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« Lucy Pearl at Seven Months | Main | Ruminations - 1nov2011 (updated) »

30 October 2011

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Todd Juvinall

When I was a Supervisor I learned right out of the gate about the welfare state and the myriad of programs desifned to keep the great unwashed quiet. I actually campaigned on "workfare" in 1984 and after election Governor Duke and a resistant legislature passed a watered down version of workfare. But what I really learned is there are addicts in our sytem who desire and want to be "high" on programs and handouts and are never a part of the American dream, by choice! So, our nanny state grew and these people populated the place with like minded progeny by the bushel. Now we are broke and the nanny state has made millions of these folks who are afraid to lose their dopamine. The have-nots in many cases could have been the haves, but that entry job pay just couldn't compete with that welfare check.

Todd Juvinall

The dopamine could be a welfare recipient, student loan recipient, in their personal life, a non profit 501 or a crony capitalist.

Steve Enos

[gratuitous ad hominem attack deleted]

Steve Enos

[gratuitous ad hominem attack deleted]

Mikey McD

Never has a president focused so much on dividing a nation. The numbers back up his 'hate the producers strategy' with well over 50% of the nation either living off of the government via 'employment' or getting a free ride (47% pay zero Fed Income tax). He is simply playing the odds that any politician without a conscience would play.

Don't fret it's just more of our liberty at stake.

That is why I have been buying up "Yes he will be re-elected shares" http://www.intrade.com/v4/markets/contract/?contractId=743474

Bobo Bolinski

[gratuitous ad hominem attack deleted]

Bobo Bolinski

“Instead of appealing to the hope and optimism that were hallmarks of his first campaign, he has launched his second campaign by preying on the emotions of fear, envy and resentment.”

Gee that worked for the last GOP two time winner. So now the complaints?

bill tozer

Oh, The Great Divide. To the elitists, all people who are not them are the vast unwashed. Hard to say if the unwashed are those who cling to their Bibles and guns, or those who live womb to tomb with their hands out. Maybe its those blue collar types or the truckers in North Dakota pulling down 6 figures. Maybe the unwashed are the college drop outs that are also making 6 figures working on oil rigs. Maybe the unwashed are those who are those that went to public universities or those who do not live within 20 miles of the coast. I think the Great Divide is best illustrated by the makeup of the 200 campers at Occupy Frisco. According to SJ Mercury News, more than half of the campers are actually the local homeless that are holding down the fort. Instead of sleeping on the streets, they were given tents, blankets, port-a-potties and free sandwiches in exchange for staying there. They other 40%or so are peaceful true believers. Are the unwashed the homeless or the venders in the park? The local venders have known the local homeless souls for quite awhile and have had their booths broken into about once a month before Occupy Frisco. Now their booths are burglarized nightly, stealing even artists' supplies. So, maybe the unwashed are the 40% peaceful true believers busting into the venders booths at night to make signs stating their demands. Hard to say from here.

Brad Croul

I know some of the George Rebane's Ruminations Regulars (GRRR!) don't care for David Gregory's, “Meet the Press”, but as I was channel surfing this morning I heard the MTP roundtable panel discussing "The GD".

Tom Brokaw, part of the MTP panel, writes in, “The Time of our Lives”, “Slashing rhetoric and outrageous characterizations have long been part of the American national political dialogue...but modern means of communications are now so pervasive and penetrating that they might as well be part of the air we breathe, and therefore they require tempered remarks from all sides. Otherwise, that air just becomes more toxic until it is suffocating.”

The stock market just experienced its largest monthly rally in 47 years. The market, the weather, and the political rhetoric have been more volatile the last few years. Volatility, or extremes are not the same as divisions or a “Great Divide” as long as they still are in flux, changing and evolving.

The US is at the bottom with regard to income equality, with the most poverty, compared to most of the developed world. This could be seen as a divide.

Attempting to create some parity with regard to income and quality of life is not a communist or socialist plot.

