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Subject: What if we outlawed wealth? rss

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One constant in RSP is the unending argument between those who despise the wealthy and those who view wealth as something anyone can obtain in a democracy + free market environment.

Obama is banking on what I view as a false perception of an ongoing "class struggle" in America to get votes. As objectively as possible (for me) I see it this way: his subtext is that the only reason they're rich and you're not is that they are basically purloining your share of wealth... which assumes wealth is something just laying around and everybody has a right to an equal piece of this abundant natural resource.

So, his plan is to tax the wealthy. Nothing new there. Wealthy people are a convenient tool for every politician that ever ran for any office. But what Obama claims, even though he hasn't outright said it, is that fairness is a magical thing that exists and that all we need is to punish those who abuse it, via taxes, and *poof*... two magic chickens in every pot.

Criminals?

That's why I think Obama is a snake-oil salesman. You punish criminals, not producers. We already have a progressive tax system as well as (I understand) the 2nd highest corporate tax rate in the Western World. What are we going to solve by taking yet more money from wealthy people?

* Will unwealthy people suddenly get wealthy? Not if you look at the mere $500 or so tax savings they get... about $100 less than the stimulus check Bush was derided for creating.

* Will avarice magically disappear as a part of humanity? Right.

* Where exactly will this money, these additional tax proceeds, go? To the government... the same one Obama wants to run.

* So, you must trust the financial skills of the government then if you're willing to give them the power to punish wealthy producers, bank the cash... and then somehow get it into your personal checking account.

* Which means, I suspect, that you're someone who most likely would feel comfortable on the short bus.

Is wealth something that is owed the individuals who are citizens?

I fear there are many of you who think that is exactly correct. That by virtue of being born and living in a nation that has evolved a system where great wealth can be created... that everybody who witnesses the creation is somehow entitled to an arbitrary "fair share". Which takes me right back to the really moronic idea that wealth is a resource and not something produced.

Wealth is non-existent until someone makes it

This is so obvious that I can see why the college-educated tend to miss it. A natural resource, such as oil, wood, soil and seed, flowing water, metal deposits... they are inert things until a human being touches them and "creates" a more attractive, useful or helpful item from them. Creating wealth takes human ingenuity and hard, hard work.

To me, it seems that punishing the creation of wealth, or in any fashion passing laws that restrict how wealthy a person can become or set draconian conditions for the attainment of wealth (other than the obvious demand that it not be criminal) can do nothing but reduce the creation of new wealth.

My opinion is that Obama, who is a very wealthy man himself...as are the majority of Democratic officeholders, henchmen and syncopants... is stirring up shit from the bottom of the political barrel in order to buy an election with emotion. Well, good for him. That's politics for ya. And while most Republican political folks are also wealthy, they ain't running around claiming that America needs to strip the rich of their cash and fork it over to the government.

Would the world be better with no personal wealth at all?

The only reason I ask that semi-rhetorical question is that it seems to be the theme that appeals to the potential voter who can be swayed by the "class struggle" semantics. Essentially, Obama is using envy as a tool to garner votes. Good for him. That's politics.

But! Do you really want restrictions on the creation of new wealth just because some people live a stupidly lavish life-style? Or would you prefer to have a shot at it yourself? How much of your gut emotions regarding taxation are envy and how much are a selfless desire to see mankind rise, as a whole, above the gritty and ugly struggle for food, shelter and a 50" plasma TV?

Example?

Let's say I'm 22 years old and work at Micky D's for $5 an hour. I save $1,000 up and buy a used car that, with work, is worth $2,000 on the market. I invest 50 hours and another $100 and put it on the street, getting the $2,000 cash. I "created" wealth, didn't I? Taking something of lesser value, working it, and getting more value for it.

So I decide to buy another car, and then another. And then discover I need a dealer license to sell more than 5 per year. So I pay the $250, get the license and start buying one a week. I now don't have the time to fix them, so I hire a guy. And I job out the other work on the cars to small shops.

Over time, say 8 years, I'm selling 400 cars a year. I have 20 employees and half a dozen of the small jobber shops have each added extra people to handle the work I send them. I buy a useless dirt lot, hire an asphalt company, electrician, plumber and create new wealth... a paved car lot... where nothing but dirt stood before.

