Really Rich Guys at Davos Getting Nervous

Cal88
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dajo9 said:

Cal88 is part if the con. If you are successful then you can't really be for change. If you aren't successful then you aren't successful and can't make change. He's the same guy who posted a YouTube video a few weeks ago about Waters that was a lie.

His whole agenda is to support oligarchs like Trump and Putin.

Lulz, your excuse about Maxine Waters not knowing the difference between Crimea with Korea was so lame it wasn't worth my time to point out how silly it was.

I don't often respond to your dense, paranoid and often xenophobic personal attacks because like some other prolific posters here your judgment went completely out he door in November 2016, assuming you did have some critical faculties before the elections. But if you'd like I can take 10 min later this week to nail you to the cross for that kind weak and deluded argumentation.
Cal88
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blungld said:

blungld said:

Cal88 said:

The main way to control the masses is to make them believe that the other half in this Hegelian left-right dialectic is absolute evil, and the root cause of all their problems. This thread and your post above is a perfect illustration of this.

You guys are also deluded to think that a career politician like Maxine who lives in a $5 million mansion is going to take on the Wall Street oligarchy.


So let me understand your point, the policies she wants to put in place are less important than any perceived hypocrisy? And if someone has benefitted from a system they are not allowed to be critical or want to change it or to have empathy for those who have not benefitted from it? And if she has a nice house, then every critical analysis of the current economic conditions in America are wrong, and there is nothing to consider in looking at changing tax policy, election reform, national health care, education, etc...we shouldn't even discuss it and you shouldn't even consider if the left have some valid concerns because she has a nice house.

I have led a very successful life and have all the fruits of the capitalist system, and yet I think it is a sham and completely unjust and agree in taxing income and wealth at much higher rates, and I don't believe for a second the propaganda the rich declare to sound smart, generous, and as if they hold mysterious wisdom the poor do not understand (If I am rich, you will do a little better too, get it?).

The simple truth is that most rich people lack empathy and their greed has no limit and that's often exactly why they are rich. And so unfortunately they have to be controlled by government because they won't control themselves. But of course, I'm not Pro-Life, I just actually give a sh&t about other people actually having a life worth living and see every person as just as worthy of that life as me.
So, no response Cal88?
Thanks for the well-formulated questions, will respond to this and other constructive questions above when I get a bit of time off.
blungld
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Cal88 said:

sycasey said:

oski003 said:

sycasey said:

Oh by the way, this claim about Maxine Waters living in a $5 million mansion is probably false, almost certainly exaggerated.

https://www.truthorfiction.com/poor-maxine-waters-mansion/

That was the first link that came up when I Googled "Maxine Waters mansion," so this wasn't hard to research. Cal88, are we making these arguments to actually reach a greater understanding about an issue or is it just to "win" the argument, no matter what?




How come the link in your link lists the home as being worth 4.95 million? Did someone hack it? This doesn't make sense...

https://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/549-S-Lucerne-Blvd_Los-Angeles_CA_90020_M18680-51471


That's a fair question. I'm not sure. My guess is that they're quoting stats from the time the claim was made, which are no longer reflected there now (California real estate having a tendency to gain value rapidly, which is also one of the points raised in the article).

Hah, I would have expected this kind of baseless, mean-spirited attack from other posters on here Sy, you really should have done a bit better job of not trusting fake news/so-called fact-checking spin peddlers.

I guess it's harder to be suspicious of content that reinforces one's monochromatic world views. You look at Snopes for example, and they deliberately lie and mislead about professional protestor and serial liar Nathan Philips stating that he was a honorably discharged Vietnam vet. Philips stated in a video: "I'm a Vietnam Vet. I served in Marine Corps 72 to 76. I got discharged May 5, 1976. I got honorable discharge and one of the boxes shows peacetime or, what my box says is that I was **in theater**. I don't talk much about my Vietnam times."). He was actually a dishonorably discharged fridge repairman stationed in Kansas.

Call88, why do you have such sensitive radar for the facts & hypocrisy when it aligns with your narrative, and a complete blindness to the avalanche of misinformation and propaganda when it does not? Do you see these questions as just partisan bickering, are you actually unable to see that you do this?

Nathan Philips military service or lack there of has almost zero bearing on our national debate and policy. While lies by the President are of huge consequence. Yet, what gets more scrutiny from you?

"The Bear will not quilt, the Bear will not dye!"
dajo9
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Cal88 said:

dajo9 said:

Cal88 is part if the con. If you are successful then you can't really be for change. If you aren't successful then you aren't successful and can't make change. He's the same guy who posted a YouTube video a few weeks ago about Waters that was a lie.

