Democrats & Liberals Archives

Two Economies

President Bush makes speeches boasting about the excellent economy. He and other well-to-do Republicans cannot uderstand why Americans do not appreciate the big boom. Yes, there is a boom. People who have had plenty of money before are making lots more money now. Ordinary Americans are hurting financially.

Who says so? Not the so-called "liberal media." Not a Democratic office holder. Not anyone on the left. The message comes from the most conservative and Republican newspaper in the country: The Wall Street Journal. It does not say so in so many words. It does, however, offer the following illustration, which it labels "Divergence":

This diagram describes the growth of our economy from 2002 to 2006, all during the years of the Bush Administration. You will notice - how can you not? - that there is a huge difference between the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) line and the Median Wage line. The GDP zooms upward almost in a straight line. The Median Wage line does not go anywhere. It's in the doldrums and actually goes below 0 in parts of 2005 and 2006.

The GDP line is what Bush is boasting about. Due to his tax cuts, he says, our economy is growing rapidly - more that 15% from 2002. However, who but the rich who live on their investments have benefited? Very few. The Median Wage, or the wage of the typical American, has not improved in any way. As a matter of fact, if you factor in inflation, the typical American, according to this Wall Street Journal diagram, has seen a decrease in income.

Bush boasts that all this wonderful economic growth was brought about by his tax cuts. Not only did the tax cuts go primarily to the rich, the rich were the only ones benefiting from the resultant economic growth. The rich made out at the expense of the rest of us. There wasn't even a tiny trickle down to the non-rich.

This is as it should be, accordng to Republican principles. The rich, Republicans believe, are more virtuous than the rest of us and that's why they deserve more money. They love this situation with two economies, one for the rich and another for the non-rich.

If you want a change in your economic fortune, try the Democrats next time. Democrats believe in one economy: all of us deserve to share in the gifts of a boom.

Posted by Paul Siegel at April 2, 2007 5:37 PM
Comments
Comment #214714

Paul

Your graph shows the median wage at about the same level, adjusted for inflation, as it was in 2001. This is not good, but not a disaster and needs some explanation.

We had the slowdown that began in 2000 and the brief recession of 2001. Your graph starts right there and so does not show the dip in the growth rate. But wages lag economic growth.

Beyond that, median wages are no longer a good measure of median income. MOST families have other assets. The very poorests, BTW, do not depend on wages. Much of their consumption comes from government programs, which have increased since 2000.

I am not so much disageeing with you as clarifying. The boom has been better for the upper 50% and has been better for those with investments. But the lower half has not lost ground and this is the same pattern we saw in the economic recovery of the 1990s. We are in recovery plus 6. By comparison, you saw a similar pattern in 1997 (which was at the same point in the recovery). AND median wages are higher than they were then.

The comparison on your chart is comparing the top of the cycle with the middle of a recovery. It is not a valid comparison.

I would also take exception to the idea that “ordinary” Americans are hurting. It depends on what you mean by ordinary. About 60% of the population is better off than they were in 2001. About 40% is about the same. Individuals in all groups might feel stressed. I do not, however, think you can count the lower 40% of the population as “ordinary” or “Typcial” any more than you can count the upper 60% in that group.

If you go for the dead center 40-60th percentile, these “ordinary Americans” are doing a little better. Their wages are a bit higher and they have made some money on their investments. They probably are not joyful about the economy, but they are in a good position compared with every other year in American history.

Posted by: Jack at April 2, 2007 6:25 PM
Comment #214719

paul

wonder how the influx of illegal labor has affected the wage of the average blue collar worker? i can remember when construction, and many other jobs were done by americans, now just try to get one of those jobs. i say hire americans, and pay a better wage, and the difference between paying an american and paying the countless public benefits to illegals and thier families will more than make up the difference.

http://www.ntu.org/main/page.php?PageID=6

as far as who pays the most in fed income tax, this link says it all. the top 25%, that is people with taxable income above 60k are paying @84% of all incometax paid. the bottom 50%, those making 30k or less, aren’t even paying 4% of all income taxes. where’s the inequality? trying to say the tax cuts are hurting the average american is nonsense.

Posted by: dbs at April 2, 2007 7:30 PM
Comment #214720

Paul, I see you didn’t mention the (inherited) recession, attacks on 9/11 and the corporate scandals in the “Bush” economy. And, did you look up the same graph for the 1990’s?

Posted by: rahdigly at April 2, 2007 7:50 PM
Comment #214722

Paul,

I’ve been saying this for a very long time! The income gap continues to grow, as grandpa said, “the rich keep getting richer and the poor keep getting poorer”. Beginning with Reaganomics more and more of the tax-load has been shifted onto the middle class.

If the Republican’ts were smart they’d recognize that too many of America’s workers are suffering in poverty or at least near poverty. If things continue as they are we’ll undoubtedly see the birth of a “new” New Deal that will make the last one seem like a walk in the park, and that one resulted in taxes on the wealthiest at rates of 90%.

I saw my “shrink” today. He’s actually just an underpaid therapist that spends one hour a month monitoring my mental decline due to my seizures, so the Psychiatrist knows how soon I’ll be a total moron. The first thing I said was, “I saw a guy that looked just like you working at one of my daughters stores”. Well Howdy-Doody, he didn’t just look like him, HE WAS HIM!

My daughter’s best convenience store employees include teachers and NOW psych techs! Damn we should be proud to be Americans! How freaking sad must things get in this country before we wake up and smell the coffee.

The division is spreading beyond just “classism”, we’re growing towards an actual “caste” society. This can only go so far before we see a true shift in ideology. Why does history seem to be the enemy of conservatism? Does the truth really hurt a Republican just like sunlight and crosses hurt vampires?

And why must Republicans lie?

Posted by: KansasDem at April 2, 2007 8:00 PM
Comment #214723

rahdigly,

So, you can fix a recession with debt that extends to your great grandchildren?