I don’t think egalitarianism is the same as communism. I think the divisive, GD thinker equates the two, but more reasonable minds see the difference.

bill tozer

More on topic concerning The Great Divide, to me it boils down to core belief systems. Once worked as a temp working in the high country cutting trees away from power lines. Worked side by side with a young man every day. He was a recent grad from a prestigious university back east. First time I ever spent 40 hours a week with a full blown idealistic liberal. Liberal, not Democrat. He was angered by the reality that he, a college grad, was making the same a college dropout (me). I got a bump in pay when he did not, which really created tension and interesting conversations. Tried to explain that showing up is 90% of this job, and maybe he would get a raise if he showed up everyday. He was upset that we were cutting small trees, messing with nature and being immoral. My friend wanted us to organize and strike against the temp agency for higher wages, benefits, etc. He said we were worth more than the pay of our temp job (especially if one had a diploma) and the temp agency was making money off the sweat of our labor and that was a unconscionable. Modern day slaves. I told him I may be worth more with my experience, but the bottom line is I am worth what I am paid. He worshiped Michael Moore so I watched Moore's film about GM (Roger something) to open my mind. Told him it was sad that people were being evicted in Flint after a plant closing. One person committed suicide. My friend proclaimed that the GM head should be prosecuted for murder for closing plants and "causing" the suicide. Loggers should be jailed as well for murdering trees. Did ask him if his abode had any 2X4's in the walls. He believed in guaranteed employment, womb to tomb cradle to the grave being cared for by something outside ourselves. He introduced me to organic food (tastes better), but his mass consumption of kelp caused problems when we drove back down the hill. Had to keep the windows down. Guess that is why I gravitated to the right, he to the left. He got fired for not showing up, I sought and obtained a better job...with benefits.

George Rebane

Great recounting BillT. I think we have all worked with a dyed-in-the-wool liberal once or twice in life. With regard to their sentiments and outlook, my experiences match yours. My feeling is also that as long a given job is the best I can get, my pay is fair to what I'm required to do for that job - my qualifications as a PhD, registered professional engineer, ex-CEO, ex-college prof, ex-Army officer, etc don't mean a hill of beans if any of them is not required for the job I was hired. My mom and dad lived that philosophy after we came to America, and no one was bitter or thought of calling a strike because they considered they weren't compensated for their 'intrinsic worth'. And today Jo Ann and I live it as volunteers, no job too dirty.

BradC 235pm - state mandated and enforced outcome egalitarianism is indeed the same as communism. That today most on the Left don't understand this is a prime reason that GD stays in the national conversation.

Todd Juvinall

When we had public hearings on projects here in the 80's, you know the ones that create jobs or some similar evil capitalist dream, the great unwashed would find a way to the public hearings, (usually in a smoke belching old Volvo) and say this; "I have a PHD or a masters and I quit my job in SF to move here and live in this beautiful place. I am now a waiter or a window washer because I really can't find a job utilizing my expensive sheepskin, but I "sacrifice" every day to live here" or something like that. They were always against the project, no matter what it was. I never understood their waste of education here.(probably had student loans)

Martin

Todd,

Those former 'waiters and window washers' are making more money now growing and selling dope than they ever could have made working in the private sector with their 'earned' sheepskins. And, because it's an underground economy they don't pay takes.

Ain't it great when capitalism is OK in the above economic model and not elsewhere?

Scott Obermuller

Re: Brads quote - "The US is at the bottom with regard to income equality, with the most poverty, compared to most of the developed world. This could be seen as a divide." You have got to be kidding. We are 'at the bottom of the world'? The 'poor' in this country live better than most of the rest of the world regardless of education, or any other denominator. Middle class in the rest of the world means you might have access to some kind of transportation other than walking. The "poor' in the US are driving cars the "rich' in other countries can only dream of. The fact that there are a lot of very wealthy folks in this country has nothing to do with the reason that others here are poor. The vast majority of the poverty in this country is the result of folks making poor decisions. Every day in this country, people rise out of poverty, but the 'anti-poverty' experts have no time to listen to their story. The anti-poverty experts just keep begging for more money to throw after bad in a totally failed system of give them goodies and some how they will be better. The main reason for this is that the ones who rise out of poverty don't need the experts. You have the right to make poor decisions and fail in this country and I'm happy we have that because sometimes the 'wrong way' turns out to be quite fortuitous. But if you want the right to fail, you can not also want the right to others' money. And if you take others' money, you must lose the right to make a lot of decisions in your life. Sadly, we have this system in that you can continue to make awful choices that continue a life of poverty, yet have the "right' to take tax money to support your failed path.
That is the Great Divide.

Russ Steele

Reading the above post, I recalled this email that came in over the Is It 2010 in Nevada County Yet transom: http://2012nevadacounty.wordpress.com/2011/10/30/over-e-mail-transom-other-side-of-the-great-divide/
Which side of the divide do you think she is on?

