in 100 degree weather here. Because it was piece work, and I had done it enough to acquire some skill, I made a lot more than minimum wage, but it was still hard work for low pay. The reason is that it required very little to enter the workforce, so the supply was great. I didn't forget that lesson.

John
rottingjohnny

Sport climber
mammoth lakes ca
Apr 3, 2013 - 09:56pm PT
I think Lezarian is Armenian not French...? RJ
Gary

Social climber
Right outside of Delacroix
Apr 3, 2013 - 11:25pm PT
That of liberal policies are based on the idea that those with the most wealth accumulated it illegitimately,

John, I will defend the liberals here and say that is not true. It's the real left, not namby-pamby liberals, that say that.
sempervirens

climber
Apr 4, 2013 - 11:05am PT
Its not that professionals, like a doctor or lawyer, owes a greater debt to society than other non-professionals, unskilled laborers, or lesser educated workers. It's simply important to recognize and admit that they also made use of the gov. services in order to get where they are. And that is all the more reason (IMO) to support the idea of gov. providing those services - education, libraries, student loans, certifications, a justice system, etc.

One could argue that these professionals are making greater contributions to society. They've become professionals,pay taxes (a higher rate if we had a progressive tax rate system). They have a greater chance to earn more, make innovations that benefit society, create business and jobs, spend more $ that might support our economy.

If the idealogical conservatives would have a look at this reality they'd see that their ideology makes no logical sense. They're fighting against their own ideal of how hard work leads to prosperity. If you cut all the gov. services that Tea Party hates are you promoting the development of more professionals who will work hard and get ahead. Or are you promoting more unskilled workers and low-paying jobs.
sempervirens

climber
Apr 4, 2013 - 11:17am PT
That of liberal policies are based on the idea that those with the most wealth accumulated it illegitimately, or else did so primiarly because of factors other than their own decisions.

That's what you're told to think by the tea party, foxx news, Americans for prosperity, American heritage foundation...

Why not base your economic opinions on the economy rather than fear of liberal ideas. You're being played. As long as they can keep America all riled up emotionally about theft of your hard-earned money Americans won't see who is doing the stealing.

Dave Kos

Social climber
Temecula
Apr 4, 2013 - 11:18am PT
And that is all the more reason (IMO) to support the idea of gov. providing those services - education, libraries, student loans, certifications, a justice system, etc.


I don't think anyone here is arguing that the government should not provide these services.
sempervirens

climber
Apr 4, 2013 - 11:35am PT
If we don't "redistribute wealth" (theft some call it) we'll have less $ for these services. Sequestration,for example. Conservative ideology certainly does call for (and result in) cutting these services. "less gov. regulation". "gov. doesn't create jobs", "gov. is too big", "gov. is the problem". But it is gov. that provides the services I mention. And we can apply the same argument to other services: WIC, SSI, welfare, etc. All of these are often used as scapegoats for our current economic problems (debt). And then we have those who call funding these services "theft". Did I make the connection clear enough for you yet?

Of course, I believe we are redistibuting wealth, but not equitably or fairly or sensibly or sustainably.
TGT

Social climber
So Cal
Apr 4, 2013 - 11:38am PT
Librairies,

Ben Franklin's was a private corp. A share of stock gave you the right to check out books.

Half of the public libraries in the US were originaly built by one man with his own money.

Andrew Carnegie.

About 1600 of them. ((2500 world wide)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carnegie_library
Elcapinyoazz

Social climber
Joshua Tree
Apr 4, 2013 - 12:51pm PT
the idea that the economoic condition of people primarily depends on their choices.

I've heard of ten pounds of bullshit in a five pound sack, but this is really packing it in.

Why don't you go ask the millions of people forced into bankruptcy from medical bills that had nothing to do with their "choices" what they think of your theory?

Or maybe the hundreds of thousands who've had their pension funds raided/underfunded so CEO types can hollow out a company and siphon off the money for themselves while bankrupting the company and putting the pension obligations onto the taxpayer (at a fraction of what those retirees were promised).
Dr. F.

Big Wall climber
SoCal
Apr 4, 2013 - 12:57pm PT
They all made bad choices!!!
if they went to church more often, God would have steered them away from those bad things, like he does to all his favorites, like Trump, the Kopch Bros. and Rand Paul

The choice IS praying to Jebus 3 times a day, and if that didn't work, you made a bad choice by not praying 4 times! or is it 6 times?

all in jest, snicker
Dave Kos

Social climber
Temecula
Apr 5, 2013 - 12:32pm PT
Why don't you go ask the millions of people forced into bankruptcy from medical bills [...]