You can finance a war on the backs of your grandchildren and great grandchildren?

Where the f@%* is the draft? Three or four tours of duty is just fine?

Bush is supposed to be on top of everything, why aren’t our veterans being treated right?

Just keep saying there’s no problem and sooner or later that problem will bite you right in your sit down place.

Posted by: KansasDem at April 2, 2007 8:06 PM
Comment #214725

KD, come on now, a draft?! We get more out of the military when they’re all volunteer. Now, the anti-war crowds would love if there was a draft so they can get some traction with Americans to lose wars by bringing our troops home (to soon) and “redeployment”.


You can fix a recession by giving people more of their hard, earned money back; that for sure. As far as denying problems with the Bush Admin, let’s look at it this way: one side stops blaming Bush for everything and the other can stop denying everything. Let’s try that and I garuntee more would get accomplished.

Posted by: rahdigly at April 2, 2007 8:21 PM
Comment #214726

Forget income tax - what about the rest of the taxes we pay on a daily basis?
How much do those add up to at the end of the year?

Posted by: bugcrazy at April 2, 2007 8:23 PM
Comment #214727

dbs,

I have no way of knowing how old you are, but I’ll guarantee you that state taxes increased during, or shortly after Reaganomics chapter one. Most often in the form of sales tax.

Reaganomics chapter two included two income tax increases under the Reagan presidency and a third under the Bush #1 presidency. Those increases targeted the middle class.

Anyone that denies those facts is one of three things:

#1. Dumb as a post!
#2. Earning far more than $100,000 a year.
#3. So Republican that they’d support Dubyah just because he’s Republican.

My point is that eventually people will vote based on how much money they have in their pocket. We are headed towards another “New Deal” and it’s not going to be a good deal. And it is largely the fault of the Republicans.

Or maybe the Republicans will manage to carry off their own brand of Communism! They’re getting close already.

Posted by: KansasDem at April 2, 2007 8:37 PM
Comment #214733

rahdigly,

We are asking (or demanding) too much from our volunteer Army. Way in the F@#K too much! Especially our National Guard. But, really ALL of our volunteer Army, and Marines, and all of the reserves.

IT’S TOO DAMN MUCH! The current House and Senate bills piss me off. It’s all nonsense. To recap what I’ve said a gazillion times: I was against invading Iraq, I think that was unwise.

Well, we can’t “uninvade”! We’re there! It’s time for a full occupation! Possibly one million or more troops! Everyone armed in Iraq should be dead unless they’re identified as part of “our” team.
Hell, it might take two million to secure Iraq’s borders. Well, if you’re serious about this, then freakin’ do it!

The problem is that this war is costing far too few too damn much and the rest are along for the ride. I thought Murtha’s approach to this was damn good. We should pass a law where our troops can’t be deployed without the proper equipment, training, rest between de3ployments, etc.

If it’s proven, which it has been, that we can’t maintain a “ready response” military without the draft then we need to restore a draft. I’ll guarantee you that will end the war within weeks.

The bull-shit otherwise amounts to, “some people want to die young”!

Posted by: KansasDem at April 2, 2007 9:13 PM
Comment #214736

Paul,

Sorry I let myself get off course. To me now there’s this freaking huge 800 lb gorilla in the room and wherever I start from I end up on Iraq.

I’m fairly certain that Bush said BEFORE ELECTION DAY 2004 that we’d never leave Iraq while he was President! Hmmm, at the end of the day the only thing that does make sense out of the Bush Presidency is the pursuit of Dominionist Theocracy.

He’s devastated the economy by passing on a trillion dollar debt to future generations and he’s nearly broken the back of the worlds greatest military. All hail King George!

I can imagine my oldest grandson telling his children that the USA used to be a great nation, in Chinese!

Posted by: KansasDem at April 2, 2007 9:59 PM
Comment #214738

KansasDem


“I have no way of knowing how old you are”

well lets end that mystery. i’m 45.

seems i’ve struck a nerve.

“My point is that eventually people will vote based on how much money they have in their pocket. We are headed towards another “New Deal” and it’s not going to be a good deal. And it is largely the fault of the Republicans.”

yeah. and the dems will make it even worse. thier answer is always higher taxes, and more gov’t control over our lives. lets punish the most productive members of our society with even higher, and more punitive taxes. lets see the top 1% is paying almost 40% of all taxes. why not make it 100%. yeah my state taxes and fees have gone up alot. the majority have been while the dems have controlled the state. they refuse to live within thier means. answer more taxes for a new program. sorry the dems aren’t the ansawer either.

“Or maybe the Republicans will manage to carry off their own brand of Communism! They’re getting close already.”

this is rediculous.

Posted by: dbs at April 2, 2007 10:09 PM
Comment #214741

Kansas

We have a disagreement about the efficacy of government as well as the fact of the case.

First the facts. I do not know what teachers and therapists make in Kansas in relation to cost of living, but from what I know of wages for these professions in places I have lived, it makes no sense for these guys to moonlight at a convenience store. They should probably get a better handle on their spending.

On the efficacy, I just do not believe additional government intervention will do much good. You like the good old days when rates were high on high incomes, but in those days the rich paid a smaller percentage of the total taxation. I have no doubt that increased government involvement in the economy will decrease inequality, but it will do it by slowing the growth of the general wealth of the country.

I remember the good old days of the 1960s and 1970s. I grew up in a blue collar neighborhood, probably in the second lowest quintile of income. Most people owned their own homes (as they do today). But not everybody had a car and no families had more than one. Nobody went on vacations out of town. We ate simple things like kielbasa, potatoes and stew beef. I do not remember ever seeing steak or salmon. Nobody had air conditioning. Most people did not have color TV. We didn’t know what a microwave was. Most families has four or five kids. The houses we lived in had two bedrooms and one bath. This was the typical prosperous working class. You remember.