Todd Juvinall

Well Russ, I have met people that know every way possible to get through life as that girl indicated. They were totally serious about living that way. Seems she may have blown BradC's view to smithereens eh?

Todd Juvinall

Martin, you are correct, why use your masters in horticulture for a new corn plant when you can make a gazillion in dope for the children of the country?

Mike Thornton

George writes;

"Our friends from the Left honor me with accusations of being a lone rogue in shining a light on the path that appears to be tearing the country apart."

Not completely true, George. I've often said you were correct about the so-called "Great Divide" and you certainly aren't the only person who has pointed this out.
the real question is; Who are the real "dividers"?
Clearly it has been the regressives that have led this effort, since the implementation pf the so-called "Southern Strategy" and in fact, as pointed out repeatedly, "division" is the staple of regressive comments on RR.
I'm sure this will be "deleted" for one reason or another, since that now appears to be the standard applied here.
Sooner or later, it could wind up with you, Russ and TJ just emailing kudos to each other.....

George Rebane

Re US at bottom in income equality - as pointed out here several times before, according to the Gini Index used by the UN, China has a higher income inequality number than the US. And many countries have higher still Gini Indexes. But the bottom line is that countries with greater income equality don't necessarily have higher living standards. Income equality is the wrong metric for judging the quality of life in a country.

In any event, no one on the Left wants to address the stoking of class warfare fires in our country. To them, it simply is not happening no matter what the Occupiers say.

Scott Obermuller

Mike - you know perfectly well it is the left that seeks to divide. Them vs, us is the constant theme. Great example is Edward's 2 Americas. The left applauded that. With Obama it's all about class warfare. The "rich" have to do something before the poor can move forward. The left claim that the wealthy keep the poor down, even though there are the poor that move upward economically every day. Conservatives know that the poor can move forward (and upward) without anything from the wealthy. It's funny that in both the leftist/socialist camp as well as the conservative, there is a great intermingling of all economic ranges. But only the conservatives acknowledge that. The left is always claiming that they truely represent the poor, but there are poor and wealthy on both sides. It is only the left that represents the poor that want to remain poor and do nothing about it.
People such as Star Parker should be the champions of the left, but the left don't even want to listen.

Steve Frisch

Well Russ, I think you could put this young woman on the side of the great divide that usccrupulous financial institutions, oil and coal companies, agribusiness, the military-industrial complex, and recipients of unreasonable corporate tax breaks are, except if you added all the Aid to Families With Dependent Children and Food Stamps together over the last 5 years they would comprise less than 2% of the corporate welfare paid out

bill tozer

In response to Brad's comment, here is a short article on America's bottom fifth of the economic ladder. I found the 2 last two paragraphs most interesting. The Brookings Institute just released their 40 year study on the same topic, which is an interesting read as well. Yes, Finland's bottom fifth are more mobile than the USA's bottom fifth. The study did not account for immigrant populations, which usually arrive here in the bottom fifth, yet move up in a timely manner.


“economic mobility is constrained above all by personal choices and behaviors.” He argues that society’s leaders “should herald the ‘success sequence’: finish schooling, get a job, get married, have babies.” If Americans finished high school, worked full time at a job that matched their skills and married at the rate they did in the 1970s, the poverty rate would be cut 70 percent.

Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion/opedcolumnists/stuck_at_the_bottom_T5oo28UJFJ5CmBUolRErCN#ixzz1cKUd5hAJ

Ben Emery

Very Good Point Steve F.

The other thing the corporate media likes to ignore is private debt. Private debt has exploded since the 80's, when the Reagan Revolution started. Huge tax breaks for the wealthy while the biggest tax increase in US history for paycheck Americans was implemented along with 7 or 8 other taxes that nailed the poor and middle class. This along with Free Trade Agreements, both (D) and (R), keeping American wages stagnant has forced middle class Americans to stay in that class by personal debt. It is called productivity/ wage gap. The federal reserve played a big role in all of this along with the major banks that have bought off our government since the Reagan Revolution.

http://www.frumforum.com/americas-private-debt-binge
"From the graph, we can see the staggering debt load our society developed which took off in the early 80s, a debt load which was overwhelmingly private."