The city likes me because the lot was getting only $200 a year in property tax and now they're getting $2,000 because I bought a small building, a steel shop and added curbs and lights and signs.

By the time I'm 40 years old I have been offered and purchased a franchise, or even two... I have 150 employees, a 5 acre lot, three site-built buidlings and am selling 3,000 vehicles a year.

My income is $700,000 a year, my net wealth well over 5 million, banks are flooring 8 million in vehicles and the existence of my dealerships supply work to another 20 or so small businesses and maybe another 200 working folks.

When I'm 42... some 20 years after I was an assistant night shift manager at McD's.... I'm listening to a guy tell me I owe people making $8 an hour at McD's a portion of what I created. And that if elected, he's not going to ask for a contribution, he's just going to take the money.

Now I don't know about you...

...but if I'm that guy, who went from the lower 20% of income status to the upper 10% by virtue of hard work, risk-taking, smarts, ingenuity and outright suffering and delaying gratification for years... then I'm not going to be friendly about this. I'm going to hire lawyers to protect me, accountants to loophole me out of as much of the taxes as possible, I'll find ways to structure my wealth... perhaps offshore... so as to avoid heavy taxation in the USA and just, in general, start spending more time protecting the wealth I earned than continuing at what I do best... creating new wealth for me and those associated with me.

Rich is not a crime

Despite the fact that some rich people are criminals. But since more poor people are criminals then it would seem if you're going to adapt an idealogical stance that there in some inherent sinster aspect of wealth, then you'd best start penalizing poor people for not getting off their lazy asses and creating new wealth. That makes about as much sense as punishing creativity to me.

McCain? Obama?

I'm neutral about John McCain as a potential president. He compromises too much in my view. I respect him and don't begrudge him his insider status... that whole argument is a red herring to me on either side of the aisle.

I'm very negative about Obama. He's using the emotions of the struggle virtually all of us make on a daily basis to sell us a bullshit solution to a problem that not only cannot be accurately defined, but that may or may not really exist. The USA economy can no longer be perceived correctly as just a national economy. The larger, and more important thing that exists is the world economy. So getting votes by picking out a class of people and pointing a finger, saying, "There they are! There's the people who fucked up the world. Elect me and I'm gonna take their money and make you all smile again.".... that rhetoric makes Obama the king of liars to me. It's why I agree he's an empty suit.

This is a program... it's a carefully structured plan to get a man elected president who doesn't have a clue about anything other than how to get votes and raise cash on the internet. He won't fix the economy because... (a) it may not actually need fixing (b) taxes never, ever fix anything (c) he's an economic dumbshit, having never "created" anything except a couple of biographies (a telling bit of self-involved aggrandizement for a man who hasn't even hit 50 to do) and a shitload of no votes as a Senator.

I ain't saying John McCain is genius level, he's not. But I see Obama as stirring the darkest, most self-defeating emotions of humans in order to rally them "against" something as opposed to preaching for the creation of something new... taking from the rich and giving to the poor is hardly new... or effective... or even possible. It's a sham, smoke and mirrors.

So... what if we outlawed wealth folks? That's the eventual, logical end point of the whole "class struggle" ideology anyway. Even if you won't admit it you can't answer who will decide under what conditions wealth will be allowed, or what attitude will be required to earn the right to succeed... or how some poor toothless redneck in the Ozarks, or a Cholo gang-banger in Compton will suddenly be lifted from ignorance and stupidity and become a part of the evolution of mankind to new levels of wonderfulness.

Obama is selling bullshit. Magic beans. There is a threshold of taxes that, when crossed, cause any nation to slow, or even stop creating new wealth. That's the key... not eliminating taxes... not outlawing wealth and penalizing production... but being simple-mindedly perceptive about the basics of why some people succeed and others don't.

Obama is offering that we end the American tradition of hard-work and ingenuity being protected. He brands wealthy as almost criminal, by class, and promises penalty and absorbtion of their ill-gotten gains... but never really mentions the final act.

Wanna see the final act?

