Creating Wealth is Your Responsibilty

It is worth pursuing wealth. Wealth is much more important than income and a person can have lots of stuff and not really have wealth. We all use the word wealth but sometimes not in same ways. The word comes from the old English word “weal” which means well-being and we should start there.

Wealth has come to be associated mostly with money, but the term is obviously much broader. We talk about a wealth of experience, knowledge or friendships. And a wealthy person would have abundance in many of these areas.

For me wealth means the capacity to make choices. Wealth means that you have options. Wealth insulates you to some extent from the vicissitudes of capricious fortune. In this respect wealth is interactive with the person who possesses it.

Let's consider the interaction of income and wealth. Income can be used to build wealth and wealth may create income. Of the two, however, wealth is by far the most important. A person who has a wealth of useful experience or knowledge has the capacity to create income. He has a much greater range of choices and options than a person who merely has a high income. In fact, a momentously common scenario regarding income and wealth comes involves celebrities, lottery winners or others whose income rise very fast. They often lack the capacity and temperament to create wealth and so they remain rich only as long as their incomes continue.

The wise person uses income to create wealth across a broad spectrum of activities, including financial success, but also encompassing seeking understanding, making friends, keeping healthful habits and most important doing your duty to God, man and country. Building this kind of wealth should be the goal of all - or at least most - good people. It should be possible for almost everybody to increase this kind of wealth during most of their adult lives, despite ephemeral fluctuations of income.

A primary function of government is to create conditions under which people can create and enjoy wealth. Government cannot directly create wealth for people. It can supply or protect income but this is a double edged sword. If people come to depend on guaranteed income, they often will neglect wealth creation, in many of those aspects I mentioned.

Wealth creation can be difficult and people will often avoid it if they can. This produces short term pleasure at the cost of long-term well-being. Consider the young man or woman who doesn't feel like studying and so does not create the wealth of knowledge. Is it better to guarantee his/her comfort or to let life get a little less pleasant to create incentives to work harder? Parents can make the mistake of doing too much for their kids and government can do too much for its citizens. People can often think of reasons why something is too hard for them to do. This is sometimes true, but must less often than they say.

I don't believe in suffering just for its own sake. But I do believe that no good thing can really come to anybody w/o sacrifices. I think that we Americans are becoming too soft. We still have lots of heroes who are doing great things, but we have fewer people pulling the wagon and more wanting to hop on for a free ride. We have become too tolerant of that.

Our goals as people should be to build wealth for ourselves and our nation. Some will succeed better than others. Talent, intelligence and luck are not distributed equally among people. We all have a responsibility to develop our talents. To the extent we are effective in that, we are successful and almost certainly have created wealth.

I cannot tell others what that means for them, but I suspect they know, whether or not they admit it. I am convinced that a large part of unhappiness in our otherwise prosperous country results from people knowing that they are not living up to their own standards, that they have not done their duty to God, man and country. On the day you die, you should be able to say that the world is at least a little better because you lived in it. If you cannot say that now, stop complaining and get your ass in gear and create some wealth.

Posted by Christine & John at April 15, 2012 9:48 AM
Comments
Comment #341721

You know, I have been thinking of the word “Legacy” for several years. Well, at least since Clinton was the president. Every man wants to leave a legacy. Of course Bill Clinton will be remembered for an intern with a blue dress.

But you bring up a good point:

“On the day you die, you should be able to say that the world is at least a little better because you lived in it. If you cannot say that now, stop complaining and get your ass in gear and create some wealth.”

Posted by Christine & John at April 15, 2012 9:48 AM

I am older and I tried to raise my children with a sense of responsibility to God, country, and themselves. They have been very successful. I have two great kids and they have done very well for themselves. While they have gained income, they have also gained wealth. The bible speaks of wealth when it says to, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

So wealth goes beyond this mortal life; if you believe the bible. So what is my legacy? I am nobody important; I served God to the best of my ability, worked my life, and raised a family. My legacy is my children who understand hard work and personal responsibility. They have a conservative ideology, are patriots to their country, and are raising their children in the same manner. My job is not done; I also realize the great responsibility I have to teach my grandchildren too. I believe I am satisfied with my life.

Posted by: Billinflorida at April 15, 2012 2:47 PM
Comment #341806

Well C&J it seems we agree on your commentary for the most part. Good insights on an important subject.

But I do have to wonder why the health part of wealth isn’t discussed a bit more. Are you putting money ahead of health? I also find it strange that you would tell us the function of government “is to create conditions under which people can create and enjoy wealth”. I think government should be the referee that levels the playing field although I think we are saying pretty much the same thing. But seeing as how health is a big part of wealth and it is governments function to create conditions… why would you be against a single payer health insurance?

Posted by: j2t2 at April 16, 2012 12:59 PM
Comment #341819

Unknown source: “Apparently, I’m supposed to be more outraged by what Mitt Romney does with his money than by what Barack Obama does with mine.”

Posted by: Royal Flush at April 16, 2012 6:18 PM
Comment #341821

Good one RF, LOL

Posted by: TomT at April 16, 2012 6:26 PM
Comment #341823
The word comes from the old English word “weal” which means well-being and we should start there.

If we’re starting from there, then we are forced to acknowledge that wealthy people are definitely endangering the well-being of our entire nation.

Video:
Sen. Bernie Sanders blasts economic inequality: This is not what democracy looks like

Sanders said the United States was moving towards an “oligarchic form of government,” where the wealthy have a disproportionate amount of political power. He said a recent study found that in 2010, 93 percent of all new income went to the top 1 percent of income-earners.

“We have by far the most unequal distribution of income and wealth of any major country on Earth,” Sanders continued. “This is not what democracy looks like. This is what oligarchy and plutocracy look like.”

Posted by: Adrienne at April 16, 2012 7:22 PM
Comment #341825

Adrienne

While I forgive you for not reading your own sources, I do suggest you actually read the post before commenting on it.

I have talked about wealth in a broad sense. Having money is only one part and not the most important one.

That is why I started off with the origin of the word, which means well-being, and not just money.

I know you dislike people who have money. Frankly, I am not fond of people making much more than I do either. Envy is a strong emotion and none of us are really immune. But most of what I talk about is developing ones’ talents, searching for meaning in life and doing your duty to God, man and country. Surely even you must not oppose those things.

j2t2

I actually would support the kind of health system I remember from Scandinavia. It was very simple, w/o lots of extras. It effectively ruled out most lawyers, since the system paid and people were compensated on a fixed system similar to workman’s comp. When I got hit by a car, I got compensated for lost work, but not for “pain and suffering”.

I don’t think Americans would like that system. We seem to get the worst of all. We get an expensive system, that keeps the lawyers.

I also don’t really trust the medical system. I think we do too many tests and too many procedures. I fear that if we just make it more available, many people will get more tests and procedures that do little good and might cause harm. Norwegians on average live longer than Americans but they get much less of our kind of tests and care.

Posted by: C&J at April 16, 2012 9:02 PM
Comment #341827

Adrienne, you are in the red column. Perhaps you could explain why you are linking to a liberal blog site that quotes the socialist Saunders? Just wondering…you know that you do have a liberal blue column you can write in?

If anyone is interested, they can see Adrienne’s illogical comments to me in the blue column.

Posted by: Billinflorida at April 16, 2012 9:18 PM
Comment #341829

Billinflorida

I don’t mind her linking, but I wish that she would link to something more relevant to the post.

Posted by: C&J at April 16, 2012 9:25 PM
Comment #341831

Jack:

I do suggest you actually read the post before commenting on it.

Oh, I read it. I was just wondering how on earth you think Americans are going to continue to be able to be “responsible for pursuing wealth” in all it’s forms, when the top 1% is hoovering up 93 percent of all new income, and when American democracy is being replaced with oligarchy and plutocracy for the 1%?

Bif:

Perhaps you could explain why you are linking to a liberal blog site

Duh! The website is neither here nor there in this instance. The video is the point.

Posted by: Adrienne at April 16, 2012 9:29 PM
Comment #341837

Adrienne

I will continue to pursue personal excellence, seek do my duty and try to develop my talents in ways that serve my fellow human beings whether or not somebody else makes a lot more money than I do. Beyond that, even in our “horrible” economy, we have managed to satisfy our reasonable material needs. I consider myself wealthy. That somebody has more doesn’t bother me as much as it seems to bother you. I like to have stuff, but I don’t let stuff I don’t have control me. We are just different in this way, which may be why we have such misunderstandings.

Posted by: C&J at April 16, 2012 9:54 PM
Comment #341847

Jack,
Why is it that in almost every argument you bring forward you try to make it so much about yourself, and how you are personally doing/have done in life, and how extraordinarily superior you consider you and yours to be.

Whereas I am always trying to talk about more people than only myself and my family — since I happen to think that American politics and government exists in order to solve serious problems and try to represent ALL our nation’s people, not just some.

And btw, all you know of me is the political views I come here to debate. But you don’t really know me personally, so don’t bother make a lot of BS assumptions.

Posted by: Adrienne at April 16, 2012 10:51 PM
Comment #341850

C&J, her links are foolishness. She links to liberal blog sites and quotes them as fact. I’m surprised she’s not linking to something phx8 or SD has said as proof of her argument.

“Jack,

Why is it that in almost every argument you bring forward you try to make it so much about yourself, and how you are personally doing/have done in life, and how extraordinarily superior you consider you and yours to be…

And btw, all you know of me is the political views I come here to debate. But you don’t really know me personally, so don’t bother make a lot of BS assumptions.”

Posted by: Adrienne at April 16, 2012 10:51 PM

Most people speak of their own experiences. I can’t understand the hatred that just oozes from your posts. The discussion a few days ago led to conservatives being much happier people than liberals. Adrienne you are a perfect example of a very unhappy liberal. You say we don’t know anything about you except your political views; you’re wrong. We know you to be a very unhappy person who hates successful Americans. Very sad…

In regards to your comments about only certain people owning all the wealth; this is very easy to disprove. There have always been foreigners trying to get into America; legal and illegal. Why do you suppose they want to come here Adrienne? They come for the opportunity to make a life. Seek wealth… There are foreigners every year that make it big in America. It is yours and every other liberals goal to take away that desire to do better and replace it with government handouts. The problem with government handouts is that one will never be successful under them. It is called by the left, a glass ceiling.