When I go back to the old neighborhood, it has declined. It now houses a lower income group. The children of the working class of the last generation now live in the suburbs, where they have more cars and bigger houses. The old generation of unskilled working class was replaced by a generation of skilled or semi-skilled workers and they have moved to better places.

But let’s concentrate on the place. If I just look around the old neighborhood, things have changed. For one thing, more people speak Spanish and nobody speaks the older immigrant languages like Polish or Serbian, but that is not the main difference. Many houses now have air conditioning. There are so many cars per family that there is no room to park. People have big screen color TVs. Families are smaller so the houses now have fewer people per bathroom and bedroom.

We have made great progress since the good old dayss. The rich have gotten richer. The poor have gotten richer too. Inequality has grown. But people are better off in general in what they own and can buy.

It is also true that low level skills have been devalued. There just are no good jobs for the unskilled. Those jobs have been replaced by machines and they will never be back. If you say that the unskilled worker is worse off today, I would have to agree with you. But back then many people were unskilled. Today most people are not. The economy has changed and become more sophisticated. We will never go back. It is not a decision government can make unless it wants to make everybody poorer.

Re taxes - you are right about the total tax burden. It has not declined. I do not think this is a liberal argument, however.

Posted by: Jack at April 2, 2007 10:24 PM
Comment #214744

Paul:

It sort of depends on what one measures. Household Net Worth (how much average folks are worth) has increased more than median wages. Your point is well taken that in this expansion median wages have lagged. I would offer a couple of reasons:

1. Remember NAFTA? That giant sucking sound of jobs? That was signed under Clinton.

2. Remember Welfare reform? That was signed by Clinton.

My point isn’t to blame democrats. It is hard to stick one party or give one party credit for the economy. Of course that doesn’t meet propaganda needs.

As for the 1990’s that was a combination of a republican congress and a democrat president. Split government kept spending down. I am hopeful that the same thing will happen now that there is a democratic congress.

These Democrats are wonderful, republicans are awful arguements in ecnomics are pretty shallow. They are exactly as shallow as the reverse.

You might want to look up corporate profits as a percentage of GDP. That is where the money has gone.

Craig

Posted by: Craig Holmes at April 2, 2007 10:41 PM
Comment #214746

Jack,

You’re displaying the “two America’s” that Paul is speaking of. IMO a huge part of the problem is that the upper class simply doesn’t understand, well, maybe they don’t care, but for the most part I hope it’s that they don’t understand.

Well, I looked and the stats aren’t available on-line but the newspaper just ran a special edition about city and county pay including the schools. No teacher is below $26,000 and no teacher is above $42,000. Superintendents range from $70,000 to $110,000.

I will grant you that property values are much lower than large city property values but most other expenses are actually higher. For crap sake I’m on disability and I take home nearly as much as my grandson’s teachers! Our system is out of balance.

Posted by: KansasDem at April 2, 2007 10:58 PM
Comment #214755

Excellent article, Paul. Despite these guy’s denials, the sinking median wage is a good measure of the “divergence” between the top few percent of Americans and the rest of us.

And it’s no surprise. Every economic measure put forth over the last six years has been to the advantage of people who derive their income from investments and to the detriment of those who work for a living.

It’s a fact that free trade agreements and this administration’s encouragement (through tax breaks) of American companies to use cheaper overseas labor has undercut us working folk. The recent Circuit City firings are a good example — they laid off all their more experienced workers in order to replace them with cheaper new-hires.

The fact is, America is becoming a nation of sales clercs, working for peanuts and selling to other Americans who can only afford to buy their goods on credit — if at all.

When American companies started outsourcing jobs to countries with cheaper labor, we were all supposed to transition to better jobs in high-tech. But with a college education becoming more of a dream than a reality for most Americans, these low-wage service jobs are all that are available. Hell, the WEF just noted that the United States high-tech lead is slipping behind borderline socialist countries like Denmark and Finland, and benign autocracies like Singapore.

Add to all that the massive debt and huge government growth this administration has run up over the last six years — we need to borrow 2 billion dollars every day just to keep this country running — and it’s clear the United States is in big trouble.

Posted by: American Pundit at April 3, 2007 1:25 AM
Comment #214761

I think this article below should give most of the economic conservatives pause. And on top of this remember Europeans work far fewer hours per week and take off several weeks more of vacation per year then the average American.

These conservative voters are so worried about the poor top 1% of income earners that they constantly vote against the working middle class salt of the Earth Americans thinking one day they’ll be making a living off of huge government contracts to become a top 1%er.

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/bf6a00e4-e14b-11db-bd73-000b5df10621,_i_rssPage=6700d4e4-6714-11da-a650-0000779e2340.html

Europe tops US in stock market value
By Tony Tassell


Europe has eclipsed the US in stock market value for the first time since the first world war in another sign of the slipping of the global dominance of American capital markets.

Posted by: muirgeo at April 3, 2007 1:56 AM
Comment #214774

I belong to no party. I don’t care if a republican or democrat or green is in office.

I am in this world to benefit me and my family. In this sense, I have one economy…mine.

I’m doing better now than ever before.

Posted by: insensitive at April 3, 2007 7:39 AM
Comment #214779

muirgeo, obviously your thinking like a socialist and so is the newspaper your linking to. Facts should not get in the way here. Our economy is booming, things have never been better. Well at least for our corporate elite and they are doing better than the Europeans. Our poor can afford wide screen TV’s so what more could they want?

Posted by: j2t2 at April 3, 2007 8:47 AM
Comment #214781

Insensitive,

Got yourself some good government contracts did you?

And what a patriot and ethicist you are. Teach your children that the rules of society exist for the benefit of the few who couldn’t care less about them. I guess you’re a proud devotee to the Cheney Doctrine.

I have patients like you. They don’t vaccinate their kids so they can minimize the risk of side effects while taking advantage of the collective heard immunity that protects them because everyone else DID vaccinate their kids.

