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Income Inequality and the Death of Trickledown
Naked Capitalism ^ | 9/15/2012 | Hugh

Posted on 12/31/2012 8:25:40 AM PST by ksen

On September 12, 2012, the Census issued its report on Income, Poverty, and Healthcare Coverage in the United States: 2011. While the full report has some nice charts, one that was conspicuously missing was on income inequality. The data for such a chart was in the tables, and so I was able to construct the chart above from them. Mean household (not individual) income for each quintile (20%) is expressed in real (inflation-adjusted) dollars.

One feature that jumps out at you are how relatively flat mean income has been for the bottom 80% over the last 45 years and how much it has grown for the top 20%, from an already high baseline. I thought this merited some further investigation.

If you look at the far left, in 1967, the income difference between the quintiles of the bottom 80% was remarkably similar, less than $17,000 between each group ($16,679 between the 1st (lowest quintile) and 2nd; $15,572 between the 2nd and 3rd; and $16,631 between the 3rd and 4th). But even in 1967, we see significant income disparity ($46,619) between the 4th and 5th (top) quintile. The top 20% have an income difference nearly 3 times as great as the other quintiles.

In the succeeding decades, difference between the 4 lower quintiles showed some moderate spreading. For 2011, they are $17,965 from 1st to 2nd; $20,638 from 2nd to 3rd; $30,238 from 3rd to 4th; and $97,940 from 4th to highest 5th). What we see in this is a movement of the top 20% from around 3 times the initial 1967 spreads between quintiles (~$17,000) to something over 5 times them ($97,940).

What is interesting is that the mean income of the top 20% increased $73,100 from 1967 to 2011. About $20,000 of this increase occurred during the Reagan years, but what often gets overlooked is that about $43,000 of it happened during the Clinton years.

Because the first 4 quintiles are so flat, it is worthwhile to look at their averages over the 45 years of data.

For the bottom 20%, their average mean income was $11,618. For the second 20%, it was $29,425. For the third 20%, it was $48,938. For the fourth 20%, it was $74,183. For the highest fifth 20%, it was $146,693.

Now compare these to the 2011 mean income numbers.

For the bottom 20%, it was $11,239. For the second 20%, it was $29,204. For the third 20%, it was $49,842. For the fourth 20%, it was $80,080. For the highest fifth 20%, it was $178,020.

The lowest 40% are essentially unchanged, actually slightly worse, than their 45 year average. The middle 20% is also not much changed, but slightly better than its average. The fourth quintile is doing modestly better, about a $6,000 increase. The highest 20% is doing about $31,000 better than its average.

You can see this effect in the chart where dramatic rises in the income of the top 20% are reflected in smaller and smaller rises as we go down from one quintile to the next until we arrive at the bottom 20% where there is almost no change at all.

If you think about it, this chart completely refutes trickledown economics. As I said, the periods of greatest income growth in the top 20% correspond to the Reagan and Clinton Administrations. But what we see is that great increases in income at the top have only modest effects on the incomes of the nearest quintiles and have almost no effect at all on the lowest quintiles. That is very little trickles down, and almost nothing trickles down to the bottom.

The chart shows in easy accessible terms much of what we already knew. Wages have been flat for most of us our whole working lives even as the rich have been making out like bandits. But it also shows that theory so near and dear to neoliberals: trickledown aka supply side economics aka Reaganomics aka “job creators” doesn’t work, has never worked.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Government; Miscellaneous; Politics
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Here's the chart:

And another article about given the "propensity to consume" it is not the wealthy that create jobs but consumers.

If trickledown were true then with the top 10% of earners currently enjoying their largest share of the national income in about the last hundred years we should have more jobs than we can fill.

1 posted on 12/31/2012 8:25:58 AM PST by ksen
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To: ksen
Trickle down is the norm and part of the cycle of capitalism. Unfortunately, these aren't normal times and we aren't really a capitalist, producer nation/economy any longer.

Instead, we have become a government economy of consumers that produces debt, exports natural resources and consumes goods and services other nations produce for us.

Politicians and the Fed have gamed the system and so altered the national landscape that trickle down now comes as pain: that which flows from taxes and regulations and government's politically determined distribution, rather than that which comes via natural market forces.

2 posted on 12/31/2012 8:38:58 AM PST by GBA (Here in the Matrix, life is but a dream.)
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To: ksen

Except people don’t stay in the same quintiles all their working lives. They usually progress. That means most of the people who were in a lower quintile progress to the next quintile. In short, they get richer. Sorry pal, Marxism is still a rotten economic theory. But if your Fearless Leader Obama and others like him keep getting voted in as president, total destruction of all wealth is assured.


3 posted on 12/31/2012 8:44:16 AM PST by driftless2
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To: driftless2

Ok, that doesn’t address the problem at all.


4 posted on 12/31/2012 8:48:52 AM PST by ksen
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To: GBA
Trickle down is the norm and part of the cycle of capitalism.

Nonsense. NONSENSE! How do you think "it" gets up there to trickle down in the first place?

5 posted on 12/31/2012 8:52:45 AM PST by DManA
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To: driftless2

Link to the original report (so when don’t have to click through at Hugh’s blog page):

http://www.census.gov/prod/2012pubs/p60-243.pdf


6 posted on 12/31/2012 9:02:13 AM PST by Captain Rhino (Determined effort is the hammer that Human Will uses to forge Tomorrow on the anvil of Today.)
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To: Captain Rhino

When = we

Sorry for the typo...


7 posted on 12/31/2012 9:03:48 AM PST by Captain Rhino (Determined effort is the hammer that Human Will uses to forge Tomorrow on the anvil of Today.)
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To: ksen
If you think about it, this chart completely refutes trickledown economics.

If you think about it, this chart completely confirms human nature. Nothing more, nothing less.

5.56mm

8 posted on 12/31/2012 9:10:25 AM PST by M Kehoe
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To: ksen

Apparently enough of our electorate now agrees with this argument to say that yes, Reaganomics is dead. At least until we’ve tried out all the alternatives.


9 posted on 12/31/2012 9:10:33 AM PST by Buckeye McFrog
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To: ksen
If you think about it, this chart completely refutes trickledown economics.

No it doesn't

In a modern, free, division of labor society, with a just government, the gains of the rich do not cause a loss to the non-rich and lead to gains for all.This is what the chart shows.