Another thing we know about you is that you have never been successful, you’ve never created anything, and you have probably spent your whole life living on the very government handouts that you promote. You hate everyone who is successful, which also shows us a great amount of envy and jealousy of others. Sorry Adrienne, but we know a lot about you. All we have to do is read and listen to the most radical left and you emulate them.

Posted by: Billinflorida at April 16, 2012 11:14 PM
Comment #341851

Adrienne

Okay - I think that people should continue to pursue personal excellence, seek do their duty and try to develop their talents in ways that serve their fellow human beings whether or not somebody else makes a lot more money. Beyond that, even in our “horrible” economy, most have managed to satisfy their reasonable material needs. That somebody has more than you should not bother them.

I try to live my life according to values, which is why I mention that.

As a matter of public policy, I think we should have a tax system that produces revenue in an efficient manner. I think that ALL Americans - rich and poor - should pay taxes because that is the price of being a good citizen. I think taxes should be progressive, as ours indeed are. I would prefer that tax rates be lower, but that most deductions be eliminated, which would result in a higher effective rate paid by the wealthy.

I doesn’t bother me how much new income goes to the top 1%.

I know that the top 25% of Americans earn about 67% of the total income and pay more than 87% of the taxes. This is okay, IMO. I learned today that Obama pays a lower Federal tax rate than I do, despite making five times as much. This doesn’t much bother me.

I agree that the American government exists to represent all the people. I would put it that governments exist to protect the rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I think it does a reasonable job of doing that. But I believe that actually finding happiness, enjoying liberty and properly living life is the privilege and the responsibility of the individual.

I have not seen evidence that our country is becoming an oligarchy and plutocracy for the 1%. Americans continue to exercise the rights mentioned in Bill of Rights. I will not vote for Barack Obama, but I do not believe that he was picked by an oligarch or plutocracy. I don’t like the complexity of the Civil Service system, but I see no evidence of widespread corruption in hiring or promotions that would lead me to believe that it is run by an oligarchy or plutocracy.

But even if we lived in an oppressive tyranny, we would still have the duty to live our lives well, develop our talents and try to be useful to God and man.


You ask, “I was just wondering how on earth you think Americans are going to continue to be able to be “responsible for pursuing wealth” in all it’s forms, when the top 1% is hoovering up 93 percent of all new income, and when American democracy is being replaced with oligarchy and plutocracy for the 1%?”

I would respond that good people do that even in the face or real tyrannies. You are right that I don’t know you. Let’s presume that you were not speaking for yourself when you asked the question.

Posted by: C&J at April 16, 2012 11:25 PM
Comment #341882


As far as I know, no one has created a penny of wealth on their own. The creation of wealth is a communal effort.

If all Americans were frugal consumers, saved their wealth and put it to work instead of consuming it, wealth would be distributed more widely and there would be less of it.

Instead, the average American borrows his wealth with interest.

This behavior is exactly what the market wants and encourages. For several decades now, the government has encouraged borrowing and discouraged saving. In that same time period there has been a shifting of wealth from the workers to the most wealthy members of our society.

Billinflorida, Adrienne has a distinct advantage over you in that her left wing sources are more accurate than your right wing ones. Also, you know nothing about Adrienne so your remarks just make you out to be the weakling.

Posted by: jlw at April 17, 2012 12:19 AM
Comment #341911

I’m hearing from the Obama crowd complaints about the division of wealth or lack thereof. What I want to know is HOW was most of that wealth made? If someone sacrificed by putting their financial future on the line or maybe their blood sweat and tears with no guaranteed return of a paycheck and they hit it big then tell me, what’s wrong with that?? They SHOULD make more because they took the risk. For those that don’t take a risk or can’t find a niche that contributes a product or service to our society well then they shouldn’t make nearly as much in many cases. Whether we are talking about the animal kingdom, athletic ability, looks, charisma or money the same rule applies to all human endeavors…NOT ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL. Neither were the stars, or anything for that matter. Reality can be a tough pill to swallow but I would rather do that than make up lies and fantasies just so I can complain about the facts of the matter.

Posted by: BCtrl at April 17, 2012 3:44 AM
Comment #341923

jlw

Creation of wealth is a communal effort the requires individuals to do their part. It is like a team. Some people are doing their duty; others just hang around; some are dead weight.

If you read the post, you see that I understand very well that wealth creation is part of a larger society. I hate it when people don’t do what they should.

This does not lead to the idea that government should closely direct the creation of wealth. I have more confidence in human freedom than to advocate that. But government has responsibility to create conditions by which individuals, usually in voluntary association, can create wealth for themselves and others.

Re Adrienne’s sources - with all due respect, the sources are often not very good, but more often they do not reflect the point she is trying to make.

I had lots of training in historiography and then a job that requires analyzing source information. You have to follow the sources and check the information on which they are based. There is a big difference between polemic and information. What we write here is opinion or polemic. We cannot use as source documents other opinion or polemic.

Left wing sources tend not to be very good when they are polemic; the same is true of right wing sources. You have to dig. Most people are unwilling to do this and I am convinced that many do not have the capacity to understand sources or statistics on which they are often based.

Posted by: C&J at April 17, 2012 6:14 AM
Comment #341924

jlw

Let me add another thing about sources. If you check sources and find they are not based on strong reality, you don’t have to argue the other points. This is what usually drives Adrienne crazy. She wants to argue that America is racist, for example. She sites statistics that do not indicate that. When I show her that, she thinks it is somehow unfair that I do not address her argument. But an argument based on faulty sources does not need to be addressed, since it is not correct.

Posted by: C&J at April 17, 2012 6:17 AM
Comment #341927

Not surprising that leftists are incapable of acknowledging wealth in any form other than money.
Of course, when your political ideology is based on emotions like envy and other peoples greed, other peoples money is always the “solution” to all problems.

Pretty much explains why they despise those of us who view our rights as wealth and why they have no problem with stripping them from others in order to sate their own personal desires.

Posted by: kctim at April 17, 2012 9:43 AM
Comment #341930

kctm, good point. I have always found liberals to think and comment based on emotion. If their emotion is hatred toward America, freedom, capitalism, wealth, and individual responsibility; then all of their reasoning and comments will reflect their hatred. Liberals think America is an unfair place because it gives the individuals the opportunity to succeed; therefore their emotion kicks in and they determine it is the government’s responsibility to redistribute the success and wealth to those whe have no personal responsibility. As time goes by and more liberal policies are instituted we find this group of people dependent upon government increasing in size.

Posted by: TomT at April 17, 2012 10:18 AM
Comment #341931
I don’t mind her linking, but I wish that she would link to something more relevant to the post. Posted by: C&J at April 16, 2012 9:25 PM

C&J, I am at a loss trying to understand why you would think democracy is not part of being wealthy? Do you favor a plutocratic type of government over a democracy that gives us all a say in the way our country is governed?

To me this link seems very relevant to the issue at hand. Just because you are trying to tell us money and wealth are two different things I would think you would agree that a goodly sum of money is certainly a requirement to be considered wealthy. Despite the origins of the word it seems the word has money all over it as we use it today. Here is a link to the definition of the word for use by those that would pretend it doesn’t.

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/wealthy

Frankly, I am not fond of people making much more than I do either. Envy is a strong emotion and none of us are really immune.

Speaking for myself, C&J, I find I have little envy for those making more than I do. I believe I actually have empathy for those making less than I do which I consider to be part of my “wealth”. The framing of the issue as “envy” is a ploy IMHO used as a verbal hammer to beat up those that take exception to your illogical position.


But most of what I talk about is developing ones’ talents, searching for meaning in life and doing your duty to God, man and country. Surely even you must not oppose those things.

And I guess you make my point for me when you say this C&J. After all if one has done their best to develop one’s talents whilst searching for meaning and doing their duty why would they be envious of anyone else over who has the most money?

In fact if one has developed one’s talents, searched for meaning in life and done their duty whilst making a great sum of money why would they not realize it is not envy the see from those with less money than themselves? I would think it is because they are rich not wealthy. Kinda like Romney. Telling us he is successful cause he has made so much money. Yet when one has started near the top of the ladder those last few rungs aren’t that hard when compared to climbing the whole ladder, right?

Posted by: j2t2 at April 17, 2012 10:42 AM
Comment #341933

Most would agree that development of the human potential to its max is a good thing. But, we realize that everyindividual can’t be a honor roll STEM type person. Likewise, we can’t all run out and start a small business. And, all should realize that nobody develops potential or anything else without bigtime government supper (intervention if you will).

Reserve troops receiving college tuition, developers getting authorization to develop property. I would guess that without government tax write off’s 80 percent of small biz would go under pdq.

Those who can leverage gov’t to their advantage shoot to the top. Those who don’t lobby and kiss up to Gov’t soon wither on the vine.

All this gov’t intervention is leading to the 1% vs 99% debacle. Which is why we need a flat tax, no corporate tax, abolish corporate personhood and REAL campaign finance reform. That would level the playing field somewhat.

Then maybe a person interested in general studies like history could major in history rather than STEM. How long does it take to pay back a ‘gov’t’ student loan on the salary of a historian vs a STEM job?

Yes, we do need gov’t intervention. We need gov’t to intercede where folks go out and destroy reefs with dynamite and cyanide as that’s a cheaper way to collect little fishes rather than farm raising them. We need more centrists, IMO.

Otherwise - - - -

Posted by: Roy Ellis at April 17, 2012 12:44 PM
Comment #341936
Not surprising that leftists are incapable of acknowledging wealth in any form other than money. Of course, when your political ideology is based on emotions like envy and other peoples greed, other peoples money is always the “solution” to all problems.

kctim I am not quite sure whose rant is more inane, yours or Tom T’s. You both accuse others of being incapable of acknowledging any form of wealth other than money whilst discussing ideology and that just brings a smile to my face. Isn’t it the conservatives who tell us economic rights are the reason we have a constitution, while those on the left seem to favor social justice for all? Isn’t it the conservatives who harp about “their” tax money being stolen from them to support welfare and liberals. As if liberals (you know those limousine liberals and elitist) don’t pay taxes and own property. Me thinks both of you speak with a forked tongue in this rant as the facts don’t seem to support your hypocritical statements.
The hatred in your comments seem to suggest both of you need to take a look at your “wealth bag” as truth and honesty seem to be lacking.

