June 24 Sources: Income Inequality

Lots of good sources this week. There are a couple of good articles on why income inequality is rising. It has been going on since around 1970 and it is a worldwide phenomenon. Those of you who like to blame George Bush may want avoiding exposing yourself to disconfirming facts. There is also a good article that explains why liberals can still win elections. Anyway, sources follow.

Environment & Energy

Senate Energy Bill Tax Title Hikes Taxes and Promises Higher Prices for Consumers - Raising taxes on what works and heaping subsidies on what does not was bad energy tax policy in the past and will not do any better this time around.

Adaptation and the Economy - Economics is often defined as the study of the allocation of scarce resources among competing ends. But adaptation is more important than allocation. Arnold Kling explains.

Overcoming the “Resource Curse”: Prioritizing Policy Interventions in Countries with Large Extractive Industries — - The design and management of policies to mitigate the political and economic risks that often accompany natural resource windfalls in less-developed countries.

Seeking Traction, Democrats Turn Attention to Energy - As the New York Times noted recently, “Congressional Democrats headed home for their Memorial Day recess with only a few signature accomplishments . With much fanfare, Democrats now turn to energy security.

Ozone Air Quality Standards: EPA's Proposed Changes

G8’s Gradual Move toward Post-Kyoto Climate Change Policy - Backgrounder: The road to new international commitments to curb greenhouse gas emissions is far from smooth.

U.S. Oil Dependency -Task Force report: The lack of sustained attention to energy issues is undercutting U.S. foreign policy and national security.

The Use of Profit by the Five Major Oil Companies

Below the Surface: U.S. International Water Policy - when many Americans spend their days in or around swimming pools sipping various cold drinks, it is easy to ignore that a big chunk of the rest of the world doesn’t have access to clean drinking water.

Senate Energy Bill Tax Title Hikes Taxes and Promises Higher Prices for Consumers - Raising taxes on what works and heaping subsidies on what does not was bad energy tax policy in the past and will not do any better this time around.

Plowing Farm Subsidies Under - There is no need for farm subsidies, and it would not really hurt anyone if we eliminated them.

Domestic

Gitmo Debate Misses the Point - Moving jails won't change the United States' responsibilities in the war on terrorism.

Perspectives on "Sicko"

Embryonic Stem Cell Research Divides States - President Bush's decision to again veto legislation allowing federal funding puts the issue squarely in states' hands – and some states are already vying to lure scientists and investors.

The Politically Incorrect Americanism of Alba, Pacino, and Arnold - I had a very American upbringing, I feel American, and I don't speak Spanish. So, to say that I'm a Latin actress, OK, but it's not fitting; it would be insincere.

Numbers: Congress, CEO Pay, Chinese Consumption, and More - A brief analysis of current public opinion on Congress, CEO pay, and more.

Bloomberg's Third Party Problem, and Ours - Few want to admit it, but the two political parties have ideologies that serve a real and very important function in an election.

Religious Republicans: Hanging Tough with Bush - A dilemma for GOP Presidential Candidates: They're distancing themselves from Bush, but may still need strong backing from his faithful church-going supporters.

Did Talk Show Hosts Help to Derail the Immigration Bill in Congress? - PEJ's Talk Show Index finds immigration was the second-most popular topic from May 13-June 8, and airwaves discussion was dominated by hosts opposed to the legislation who often referred to it with the politically damning term "amnesty bill."

Why Change the Channel? - For most of the public, broadcast network news is all the same. Not so cable news: Nearly half the public sees real differences among CNN, Fox News and MSNBC.

The War on Terror: What is it? Who Are Our Enemies and How Likely Are Different Types of Terrorist Attacks in the U.S.?

Missing in Action: News Coverage of Private Contract Forces in Iraq - Extensive reliance in the Iraq conflict on military forces hired by private firms is a significant new element in 21St Century warfare. But what does the American public know about this phenomenon?

How Serious a Problem for Pollsters are Cell Phone-Only Users? - The landline-less are different from regular telephone users in many of their opinions and their numbers are growing fast. Can survey researchers meet this challenge?

Testing for Racial Profiling in Traffic Stops From Behind a Veil of Darkness -Propose a test for racial profiling that makes use of the “veil of darkness” hypothesis, which asserts that police are less likely to know the race of a motorist before making a stop after dark than they are during daylight.

Public Sees a Healthy Housing Market but an Ailing Economy - Americans are far more optimistic than most real estate experts about the outlook for home prices but far more pessimistic than most economists and Wall Street watchers about the overall economic outlook.

Dumbocracy in America - Why do American voters hold and cherish irrational beliefs on politics and economics?

NBC's Body Armor Embarrassment - The media once again portray soldiers in Iraq as victims and the Iraq war as lost.

Maxing Out on Debt Hysteria -The American household is better off financially than you may think, especially given the media frenzy over rising consumer debt.

Happy for the Work - Americans work more than Europeans, but they are not unhappier because of it.

The Evolution of Household Income Volatility - Brookings Senior Fellow Douglas Elmendorf and two co-authors from the Federal Reserve examine household income data over the last thirty years and conclude that household income has become noticeably more volatile during the past thirty years.

Performance-Based Pay Driving Increase in Inequality - Much of the increase in income inequality in recent decades is due to the expanded business practice of paying workers based on their individual levels of productivity. The resulting inequality benefits everyone by raising standards of living and creating more economic opportunities for the less fortunate.

Mapping the Growth of Older America - Aging baby boomers constitute this decade's fastest growing age group, expanding nearly 50 percent in size from 2000 to 2010. This group—more highly educated, with more professional women, and more diverse than its predecessors—will add new stresses to suburban and Sun Belt locations where they are predominantly "retiring in place" with demands for health, transportation, and other services.

Bloomberg Well Known, But of Limited Appeal for Now - Michael Bloomberg has created some excitement in the political world about a possible run for the presidency by dropping his Republican affiliation. But a recent nationwide Pew voter survey found that while the New York mayor is relatively well known, his appeal is very modest at this point.

Poll Track: Speculation In Full Bloom

Ripple Effect - Mitt Romney and Fred Thompson are creeping up in the polls, but Barack Obama is losing momentum in his bid to surpass Hillary Clinton.

Foreign

There were never any good American choices in the Middle East - That the war has morphed once again into one largely against al Qaeda and Islamic terrorists is lost on critics.

The Role of Journalism Today - Journalists have a responsibility to illuminate the vast differences between Islam and the West.

Jumping on the US Bandwagon for a “War on Terror” - Major US newspapers struggle to eliminate bias and exaggerations in their reports on terror.

Solutions, or Problems? - Politicizing our problems with Iran and North Korea only creates more problems.

Global Warming At Arabic News Channels - Journalists at Al Jazeera have begun leaking stories to the media and Western politicians, expressing fears that new members of its board of directors in Doha, Qatar, including the former Qatari ambassador to America, Hamad Al Kuwari, will pressure AJ's journalists to go soft on Washington to curry favor with the Bush administration.

The Radicalization of Diasporas and Terrorism: A Joint Conference by the RAND Corporation and the Center for Security Studies, ETH Zurich — Explores evidence of Diaspora communities, frustrated with a perceived war against the Muslim world, turning against their adopted homelands by supporting terrorist attacks against Western countries through recruitment, fundraising, and training.

The Children of Marx - A new book ambitiously yet modestly attempts to trace the international appeal and development of communist thought.

Visa Waiver Reform: Time for Action - The Visa Waiver Program is an important tool that we can use to modernize and improve homeland security, public diplomacy, and economic competitiveness. Expanding visa-free travel to the United States would significantly boost tourism and business. It has the potential to generate substantial long-term economic benefits for the country.

Many European Adults Believe that the European Union Should Not Take in New Members

Carry That Weight: Improving European Strategic Airlift Capabilities — Addresses the shortfall between the strategic airlift capabilities that the European Union needs to fulfill its ambition to be a credible security actor and the capabilities available to the major European nations.