Posted by: muirgeo at April 3, 2007 8:56 AM
Comment #214787

Insensitive
“I’m doing better now than ever before”

I’m afraid you are mistaken my friend. We have to wait a little while longer, so that the new country saving Dem congress can take credit, before it can be said we are doing well.

Tell us muirgeo, why is Insenitives patriotism, ethics or what he teaches his children, of any concern to you?
Its wrong for govt to tell people they can’t love and marry someone of the same sex, but its ok for govt to tell people they must care and provide for the poor?
More leftist hypocrisy, you gotta love it.

“Our poor can afford wide screen TV’s so what more could they want?”

How about some brains so that they would save for family needs rather than spend for family luxuries.

Posted by: kctim at April 3, 2007 9:45 AM
Comment #214788

“Got yourself some good government contracts did you?”

No. Why would you think that?

“And what a patriot and ethicist you are. Teach your children that the rules of society exist for the benefit of the few who couldn’t care less about them. I guess you’re a proud devotee to the Cheney Doctrine.”

I am patriot because it benefits me and my family to be one. I don’t know what Cheney’s doctrine is and you don’t know what I’m devoted to.

“I have patients like you.”

I seriously doubt it. Are you diagnosing me with only a couple of posts on this blog? Do you diagnose your patients as quickly as you do me? What is my ailment? What do you prescribe?

“They don’t vaccinate their kids so they can minimize the risk of side effects while taking advantage of the collective heard immunity that protects them because everyone else DID vaccinate their kids.

Why do you think I wouldn’t vaccinate my children? I consider it to be in their best interest.

Posted by: insensitive at April 3, 2007 9:45 AM
Comment #214789

“Got yourself some good government contracts did you?”

No. Why would you think that?

“And what a patriot and ethicist you are. Teach your children that the rules of society exist for the benefit of the few who couldn’t care less about them. I guess you’re a proud devotee to the Cheney Doctrine.”

I am patriot because it benefits me and my family to be one. I don’t know what Cheney’s doctrine is and you don’t know what I’m devoted to.

“I have patients like you.”

I seriously doubt it. Are you diagnosing me with only a couple of posts on this blog? Do you diagnose your patients as quickly as you do me? What is my ailment? What do you prescribe?

“They don’t vaccinate their kids so they can minimize the risk of side effects while taking advantage of the collective heard immunity that protects them because everyone else DID vaccinate their kids.

Why do you think I wouldn’t vaccinate my children? I consider it to be in their best interest.

Posted by: insensitive at April 3, 2007 9:46 AM
Comment #214813

Tell us muirgeo, why is Insenitives patriotism, ethics or what he teaches his children, of any concern to you?

kctim at April 3

Because the fact is there are plenty of people who can get filthy rich doing legal but unethical things. And I’m not talking about the welfare mom trying to get a little more from the system for her family that has you all so concerned. Such are small fries compared with the treasury rip of from those insiders with political power.

I want a country that has laws that make it hard for cheaters to get rich from their political power, rule bending, rule making, monopolies and things like war profiteering.

If the rules are set up properly patriots come out on top along with the rest of the country while Cheney goes to jail and Haliburton is told they ain’t moving anywhere until the investigations are done. THAT’S why some ones patriotism matters to me.

So kctim now you answer the same question about me. Why is my patriotism, ethics or what I teach my children, of any concern to you?

Posted by: muirgeo at April 3, 2007 11:55 AM
Comment #214817

insensitive,

I have no idea of the details of your life. I was generalizing based on what you said.

When I hear some one say, “I am in this world to benefit me and my family. In this sense, I have one economy…mine.”
I have to ask, “OK so that’s why you are in this world..fine…now explain why you are in THIS country.

Because all such a comment makes me think of is the Conservative Tory Loyalist who were comfortable supporting the King and his monopoly before the founding of this country. I suspect they said something very similar to your quote above while the true patriots went out and fought and died to make this country.

Lots of people are dying for this country with little benefit to themselves and their family. When I hear you sentiment it truly saddens me. Because all I can think of is you are an anarchist who wants to live in the protection of a democracy. You have no respect for the social contract that is America. You think you’re all so dam independent when in fact few of you could live a week truly on your own.

Posted by: muirgeo at April 3, 2007 12:09 PM
Comment #214821

“So kctim now you answer the same question about me. Why is my patriotism, ethics or what I teach my children, of any concern to you?”

Its not, my friend. Not in the very least.
I do not care how you define patriotism and believe all should be free to be patriotic in whatever way they wish. Even people like insensitive and myself.

Your ethics? I do not care about them as long as you harm no others, you should be free to love, care, help etc… whomever you wish without others telling or forcing you in any way.
You do not believe that though do you.

And, to be completely honest, I really don’t care about what you teach your kids, not one bit. But for some reason, you do care what others teach their children.

“Because all I can think of is you are an anarchist who wants to live in the protection of a democracy.”

Or an American who wants to live in the protection of a Constitutional Republic. You see, you and others want a democracy where majority rules, just as long as it is ruling by your beliefs. That is wrong and it is not how our nation was founded.

“You have no respect for the social contract that is America.”

Which social contract are you refering to? The original one that protected the rights and freedoms of all and limited govt to ensure those OR the one which created our current nanny state?

“You think you’re all so dam independent when in fact few of you could live a week truly on your own”

Wanna bet?

Posted by: kctim at April 3, 2007 12:51 PM
Comment #214825

kctim,

This is some good basic political philosophy stuff. I gotta run to an appointment. But let me ask you to expound on the difference between a democracy and a representative republic.

My point would generally be that you are legitimizing rule by the wealthy power elite as Edmund Burke would clearly argue for. Tell me if my assumption is wrong? Let me see how far you’ve thought this through because I often feel this is a talking point the righties get from their right wing talking heads and parrot it because it sounds good but have never really thought it through to its conclusion.