Posted by: j2t2 at April 17, 2012 3:54 PM
Comment #341937

Aw, come on J2. It’s obvious your circular rants win out as most “inane.” Again.

The desire to hold on to ones individual rights isn’t based on emotion, stripping away those rights in order to satisfy the ‘empathy’ you have towards those making less than you though, is.

Sorry, but there is nothing hypocritical about my statement.

Unlike the far-left, I can disagree without hate for something. Good job trying to dismiss a point you cannot refute though, two points for effort.

The truth is that liberalism is based on emotion and the most effective way of promoting it is to prey upon the emotions of people.

Posted by: kctim at April 17, 2012 5:27 PM
Comment #341939

Thus….class warfare; pitting one group of people against another. It is for this reason, IMHO, liberals are hypocritical when they declare patriotism. Patriotism promotes America; it doesn’t promote class. Liberals want to all Americans in little boxes: blacks, hispanics,whites… and then divided further: rich, poor (99% and 1%); gays and straights; working women and stay at home moms; and this is the best one, intelligent (liberals)and unintelligent (all those who are not liberal).

Posted by: TomT at April 17, 2012 5:45 PM
Comment #341940

jlw writes; “For several decades now, the government has encouraged borrowing and discouraged saving.”

Really, how about IRA’s MSA’s, and many other plans that encourage folks to save money?

Posted by: Royal Flush at April 17, 2012 5:49 PM
Comment #341941
The desire to hold on to ones individual rights isn’t based on emotion, stripping away those rights in order to satisfy the ‘empathy’ you have towards those making less than you though, is.

But kctim I am not denying them or you of any of their individual rights because I can empathize with them. Your confused it seems as we all have rights, individual rights, not just economic rights kctim but with these rights come responsibility or as C&J said duty to our fellow man. Selfishness seems to be an emotion in abundance on the right .

Sorry, but there is nothing hypocritical about my statement.

I disagree kctim your description of the left is hypocritical as it is the right, for instance,that constantly harp about their taxes being stolen to give to welfare not the left and that seems like a money issue to me.

Unlike the far-left, I can disagree without hate for something. Good job trying to dismiss a point you cannot refute though, two points for effort.

Perhaps you can kctim, as can I, but many on the right cannot. To think the right is hate free is to deny reality kctim. In a big way. There was no real point to refute in either of your comments it was all red herrings based upon misinformation half truths and outright lies.

http://www.splcenter.org/blog/

To think the left “hates” in any real sense, because of any of the comments written on this thread is also wishful thinking IMHO kctim.

The truth is that liberalism is based on emotion and the most effective way of promoting it is to prey upon the emotions of people.

Kctim, this is an often heard comment from those on the far right yet because a lie is told often doesn’t make it anything more than a lie. Because one can empathize with someone doesn’t make them devoid of logic and reason only able to decide by their emotions just as liberalism is much more than emotion based. You guys on the right seem to have this problem of trying to denigrate those on the left with these red herrings you throw out, but in fact it shows the lack of critical thinking that is so abundant in conservative movement followers.

Posted by: j2t2 at April 17, 2012 6:20 PM
Comment #341942

j2t2,
Great posts.

You wrote:

C&J, I am at a loss trying to understand why you would think democracy is not part of being wealthy? Do you favor a plutocratic type of government over a democracy that gives us all a say in the way our country is governed?

I think it’s clear that Republicans don’t like Democracy and are in favor of plutocratic oligarchy. Everything the party does has been moving the nation in that direction.

To me this link seems very relevant to the issue at hand. Just because you are trying to tell us money and wealth are two different things I would think you would agree that a goodly sum of money is certainly a requirement to be considered wealthy.

I agree. His entire argument doesn’t actually apply to all Americans. Because people who don’t have access to enough income tend not to develop themselves in all the ways he’s described above. So, to me it seems pretty clear that he’s really only talking about a certain percentage of Americans who are fortunate enough to start out with families who do make enough income and are able to give their children the kind of support they need to develop in those ways he’s describing.

Btw, those who are wealthy very rarely do their “duty to country.” Mitt Romney and his five sons are a perfect example of this — not a single one of them has served in our military.

In fact if one has developed one’s talents, searched for meaning in life and done their duty whilst making a great sum of money why would they not realize it is not envy the see from those with less money than themselves? I would think it is because they are rich not wealthy. Kinda like Romney. Telling us he is successful cause he has made so much money. Yet when one has started near the top of the ladder those last few rungs aren’t that hard when compared to climbing the whole ladder, right?

Exactly. And what you’re saying here reminds me of an article by Joseph Stigliz I was just reading:

A few quotes:

The more divided a society becomes in terms of wealth, the more reluctant the wealthy become to spend money on common needs. The rich don’t need to rely on government for parks or education or medical care or personal security—they can buy all these things for themselves. In the process, they become more distant from ordinary people, losing whatever empathy they may once have had. They also worry about strong government—one that could use its powers to adjust the balance, take some of their wealth, and invest it for the common good. The top 1 percent may complain about the kind of government we have in America, but in truth they like it just fine: too gridlocked to re-distribute, too divided to do anything but lower taxes.

He ended the piece this way:

Alexis de Tocqueville once described what he saw as a chief part of the peculiar genius of American society—something he called “self-interest properly understood.” The last two words were the key. Everyone possesses self-interest in a narrow sense: I want what’s good for me right now! Self-interest “properly understood” is different. It means appreciating that paying attention to everyone else’s self-interest—in other words, the common welfare—is in fact a precondition for one’s own ultimate well-being. Tocqueville was not suggesting that there was anything noble or idealistic about this outlook—in fact, he was suggesting the opposite. It was a mark of American pragmatism. Those canny Americans understood a basic fact: looking out for the other guy isn’t just good for the soul—it’s good for business.

The top 1 percent have the best houses, the best educations, the best doctors, and the best lifestyles, but there is one thing that money doesn’t seem to have bought: an understanding that their fate is bound up with how the other 99 percent live. Throughout history, this is something that the top 1 percent eventually do learn. Too late.

I think he’s right. It seems pretty clear that wealthy people have lost the basic common sense they once had at the start of this nation — yet that loss seems sure to catch up to them, eventually.

Posted by: Adrienne at April 17, 2012 6:45 PM
Comment #341943

Some actually believe that if the 1% richest people in this country were forced to pay more taxes that somehow, that windfall would land in their pockets. Do you believe that Adrienne? Would that extra tax revenue result in more private jobs, more caring families, more striving to become educated, more appreciation of their government subsidies, or less coveting of someone else’s wealth?

Does taking from those who have more, and giving it to those who have less, really demonstrate the principles of our Democratic Republic?

I believe that many of the adults who get government handouts have lost the “basic commonsense they once had at the start of this nation.”

Do we see the poor on government welfare working harder to improve their lot? Do we find most poor parents insisting that their children do better in school? Do we find poor people more willing to help their brothers and sisters with community help by using their labor and talents on their behalf? Do the poor do more volunteer work than the middle class or wealthy?

The only difference between the attitude you suggest belongs to the rich, and not the poor, is money. Do you really believe the poor are so much more noble, patriotic, self-sacrificing, community minded, etc. than the rich?

It is obvious that Adrienne did not understand Alexis de Tocqueville’s writings any more that she understands the meaning of the “common wefare” clause.

Posted by: Royal Flush at April 17, 2012 7:43 PM
Comment #341945

Obama’s Buffet plan would only run the country for a total of 1/2 a day. 47 billion over 10 years is nothing. We need tax reform and I mean real tax reform not the BS plans brought by both parties, and close all the loop holes, that would be the raise in taxes that would mean something.

Posted by: KAP at April 17, 2012 8:14 PM
Comment #341949
Some actually believe that if the 1% richest people in this country were forced to pay more taxes that somehow, that windfall would land in their pockets. Do you believe that Adrienne? Would that extra tax revenue result in more private jobs, more caring families, more striving to become educated, more appreciation of their government subsidies, or less coveting of someone else’s wealth?

Gonna have to call Bulls**t on you Royal for this piece of conservative BS. I don’t know of anyone that actually believes this “windfall will land in their pocket”. For starters it is not a windfall at all according to Romney it is 11 days of running the government. Next it is tax money that will go to the running of the government or paying the debt. It is a step towards balancing the budget, a baby step but still a step.

Who can say what the money will be used for but if nothing else it will be a step towards the uber-rich paying their fair percentage of incomes taxes.


The only difference between the attitude you suggest belongs to the rich, and not the poor, is money. Do you really believe the poor are so much more noble, patriotic, self-sacrificing, community minded, etc. than the rich?

Patriotic? Why not check the armed forces to see how many are in the top 1% Royal. Not that military service is the only way to be patriotic but it could serve as an indicator.

Posted by: j2t2 at April 17, 2012 8:36 PM
Comment #341956

I’ve got a better idea j2t2, why don’t we check the armed forces and see how many of them will vote for Obama in 2012? Or better yet, how many are Republicans and how many are Democrats?

Posted by: Billinflorida at April 17, 2012 9:07 PM
Comment #341957

Here we go; military polls from 2008:

http://www.militarytimes.com/static/projects/pages/081003_ep_2pp.pdf

I guess the military understod something about Obama’s hope and change that the rest of America didn’t know. Do you reckon the polls will be different in the 2012 election? No wonder the Democrats try to block military ballots from counting.

Posted by: Billinflorida at April 17, 2012 9:12 PM
Comment #341960

j2t2

The right to property allows other rights to develop. There really can be no free society w/o a few things. Among them are consistent rule of law, reasonable protection from violent aggression and protection of property rights.

It is control of property that allows people to act in ways independent or at least not directly controlled by state authority.

So when I talk about property rights, I am also talking about the capacity to be free.

Re social justice - this can be a slippery term. A free society tends to produce a fair amount of social justice. IMO, America today is a place with abundant social justice in that most people enjoy the freedom and the means to develop the forms of wealth I mentioned above. I understand that to many “social justice” means greater equality of results. You all give me a hard time for saying this, but it is exactly true. When people question “social justice” they often point to inequality and it is the results that they are measuring.