From 1967 to about 2001, while the rich were gaining, everyone was gaining. After 2001, while the rich were declining, everyone was declining. The greater gain of the rich is a result of their greater contribution to production relative to the non-rich, and does not result from stealing from the non-rich or exploiting them.

10 posted on 12/31/2012 9:10:59 AM PST by mjp ((pro-{God, reality, reason, egoism, individualism, natural rights, limited government, capitalism}))
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To: GBA
Trickle down is the norm and part of the cycle of capitalism.

citation needed

Unfortunately, these aren't normal times and we aren't really a capitalist, producer nation/economy any longer.

Sure we are. America is still the number one (maybe number 2) manufacturer in the world.

Instead, we have become a government economy of consumers that produces debt, exports natural resources and consumes goods and services other nations produce for us.

Consumers always drive job creation. No consumers, no business. So the way to solve the problem is to enact policies that help put cash in the hands of those most likely to spend it, i.e. the lower 80%. It doesn't have to be done through a raw exercise in government power.

Politicians and the Fed have gamed the system and so altered the national landscape that trickle down now comes as pain: that which flows from taxes and regulations and government's politically determined distribution, rather than that which comes via natural market forces.

What are these "natural market forces" you are talking about?

11 posted on 12/31/2012 9:10:59 AM PST by ksen
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To: mjp
In a modern, free, division of labor society,

there's the rub because right now the labor market is anything but "free" in any meaningful sense. all the power is on the side of the labor consumer so they are able to set whatever wage rate they want. while the labor provider is pushed by necessity, through having to have that job just to provide the basic food, shelter, and medical expenses to keep him and his family alive, to take the first bad offer that comes his way.

provide a society where people don't have to take the first awful job that comes along just to stay alive and then you might have a freer labor market. right now it's just a con game.

The greater gain of the rich is a result of their greater contribution to production relative to the non-rich, and does not result from stealing from the non-rich or exploiting them.

that's ridiculous. you can't make a cogent argument that the average executive is hundreds of times more productive than the people actually making the widgets. as worker productivity has risen their share of their productivity has gotten smaller and smaller so yes, they have been exploited and have had a portion of their labor stolen.

12 posted on 12/31/2012 9:20:53 AM PST by ksen
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To: ksen
Sure we are. America is still the number one (maybe number 2) manufacturer in the world.

Once upon a time, perhaps, but looking at labels, I see that Walmart and Target no longer shop here. Both of the vehicles in my garage were assembled here from parts made elsewhere. The clothing I'm wearing used to be made a few miles down the road from me by average skilled people, but now it's all made by someone else in some other country from cotton grown here.

Those consumers you speak of are borrowing to consume using zero interest money. They, individuals, families, cities and states, aren't saving in the good years, they are partying hearty thinking it will last forever.

There is a balance to things and cycles revolve around that balance. Unfortunately, the balance has been upset in favor of a state controlled artificial entitlement economy.

We can rewrite the natural laws where ever we find them as long as we have the money to do so, but the money ran out a long time ago.

There is a reckoning coming, but for now, this is the calm eye of the hurricane that can't last for very long. When the backwall gets here, we'll wish things were as good as after the crashes of 2008.

13 posted on 12/31/2012 9:52:02 AM PST by GBA (Here in the Matrix, life is but a dream.)
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To: DManA
Nonsense. NONSENSE! How do you think "it" gets up there to trickle down in the first place?

There is always a source. I believe "it" comes from driven individuals whose efforts and ingenuity, along with their willingness to take on risk, creates a good or service that others want for themselves and are willing to trade for it.

They are the source of what trickles down. They are the ones who create products and they hire people to fill the jobs that produce those products.

The better the productive "they" do, the better we all do, as it all trickles down from their initial drive and creativity.

The more you hamper them, the more that interference trickles down via lost jobs, lower wages, fewer goods and services available, etc.

It all flows from the source, whether you poison the well or keep it pure.

14 posted on 12/31/2012 10:07:35 AM PST by GBA (Here in the Matrix, life is but a dream.)
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To: ksen
"Trickle-down" is an epithet concocted to discourage effective policies that remove roadblocks and incentivize investment. When people think that investing in business is a good idea with an effective rate of return, they do so and jobs increase all around. Increasing the risk on investment in job-creating enterprise, and et voila, people invest in other things. Unable to refute this, liberals recast it as letting rich people pay fewer taxes in hopes they would spend the money on services. Having a debate about "trickle-down" economics is a framing error which concedes the field to the taxers.

"trickle-down" is tired old BS, there was never any such thing to begin with.

15 posted on 12/31/2012 10:14:11 AM PST by no-s (when democracy is displaced by tyranny, the armed citizen still gets to vote)
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To: ksen
"Trickle-down" is an epithet concocted to discourage effective policies that remove roadblocks and incentivize investment. When people think that investing in business is a good idea with an effective rate of return, they do so and jobs increase all around. Increasing the risk on investment in job-creating enterprise, and et voila, people invest in other things. Unable to refute this, liberals recast it as letting rich people pay fewer taxes in hopes they would spend the money on services. Having a debate about "trickle-down" economics is a framing error which concedes the field to the taxers.

"trickle-down" is tired old BS, there was never any such thing to begin with.

16 posted on 12/31/2012 10:14:14 AM PST by no-s (when democracy is displaced by tyranny, the armed citizen still gets to vote)
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To: GBA
The more you hamper them, the more that interference trickles down via lost jobs, lower wages, fewer goods and services available, etc.

And yet right now they are enjoying their largest share of the nation's wealth in a century but they aren't trickling anything down. Right now their corporations are experiencing record levels of proft but they aren't trickling anything down. Instead they are hoarding.

To keep the economy growing and moving cash needs to be in hands of people that will spend it. Increased concentration of wealth and cash hinder economic growth and expansion. The danger of the fiscal cliff isn't that taxes will be raised back to Clinton levels, it's that government spending will slow too quickly in an era where private spending isn't picking up the slack.

It all flows from the source, whether you poison the well or keep it pure.

Without customers the best idea in the world will fail.

17 posted on 12/31/2012 10:17:24 AM PST by ksen
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To: ksen
Household income metrics comparing the past with the present are only relevant comparisons if households are a stable unit.

The simple fact is this: A single household with a married couple each earning $40,000, will be presented as a one household with an income of $80,000. For a sample size of one, the mean household income is $80K.

If the couple divorces and moves into separate residences, there are now two households each with an income of $40K. For a sample size of two, the mean household income is $40K.