Enduring Alliances Empower America's Long-War Strategy- Enduring alliances should be the centerpiece of America's long-war strategy, but they will require a concerted U.S. effort to facilitate secure travel and interchange between America and its friends and allies, a shared common vision that enhances public diplomacy so that America can better make its case on the world stage, and creating new opportunities for security cooperation.

An African in Kabul - A civilian adviser says private enterprise is the key to Afghan reconstruction.

Hezbollah's Terrorist Threat to the European Union - With an extensive web of fundraising and logistical support cells throughout Europe, Hezbollah poses a direct threat to EU citizens at home and abroad.

Still Losing? The June 2007 Edition of "Measuring Stability in Iraq" - The are enough indicators in the June 2007 report, however, to make it all too clear that the US is not making anything like the overall progress it needs to implement the President's strategy.

The Case for Soft Partition in Iraq - Michael O'Hanlon and Edward Joseph conclude that the only hope for stabilizing Iraq may be a soft partition into Kurdish, Shiite, and Sunni regions.

Issue Tracker: Democracy Promotion

U.S. Summer Offensive in Iraq - As major offensives get underway to root out insurgents outside the capital, Iraq’s economy continues to sputter and political progress appears bleak.

A Future Unbound: U.S.-India Relations - The U.S. and India should extend their partnership on a global basis to all parts of the world and in some areas to accentuate what we can do together, including defense and industrial trade, military cooperation, counterterrorism cooperation, and the civil nuclear agreement.

Posted by Jack at June 24, 2007 7:04 PM
Comments
Comment #224023

Jack, Do you consider the two Google founders to be worth 16 billion because of performance and the $16bil to be all performance pay or could possibly be that its due to those two founding rthe company and the rise in stock price? I would think that this article is a tad tainted if it continues in the same vein. I stopped at this point because I dont consider the $16bil to be performance pay, much like I dont consider excessive exec pay performance pay when they get the money regardless of the companies performaance. What say you?

Posted by: j2t2 at June 25, 2007 2:15 AM
Comment #224025

j2tj

The Google cash is the result of the “black swan” phenomenon. There is a good book by that name. It is an improbable event. Improbable events happen a lot - much more than we think – but by their nature they cannot be predicted.

Beyond that, it is the result of a tournament. Lots of people try such things. Most end up with nothing. Some make it really big. Think of the analogy of actors or rock stars. Most make nothing and the average payoff is low. Some make big piles of money, so that people still have incentive to go into those lines of work.

My guess with Google is that you are looking for something you can define as justice in the money they made. That you will not find in pay scales in general. Pay is depended on many things, but justice is only a small part and the desire for equality is actually something most people DO NOT want. We need pay differentials to make things work and, BTW, treating unequal as equals is very unjust.

In any case, the point I am making re pay inequality is that the situation is very complex and not easily boiled down to tax cuts. Inequality is growing worldwide and has grown over the last 30 years. This happened all over the world, among countries with very different systems and over time, again with very different tax and fiscal policies. Much of it seems to be related to globalization. In the global marketplace some skills are worth more than others and the global scale allows for really big payoffs, while leaving the lower group unchanged (you cannot get much below zero). Consider the Google guys. In an economy the size of many individual countries, it would not be possible to pay them so much. There just is not that much money. Even in America of the 1960s, it is unlikely someone could get that much of a payoff (adjusted) because the general level of wealth was lower and we did not have such access to global resources. Recall the simple statistic that 1% of 1000 is more than 5% of 100.

Great disparities in wealth is (IMO too) a social problem. But we need to address it systemically. The idea some people have that it is the result of recent tax cuts is not only wrong. It is pernicious since he may obscure the real reasons and solutions.

Posted by: Jack at June 25, 2007 8:05 AM
Comment #224026

You don’t think that executives are overpaid today, in general? Anyway, if you consider the wage gap at all an issue, it’s legitimate to ask what we plan to do about it.

Posted by: Max at June 25, 2007 9:33 AM
Comment #224027

I found the criticism in the third link (cute jab on your part, btw) of economists interesting perhaps because I’ve made the same point to one of my economist friends for years. It’s actually a point against the kind of behaviorial modification we used to hear from the likes of B. F. Skinner. Dostoyevsky’s Notes from Underground said it this way: even if you provide people with a superior choice, a certain percentage will perversely choose the worse. I’m glad to see the economic principle of rational voters (consumers) under attack; people are more complicated than that. That’s both good and bad, of course.

—-

You’ve posted far more links than I’m likely to get to, but as a small gesture of reciprocation, here’s my own. Apparently neoconservatives like The Republic.

Posted by: Gerrold at June 25, 2007 9:56 AM
Comment #224028

Jack,

“Beyond that, it is the result of a tournament. Lots of people try such things. Most end up with nothing. Some make it really big. Think of the analogy of actors or rock stars. Most make nothing and the average payoff is low. Some make big piles of money, so that people still have incentive to go into those lines of work.

I was an “out of work” actor for a while in the 70’s until I discovered something that changed my life.
I had neither the “look” nor the talent to succeed in that business. The idea that most successful actors were merely in the right place, at the right time, went out in the 60’s.
Your analogy with actors and rock stars is weak at best. “Most end up with nothing” because they had nothing to begin with.
I have known many actors and musicians that had the “dream”. Most rise to the level of their competence, and when they don’t achieve stardom, they move into other fields that actually fit their talents.
Acting and music are both very hard work, and they require a level of dedication that most folks are either unwilling or incapable of applying themselves to achieve.

The “Google” guys weren’t just in the right place at the right time. They had an idea for a product that wasn’t just useful. Their idea was sustainable over the long haul, and they had the vision, and the stick-to-itiveness to make their dreams a reality.
Lee Trevino said “the more you practice, the luckier you get.”
Anybody can make a shiny widget.
For every John Lennon, or Paul Newman, or Warren Buffet, or Steve Jobs, or Larry Page and Sergey Brin, there are millions of folks out there that should be selling shoes.

Posted by: Rocky at June 25, 2007 10:26 AM
Comment #224031

Back in 1776 there were people who continued to support greater and greater accumulations of wealth and power. They were the Conservative Tory loyalist to King George. The working liberal Americans rose up and fought a Revolution to take away their unopposed power and to transfer back wealth and power to the people.

That we today have the equivalent of the pre-revolutionary Conservative Tory loyalist who continue to make excuses for these current vast accumulations of wealth is sad. That some people actually try to provide cover by claiming the wealthy are accumulating their wealth because they are becoming more productive as opposed to more controlling is sickening, undemocratic, oppositional to the concept of a free-market and in my opinion un-American.

Posted by: muirgeo at June 25, 2007 10:52 AM
Comment #224033

JAck, I see no injustice in the money made by the google guys. I see injustice in the writers implication that this is reason for the growing inequality by implying this money is performance pay. In true neo con style the writer adds nothing to the discussion of the issue other than to confuse the issue with a weak arguement that is lacking in merit.

Posted by: j2t2 at June 25, 2007 11:21 AM
Comment #224034

Thats the funniest thing I’ve seen posted here in a long time muiregeo.
The hell with history, just rewrite it.

Posted by: kctim at June 25, 2007 11:25 AM
Comment #224035

kctim,

Could you e-mail me at s_oken@yahoo.com?

Posted by: Rocky at June 25, 2007 11:33 AM
Comment #224036

muirgeo said,

That some people actually try to provide cover by claiming the wealthy are accumulating their wealth because they are becoming more productive as opposed to more controlling is sickening, undemocratic, oppositional to the concept of a free-market and in my opinion un-American.

Well said. People are irrational as well as rational, that is the achilles heal of democracy. It isn’t helped either by a couple of generations raised on ubermarketing and the drumbeat of consume, consume drowning out the drumbeat of learning.

I would argue the free market needs a counterbalancing regulatory force for democracy and capitalism to succeed, otherwise you do get the elites trying to control more of the pie for themselves. Bush’ policies tend to exacerbate this economic trend, not ameliorate it for democracy’s sake.