Here it is:

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Why are you protecting the rich so fervently? It just perplexes me how you can care more for something you and I will never be, then for exactly what you and I will always be? I just don't get it?
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MWChapel wrote:
Why are you protecting the rich so fervently? It just perplexes me how you can care more for something you and I will never be, then for exactly what you and I will always be? I just don't get it?


A curious statement... protecting the rich?

What I believe in is the freedom to generate wealth and keep it. I'm not anti-tax... just pro sane levels of taxation that promote more creation of wealth and add value and stability to the nation that they do it in.

I don't care one way or the other if I'm ever rich. But I see wealthy people as no less deserving of consideration than say Gay people... something else you and I will never be.

I think Obama is the most socialistic politician who's ever run for President. You may disagree and if he loses it's a moot point. If he wins he may be hampered by congress anyway. But still, he is the ideological opposite of me... in almost every sense.
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[q="DWTripp"]
My income is $700,000 a year, my net wealth well over 5 million, banks are flooring 8 million in vehicles and the existence of my dealerships supply work to another 20 or so small businesses and maybe another 200 working folks.[q="dwtripp"]


You sound like just another rich guy afraid that your wallet may be lightened to life better for countless others. Poor guy -- might have to trade in that extra Hummer. The schism between rich and poor grows every year Republicans run the government, and the rich have been getting richer and the poor poorer since Reagan started dismantling the programs of the War on Poverty. The only thing that works about the Trickle Down theory is the trickle down of tears. Yes, you have a right to become rich, but you don't have the right to do it on the backs of the poor.
 
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JonJacob wrote:
I feel that morally it is definitely reprehensible to hoard money. If you own a vehicle, home, flat screen T.V., a big DVD collection... should you feel guilty...

You bet!!

or, at least, I do.


Okay. You are the meat that complements Obama's potatos.

The thrust of my dissertatation was really about the creation of wealth, not the morality of being wealthy. The burden of any leader in the free world is how to maintain an environment that attracts people to the idea of creating something to hold onto... save for their kids, their retirement... establish a legacy or hell... buy a Ferrari if that's what they want.

Despite one poster claiming high taxes on wealth caused a boom (just try and prove that), it seems apparent to me that any form of government that takes an excessive amount of the earnings of an entire economic class is guilty of punishing success... and I'd love an explaination of how that can be good. At least one that doesn't include faith, prayer or belief in a scripture or Marxist ideology.
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Barack Obama is not against accumulating wealth. Rest easy you insecure rich bastards. He just believes that wealth has a certain responsibility other than adding to its wealth. Look at the last 3 Republican administrations: they've added tremendously to the government payrolls, spiralled our country into huge debt, and exempted the rich from any obligation or accountability towards group wealth. It will be nice to have a President again who believes that exploitation by the rich is not the national pastime.
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I don't think any candidate is proposing to outlaw wealth. I do think they have differences on which wealth to tax: income generated by lower or the upper income Americans.

This graph compares the change in tax percentages versus income of the two candidates as of 2008-09-21. It comes from the Urban and Brookings Institutions at http://www.taxpolicycenter.org. Obama in blue. McCain in red.



Although both plans give back money to all quintiles of the income distribution, the McCain plan gives back more to top 1% of incomes while the Obama plan gives back more to the bottom 80% of incomes. The McCain plan gives back 11% while the Obama takes away 3% from the top 0.1%. The McCain plan gives back 1% while the Obama plan gives 6% to the bottom 20% of earners.

Not shown in this chart is that Obama's plan generates more revenue than McCain's. In other words, less spending and debt is forwarded to our children
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Quote:
You sound like just another rich guy afraid that your wallet may be lightened to life better for countless others. Poor guy -- might have to trade in that extra Hummer. The schism between rich and poor grows every year Republicans run the government, and the rich have been getting richer and the poor poorer since Reagan started dismantling the programs of the War on Poverty. The only thing that works about the Trickle Down theory is the trickle down of tears. Yes, you have a right to become rich, but you don't have the right to do it on the backs of the poor.


So.. what you're saying about my hypothetical American success story guy is that he didn't create wealth... he just rode the backs of the poor into fabulous wealth by being... uhhh... what? A hard worker?

