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Old 01-08-2014, 11:23 AM   #1
Jim in CT
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Here comes the war on income inequality!

The 2014 midterms are coming up. The Dems have twice as many US Senate seats up for election in 2014 (the Senate class of 2008 is up for re-election). With the economy still sluggish, Obamacare being a disaster, and Obama's approval ratings in Dick Cheney territory, the Dems need something to rally around, something that makes the other side look monstrous.

Say hello to income inequality.

How dumb does one have to be, to buy into this. No one likes the fact that there are poor people out there who struggle. But here is what most liberals cannot seem to grasp...one person's wealth does not cause another person's poverty. Wealth is not finite, it's not like a pizza. If Oprah Winfrey earns another million today, that does not mean there's a million less for the rest of us to scrounge for.

The solution to income inequality isn't to drag wealthy people down. The solution is giving poor people the tools they need to climb the ladder.

Our country declared 'war on poverty' 50 years ago. Since then, we have spent trillions fighting poverty, and the percentage of people living in poverty hasn't changed much. Why? Because for most poor people, their poverty isn't caused by a lack of money (the lack of money is the outcome, not the cause). Their poverty is caused by their own behavior, abilities, and priorities. You do not solve that by taking from those who have wealth.

i really don't like the way this argument is framed by the left...namely, that conservatives care less about the poor than liberals. There are studies that show that conservatives donate more time and money to charity than liberals do, and when you consider how each side views religion, that makes intuitive sense.

Finally, when the left talks about how unfair income inequality is, the boogeyman is ALWAYS a corporate CEO. The left never seems to care about actors or singers who are jillionaires. That tells me that wealth is OK, as long as it comes from a source that is left-leaning?

It's absurd. Yet somehow, it works.
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Old 01-08-2014, 12:45 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Jim in CT View Post
But here is what most liberals cannot seem to grasp...one person's wealth does not cause another person's poverty. Wealth is not finite, it's not like a pizza. If Oprah Winfrey earns another million today, that does not mean there's a million less for the rest of us to scrounge for.
Jim, I'm having trouble grasping your logic.

If Oprah makes more money because the government lowers taxes there's less revenue to provide services for the dependent. If corporations keep wages stagnant and funnel value to shareholders there's less wealth to go around for the majority to scrounge for.

This is precisely the macro situation we've been experiencing a to a large degree why wealth continues to consolidate at the very top.

Quote:
Our country declared 'war on poverty' 50 years ago. Since then, we have spent trillions fighting poverty, and the percentage of people living in poverty hasn't changed much. Why? Because for most poor people, their poverty isn't caused by a lack of money (the lack of money is the outcome, not the cause). Their poverty is caused by their own behavior, abilities, and priorities. You do not solve that by taking from those who have wealth.
Before the Bush 43 years the poverty rate was 1/2 what it was before the 1960's. That's a big drop. Since Reagan the amount government spends on welfare continued to drop as well.

I think if you do some research on public opinion there will be overwhelming support for economic factors over personal ones.

Quote:
i really don't like the way this argument is framed by the left...namely, that conservatives care less about the poor than liberals. There are studies that show that conservatives donate more time and money to charity than liberals do, and when you consider how each side views religion, that makes intuitive sense.
Republicans do seem to have a credibility gap. Reagan didn't help with this perception...

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Finally, when the left talks about how unfair income inequality is, the boogeyman is ALWAYS a corporate CEO. The left never seems to care about actors or singers who are jillionaires. That tells me that wealth is OK, as long as it comes from a source that is left-leaning?
Big difference. Celebrities are a source of individual wealth, the CEO is usually on top of an organization. Celebrities have always done pretty well, where the CEO to individual contributor pay gap has grown dramatically over the last 30 years.

-spence
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Old 01-08-2014, 01:27 PM   #3
Jim in CT
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Jim, I'm having trouble grasping your logic.

If Oprah makes more money because the government lowers taxes there's less revenue to provide services for the dependent. If corporations keep wages stagnant and funnel value to shareholders there's less wealth to go around for the majority to scrounge for.

This is precisely the macro situation we've been experiencing a to a large degree why wealth continues to consolidate at the very top.


Before the Bush 43 years the poverty rate was 1/2 what it was before the 1960's. That's a big drop. Since Reagan the amount government spends on welfare continued to drop as well.

I think if you do some research on public opinion there will be overwhelming support for economic factors over personal ones.


Republicans do seem to have a credibility gap. Reagan didn't help with this perception...



Big difference. Celebrities are a source of individual wealth, the CEO is usually on top of an organization. Celebrities have always done pretty well, where the CEO to individual contributor pay gap has grown dramatically over the last 30 years.

-spence
"Jim, I'm having trouble grasping your logic."