Re taxes - it depends on what the money will be used for. I don’t mind paying taxes as a concept and it is not about money. I give to charity a good amount of money, as do many conservatives. If it was just about money, we would avoid the “voluntary tax” of charity.

I will also mention a permutation in the tax system that is pernicious. If I am just being ignorant, please let me know since it will save me money.

There are some things that I would do for free that people want to pay me to do. This has included public speaking and some ecological work I do on our farms. I do not want money for these things, but organizations I worked with have accounting procedures that require payment. So I got paid and contributed the full amount to charity. But because we got stuck with the AMT, I had to pay taxes on money that I just gave directly to charity. This doesn’t seem right to me.

Re the top 1% and the military. Few Americans serve these days. I have seen and written in other posts about the demographics of the military. Few of our soldiers come from very poor or very rich backgrounds. Talking about the 1% is not very useful, however. Even if all of the young 1% served, it would not be many. The rich tend to be older than the U.S. average - it takes time to make money. Assuming they are similar to other Americans, however, we still would be looking at a pool of about 400,000 young people 18-24. Only around 25% of this group is qualified for military service (health problems etc), which leaves us with 100,000 qualified. We would not expect all of them to be serving for six years, so how many are we really talking about?

In any case, I don’t personally know anybody who is in that 1%. It is a kind of a silly idea. None of us are trying to support the 1%. Even many of the 1% don’t want to support the 1%.

Adrienne

“So, to me it seems pretty clear that he’s really only talking about a certain percentage of Americans who are fortunate enough to start out with families who do make enough income and are able to give their children the kind of support they need to develop in those ways he’s describing.”

It is incumbent upon good people to develop their capacities. It is easier for some, but available to all. You are right that not everyone will do it. Some people behave better than others.

Posted by: C&J at April 17, 2012 9:22 PM
Comment #341961
I’ve got a better idea j2t2, why don’t we check the armed forces and see how many of them will vote for Obama in 2012? Or better yet, how many are Republicans and how many are Democrats?

Bill will that answer the question at hand or are you suggesting that the those that vote repub whilst in the armed forces are more nationalistic than patriotic?

Posted by: j2t2 at April 17, 2012 9:41 PM
Comment #341964
There really can be no free society w/o a few things. Among them are consistent rule of law, reasonable protection from violent aggression and protection of property rights.

Property rights? Tell it to the Cherokee and other tribes who our founding fathers, from Jefferson to Madison to Jackson, forced off their lands and told to relocate to the west. The point is C&J property rights don’t mean squat without social justice, or equal rights, for all Americans. Property rights or economic rights is just code for the 1%, Just us not justice.

Posted by: j2t2 at April 17, 2012 10:24 PM
Comment #341968

j2t2, good question. I have found most people vote for the person or party that benefits them the most. Let me ask you a question, since you want to place a trap for who the military supports; is it right for a military man/woman to belong to a political party? In regard to the military; the Republican Party has always supported the military more than the Democrats. In my military days, I knew I wouldn’t get a pay raise or advance in rank fast under a Democratic administration. So I suppose this is why the military tends to be Republican. Except for John Kerry, who protested the military and the war after he got out.

Posted by: Billinflorida at April 17, 2012 10:33 PM
Comment #341978

j2t2, you bring up a good point about the Indians; but the United States was an experiment and had never been attempted before. The mindset of the founding fathers incorporated many of the old influences of Europe. It has been a long journey, and many injustices committed and many have been corrected. Equal rights have always been the goal of Americans; however social justice is another thing altogether. It depends what you mean by social justice; it can cover a multitude of things. If by social justice you mean the government has the right to take away all incentive to succeed, then I believe it is wrong. I do not like the wedge that is being driven into America by casting division between those who have and those who are seeking to have; I believe it should be the goal of every American to seek to do the best they can. Some people will be able to become part of the successful and some won’t. The founding fathers came from European countries where some had everything and others had nothing; the difference between America and the European countries is that in America one’s title doesn’t mean anything and you can go as far as you desire to go. In Europe the aristocracy had it all and if you were untitled, you were forced to stay in your class.

Posted by: Steven at April 17, 2012 10:52 PM
Comment #342024
Let me ask you a question, since you want to place a trap for who the military supports; is it right for a military man/woman to belong to a political party?

A trap? All I suggested was using the armed forces to determine who was most patriotic the 1% or the 99% Bill. IMHO it is wrong for anyone to belong to a political party Bill. Those in the military can vote while in the military, as is their right, but active politically while serving opens the door for wrong headed thinking when it comes to questioning the CiC. Look at the tea bag activist marine who thought military service and politics mix well.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/05/sgt-gary-stein-marine-facebook-barack-obama_n_1405697.html

In regard to the military; the Republican Party has always supported the military more than the Democrats. In my military days, I knew I wouldn’t get a pay raise or advance in rank fast under a Democratic administration. So I suppose this is why the military tends to be Republican.

Bill you do realized it was the Dems and FDR that signed the GI Bill into law back in ‘44. This bill paved the way for those returning from WWII to go to school and get house loans. In addition it was a Dem, albeit a conservative Dem, that had the GI bill updated in the 80’s. As far as raises since ‘62 it was a matter of law on how much the military was paid, so you got those raises regardless of who was in office. Perhaps it is conservative myths that cause these soldiers to believe the repubs do more for them.


Posted by: j2t2 at April 18, 2012 12:27 AM
Comment #342038

J2
More running in circles on your part. You know damn well the problem people have with leftists is that they use government to force others to support who LEFTISTS say they should empathize with.
Duty to our fellow man is an individual action, not a government action.

“I disagree kctim your description of the left is hypocritical as it is the right, for instance,that constantly harp about their taxes being stolen to give to welfare not the left and that seems like a money issue to me.”

Did you pay attention to what you wrote here? Why would a leftist complain about paying to be dependent? Especially when they are told non-stop that everybody else should pay more for the things they are entitled to?

As I am sure you have noticed, people on the right like to “harp” anytime their individual rights are trampled. Speech, religion, guns, taxes, on and on. The reason we do this is because those rights are a big part of our “wealth” as C&J described it. In order to stop the ‘harping’ is to let us live our own lives as we want.
Leftists however, harp about wanting more and more so that things are fair in their eyes. In order to stop their harping, you have to forcefully take from others in ever increasing increments.

“To think the right is hate free is to deny reality kctim.”

I agree, glad I didn’t say such a thing.
The problem isn’t the fringe hate parts of the partys, it’s that hate is tolerated if it meets certain criteria now.

“There was no real point to refute in either of your comments it was all red herrings based upon misinformation half truths and outright lies.”

Eh, I understand. It’s always easier to say that instead of pointing out what is wrong and why. Especially when you know you cannot deny liberalism is a rule by emotion ideology.

“To think the left “hates” in any real sense, because of any of the comments written on this thread is also wishful thinking IMHO kctim.”

FAR-LEFT J2, and I did not say from comments on WB. Sheesh.

“Because one can empathize with someone doesn’t make them devoid of logic and reason only able to decide by their emotions just as liberalism is much more than emotion based.”

It’s no wonder you run in circles J2, you don’t understand the argument presented to you.
Who you or I can empathize with is not the issue. One forcing the other to empathize a certain way is.
I have in no way said liberals are devoid of logic and reason, it’s just wrong according the principles this country was founded on. The desires of society were not supposed to trump the rights of the individual and it is the emotional aspect of liberalism that says that is wrong.

“You guys on the right seem to have this problem of trying to denigrate those on the left with these red herrings you throw out, but in fact it shows the lack of critical thinking that is so abundant in conservative movement followers.”

Give me a break.
You lack critical thinking because you disagree with me.
Dumb rednecks have been brainwashed by faux news and don’t know whats best for them.
The right is anti-woman. The right is racist. The right are bigots.

The problem is two-fold J2. If you want to refuse to acknowledge that or if you want to avoid facts by calling them red herrings, go ahead. IMO though, that is not the J2 I knew before.

Posted by: kctim at April 18, 2012 10:04 AM
Comment #342045

Jack:

It is incumbent upon good people to develop their capacities. It is easier for some, but available to all. You are right that not everyone will do it. Some people behave better than others.

No, it isn’t available to all and it has nothing to do with “better behavior.” A lack of money and opportunity keeps many people living in poverty from developing their capacities — and always has.
But I realize people on the right don’t like to acknowledge this fact and take a callous, unfeeling stance on such people. Indeed the right has always been short sighted by refusing to see that vast inequality is automatically a societal problem that can only create numerous other serious problems.

Jack:

There really can be no free society w/o a few things. Among them are consistent rule of law, reasonable protection from violent aggression and protection of property rights.

Then by this measure we are currently not living in a free society. Because we do not have a consistent rule of law (no one working on Wall Street has gone to jail, and police in America no longer acknowledge any rights to freedom of speech), we do not have protection from violent aggression (any unstable person or complete nut can buy a gun, and SYG laws are protecting violent criminals), and we do not have protection of property rights (Illegal Foreclosures are rampant, and the Patriot Act has completely done away with 4th Amendment protections — there need be no probable cause for our homes and belongings to be searched and seized).

j2t2:

Property rights? Tell it to the Cherokee and other tribes who our founding fathers, from Jefferson to Madison to Jackson, forced off their lands and told to relocate to the west. The point is C&J property rights don’t mean squat without social justice, or equal rights, for all Americans. Property rights or economic rights is just code for the 1%, Just us not justice.

Very well said — and I couldn’t agree more. Those absolutely are codewords of the 1%. Btw, historically black slaves were once considered to be “property,” as well. And as the graph on this page shows, the South fought The Civil War in order to protect the wealth of the “property rights” of rich men.

Perhaps it is conservative myths that cause these soldiers to believe the repubs do more for them.

I’ve been getting the sense that many members of the military ARE beginning to wise up about voting for conservatives. Because support for the military on the Right is all about empty-but-impassioned rhetoric and lots of symbolic flag-waving, but conservatives have never concerned themselves with the harsh nuts-and-bolts economic realities that soldiers have been facing. Lots of military folks are incredibly angry at the way the 1% has been economically preying upon them over the last decade of war. This link tells an all too familiar tale about what’s been happening:

Murder, Suicide and Financial Ruin: How the Class War Is Destroying Americans’ Lives
The financial fraudsters, the One Percenters, fleece the most vulnerable — military families, minorities, low-income people — to generate their fast riches.