Should he have stayed at McDonalds? How about the 300 or so jobs he created through being a success? The increase in the tax base for his town? The ripple effect on the local and even state economy through extra payroll taxes, people moving in, moving up, buying homes, spending cash that didn't previously exist into the local economy?

Is it possible at all that your hatred of Republicans has colored not only your common sense about life itself, but also clouded your ability to read the OP?

The question remains... my car dealer guy made millions by providing value where none existed. In the process he built a future in jobs, taxes and local economic stimulus... providing, no doubt, health plans, 401Ks, job security and dozens of other beneficial qualities to the locals.

And, he made lots of money having started out like you and me.. as a grunt worker in a dead-end job.

Should he be accused of the crime of success be stripped of an arbitrary portion of his own wealth, just because he succeeded? Is that the setting you want for your nation?

Or, would you prefer that you get to keep the bulk of what you earn?
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If the rich don't like being taxed they can move to a different country.

The only thing stopping all the poor people from mobbing the rich and taking their shit is our society (the whole ball of government, societal life, and apathy).

On top of that taxing the rich doesn't negatively effect the economy unless you really bite into them. Trickle down economics has failed over and over.


I never got the fear of government run businesses. At least you have a vote on what they do. There are checks and balances. There is scrutiny by the media. You get none of this from private companies. If a private company does business by buying hookers and blow as business deals their is nothing to be done. If that company goes in the shitter lots of people are out of jobs, and there are rumbles in the economy (assuming it's a large enough company). Nobody is blamed and golden parachutes are handed out.

The best thing about government run businesses is that government is run by a bunch of backstabbing politicians. There is always somebody digging into your dirty deals. You have to keep fighting for your job. Think you're cozy because you polotiked yourself into a cushy job; well you better hope those "friends" don't throw you to the wolves when hard times come.


Making something of yourself is admerable. Why not allow all people to do the same. Feed, house and educate them. You'll have a lot more people to buy your cars if everyone is wealthy. It's not a zero sum game. It's in your best interest to help those under you. They'll cure your cancer, design your new car, and make your world a better place.
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DWTripp wrote:
Quote:
You sound like just another rich guy afraid that your wallet may be lightened to life better for countless others. Poor guy -- might have to trade in that extra Hummer. The schism between rich and poor grows every year Republicans run the government, and the rich have been getting richer and the poor poorer since Reagan started dismantling the programs of the War on Poverty. The only thing that works about the Trickle Down theory is the trickle down of tears. Yes, you have a right to become rich, but you don't have the right to do it on the backs of the poor.


So.. what you're saying about my hypothetical American success story guy is that he didn't create wealth... he just rode the backs of the poor into fabulous wealth by being... uhhh... what? A hard worker?

Should he have stayed at McDonalds? How about the 300 or so jobs he created through being a success? The increase in the tax base for his town? The ripple effect on the local and even state economy through extra payroll taxes, people moving in, moving up, buying homes, spending cash that didn't previously exist into the local economy?

Is it possible at all that your hatred of Republicans has colored not only your common sense about life itself, but also clouded your ability to read the OP?

The question remains... my car dealer guy made millions by providing value where none existed. In the process he built a future in jobs, taxes and local economic stimulus... providing, no doubt, health plans, 401Ks, job security and dozens of other beneficial qualities to the locals.

And, he made lots of money having started out like you and me.. as a grunt worker in a dead-end job.

Should he be accused of the crime of success be stripped of an arbitrary portion of his own wealth, just because he succeeded? Is that the setting you want for your nation?

Or, would you prefer that you get to keep the bulk of what you earn?

Why not help all people to be this successful?

Imagine you where forced to give 1% of your wage away to be spent on training, enabling, and incentivising people to directly compete with you.

Of course you wouldn't like it, but it would be better for everyone in the end. Educating the poor, and supporting the middle class results in a healthier economy.
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MusedFable wrote:

Making something of yourself is admerable. Why not allow all people to do the same. Feed, house and educate them. You'll have a lot more people to buy your cars if everyone is wealthy. It's not a zero sum game. It's in your best interest to help those under you. They'll cure your cancer, design your new car, and make your world a better place.