Not suprising. My logic is that wealth is not finite. So one oerson's wealth does not cause another person's poverty. The solution to poverty does not involve the confiscation of exorbitant assets from th wealthy. The solution to poverty is to help poor people acquire more wealth for themselves.

"If Oprah makes more money because the government lowers taxes there's less revenue to provide services for the dependent"

You're talking about tax revenues collected, which is not what I was referring to (which was wealth). But OK. What if she makes more money NOT because of a tax cut, but because she launches another successful business, like a TV show. In that case, has she 'stolen' that additional wealth from anyone? If anything, the tax revenue is maximized if she makes another million, compared to a million poor people each making an additional $1, because her tax rate is so high. SO if you want to maximize tax revenue, which is what you are saying, you should be happy when the uber rich get richer, as their tax rates are higher than ours. Try making that wrong!

"Before the Bush 43 years the poverty rate was 1/2 what it was before the 1960's"

Can you provide that data please? From what I am seeing, since 1970, the poverty rate has been between 10% and 15%.

"If corporations keep wages stagnant and funnel value to shareholders there's less wealth to go around for the majority to scrounge for."

You make it sound like only wealthy plutocrats own stock. Everyone who has a 401(k) or a pension, benefits when the market does well. How do you not know this?

"This is precisely the macro situation we've been experiencing a to a large degree why wealth continues to consolidate at the very top."

That's only true if the stock market runup since 2008 is caused by, and only by, the wage decreases taht have occurred under Obama. I thought the bull market was caused, in part, by all the free money floating around. If you force wages higher, corporations have less profit, and thus pay less in corporate taxes, correct? You don't create wealth by confiscating it from one person (or business) and giving it to someone else.

The rich will almost always get richer at a faster pace than the rest of us. Why? Because it takes money to make money. They have more investable assets. Its simple math. It's not unfair, nor is it harmful. If the rich get richer, not only does that NOT hurt poor people, you could argue it helps everyone else. The rich poay higher tax rates, so the more wealth that gets taxed at their higher rates, the lower the tax burden on the rest of us. Furthermore, unless the rich put their money in their mattress, they either spend it, invest it, or put it in the bank. All of those things are good for the rest of us. How can you work in business and not know this?

"if you do some research on public opinion there will be overwhelming support for economic factors over personal ones

I would put it this way...your party has done a good job convincing a large segment of the population that accepting government freebies, does no harm to anyone else. Unfortunately, as you and I will see firsthand within 20 years, nothing is free.

"Celebrities have always done pretty well, where the CEO to individual contributor pay gap has grown dramatically over the last 30 years"

Sorry, celebrities didn't make $20 million a movie, 30 years ago. Until you show me that data, it's speculation on your part. Furthermore, the CEO of a publicly traded corporation does infinitely more good for the population than a celebrity. Large companies provide good jobs, and they provide wealth to shareholders. Celebrities, for the most part, do nothing of the sort.

Very weak, even for you.

CEO compensation, as you know, is tied to stock options. When stocks appreciate, that helps the CEO fatten his bottom line. It also helps everyone who owns a share of that stock, meaning it's good for an awful lot of people.
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Old 01-08-2014, 01:48 PM   #4
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where the CEO to individual contributor pay gap has grown dramatically over the last 30 years.

-spence
Spence, that's true, that gap between CEO and average worker is increasing. Here is my follow-up question.

So what?

If you cap CEO pay at some arbitrary number, and redistribute that money to the rest of the employees, what does that amount to?

Here, your fellow world travelers at the Huffington Post looked at Walmart, where the ratio of CEO to average pay was the highest of any company they could find...

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/0...n_2978180.html

The CEO made $23 million in 2012. Walmart has 1.5 million employees worldwide, according to this link...,

http://www.ask.com/question/How-Many...-Wal-mart-Have

So if your fellow Bolsheviks require the CEO to work for free, and we give every cent of his $23 million to the worker bees, each would see an increase of $15.33. How much help does that provide? How many people does that lift out of poverty? Is my math right here? I knew it would be insignificant, but not that insignificant. My point being, executive compensation isn't causing large numbers of people to live in poverty.

CEO salary makes for a great liberal talking point, and it does a good job at making the rich seem evil, which is the whole point. In reality however, it's not a significant line item on the balance sheet, in most cases.

You need another soapbox to holler from. The math doesn't support your cause here, not by a long shot. Somehow, that the math shows you how demonstrably wrong your point is, won't stop you from believing that point. And that's what I don't understand.
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Old 01-08-2014, 02:55 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Jim in CT View Post
Spence, that's true, that gap between CEO and average worker is increasing. Here is my follow-up question.

So what?

If you cap CEO pay at some arbitrary number, and redistribute that money to the rest of the employees, what does that amount to?

Here, your fellow world travelers at the Huffington Post looked at Walmart, where the ratio of CEO to average pay was the highest of any company they could find...