No one got a pay cut. No one lost a job. But household income declined by half.

Now consider the number of single people living by themselves, as people tend to marry later. Consider the number of single mothers. Consider the number of divorced couples.

Comparing today's household income statistics with 20 and 40 year old data is an irrelevant comparison if the goal is to make an accurate presumption on how much individuals (not households) earn. Individual income statistics are much more relevant.

18 posted on 12/31/2012 10:23:09 AM PST by magellan
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To: ksen
Where to begin?

This article is a complete load of horse$hit. First of all, there is no "problem". If you use your own graph, the bottom quintiles stayed the same, through Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush and now Obama. All of whom had differing ideas on the economy.

Notice that rich people keep doing things that make them, wait for it...rich.

Also people don't stay in the bottom quintile their ENTIRE lives unless they are losers, mentally handicapped, lazy, or liberal welfare parasites.

And the biggest reason why this article is total garbage?

For the same reason that statistically HALF of the population is below the mean. Can you imagine that?

How can we live in a country where half of the population has an IQ that is below the mean? And 20% of the population lives in the bottom quintile. 80% are in higher quintiles. Just imagine!

19 posted on 12/31/2012 10:23:16 AM PST by boop ("You don't look so bad, here's another")
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To: GBA

#15 expresses well the reason I criticize people for adopting this nonsense imagery.


20 posted on 12/31/2012 10:36:23 AM PST by DManA
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To: ksen

So, what do you propose is the solution? Tax the wealthiest quintile until they are no more than $17,000 above the fourth quintile? You accuse the top quintile of stealing it from the others (”Making out like bandits”) so why not? That will surely take care of the problem.

Your view is far too narrow. You are casting this once again as a battle between labor and management in this country. That was always flawed since the battle is and always has been between labor and labor. Why do you think that the word ‘scab’ has all the baggage and hatred that it connotes? If a management is shackled to its labor force, and the labor force strikes for unmeetable demands, they both may lose. The owners (shareholders) will liquidate if they cannot make a profit. If they can, they must and will hire a replacement labor force. Where is most union violence directed, at management personnel or at replacement workers?

The evolution of the labor market is that the battle of labor vs. labor is now global. There is an inevitable leveling of standards of living and wages that is going on due to exponential growth of international commerce, communications and shipping. As our workers’ conditions decline, conditions for workers in other countries rise (relatively). This is why the ‘power’ rests with the labor consumer. There is a surplus of it.

I’d say, the bottom quintile are people who largely don’t work except in casual, low-skill or part time situations. The folks in the middle three quintiles are the ones at risk, whose jobs may be among those that can be exported. The trend started in manufacturing, but then expanded to IT and ‘information economy’ occupations that were once excellent paying white-collar jobs. Soon it may engulf real professional jobs - it is already occuring. Where was your last CAT scan read? Here or in Mumbai? An electronic image looks the same there as it does here. Wait until robotic surgery gets rolling.

Concurrently, while our education system continues to decline, others are advancing and passing us. Fact is, across pretty broad segments of occupations, our people aren’t any more skilled or productive than workers in other nations, or at least the differential in skill and productivity is often outweighed by the lower cost of compensation, even with added transportation and risk costs factored in.

Sorry, but the unionized, 40 hour medium-skill production line job that paid for a stay-at-home mom, three kids with braces, a new Chevy and a 3 bedroom 1 1/2 bath Cape Cod in the suburbs went out with double knits, lava lamps and Woolworths. We have to keep advancing, keep innovating and keep finding new competitive edges to stay ahead. The people who do that are the ones in your top quintile. They aren’t all the same people all of the time. As another poster pointed out, people move up and down the scale. Twenty years ago, the ability to write HTML and SQL meant an $80,000 income. No more. On the other hand, a CDL driver, critical welder or crane operator working in a shale play can be pulling down that much and more thanks to hydraulic fracturing. Innovation = competitive edge.


21 posted on 12/31/2012 10:39:24 AM PST by SargeK
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To: AdmSmith; AnonymousConservative; Berosus; bigheadfred; Bockscar; ColdOne; Convert from ECUSA; ...

Triple-F ping.

Thanks ksen.


22 posted on 12/31/2012 10:41:15 AM PST by SunkenCiv (Romney would have been worse, if you're a dumb ass.)
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To: ksen

My bad. I thought this chart depicted government salaries in the top curve.


23 posted on 12/31/2012 10:46:20 AM PST by Enough is ENOUGH (The ultimate goal of socialism is communism.)
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To: ksen
And yet right now they are enjoying their largest share of the nation's wealth in a century but they aren't trickling anything down. Right now their corporations are experiencing record levels of proft but they aren't trickling anything down. Instead they are hoarding.

Who is the "they" making all these profits you refer to? Maybe we should get the government to steal it from them and spread it around...I mean, trickle it down?

Things in life are dynamic and cyclical. We need a downside to clean up the "excesses messes" made when things are really good, but we didn't want one, so we voted for fantasy instead. We're too big to fail!

In good and bad times, but especially in volatile times, smart people, business, cities and states save (or what you call "hoard") to prepare for the inevitable bad.

Those "hoarding" now are acting on their opinion of the future, the same way the overspenders are. We'll see who is right. Either way, having resources means survival and the ability to take advantage of opportunity. Maybe we'll get another chance to relearn that again.

24 posted on 12/31/2012 10:50:56 AM PST by GBA (Here in the Matrix, life is but a dream.)
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To: DManA
"Trickle-down" is an epithet concocted to discourage effective policies that remove roadblocks and incentivize investment.

To me, trickle down is a two word explanation for how a capitalistic economy works, so for me the above quote is backwards as a definition. If you changed "discourage" to "encourage" it would be correct.

Trickle down is the reason to remove excess tax and regulatory burdens and let people do with their money as they will.

25 posted on 12/31/2012 11:04:04 AM PST by GBA (Here in the Matrix, life is but a dream.)
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To: ksen
What are these "natural market forces" you are talking about?

Please refer to Adam Smith for an explanation. I would only be paraphrasing him.

26 posted on 12/31/2012 11:10:12 AM PST by GBA (Here in the Matrix, life is but a dream.)
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To: GBA
You should be aware that no one else in the country thinks that. And that when you use it like that you WILL be misunderstood.

To me, trickle down is a two word explanation for how a capitalistic economy works,

27 posted on 12/31/2012 11:11:43 AM PST by DManA
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To: Enough is ENOUGH

hahaha, good one.