Posted by: chris2x at June 25, 2007 11:36 AM
Comment #224038

muirgeo,

“That some people actually try to provide cover by claiming the wealthy are accumulating their wealth because they are becoming more productive as opposed to more controlling is sickening, undemocratic, oppositional to the concept of a free-market and in my opinion un-American.”

There are truly only three ways to attain wealth in America.
You either win the lottery, you inherit it, or you work your ass off (this option includes investing).
I would have to say that IMHO the last one happens more often than the first two combined.

Posted by: Rocky at June 25, 2007 11:51 AM
Comment #224045

I have worked for large and small USA companies for 35 years. The lust for greed I see now sickens me. These top people in most USA corporations are so busy padding their Golden Parachutes, backdating their stock options, screwing their employees and customers and cooking the books they don’t have time for real commonsense business management decisions. Look at Ford, GM and Chrysler. How out of touch can you be and still manage a business? Look at the money these people make as managers!!! The money they make does not benefit the US economy in an off shore bank account where it is used to get out of paying taxes. Look at Halliburton they made millions and they left the country. This trickle down crap does not work, with the amount of money pouring in at the top we should have a flood down here, and I have not seen a drop down here in my department. I remember when company’s where a very important, proud part of the community, now they are a burden on there community. Now they create working class slums not the middle class dreams we once had. If you take care of your employees and customers they take care of you mister big shot. Most of the time your employees are your customers they drive the economy. Your employees don’t horde money if off shore bank accounts, they pay their taxes, and purchase the goods the need for every day life. Wake up before the only thing left will be corporate greed.

Posted by: Outraged at June 25, 2007 12:59 PM
Comment #224046

The envy over someone elses wealth, is what sickens me.

Posted by: kctim at June 25, 2007 1:18 PM
Comment #224047

The envy over someone elses wealth, is what sickens me.

Posted by: kctim at June 25, 2007 01:18 PM

Try not to envy someone elses wealth kctim.
Concentrate on making a positive change in the world. See if you can make it a better place than you found it.

Posted by: Outraged at June 25, 2007 1:41 PM
Comment #224048

Outraged,

Anyone that bases their life on the wealth of others is living a very shallow life.
What you do with your own life is what changes the world. Envying someone else because of their wealth does nothing to make the world a better place.

Posted by: Rocky at June 25, 2007 1:55 PM
Comment #224050

Outraged,

Anyone that bases their life on the wealth of others is living a very shallow life.
What you do with your own life is what changes the world. Envying someone else because of their wealth does nothing to make the world a better place.

Posted by: Rocky at June 25, 2007 01:55 PM

I don’t envy greed read my post.You have mistaken me for kctim. The envy poped up in the kctim post.
My post is on corprate greed.I did change the world I designed machines that feed people not war machines that kill people.That is positive change.I don’t envy greed read my post. You have mistaken me for kctim. The envy popped up in the kctim post.

My post is on corporate greed. I did change the world I designed machines that feed people not war machines that kill people. That is positive change.

Posted by: Outraged at June 25, 2007 2:04 PM
Comment #224051

Outraged,

Greed is a human trait, corporations, Supreme Court rulings aside, are not people, and therefore cannot be greedy.

“Try not to envy someone else’s wealth kctim.”

What exactly does that mean?

Posted by: Rocky at June 25, 2007 2:18 PM
Comment #224053

Outraged,

Greed is a human trait, corporations, Supreme Court rulings aside, are not people, and therefore cannot be greedy.

“Try not to envy someone else’s wealth kctim.”

What exactly does that mean?


Posted by: Rocky at June 25, 2007 02:18 PM

The envy over someone elses wealth, is what sickens me.
Posted by: kctim at June 25, 2007 01:18 PM


Corporations are made up of people, not just robots. Greed is what the managers of those companies suffer from. No amount of cash will satisfy them.

Posted by: Outraged at June 25, 2007 2:30 PM
Comment #224054

I don’t envy anothers wealth Outraged, which is why I don’t believe in taking it from them and giving it to others in order to support my own personal beliefs.

Those who envy anothers wealth are the same ones who complain about “golden parachutes” and how unfair it is that some have alot and some don’t.
They are the same ones who, rather than help the needy themselves, believe govt should force others to care and believe as they do.

It is not govts job to pass laws to ensure people succeed. It is govts job to ensure we all have the chance to succeed and that is what we have.

It is not your right to have what your neighbors have and it is not the job of govt to take from them and give to you so that you do.

Posted by: kctim at June 25, 2007 2:35 PM
Comment #224055

Who exactly determines the worth of a CEO?
It certainly isn’t the CEO.
If the stockholders didn’t think it wasn’t worth it why would they pay the CEO such a large salary?

Production equals worth pal.

Posted by: Rocky at June 25, 2007 2:44 PM
Comment #224056

I don’t envy anothers wealth Outraged, which is why I don’t believe in taking it from them and giving it to others in order to support my own personal beliefs.
Those who envy anothers wealth are the same ones who complain about “golden parachutes” and how unfair it is that some have allot and some don’t.
They are the same ones who, rather than help the needy themselves, believe govt should force others to care and believe as they do.
It is not govts job to pass laws to ensure people succeed. It is govts job to ensure we all have the chance to succeed and that is what we have.
It is not your right to have what your neighbors have and it is not the job of govt to take from them and give to you so that you do.
Posted by: kctim at June 25, 2007 02:35 PM

We must all earn an honest wage and pay an honest amount of taxes. Excess greed and dishonesty are what I am talking about. I did not say take from the rich. I said pay your share as I do we must keep this country moving forward so we can all have the opportunity to become rich if that is what you want. We must have accountability in government and corporations. You don’t need to stereotype me with your other comments I do not have a right-wingers hand book that I live my life by. I like to step back and take a look for myself and make a decision what I see not what others tell me to think.

Posted by: Outraged at June 25, 2007 3:00 PM
Comment #224058

I don’t envy wealth. I despise those who steal it from our government, undermind democracy to obtain it and monopolize markets to control it.

kctim do you despise the revolutionaries for their “wealth envy”? When you watch , “Its a Wonderful Life” do you see Mr Potter as the hero?

Some one who has made a fortune pushing paper and denying insurance claims has not worked his azz off IMO and has contributed less to society then a common petty thief.

Posted by: muirgeo at June 25, 2007 3:13 PM
Comment #224059

Who exactly determines the worth of a CEO?
It certainly isn’t the CEO.
If the stockholders didn’t think it wasn’t worth it why would they pay the CEO such a large salary?

Production equals worth pal.

Posted by: Rocky


You actually think stock holders determine CEO pay? As I understand it if you don’t vote the board automaticlly counts it as a yes vote.

Numerous studies exist to show CEO pay is in no way related to performance.

Posted by: muirgeo at June 25, 2007 3:16 PM
Comment #224060

It is not govts job to pass laws to ensure people succeed.

Posted by: kctim

Oh but see that’s the part you don’t seem to understand. The government specifically passes laws to make people wealthy. What do you think the purpose of a million dollar a year lobbyist is for? The rate of return on government access is way greater then anything you could make in the market.

You hate government but love wealth blind to how they both steal from you so much you make excuses and blame those of us pushing fairness and responsibility as being envious.

Posted by: muirgeo at June 25, 2007 3:22 PM
Comment #224062

Rocky, kctim,

First, plenty of people “work their ass off” but don’t do it for the money and don’t expect to get wealthy doing it either (I am one of them). Neither does criticism of outlandish corporate pay packages equal envy.

Second, although in concept, production would generate wealth, on closer inspection this is not always so. Check out Roger Lowenstein’s “Unconventional Wisdom” article in Smart Money’s July 07 edition. Whiteacre was paid incredibly handsomely over many years for underperformance at AT&T. Shareholders like myself don’t have time or the clout to be running the company and the cozy boardrooms know it. Corporate upper management is increasingly a rigged game in which shareholders are abused. The fact these CEOs get paid (and often outlandishly so) regardless of performance proves it. For much of the corporate world “good corporate citizenry” is a foreign concept. This isn’t some sort of sour grapes but a corporate greedy financial grab and muirgeo had it dead to rights.