His whole agenda is to support oligarchs like Trump and Putin.

Lulz, your excuse about Maxine Waters not knowing the difference between Crimea with Korea was so lame it wasn't worth my time to point out how silly it was.

I don't often respond to your dense, paranoid and often xenophobic personal attacks because like some other prolific posters here your judgment went completely out he door in November 2016, assuming you did have some critical faculties before the elections. But if you'd like I can take 10 min later this week to nail you to the cross for that kind weak and deluded argumentation.
The point was about Waters mispeaking between Crimea and Korea? The video you posted was even dumber than I imagined. And like the comments above about Philips, completely irrelevant except for propaganda purposes. You aren't fooling anybody.
sycasey
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blungld said:

Cal88 said:

sycasey said:

oski003 said:

sycasey said:

Oh by the way, this claim about Maxine Waters living in a $5 million mansion is probably false, almost certainly exaggerated.

https://www.truthorfiction.com/poor-maxine-waters-mansion/

That was the first link that came up when I Googled "Maxine Waters mansion," so this wasn't hard to research. Cal88, are we making these arguments to actually reach a greater understanding about an issue or is it just to "win" the argument, no matter what?




How come the link in your link lists the home as being worth 4.95 million? Did someone hack it? This doesn't make sense...

https://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/549-S-Lucerne-Blvd_Los-Angeles_CA_90020_M18680-51471


That's a fair question. I'm not sure. My guess is that they're quoting stats from the time the claim was made, which are no longer reflected there now (California real estate having a tendency to gain value rapidly, which is also one of the points raised in the article).

Hah, I would have expected this kind of baseless, mean-spirited attack from other posters on here Sy, you really should have done a bit better job of not trusting fake news/so-called fact-checking spin peddlers.

I guess it's harder to be suspicious of content that reinforces one's monochromatic world views. You look at Snopes for example, and they deliberately lie and mislead about professional protestor and serial liar Nathan Philips stating that he was a honorably discharged Vietnam vet. Philips stated in a video: "I'm a Vietnam Vet. I served in Marine Corps 72 to 76. I got discharged May 5, 1976. I got honorable discharge and one of the boxes shows peacetime or, what my box says is that I was **in theater**. I don't talk much about my Vietnam times."). He was actually a dishonorably discharged fridge repairman stationed in Kansas.

Call88, why do you have such sensitive radar for the facts & hypocrisy when it aligns with your narrative, and a complete blindness to the avalanche of misinformation and propaganda when it does not? Do you see these questions as just partisan bickering, are you actually unable to see that you do this?

Nathan Philips military service or lack there of has almost zero bearing on our national debate and policy. While lies by the President are of huge consequence. Yet, what gets more scrutiny from you?
Because it's as I said: it's just about "winning the argument." It's not about gaining any greater understanding of an issue. He just wants to find a point where he is "right" and you are "wrong" and hammer that as much as possible. If you prove he was wrong on that point, he'll just move to another one.
Unit2Sucks
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Wow I'm late to the party. I have no idea why Okaydo is quoting the Dodgers manager but out of principal I would obviously have to disagree with him. At least he will never win a World Series (with the Doyers).


Second - I will leave you all with these quotes from Slaughterhouse Five:

Quote:

To quote the American humorist Kin Hubbard, 'It ain't no disgrace to be poor, but might as well be.' It is in fact a crime for an American to be poor, even though America is a nation of poor. Every other nation has folk traditions of men who were poor but extremely wise and virtuous, and therefore more estimable than anyone with power and gold. No such tales are told by the American poor. They mock themselves and glorify their betters. The meanest eating or drinking establishment, owned by a man who is himself poor, is very likely to have a sign on its wall asking this cruel question: 'if you're so smart why ain't you rich?' There will also be an American flag no larger than a child's hand glued to a lollipop stick and flying from the cash register.


Quote:

Americans, like human beings everywhere, believe many things that are obviously untrue. Their most destructive untruth is that it is very easy for any American to make money. They will not acknowledge how in fact hard money is to come by, and therefore, those who have no money blame and blame and blame themselves. This inward blame has been a treasure for the rich and powerful, who have had to do less for their poor, publicly and privately, than any other ruling class since, say, Napoleonic times.




okaydo
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lol

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2019/01/howard-schultz-herbert-hoover.html
bearister
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Inequality is so bad, even Fox News anchors decry capitalism

https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/feb/02/inequality-fox-news-tucker-carlson-capitalism
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blungld
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Republicans have forgotten what it is they hate about "socialism." The Red Scare was about Communism and state-ownership of private property, not fear of stealing wealth from the upper class. America was always intended to be a place that escaped the tyranny of a monarch and class system.