Posted by: muirgeo at April 3, 2007 1:18 PM
Comment #214830

muirgeo, I think kctim is more libertarian than Republican — though it sounds like he gets all of is news from FOX and right-wing radio.

And yes, core Republican philosophy is to legitimize rule by the wealthy power elite. And they’ll use whoever they can — the Christians, the soccer moms, minorities, etc. — to make that happen.

All you have to do is ignore what they say and watch what they do, and it becomes crystal clear.

Posted by: American Pundit at April 3, 2007 1:46 PM
Comment #214837

muirgeo
Democracy is majority rule.
Constitutional Republic allows the people to vote for a Representitive who will best protect their Constitutional rights.

“My point would generally be that you are legitimizing rule by the wealthy power elite”

How does equal treatment for all, equate to wanting the wealthy to rule over us? I do not fear or envy the wealthy, so maybe I just don’t see the situation as you do.
I do not need their money and I do not believe they should be forced to support my beliefs either.

And if you really are wondering how far I have thought this through, I can tell you that I have to the end. But I am open to being challenged on it.

I receive no “talking points” from anybody and I do not watch TV regulary, to liberal for me. I do however listen to the radio, classic rock.

Ignore what they say and watch what they do AP? That sounds an awful lot like the left and taxes. Use everybody elses money to support their own beliefs, by force if need be.
Crystal clear indeed.


Posted by: kctim at April 3, 2007 2:21 PM
Comment #214859

“I have no idea of the details of your life. I was generalizing based on what you said.”

And you were wrong.

“When I hear some one say, “I am in this world to benefit me and my family. In this sense, I have one economyâ€?mine.”
I have to ask, “OK so that’s why you are in this world..fine…now explain why you are in THIS country.”

I’m in this country by the grace of God, and mighty glad to have the resourses that I have.
Now, if I might ask you, Are not you and your family the most important things in life to you?

“Because all such a comment makes me think of is the Conservative Tory Loyalist who were comfortable supporting the King and his monopoly before the founding of this country.”

I can’t help and frankly don’t care what triggers your thought process.

” I suspect they said something very similar to your quote above while the true patriots went out and fought and died to make this country.”

I don’t know what they were saying, but I would guess they were voicing support for the king.

“Lots of people are dying for this country with little benefit to themselves and their family.”

If you are talking about the military, I appreciate every last one of them, as most of them probably appreciate my service.

” When I hear you sentiment it truly saddens me.”

I don’t care what saddens you. Your happiness is up to you, Not me.

” Because all I can think of is you are an anarchist who wants to live in the protection of a democracy.”

You are generalizing again, and again you are wrong.

“You have no respect for the social contract that is America.”

The only “social contract that is America” that I’m aware of is the Constitution of the United States. It’s the greatest document ever written. I respect it. Do you?

” You think you’re all so dam independent when in fact few of you could live a week truly on your own.”

I don’t know what “few of you” means, but I can and have survived more than a week on my own. Why would you think I couldn’t?

Posted by: muirgeo at April 3, 2007 12:09 PM

Posted by: insensitive at April 3, 2007 4:06 PM
Comment #214943
“Now, if I might ask you, Are not you and your family the most important things in life to you?”

Absolutely! But I understand my families interdependence on its “village” (country). That’s why some people are willing to fight in a war even thought it’s not in their families best interest. That’s why some people who are wealthy or who may become wealthy are OK with paying extra taxes to support the system that allowed them to become wealthy.

“I can’t help and frankly don’t care what triggers your thought process”

Well what do you seriously think about those that supported King George and his Monopoly? I think the same system exist in our todays government. People of power using their power to re-direct wealth their way while undermining our democracy (Constitutional Republic…same dang thing) to hold onto their power.

“The only “social contract that is America” that I’m aware of is the Constitution of the United States. It’s the greatest document ever written. I respect it. Do you?”


Yes because it allows us to democratically elect representatives who will not allow too much wealth and power to accumulate among an elite few who can in turn corrupt the process and return us to pre-Revolutionary War conditions.
Do you have a problem with people voting to set up the rules we live under and the rules for business to operate under? The constitution allows for it as does the fact that we are a Constitutional Republic (ie democratic society …same dang thing)

“I don’t know what “few of you” means, but I can and have survived more than a week on my own. Why would you think I couldn’t?”

I bet you didn’t…strictly speaking. But anyway your current standard of living as well as my own, is strictly interdependent on the society we live in and create through our democracy…(Constitutional Republic…same dang thing)

Posted by: muirgeo at April 4, 2007 1:50 AM
Comment #214945
Or an American who wants to live in the protection of a Constitutional Republic. You see, you and others want a democracy where majority rules, just as long as it is ruling by your beliefs. That is wrong and it is not how our nation was founded.

“You have no respect for the social contract that is America.”

Which social contract are you refering to? The original one that protected the rights and freedoms of all and limited govt to ensure those OR the one which created our current nanny state?

kctim

Sounds like you have conflicting statements. You’re OK with Bill Clinton being president after getting only 43% of the vote. But then when this duly elected representative of the people passes “nanny state” laws then you get all upset and try to claim the constitution espouses “limited government”.

Posted by: muirgeo at April 4, 2007 2:04 AM
Comment #214951

““Now, if I might ask you, Are not you and your family the most important things in life to you?”

Absolutely! But I understand my families interdependence on its “village” (country).”
Do you think people should be forced into that interdependence against their will?

“That’s why some people are willing to fight in a war even thought it’s not in their families best interest.”

Do you mean in a war like Iraq? I happen to believe that war IS in the best interest of me and my family.

“That’s why some people who are wealthy or who may become wealthy are OK with paying extra taxes to support the system that allowed them to become wealthy.”

I’m NOT OK with a system that charges a premium for success. Why should it cost extra for me to live in the same conditions as Joe Sixpack. Joe and I are both in a system that “allows” us to become rich. If Joe squanders his opertunity, then to hell with him.