28 posted on 12/31/2012 11:16:36 AM PST by ksen
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To: SargeK

SargeK, you make some very good points. As a country we need to rethink how we do some things. Technological progress is going to inevitably make it so that fewer and fewer workers are required to produce more than enough goods and services that the population can consume. That is not necessarily a bad thing. But if certain things aren’t addressed it could potentially be very bad indeed.

Currently we have a society where a job is required to pay for a person’s needs, i.e. food, shelter, medicine, etc. What happens to a society where technology creates a situation where it is nearly impossible to break into the job market? More and better education is certainly one item that will help make people more employable. But you know as well as I do that not everyone is cut out to perform jobs that require a master’s degree or a PhD, heck or even a bachelor’s degree.

So do you leave those people out on the streets to starve and fend for themselves in a black market economy? If you want a french-style revolution then sure. Or do you rearrange your economy before that happens so that the vastly increased wealth provided by technological change is able to be more equitably shared so that families aren’t required to steal or engage in other illegal activities just in order to live? I’m not advocating putting in a pay ceiling or “from each, blah, blah, blah” but there has to be a way to go forward that doesn’t put the majority of the country in the poor house.

I remember reading articles and stories years ago about how as technology progressed society as a whole would become richer and everyone would have more leisure, etc. Unfortunately that doesn’t seem to be playing out. Instead we are seeing a return to s feudalistic type society and I can’t see that ending in a good way.


29 posted on 12/31/2012 11:35:44 AM PST by ksen
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To: DManA
We'll have to disagree a bit regarding what the rest of the country thinks about the term and how misunderstood I would be using it or my definition, though I appreciate the insight.

Instead, I find myself in good company noting that Thomas Sowell, an ardent supporter of trickle-down theory, argues that the popular definition gets it backward.

Being wrong about how things are defined is not new for me. For what it's worth, "red" used to mean communism/socialism and now seems to mean republican and "gay" used to just mean happy and joyous.

30 posted on 12/31/2012 11:42:30 AM PST by GBA (Here in the Matrix, life is but a dream.)
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To: All

I know trickle-down economics states that deregulation and tax cuts will lead to job creation but WHERE are those jobs being created? Not in the US, that’s for sure. Even if the minimum wage were abolished tomorrow Chinese workers would still work for lower wages than US workers because cost of living is lower in China. Our federal government has turned a blind eye to the outsourcing of practically our entire industrial sector to China and to China’s blatant currency manipulation but China would not be so powerful today if executives had believed and invested in America.


31 posted on 12/31/2012 12:06:48 PM PST by SoCal SoCon (Conservatism =/= Corporatism.)
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To: SoCal SoCon

Outsourcing of American jobs is probably at least one area where conservatives and progressives can agree on a fix.


32 posted on 12/31/2012 12:10:40 PM PST by ksen
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To: boop

“Also people don’t stay in the bottom quintile their ENTIRE lives unless they are losers, mentally handicapped, lazy, or liberal welfare parasites.”

You’re generalizing a bit there, FRiend. I have known poor people who were born welfare queens and I have known poor people who have slaved away at their jobs and still haven’t gotten ahead. Classifying people based on how much money they have is a classic liberal tactic; conservatives see people as INDIVIDUALS.


33 posted on 12/31/2012 12:15:49 PM PST by SoCal SoCon (Conservatism =/= Corporatism.)
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To: ksen

Agreed. By the way, great article and posts. The consumer truly is the “forgotten man” of trickle-down economics. Without him, the economy grinds to a halt. Also, it’s nice to read an article that includes actual numbers and graphs instead of just an exchange of vitriol between progressives and conservatives.


34 posted on 12/31/2012 12:21:43 PM PST by SoCal SoCon (Conservatism =/= Corporatism.)
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To: ksen

No it won’t end well if we give in to completely unfettered cannibalistic forms of capitalism. We can and must insulate ourselves to the degree possible from unfair foreign labor competition. And I don’t mean the kind of union feather-bedding that the likes of the USW and UAW have become notorious for. But it won’t end any better if we give in to unfettered, cannabalistic government either.

Free trade has to be fair trade. When nations engage in subsidizing industries to provide a loss-leader and rub out the competition, that is unfair. When domestic employers hire illegals, which helps destroy wage structures for the less skilled here, that is unfair. When we turn a blind eye to the use of prison and slave labor, and wanton environmental destruction, that is unfair.

But why is a bad thing for people to have to perform productive work to get the things they need? When a person is truly incapable of work, i.e. truly disabled or elderly, then yes we need a social safety net. When a person has temporary circumstances that leave them without support, they should be supported. But for a limited time. Nothing motivates like the wolf nipping at your heals. No able bodied person should be able to live comfortably or even tolerably on the dole for very long. I believe there is one immutable economic law - when you pay for something, you tend to get more of it. On the social disfunction side, we pay for single motherhood, we pay for unemployment, we pay for disability and we have it all in spades. More people on disability now than ever, more people on food stamps, more children in single-parent households (the single greatest predictive factor of childhood poverty).

We have vast numbers of people who simply have gotten out of the habit of work. Look at the labor force participation rate We have created a safety net that is so generous that it is a disincentive to work. I don’t need a government study to tell me that. My own ears have heard a chorus of “I can get more on (unemployment, disability, whatever) than I do here.” And if the individual plays the system right, they can indeed.

Thanks to the crash of 2008 and the disastrous policies of the Obeyme administration that have deepened the hole, we have now put more people on the other end of the see-saw. We have crossed the tipping point between makers and takers, and the takers now demonstrably outnumber the makers. At the margins, makers are choosing to become takers. Many makers are getting out of the game (’going Galt’) because they see their efforts being met with threats of confiscation.

I understand your concern for the less skilled and less gifted. But there is, always has been, and always will be a tension and an oscillation between the two sides of the see-saw. Give too much to either side and and it tips out of balance.

But the one factor we haven’t dicussed is becoming the weightiest of all - the size and power of government and its involvement in and interference with business. We are rapidly losing the battle of global economic competition due in large part to the size and burden of our bureaucracy. Our rates of taxation and the economic burden of paperwork compliance are exceeding those of explicitly socialist countries. Half of the top ten wealthiest counties in the country are those contiguous to the nation’s capital. Talk about your top quintile - how many federal employees now make six figures? Cronyism and favoritism are rampant. Inordinate sums are spent to influence government to use its powers to aid or destroy one business entity or segment or another. Government and political influence is now the chief determinant, not market forces, in too many economic sectors.