The thing is, everyone has that opportunity now. There is nothing preventing people from becoming successful in the current system. Of course, it is more difficult if you come from less means, but there will always be inequity in a system that rewards hard work.
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steinley wrote:
MusedFable wrote:

Making something of yourself is admerable. Why not allow all people to do the same. Feed, house and educate them. You'll have a lot more people to buy your cars if everyone is wealthy. It's not a zero sum game. It's in your best interest to help those under you. They'll cure your cancer, design your new car, and make your world a better place.


The thing is, everyone has that opportunity now. There is nothing preventing people from becoming successful in the current system. Of course, it is more difficult if you come from less means, but there will always be inequity in a system that rewards hard work.

"More difficult" is quite an understatement. Some people get to start a 50 lap race 40 laps ahead. It's almost impossible to win such a race if you aren't the privileged one.

If you're forced to work 40 hours a week at minimum wage on top of building a career (school, starting a business, etc.) you're going to be in for a hard time. On top of that you better not get hurt or sick because you don't have any health insurance.

I think it's possible for anyone to become any level of successful, but it is highly improbable. An impoverished childhood, a poor education, and an upbringing of limitations is more than a small setback. Humans don't just sprout into the world informed of things. There are people who have a hard time thinking of what life is like outside of their little world. Leaving their city isn't an option in their mind. Kids, family, random events, and poor choices along their life have boxed them in.

Opening the world up to them would have a large effect. Just allowing them to stay in a different part of the country for a little while would have huge effects on their frame of mind. Allowing them to take a class 1 day a week instead of working would result in a thinking workforce. Health care that is preventitive, informative, and free lets people stop dwelling on their health and that of their children (something that takes up far to much of poor peoples time).

I'm happy this country is as good as it is. Just living here you're in the top 95% of the world. That's quite a benefit. Doesn't mean I'll roll over and stop fighting to improve the lives of everyone by enabling the poor. Nobody should feel hopeless. It does nobody good that a potential Nobel Prize winning is instead an alcoholic janitor.
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DWTripp wrote:

Let's say I'm 22 years old and work at Micky D's for $5 an hour. I save $1,000 up and buy a used car that, with work, is worth $2,000 on the market. I invest 50 hours and another $100 and put it on the street, getting the $2,000 cash. I "created" wealth, didn't I? Taking something of lesser value, working it, and getting more value for it.
I believe this is the root of why you think like you do. The sad truth is, you are just wrong. You did not "create" wealth. You traded your time for wealth, which is the ONLY way wealth is accumulated. EVER. Wealth is never "created", it is traded or taken.

The problem I have with the rich is that they trade the time of their workers for wealth, and then only give a tiny fraction of that wealth to those who spent the time that bought it. This is unfair. You can pile on additional layers of semantic argument that make it seem like the person doing this is not actually doing it, but he is. Always. Every employer does this to his employees.

Whether it's "bad" or "good" is completely a matter of opinion. What's not a matter of opinion is that it's unfair to the worker. When I work an hour, my company charges its client $1000 for that hour, and I get paid $20 for working that hour. That's unfair. It is "bad" for me and "good" for my employer, but it's unfair. You attempt to pre-empt this fact by arguing that I have the opportunity in this great land of ours to be doing it to someone else rather than having it done to me, thus making things "fair" again. I submit that this is not the ideal way for a society to function.
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Also, your lame-ass video blip at the end shows exactly how little you have to argue for, when the thousands of words you just wasted are shown to be reduced to "YOU DON'T WANNA END UP LIKE THEM PINKO IVANS STANDIN' IN LINE FOR BREAD, DO YOU!?!?!?!" If I post a clip showcasing any one of a dozen socialist republics in the EU that are currently stomping our ass by every measureable economic standard, does that prove your argument wrong?
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Tripp, Shushnik has it right. Your example of the entrepreneur is anecdotal. That is, it doesn't apply to the vast majority of individuals. How can it? For your entrepreneur to make the welath you describe he in turn must also create those "deadend" jobs you describe and a lot more of them. It takes a few to dozens to hundreds and thousands of deadend jobs to help one entrepreneur attain his wealth.