Thirdly, those most able to pay need to pay more. To insist the person surviving paycheck to paycheck on subsistence wages pay the same level as those making millions is ridiculous. Especially, in a time of war and ever increasing deficits sold to China I think so-called conservative fiscal policy as it exists today is harming our country.

Posted by: chris2x at June 25, 2007 3:35 PM
Comment #224063

“As I understand it if you don’t vote the board automaticlly counts it as a yes vote.”

And just how does that mean anything? I mean if you were a stockholder and you were against a raise for the CEO, wouldn’t you want to be there?

“Numerous studies exist to show CEO pay is in no way related to performance.”

Please show us one.

“When you watch , “Its a Wonderful Life” do you see Mr Potter as the hero?

Mr. Potter wasn’t the villain because he was rich, Potter was the villain because he was rich and he was an asshole.

Oh, and by the way, how does “It’s a Wonderful Life” relate to reality?
Do you perceive that anyone that is wealthy is an asshole?

Posted by: Rocky at June 25, 2007 3:35 PM
Comment #224067

chris2x,

“To insist the person surviving paycheck to paycheck on subsistence wages pay the same level as those making millions is ridiculous. Especially, in a time of war and ever increasing deficits sold to China I think so-called conservative fiscal policy as it exists today is harming our country.”

This isn’t my first rodeo bunky.
There have always been and always will be poor people that bitch about how much money the rich folks have and there have always been rich people.
This isn’t Sherwood forest, and short of armed revolt that isn’t going to change any time soon.

“First, plenty of people “work their ass off” but don’t do it for the money and don’t expect to get wealthy doing it either (I am one of them).”

And what is your point?
Wealth is a relative thing. I work with my hands and I am by no means rich.
I think that corporations that want to pay their top guys big bucks are stupid, but I also don’t want laws passed that control just how much an “honest” living pays. That is socialism.

You want to help the less fortunate, by all means knock yourself out?
I do it myself.
But you cannot force other people to do the same, and I refuse to whine and bitch about the hand that life has dealt me.

Posted by: Rocky at June 25, 2007 4:02 PM
Comment #224069

Rocky,

Maybe not your first rodeo, bunky? Hey enjoy all the rodeos you want but I don’t think I’ll bunk with you.

If you bothered to read the next line you might get my point and there is no whining or bitching here about life. If your jeans are riding up in the saddle I’d get down off my horse and look around a little.

I like my version of the golden rule better, you know, the one in the Bible, versus the one you seem all too comfortable with.

Posted by: chris2x at June 25, 2007 4:20 PM
Comment #224070

Rocky,

Do you understand that corporations only exist because we pass laws that allow them to exist? I don’t think you do. But by that very fact we as a democratic society have a right to set the rules by which corporations operate. So as soon as you tell me we should NOT “regulate” corporations then you have to explain to me why we even have to let them exist in the first place. Once you realize this you’ll realize it’s not envy on my part that is a problem but more a desire by some to consider themselves more equal then others that is the root of the problem. This along with people like you some how trying to justify such a system based on logical inconsistencies, undemocratic principals and an actual disregard for free markets.

No envy here just a respect for democracy, fairness, free markets and an understanding of what the revolution was fought for.

Posted by: muirgeo at June 25, 2007 4:21 PM
Comment #224072

muirgeo,

“This along with people like you some how trying to justify such a system based on logical inconsistencies, undemocratic principals and an actual disregard for free markets.”

I am justifying nothing, but I do live in the real world.

Ok, two last questions and I have to go until tonight.

If we pass laws the regulate how much money corporations can pay their executives, who’s next, me, you?
Are you willing to take a pay cut as well, just to make things more equitable?

Posted by: Rocky at June 25, 2007 4:45 PM
Comment #224075

Rocky said,

If we pass laws the regulate how much money corporations can pay their executives, who’s next, me, you? Are you willing to take a pay cut as well, just to make things more equitable?

At last, a real questions and the first one is a good one.

I don’t think we need to pass laws regulating pay of CEOs except to not make it so easy for them to be overpaid. Alternately, we could make it easier for everyone to be grossly overpaid, which would likely sink the company.

First, make pay transparent so that even if a shareholder has time to review it they can. I don’t think anyone knew what Richard Grasso’s pay package from the NYSE was going to be when it was approved.

Second, hold directors in the board room accountable on the pay packages they approve. Don’t create laws making it difficult to take action against potentially cozy and negligent board members. You can’t have it both ways. Insularity is a big reason pay packages are crazy and hurt shareholders. If you want to get paid be ready to be accountable.

The second question suggests I would need take a pay cut to make things “equitable”. If Rocky is suggesting if we passed laws to set maximum pay I would have to abide by those as well. Fair enough. If Rocky is saying we need to all take a pay cut if we regulate how much a CEO can make in order to be fair I think he’s off his rocker regarding what is equitable.

Posted by: chris2x at June 25, 2007 5:28 PM
Comment #224076

When did socialism morph to become anything other than state owned companies. It seems now anything short of complete lack of regulations is socialism, why is that?

Posted by: j2t2 at June 25, 2007 5:47 PM
Comment #224078

Muirgeo
“When you watch , “Its a Wonderful Life” do you see Mr Potter as the hero?”

Nope. Nor do I see him as a villian either.

“Some one who has made a fortune pushing paper and denying insurance claims has not worked his azz off IMO and has contributed less to society then a common petty thief.”

Thats where we differ. I believe everybody who works is contributing to society. You hold a grudge against those who are successful and how they became so, I do not.

“You hate government but love wealth blind to how they both steal from you so much you make excuses and blame those of us pushing fairness and responsibility as being envious”

I hate the democracy our once great Constitutional Republic has evolved into.
I do not love wealth. I make a modest living and am happy. I do not worry about the millions others make and I do not let it determine what I think of them.
Govt steals money from me every paycheck, I have yet to be robbed by a wealthy person without knowing so beforehand.

If you care about the ridiculous sums of money some people make, you are envious of them.

And could you please explain where this idea of yours about the revolution being fought by “liberals” wanting to transfer wealth comes from?

ChrisX
First: “Neither does criticism of outlandish corporate pay packages equal envy”

Then why does it bother you guys so much?

Second: “those most able to pay need to pay more.”

Says who? Not our Constitution.
But, seeing how we have allowed ourselves to be controlled as such, I will go with the flow.
Guess what? Those most able to pay DO pay more, alot more and if I were one of them, I would be searching for ways to avoid that unfairness too.

“To insist the person surviving paycheck to paycheck on subsistence wages pay the same level as those making millions is ridiculous.”

Not in a Constitutional Republic where all men are created equal and are treated as equals by govt. But we no longer do that do we? White Americans are treated as white Americans, black Americans are treated as black Americans, poor Americans are treated as poor Americans and rich Americans are treated as rich Americans.
Think how much better our country would be IF we treated everybody as just plain old Americans.

“Especially, in a time of war and ever increasing deficits sold to China I think so-called conservative fiscal policy as it exists today is harming our country”

Just because a “conservative” is in office, does not mean the policy is conservative.
The only fiscal policy that would be fair and work is a truly conservative one with very limited govt interference.

The left see’s a needy person and expects govt to take care of them. I see a needy person and I do what I can.

I do not envy the wealthy and I do not need them in order to make a difference.

Posted by: kctim at June 25, 2007 5:51 PM
Comment #224079

When did socialism morph to become anything other than state owned companies. It seems now anything short of complete lack of regulations is socialism, why is that?

Posted by: j2t2


When you don’t have a good counter arguement then place a label on it. What you and I are arguing for is democracy NOT socialism…..they on the other hand are defending plutocracy. For the life of me I can’t understand why.

Posted by: muirgeo at June 25, 2007 6:38 PM
Comment #224080

Wealth is power. The power to control the goverment and wages.

Posted by: Jeff at June 25, 2007 6:56 PM
Comment #224081

That’s it in a nut-shell Jeff. Our very country was founded against that concept. These conservative tory loyalist want to go back in time and undo the revolution. I don’t get it except as explained through ignorance and blind ideology.