Wealth redistribution and taxes for the common good is not Communism, it is the bedrock for ensuring opportunity and Democracy. It is entirely American--but the wealthy don't want you to see that. They want you to hate the word socialism so that nobody ever realizes their injustices and ways they have gamed the system. They stole from all of us, and hide it with "right wing" ideology. But you can have socialism and capitalism co-exist (we already do). You can have collective excellence. You can have the stakeholders in a company be the employees and not a disinterested investor class--and the fiduciary responsibility of executives to serve the consumers and public good rather than profit to share holders. You can have a thriving economy that works for the middle class.

Don't believe that wanting fairness is "leftist" and anti-American. That is a lie.

Nobody really gives up on ambition or wanting to be an entrepreneur or being an American because that would mean making the life of more people better as opposed to just their own--or is only motivated by having 50 million net worth instead of 45 million net worth. And if that person exists, they are insane, or the product of a sick society.

The moral failing is a person who is comfortable eating steak, while their neighbors starve. Not the starving person who says let's change the system so that fewer people eat steak, but we all get a meal.

"The Bear will not quilt, the Bear will not dye!"
golden sloth
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I read an interesting interview this morning, which touches on some of the same themes (please, note I don't agree with everything said during the interview, but believe they are points worth considering):


Quote:

But it's not a typical defense of millennials. Harris, who is a millennial (as am I), makes no attempt to undercut the complaints of baby boomers namely, that millennials are anxious, spoiled, and narcissistic.

Instead, he asks: What made millennials the way they are? Why are they so burned out? Why are they having fewer kids? Why are they getting married later? Why are they obsessed with efficiency and technology?

And his answer, in so many words, is the economy. Millennials, he argues, are bearing the brunt of the economic damage wrought by late-20th-century capitalism. All these insecurities and the material conditions that produced them have thrown millennials into a state of perpetual panic. If "generations are characterized by crises," as Harris argues, then ours is the crisis of extreme capitalism.
As an aside, I reject the claim that people choosing not getting married or have children is a bad thing or a sign of degenerative behavior.

Quote:

Sean Illing
The key variable you emphasize in the book is the divergence between productivity and compensation or the fact that people are working harder while wages aren't going up. Why is this such an important data point for you? And how has it altered the day-to-day life of millennials?

Malcolm Harris
I think it's crucial. Marxists would refer to this as an increase in the rate of exploitation, meaning workers are working longer, harder, and more efficiently but are receiving less and less in return. I reference Marxism here (even though his name never appears in the book) because conventional American economists don't really have a term for this it's not something they like to talk about because they don't recognize that capitalism is built on exploitation.

But it is a defining shift in our society, and millennials have been forced to grow up and enter the labor market under these dynamics, and we've internalized this drive to produce as much as we can for as little as possible. That means we take on the costs of training ourselves (including student debt), we take on the costs of managing ourselves as freelancers or contract workers, because that's what capital is looking for.

And because wages are stagnant and exploitation is up, competition among workers is up too. As individuals, the best thing we can do for ourselves is work harder, learn to code, etc. But we're not individuals, not as far as bosses are concerned. The vast majority of us are (replaceable) workers, and by working harder for less, we're undermining ourselves as a class. It's a vicious cycle.



Quote:

Sean Illing
Class exploitation is hardly new, right? That's as old as capitalism. What is it about this moment that seems different to you?

Malcolm Harris
It's a matter of scale, right? The levels of inequality we're seeing now are pretty extraordinary. One of the big things I allude to in the book is this question of human capital. The burdens of capital production have been shifted more and more onto workers and their families they get fewer benefits and less support. The state helped with many of these things in the 1960s and '70s, and before that, corporations actually picked up a lot of the slack.

But now you have individual workers, individual students, taking on this burden of making themselves into the workers the economy needs them to be and taking on all the expenses of that. Which is why so many millennials are drowning in so much student debt, while at the same time their educations are becoming less valuable in the market, which is hyper-competitive, heavily pro-business, and constantly changing.


https://www.vox.com/2019/2/4/18185383/millennials-capitalism-burned-out-malcolm-harris
sycasey
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Those dastardly schools, teaching that "fairness" crap!

blungld
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sycasey said:

Those dastardly schools, teaching that "fairness" crap!


Silly humans, life is so much better when just a few special people have very very special lives. If you're fair, then how does anyone know who the special people are?

"The Bear will not quilt, the Bear will not dye!"
golden sloth
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sycasey said:

Those dastardly schools, teaching that "fairness" crap!