George Rebane

Re taxing the rich - does not the record show that the 'rich' have increased their share of contributing to the federal income over the years, in spite of all the claimed tax breaks they have gotten? Maybe to keep the discussion better informed, we should call out whether we're talking about tax rates, tax amounts, share of govt income, or what.

Ben Emery

George,
I would suggest effective tax rates and revenue, if taxes are the only topic. Effective being actual rates and revenue. But to focus on one small part is pointless. It is the entire package of policies of tax, tax shelters, trade, incentives, import tariffs, unionized work force, merger/ acquisitions, monopolies/ trusts, regulations/ deregulation, and monetary policy that make up this argument. All of which both parties have favored the top 1% for the last 20 years at least if not more.

bill tozer

The Great Divide from the left point of view: If a fat cat makes 50 bucks, it is taken from the wallets of the poor folk. If a po folk makes 50 bucks, it is called earned. Hard to live with schizophrenia.

Steve Frisch

George, I think the most accurate measure would be what proportion of income each socio-economic class pays in TOTAL taxes (payroll, property, income and sales incuded). Several studies I have seen show that lower and middle income Americans tax burden has stayed roughly the same for a couple of generations while taxes paid by the top 20% has gone down precipitously.

By the way, for your readers to really understand this they need to study the difference between base tax rate and a marginal tax rate.

For illustration purposes, a top marginal rate kicks in only when one passes the thhreshold, so If one makes $5 million and pays a top marginal rate of 35% on income above $4 million, the 35% rate only applies to the final $1 million. What has happened is tht a top marginal rates fell through the past 40 years and incomes increased, the proportion of total tax paid by the top earners has declined.

Almost every study of tax revenue shows this to be the case.

Now if the top earners were re-investing those savings in domestic job creating industries I might go along with tax breaks for those earners, but they are not. American businesses are sitting on the largest cash reserves since 1930, and due to globlization investments are creating jobs in places like Mongolia and China were I have been this week, getting a 8% ROI. In my humble opinion this is the dynamic we need to change with tax reform.

Our tax policy should be encouraging investment in domestic competitiveness. I think we coud do this if reform included tax reductions for domestic job creating investment tied to specific performance metrics.

Ben Emery

Bill,
If a fat cat makes a million bucks and pays workers decent wages with benefits because of tax incentives it's called fair. When a fat cat pays workers low wages with little or no benefits so they can make $10 million bucks, that is called Trickle Down Economics.

Todd Juvinall

We get see first hand here the absolute difference between the lazy and the busy bees. The BenE's and the MikeT's have never answered the question about what is a poor American. Someone on the left should tell us all what is a poor American. Is it simply real dollars? Or is it lack of stuff? Is it simply envy? Many of us have worked since we were very young and worked our way up the economic ladder so I guess we may have a skewered view of "poorness". I was poor and I had a wife and kid at 20. I worked from midnight to 6 am at a Ramada Inn scrubbing and waxing floors to make a living. Because I was a hard worker the manager hired me full time to work the front desk and after working hard some more I eventually got to be the manager of a hotel at age 23. I had 45 employees and to this day those "employees" still stay in contact and we are friends. They were from the Philippines and some were Indians and some were black. They all had the same desire to do better for themselves and their families. They never whined like the "poor" and their masters, the "liberals" do today. They just worked. So, I don't have a lot of sympathy for people like MikeT and BenE who simply try to divide our people and complain about "income inequality". I say, get a job and shut up.

Mikey McD

The commies have no right bringing up the discussion of taxes until they pay a red cent into the system. With 47% of Americans paying ZERO federal income tax you will not get us in the 53% to shed a tear.

Income inequality is tilting at windmills. It is believing in the boogie man or Sasquatch.

You can peddle your 'kinder, gentler communism' elsewhere.

Mikey McD

Michael Moore is a terrorist.

Ben Emery

Todd and Mickey,
Talk about class warfare. With all your charity to workers by allowing them to create you wealth either in a product or service did they have payroll taxes? Did they pay state taxes?

Taxes mean all taxes not just income tax.

Let me ask you charitable guys, did you pay for the education directly out of your pocket of those who have done work for you? Did you pave the roads they used to get to work? Taxes are the dues to a civil society. Business uses the commons/ infrastructure especially the court system at drastically higher rate. The hours of work I have done in my life can compete with anyone along with my volunteer hours to the community, so get off you superiority high horses.