Posted by: muirgeo at June 25, 2007 7:17 PM
Comment #224082

“Govt steals money from me every paycheck, I have yet to be robbed by a wealthy person without knowing so beforehand.”
Posted by: kctim at June


Let me break this down for you Tim and connect the dots you refuse to.

Guy’s a representative in congress working on Medicare drug bill, guy leaves congress for million dollar lobbying job representing Pharma, guy writes medicare drug bill and gets it passed via connections in congress. Guy gets rich, Phameceutical CEO’s get rich…you pay the extra taxes. Oh and then guy puts a little more money into right wing media and talking points to further brainwash unsuspecting public into defending his actions. I think they call it Stockholm syndrome.

Oh and on the Revolution read 1776 by David McCullough.

Posted by: muirgeo at June 25, 2007 7:25 PM
Comment #224087

kctim,

Ridiculous CEO pay bothers me because:

A) It is obscene. As jobs get shipped overseas corporate CEOs too often see the resultant profitablility as an excuse to get paid even greater multiples of the average workers salary. Basically, squeeze the middle class for “productivity” gains in order for the wealthy to become more wealthy. It negatively affects many of us although feelings of envy don’t figure into it.

B) It is bad corporate governance. What else are they doing with the company money if they are only looking out for numero uno and not shareholders?

C) Many of these corporate leaders / wealthy elite have even more undue influence on government policy. How big a check can you write your representative?

Posted by: chris2x at June 25, 2007 9:04 PM
Comment #224089

Its not real complicated. Peolpe that work for wages are not getting a fair share. Productivity growth has been staggering.Part of this is tech.Part of this is we are kicking ass. Pay has been flat mostly.Owners are not going to share the money because it is right or even good bussiness. They start kicking down if and only if they have too. Two ways to do this. Government or unions.Government generally does a half ass job at this or anything. Unions do a better job at it but need improvements, We can do that.

Posted by: BillS at June 25, 2007 9:54 PM
Comment #224091

Jack
Thanks for the “curse of resorces” link. Not time to read it now but I will. I still submit that the problem is because the rulers get rich and do not need to develope a consumer economy to suck off of. Problem is sooner or later it blows up.

Posted by: Bills at June 25, 2007 10:07 PM
Comment #224094

Max

I do not think they are over or underpaid in a free market. The reason it concerns me is the social tension it can create. I do not know what to do about it. As I wrote above, inequality has been growing in various different countries of the world and in different situations in our own country.

It has been a problem since humans started to settle down in communities. Inequality grows when wealth grows. The more opportunity you give people, the greater the differences among them and the bigger the community, the more scope for big differences.

We saw an interesting factor just recently. Inequality in the U.S. increased greatly in the late 1990s. The U.S. income distribution actually became a little less unequal in the early Bush years, despite the tax cuts, because the economy declined. We can foster equality by reducing general wealth.

Muirego

Washington, Jefferson, Mason, Franklin Madison etc, were the richest guys in America before the revolution and they were the richest guys after too. The American revolution just allowed the local elite to expand its horizons. It was an independence movement, not a revolution, which is why it worked. We were very lucky and our leaders were very prescient in that they created the basis for a market economy.

Re “It’s a Wonderful Life” I am having more sympathy for Potter all the time. George Bailey is a screw up and Uncle Billy is a menace. Potter was dishonest to keep the money Uncle Billy dropped off, but the Building & Loan was a poorly managed operation.

Re corporations - the limited liability firm is one of the reasons we are such a rich society today. You could not invest if you had to worry that every investment would destroy your entire fortune. It allows the spreading of risk. There is no sophisticated market economy w/o corporations. W/o corporations, we would either have nothing much or an oppressive socialist system such as Nazi Germany or Soviet Russia.

Gerrold

As you know, I think Plato is OBEd. I am not surprised if neocons have been influenced by Plato, however. Conservatives are generally very well educated in philosophy, history and the history of philosophy. BTW – some of the best educated and most versatile scholars I have ever met have been military officers. They live the theories.

Rocky

Actors and rock stars who make it have talent. The other side of the equation is that many of those who do not make it also have talent. Talent is USUALLY required for success, but it is not sufficient. That is the tournament aspect. Most of those who win deserve to win. But many who did not win also deserved to win.

They call it the survivor bias.

Chris2x

The free market requires reasonable regulation, the rule of law and the market mechanism. The problem of wealth concentration is not necessarily a problem. It depends on how acute it becomes. The trend, however, started 30 years ago. It was not provoked by Bush policies.

Re pay - It depends on the sort of firm. A startup company might pay its CEO almost nothing, but give him a cut of assets. If the company makes it big, he gets a big payout. IF not he may get nothing. Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, the Waltons & the Google guys did not make their fortunes from their high salaries. Can you regulate that?

Outraged

The rich already pay most of the taxes. The poorer half of the population pays almost nothing and the lowest 20% actually gets more money back than they pay in.

BillS

Labor has been worth less for the last 30 years because we have had a surplus of labor. This situation is changing right now. But it is hard to say what a fair share would be. I have two cousins who were hourly workers. They trained in heating and air conditioning and opened their own firm. Now they make the big bucks, but they had to put up with a lot of risk. Now they hire others and do not pay all that well. If their workers do not like it, maybe they should start their own firms too. Risk, innovation and courage are worth a lot.

Posted by: Jack at June 25, 2007 10:53 PM
Comment #224096

muirgeo

“I don’t envy wealth. I despise those who steal it from our government,”

i think you have that ass backwards. gov’t does not create wealth, hardworking people do.

Posted by: dbs at June 25, 2007 11:25 PM
Comment #224099

rocky

“I refuse to whine and bitch about the hand that life has dealt me.”

very well said. i feel the same way, and am not pissed when i see those who have more than i do. there are plenty who have much less. it only motivates me to work harder,and to help others when i can.

Posted by: dbs at June 25, 2007 11:34 PM
Comment #224101

If you’re outraged that the Google founders get around in a luxurious and decadently-equipped 747, you should stop for a second and realize that the very SAME economic system and conditions which allowed that to happen have also allowed you to drive around in your Chevy or Toyota instead of riding to and from the cane-fields on a mule.

Get some perspective. I don’t care how poor you think you are or how envious or disgusted you are with the very rich (who I happen to agree are often very disgusting—i.e. Paris Hilton and John Edwards). Billions of people—the majority of the human race actually—would gladly trade places with you.

In our debates about the economy (which are fine to have—we can always improve), people tend to forget this.

In America RIGHT NOW are a substantial number of poeple who live below the so-called poverty line who will be millionaires five years from now. This is an amazing truth, and a testament to our people and our economy that we should be grateful for and never lose sight of.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at June 26, 2007 12:17 AM
Comment #224103

i think you have that ass backwards. gov’t does not create wealth, hardworking people do.

Posted by: dbs at June 25, 2007 11:25 PM


There are no hard working people in Burma? in Brazil? in Niger?
I think government is very important to creation of wealth especially if its a democratic form of government. if you disagree go work hard in one of the above countries and let us know what it gets you. If you agree with that then you can’t whine about democratically placed regulations aimed at improving the distribution of the productivity pie. Democracy requires a strong middle class. The current trends are destroying both the middle class and our democracy.

I just don’t believe that regulations improving the distribution of the pie will hurt productivity overall and arguably they would increase it. The 40 years after FDR were years were the American economy was number one and wealth distribution was far more even. The current trend doesn’t make me confident we will maintain our position as the worlds leading economy. Likewise history is rife with collapses of economies and dynasties after wealth distribution trended too far in our current direction. (See Kevin Philip, Wealth and Democracy).

Posted by: muirgeo at June 26, 2007 1:26 AM
Comment #224104

Jack has it been a surplus of labor the past 30 years or has it been the revisions to the laws the protected the working class that has changed? Productivity has also skyrocketed although instead of reaping the rewards for the hard work it seems the corporate aristocracy has kept the rewards for themselves causing a lot of the inequality we have seen growing the past decade. The drivel presented by the author mentioned in your post just seems to point fingers off into space instead of actually dealing with the issue.