It is a question of distribution of wealth. Although the entrepreneur should certainly be remunerated for his efforts and savvy, his generation of wealth is due in the largest part to the efforts of his employees. However, the entrepreneur sends wealth downstream in fair recompense doesn't he? No, of course not. He squeezes every dime he can by not paying a livable wage, and that's without doing anything crafty or illegal. He depends on the free market of labour to be able not to pay $5.10/hour because sure as shit there are a hundred people waiting to take the job at $5.00.

The fact of the matter is the human race is what it is and U.S. citizens are what they are. We only need one architect, three engineers, and two hundred brick layers. Most people will not be college educated. Many are just not intelligent though they are either handy (skilled) or just plain expend plenty of effort in brute strength.

The point is about an equitable distribution of wealth to all participants. By that I don't mean a communist equal share. But, as it stands, one person ammasses a huge and unreasonable share of the wealth produced for himself and doles out the absolute minimum to those that helped.

Jeez, if not for minimum wage, we'd be talking about $0.90 at McDonalds in your example. Bercause you know as well as I do that yur friendly neighbourhood entrepreneur would have no qualms about paying only 90 cents per hour. Legislation forces him to do more. Taxation is another form of legislation that attempts to redistribute the wealth more reasonably.

How? By redirecting that wealth to social services which your $5.00/hour guy could never afford, nor the $10.00/hour guy. Under the social security scheme of the Netherlands, about 90% of the population receives 75% to 100% of their salary as pension. That's right. You made $70,000/year, you'll get $50-$70 thousand dollars per year in your retirement years. However, they are taxed to high heaven, as high as 65%.

A freind of mine explained it to me this way. In the Netherlands everyone is taken care of at a high level of quality from cradle to grave. Riches determines just how much luxury you can afford yourself after all that is taken care of.


The big fly in the ointment is human nature, as it was with communism. The Liberal outlook assumes everyone is doing their fair share and effort. So, if someone is only capable of carrying furniture up three flights, then so be it. But, that's not the case. Just like most entrepreneurs will suck the life out of an employee if they could, many, many people don't expend their fair share of effort. They party away their youths, for example, instead of being studious. Why should they then benefit from someone else's efforts, working hard, sacrificing, and making all the right decisions.

The Conservative response is the free market and opportunity. Do the right things and you'll be OK. But, we know that is not at all the case. Fifty year olds are laid off in order to move their company to Mexico, etc.

The trick is to find social justice while still maintaining insentive and fair remuneration for personal effort expended.
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I like that last bit of your post Isacc. I agree completely that (on this subject) the folly in liberal thinking is assuming that everyone will pull their own weight, and the folly in conservative thinking is assuming that everyone will treat everyone else as they'd want to be treated. The sad fact is that humans are both lazy and greedy, and I guess different people just find one attribute more displeasing than the other. Nice post.
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Cappy wrote:
If I post a clip showcasing any one of a dozen socialist republics in the EU that are currently stomping our ass by every measureable economic standard, does that prove your argument wrong?


Nope. And I put the clip in there due to my inability to ever be completely serious about anything in RSP. It is fun, and the USSR is the prime example of how devastating state-control can be when taken to extreme levels. Plus, I am curious who you think is "stomping our ass". Norway? Italy? Russia?

Oh, and I didn't write "thousands" of words, I type fast, but not that fast.

All the semi-successful European socialist democracies prove is that when a superpower like the USA spends nearly 50 years and trillions of dollars protecting them from a monstrousity like the USSR then they can limp along. If any one of those "success" stories had needed a military budget they'd have folded like a piece of soggy cardboard. We're the reason they didn't become another piece of the Soviet machine.

Oh... and trading time is not creation. Trading time is what you do, if you really only get $20 and your employer gets $1000... someone somewhere else is generating new wealth and you're just one of the tools.

Shushnik wrote:
The single biggest flaw in the runaway capitalism model is that it depends on the employers generosity to treat their employees fairly and beneficially.


Ya think? How about revealing the actual truth here and quit narrowing it down to keep from facing reality. The truth is that human generousity, or the lack of it, exists or doesn't no matter what the form of government is.