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/0...n_2978180.html

The CEO made $23 million in 2012. Walmart has 1.5 million employees worldwide, according to this link...,

http://www.ask.com/question/How-Many...-Wal-mart-Have

So if your fellow Bolsheviks require the CEO to work for free, and we give every cent of his $23 million to the worker bees, each would see an increase of $15.33. How much help does that provide? How many people does that lift out of poverty? Is my math right here? I knew it would be insignificant, but not that insignificant. My point being, executive compensation isn't causing large numbers of people to live in poverty.

CEO salary makes for a great liberal talking point, and it does a good job at making the rich seem evil, which is the whole point. In reality however, it's not a significant line item on the balance sheet, in most cases.

You need another soapbox to holler from. The math doesn't support your cause here, not by a long shot. Somehow, that the math shows you how demonstrably wrong your point is, won't stop you from believing that point. And that's what I don't understand.
You're completely missing the point. The question was why CEO's may get demonized...your response would be analysis a board of directors would make...not someone representing the workers.

-spence
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Old 01-08-2014, 03:47 PM   #6
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Here's something to consider:

A CEO's image is driven by how the company does and is perceived by the public, specifically when the company has to do something unpleasant like layoff or salary reductions.

Funny how a celebrity (Sports, music or movies) never get that same response. They still make their multi-millions a year regardless of how well they do when they work.

Where do their salaries come from?
Corporations are derived (usually) from stockholders and investors, who are expecting a return on their investment.
Celebrities get theirs from the public, although they are paid by the team, movie company or the tour venue. Who has a more direct affect on the poverty of America?
The clelebrities, because the public will spend money foolishly to see these people perform like circus animals instead of saving for their future betterment.
The CEO and their company actually employ people which gives them a push in the right direction.

People's poor choices should be addressed as major role in poverty, as should the lack of career advancement opportunities.

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Old 01-08-2014, 03:52 PM   #7
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You're completely missing the point. The question was why CEO's may get demonized...your response would be analysis a board of directors would make...not someone representing the workers.

-spence
OK, since you clearly care about the workers, Spence....based on that data I showed, please explain to all the Wal-Mart employees reading this, why they should give a sh*t about what the CEO makes?

Clearly, the CEO's are not taking a meaningful amount of money away from the rank-and-file. So why demonize, or atempt to blame, the CEOs? Spence, you tell me, how much intellectual honesty is there, in demonizing the CEOs?

Clearly, the CEO compensation is not to blame for anyone else's angst.

Good luck making that wrong!

If my statement is something a board member would make, as opposed to a community activist...maybe that's because the board member is rooted in the real world and driven by common sense, whereas the community activist is an ignorant, hysterical liar?

If you were representing the employees, what possible response could you have?

There are thousands of jobs at Wal-Mart that pay a comfortable wage. Instead of being so goddamn jealous of those people, how about learning from their example and doing what they did?

Easy? Hell, no. Within reach for most of us? Hell, yes.

The Occupy Wall Street crowd wants it given to them. It doesn't work that way.
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Old 01-08-2014, 05:57 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Jim in CT View Post
OK, since you clearly care about the workers, Spence....based on that data I showed, please explain to all the Wal-Mart employees reading this, why they should give a sh*t about what the CEO makes?

Clearly, the CEO's are not taking a meaningful amount of money away from the rank-and-file. So why demonize, or atempt to blame, the CEOs? Spence, you tell me, how much intellectual honesty is there, in demonizing the CEOs?

Clearly, the CEO compensation is not to blame for anyone else's angst.
Sure it is. The CEOs appear to see increasing compensation regardless of performance. Blow out the numbers = $$$ lay off thousands = $$$ resign in shame = $$$. It doesn't matter, they're playing by a different set of rules. Wages for the majority have been flat the past 50 years...but the top keeps making more and more regardless of their performance...

The elite play by a different set of rules, that why they are demonized.


Quote:
If my statement is something a board member would make, as opposed to a community activist...maybe that's because the board member is rooted in the real world and driven by common sense, whereas the community activist is an ignorant, hysterical liar?
Sigh...

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The Occupy Wall Street crowd wants it given to them. It doesn't work that way.
You completely misunderstand their motivation.

-spence
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Old 01-08-2014, 06:05 PM   #9
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And about pie. I don't buy the infinite pie thing. The one physics class I had in college taught me there was a finite amount of energy in the universe.

Sure economic growth can lift all boats (not equally mind you) but the reality is that there's organic growth and the transfer of wealth. A lot of our economy, increasingly in fact, is based on transfer where wealth is not created as much as siphoned off. This is indeed a more finite equation, relative to the economic conditions at the moment.

The point being, that if resources were unlimited you could potentially sustain organic growth and eliminate the pie construct. But in the real world there are constraints. If you don't have growth, or if the benefits from growth aren't shared you have an exploding pie.