35 posted on 12/31/2012 1:35:15 PM PST by SargeK
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To: SargeK
I'll respond to more of your post but I just wanted to respond to this part first and get the rest later.

But why is a bad thing for people to have to perform productive work to get the things they need?

I never said it was a bad thing to have to perform productive work to meet your needs. When it gets bad is when the work just isn't there for those otherwise willing to work. And as our society progresses technologically that is going to happen with increasing frequency as machines and programs do more and more what un/low-skilled people used to do.

36 posted on 12/31/2012 1:50:34 PM PST by ksen
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To: SoCal SoCon
Why would anyone choose to leave the country and do business elsewhere?

Could it be the high cost of dealing with our ever growing body of regulations here vs somewhere else?

Could it be the high cost of our personal, business and corporate tax rates and a government that wants to raise them even more on those who produce?

Could it be the high cost of our labor along with the onerous unions and their frequent disruptive strikes?

Could it be we have priced ourselves out of the market and made it too costly to do business here? (Check out the exodus from California, Illinois, NY, etc.)

Could you add to that the uncertainty of our economy and a government that is spending way beyond budget now, with looming completely unpayable entitlements of the ever growing welfare state waiting ahead and as far as the eye can see that no country on earth could hope to pay for?

Could it be that we are no longer one of the freest countries in the world and are rapidly sinking down that list?

No, of course not. It's Bush's fault.

37 posted on 12/31/2012 1:51:46 PM PST by GBA (Here in the Matrix, life is but a dream.)
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To: GBA
I forgot to add, could it be the low quality of our educational system and how employers can't find qualified people and often need to first educate and train potential employees so that they are employable and productive?

We could do better and we used to, but instead we will do worse.

On the plus side, it's easy to stand out when the competition sucks. Too bad there aren't many jobs to be competing for.

38 posted on 12/31/2012 1:58:37 PM PST by GBA (Here in the Matrix, life is but a dream.)
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To: GBA

I agree our corporate tax rates are too high but Google “top 10 personal income tax rates” and you will not find the US on there. The rich are, of course, free to move to any country they wish as long as that country will accept them but where exactly are they going to go? Japan, Canada, and especially Europe have more regulation and higher taxes than the US, Russia and China have repressive governments that require bribes to get anything done and deny basic rights like freedom of speech we Americans are used to, and, while many developing countries would be happy to accept affluent American immigrants, they are developing countries for a reason: repressive and/or unstable governments, anti-American sentiment, and a lower standard of living are common in third world countries. In short, the US is the worst country in the world to be rich...except for all the others.

The executive class isn’t the only one that produces. Isn’t the worker whose labor actually produces the widget also a productive member of society? Management plays an important role in the economy, to be sure, but to believe the rich are the only productive members of society, as you seem to, ignores the contribution of the working class (emphasis on “working”, I’m not talking about welfare queens here, just the working poor).

What “frequent disruptive strikes”? I haven’t heard about any strikes in the last few years. Of course that could just be the MSM covering things up as usual. But I will say that compared to some countries I have been to (e.g. Italy and Argentina) the US unions are downright amateurs when it comes to strikes, particularly the private sector. The Italian workers, in spite of their high wages and generous benefits, go on 1-day strikes for the sheer heck of it and the student occupation of University of Buenos Aires in 2010 lasted months. We haven’t seen that kind of radicalism in the US since the 1960s, and for that I am very thankful.

I agree that the deficit is a huge problem that should not be ignored by liberal politicians. but I fail to see how more tax cuts for the rich is going to help the deficit or indeed do anything except create more jobs in currency-manipulating China.

I never said it was Bush’s fault because 1) Congress and the Federal Reserve have more power over our economy than any president. It was Congress that passed fiscally unsustainable budgets (when they could pass a budget at all) and the Federal Reserve who enabled the housing bubble with its unrealistically low interest rates. 2) This crisis has been decades in the making. What we have now is the end result of decades of political mismanagement by Democrats and Republicans alike, each obsessively rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. So I don’t believe it’s all Bush’s fault (as the liberals would have us believe) or even all 0bama’s fault (as some conservatives believe).


39 posted on 12/31/2012 6:49:21 PM PST by SoCal SoCon (Conservatism =/= Corporatism.)
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To: GBA

I agree our educational system is a failure. I just picked up a copy of our local high school’s student newspaper and apparently we are adopting something called the Common Core System (talk about a vague name!) which has “removed the need of requiring the students to take the annual STAR testing”. The newspaper itself was proof of our educational system’s decline: spelling errors on every page and more articles on pop culture than on substantive topics. I graduated from that same high school less than 10 years ago and the paper was much better written back then.

I might also add that the rich have a financial incentive to employ as few workers as possible to reduce their labor costs. This is true regardless of how high wages are because 2 workers will always cost more than 1 (unless of course they are 2 illegals competing against 1 American citizen). Add that to mechanization and you have our current situation where there are simply more potential workers than jobs. Even if we closed the borders, stopped giving China a free pass on currency manipulation, and eliminated the minimum wage, all unions, and all unnecessary regulation tomorrow I doubt we could ever return to the employment levels of the 1950s simply because there is so much less work that needs to be done by humans.

My apologies for the length of my previous post.


40 posted on 12/31/2012 7:08:10 PM PST by SoCal SoCon (Conservatism =/= Corporatism.)
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To: SoCal SoCon
What “frequent disruptive strikes”? I haven’t heard about any strikes in the last few years.

Please sit down and have a twinkie or a Ho Ho, you have some catching up to do. Where to begin...how about on the West coast. How much did that west coast dock strike cost before it ended? Did you enjoy the shows in Michigan or Wisconsin?

Unions inject a third party and an increased level of hostility between various groups that they then negotiate. Today they are needed only in extreme situations, in my opinion, and cost more than any good they do. Looks like extortion most of the time, in my opinion.

It works for them, though, and they have great political power and usually get favorable treatment from the legal system as long as they don't go too far.

If I were wanting to start a company, I'd do all I could to avoid dealing with them.

And I'd have to lawyer up, not just to deal with the alphabet agencies' regulations, especially just finding a place to build, but also for handling the various law suits. Ask Toyota about that.