I would like to note that this is was cut short before the anchors had the opportunity to respond, therefore this very well may have been cropped and taken out of context. The anchors, as of yet, did not say teaching fairness in schools should be stopped, or anything of that sort.
Another Bear
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Okay then...try this one from a place that checks facts, written word, Rolling Stone.

Fox News Laments That Schoolchildren Are Being Taught Fairness

Quote:

Bewildered by polls that show Americans want to tax the rich, the network blames the Golden Rule

Quote:

The idea of fairness has been promoted in our schools for a long time," Payne explained. "We're starting to see kids who grew up with this nothing of fairness above all. Now they're becoming voting age, and they're bringing this ideology with them."

...

While conservatives lament that the nation's youth has been taught to value fairness over unmitigated greed, they're also pushing for public schools to offer Bible classes. They better throw in a caveat to make sure educators skip over all that pesky Jesus stuff, lest their children grow up to be Democrats.


YMMV. Have a nice day. Enjoy the sunshine. Smoke two joints. That's what she said.
sycasey
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golden sloth said:

I would like to note that this is was cut short before the anchors had the opportunity to respond, therefore this very well may have been cropped and taken out of context. The anchors, as of yet, did not say teaching fairness in schools should be stopped, or anything of that sort.
The guy who makes the comment is a guest on this particular show, but is also a Fox host himself (on Fox Business, which is like the minor league Fox News).

This link seems to have a fuller transcript (IMO it doesn't really change the context of his comments very much):

https://www.mediamatters.org/video/2019/02/05/foxs-charles-payne-blames-popularity-taxing-rich-fairness-being-promoted-our-schools-long-time/222760

Quote:

CHARLES PAYNE (FOX HOST): The idea of fairness has been promoted in our schools for a long time. And we're starting to see kids who grew up in this notion that fairness above all and now they are becoming voting age and they are bringing this ideology with them. In the real world, though, you have places, very progressive states like in New York where you have the governor saying, hey, 46 percent of -- the 1 percent pay 46 percent of the taxes. Last year in California, the governor, you know, [former Gov. Jerry] Brown said the 1 percent pay 48 percent of the taxes. Let's not go back to that well anymore. So there's a practical, realistic idea about this and there's the ideological, hey I'm going to -- it's the right thing to do. It doesn't work. But I will say capitalism has to do a better job defending itself. I'll give you a great story though. Yesterday, a company received a takeover bid, $11 billion, Ultimate Software. What I loved about it: All their employees have stock. Every one. 1,600 instant millionaires. So this -- these are the kind of things that I think you got to hear more and see more from capitalism --

BILL HEMMER (CO-HOST): Sell the story.

PAYNE: -- to curb this wave, because this is an avalanche that's coming. And all the experts who come on TV and say, "Eh, it will never get voted in," I'm looking at them like, you know, sometimes you've got to get off Park Avenue, my man, because it is coming.
Further response from Payne on Twitter (again, IMO this is the standard trickle-down Reagan conservative line that doesn't work so well with a generation that has seen less opportunity since they first entered the workforce):

golden sloth
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sycasey said:

golden sloth said:

I would like to note that this is was cut short before the anchors had the opportunity to respond, therefore this very well may have been cropped and taken out of context. The anchors, as of yet, did not say teaching fairness in schools should be stopped, or anything of that sort.
The guy who makes the comment is a guest on this particular show, but is also a Fox host himself (on Fox Business, which is like the minor league Fox News).

This link seems to have a fuller transcript (IMO it doesn't really change the context of his comments very much):

https://www.mediamatters.org/video/2019/02/05/foxs-charles-payne-blames-popularity-taxing-rich-fairness-being-promoted-our-schools-long-time/222760

Quote:

CHARLES PAYNE (FOX HOST): The idea of fairness has been promoted in our schools for a long time. And we're starting to see kids who grew up in this notion that fairness above all and now they are becoming voting age and they are bringing this ideology with them. In the real world, though, you have places, very progressive states like in New York where you have the governor saying, hey, 46 percent of -- the 1 percent pay 46 percent of the taxes. Last year in California, the governor, you know, [former Gov. Jerry] Brown said the 1 percent pay 48 percent of the taxes. Let's not go back to that well anymore. So there's a practical, realistic idea about this and there's the ideological, hey I'm going to -- it's the right thing to do. It doesn't work. But I will say capitalism has to do a better job defending itself. I'll give you a great story though. Yesterday, a company received a takeover bid, $11 billion, Ultimate Software. What I loved about it: All their employees have stock. Every one. 1,600 instant millionaires. So this -- these are the kind of things that I think you got to hear more and see more from capitalism --

BILL HEMMER (CO-HOST): Sell the story.