-spence
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Old 01-08-2014, 07:33 PM   #10
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And about pie. I don't buy the infinite pie thing. The one physics class I had in college taught me there was a finite amount of energy in the universe.

Is that an absolute?

Sorry, couldn't resist.


Sure economic growth can lift all boats (not equally mind you) but the reality is that there's organic growth and the transfer of wealth. A lot of our economy, increasingly in fact, is based on transfer where wealth is not created as much as siphoned off. This is indeed a more finite equation, relative to the economic conditions at the moment.

The point being, that if resources were unlimited you could potentially sustain organic growth and eliminate the pie construct. But in the real world there are constraints. If you don't have growth, or if the benefits from growth aren't shared you have an exploding pie.

-spence
Is Quantitative Easing organic growth? Is redistribution of wealth (money) organic growth? If money is wealth, and it can be printed at will, then, indeed, wealth is infinite.

If wealth is material commodity with intrinsic value, and if there is absolutely a finite amount of material commodity, then wealth is not infinite.

If the top 1% have an unequally high percent of income (money), do they actually have that percent of "wealth," or just that much more ability to buy "wealth"? And if they actually did buy that amount of "wealth," what would, or could, they do with it? They could not possibly consume or use it. Unless they could rent it, or sell it, it would go to waste and do them no good. If they were to rent or sell it, they would have to demand enough return, or they would lose monetary value. In order to get a "fair" or profitable return, the buyers would have to have adequate income to pay. In a market "economy" that would resolve itself to the advantage of both parties.

In an "economy" that is more controlled than free, those who manipulate the levers of control can reap advantage over the disadvantage of others. For that to happen, there has to be a crony partnership between government and those in bed with it.

When government usurps power by diminishing either partner in a market trade to the advantage of the other, whether toward oligarchic or egalitarian goals, it distorts the market and can do so to the point that it is destroyed.

Manipulating (regulating) markets by favoring winners over losers, legislating pay scales creating "equality" or "inequality" will create failures which eventually must be "fixed."

Last edited by detbuch; 01-08-2014 at 07:46 PM..
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Old 01-08-2014, 07:35 PM   #11
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Why would anyone blame the CEOs. Their pay is only symptom of the problem. The problem is with corporate profits and greed, short term profits at any cost, decimating our economy in the long term. Just shoot every hole with a MBA that has no idea how to work for a dollar, but will kill others opportunity for profits in the near term.
Rant over

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Old 01-08-2014, 08:01 PM   #12
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Sure it is. The CEOs appear to see increasing compensation regardless of performance. Blow out the numbers = $$$ lay off thousands = $$$ resign in shame = $$$. It doesn't matter, they're playing by a different set of rules. Wages for the majority have been flat the past 50 years...but the top keeps making more and more regardless of their performance...

The elite play by a different set of rules, that why they are demonized.



Sigh...


You completely misunderstand their motivation.

-spence
"Sure it is."

The Walmart CEO makes $15 per year for each employee. Whoop-dee-doo. Maybe they have different rules than the rest of us. That doesn't change this fact...if you work hard and work smartly, you will likely succeed. The existence of CEO's doesn't change that.

"You completely misunderstand their motivation."

They felt justified in occupying that which was not theirs. their motivation, like that of most of your ilk, is gimme gimme gimme.
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Old 01-08-2014, 08:05 PM   #13
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And about pie. I don't buy the infinite pie thing. The one physics class I had in college taught me there was a finite amount of energy in the universe.

Sure economic growth can lift all boats (not equally mind you) but the reality is that there's organic growth and the transfer of wealth. A lot of our economy, increasingly in fact, is based on transfer where wealth is not created as much as siphoned off. This is indeed a more finite equation, relative to the economic conditions at the moment.

The point being, that if resources were unlimited you could potentially sustain organic growth and eliminate the pie construct. But in the real world there are constraints. If you don't have growth, or if the benefits from growth aren't shared you have an exploding pie.

-spence
"And about pie. I don't buy the infinite pie thing."

That's maybe the most demonstrably false thing you have ever said. GDP changes, Spence. It's a lot higher now than it was in 1950, because the economy (i.e., aggregate wealth) increased over time. Good lord, I'd love to know in what capacity you work in business.

"A lot of our economy, increasingly in fact, is based on transfer where wealth is not created as much as siphoned off."

Siphoning off is what happens when the government confiscates wealth, which is what you support. Voluntary transactions almost always increase wealth.

Wow...
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Old 01-08-2014, 08:07 PM   #14
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Why would anyone blame the CEOs. Their pay is only symptom of the problem. The problem is with corporate profits and greed, short term profits at any cost, decimating our economy in the long term. Just shoot every hole with a MBA that has no idea how to work for a dollar, but will kill others opportunity for profits in the near term.
Rant over
"Why would anyone blame the CEOs."