Indicting capitalism as a model because it depends on someone being nice for everybody to be "happy" is duplicitous to the extreme.

Furthermore... what makes you think that if every large company was "fair"? - and getting 6 billion people to agree on a standard definition of "fair" is impossible - What makes you think any but a small percentage would use that extra time and money to create new wealth to share with their fellow humans? Is there any historical precedent that proves to you that human nature is selfless and altruistic so long as government and "corporations' would just be fair to them? That idea has no merit except in fantasy or idealogical classrom discussions.

The reason all these idealistic and flowery plans to "tax the rich" don't work is that the huge majority of humans aren't creative or motivated to amass wealth, solve problems or excel beyond simple needs and wants. That's not a good or bad thing, it's just reality. Some people are motivated and inspired, others just want nice stuff and family time. And there are plenty who are just pieces of shit and no matter how fair the "world" is to them, they'll still dope up, rape, steal and generally be parasitic. No politican, Obama the Messiah included, can change that... especially by bullshit "tax relief" promises.
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Mr. Chris
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Why does it never get mentioned that employees and investors have freedom of choice as well as the rich, big companies?

People complain that their retirement savings are detroyed because the company they invested in goes under. Uh, you chose to invest your money in that company - didn't you do your homework? (The exception being outright fraud by the company) You can invest in less risky investments, get a lower return, but you'll be safe. Maybe invest in gold, since it's going through the roof - up $20 an ounce on one day last week.

The dreaded Wal-Mart and it's ilk don't provide a 401K plan or health insurance? Uh, you know that you don't have to work there right? If you do work there, you can even work your way up the corporate ladder and get a retirement plan. Or use the money you make to pay for college - then get another job.

I find the call for universal retirement, health care, living wage, etc, as being a slap in the face to those people who are trying to improve themselves and their families. It's like saying, "We don't think that you will ever amount to anything so we better make sure that we provide the things that you couldn't figure out you needed."

Finally, if you agree that a healthy society is good for business - why don't you beleive that successful business people will help provide for that healthy society? Some things never change, one of them is this: If there is a way to help the bottom line, business will find it.

EDIT: Corrected . to ?
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DWTripp wrote:
One constant in RSP is the unending argument between those who despise the wealthy and those who view wealth as something anyone can obtain in a democracy + free market environment.


When one frames the debate with hyperbole that is inaccurate and untrue, then one can easily make their position seem the most reasonable around.

What if we were to discuss how it is that some people couldn't care what happens to the poor since they obviously aren't making use of their God-given talents to become wealthy instead of having programs that provide some type of floor to ensure some degree of basic necessities and care? Suddenly, it's those that defend the "wealthy" that look like ignorant, out of touch, or off base.

Discussion should start from some degree of a reasonable foundation or they aren't really worth having. Nobody that I've read posting here suggests a communist state or any forced redistribution of wealth. Nobody here has suggested that there is anything wrong with making a lot of money. The opposing position isn't "Tax the rich out of existence" it's "What's an equitable system of taxation that provides that floor for basic needs?"

If you think that Sen. Obama believes any different than that, then you're not paying attention to what he actually believes.
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GreatAtuin wrote:
Why does it never get mentioned that employees and investors have freedom of choice as well as the rich, big companies?


Because the freedom to choose for many retirement plans is often limited, and occasionally limited strictly to company stock. Many folks get their retirement accounts through 401k plans or ESOPs. Those don't provide access to the entire market and are occasionally limited to 1-3 vehicles.

If you worked for Enron, for example, their contribution to your retirement was strictly in Enron stock rather than a matching contribution to be directed as you saw fit.

And it's easy to talk about choice in employment. But the fact is that around 50% of the US population earns less than $50,000 annually (check the Census Bureau for statistics if you like). That job at WalMart or McDonalds may be the only one you can find if you want to have any income at all.

The idea that having a retirement or unemployment system that's somehow a "slap in the face" to those that need it is a strictly American view. Turn that around and it's an insult that someone can make a damned good living while others struggle to provide housing or food is cruel and uncaring.