Scott Obermuller

Ben's post at 11:07 is instructive of the mindset of the left. First, if the person is well off and of the conservative persuasion he gets a derogatory name. Then start using vague terms like "decent wages". Who gets to define that? Then fabricate a made-up scenario in which the wealthy person gets to decide whether to make 1 million or 10 million. Yeah, Ben - all of the rich white men sit around in their tuxedos smoking cigars and laugh about how they made 10 million by screwing poor hard working fools. You need to stop reading cartoon books as reference material. It doesn't work that way. If you want more money, you start making yourself more useful to society. Works every time. Or you could become a crooked politician. You promise goodies to the poor and they'll re-elect you for decades while you get stinking rich and they stay poor. The Great Divide.

Todd Juvinall

BenE refuses to read the whole story on anyone who works hard to get ahead. That is the reason he has his opinion which is truly mirrored in the communist manifesto. What about my little ditty makes you think they way you do BenE? Jealousy? Envy? So, since I worked my way uo the ladder through hard work when I was young I become the enemy eh? That is what I actually found out in the rel working world when I was promoted. When you stand out or become the management, even though you worked your way there, there are the BenE;s who look at you through the lens of envy and feel oppressed due to their lack of smarts of initiative.

Regarding Elizabeth Warren's rant which BenE uses in his las pot. Because the people of our country build roads and supply a police force doe not mean the businessman or woman has somehow utilized that for free. My God man, why would you even think that? Americans who make it economically pay their taxes which we all have put in the pot to build the roads. I must say though, you communes are getting real desperate to use such an outrageous train of thought about our country.

Mikey McD

Ben your hate based hypocrisy knows no bounds. You are for equality when it requires stealing from one elite selected human to give to another AND against equality for how all your government philanthropy is paid for. FACT- 47% PAY ZERO Fed INCOME TAX. Instead of 'income inequality' lets discuss taxation inequality.

To allow elitists like you to hand select winners/losers, definitions of words like 'fair' or 'just' or 'equality' is liberty's death sentence.

Ironically (hypocritically) it is the violent left that is so incredibly focused on money; while they point fingers (and guns) at the capitalists for being 'greedy.' Not funny.

Todd Juvinall

Mikey, you have nailed it!

bill tozer

The topic of Obama the Divider has really brought up the current thread: Those that have more stuff and more money than me. Somehow, Obama has escaped this debate. I can relate to Ben E's sentiments. Brings me back to my naive youth when I loved the song "You better take care of business, Mr Businessman". Even bought the 45. In the spirit of being an Uniter, I will combine Ben E with D. King (both of whom I enjoy reading) and come up with Ben E King. Now, who out there does not like "Stand By Me"? Maybe "Stand By Me" will be the White House's campaign theme song. Ok, now lets get back to evil greedy rich guys that are screwing us in the rear by not giving me more of their money. Thank Goodness No Drama Obama was remains above the fray. Gotta go put a flower in my hair. Peace out bros.

Ben Emery

No Mickey,
I am against theft especially from those who have little to begin with. I appreciate you and todd finally coming clean with your positions. George has had a few moments of clarity in the past as well.

Where you guys don't get it is we (left) are talking macro economics and you (self interests) are talking about micro economics, specifically your own interests. WAKE UP!!! You are not the center of the universe. I don't try and hide where I stand but find it hilarious to what extents you guys try to hide the fact that you believe in total hierarchical suppressive system.

Thank You for making your positions clear.

Mikey McD

Ben, your trust in government is erroneous. Who do you trust enough to identify who to tax (at what rate) and who to give the proceeds of said taxes? Who to regulate?

The altruistic angels you would put in charge (with guns and tanks) do not exist. Look at the Macro economic conditions created by an all to powerful government. To believe that you have a system run by angels that works to address income inequality better than a free market is folly. Power corrupts.

Each of us acting in our self interest, freely with competition serves society better than the central planning you worship. At the core your philosophy requires FORCE (theft, violence, slavery) while free markets provide liberty, unity, increased quality of life for all of society.

Your ideology requires theft, requires force, requires the individual to be enslaved.