Because it's easier than the truth. In most cases, if poor people want to know the problem, they need to look in the mirror. But one of the cornerstones of liberalism is that nothing is anyone's fault, it's always someone else's fault, preferably the fault of a white guy in a Brooks Brothers suit.
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Old 01-08-2014, 08:25 PM   #15
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If you don't have growth, or if the benefits from growth aren't shared you have an exploding pie.

-spence
Absolutely, and when a CEO makes his objectives he gets paid for it and shares the fruits of his work because the company has made more $$ and can give it's employees raises ,expand t's business and employ more workers.
The CEO will spend his own money on more material things which increases
$$ for other companies.


Here's the difference between what a CEO creates and what a movie star like Alex Baldwin does. He get's his millions and spends it too,but doesn't give raises or employ more people. The only reason he gets paid is because of his looks,and acting which bring in more receipts to make more movie trash which is not a good influence on kids. No good creation here.

Politicians know the jealousy in human nature and play it like a fiddle to the less fortunate making them question why someone else has more. In most of the cases it's because they worked harder to get where they are and earned it.

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Old 01-09-2014, 01:39 PM   #16
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Also..if you have a section of society that thinks it's ok to charge their life away just so they can "look" better than their friends, whose fault is that if they can't afford their rent or mortgage?
If anyone lives beyond their means, spending on things other than the basic neccessities, who do we blame when they fall behind on their rent, car payments, loans and everything else?

I see way too many people spending money they don't have just to "appear" to be successful to their friends and family while they are rocketing to the poorhouse with no brakes!!!

IS that the evil CEO's fault???

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Old 01-09-2014, 02:35 PM   #17
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Is Quantitative Easing organic growth? Is redistribution of wealth (money) organic growth? If money is wealth, and it can be printed at will, then, indeed, wealth is infinite.
QE can certainly enable organic growth, but infinite quantitative easing would invalidate the premise of currency.

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If the top 1% have an unequally high percent of income (money), do they actually have that percent of "wealth," or just that much more ability to buy "wealth"? And if they actually did buy that amount of "wealth," what would, or could, they do with it? They could not possibly consume or use it. Unless they could rent it, or sell it, it would go to waste and do them no good. If they were to rent or sell it, they would have to demand enough return, or they would lose monetary value. In order to get a "fair" or profitable return, the buyers would have to have adequate income to pay. In a market "economy" that would resolve itself to the advantage of both parties.
That assumes a growing economy and it also ignores the fact that "adequate income" isn't distributed evenly.

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In an "economy" that is more controlled than free, those who manipulate the levers of control can reap advantage over the disadvantage of others. For that to happen, there has to be a crony partnership between government and those in bed with it.
Which certainly exists. Decentralization of power may be attractive here...or inefficiencies created by a lower economy of scale may just make up the difference.

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When government usurps power by diminishing either partner in a market trade to the advantage of the other, whether toward oligarchic or egalitarian goals, it distorts the market and can do so to the point that it is destroyed.
Let's dissolve the lobbying industry and enact term limits.

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Manipulating (regulating) markets by favoring winners over losers, legislating pay scales creating "equality" or "inequality" will create failures which eventually must be "fixed."
Well, it also can provide beneficial normalization. A healthy economy trickles up and down. Given that it "takes money to make money" a lack of regulatory forces would result in faster consolidation at the top that we're even seeing today...I don't think over-regulation is the problem, we need the right regulations and apply them consistently.

-spence
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Old 01-09-2014, 10:01 PM   #18
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QE can certainly enable organic growth,

So we have established it's NOT organic growth. My point was that money is not wealth but a medium which enables one to trade wealth. Your goods for my labor, or your goods for my goods, represented by the buyer with money. It is a convenience.

But money itself is not wealth, and if it were wealth it could be produced in infinite quantity and distributed "equally" to all who would then be equally infinitely wealthy.

On the contrary, as I posed, which you ignored, "If wealth is material commodity with intrinsic value, and if there is absolutely a finite amount of material commodity, then wealth is not infinite." It is at this finite trading of material commodity for other commodity or labor, that "organic" economy and organic economic growth occur. Growth can occur by greater labor productivity matched by greater consumption of the larger amount of commodity produced, and/or by expanding population to create more labor requiring production of more goods.

I'm not sure what you meant by "there's organic growth and the transfer of wealth." It seemed that you were saying they went together. If by "transfer" you meant "trade" I would agree. If you simply meant transfer from one to another without equivalent return, I would say that was not organic or any other kind of economic growth. If anything, it would be economic shrinkage. In your next sentence you posited that much of our economy is based on transfer "where wealth is not created as much as siphoned off." I would agree with that, because in the siphoning there is no trade, so wealth is diminished, given away for no return. Which is anti-growth and anti-sustainable except at lower levels.


but infinite quantitative easing would invalidate the premise of currency.