“I can’t help and frankly don’t care what triggers your thought process”
Well what do you seriously think about those that supported King George and his Monopoly?”

They weren wrong.

“I think the same system exist in our todays government.”

I don’t.

“People of power using their power to re-direct wealth their way while undermining our democracy (Constitutional Republic…same dang thing) to hold onto their power.”

People of power have always done that under every government. I see a problem with your statement though. A democracy and a Constitutional Republic are NOT the same by any means. A democracy is rule by the majority. Mob rule comes to mind. As an example,You, your wife, I and 7 other men were stranded on an island and we vote 6 to 3 to rape your wife. That is democracy. We don’t have that kind of system here, nor do we want it.

“The only “social contract that is America‎ that I’m aware of is the Constitution of the United States. It’s the greatest document ever written. I respect it. Do you?”

“Yes because it allows us to democratically elect representatives who will not allow too much wealth and power to accumulate among an elite few who can in turn corrupt the process and return us to pre-Revolutionary War conditions.”

Pure case of wealth envy.

“Do you have a problem with people voting to set up the rules we live under and the rules for business to operate under?”

Not as long as the same rules apply to everyone. I DO have a problem with rules that exclude some people.

“The constitution allows for it as does the fact that we are a Constitutional Republic (ie democratic society …same dang thing)

“I don’t know what “few of you‎ means, but I can and have survived more than a week on my own. Why would you think I couldn’t?”

I bet you didn’t…strictly speaking. But anyway your current standard of living as well as my own, is strictly interdependent on the society we live in and create through our democracy…(Constitutional Republic…same dang thing)

“Now you’re going to accuse me of lying? You don’t know me or my capabilities. THIS CONVERSATION IS OVER AND YOUR POSTS WILL BE FOREVER IGNORED BY ME.

Posted by: muirgeo at April 4, 2007 01:50 AM

Posted by: insensitive at April 4, 2007 3:56 AM
Comment #214972

muirgeo
“try to claim the constitution espouses “limited government””

Are you serious? Do you really believe it is just my opinion that says the Constitution limits govt or does the Constitution actually do it itself?
If you believe the Constitution limits our personal rights and freedoms, I’m afraid you are living in a different country and you do not understand freedom.

And my statements do not conflict with one another. It is not clintons or my fault that every American does not exercise their right to vote. That is irrelevant to what we are talking about though.

You and others see govt as a tool to be used to legislate your beliefs onto others but want it to protect you from others legislating their beliefs onto you.
Myself, and our founders, saw govt as being responsible for ensuring that ALL of our individual rights and freedoms were protected.

You wish to pick and choose rights based on your personal beliefs. I wish to respect ALL of our rights based on the Constitution. BIG difference when talking about true freedom.

“But anyway your current standard of living as well as my own, is strictly interdependent on the society we live in”

Of course it is. Mine is less interdependent than yours though. That I am sure of.
But, if we were to go back to being a Constitutional Republic rather than a majority rules democracy, I could easily make that transition. Especially if it gave me back my freedoms.
You could not. For if we did that, you would then have to actually support your own beliefs and could not rely on govt forcing others to do it for you. You would have to sacrifice your own current standard of living while allowing others to live their lives as they wish and you do not want to have to do that.

You want a “village,” run according to what YOU think is right.
I want a country, where everybody is free to live how they choose to live.

Posted by: kctim at April 4, 2007 9:55 AM
Comment #214976


“Now you’re going to accuse me of lying? You don’t know me or my capabilities. THIS CONVERSATION IS OVER AND YOUR POSTS WILL BE FOREVER IGNORED BY ME.”

I thought you were insensitive? You seem a little overly sensitive. I didn’t say you lied. My point was when you “survived” a week on your own did you make your own clothes? Did you make your own weapon? Did you acquire your own food.

Anyway you agreed the King supporters of the Revolutionary war were wrong. Then you went on to defend a war to protect the “Oil Kings” that I and the majority of my countrymen are forced to pay billions for against our will to artificially lower the cost of their product. They have you and me completely dependent on them as we both will go to work in gas driven automobiles with no other real choices. A condition artificially set up by them using their power and influene. And like a beaten house wife you’re willing to accept your state of dependency and to even make excuses for their actions.

King George set up/favored the Monopoly of the East India Company creating the same sort of dependency the oil companies have created.

I think it’s clear you’ve not thought this through for you are a proved modern day version of a Conservative Tory King George Loyalist. I’m a revolutionary and we’re building strength and we will wrest back control of this great country and gain true independence for its people.

Posted by: muirgeo at April 4, 2007 10:03 AM
Comment #214983

muirgeo

from what i’ve read of your posts, you seem to have a problem with people exercising there freedoms, especially when there those you don’t agree with,like the pusuit of wealth. seems you would put an end to that if you could. you claim that the US is a democracy, but as kctim clearly pointed out it isn’t a true democracy, althuogh i’m sure you’de prefer that. why the hatred for the most successful in our society? or should i say jealousy. you have the opportunity to aquire what ever you choose in life, but instead you choose to attack those who have what you don’t, and want to take it from them ,and give it to those you feel are more deserving ie socialism.
BTW the const. sets limits on gov’t and protects individual liberties, maybe you need to re-read it.

Posted by: dbs at April 4, 2007 11:35 AM
Comment #214990

dbs,

Huge concentrations of wealth destroy the middle class and undermine democracy.

I put democracy and the peoples choice to set up the rules the way they want ahead of anyones “right” to unlimited wealth.

The reason you are dependent on your car and the gas to drive it is because we’ve allowed too much wealth to concentrate. These wealthy elite control our politics, our economy and undermine our democracy.

You may be comfortable living dependently under a King or in a Banana republic. I’m not. I have no problem with wealth fairly earned. Transfer of wealth occurs on the income side by those in control NOT EARNING money but setting up the rules to favor those who already have a lot of wealth and power. I have no problem letting the tax cuts for the wealthiest expire and increasing the amount I pay on earning over $150,000.