Posted by: j2t2 at June 26, 2007 1:29 AM
Comment #224105


“The issue today is the same as it has been throughout all history, whether man shall be allowed to govern himself or be ruled by a small elite.” Thomas Jefferson.

Unbridled corporatism leads to a ruling elite and loss of democracy. Democracy allows for a fairer slicing of the productivity pie. Conservatives I’m understanding more and more put corporate rule ahead of Democracy. I only wish the general voting public knew this.

Posted by: muirgeo at June 26, 2007 2:10 AM
Comment #224110

Muirego

There are plenty of hard working people in Brazil, Nigeria or Burma. They have not enjoyed the same benefits of the developed market economy (although Brazil is developing much better now, BTW). The U.S. government has been one of the best in the last 200 years because it has generally created conditions for a well functioning market. Intellectual property protection and property rights are constitutionally protected.

Regulations should be aimed at creating opportunity, making business safer and protecting property rights. Distributing the wealth created by the market is a sideline of government. It happens naturally, since the rich pay much more in taxes and the poor get much more in services in relation to what they pay. We also have some income support program, such as SS, which tend to move money from higher income groups to the lower ones, but actual attempts at redistribution is something we have not done much in America, which is why America has been a generally good place to live and work for so many years.

Some political rule is unavoidable and helpful, but if you make too many market decision through the political system, you end up with poverty and tyranny.

Have you been to Monticello? Jefferson was not talking about socialism or a general income redistribution. The founding fathers disagreed about lots of things, but they all agreed on the need to protect wealth and property. THAT is the radical aspect of the American revolution. Most revolutions fail because they forget that.

J2t2

There has been a surplus because of the demographic bulge of the baby boom, the great influx of women into the labor market and liberal immigration. Beyond that, productivity reduces demand for labor. But this era of labor surplus is ending. We moved into this new reality around 1997. It is very easy to find a job today in comparison to any period from around 1973 until then. This is not necessarily a good thing. You could get rid of almost all unemployment if you just eliminated farm machinery. Nobody would seriously advocate that. Yet people advocate various ways to make labor more expensive.

There has also been a change in how families get income. Most American families have investments. They make significant parts of their incomes from non-wage sources. This is a big change from 30 years ago.

Posted by: Jack at June 26, 2007 8:02 AM
Comment #224112

Jack,

The article I cited near the top of this thread was about neocons misunderstanding The Republic. But then, most people misunderstand Plato, imo.

Regardless, here’s another interesting link — this one on how Marxism is taught in China nowadays.

Posted by: Gerrold at June 26, 2007 9:25 AM
Comment #224113

Jack,

Jefferson certainly didn’t support socialism but he did create the first FREE public university, the University of Virginia.

Do you think/ do believe the founding fathers thought that the rules of business should represent the will of the people or that they should be made and decided by lobbyist, business interest and politicians? Because that’s what I see conservatives defending when they claim money is free speech and I’m quite sure the founding fathers would be taken aback by the current disruption of money in our democracy.

Bottom line either is you believe in democracy and self rule by the people or you believe in plutocratic rule by a small elite of ever more powerful wealthy individuals. I’m quite convinced you and many other conservatives are guilty of justifying and regularly defending the later. I think that’s a shame and that it will ultimately lead to the deterioration of this nation if continued unchecked.

Posted by: muirgeo at June 26, 2007 9:48 AM
Comment #224114

ChrisX
Thank you for an honest and reasoned answer.

“Ridiculous CEO pay bothers me because:”

A) It is only obscene if you view it as obscene. We do not have sweatshops or slave labor here in the US, so even though the “big guys” are making alot, most of their workers are doing well themselves. Sure, they could take a million less and divide it up amongst the workers, but that is a business decision and govt has no right to determine that.

Envy is a part of this because you care what they are making and believe it is unfair.

B) If it is bad corporate governance, then that company will not succeed.

C) “Many of these corporate leaders / wealthy elite have even more undue influence on government policy.”

I agree with you to a point. Most of these corp leaders and “elites” you speak of, provide a valuable service to our govt and our country and should have some influence on policy that affects their business.

Its kind of interesting really. The left plays off the envy of people to get their vote. They portray “big business” and the “wealthy elite” as evil fat-cats who take advantage of all of us in hopes that the voters will let their envy rule, think all is unfair and will vote Democrat.

The right plays off the peoples fear of govt controlling them in order to get their votes. They portray govt as being too much like “big brother” but they do nothing to really change it.

Its all about playing off the sheeps emotions my friend and our politicians have learned that they can circumvent the Constitution if they play off those emotions.

Posted by: kctim at June 26, 2007 9:51 AM
Comment #224116

muirego,

“There are no hard working people in Burma? in Brazil? in Niger?”

Have you ever been to one of those countries?

Have you ever been outside of the United States?

In the 90’s I spent a lot of time in Asia installing laser shows in malls and discos and amusement parks.
In the Philippines we worked in conditions that most Americans would deem unacceptable, yet the Filipinos worked very hard for very little money.
It didn’t bother them at all that the foreign crew that they worked side by side with stayed in a nice hotel while they went home to their extremely modest homes. Hell, the construction crew lived on-site in lean to sheds in the parking garage of the mall they were constructing.

In China the common laborers we worked with made $2.00 American per day. In Indonesia they made just slightly more than that.

My point is that there was no jealousy of what we foreigners made, or where we lived in country. The locals were happy to just have a job, and they had no expectations beyond that.
We often hear that even the poorest American has life much more comfortable than even the middle class in the Third world.
It’s true.
We Americans expect more out of life than most people in the rest of the world even dream of, but until you experience what life is like outside the safe cocoon of America you will have no idea.
I get my work from corporations, and the more they spend the more work I have.
I am 55 years old, and don’t want to be rich, I just don’t want to work this hard for the rest of my life.
Wages are based on the relative value of the service you provide, in the area you provide them.

Inequity is entirely a state of mind.

Posted by: Rocky at June 26, 2007 10:06 AM
Comment #224118

So Rocky are you saying as Americans we should just be thankful for the corporations and the lower wages they prefer to pay and adapt to living in lean-to’s at the jobsite like our Asian counterparts? The reason you were paid more is due to the battles fought to get the US unionized and the resulting ability to neogoiate a fair wage for the hard work. It was good enough for the past two generations and I believe its good enough for the next two, cause I would rather see my kids and grandkids do better than lean to’s.

Posted by: j2t2 at June 26, 2007 10:31 AM
Comment #224125

j2t2,

“So Rocky are you saying as Americans we should just be thankful for the corporations and the lower wages they prefer to pay and adapt to living in lean-to’s at the jobsite like our Asian counterparts?”

What a crock.

What I am saying is that you should be thankful that you live in America where you have the opportunity to get an education that allows you to make your own life what you want it to be.

Please show me where it is written that life is fair and there will be no inequities.

You make your own luck and you make your own life.
You are either the cause or you’re at the effect of your own circumstances.
If the “MAN” is driving you down it is because you are allowing him to. You control your life, not the “MAN”.
Yes, the unions in this country have allowed the average folks in this country to raise themselves out of poverty.
That said, I am a high school drop out. I make the money I make because I kicked myself in the ass and made something out of myself.
Nobody gave it to me, and I didn’t expect anyone to.

If you aren’t satisfied with your life it is up to you to make it better, not me, and certainly not the government.

Posted by: Rocky at June 26, 2007 12:29 PM
Comment #224127

muirgeo


“I’m quite sure the founding fathers would be taken aback by the current disruption of money in our democracy.”

i think they’de be more taken aback by the punitive tax structure in this country, and this is a representative republic, not a true democracy, or the will of the majority could take away your individual rights just by voting.


“Bottom line either is you believe in democracy and self rule by the people or you believe in plutocratic rule”


or you believe in ndividual liberty, and ones right property they have earned. there are a certain taxes nessesary to running gov’t, i’ll give you that, but the men who founded this country did not sit around and try to figure out how to “redistribute the pie”. they tried to figure out how to establish a gov’t that would be conducive to helping the individual create his own pie.