Is it possible to have a discussion that doesn't simply bounce to the extremes and instead focuses on the actual issues?
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DWTripp wrote:
All the semi-successful European socialist democracies prove is that when a superpower like the USA spends nearly 50 years and trillions of dollars protecting them from a monstrousity like the USSR then they can limp along. If any one of those "success" stories had needed a military budget they'd have folded like a piece of soggy cardboard. We're the reason they didn't become another piece of the Soviet machine.


Bang on!

This point is ubiquitously ignored by the liberal Left, and not just in terms of dollars but also in lives. For example, even if Vietnam was a militray failure, its mere existence and pressure created pause in the Soviet and communist mindset, preventing at-will tromping throughout the world.

Moreover, we still don't know if the EU social experiment is sustainable. I have noticed as of late the increased social pressure on EU governments as they are finding it increasingly difficult to continue to provide in the same way.
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DWTripp wrote:
Oh... and trading time is not creation.

My point exactly.

Quote:
Trading time is what you do, if you really only get $20 and your employer gets $1000... someone somewhere else is generating new wealth and you're just one of the tools.

I prefer to think of it as "stealing". Anyways, that was the job I quit last year, and yes, they really did charge $1000 an hour and pay me (less than) 20. Then they had the gall to make me do the billing on my own jobs.

Quote:
The reason all these idealistic and flowery plans to "tax the rich" don't work is that the huge majority of humans aren't creative or motivated to amass wealth, solve problems or excel beyond simple needs and wants.

I will just never agree with you on this. You can have all the motivation and creativity that a human being can possible own, and still die a pauper. TRILLIONS of people throughout history have done it.

Virtually ALL rich people come from rich babies, not brilliant inventors and hard-working entrepeneurs. Middle-class conservatives want to believe SO BADLY in the illusion that they can be rich too one day, but it doesn't happen. Not even in America.
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GreatAtuin wrote:
Some things never change, one of them is this: If there is a way to help the bottom line, business will find it.

Exactly. And the bottom line is profit, not people.
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I'm rich...well, not by McCain's joking definition, but by most people's.

I'm also voting for Obama.

I don't think Obama is waging class warfare, although I agree that past Democrats have done so. His appeal isn't, "Let's soak the rich," it's "Those making more than 250,000 a year can afford to do a bit more" as part of his overall theme that we're all in this together.

I support making our overall tax system more progressive for a number of reasons. For one, despite the very real credit that self-made wealthy people deserve, it's a basic truth that the kind of success that takes place in America (and other nations) today is only possible because of the societies we live in. I graduated from a first-rate university and was able to apply for a job as a securities analyst in London. After that I went to another first-rate graduate school for an MBA. I've been able to hire people with good educations, have had a legal framework that enabled me to raise money through venture capital as well as invest my own money globally.

We're all lucky, but those of us who are rich have been luckier than all but maybe 0.01% of all the people that have ever lived in the history of the world. So no, I don't think it's inappropriate for the society that has made it possible for me to be so successful to ask me to give a bit more back than it does from the guy who cleans my house.
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GreatAtuin wrote:
I find the call for universal retirement, health care, living wage, etc, as being a slap in the face to those people who are trying to improve themselves and their families. It's like saying, "We don't think that you will ever amount to anything so we better make sure that we provide the things that you couldn't figure out you needed."


And yet, that's the reality. Most people do not have the intelligence nor wherewithal that successful professionals and entrepreneurs have. They are our garbage collectors, simple factory workers, landscapers, fruit pickers, etc.

The question then is do only the exceptionally capable have a right to healthcare and not to have to beg for food through their retirement years.

In my view none of it are "rights". It's a moral decision on the part of rich countries such as the U.S. and Canada that we will use part of our wealth to improve the historical lot in life of those less capable. Otherwise, we are talking about a society that includes the extremely wealthy alongside the dirt poor, which doesn't seem moral.

This question has been answered in part. Welfare exists for this very reason. It says, no matter how dire your straits, we will not let you starve. We do it not only because it is the right thing to do--my brother's keeper--but because we can afford to.

I wonder if the potential targets of such social endeavours would they themselves prefer your crocodile tears or the social benefits. Do you think they would be indignant and refuse them as an insult to their implied capabilities.
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