PAYNE: -- to curb this wave, because this is an avalanche that's coming. And all the experts who come on TV and say, "Eh, it will never get voted in," I'm looking at them like, you know, sometimes you've got to get off Park Avenue, my man, because it is coming.
Further response from Payne on Twitter (again, IMO this is the standard trickle-down Reagan conservative line that doesn't work so well with a generation that has seen less opportunity since they first entered the workforce):


I believe the biggest lie in America is the idea that those that "have" have "earned" and those that "have not" didn't "work hard enough".
Another Bear
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Well, well...yeah the uber rich should be scared sh*tless...because it's coming. And all they really had to do was don't be completely greedy motherf*ckers and let people made a decent living and not worry about stuff like healthcare, making ends meet...but NO.....

First Cucker Tarlson bemoans capitalism...and today the press just went at it.

WHO'S REALLY AFRAID OF SOCIALISM?

Like it or not, Mr. President, many Americans embrace democratic socialism

Opinion: Why the insult of 'socialism' doesn't have the zing it once did

Sam Donaldson Lauds Socialism, U.S. 'Getting to Be a Better Country'

For fcck sake...Sam Donaldson? Okay he didn't call for socialism but refuting Dotard's SOTU...stuff like single payer. Right wing rag news report there. Video in link.

Here's the thing, we're still going to have all the first amendment stuff and corporations won't be going away...but holy hell...maybe they can start paying their fair share.

YMMV. Have a nice day. Enjoy the sunshine. Smoke two joints. That's what she said.
bearister
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"The 400 richest Americans the top 0.00025 percent of the population have tripled their share of the nation's wealth since the early 1980s, according to a new working paper on wealth inequality by University of California at Berkeley economist Gabriel Zucman," the WashPost's Christopher Ingram reports.

Zucman, who advised Elizabeth Warren on her wealth tax, finds that "U.S. wealth concentration seems to have returned to levels last seen during the Roaring Twenties."
"Those 400 Americans own more of the country's riches than the 150 million adults in the bottom 60 percent of the wealth distribution, who saw their share of the nation's wealth fall from 5.7 percent in 1987 to 2.1 percent in 2014, according to the World Inequality Database maintained by Zucman and others." Axios
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blungld
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sycasey said:

Further response from Payne on Twitter (again, IMO this is the standard trickle-down Reagan conservative line that doesn't work so well with a generation that has seen less opportunity since they first entered the workforce):


That's the kind of stuff that plsses me off.

He tries to falsely position the Liberal argument as though we want the same RESULT for everyone no matter the effort or ability, rather than the same OPPORTUNITY. That is just such a crock.

He conveniently will not acknowledge any unfairness in the system. As if we all start at the exact same place, have the exact same assets & access, and it is only effort and talent that determines wealth. Again, what a crock.

He believes paying a little more taxes to have better education and infrastructure is a catastrophe tantamount to stealing. As if society doing good for society is selfish, but him doing good for him is not. Again, what a crock.

The hoarding of wealth is not the goal of capitalism. Remember, people like him say it is about competition (but no competition for the rich, shield them with tax policy and monopolies and bailouts, etc).

To hear these people talk, it is as they believe there are magical entrepreneur people who are special and better than everyone else and the only ones who actually think and work and who must be rewarded in such disproportion or they will stop providing for us all, maybe even become like the poor lazy dumb people. It's not only offensive, it's so obviously amoral and self-serving. Just crocks all around for the "don't notice that I am stealing from you as I accuse you of stealing from me" crowd.

"The Bear will not quilt, the Bear will not dye!"
82gradDLSdad
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Dumb question: why can't one piece of the income inequality solution be to put some limits on how much upper management can make compared to their workers? And include in that just how much of the company's profit have to go to wages and not just share holders? If we are going to get the government involved in taxing the wealthy why bring the money into the government where it will be hard to track. Why not split it up right at the source? My view is shaped by my 30 year career at the phone company where the CEO now makes close to $30 million in annual compensation while the average worker makes little more than I did. The board of directors model does nothing but make this situation worse.
Unit2Sucks
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blungld said:


To hear these people talk, it is as they believe there are magical entrepreneur people who are special and better than everyone else and the only ones who actually think and work and who must be rewarded in such disproportion or they will stop providing for us all, maybe even become like the poor lazy dumb people. It's not only offensive, it's so obviously amoral and self-serving. Just crocks all around for the "don't notice that I am stealing from you as I accuse you of stealing from me" crowd.