Posted by: dbs at June 26, 2007 12:44 PM
Comment #224131

kctim,

Yes kctim now you have gotten my point, fairness and honesty. With out it life will be hard for you and your family to survive. Yes we do need accountability in government now more than ever. We should not have to pay more taxes than necessary. I think the people who benefit from it the most should not have tax loopholes and offshore bank accounts to get out of paying their share. If you are just a little guy why defend the dishonesty and unfairness of the super greedy? I don’t have a problem with it. If you don’t like some of the government programs that your taxes go to keep on voicing your opinion about it. I feel the same as you they take my hard earned tax money and give it to some slime ball fat cat that does not need it at all!!!! Like Halliburton. Kctim how many times have you written a blank check to a contractor to work on your home, or a blank check to the guy that works on your car? A no bid contract is stealing from me and you and giving it to an over paid scumbag that does not need it. So I agree with you 100%!!!!! Don’t steal from me and write a blank check to Halliburton, KBR, Titan or Black Water.

Posted by: Outraged at June 26, 2007 1:16 PM
Comment #224134

Speaking of crock thats a nice rah rah speech but the fact is the large corporate employer can and will pay you know more than they see fit to irregardless of your performance.
Rocky I dont think Ive said life is fair, I know you have to fight for what you get. I just think that since the demise of the unions the individual has little or no bargaining power against the corporate aristocracy. I think the government should insist on a level playing field, not one where the employer makes the rules and the individual has no say.
Rocky you made something of your self back in the day before the rules changed, back when the playing field was level. I guess you got yours and who cares about the next generation is the attitude of us boomers but I just dont think its right.
I work in a field similar to yours and dont disagree with your reap what you sow statements. Further I am very grateful to live in this country however when some of us change the rules to make the game lopsided I feel the need to speak out, that doesnt make me any less American.

Posted by: j2t2 at June 26, 2007 1:43 PM
Comment #224135

“or you believe in individual liberty, and ones right property..” dbs

Hey if you want to trust your liberties to the CEO’s of Enron, Worldcom, Haliburton or Blackwater good luck…I’ll vote that the people know better and trust in democracy and a government run by the people. And of the 2 worldviews I think the founding fathers would sit with me as they consistently railed against monopolies and rallied for government by the people.

Posted by: muirgeo at June 26, 2007 1:45 PM
Comment #224136

Out
Seeing as its now harder to NOT survive in our country, I would have to say everything is not quite as unfair and dishonest as some would want us to believe.

“I think the people who benefit from it the most should not have tax loopholes and offshore bank accounts to get out of paying their share.”

They look for loopholes and offshore accounts because they pay more than their share. Treat everybody as equal, tax them the same and those seeking a way out would drop drastically.

“If you are just a little guy why defend the dishonesty and unfairness of the super greedy?”

I’m not defending their actions, I am defending their right to run their business as they deem best just as I would defend the right of a worker to have the opportunity to work where he/she wishes.

“I don’t have a problem with it. If you don’t like some of the government programs that your taxes go to keep on voicing your opinion about it.”

Believe me, I do, even though it makes no difference, seeing how we have grown into a population dependent on govt.

“I feel the same as you they take my hard earned tax money and give it to some slime ball fat cat that does not need it at all!!!!”

They also take it and give it to lazy asses who do not wish to contribute to society and who believe that govt should take care of them.

Giving “free” money to those people is stealing from both of us in the same way a no bid contract does and I guarantee you that there are ten times as many of them as there are “fat-cats” that you worry so much about.

“So I agree with you 100%!!!!! Don’t steal from me and write a blank check to Halliburton, KBR, Titan or Black Water”

Glad you agree with me then. Now, add special interests such as the naacp, NPR, welfare, SS etc… to the mix and we will be 100% in agreement.

Posted by: kctim at June 26, 2007 2:15 PM
Comment #224138

Glad you agree with me then. Now, add special interests such as the naacp, NPR, welfare, SS etc… to the mix and we will be 100% in agreement.
Posted by: kctim at June 26, 2007 02:15 PM

Kctim,

I think some of the people you are talking about live across the street from me. I will add them to the list. You are right every one who can work should work. But I want what I paid into Social Security for the last 40 years. The groups you added to my list can get money from donation from sources other than taxes. We need to get wages up where they belong so we can pay the high cost of energy, healthcare, housing, etc. etc. Life should not be a struggle in this country for any one that wants to work hard.

Posted by: Outraged at June 26, 2007 2:45 PM
Comment #224141

muirgeo


“or you believe in individual liberty, and ones right property..”

if your going to quote me, at least use the full context. interesting how you coveniently left out the last two words. context makes a big difference. here’s what i actually said.

“or you believe in ndividual liberty, and ones right property they have earned.”


“I think the founding fathers would sit with me as they consistently railed against monopolies and rallied for government by the people.”

no they railed against excessive gov’t interference. they believed in limited gov’t. so i disagree.


Posted by: dbs at June 26, 2007 3:17 PM
Comment #224146

You know Outraged, I think I would gladly give up what I have paid into that scam for the last 20 years IF, I could be free for the next 20. I’d expect to get back my 40 years as you do though.

Donations and charity work is exactly how I believe also and I have no problem with workers, not govt, working towards higher wages if the market warrants it.

I’m not against the little guy having a fair chance, I’m against govt always being the end all be all.

Posted by: kctim at June 26, 2007 4:19 PM
Comment #224149

Three items in the news today caught my attention and seem to be, as a whole, absolutely on point for this discussion point.

First, the Washington Post series on Dick Cheney - his accumulation and exercise of power since 2001 and the apparent my way or the highway approach to government policy.

Second, the story of Amaranth Advisors hedge fund, which went belly up after taking a $2 billion hit last year. Seems they cornered the futures market for natural gas heading into winter but demand never hit the spike they gambled on. Well, their losses were nothing compared to the estimated $9 billion in additional costs for heating last winter paid by ordinary consumers.

Last, the story of Bearn Stearns, who, facing substantial losses in two hedge funds due to the subprime mortgage debacle, attempted to spin off their collapsing subprime portfolio in a public offering without mentioning the heavy losses that had already been taken. Oops! Must’ve forgotten about that in a rush to the boiler room to dump their trash on suckers astute small investors.

Increasing income disparity? Less restrictions on the wealthy (thanks to Mr Cheney), allowing unchecked advance of their agendas over all others.

Taking away many of the handicaps to wealth accumulation has facilitated the process for a few.

Here’s the critical question - do the middle class and the working poor deserve to be wage slaves?

If your answer is “no”, then you have to question the policies of this and other administrations that have helped corporations and others exploit the weakest in our population.

Posted by: CPAdams at June 26, 2007 4:38 PM
Comment #224151

kctim,

I’m not against the little guy having a fair chance, I’m against govt always being the end all be all.

I find your statement one of the most ludicrous I have ever read!

The little guy has no bargaining power. Explain to me how “the little guy” gets a fair chance without some SUBSTANTIAL help against the behemoth that is corporatism.

Donations and charity work??? So…you only believe in helping the little guy who is at rock bottom? Once/If the crisis passes, “the little guy” gets to fight the corporation by themselves again??

Government is the only creature large enough to push back against large corporations. And it’s not like they push back all that often.

The top few hedge fund managers made over one BILLION in income last year…EACH. Those hardworking, overtaxed folks - guess what the maximum tax rate was or them? Fifteen percent. Their ordinary income is treated as capital gains. A loophole that has yet to be closed.

Yessiree kctim,

I guess you do believe in the “little guy” getting a fair chance.

Posted by: CPAdams at June 26, 2007 4:48 PM
Comment #224160

Good points CPA. These guys tauting less government interference and “fair taxes” don’t understand that big corporations love government regulations and the current tax laws as well as the lobby/electoral laws. And they love the new Supreme Corporate court. These things give them some of their biggest advantages over the little guys not to mention incredible amounts of corporate welfare….far,far more then the welfare mom’s they worry so much about. These guys don’t want competition in the market, or political competition from the democratic process. And they have many common men defending them after being brainwashed by right wing media.