Posted by: Adrienne at April 18, 2012 3:33 PM
Comment #342068

Adrienne

I just don’t believe that it is not possible for almost everybody to better his condition through changes in behaviors. I suppose it is possible for person with a severe mental or physical handicap, but that would not be a large number.

I have seen people in abject poverty develop their capacities. I met people who were prisoners in concentration camps who were able to develop their human wealth even under those conditions. None of us have faced anything like these challenges, so we have no excuse.

I have more confidence in the human spirit than to believe it can be put down so easily. I understand that some will not succeed and some will succeed better than others.

Re rule of law etc - Our system is very good. We will never achieve perfection. It cannot be done. Attempts to create utopias on earth have always failed. If you choose to believe that you are not free because you can find instances of injustice, you will never be free.

You look at the world in strictly materialistic terms. From the strictly material point of view, the human condition is terrible and always will be; this goes for the rich and poor alike, BTW. I cannot share your pessimism. There is more to life than the things we have. We just come from different places and will end up in different places.

The rich and the poor have the duty to develop.America gives us many opportunities, but even in real tyrannies people have developed.

You are right in the strictly material sense that it may be difficult in some situations for some people to improve their material condition. This is not where I live.

I remember once when I was complaining more than I should have. We were stuck in a dust storm. It was maybe 110 degrees and grit was everywhere, filling our eyes, ears and nose. I told the young man next to me that it sucked. He responded, “It does suck, sir, but you have to embrace the suck.” It was a zen-like admonition and he reminded me of what I had forgotten and what some people never understood. Lots of things can happen to you, but you get to choose your response. In that time between the action and your response is where you can always find freedom.

Some of my happiest times have been when I was suffering significant physical or material stress, but was serving a larger purpose. My experience is that the capacity to choose responses increases your spiritual freedom but also usually that material freedom you are more interested in.

I agree with you that we should always be trying to improve our society. But this usually starts with improving ourselves.

Posted by: C&J at April 18, 2012 10:43 PM
Comment #342070
More running in circles on your part. You know damn well the problem people have with leftists is that they use government to force others to support who LEFTISTS say they should empathize with.

kctim, Yes we do seem to be running in circles here kctim. Some people may have a problem with “leftists” due to no fault of the leftist. These people may believe they have hit the nail on the head but alas they may not have. When armed with misinformation half truths and outright lies they state what they have been led to believe, their opinion, but that doesn’t make it factual.

Duty to our fellow man is an individual action, not a government action.

Yes it is, kctim. but it is also a collective action at times and it is also a government action. You guys on the right seem to forget “we the people”. I will agree that government is steadily becoming “we the corporation” but isn’t that our fault?

Did you pay attention to what you wrote here? Why would a leftist complain about paying to be dependent? Especially when they are told non-stop that everybody else should pay more for the things they are entitled to?

Yep, I did. The problem I see here kctim is your misconceptions. You would have us believe only “leftist” are dependent, when in fact all of us are dependent at some time or another. The kool aid must be strong today if you actually believe only conservatives pay taxes kctim. That is a myth which was the point of my comment.

As I am sure you have noticed, people on the right like to “harp” anytime their individual rights are trampled…..

And those of us you consider “leftist” harp when you guys use government to trample our individual rights kctim, you guys act as if your innocent of any such trampling. Us “leftist” just want these rights for everybody not just the richest amongst us kctim. You seem to think we want more and more but the fact is we pay for what we want and for what you want as well. You just think it is all on your shoulders kctim, it really isn’t.

Eh, I understand. It’s always easier to say that instead of pointing out what is wrong and why. Especially when you know you cannot deny liberalism is a rule by emotion ideology.

Once again -“There was no real point to refute in either of your comments it was all red herrings based upon misinformation half truths and outright lies.”

Posted by: j2t2 at April 18, 2012 10:54 PM
Comment #342111

j2t2

The difference between left and right in this case is the extent that we believe that compulsion of government is needed or useful in making people do the right things.

People like kctim and I are arguing for the need for individuals to take responsibility for their actions. They can act as individuals or in voluntary association with others, which is a type of collective action. We also believe that we all have a duty to our government, which we have created to protect our rights and interests. But we are owners of the government, not its subjects.

You and others on the left don’t seem to take issue with this, but don’t much like it. I am not sure why, but it seems somehow to offend your ideas of fairness. It seems to me that you guys imply that until everything is just and equal some people cannot be expected to behave properly and we generally need to employ the coercive power of government to force others to do the right thing.

It is true that we require government to establish and maintain rule of law, protect property rights and prevent violence. I recognize this can never be done perfectly, but think that the U.S. does a reasonable job. When it overreaches into other areas, we have trouble.

As I wrote, I don’t think you guys will openly disagree with much of what I wrote above, but you somehow find it offensive and want to get off into discussions of income inequality. Let’s talk about the 1%

Do you believe or not that every individual - besides a small number who clearly lack the mental or physical capacity - have a chance, duty and responsibility to behave in ways that increase their scope of choices and make them a net value to their society or at least not a burden? I am not saying that everyone has the same chance. It is harder for some than others, but we all can do it. And those who do not are not doing their part.

Posted by: C&J at April 19, 2012 6:10 AM
Comment #342131

C&J,

So, in essence, the 1% issue and growing wealth gap is simply a result of differential effort. The 1% work harder and smarter and the 99% have become fat,lazy and unprepared. Your prescription for the 99%: work harder.

Posted by: Rich at April 19, 2012 7:06 AM
Comment #342158
The difference between left and right in this case is the extent that we believe that compulsion of government is needed or useful in making people do the right things.

The problem is the few that make the need for compulsion by government necessary C&J. The right always blames the cops instead of the banksters.

People like kctim and I are arguing for the need for individuals to take responsibility for their actions…..

All of us argue for personal responsibility C&J, who has favored no personal responsibility here on WB? The difference is degrees not ideology. Conservatives use the personal responsibility hammer as a means to an end and overdo it a bit IMHO.

It seems to me that you guys imply that until everything is just and equal some people cannot be expected to behave properly and we generally need to employ the coercive power of government to force others to do the right thing.

It’s a bit more pragmatic than that C&J, IMHO. There is always a few who believe the ends justify the means, a few who have delusions of grandeur, those that use greed as the driving force instead of enlightened self interest (as an example) that put themselves above the rest of us that make the need for government compulsion necessary. Most of us do fine without it. When the playing field is level things work better when it is tilted it needs to be noted. As the field tilts more and more the outcry become louder. Fairness of opportunity for all is a good thing IMHO. Opportunity for the biggest only is a problem.

As I wrote, I don’t think you guys will openly disagree with much of what I wrote above, but you somehow find it offensive and want to get off into discussions of income inequality. Let’s talk about the 1%

Income inequality is a major problem facing our economy today C&J. Look at countries that have not prospered due to a high level of income inequality. You can defend the 1% with all sorts of bumper sticker slogans, they work harder etc. but the fact is most had many fewer rungs of the ladder to climb. Success could better be measured by the number of rungs one climbs, IMHO.

Do you believe or not that every individual - besides a small number who clearly lack the mental or physical capacity - have a chance, duty and responsibility to behave in ways that increase their scope of choices and make them a net value to their society or at least not a burden?

A chance to behave in ways…? Many do, not all. A duty? More of a responsibility to ones self and ones family than a duty to country. As fast as the game is changing today it seems less and less of us have the chance in this country, based upon our innate skills and attributes. The lower you start on the ladder the farther you have to climb and a few rungs in a lifetime is par for most. As things out of our control determine our financial success, our inherent capabilities count for less and less as those at the top make the rules that allow those at the top an advantage at financial success faster than many can learn new skills it seems to me we head into a downward spiral. Can all of us be a financial success? No. Can we have other sources of “wealth? Yes. Does it pay the bills? No. Unless good intentions are now accepted as a mortgage payment.

Posted by: j2t2 at April 19, 2012 12:27 PM
Comment #342162

J2
“Yes it is, kctim. but it is also a collective action at times and it is also a government action. You guys on the right seem to forget “we the people”.”

Not when it violates the individual rights of another, J2. The number one duty to our fellow man is to respect his individual rights and the taking away of those rights in order to “better” the life of someone else is not respecting the rights of anyone.
‘We The People’ mean ALL, not just those one feels is deserving. You do not violate the rights of one in order to give made up rights to another. You do not worsen the lifestyle of one in order to better the lifestyle of another.

“You would have us believe only “leftist” are dependent, when in fact all of us are dependent at some time or another.”

No J2. We all have been made dependent, some have just reached the point of not wanting to become more and more dependent. I believe this is because people on the right do not view their wealth in only terms of money. And no, that does not mean we should then be ok with government taking more and more of our money.

“The kool aid must be strong today if you actually believe only conservatives pay taxes kctim. That is a myth which was the point of my comment.”

Did I say I believed only conservatives pay taxes? Nope.

“And those of us you consider “leftist” harp when you guys use government to trample our individual rights kctim, you guys act as if your innocent of any such trampling.”

I personally am innocent of any such trampling. But I agree that while not quite of much as the left does, the right does indeed do such things, and I feel the same way.

“Us “leftist” just want these rights for everybody not just the richest amongst us kctim.”

The rich have no more rights than you do J2, and neither they or their evil corporations cannot take away your rights. UNLESS you view money as the only definition of wealth.

“You seem to think we want more and more but the fact is we pay for what we want and for what you want as well.”

A huge number do not pay for what they want and a huge number pay more so the others can have what they want.
The problem though is not that you pay for what you want or that you think you pay for what I want, it is that you want people to be forced to pay for the things you want against their will.

The main reason our country has succeeded where others fail is because the largest part of our wealth has been our freedoms, not our money.

Posted by: kctim at April 19, 2012 2:16 PM
Comment #342164

j2t2 writes; “Who can say what the money will be used for but if nothing else it will be a step towards the uber-rich paying their fair percentage of incomes taxes.”