What invalidates the "premise" of currency is treating it as wealth rather than the medium for an exchange of wealth. And its premise is also invalidated by giving it away without receiving something of value in return. Redistribution of wealth by mere transfer of money invalidates the premise of currency as a medium of exchange since no exchange is made in the distribution. And when such money is spent it is not a medium of exchange but is at best, merely RETURNED without productive value to the organic economy, or, if it was not taken from the economy as a tax to be redistributed but was merely printed for the purpose of distribution, then it is ADDED to the organic economy without the corresponding added production which that money is supposed to represent--and so, it is a surplus of money and therefor inflationary. And the siphoning to which you refer can occur either in social welfare schemes or in transferring public money through borrowing or security purchases from financial institutions or other countries.

That assumes a growing economy and it also ignores the fact that "adequate income" isn't distributed evenly.

No, what I said doesn't assume that. The top 1% can only gain money by transfer or trade. If by trade, then the buyers would have to have produced in order to gain the money to buy whether the economy grew or not. If by transfer, then either through government subsidy directly, or indirectly by first transferring money to the buyers. And a good percentage of that top 1% are in financial markets which treat money as commodity, or as wealth. They "trade" that money (invest it) for greater money returns. That is why they are at such risk. Their money or securities can lose value in an instant. And since the cause of that devaluation is often some government intrusion, that is why the "money" people have to maintain close contact with politicians and regulators, especially through campaign contributions. Trading money, speculating, is artificially removed from the "organic" economy, and gaining "money" wealth can occur without a growing, and even with a stagnating, economy. As witnessed by present economic conditions.

Also, what I said didn't ignore adequate income not being distributed evenly. I implied very strongly that the actual organic wealth that the super wealthy have in excess of their ability to use or consume would only be economically useful to them if they could sell or rent it at a proper return and the buyers would need adequate income to pay, that is, to trade. In an organic market, income isn't evenly "distributed," it is earned by means of differing abilities. "Even distribution" implies equitable transfers such as in welfare schemes. Money from such distribution does not add to nor is it a part of an organic economy. It is inflationary currency not derived from production, and is a means of devaluing the currency making it more difficult for those participating in the production which maintains or grows an "organic" economy.


Which certainly exists. Decentralization of power may be attractive here...or inefficiencies created by a lower economy of scale may just make up the difference.

We have a common ground for agreement here . . . the specifics might differ. Certainly decentralization of political power is a constitutional theme which I "harp" about.

Let's dissolve the lobbying industry and enact term limits.

That can't be done without dissolving the lack of virtue in our political class. Lobbying is only effective if the pols allow influence, especially "money" influence. Certainly, the bigger the government, the greater the stakes, and the more centralized, the smaller the number of targets, and the more convenient the access. The pols can ban lobbying and establish campaign finance reforms on top of finance reforms, but until they honor their own words and honor their duty, their oath of office, especially to the Constitution, it will all be a bag of political wind.

And when it is a contest between virtue and power, the ruling class will always choose power. The very nature of a ruling class is the wielding and maintenance of power. Term limits would be a check against a ruling class, but our politicians are not disposed to be merely "one of us." They have long ago given up the mantle of fellow citizen, and have created a morass of governance which requires long standing experience and expertise. Newbies have to be trained on how to navigate through and manipulate the procedures. It is for our good that they sacrifice a normal life to dedicate theirs to "public service."

In other words, they love the power too much to give it up.

What would a McCain do with himself after a political eternity of being one of the most important and powerful men in the world if he were to give it up? So long as the internal juices flow, the lust to rule will have its way.


Well, it also can provide beneficial normalization. A healthy economy trickles up and down. Given that it "takes money to make money" a lack of regulatory forces would result in faster consolidation at the top that we're even seeing today...I don't think over-regulation is the problem, we need the right regulations and apply them consistently.

-spence
That is exactly one of the reasons for the Constitution and for its Commerce Clause. The abandonment of the Constitution through the distortion of its clauses, and the "re-interpretation" of the rest of it in order to transform us into a quasi-socialist top down system, has given us the manipulative regulations and the undisciplined ad hoc government which has driven us into seemingly unsustainable debt. And made us more dependent in similar ways on the profligate leviathan rather than as individuals who contribute in diverse ways to a growing "organic" economy.

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Old 01-10-2014, 09:14 AM   #19
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At the most basic level, we get compensated for the value we add to something.

When a line of customers need to wait to place an order for fast food at the drive through and need to wait to pay because the order taker is preoccupied playing candy crush on a mobile device are they adding $15/hour in value?