If you can find "millions" that this has happened to, I'll ask them...

Both sides here are using quite a bit of hyperbole.

Economic outcomes are a function of circumstances and choices. Sometimes circumstances can overwhelm, but choices still matter.

We need a system that provides incentives for making the right choices, while protecting folks from unforeseeable and uncontrollable events.

The pieces are already in place: SS, Medicare, etc.

We just need to avoid the extremes of tea-bagger "libertarianism" and command economy socialism.

Just because we see one extreme as wrong doesn't mean the other extreme is right.
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Apr 5, 2013 - 01:48pm PT
I think Lezarian is Armenian not French...? RJ

RJ,

I was chuckling over the same thing (i.e. "parisan.") In truth, I was both non-partisan and non-French, which is why I chose "conservative" and "liberal" rather than "Democrat" or "Republican."

I think, too, that I must have stated my point poorly. I was trying to identify the underlying philosophy behind the differing policy prescriptions. I think both sides recognize, as Dave pointed out so well, that neither luck nor personal choices alone determine a person's financial conditions. Accordingly, both "sides" to the debate actually agree on a common core of principles, where we want to reward people for making good choices and simultaneously protect them from unfortunate circumstances.

The arguments really come at the margins. There, the more conservative will come down on the side of policies that give primary concern to rewarding good choices, and the liberal will come down on the side of policies that give primary concern to protection from unfortunate circumstances.

Oh, by the way, RJ is right; I'm Armenian. I do, however have Parisian first cousins, but primarily, the first cousins in France to which I am closest are Lyonnaise.

John
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Apr 5, 2013 - 02:11pm PT
Why don't you go ask the millions of people forced into bankruptcy from medical bills that had nothing to do with their "choices" what they think of your theory?

I've represented over 1,000 individual consumer debtors in bankruptcy proceedings, El Cap. I did many of those cases for free (other than asking the client to pay the court filing fees), and almost all of them for far less than my normal hourly rate, so I think I know something about those who file for bankruptcy.

As I note above, I think there was a misunderstanding of just what "theory" I was putting forth, and the cause of that misunderstanding was my own wording of the proposition. Mea culpa.

That said, I can't say that I've ever encountered a debtor that wound up in bankruptcy solely because of bad luck, although the immediate cause of the bankruptcy is usually an event or events beyond the debtor's control.

The most common causes of consumer bankruptcy I've run across in order of frequency are:

1. Unanticipated loss of income, either from a layoff, unexpected pregnancy or a long-term illness that makes it impossible to work.

2. Divorce

3. Uninsured liabilities (including, but not limited to medical expenses)

With regard to cause (1), about the only bad choice most of the debtors made was one of his or her occupation. While, in theory, they could have purchased disability insurance, they certainly could not purchase insurance against the business failure of their employers. This category probably got the most pro bono work from me.

Cause (2) brings about insolvency because the couple, while married, made financial commitments that left no room for error. When they split, the extra cost of maintaining separate households exceeded their financial margin of error. I did several of these cases pro bono, as well, although the relation of this cause to pure bad luck is somewhat attenuated.

Cause (3) includes both uninsured medical expenses (there were sometimes large co-pays, but more often represented a total lack of medical coverage), automobile accidents where either liability exceeded policy limits, and the plaintiff was sufficiently vengeful to force the debtor to file, or else situations where there was no insurance coverage whatsoever. These cases represent a calculated risk on the part of the debtor. Those calculations went astray. This category probably contains the least element of bad luck.

In truth, I suspect that a great many middle class families are just one disability away from insolvency, but I personally think a great deal of the responsibility for that rests on our desire to want stuff now, and consequently to borrow up to our limits, and to forgo savings, insurance, and similar "rainy day" protections.

John
Dr. F.

Big Wall climber
SoCal
Apr 5, 2013 - 02:20pm PT
If you get really sick or injured, you can't work, and hence lose your Health Care Insurance,
and then can't health care insurance because it's unaffordable, and you have a preconceived medical condition...

and on and on
JE, don't you think that single payer health care insurance would fix more problems than it would cause

It's idiotic for it to be linked to you employer
sempervirens

climber