Posted by: muirgeo at April 4, 2007 12:17 PM
Comment #215001

“I put democracy and the peoples choice to set up the rules the way they want ahead of anyones “right” to unlimited wealth”

Allowing the majority to set the rules while disregarding the rights of others IS democracy.

Do you apply the same reasoning to religion and guns?
If the “peoples choice” was to set up one religion and that everybody would be armed, would you still believe majority rule is better than having a Constitution which protects individual rights and freedoms?

Posted by: kctim at April 4, 2007 12:51 PM
Comment #215003

muirgeo

i’m self employed an do just fine. i also could care less what someone else earns. i don’t waste my time being envyous, or despising someone else for what they do or don’t have. if they have more, good for them. i have the right to do with as i wish, what i’ve worked for, as do you. what you do not have the right to do is tell others what they may or may not do with what they have worked for, or how much they should be taxed. if your good with the tax cuts expiring, why wait send it in now.

Posted by: dbs at April 4, 2007 12:54 PM
Comment #215023

“Allowing the majority to set the rules while disregarding the rights of others IS democracy.”

So what rules has this Constitutional Republic passed that you don’t think are fair?

Progressive taxes? Corporate law? Patent law? The FCC? Tax Loop hole laws?

You seem to be comfortable living by the rules corproations set up for you while I’d rather the rules were made by the people.

Posted by: muirgeo at April 4, 2007 2:39 PM
Comment #215032

muirgeo

i’m self employed an do just fine.

Me too!

i also could care less what someone else earns.

Me neither
unless they are robbing banks, selling drugs or using political power to game the system to their advantage.

i don’t waste my time being envyous, or despising someone else for what they do or don’t have.

I hate cheats who undermine our markets and our democracy.


what you do not have the right to do is tell others what they may or may not do with what they have worked for,


I agree that’s why I’m mad my hard earned money is going to war profiteers to help subsidize the oil industry that has me and you dependent on them for our transportation.
And those same people use their power and money to scare unassuming citizen that we need to fight an unending war on terror which is really just their way of holding onto to power given to them by an uneducated gullible populace.

I don’t want to live under the rule of companies. I’d much rather live under the rules set up by people in a democratic way.

You seem comfortable living as a slave under the rules corporations set for you convinced you control you own destiny. Well lets see you get to that job of yours with out them.

Posted by: muirgeo at April 4, 2007 3:22 PM
Comment #215033

Living by the rules corporations set up for me? What are you talking about? I havent said how I feel about corporations.

“while I’d rather the rules were made by the people”

No muirgeo, you don’t. You would rather the rules be made only by people who share your same beliefs, which is impossible in a free country.
Everybody has an opinion on everything and everybodys beliefs are different. That is why using govt to force your beliefs onto others, no matter how helpful they may be, is wrong. If it was not wrong, you would not be ignoring all my questions.
Too bad, it could have been alot of fun.

Posted by: kctim at April 4, 2007 3:23 PM
Comment #215040

muirgeo


“You seem to be comfortable living by the rules corproations set up for you while I’d rather the rules were made by the people.”

WHAT? you don’t get it. i don’t want either of you telling me what to do. thats why the const. protects the rights of the individual from the majority, whom ever that may be. our system was never supposed to be a full democracy, because the will of the majority would always be able to overide the rights of the individual.

Posted by: dbs at April 4, 2007 4:03 PM
Comment #215068

i have the right to do with as i wish, what i’ve worked for, as do you.

No you don’t…nor do I. We pass laws and set taxes to pay for the things we use. We have to decide on those rules using our vote and representatives and then we have to follow those rules. If you don’t like the tax structure you can barter for everything you want, you can move to another country, you can try to get your view of a proper tax structure through your vote or you can not pay your taxes and go to jail.


what you do not have the right to do is tell others what they may or may not do with what they have worked for, or how much they should be taxed. if your good with the tax cuts expiring, why wait send it in now.


Who says we have no right to set taxes? Where do you guys get these ideas?

The fact is I think that if we wanted taxes to be more equitable you should the voters who voted for a given President should have to pay down any excess debt he builds. So the 60,000,000 of you who voted for Bush the last 2 times should owe about $83,300 each. …so far.

Posted by: muirgeo at April 4, 2007 7:28 PM
Comment #215069

i have the right to do with as i wish, what i’ve worked for, as do you.

No you don’t…nor do I. We pass laws and set taxes to pay for the things we use. We have to decide on those rules using our vote and representatives and then we have to follow those rules. If you don’t like the tax structure you can barter for everything you want, you can move to another country, you can try to get your view of a proper tax structure through your vote or you can not pay your taxes and go to jail.


what you do not have the right to do is tell others what they may or may not do with what they have worked for, or how much they should be taxed. if your good with the tax cuts expiring, why wait send it in now.


Who says we have no right to set taxes? Where do you guys get these ideas?

The fact is I think that if we wanted taxes to be more equitable you should the voters who voted for a given President should have to pay down any excess debt he builds. So the 60,000,000 of you who voted for Bush the last 2 times should owe about $83,300 each. …so far.

Posted by: muirgeo at April 4, 2007 7:31 PM
Comment #215080

muirgeo

“The fact is I think that if we wanted taxes to be more equitable you should the voters who voted for a given President should have to pay down any excess debt he builds. So the 60,000,000 of you who voted for Bush the last 2 times should owe about $83,300 each. …so far.”


then i guess you guys on the other side of the aisle should fork over the money to cover the cost of the vietnam war, and to cover the cost of shoreing up soc. sec., being as you and president johnson were the one who decided to put it into the general fund so you could spend it, back in 68. honestly where do you come up with this nonsense.

let me put it to you in a nutshell again. congress gets its power from the const. the const. also protects the rights of individuals, rights the founders believed were given by our creator, what ever that means to you. the gov’t can pass no laws that violate any of our prtected rights, or pass laws the const. does not give it the authority too. the gov’t nor you gave us our rights, therefore niether of you can take them away.