He refers to my question about how the tax increase revenue for the rich will be used as conservative BS. Is his answer not liberal BS?

j2 speaks of “fair” share of income taxes by the rich, but has no idea at all how it would be used. The feds could piss it away as they have many billions and j2 apparently wouldn’t give a damn as long as they pay more than they are paying.

What a childish, vindictive, and unamerican attitude is this?

Posted by: Royal Flush at April 19, 2012 3:48 PM
Comment #342165

Rich and j2t2 — great replies.

To me it seems that Jack is showing a preference toward feel-good conservative rhetoric, rather than acknowledging the American reality.
Now I realize that many on the right won’t wish to credit these links as proof of anything (as usual), but those of us on the left who are in agreement here might like to know that there is mounting proof of how income and opportunity truly do make an enormous difference which can be measured, and that reveals vast differences in the quality of people’s lives:

Brand new Marist poll/study:
Money Improves Quality Of Life, Up To A Certain Point

Quote:

The study found that American households that bring in less than $50,000 per year were more likely to say that they are “not very happy” and are concerned about becoming a financial burden to family members.

Households that earn more than $50,000 have a better quality of life than households making less than $50,000 per year, according to the study. Incidentally, more than half of all American households make less than $50,000 per year, according to the Census.

Previous 2010 Princeton University Study:
Do We Need $75,000 a Year to Be Happy?

At $75,000, that effect disappears. For people who earn that much or more, individual temperament and life circumstances have much more sway over their lightness of heart than money. The study doesn’t say why $75,000 is the benchmark, but “it does seem to me a plausible number at which people would think money is not an issue,” says Deaton. At that level, people probably have enough expendable cash to do things that make them feel good, like going out with friends. (The federal poverty level for a family of four, by the way, is $22,050.)
Posted by: Adrienne at April 19, 2012 4:02 PM
Comment #342168

Good Grief…to link a survey about happiness with how much money is being earned is just plain silly. Gosh, I wonder if folks who enjoy good health are happier than those with poor health. Are blue eyed folks happier than brown eyed folks, are tall happier than short, are thin happier than obese?

If one has X number of dollars to spend they are unhappy, but, if they have Y number of dollars to spend they are happy! Bullcrap.

Happiness is an inside job, not dependent upon wealth, station, education, or anyting that can be purchased. When basic needs are met, one can not measure happiness by dollar signs.

The new religion based upon a materialistic world is FALSE.

Posted by: Royal Flush at April 19, 2012 4:19 PM
Comment #342170
to link a survey about happiness

It’s not. It’s about quality of life.

Posted by: Adrienne at April 19, 2012 4:33 PM
Comment #342171

Quote from my first link regarding the Marist study:

Americans with household incomes below the $50,000 threshold are less satisfied with their health, work, housing, finances, free time, neighborhood safety, social lives, and family lives, among other things.
Posted by: Adrienne at April 19, 2012 4:37 PM
Comment #342172
Happiness is an inside job, not dependent upon wealth, station, education, or anyting that can be purchased. When basic needs are met, one can not measure happiness by dollar signs.

This is so blatantly false! How on earth are basic needs met if people don’t have any wealth or education?!
Have ANY of you conservatives ever known any very poor people?! It certainly doesn’t sound like you have…

Posted by: Adrienne at April 19, 2012 4:42 PM
Comment #342173

This is so blatantly false! How on earth are basic needs met if people don’t have any wealth or education?!

Posted by: Adrienne at April 19, 2012 4:42

My Goodness Adrienne, about 51% of American’s have those needs met by government.

Adrienne wrote…it’s not about happiness but about quality of life.

But, her quote read; “The study found that American households that bring in less than $50,000 per year were more likely to say that they are “not very happy” and are concerned about becoming a financial burden to family members.”

Posted by: Royal Flush at April 19, 2012 5:08 PM
Comment #342174

I read in the NY times today that the democrat leadership in the senate stated that they do not plan to introduce a budget before the election. And yet, some claim they are such good stewards of our money. Obama’s budget was thrashed so I guess the dems have just decided not to bother despite the fact that it is one of their duties.

Could anyone guess why they won’t introduce a budget?

Posted by: Royal Flush at April 19, 2012 5:15 PM
Comment #342178
My Goodness Adrienne, about 51% of American’s have those needs met by government.

Where’d you get this BS — Fox “News” right?
How about providing a link showing that the government feeds, clothes, houses and pays for the education and health care of “about 51% of Americans.”

Adrienne wrote…it’s not about happiness but about quality of life.

But, her quote read; “The study found that American households that bring in less than $50,000 per year were more likely to say that they are “not very happy” and are concerned about becoming a financial burden to family members.”

You could try reading the link, rather than just my quotes. Or you know what? Don’t. Because I honestly don’t care if you read it or not — and I already understand that people on the right never let studies like those affect your opinions. I actually only put the link up for Rich and j2t2 because I thought they might be interested to know that there is proof emerging which further reinforces the comments they’ve made.

Posted by: Adrienne at April 19, 2012 5:46 PM
Comment #342179

Adrienne writes; “How about providing a link showing that the government feeds, clothes, houses and pays for the education and health care of “about 51% of Americans.”

Sorry, no need to do that. I suspect that everyone on WB, with the exception of you, knows that already.

I know you must be embarrassed by refuting your own quote, but that’s OK, it happens to us all.

Posted by: Royal Flush at April 19, 2012 6:12 PM
Comment #342180
He refers to my question about how the tax increase revenue for the rich will be used as conservative BS. Is his answer not liberal BS?

Seems to me it is more like Royal’s clumsy attempt to get around answering the question I called BS on to me, Royal.

You claimed “Some actually believe that if the 1% richest people in this country were forced to pay more taxes that somehow, that windfall would land in their pockets”. I still call BS, to your evasive reply as well as your original comment.

j2 speaks of “fair” share of income taxes by the rich, but has no idea at all how it would be used. The feds could piss it away as they have many billions and j2 apparently wouldn’t give a damn as long as they pay more than they are paying. What a childish, vindictive, and unamerican attitude is this?

Royal just because I can’t say exactly what the tax money will be used for doesn’t mean I want it “pissed away”. It will be used as any other income tax is used. What a nonsensical leap of logic on your part to think I would need to know specifically where these tax dollars would go.

When the middle class pays a higher percentage of taxes than the rich then it is unfair, Royal. Especially when we as a nation are running a deficit. To think otherwise is IMHO childish, greedy and un-American as well.


Posted by: j2t2 at April 19, 2012 6:27 PM
Comment #342181

I thought the House was responsible for introducing a budget.

Posted by: phx8 at April 19, 2012 6:39 PM
Comment #342182
Sorry, no need to do that. I suspect that everyone on WB, with the exception of you, knows that already.

LOL! Translation: I’ve been talking completely out of my posterior, and have no such proof of anything I’ve said — but I’ll attempt to act as if it’s common knowledge.

I know you must be embarrassed by refuting your own quote, but that’s OK, it happens to us all.

I’m not at all embarrassed — but you definitely should be — since my links clearly refute what Jack has tried to claim here:

Wealth has come to be associated mostly with money, but the term is obviously much broader. We talk about a wealth of experience, knowledge or friendships. And a wealthy person would have abundance in many of these areas. For me wealth means the capacity to make choices. Wealth means that you have options. Wealth insulates you to some extent from the vicissitudes of capricious fortune.

Those studies have found that a person really does need a baseline of wealth (money) in order to feel satisfied, and feel they have choices, and options, and are insulated from the vicissitudes of capricious fortune.

Btw, I find it very interesting too that those Catholic Bishops acting as an advocacy group have now come out to criticize the Paul Ryan budget for “failing to meet the moral criteria” to protect human dignity, and prioritize the needs of the hungry and homeless and promote the common good, and yet the GOP (God’s Own Party) is callously blowing off their concerns as meaningless and trying to tell the Bishops that they don’t know what they’re talking about.
As I said earlier, the uncaring attitude seems certain catch up to the 1% GOPers, eventually.

Posted by: Adrienne at April 19, 2012 6:40 PM
Comment #342183

“When basic needs are met, one can not measure happiness by dollar signs.”

Royal Flush,

I think that was the very point of the links that Adrienne provided. There is a threshold of income that provides an opportunity for the “inside job” to take effect. Up to that point, you are worried about meeting basic needs. Why that should be surprising is a mystery to me. What is surprising from the studies is that the threshold is actually quite modest.

Posted by: Rich at April 19, 2012 6:46 PM
Comment #342184

j2t2 writes; “When the middle class pays a higher percentage of taxes than the rich then it is unfair, Royal. Especially when we as a nation are running a deficit.”

Your blanket statement about who pays a higher percentage of taxes is nonsense. In some cases…yes, in all cases…no.

j2 blames the deficit on insufficient tax revenue which is what a good liberal is expected to write and believe.

Conservatives believe that tax revenue, as a percent of GDP, is about average at this time. What is way above historical averages is spending.

Are congressional dems or the prez finding ways to cut back on unnecessary spending? Nope. All their focus is on more spending and more revenue to grease the next election.

And, when we have a crisis with our debt limit what does the president threaten to be cut? Social Security, Medicare, military pay and such. Did he call for cuts in spending on poverty? Nope. Cuts in government employees? Nope. Cuts in any cherished programs for those expected to vote for him? Nope.

obama and the dems are going down in flames in November as the majority of Americans are done with his ideas of change that merely cost working folks more.

Liberals get angry when conservatives resist increasing taxes and the limits of our national debt. It is for much the same reason that some European countries are angry with Germany. Spain, Greece, Italy and other countries believe that Germany should pay for their past profligate spending because…because…they have the money to do so. And, IT IS ONLY FAIR!

Posted by: Royal Flush at April 19, 2012 6:48 PM
Comment #342185

“When the middle class pays a higher percentage of taxes than the rich then it is unfair, Royal.”

j2t2,

This basic equity issue appears to be completely lost on some.

Posted by: Rich at April 19, 2012 6:58 PM
Comment #342186

What is “basic equity” Rich?

Posted by: Royal Flush at April 19, 2012 7:05 PM
Comment #342188

Rich

I am not talking about the 1% at all. Most of us can live our whole lives w/o reference to the top 1%.