And, thanks to obamacare, everything just got much more expensive, so I'd be very reluctant to hire anyone or grow very much.

In fact, thanks to that ever growing debt and GovCo.'s unwillingness to stop spending, I am worried that I will regret hiring anyone new. If I ran a business the way they are running GovCo, I'd be out of business. I am worried about how this is going to catch up to us.

And here we are, the eye of the storm and the back wall is coming. The second term should be a hoot. Like the wabbit said, "Well, batten them down again! We'll teach those hatches!"

People usually act in their own best interests, usually to gain pleasure and avoid pain. It rarely gets more complicated than that. If things are as bad as you say they are elsewhere as compared to here, then we wouldn't be having this conversation. But either way, why do we want to make things so hard and so expensive?

He said he was going to nationalize healthcare, education and energy. Look out below....here we come....

41 posted on 12/31/2012 8:13:40 PM PST by GBA (Here in the Matrix, life is but a dream.)
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To: SoCal SoCon
I might also add that the rich have a financial incentive to employ as few workers as possible to reduce their labor costs.

Just who are you calling rich? Anyone who owns a mom and pop business is rich? The guy with the gas station? Or any of those businesses around town, those are rich people? The guy with a Subway shop is rich? The electrician or the heating and air guy who wants to add a crew and grow, they are rich?

I think they all would like to be and they all would spread a lot of wealth around getting there, but most aren't close to rich.

Makes me wonder, where does all the hostility to ambition, to working hard and getting ahead come from? Have we so demonized the old work ethic that got us this far? We really do have a bad attitude to go with our sense of entitlement and our enhanced self esteem.

Yet another reason to avoid starting a business here.

42 posted on 12/31/2012 8:33:36 PM PST by GBA (Here in the Matrix, life is but a dream.)
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To: ksen
I see three factors in this
1. The emergence of a global transnational class thanks to globalization.
2. Immigration and illegal immigration creating wage pressure
3. Social decay and the decline of the two-parent family lowers family income.

Voting Democrat does nothing for the first, and worsens the second two.

43 posted on 01/02/2013 12:13:32 PM PST by rmlew ("Mosques are our barracks, minarets our bayonets, domes our helmets, the believers our soldiers.")
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To: ksen

Naked Capitlism is run by a woman using the phony name Yves Smith (a take-off on Adam Smith, even though Adam Smith favored free markets). She is extremely left-wing and hates capitalism with a passion.

Income equality is the result of rising number of unmarried females, partly from welfare expansion and partly from cultural trends. It also partly from the fact more people can live alone that had to live with someone else. Older people, for example. Incomes are down on the lower end because of uncontrolled immigraiton.

Also, when more and more families are on welfare or depending on earned income tax credits, they never enter the workforce and are never able to advance their incomes overo the years. Thus, the become dead-enders, bringing down the average because they are lazy and contribute nothing of value to society. Indeed they bring down society.

Finally, uncontrolled immigraiton plus illegal immigration has been brinking millions of people with low IQ and limited ambition. They may work hard, but they’re going to bring down the average incomes. More peasants from Latin America equals more income inequality.

Look at California. They have the highest poverty rate in America now. Their high welfare payments attrack the worst of the lot from around the nation and the Western Hemisphere for that matter. If you want income inequality — follow California’s lead.


44 posted on 01/02/2013 12:24:33 PM PST by WashingtonSource
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To: GBA

I did read about Wisconsin and Michigan but they didn’t make a strong impression on me because 1) I didn’t follow them in as much detail as other Freepers. I wish I had more time to dedicate to reading the news but I don’t. 2) What I did manage to read still doesn’t compare to the US in the 1960s or what I have seen in other countries, either in frequency or intensity. Michigan and Wisconsin made headline news because they were rare; in countries like Italy and Argentina where these types of strikes actually are common nobody bothers to report most of them because they’re not considered newsworthy.

There’s quite a difference between public sector unions and private sector unions: namely, public sector unions’ employers have the capacity to tax. So, public sector union bosses reason, why shouldn’t we make outrageous demands? After all, the government can’t go out of business. That’s why I agree that public sector unions like those of teachers and prison guards are out of control and have to be reined in. Private sector unions, on the other hand, know their employers cannot simply raise revenue with the stroke of a pen, thus it is in their self-interest to moderate their behavior lest they kill the goose that lays the golden eggs.

In a perfect world there would be no unions, each worker could negotiate his/her salary with boss individually, and salaries would accurately reflect the value of the worker’s labor to the company. We don’t live in a perfect world. The playing field is not level. For instance, CEOs of America’s biggest 350 companies earned 231 times what the average private sector worker did in 2011 (Source: http://www.economist.com/blogs/graphicdetail/2012/05/ratio-ceo-worker-compensation) I find it hard to believe the CEO’s labor is really worth 231 times that of the workers who are actually making the widget. Part of the definition of being a leader of any kind is that you have more power over your subordinates than they have over you. Theoretically, of course, a top-performing worker who feels he/she is being underpaid can leave for another job but if all the company’s competitors are also paying their workers less than the value than value of their labor (and they will be because it’s in their self-interest to maximize their own profits) where exactly is he/she going to go? The idea that the non-rich have the same opportunities as the rich is idealism to the point of utopianism. First you’d have to get rid of the natural human instinct of rich parents to provide the best for their children, e.g. a host of SAT tutors that poor parents couldn’t begin to afford, a job in management in whatever corporation he/she owns regardless if the kid is qualified or not, etc.

You mentioned self-interest as the primary motivation for human behavior. Okay, so let’s talk about self-interest. Right now the GOPe is telling me to put my trust in so-called “job creators”, who have a self-interested incentive in hiring as few workers as possible and paying the workers they do have as little as possible, to increase employment and get us out of the recession. That doesn’t make sense to me. Relying on self-interest alone is not going to get us out of this. For example, another poster mentioned that rich are hoarding their cash (as are plenty of non-rich) because it is in their self-interest, which is true. Yet if everyone does this, the economy will remain mired in a recession because our economy is so dependent on consumer spending. So sometimes the aggregate of all self-interested decisions actually leads to everyone being worse off, rather than better off. I’m not saying Adam Smith was wrong, just that his theory of the invisible hand doesn’t work in every circumstance.