George Rebane

Re BenE 1008pm and SteveF 1032pm – Maybe we can push the peanut ahead with those comments. But first we do have to acknowledge and keep in view Mikey’s reminder that in this blessed land 47% of us pay no federal income tax, which is the subject of this conversation. Second, of course the current tax code favors those more wealthy and smarter – it was designed by them. Third, RR has long argued the replacement of the current tax labyrinth, and support for that from the Left is most welcome (BTW, not to worry about RR readers’ understanding of marginal tax rates; reading this blog, that is the least of their intellectual hurdles.) Onward -

1. Increasing marginal rates under the current code (CC) does not translate into a stasist increase of revenues – e.g. recall the ‘Eisenhower 90%+ rates’ which no one paid. The taxpayer is a dynamic dodging and weaving beast.
2. Considering the ‘total tribute’ (all taxes, fees, permits, levies, …) paid to all levels of government through all means of collection (including inflation, an assets tax) is a great theoretical exercise, but will yield little as input toward practical public policies – the beast cannot be killed in a single swipe, but must be whittled down bit by piece, say, starting with the CC. I believe the latest figure is somewhere between 30% and 40% of all earnings.
3. Arguing that the rich used infrastructure for greater advantage that was paid for by the poor will not let us make progress. The rich paid more for the infrastructure than the poor, and their running leveraged businesses and investments would, of course, gain them more income than a poor person using the same infrastructure to sell just his own labor.
4. People who live entirely on government supplied income actually pay no tribute at all unless they augment that with personal savings accrued during wealth creation years.
5. The eternal tension is between a bloated government (Hobbes’ Leviathan) claiming to create jobs and the nimble smarter sector (aka the ‘rich’) creating jobs. For all the reasons already detailed in these pages and elsewhere, Leviathan loses the competition and in its persistence only multiplies misery.
6. And even the rich don’t invest their savings in risky enterprises if the government promises to continue/grow an uncertain economic environment – promised and visible stability invites investment.
7. I believe that governments (taxing jurisdictions) at all levels would better serve us by being forced to live within a fixed and known percentage of last year’s local (jurisdictional) domestic product. According to my lights, for the feds this would limit next year’s budget to 15% of last year’s GDP. Any emergencies (war, natural disaster, …) that could not be handled through a saved ‘rainy day fund’ would be paid for by a labeled, purposed, and limited (sunsetted) added tax.
8. Everyone earning income would pay a tax, and no government welfare program should be constructed so as to de-motivate the recipient in finding a job.
9. The more important ‘marginal lesson’ to understand (especially for the Left) is at what point will the marginal dollar NOT be risked in the marketplace. (As a manufacturer, my revenues and profits soared when I put in place a novel and unheard of policy of commissioning my sales force by INCREASING their share of the last dollar of product sold, instead of the industry practice of paying them a lower commission as their sales soared. Immediately, all of my regional sales managers began earning more than me their CEO.)
10. As I and so many others have argued before, taxing does affect the generation and distribution of wealth in an economy. How to do that without limiting wealth creation, no matter how the top tier is compensated, is the big debate between the Right and Left. Having the lower tiers live off the earnings of the top tiers gives us the ultimate reward of a California and the slowly sinking socialist Europe – both unsustainable.

Scott Obermuller

Ben - re the 9:47 post. You are against theft. That's super. How does this advance an argument? Next -"I don't try and hide where I stand but find it hilarious to what extents you guys try to hide the fact that you believe in total hierarchical suppressive system."
What proof do have that they are for a total hierarchical suppressive system? I think that when they talk about processes and ideas that would advance their own interests, they assume this would be good for the general society as well. We all like to have productive lives and be able to enjoy the fruits of our labor. How, exactly, are they different in their own interests than the general public?

Todd Juvinall

BenE, yes, I am proud of myself for binging myself up from my bootstraps to a level of personal success. You should try it rather than deride it. Hard work and being a personable human being would help stem some of your leftwing envy of those that succeed. I am so pleased you have finally owned up to your true philosophy of government force to remove successful people's hard earned money (property) from their wallets. You dance around the real desire you have of a government's gun to the head of the haves. Will you be holding the real gun or will you have a government agent hold the gun? Thanks again for finally fessing up to your desire to forcefully take others property.