Honestly, there are magical entrepreneur people that are special and better at generating wealth than others. I've seen plenty of companies that wouldn't succeed without the disproportionate impact of their founder and it does lead to wealth for many. There are a few famous examples (Apple, Tesla) but there are plenty of less heralded businesses where the same is true.

This isn't to say that these people don't need the government to provide a skilled workforce and infrastructure, but it's silly to believe that without special entrepreneurs that everything will just be fine. Most people (myself included) are not job creators and I do worry that the backlash to what is currently a system that is clearly out of whack might do too much to discourage job creators. We need a balance between corrupt oligarchy and regressive socialism.
sycasey
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Unit2Sucks said:

This isn't to say that these people don't need the government to provide a skilled workforce and infrastructure, but it's silly to believe that without special entrepreneurs that everything will just be fine. Most people (myself included) are not job creators and I do worry that the backlash to what is currently a system that is clearly out of whack might do too much to discourage job creators. We need a balance between corrupt oligarchy and regressive socialism.
My take on this is that we are currently nowhere close to one extreme and WAY TOO CLOSE to the other extreme, so let's take the socialist route for a little while. There's a long way to go before we start actually discouraging entrepreneurship.
Another Bear
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The U.S. pay scale system has been gamed to favor executive compensation and screw everyone else. This is driven by crazy BOD who demand profitablility over all else. No other country has that disparity but then most countries don't favor short term profits over long term growth and stability. I think the CEO of Toyota, one of the largest carmakers on earth, makes about $2m a year...and for GOD SAKE, he's the grandson of the founder. Compare that to U.S. based corporations. GM's CEO makes $20m/yr, and she is in the mid-range.

I don't think you can mandate lower salaries but you can do stuff like tax the F out of it. Tax stock and options and kill the loopholes.
YMMV. Have a nice day. Enjoy the sunshine. Smoke two joints. That's what she said.
Unit2Sucks
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Another Bear said:



I don't think you can mandate lower salaries but you can do stuff like tax the F out of it. Tax stock and options and kill the loopholes.
Options do get taxed - as an option holder I sure wish I could get some of 'dem capital gains, but I'm staring down ordinary income. Even when you have cap gains treatment on stock, you don't get any help in CA which treats it all the same.

I would like to see stock options treated like capital gains and think that perhaps capital gains should be progressive and wealth based (would be more fair than income based).

I don't disagree with Sycasey and others that we aren't close to the bad socialism outcome at this point, but that doesn't mean that I can't attempt to be intellectually honest about the demonization of the 1%. It's not a monolithic group and they aren't all Scrooge McDuck's diving into a swimming pool of gold coins for fun.
blungld
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Unit2Sucks said:

blungld said:


To hear these people talk, it is as they believe there are magical entrepreneur people who are special and better than everyone else and the only ones who actually think and work and who must be rewarded in such disproportion or they will stop providing for us all, maybe even become like the poor lazy dumb people. It's not only offensive, it's so obviously amoral and self-serving. Just crocks all around for the "don't notice that I am stealing from you as I accuse you of stealing from me" crowd.

Honestly, there are magical entrepreneur people that are special and better at generating wealth than others. I've seen plenty of companies that wouldn't succeed without the disproportionate impact of their founder and it does lead to wealth for many. There are a few famous examples (Apple, Tesla) but there are plenty of less heralded businesses where the same is true.

This isn't to say that these people don't need the government to provide a skilled workforce and infrastructure, but it's silly to believe that without special entrepreneurs that everything will just be fine. Most people (myself included) are not job creators and I do worry that the backlash to what is currently a system that is clearly out of whack might do too much to discourage job creators. We need a balance between corrupt oligarchy and regressive socialism.
I don't quite know how to articulate a response. Yes, of course there are attributes that are exceptional in certain people that translate to leadership and innovation...but there are a lot more of these people than one would conclude when looking at the results of our society.

For every person who "succeeds" as an entrepreneur there are many more who do not. The reason for this isn't necessarily because they were better. There are so many factors that come into play, not the least of which is luck and that the market can only bear so many "successes." So while they are special, they are not as special as their compensation would/should indicate, or nearly as special as they themselves think they are (and then the resulting self-deification). Gladwell does a lot of cool writing on this subject.

Additionally, I think we can all agree that the ability to create a business doesn't mean that you are more special as human being than someone who can't (and maybe since so many of these capitalist republicans are pro-life, you'd think they would be pro-supporting life after birth too).