45 posted on 01/02/2013 4:43:58 PM PST by SoCal SoCon (Conservatism =/= Corporatism.)
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To: GBA

“Just who are you calling rich? Anyone who owns a mom and pop business is rich? The guy with the gas station? Or any of those businesses around town, those are rich people? The guy with a Subway shop is rich? The electrician or the heating and air guy who wants to add a crew and grow, they are rich?”

Nope, those people are middle class, upper middle class at best, and are being crowded out by their larger competitors every day. I’m all for small business; the problem is when the government cuts taxes most of the tax cuts go to the owners and CEOs of large businesses who need the tax cuts far less, who are putting the aforementioned small businesses out of business, and who, coincidentally I am sure, contribute far more to politicians’ campaigns than small businesses do.

“Makes me wonder, where does all the hostility to ambition, to working hard and getting ahead come from? Have we so demonized the old work ethic that got us this far? We really do have a bad attitude to go with our sense of entitlement and our enhanced self esteem”

I’m not hostile to the value of hard work; I’ve just lost faith that hard work alone gets you anywhere unless you were born into one of the “elite” families, attended the “right” schools, and moved in the “right” social circles. Of course, all else being equal, a person who works hard will do better than one who slacks off. Sadly, in the real world all other things are not equal, and a person’s economic success is determined more by the circumstances he/she was born into than by how hard he/she works. If Paris Hilton had been born into a poor family she would been just another common tart. Instead, because she is a member of the elite class, she is fawned over as a celebrity and leads a far easier life than those small business owners you mentioned who actually have to work for a living, all without producing anything of value. Meanwhile, small business owners all across America, who have poured their blood, sweat, and tears into their businesses, have seen their businesses fail and continue to slip closer to poverty. The American dream is dead and both parties killed it.


46 posted on 01/02/2013 5:09:48 PM PST by SoCal SoCon (Conservatism =/= Corporatism.)
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To: SoCal SoCon
Private sector unions, on the other hand, know their employers cannot simply raise revenue with the stroke of a pen, thus it is in their self-interest to moderate their behavior lest they kill the goose that lays the golden eggs.

That's why I suggested you have a Twinkie...at least as long as you can, if you can still find one. One of the unions put that company out of business, in this economy!

Check out the airlines' history of troubles with the unions. I understand it's not just the unions' fault. I have seen and experiences multiple management fiascoes in multiple companies and been through more than a few corporate takeover aftermaths. But as a general rule, unions just add to the problem, and do not add to the solution. I like working in non-union places MUCH better.

You might also enjoy reading the history of union activity in the US, during times of war, and not just times of peace. Generally, union teachers won't teach you about the full history of unions, only the good stuff.

What you saw in Madison and in Michigan was just a taste of what they are all capable of, good times or bad. I've also heard that violence done by union members while they are protesting is OK legally, but I need to look into that more to be sure. Didn't surprise me, though. The history supports legal favoritism toward them like that.

For most of my working life, I have been a factory worker in various industries, high and low tech, some using my brain, most no brain required beyond basic skills. The better I made myself, the better jobs I've been able to get.

I read a lot of hostility and frustration, class warfare stuff in your post. Personally, I never go there and refuse to let myself do that to my attitude. It's poison. It's the dark side. If once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny. Feel free to add your own Yoda quotes.

This is what I know. My risk and contribution to that company's success justified the wage I made. I was not bothered or jealous of the salaries the CEO, Pres. VPs or what anyone else made, nor did I view their salaries as a threat to mine. I truly had no comprehension of what they did to earn it and what effect their work had on the success of failure of the company.

If they ran it into the ground, it was their business, not mine, even though I would suffer their loss along with them. If they somehow were successful, then good for them and for me, since the better they were, the better they did, the better I did, as I worked more hours and got better raises. Therefore, I wanted the highest paid management possible if that meant they were the best for the job. I only care about their merit, not their money.

For the work and the opportunity I was grateful. Unlike with talented management, almost anyone with similar skills could have done my job, so I tried to be a bit better and help make things run smoothly. Still got laid off, but was always hired back. Such is life.

You determine your success and your failure. No one else. You may be helped or hurt by those around you, but in the end, you are the one in charge. It sucks that the government types play class warfare games and divisively pit us against each other, but you don't have to let your self fall for it.

It may be harder now or not, don't know. It's always hard. Start from that point of view and it actually gets easier. Start with the idea that your success is in someone else's hands or in fate's hands and you'll struggle with attitude problems that will sabotage you and your efforts and prove that belief for you the rest of your life.

It doesn't matter where you start in this race, all that matters is how you run it. Some of us start well back of the starting line and still finish well. Read the biographies of the successful and you'll see what I mean. They generally live the secret to the success you speak of.

Each of us have a million dollar idea, but most of us never recognize it or do anything with it. It's doable, if you want it bad enough. I simply hate the ones who make the path so much harder than it is already. Most of us aren't Paris Hilton and are grateful to God for that fact. She doesn't look all that happy anyway.

Apologies for going on and on for soooooo long...others say this stuff so much better than I do. Listen to Freewill by Rush to see what I mean.

47 posted on 01/02/2013 6:47:07 PM PST by GBA (Here in the Matrix, life is but a dream.)
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To: GBA

Okay, now I understand the Twinkie reference. I never said private sector unions were guaranteed to calculate accurately how far they could push the line; miscalculations can and do happen, as the Twinkies clearly show. All I said was that private sector unions have an incentive to moderate their demands that public sector unions don’t, which is why I don’t consider the former to be as big of a threat as the latter. The union for Twinkie laborers has now put itself out of business as well, thus eliminating itself as a political force, and for every Twinkie-type bankruptcy there are dozens of unionized companies who are surviving this recession because their unions know better.

I’ve Googled the topic using several different search requests, looked at pro-union websites, anti-union websites, and neutral websites, and I can’t find anything that says unions are legally permitted to use violence during protests.

If you’ve worked your way up to a better job than the one you started with, then I’m happy for you. Just please understand that a) not everyone who is willing to work can find a job and b) not everyone is as fortunate as you in terms of hard work leading to promotion.

“I read a lot of hostility and frustration, class warfare stuff in your post. Personally, I never go there and refuse to let myself do that to my attitude. It’s poison. It’s the dark side. If once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny. Feel free to add your own Yoda quotes.”

I don’t consider myself a socialist or a class warfare advocate, just a realist who sees the world as it is rather than how I would like it to be. I simply haven’t seen any evidence that the world works as you seem to think it does, where hard work by itself ensures success. I have seen people who have worked hard their whole lives who are still not getting ahead and I have dated a guy who has skated by on his parents’ money and connections, without having any particular work ethic of his own, yet he has more money than they will ever have. My ex, by the way, is a die-hard Democrat. Don’t ask me how he squares that with his self-interest as an affluent Jew.