There is simple nothing consistent with their argument as it pertains to free-markets, liberty and democracy…a totally self contradictory position is what they have.

Posted by: muirgeo at June 26, 2007 5:33 PM
Comment #224162

CP
Tell me something, how do companies make money?
They hire us little guys to work for them. We have power if we are willing to use it.

The “Concrete Jungle” is the past and most employers today know they must provide decent wages to keep their employees.

“The top few hedge fund managers made over one BILLION in income last year…EACH.”

So. What another person makes is of no concern to me.

“Those hardworking, overtaxed folks - guess what the maximum tax rate was or them? Fifteen percent”

And that 15% was more money in one year than most of us will pay over 20+ years.

Muirgeo
Please tell me where I contradicted myself or my position and i will gladly cede that point to you.

Posted by: kctim at June 26, 2007 5:57 PM
Comment #224167

j2t2,

” just think that since the demise of the unions the individual has little or no bargaining power against the corporate aristocracy.”

Wrong.

Here’s the deal, you either pay me what I want, or, we negotiate closer to what you might want, but no less than I will accept, or, you find someone else to do the job.
It’s that simple.
I get work because I am very skilled at what I do. I refuse to cut corners, and the job is done right the first time.

People that work in corporate America don’t have a chain around their ankles, if you don’t like the job, there are plenty of jobs out there you might like better.
The only thing that corporate America has done is instill fear in the corporate employee. Corporations need good skilled employees more than the skilled employees the corporations.
In the type of work I do if you underpay your employees, you get shoddy work, and that’s the bottom line.

“Rocky you made something of your self back in the day before the rules changed, back when the playing field was level. I guess you got yours and who cares about the next generation is the attitude of us boomers but I just don’t think its right.”

That’s baloney.
I constantly have to perform at a high level because I demand a premium price. All someone of the “next” generation has to do to get ahead is to provide his employer an above standard job ethic, and continue to do so.
You have to have some pride in your work, and not just be a drone.
I am very happy with what I do, and I will never “have mine” because I am constantly trying to do my job better than anyone else.

All you have to do to “get yours” is to do the same.

Posted by: Rocky at June 26, 2007 6:44 PM
Comment #224175

Muirego

You are setting up a false choice In our democracy the people choose their leaders who abide by the rule of law and respect property rights The people cannot vote to take away the property of others w/o due process of law. Equality under the law is important. Equality of outcomes and economic equality is not required or even desirable

My daughter just graduated from the University of Virginia. It was not free (I know that very well) and it was not free in the past.

Free people should expect to earn their way. I do not believe in a small elite ruling us and they do not in our country. The free market and that protects property rights has protected our freedom for many years.

I am afraid that we have a really different view of the world. You know what Emerson said, that a person’s view of the world is a confession of his character.

Posted by: Jack at June 26, 2007 9:56 PM
Comment #224187

I am afraid that we have a really different view of the world. You know what Emerson said, that a persons view of the world is a confession of his character.

Posted by: Jack

Jefferson believed education should be “free” and he also believed people like Paris Hilton didn’t earn or deserve their wealth. Regarding Emerson I think he’d be glad to know my view of the world doesn’t include making excuses for wealthy ruling elite buying off our politicians, stealing from the treasury and undermining our democracy.

Jack does your world-view deny that wealthy people have a far greater influence on government policy? My world view and the facts claim they do and I claim that’s wrong. I have absolutely no care how rich a man is but I want his wealth to be completely independent of the function of our democracy.

from; http://www.nps.gov/nr/twhp/wwwlps/lessons/92uva/92facts1.htm

In the same letter, Jefferson described a public education bill he submitted in 1779:

“And had another which I prepared been adopted by the legislature, our work would have been complete. It was a bill for the more general diffusion of learning. This proposed to divide every county into wards of five or six miles square, like your townships; to establish in each ward a free school for reading, writing and common arithmetic; to provide for the annual selection of the best subjects from these schools, who might receive, at the public expense, a higher degree of education at a district school; and from these district schools to select a certain number of the most promising subjects, to be completed at an university, where all the useful sciences should be taught. Worth and genius would thus have been sought out from every condition of life, and completely prepared by education for defeating the competition and birth for public trusts.”


Although Jefferson’s bill for a system of public education was not voted into law by the Virginia legislature, he remained committed to these ideas. In 1796, he submitted a similar bill, achieving only limited success. The legislature agreed only to the establishment of elementary schools, subject to each county’s discretion. Jefferson lamented the fact that even this action was ineffective due to the funding provisions:

“One provision of the bill was that the expenses of these schools should be borne by the inhabitants of the county, everyone in proportion to his general tax-rate. This would throw on wealth the education of the poor; and the justices, being generally of the more wealthy class, were unwilling to incur that burden, and I believe it was not suffered to commence in a single county.”

Jefferson…a liberal…imagine that.

Posted by: muirgeo at June 27, 2007 12:44 AM
Comment #224198

muirego

We have free public schools through HS. UVA is not free. I think today virtually everyone believes in free public education through HS.

You are overdoing the wealth thing. Of course those with things like wealth, intelligence, talent, skills and even good looks have more influence than those who do not. It depends on how much it happens. Some is harmless, even good. Too much is harmful. Poison or medicine is in the dosage.

There is plenty of opportunity in the U.S. I am not rich, but I am well off. My grandfather immigrated from Poland. My father dropped out of HS. I have found that this kind of success is common in the U.S. We cannot guarentee success and I certainly would not want to give everybody the same results. That would be unfair.

Re world view, you just do not have so many enemies out there. Most people want to do the right thing. Americans are very generous with their time and money. Opportunity is widespread. Most American families have investments and nearly 70% live in homes they own. This is the result of our free market system and our reasonably wise government. We can always improve, but we do need gradual, not radical changes and we have no need for redistribution.

Posted by: Jack at June 27, 2007 8:08 AM
Comment #224206

Jack,

Do you really have NO concern that multinational corporations are undermining our soveriegnty and our democracy? Are you OK with KBR and Halliburton making incredible fortunes (NOT in the free market but via government contracts) during a time a war from our public treasury and then moving their operations off shore to thet Cayman Islands or to Dubai so they don’t have to pay any of those taxes?

Are you OK that the supreme court ruled agaist a students right to free speech (Bong hits for Jesus) while allowing corporations more access to the political process in the name of protection of free speech for corporations. Are you in an agreement with the recent fillibuster to block an up or down vote on the “union bill”.

These are all examples of how money has taken over the political process to take money from the middle class worrking people and send itup the line to CEO’s of multinational corporations.

Our country is under attack not from terrorist but from these multinational corporations. Our middle class families are being destroyed by them and you are making excuses for them.

We need another Teddy Roosevelt IMO.

Posted by: muirgeo at June 27, 2007 10:47 AM
Comment #224209

Muirego, well said, The enemy within is a much greater threat to this Country.

Posted by: j2t2 at June 27, 2007 11:27 AM
Comment #224235

Muirego

I worry about all those things, but I do not see them as an acute problem or a crisis. The free market system is fundamentally sound and generally self correcting. We have to be always vigilant. It is like pulling weeds in the garden. You never get rid of all the weeds, but usually you do not go crazy about their presence and some of the weeds turn out to be useful or beneficial.

The U.S. gets more in sourcing than we have outsourcing and we are generally beneficiaries of free trade. The weed analogy applies here too. To take the analogy a step farther, Dems would tear out many of the flowers and crops in order to try to rid the garden of weeds and would end up with more weeds.

Re the union bill - I support a secret ballot, so I am glad if Republicans can block attempts to get rid of it in union elections.

Posted by: Jack at June 27, 2007 9:31 PM
Comment #225330

The only thing I fear is the state. Government continuously hurts the poor and tramples on our rights.

This article regarding the minimum wage is a classic example.

http://logicandreasonweb.blogspot.com/2007/06/federal-minimum-wage-bad-idea-becoming.html

Posted by: Eric Arthur at July 8, 2007 5:38 PM
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