I am talking about the 99% of us who actually have done generally well over the past 30 years (I choose this since it encompasses most of my professional working life). The top 1% has garnered a greater share of new money. This makes some people mad, but most of us have access to a greater variety and higher quality of goods and services than we did . I am also talking about doing the right thing for yourself and for others. You and I can excise great control over our lives. We can choose to do the right things or not. If we refuse to act like intelligent and decent human beings because we worry that the top 1% is making more than we are, that means we are not really intelligent or decent human beings.

A discussion of the top 1% is a more technical and economic discussion. I am talking about what you and I can do in our own lives.

Posted by: C&J at April 19, 2012 8:44 PM
Comment #342192

C&J,
Since the conservative economic program was instituted during the Reagan years, the top 1% has taken virtually all of the growth in income, while the rest have seen real wages stay flat. Productivity among workers increased dramatically, but the results never rewarded those workers, only corporate ownership.

In other words, the current economic program overvalues ownership, and undervalues labor.

It might be a somewhat technical, economic discussion, but the impact is very real, and more and more, people are coming to realize just how unjust the current distribution really is for almost everyone except that 1%.

Obama expressed it very concisely: trickle down doesn’t work, and we’ve seen that demonstrated in real life; a blossoming up from the middle class works, enriching everyonel, and we have seen that demonstrated in real life too.

Posted by: phx8 at April 19, 2012 9:55 PM
Comment #342196

J2t2

I am simply convinced that almost everyone (dare we say 99%) have within their power to be happy and develop their talents. If you are not doing that, you are probably unhappy. The choice is yours. The fact that some people are vastly richer than you are

Re income inequality – It depends on how it happens. I don’t like it that Oprah makes so much money or that anybody can make money w/o working for it. But income inequality in itself is not necessary a bad thing. Our economy grew and prospered at the end of the 19th Century when inequality was greater than today. In equality declined during the great depression; it declined recently during the great recession. To the extent that riches are guaranteed by fiat of the authorities or if wealth is merely being moved around, it is a bad thing. It is a good thing if inequality is growing because new wealth is being created.

Adrienne

For once your link seems to prove what you are trying to say, but what are you trying to say?

The median income in the U.S. is around $50,000. If you are saying that more money makes you happy up until $50,000 or $75,000 and then doesn’t make much of a difference, I agree. If you are seeking to make yourself happier by money alone, you are going the wrong way. I think I have written about that probably using some of the same studies.

The poor are probably less happy than the not poor on average. That is one reason why we strive to be not poor. We are talking tautologies here.

Wealth, however, has more dimensions than money. Many of the traits that make you materially wealthy also make you a better person in other ways. I never set out to make piles of money. I set out to be excellent at the things I did. Money came with that, not the other way around.

Are people with more money happier? I am not sure, but I will take the word of the studies. But which is the cause? Are people who have the traits that make them more successful and happier also those that have more money?
I come back to the things under your control. You cannot control all the events around you, but you can control your response. People who think they are in control are happier.

Re about knowing very poor people – I have known people on the edge of starvation and people living in poverty we have not really seen in America for a century. I have been to refugee camps and talked to people who live literally in holes in the ground. So that answer is yes. What is the point of your question?

My goal is to help create conditions by which the poor can pull themselves out of poverty. This is not as simple as giving them stuff. In fact, giving people too much corrupts their ability to help themselves and makes them duller. Giving people stuff w/o working to change behaviors that created the problem is not generous.

Posted by: C&J at April 19, 2012 10:02 PM
Comment #342200

phx8

The wages for the lowest 20% are almost flat, but others have done okay.

We also are not talking about the same people. On the day Ronald Reagan was elected, my income was in the lowest 5%. Today my income is in the top 10%. Today my son is just starting out. His income is in the lowest 20%. In time, I expect his income will also improve.

Income distribution figures can be deceptive because we forget the dynamism.

My personal income over the 30 years of my work life has reached a bit above the median. That means that I was poorer as a young man and richer as an older man. I don’t think that is at all unjust.

Posted by: C&J at April 19, 2012 10:09 PM
Comment #342203

Jeez, Royal I am still calling BS on your previous comment and now this?

Your blanket statement about who pays a higher percentage of taxes is nonsense. In some cases…yes, in all cases…no.

Perhaps not in all cases but in the vast majority Royal. Are you quibbling over a dozen percentage points of the rich whose income may not be taxed at the capital gains rate?

j2 blames the deficit on insufficient tax revenue which is what a good liberal is expected to write and believe.

Not just revenue Royal but revenue is a part of the problem. The run up in debt due to the Repub’s unfunded “Medicare reform”, The borrowed money spent to support our war efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan (which was kept off the books during the GWB years) while cutting taxes left us deep into hole Royal. Add to that the stagnant job growth during the GWB years, the bailout and the stimulus due to the GWB years and we are even deeper in debt Royal. Who should pay that debt off our grandchildren or their grandchildren?
In addition to these issues we didn’t save enough in the medicare and SS funds for the baby boomer generation that is currently retiring. It is this same generation that failed to save for this retirement bulge Royal not our kids and grand kids. Yet you want to talk liberal or conservative BS instead of deal with the debt. Well the fact is it was fiscal mismanagement by conservatives of the boomer generation that put us in this mess and they should be the ones to pay their fair share to get the country back in shape for the next few generations.IMHO.

Conservatives believe that tax revenue, as a percent of GDP, is about average at this time. What is way above historical averages is spending.

People pay less taxes now that they have in our lifetime, and while doing so the debt is piling up. You can take your historical averages and put them where the sun don’t shine, even if they are by chance factual, IMHO Royal. The fact is this is the first time in history we have had a baby boom come to retirement age when the government has SS and Medicare owing to this retiring millions of Americans. Just as GWB was the first administration to charge the wars on the credit cards while cutting taxes your claim of historical averages is bunk, meaningless as far as solving the problem, smoke and mirrors.

Posted by: j2t2 at April 19, 2012 10:15 PM
Comment #342204

j2t2

The rich on average pay a greater percentage of their income in taxes and they pay a lot more in real money.

There are some rich who pay less. I paid a greater % of my income last year than Barack Obama did and he is much richer. But in general not. I think people get mixed up. They think of their bracket as their tax rate. It is not.

These are the figures from the IRS
IRS figures indicate the following:

$1-10,000 2.8%
10,000-20,000 2.7%
20,000 – 30,000 5.0%
30,000-50,000 6.4%
50,000-100,000 8.1%
100,000-200,000 11.9%
200,000-500,000 19.6%
500,000-1,000,000 24.1%
1,000,000 + 24.6%

link text

Of course, 24.6% of a million is $246,000 while 2.8% of 10,000 is only $280 and, of course any percentage of zero is still zero, so both the rates are higher and the actual money is higher for the rich. This is as it should be, but it is not the way many people think it is.


Posted by: C&J at April 19, 2012 10:46 PM
Comment #342232

j2t2

At the end of your link “So when it comes to Buffett’s statement, there are two categories: the rich and the really rich. And the evidence tends to point to the conclusion that the really rich pay less in taxes as a percentage of income then their merely well-to-do counterparts — if their income comes primarily from investments. Overall, we rate Buffett’s statement True.”

The “really rich” if their income comes from investments probably do pay less as a %. Of course, those poor guys just making a few million a year are paying higher rates and almost everybody is paying more in real money.

I don’t get as outraged about this as you do. One reason is that I cannot think of any way to singe all the super rich w/o burning everyone else. I get stuck every year with the alternative minimum tax. People with incomes as low as $60,000 a year can get stuck with this. It was once aimed at a couple dozen rich people. It doesn’t get them; it gets us.

Okay, you like the 99-1 idea. People who make more money pay more than the poor. Most of the poor don’t pay taxes at all. Some people in the middle pay a higher rate, although much, much less total tax than some of the very rich. This has always been like this. We cannot arrive at a perfect system. I would not mind taxing the super rich more, but it makes not much difference to us. If you got all the super rich to pay 30% you would raise enough to pay for 1.5% of the Obama deficit.

The Obama folks estimate 22,000 households with incomes higher than $1 million paid less than 15% of their income in income taxes in 2009. This is the worst case scenario. If you let envy of these people stop you from taking care of your life, you are hopeless.

And if you want to trade fact checking links - and you like the 99% thing, try this FactCheck - http://www.factcheck.org/2012/04/obama-and-the-buffett-rule

“The Buffett rule sounds good in principle. High-income taxpayers should pay at least as large a share of their income in taxes as the rest of us. But most already do. On average, middle-income households will pay 2015 taxes totaling about 15 percent of their income (using the legislation’s definition). Without the Buffett rule, more than 99 percent of millionaires will pay more than that and only about 4,000 will pay less.”

I recall what Royal wrote and I too am more worried about what Obama does with my money than what some rich guy does with his.

Posted by: C&J at April 20, 2012 6:07 AM
Comment #342233
I recall what Royal wrote and I too am more worried about what Obama does with my money than what some rich guy does with his.

Where were you guys and why were you so silent when your team passed medicare reform without funding it? Where were you when we went to war and cut taxes as the deficit soared? Your “worry” seems hollow C&J. It is time to pay the piper.

Posted by: j2t2 at April 20, 2012 6:34 AM
Comment #342243

j2-

Do you not remember the 2006 elections? Republican candidates paid heavily, and much of the pain came from former straight party voters. It also gave birth to the Tea Party.

The Democratic Party is the party of entitlements; but the Republicans come up with this Medicare prescription drug plan that the polls said that the public didn’t want and was not interested in. That is not conservatism
- Rush Limbaugh, the supposed leader of the Republican Party, in 2006

Contrast that with the Democratic Party’s outrage (or lack thereof) when Obama extended the evil Bush Tax Cuts for two years even though he controlled the House, Senate, and White House.


Posted by: George at April 20, 2012 11:01 AM
Comment #342244

9 Things The Rich Don’t Want You To Know About Taxes

1. Poor Americans do pay taxes.
2. The wealthiest Americans don’t carry the burden.
3. In fact, the wealthy are paying less taxes.
4. Many of the very richest pay no current income taxes at all.
5. And (surprise!) since Reagan, only the wealthy have gained significant income.
6. When it comes to corporations, the story is much the same—less taxes.
7. Some corporate tax breaks destroy jobs.
8. Republicans like taxes too.
9. Other countries do it better.