I’ll admit it irks me that a pro-abortion atheist (http://www.aynrand.org/site/PageServer?pagename=objectivism_faq#obj_q5) is considered the be-all and end-all of conservatism by some on this forum but that is a topic for another thread. If I am pessimistic about economic issues it is for 1 reason: I am in my early 20s. That is to say, I will still be here when the fecal matter really hits the ventilation device and makes our current crisis look like a walk in the park. Not to play the generational warfare card but my generation is the one that’s going to have to pick up the tab of this deficit, and that includes the tax cuts for the rich, which are not being translated into jobs for people my age, not even for those with a decent work ethic. There are 3 ways we can deal with the deficit while cutting taxes for the rich: 1) Cut spending by a considerable margin 2) Raise taxes on the non-rich or 3) Ignore the deficit and keep pretending everything’s fine. Option 1 is not going to happen anytime soon, not unless there is a complete overhaul of the leadership of both parties and all politicians channeling federal money to their pet projects are thrown out of office simultaneously. What are the odds of that happening? Option 2 would raise taxes on those whose financial resources are already stretched to the breaking point from the recession, and could very well spark a French Revolution-style uprising, maybe not now, but 10-20 years down the road. I’m pretty sure neither of us wants that for our country. Option 3, which seems to be the one favored by our esteemed GOPe leaders, would saddle the younger generation with an even larger tab than we have already. The time to cut taxes is not during a multitrillion dollar deficit.


48 posted on 01/03/2013 12:30:10 AM PST by SoCal SoCon (Conservatism =/= Corporatism.)
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To: GBA

“If they ran it into the ground, it was their business, not mine, even though I would suffer their loss along with them. If they somehow were successful, then good for them and for me, since the better they were, the better they did, the better I did, as I worked more hours and got better raises.”

I’m glad that was your experience but in many corporate situations if the company does poorly the workers lose their jobs while the CEOs and other senior executives take the golden parachute out and retire in style. The old notion of a captain going down with his ship appears to be a foreign concept to them. Whereas if the company does well, that doesn’t always translate into better wages for the workers.

Put it this way: I may be in the driver’s seat and I may be the one who decides which fork in the road to take but I didn’t choose which road I started out on. Some people start off on well-paved roads, others start on potholed dirt roads. So while I can choose to choose wisely or unwisely at every fork in the road, I can’t get somewhere if there’s no road from where I am to where it is. Most conservatives say that an individual’s success or failure depends entirely on that individual’s merit and most liberals say that an individual’s success or failure depends entirely on luck or fate. I don’t believe the world is that black-and-white; I believe that the roots of an individual’s economic success are more complex than either side acknowledges, a middle ground that is based partially on merit and partially on chance.

One thing I have noticed about successful people is that their ideas are much more likely to come to fruition during economic booms than during recessions for obvious reasons. I’ve also noticed that most successful people are American, Canadian, or from a small handful of countries in Europe and Asia. This is not because the Sudanese and the Malaysians, to give a few examples, don’t also have brilliant ideas but because their governments are too unstable or too corrupt to allow those ideas to flourish into successful businesses. In a sense you and I have already won the lottery simply by being born in the US as opposed to a third world country. Which goes back to what I was saying about the complexity of individual success and failure: a Malaysian can be intelligent, thrifty, and hard working and yet reap much poorer fruits of his labors than if that same man had been born in the US. Similarly, if a rich American kid and poor American kid have the exact same intelligence, business acumen, ability level, work ethic, etc. the rich kid will generally do better than the poor kid because he/she has more opportunities to develop his/her gifts. The rich kid will go to a decent private school while the poor kid will go to an extremely low quality public school, the rich kid’s parents will use their connections to help him/her network while the poor kid will have to build his/her own network from scratch, the rich kid will have more time to study while the poor kid will have to work to supplement the family income, etc. I could go on but the bottom line is Same Merits + Different Circumstances= Different Results.

I don’t know if Paris Hilton is happy either but I do know that she is materially better off than many who actually work for a living, and that that violates every principle of the American dream.

No need to apologize for the length of your post, especially given the length of my own posts. You want to make sure you’re addressing all my concerns, and I respect that.

FReegards


49 posted on 01/03/2013 2:11:49 AM PST by SoCal SoCon (Conservatism =/= Corporatism.)
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To: SoCal SoCon
I don’t know if Paris Hilton is happy either but I do know that she is materially better off than many who actually work for a living, and that that violates every principle of the American dream.

She's not the best example, more of an exception to the rule or a likely by product of following it. But she's also yet another example of "the boss's kid" and they have always been around. In fact, if you see the company is structured around the Boss and Kid(s), you might not want to play there unless the family is committed to the ideals that made the business possible and made it grow.

Those boss's kids situations can be the worst possible when found in the corporate world and in my experience have been the worst offenders of the Golden Parachute escape plan when the kid(s) run it into the ground.

Anyway, I tend to agree with your post. I can only say that the last decade has been rougher than any before it. I do apologize for the length of my response. I think I wrote that to myself for my own re-motivation more than to you.

I'm trying to reinvent myself again for this new obamanation we find ourselves in and am frustrated and worried by how much more difficult things have become. We have the blueprint for a successful nation and we are determined not to use it again.

My objections are always against anything that goes against the underlying natural rules that govern the world and against things that favor one group over another for reasons other than merit, as most social systems often do. That is the beauty of the Constitution. It sets up a representative government in harmony with natural law and with built-in resistance to other social systems/influences that are counter to those laws.

Unfortunately, not one generation (Lincoln might be an exception) has been able to live up to our founding ideals, but have instead lived down to the lowest levels of human nature. The progressives and all their various supporting agencies are the worst offenders, starting with Teddy R. and especially with Wilson, and here we are, a floundering Great Society.

My fondest hope and prayer is that our generation be the generation who actually holds up those founding ideals so eloquently expressed in all of our founding documents once again and strives to live up to that high standard.

I want to live, work and play, succeed or fail, in that world!!! I want to believe we all do and am disappointed to see that isn't the case.

50 posted on 01/03/2013 11:04:51 AM PST by GBA (Here in the Matrix, life is but a dream.)
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