And I think we can also agree that even if they were more "special" in every sense of the word, that still does not mean that they should be compensated to the point where it is destructive to other people, and to the point where it is destructive to them as well. Being so wealthy that you no longer have any touch with "reality" messes people up. So we are in effect destroying our special people by turning them into freaks and moving them to extreme positions outside of our society. It is important for them to be connected and not isolated if they are going to create value for the whole.

But my biggest contention is that the argument that these people "deserve" what they get (and so hands off world) and that their role as "job creator" mandates extreme compensation (what they are allegedly worth) is entirely faulty.

1) This is too esoteric to go into in great detail, but money has no inherent value. It is a social conceptual agreement. It is from the start a social contract. The "deserving" is not inherent to any activity, it is only deserving unto the social contract that assigns value to things. So getting what one deserves always should reflect back to a consideration of your role in the social. I am not expressing this well, but there is no objective vale to your ownership of gold say, or selling stocks, it only has value in a market that is created by humans to have an economic system that works for a society. That system doesn't work when wealth is so unevenly distributed and therefore it is undeserving by the standard of a social contract. You "deserve" what fairly compensates you to play a role in the society for that society's greater good.

2) The ability to create jobs is great. Go ahead and get rich doing it, but don't make the BS argument that because you create jobs (you didn't actually create them by yourself by the way) there should be no limit to how much you earn. How many of those jobs are actually just part of the support network to give you more worth? Is this a pyramid scheme? What is your formula for each job created (deserve = X amount of compensation for each job created)? If there were such a formula, how many people would still be far far far exceeding the value of the jobs they have created? And, again, they didn't create them by themselves and they have already most likely been compensated for that job creation within the enterprise itself.

3) I entirely reject the thesis that if the job creators are not made wealthy there will be no incentive for them to make jobs. Most job creators are driven by either ego or an obsession with an idea. Gates didn't create Microsoft because of tax policy or estimated wealth, and if he knew he would never make a dime he would have still made Microsoft. The arguments for the need for mega-wealth are false arguments used to justify the inequality after the fact. They are not in fact the reason there are entrepreneurs. The wealth motivation actually more describes middle management and bean counters who are profit driven and do not have original thoughts. Greedy people who do not care about inequality will argue for inequality because they want to be rich, not because they think jobs will not be created and innovation will not be created--the people who make these arguments never would have created any way--they are in it for themself. Greed is not good. And greed is self interest, part of which is to convince other people that being greedy is actually good for the other people.

4) Any person who steps away from from working hard because he will "only" make 100 million instead of 200 million, is a sociopath and there are thousands who would step in and take their place to compete for that 100 million. Society doesn't lose if that person is only in it for the money. Again, the "they deserve it" argument is an after the fact rationalization and not in fact a description of the necessary condition for entrepreneurs, capitalism, and job creation, and no excuse not to tax and redistribute for the public good.

We can be a thriving economy, with innovation and job creation and rich people and still have a strong social connection with one another that limits inequality and provides education and health care for all. We need to stop believing the made up dichotomy that we have to choose between having really rich people who trickle down enough to us all that we should be grateful or else we will have red socialist bread lines of communist government control. The conversation needs to be turned around, it is the rich who need to feel shame about having too much and not caring for their fellow man, not the poor who need to feel shame for being "losers" in our society.

"The Bear will not quilt, the Bear will not dye!"
oski003
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Another Bear said:

The U.S. pay scale system has been gamed to favor executive compensation and screw everyone else. This is driven by crazy BOD who demand profitablility over all else. No other country has that disparity but then most countries don't favor short term profits over long term growth and stability. I think the CEO of Toyota, one of the largest carmakers on earth, makes about $2m a year...and for GOD SAKE, he's the grandson of the founder. Compare that to U.S. based corporations. GM's CEO makes $20m/yr, and she is in the mid-range.

I don't think you can mandate lower salaries but you can do stuff like tax the F out of it. Tax stock and options and kill the loopholes.


The Toyota Executive VP of sales makes 10 million a year.
Unit2Sucks
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blungld said:

Unit2Sucks said:

blungld said:

The conversation needs to be turned around, it is the rich who need to feel shame about having too much and not caring for their fellow man, not the poor who need to feel shame for being "losers" in our society.


Why should anyone feel shame? Who are you to decide how much is too much? Should Steve Jobs have been forced into retirement after he made "enough" on the Apple II? Would the world have been a better place if Jobs had been motivated by shame to cease working or motivated by greed (or whatever the heck motivates a guy like that) to create something?

While I think everyone can agree that capitalism without any human rights guide rails can take you to some pretty dark places - slavery, child labor and other forms of exploitation, etc. - that doesn't mean that capitalism should be extinguished.