George Rebane

Excellent Milton Friedman link Mikey (and the other Friedman bagatelles available therefrom). An outstanding quote from that piece is Friedman's, "Whenever you commit to do good using someone else's money, you have to use force."

bill tozer

Seems to me that it is the Republican candidates that are talking about reforming the entire tax code. The Left is bent on only one thing: Tax the rich. Ok, tax them. But no one with even below average intelligence believes government can be trusted to spend money wisely. Both sides are against politicians who dole out favors to their buddies in Washington, thus only the few benefit. The 1%ers are those who have influence in Washington. Yes, Ben E, I do focus on microeconomics. I spout antidotes to illustrate points. I do not give a hoot how much my neighbor makes, or how much you make, or how much a fat cat or big wig makes. Its none of my bees wax. I believe keeping my side of the street clean and living a life on guard against envy and greed so I can sleep well at night and live comfortably within my own skin. Envy and greed cause so much discontent that they should be listed right up there with stealing or car jacking. On the larger view, this whole Arab Spring was sparked by one man who had his modest vender's cart seized by oppressive gov't. Spread like wild fire. Curious that over here the focus has been on Wall St, not oppressive gov't. Got a kick out of Occupy Portland yesterday. The city officials had an agreement with the campers: You can use TWO parks and we will leave ya alone. But, noooo, they decided to go camping and protesting in an affluent residential neighborhood. Not some fat cat's house, just big houses in general. This general animosity against folks with more stuff than the campers and this misguided belief that the only way they could live in an upscale home is by given special treatment, paying less than their fair share, obtained wealth by unethical means, are uncaring selfish self centered materialistic folks is comical at best. I need more specifics before I paint the whole neighborhood with a broad brush. People living in nicer homes than me ain't the problem. All socialists ideals overlook the unchangeable flaw throughout the history of mankind: That flaw is human nature. It isn't that socialism failed because it was not tried hard enough or in the right way. Nay, human nature with its greed and envy and pride and sloth and coveting other people's stuff and trying to make others all behave and stay in line and do exactly what I want them to has doomed every socialist scheme. Its a full time job keeping my side of the street clean.

Bobo Bolinski

" You dance around the real desire you have of a government's gun to the head of the haves"
Todd it's really interesting how you can easily accuse other people of having the desire to hold guns to people's head through their government.
But once someone here tries a little bitch slap at you it is a gratuitous ad hominem attack.
You guys spend so much time here stroking each other's swollen text it makes me wonder what you really do and how you measure your success.
The left, that's us, has just as many people in it pissed off about the government's treatment of bankers and the rich as the tea party. I mean the tea party was created because of the bailout and the banks.

And the government has been removing money from people's wallets for a long time I believe from just after you were born (Todd). We didn't complain about taxes during Vietnam war, or the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan because those costs were hidden, and the rich who really control the political system in this country got exactly what they wanted for the past 20 years. Now with financial systems all around the world crumbling and we in the United States needing more growth just to stay even find that the rich are an easy target.

And you George, you compare the Arab Spring to Occupy "Wherever", when you fail to note or remember that unemployment in those countries has been 20% or above for dozens of years.
And the age group that produced the protests were the largest group in the country. As opposed to the US were the largest group is us old average white guys.

You imagine the entire USA at 25% unemployment. How many years do you think it would be until we have a, rustbelt spring?

"trying to make others all behave and stay in line and do exactly what I want them to has doomed every socialist scheme"

And the far right never does anything like this.
Socialist communist fascist GOP the left or monarchy always wants to make someone do something they think they should be doing.

Mikey McD

My excessive tax payments would be easier to swallow if I knew ALL Americans were paying their fair share. My SOLUTIONS:

*1 flat (equal) tax across the board; everyone pays the same %.

*do not make employers tax collectors (each taxpayer makes their own payments to uncle Sam)

*do not tax social security benefits

*End the Federal Reserve

Todd Juvinall

This is my response to a liberal denigrating Reagan and his economic policies and decrying the poor folks allegedly exploited by the rich folks since. I liked my response so much I thought it would work here too.

"Hank, you really can't be serious? Let us look at illegal immigration regarding the economy. We generated so much money since 1980 or so, that our country attracted 20 million people who came here without papers to do the jobs created in our economy. They were paid billions in wages which they spent here and their homelands. Now this is considered by the left the underclass. Where would these folks have gotten those billions if they had not become (underground mostly) a part of our economy. How is it the economy could possibly generate the new dollars to even pay these people? No, you can belittle the Reagan strategy all you want but it produced trillions of dollars shared bu millions. Also, if the economy was crap as you intimate and weighted towards the rich, how did all those hundreds of thousands of regular folks become millionaires during that time frame? How could we have generated a 14 trillion dollar economy (70% consumer buying)? You can't make a sows ear out of a silk purse Hank."