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Old 02-10-2014, 02:51 PM   #20
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Apparently, "income inequality" is not such a big deal anymore. The ACA has actually made it desirable. It makes low income a means to more leisure and better health care. It allows one options and choice. It is liberating. The Founders had it all wrong. Instead of fighting for freedom from state coercion, they should have demanded an affordable care act.
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Old 02-11-2014, 09:55 AM   #21
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Apparently, "income inequality" is not such a big deal anymore. The ACA has actually made it desirable. It makes low income a means to more leisure and better health care. It allows one options and choice. It is liberating. The Founders had it all wrong. Instead of fighting for freedom from state coercion, they should have demanded an affordable care act.
Thatg's a funny and clever way of spinning things! Yes, the ACA will exacerbate income inequality, but somehow, Obama will still blame income inequality on Wall Street.
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Old 02-11-2014, 07:47 PM   #22
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The 2014 midterms are coming up. The Dems have twice as many US Senate seats up for election in 2014 (the Senate class of 2008 is up for re-election). With the economy still sluggish, Obamacare being a disaster, and Obama's approval ratings in Dick Cheney territory, the Dems need something to rally around, something that makes the other side look monstrous.

Say hello to income inequality.

How dumb does one have to be, to buy into this. No one likes the fact that there are poor people out there who struggle. But here is what most liberals cannot seem to grasp...one person's wealth does not cause another person's poverty. Wealth is not finite, it's not like a pizza. If Oprah Winfrey earns another million today, that does not mean there's a million less for the rest of us to scrounge for.

The solution to income inequality isn't to drag wealthy people down. The solution is giving poor people the tools they need to climb the ladder.

Our country declared 'war on poverty' 50 years ago. Since then, we have spent trillions fighting poverty, and the percentage of people living in poverty hasn't changed much. Why? Because for most poor people, their poverty isn't caused by a lack of money (the lack of money is the outcome, not the cause). Their poverty is caused by their own behavior, abilities, and priorities. You do not solve that by taking from those who have wealth.

i really don't like the way this argument is framed by the left...namely, that conservatives care less about the poor than liberals. There are studies that show that conservatives donate more time and money to charity than liberals do, and when you consider how each side views religion, that makes intuitive sense.

Finally, when the left talks about how unfair income inequality is, the boogeyman is ALWAYS a corporate CEO. The left never seems to care about actors or singers who are jillionaires. That tells me that wealth is OK, as long as it comes from a source that is left-leaning?

It's absurd. Yet somehow, it works.
Your forgetting that , more importantly to Liberals is the inequality of pay based on gender. Without poor people who the hell would vote for Democrats.....

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Old 02-11-2014, 07:53 PM   #23
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OK, since you clearly care about the workers, Spence....based on that data I showed, please explain to all the Wal-Mart employees reading this, why they should give a sh*t about what the CEO makes?

Clearly, the CEO's are not taking a meaningful amount of money away from the rank-and-file. So why demonize, or atempt to blame, the CEOs? Spence, you tell me, how much intellectual honesty is there, in demonizing the CEOs?

Clearly, the CEO compensation is not to blame for anyone else's angst.

Good luck making that wrong!

If my statement is something a board member would make, as opposed to a community activist...maybe that's because the board member is rooted in the real world and driven by common sense, whereas the community activist is an ignorant, hysterical liar?

If you were representing the employees, what possible response could you have?

There are thousands of jobs at Wal-Mart that pay a comfortable wage. Instead of being so goddamn jealous of those people, how about learning from their example and doing what they did?

Easy? Hell, no. Within reach for most of us? Hell, yes.

The Occupy Wall Street crowd wants it given to them. It doesn't work that way.
Just give the Walmart workers their .007514705882353 / hr raise and end it......

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Old 02-11-2014, 08:06 PM   #24
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Old 02-12-2014, 08:55 AM   #25
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Just give the Walmart workers their .007514705882353 / hr raise and end it......
Yes, that will allow all the Walmart stockboys to buy a summer home on Nantucket.

This is the liberal agenda - give poor people enough to survive, but not what they need to get ahead and be self sufficient. Because once people become self sufficient...they are less likely to vote 'Democrat'.
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Old 02-12-2014, 09:24 AM   #26
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Yes, that will allow all the Walmart stockboys to buy a summer home on Nantucket.

This is the liberal agenda - give poor people enough to survive, but not what they need to get ahead and be self sufficient. Because once people become self sufficient...they are less likely to vote 'Democrat'.

Yup, the Democrats are worried more that female CEO's are not paid as much as their male counterparts than whether or not poor people make move up the ladder. Without poor people Dems have no base. Obama's Executive order to raise the minimum wage on government jobs isn't helping people that work at the Walmarts, McDonalds or Dunkin Donuts in this country. He doesn't give a rats ass about them.