Posted by: dbs at April 4, 2007 8:25 PM
Comment #215100

“Who says we have no right to set taxes? Where do you guys get these ideas?”

NOBODY says that muirgeo.
But, the Constitution does say what the govt can tax.

The fact that you try to veer off on diffent tangents and refuse to answer questions only shows that you are just following what you are told, not what you have researched.

Posted by: kctim at April 4, 2007 10:39 PM
Comment #215101

OK that’s fair. We’ll pay our trillion prior to 1980 (Actually some of that is Ikes,Nixon and Fords but we’ll get it for you) and Clintons trillion. That leaves you all owing the 6.8 trillion or remainder from Reagan,Bush and Bush.

So you all owe. $115,250 each for voting Republican. And you get the next 2 years too. So add about another $20,000.

And we owe $40,000 each. Sounds fair to me.

Posted by: muirgeo at April 4, 2007 10:45 PM
Comment #215102

NOBODY says that muirgeo.
But, the Constitution does say what the govt can tax.

Posted by: kctim

No it doesn’t.

Posted by: muirgeo at April 4, 2007 10:48 PM
Comment #215104

Article 1, Section 8

And I suppose the Contitution says nothing about direct and indirect taxes either.

Posted by: kctim at April 4, 2007 10:58 PM
Comment #215337

Yes, things are so rosy. For example, consider:

  • the 1% of the population that own most (40%) of the wealth (up from 20% in 1980) in the U.S., which has NEVER been worse since the Great Depression of 1929.

  • the total $22 trillion of federal debt has NEVER been worse.

  • the $20 trillion of nation-wide personal debt has NEVER been worse

  • the U.S. population and the world population has NEVER been larger (increasing by 249,000 per day!); the 5.46 acres per person has NEVER been smaller

  • trade deficits have NEVER been worse

  • the impact of human activity on the planet has NEVER been more significant

  • illegal immigration has NEVER been worse; the problem quadrupled after the last amnesty of 1986, and Congress is likely to give another amnesty to over 12+ million more illegal aliens (one-simple-idea.com/BorderSecurity.htm); some Congress persons also want to give Social Security benefits to illegal aliens (one-simple-idea.com/VotingRecords1.htm)

  • a entitlements/demographics/generational storm is on the way, yet Congress ignores it and continues to plunder the Social Security surpluses

  • and the incessant inflation and rising CPI rates have NEVER been over 1% for a longer period of time (since 1955; one-simple-idea.com/DebtAndMoney.htm#Inflation1)

We may not have an economic meltdown as a result of all this.
But to scoff at all those things (i.e. a death of a thousand cuts) and say economic instability is not possible is hard to understand … especially since none of us can know for certain.
So, which is worse?
Acknowledging the real potential for an economic meltdown, and addressing those things above?
Or diminishing or completely dismissing all of it and calling the messengers Chicken Little pessimists?
And why would anyone think we are immune to a crisis when our history is strewn with crises after crises?

Posted by: d.a.n at April 6, 2007 10:25 AM
Comment #215462

Paul, nice try, but let’s compare median income to median income rather than median income to GDP:

Listed ar the median incomes for the U.S. broken down by percentiles of 25%.

lowest 25%

1992- $12,600 1993- $12,967 1994- $13,426 1995- $14,400 1996- $14,768 1997- $15,400 1998- $16,116 1999- $17,136 2000- $17,920 2001- $17,970 2002- $17,916 2003- $17,984 2004- $18,486 2005- $19,178

next 25%

1992- $24,140 1993- $24,679 1994- $25,200 1995- $26,914 1996- $27,760 1997- $29,200 1998- $30,408 1999- $31,920 2000- $33,000 2001- $33,314 2002- $33,377 2003- $34,000 2004- $34,675 2005- $36,000

next 25%

1992- $37,900 1993- $38,793 1994- $40,100 1995- $42,002 1996- $44,006 1997- $46,000 1998- $48,337 1999- $50,384 2000- $52,174 2001- $53,000 2002- $53,162 2003- $54,453 2004- $55,230 2005- $57,660

top 25%

1992- $58,007 1993- $60,300 1994- $62,841 1995- $65,124 1996- $68,015 1997- $71,500 1998- $75,000 1999- $79,232 2000- $81,766 2001- $83,500 2002- $84,016 2003- $86,867 2004- $88,002 2005- $91,705

top 5%

1992- $99,020 1993- $104,639 1994- $109,821 1995- $113,000 1996- $119,540 1997- $126,550 1998- $132,199 1999- $142,000 2000- $145,220 2001- $150,499 2002- $150,002 2003- $154,120 2004- $157,152 2005- $166,000

As you can see there is an upswing every year, except 2001, in every single income category across the board. Do you wish to concede the Democratic lie now?

JD

Posted by: JD at April 7, 2007 2:26 PM
Comment #215467

Just to break the above numbers down:

The lowest 25% of income earners have seen their incomes increase nearly 55%.

The next 25% of income earners have seen their incomes increase nearly 50%.

The next 25% of income earners have seen their incomes increase nearly 52%.

The top 25% of income earners have seen their incomes increase nearly 58%.

And, of the top 25% of income earners, the top 5% of income earners have seen an increase of about 65%.

So, while the rich are certainly getting richer, so are the poor and middle class. I am just waiting for the middle class to now start griping about a more than 50% increase in wages since 1992, because it isn’t as much as the top 25% or the lowest 25%. The truth is people fall in and out of these categories on a daily basis, but overall these are pretty great numbers on the mean incomes of all Americans. And that should be the bottom line unless of course you throw class warfare into the equation.

JD

Posted by: JD at April 7, 2007 3:12 PM
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