Michael Anderson

Mikey, I like your 4 solutions a lot. The only thing I would add to your flat tax is a consumption tax (though certainly not as high as 9%, since state sales taxes need to be taken into account) and a tax (1%?) on financial trading.

George Rebane

BoboB 242pm - I really think you should reread my posts; those attributions to me all miss the mark and attest to your reading comprehension skills.

Readers should recall that my prediction for 2020 unemployment is 70 million (a number that I will have to revise upward). Today our workforce numbers about 150 million. By 2020 at 1.5% annual growth this will grow to over 170 million, thereby giving us a minimum un/underemployment rate of about 40%.

No one is going to demonstrate their way out of that one. The Left should pray (you guys do that?) that there will be enough people to generate enough wealth that can be redistributed, else we all will be putting sawdust into our bread dough (Leningrad 1943). The Occupiers have their angry heads up their asses, and are demonstrating for the wrong reasons at the wrong places. But there will be plenty of time to get it right.

Mikey McD

Flat tax or consumption tax, you can have one or the other :)... not both :).

Though I am not smart enough to design the 1% financial tax I will bet my Guinness that I (we) can find a way around it.

I've heard financial tax named as a cure-all by 'occupiers' but have never had any details to review. Definition, policing body (must be global policing body since 90% of financial trades are 'global' in nature), where does the tax go, how spent, what loopholes will be for sale to the highest bidders, etc?

Russ Steele

George,

The Occupy movement is in the wrong place and at the wrong time, because that is where their paymaster want them to be. If the food kitchen and clothes locker were removed, the petty thieves, homeless and semi-homeless would vanish overnight and the only ones in the encampment would be the paid staff of agitators. The real question is why do the paymasters want these people creating pigsties of excrement, urine, vomit, used condoms and tampons in city parks across the nation? What is the real purpose of these Obamavilles that are in the wrong place at the wrong time?

Russ Steele

Who is the troll Bobo Bolinski? Everyone else on RR are using their real names and standing behind their words. Dealing with an anonymous troll is a waste of bandwidth.

bill tozer

Russ, here is a quote you won't see posted at the entrance to our beloved Obamavilles: "A wise and frugal government which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government. To take from one, because it is thought that his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers, have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, the guarantee to every one of a free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it."
Thomas Jefferson, 1801

George Rebane

re Bobo Bolinski - someone emailed me that this sackhead has a cartoon character's name. I think it may have been you Russ. Thanks for the reminder, Mr Bolinski will henceforth be treated appropriately and relegated to websites more conducive to funnies.

Russ Steele

Here is a link to a list of OWS supporters, sponsors and sympathizers from PJ Media

The 99%: Official list of Occupy Wall Street’s supporters, sponsors and sympathizers

The Occupy Wall Street movement has received so much media coverage in recent weeks that it’s nearly impossible to keep abreast of all the developments. So many endorsements and criticisms coming from all directions enter the news cycle in such rapid succession that even the most dedicated news junkies may have missed out on many of the pronouncements. Supporters and detractors of OWS both might find it useful to have a handy all-inclusive list of who has endorsed or embraced the protest.

To satisfy that demand, we hereby present a list of groups, organizations, individuals and entities that have expressed their support for, sponsorship of, or sympathy for the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Mikey McD

Michael Anderson! Your wish is there command!

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-11-01/lawmakers-to-propose-transaction-tax-for-financial-firms-modeled-on-europe.html


Posted by: Michael Anderson | 31 October 2011 at 05:13 PM

George Rebane

Tribute is defined as any exacted or enforced payment or contribution done to acknowledge subjugation. To the extent that taxes don't deliver in kind value to the taxpayer, the excess amount can reasonably be called tribute. It is safe to say that the tribute component of our taxes has sky-rocketed in recent years.

Mikey McD

Amen George.

Bonnie M

Thank you Bill Tozer for quoting Jefferson. That's the moral mentality that contributed to our Bill of Rights. Later, Abe Lincoln added that America was a place that the little guy could get a fair shake and realize his dreams. The Bill of Rights (our Constitution)is what created the United States of America. It should be our standard to keep us united. Destroy this and we, as a people and consequently a nation are left with confusion, chaos and lawless anarchy.
It doesn't matter what it is...football, basketball, baseball...It will not work if you don't play by the rules. Go to the rules that unified America so you'll understand. It's very simple.

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