All he cares about is hooking up illegals anyway he can, and playing golf. He is an idiot.
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Old 02-12-2014, 09:47 AM   #27
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Yup, the Democrats are worried more that female CEO's are not paid as much as their male counterparts than whether or not poor people make move up the ladder. Without poor people Dems have no base. Obama's Executive order to raise the minimum wage on government jobs isn't helping people that work at the Walmarts, McDonalds or Dunkin Donuts in this country. He doesn't give a rats ass about them.

All he cares about is hooking up illegals anyway he can, and playing golf. He is an idiot.
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You bring up a good point, something I think about often...the liberal solution to poverty is to give these people a little bit of money - enough to keep them alive, but not the tools they need to lift themselves out of poverty.

All of the available empirical evidence suggests that this does not work, and in the case of the extinction of the black family, you can make a very compelling case that these cash payments actually make things worse, by providing a financial incentive for self-destructive bahavior (unwed teemage moms qualify for more welfare than married teenage moms, so teenage moms elect not to get married).

Do the liberals know this is the effect of their policies? Is it the intended effect? Or do they not bother to see the havoc they have wrought?

It's like Social Security and Medicare...any honest person who took 5th grade arithmetic knows that those plans are not sustainable. Yet when Paul Ryan says that out loud, liberals make a commercial of him pushing an old lady off a cliff. Do the liberals really believe that Ryan actually wants to hurt old people and poor people? Do liberals really believe that entitlement programs are not headed for disaster?

It's hard to know what they think, because when you bring these things up, they yell at you for being a racist, sexist, intolerant, anti-immigration, homophobic hate monger who is waginbg war on women.
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Old 02-12-2014, 10:05 AM   #28
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the bottom line is that the GOP has no balls...they proved that yesterday when voting
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Old 02-12-2014, 10:29 AM   #29
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the bottom line is that the GOP has no balls...they proved that yesterday when voting
It's hard to have balls when every TV station except one, will call you every name in the book for simply stating methematical facts out loud. Is it better to compromise and win elections, or stick to your guns and lose? I don't know. What I know is that in our lifetimes, we will reap the whirlwind for not fixing entitlement programs, and the fallout will be so bad, I predict everyone will see that the liberals were 100% wrong, and the conservatives were 100% right.
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Old 02-12-2014, 12:17 PM   #30
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It's hard to have balls when every TV station except one, will call you every name in the book for simply stating methematical facts out loud.

Isn't that exactly the time when balls are needed. You don't need balls when the majority agree with you. It is easier to steam roll a ball-less opponent if your opposition is prone to timidity rather than courage. I can understand occasional retreats against overwhelming odds. But if the retreats are constant, and courage is usually only a brief show before the ultimate cave, you are eventually seen as ball-less, untrustworthy, and not deserving of respect. Recovering from that may be more difficult than overcoming a majority bias against you.

Maybe the "establishment" Republicans are copying George Washington's tactic of retreating from overwhelming odds in order to maintain a fighting force, but his army did actually fight, and it was vicious, deadly battle, and they inflicted great damage to the British even in retreat. And they did not cower either from well funded Tory opinions and opposition nor threats from the Crown. And they did win a number of battles before the final one. It was difficult to maintain morale in the troops against the lack of funding, food and clothing, disease, overwhelming odds, the lack of support from half or more of the populace. And it was, as well, difficult to keep the faith of that portion of the populace who were for the revolution. But a basic morale, and hope, was maintained by a vigorous leadership which refused to compromise its goals and principles and was able to forcefully and inspiringly articulate those goals and principles.

If that Revolutionary tactic is being employed, it is a dangerous ploy. Washington sought to take advantage of whatever opening was available to win battles. To turn a tide, or gain a momentum. And he never allowed his troops to cut and run. He inspired them with the strength of his character, and he punished them for betrayal. If he had shown weakness, lack of character, was dull and uninspiring, the revolution would have been crushed very early on. Insofar as the Republican leadership appears to be weak, without the inspirational character needed to achieve its goals, nor, even a clear definition of what those goals are, cut and run tactics only erode whatever confidence the base has.

Abandoning all battles and skirmishes for fear of media disapproval in order to wait for the final big battle--rather to wait for the big collapse of support for Democrats because of the public's hate for the ACA--might "work," or might fail miserably. The Repubs, if that is there plan, better start fighting deep and hard right now to attack what little opening they have left after abandoning opportunities because of fear. Obama keeps putting off the ultimate effects of his health care plan until after elections. If they don't attack hard and fast NOW against his unconstitutional power to do so, their ploy of instigating public outrage against the Dems because of the ACA will dribble down the same drain of failed retreats they have shown for the past five years.


Is it better to compromise and win elections, or stick to your guns and lose? I don't know. What I know is that in our lifetimes, we will reap the whirlwind for not fixing entitlement programs, and the fallout will be so bad, I predict everyone will see that the liberals were 100% wrong, and the conservatives were 100% right.
Yes, that pyrrhic victory is visible on the horizon of failed strategies and lack of principled courage.

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