Posted by: Adrienne at April 20, 2012 11:50 AM
Comment #342246

Adrienne, you linked that article verbatim and without personal comment. I’m just wondering if you agree with it.

Posted by: George at April 20, 2012 12:27 PM
Comment #342247

Is our national economy zero-sum based as our liberal friends seem to believe? Are there just so many dollars allocated in our economy? If one person has more of the dollars does that indicate that less dollars are available for others to earn?

If my business thrives is it necessarily at the expense of my competitor. If I earn more wages than another is it at the others expense?

GDP expands and contracts according to the sale and purchase of goods and services. The success of one person or business is not necessarily at the impoverishment of another.

If an employee gets a raise in pay is it at the expense of another employee?

One can be envious of another in terms of wealth and can, if they wish, determine to reach that level as well. There may be obstacles in reaching that achievement, but the fact that another has more wealth is NOT an obstacle in itself.

To believe that the only way to divide the economic pie equitably is by taking from one and giving to another is not compatible with our system in the United States. Here, in this land, we believe that each and every individual has equal opportunity to strive for whatever they wish within the rules established by government at our consent.

We do not expect equal results…why should we? Is this the province of government?

Posted by: Royal Flush at April 20, 2012 4:41 PM
Comment #342248

Royal et al

This is a good point. The rich pay more than the poor, as they should. Some of the rich pay at a lower rate. If they paid at a higher rate, it would not change very much the deficit. So the only reason anybody can be outraged about this administrative issue is envy.

We have seen people here imply that until everything was nearly perfectly just, they and others had an excuse not to do the right things. This is not only loser talk; it is also immoral. We have responsibility for what we do.

Our lefty friends keep on saying that equality of results are not important to them, but keep on making arguments with that as its major theme.

I think leftist analysis almost almost fails to account for dynamism. People are not stuck in what they are today and what they do will change their future prospects.

If I have a garden and I planted tomatoes and my neighbors did not plant anything. Today I have lots of tomatoes and they would not. Inequality would have grown. I might give them some tomatoes, but I would keep what I wanted for myself and even in my generosity I could choose who got tomatoes and who did not.

Surely this cannot offend anybody, but I suspect it does.

When I was younger I used to believe more in equality because I had not yet seen the functioning of choices. I have seen how, over time, little choices make big differences.

Posted by: C&J at April 20, 2012 5:55 PM
Comment #342250

Well said C&J. A slogan I use in my insurance business sums it up quite well I believe.

“Today’s decisions are tomorrow’s reality”

Posted by: Royal Flush at April 20, 2012 6:09 PM
Comment #342258

“Is our national economy zero-sum based as our liberal friends seem to believe?”

Royal Flush,

Nobody is arguing that. Nobody is arguing for a “Robin Hood” approach to wealth distribution. The issue is an increasingly skewed distribution and control of the nation’s wealth into a small minority. Even the conservative economist and former Chairman of the Fed, Alan Greenspan, recognizes this as a fundamental threat to our political, economic and social system and ideals.

C&J,

“Our lefty friends keep on saying that equality of results are not important to them,…”

You are correct. The concern of progressives has always been equality of opportunity in law and fact. The issue has always been to create a level playing field.


Posted by: Rich at April 20, 2012 8:16 PM
Comment #342259

Rich

Then why do you care if some small number of rich tax payers pay a smaller % of their income?

We have achieved equal opportunity in law.

What do you mean by equal opportunity in fact? To me,it means that jobs and opportunities are open to all who wish to apply. I have not heard of many cases where there are restrictions.

Posted by: C&J at April 20, 2012 8:32 PM
Comment #342262
Do you not remember the 2006 elections? Republican candidates paid heavily, and much of the pain came from former straight party voters. It also gave birth to the Tea Party.

The repubs lost 28 seats in the house and 6 in the Senate George. I doubt it was due to the “Medicare reform passed in ‘03 or the ‘04 election would have turned out different. The war in Iraq was a major issue but not the tax cuts whilst at war. So all in all the ‘06 election was not a response to the run up of debt with unfunded wars and medicare reform whilst cutting taxes.

http://www.aim.org/media-monitor/why-did-the-republicans-lose/

Limbaugh was against the concept of Medicare not unfunded Medicare reform judging from this comment George. Did he by chance lead the way for running the repubs out of office or was this just an isolated comment?

Contrast that with the Democratic Party’s outrage (or lack thereof) when Obama extended the evil Bush Tax Cuts for two years even though he controlled the House, Senate, and White House.

The extension of tax cuts came just after the repubs swept back into control of the house in Nov.2010, George. The tea party election if I recall correctly. The Bush tax cuts were part of the compromise that allowed for unemployment insurance to continue and other things that were held hostage by the Repubs. Many were angry but remember when you say control the Dems didn’t have the 60+ super majority needed to override the Repubs at that time.

So I would say there really is no comparison and the ‘06 election wasn’t about the issue at hand.

Posted by: j2t2 at April 20, 2012 10:02 PM
Comment #342292

j2t2

If Democrats had wanted to let the tax cuts expire, they could have done so. They could also have blocked their re authorization in the next Congress, since they still controlled the Senate.

The reason they did not do these things is that - despite all the BS they throw out there - responsible Democrats understood that raising these taxes would have harmed the economy.

Democrats like to play with this fairness issue. It appeals to envy and it is strong. But when they really do the math, as President Obama suggests, they know that the rich already pay greater % of the total taxes than they did in the 1960s and a greater % of the total taxes than they do in most other developed countries. This is despite - maybe because of - the lower rates. They also know that most of the rich, taxpayers with cash incomes exceeding $1 million paid an average effective tax rate of 31.4 percent in 2010 and that they managed to tax every one who didn’t, it would raise enough money to keep the government running for only a matter of hours.

Reasonable Democrats understand that taxing the rich means raising the taxes on all taxpayers and even they are afraid to do that.

Like you guys, I don’t think it is a good thing that some people have lots of money and others don’t. I understand that it is a global issue, probably caused by globalization. As trade in creases and wealth increased, so does inequality. I studied how this happened in the 6 & 7th centuries BC in ancient Greece and how it happened in Europe during the age of exploration.

The poor have not become poorer in the U.S. and the poor worldwide have become much richer in the last quarter century. The world is much better off than it was. It has provided great opportunities to those who taken them, but the expansion worldwide has put pressure on Americans w/o the skills or luck needed to compete.

Most of us look back with some fondness to the economy of 1948-1972. If you look closer, it was not as good as we think, but it was good, which less inequity than in most good economic times. There are a few things we need to understand. (1) it was based on unique circumstances where the U.S. dominated a world recovering from the most destructive war in human history and (2) the post-war system collapsed at the end of the 1960s.

This latter point is important. People with less understanding of history like to say that Ronald Reagan somehow destroyed this happen system. The actual facts show that the system collapsed and that the reorganization of the 1980s rebuilt something that gave us prosperity for another quarter of a century.

Anyway, I am not saying that inequality should not be an issue of concern. I am telling you that the causes you imply and the solutions you propose are not correct. Reagan didn’t cause inequality by lowering taxes and raising them will not lower inequality. After the Bush cuts, inequality actually declined, as it declined in 2008-9. This is because a declining economy tends to decrease inequality, so do economic problems such as high inflation.

Addressing inequality is a long-term proposition. We need to change skills and behaviors among the poor. Despite all the gnashing of teeth, it is clearly true that choices and behaviors have significant influence on outcomes. It is not true that we should blame the poor for being poor, but we must also recognize that most poverty results from choices and behaviors of those affected. We need to change them if we want to change outcomes.

Posted by: C&J at April 21, 2012 6:31 AM
Comment #342299

adrienne

said to royal flush


“Where’d you get this BS — Fox “News” right?
How about providing a link showing that the government feeds, clothes, houses and pays for the education and health care of “about 51% of Americans.””

“So says a study by economist Gary Shilling. Shilling, a Springfield, N.J., consultant and forecaster, says the portion of Americans feeding substantially at the public trough stands at 52.6 percent. In 2000, it was 49.4. It seems unbelievable that in 1950, only 28.3 percent of Americans lived off the taxpayers. Shilling projects 60 percent by 2040.”

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2007/05/the_public_trough_is_bigger_th.html

Posted by: dbs at April 21, 2012 8:51 AM
Comment #342303

dbs interesting link. One fifth work for some level of government seems to me to be misleading as they work for their living the same as those of us in the private sector. They produce just as we produce.

One fifth rely upon SS for their main source of income. These same one fifth have worked and produced for decades while contributing to the SS system. Intentional mishandling and abuse of the SS system by those in government more interested in destroying the system has created this problem.

Shilling seems to also have missed the subsidies and such that has the corporations feeding at this same trough, though. What he has shown is a failure of our capitalistic economic system to do it’s job. Time to revamp our capitalistic economic system to meet the needs of the Country today, IMHO. When the “job creators: are feeding at the trough something is wrong, wouldn’t you agree.

Anyway the 52.6 percent figure seems skewered to me when SS and government workers are included.

Posted by: j2t2 at April 21, 2012 9:49 AM
Comment #342467
Adrienne, you linked that article verbatim and without personal comment. I’m just wondering if you agree with it.

Yes, I agree with it. Why would I link to it otherwise?

Top Tax Rates on the Top Tax Bracket
1918: 77%
1921: 73%
1923: 56%
1924: 46%
1925: 28%
1929: 24%
Great Depression
1945: 94%
1955: 91%
1965: 70%
1975: 70%
1980: 70%
1982: 50%
1987: 38%
1993: 38%
2003: 35%
2008 Great Recession
2011: “Effective” Tax Rate: 17% and still declining.
Future: Great Depression II?

dbs:
“So says a study by economist Gary Shilling.”

Shilling is a financial analyst — and is making no outrageous false claim that the government is currently feeding, clothing, housing and paying for the education and health care of “51% of Americans.”
As for the rest, j2t2 covered it well. It is not the fault of the American people that our Social Security fund (which actually should be showing an enormous surplus since the Baby Boomers were in fact made to pay more into the system) has been robbed by our government.

Posted by: Adrienne at April 23, 2012 5:18 PM
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