I don't know what your professional background but mine has allowed me to see a number of great entrepreneurs at work and I've come to appreciate that there are some people who really can create something and when they do so it can have huge benefits for other people that go along for the ride. Most of the wealth in the bay area has accrued to people who have gone along for the ride. Obviously, some of those entrepreneurs are motivated purely by greed and have no interest in treating other people fairly, but there are plenty of others who are wired differently, who feel a responsibility to their customers, workforce and community, etc. Telling those people they should feel shame for having created something is not going to help this country get to where you want it to go.
TandemBear
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Unit2Sucks said "Who are you to decide how much is too much? "

How about when medical bills push families into bankruptcy?
How about when college tuition puts new graduates $200k + under water?
How about when school teachers are hired at $46k in Oakland, which won't even afford an average apartment?
How about when 2/3 of Americans are underfunded in retirement?
How about when 40% of Americans cannot come up with a $1,000 for an emergency?
How about when homelessness in America is reaching epidemic rates?
When 90% of post-'08 crash wealth creation goes to the top 10% of the population?

Or when the large number of other problems (mentioned above) face the vast majority of the American population? The list is long and growing.

So instead of deciding "how much is too much," we simply set marginal tax rates higher and higher as incomes rise. It isn't THAT hard to decide that $5M or $10M/year may be a good starting point, as would $50M, $100M, and upwards be good marginal tax rate step-ups. Same with wealth taxation. As someone in the media already mentioned, we already tax land wealth through property tax (which affects the poor and middle class much more than the wealthy already), why not ALL assets above a reasonable threshold? Not that hard to figure out.

I'm so happy to have read through this thread and the great arguments and rebuttals made. Makes me proud to know so many here understand the systematic problems with American prosperity. There may indeed be some hope!

But I'm of the sincere opinion that the root lies in our private funding of the electoral process. Unless we enact fundamental campaign finance reform and institute public elections, we are merely fighting the battles and losing the war (badly). As long as partisan money speaks loudest, we have no hope of righting the ship.

And just think how much more focused and efficient our elected (and appointed) officials would be if they didn't have to fundraise nonstop. How nice it would be that they weren't forced to place their top 10 or 20 donors on the top of the priority list when money no longer came from top donors. It simply came from some form of tax revenue. I'm sure there are myriad pitfalls and challenges, but wouldn't it be nice to put the tech industry's best on creating algorithms and other high tech solutions to this fundamental problem facing the country? I sure think so.
Unit2Sucks
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TandemBear - I don't disagree with a wealth tax but I do think that you will never make enough money from increasing marginal tax rates on income to offset the sort of spending that you are talking about. I'm not saying that the things you point out aren't issues, I'm saying that increasing income taxes will not even come close to making a dent.

Bill Gates recently said something similar.

Quote:

Gates also said that the world's wealthiest people only have a "rounding error" worth of actual income compared to their wealth they don't have a lot of salary, but instead sell stocks and other assets to raise cash, which isn't taxed as income anyway. The top 400 earners in the US are only paying something like a 20 percent tax rate, he pointed out. "It has nothing to do with the 39.6 percent marginal ordinary income rate. So it's a misfocus. If you focus on that, you're missing the picture."

But Gates spoke approvingly of a general wealth tax, the estate tax, and changes to Social Security in order to increase tax revenue. "But we can be more progressive, the estate tax and the tax on capital, the way the FICA and Social Security taxes work. We can be more progressive without really threatening income generation."



I do want to separately address the college debt issue. To me this is 100% based on flawed college admin and donor culture. There is some sort of toxic mix in the communities at top schools that makes them think they should resemble country clubs with ever nicer buildings and campuses that provide relatively little value to students. This in turn has trickled down throughout post-secondary education in an arms race to HGTV-ize the dorms, etc. There is no need for the growth in the cost of education to greatly exceed inflation. However, I don't think that means that education should be free for all. I think we should have great affordable public schools that provide low cost options with reasonable loans for people. I also would like to see more of a focus on practical educations. I don't have a ton of sympathy for a barista with a philosophy major complaining about being six figures in debt from his 4 years of summer camp at a liberal arts college where all he learned how to do was argue with people at a coffee shop.
blungld
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Unit2Sucks said:

blungld said:

Unit2Sucks said:

blungld said:

The conversation needs to be turned around, it is the rich who need to feel shame about having too much and not caring for their fellow man, not the poor who need to feel shame for being "losers" in our society.


Why should anyone feel shame? Who are you to decide how much is too much? Should Steve Jobs have been forced into retirement after he made "enough" on the Apple II? Would the world have been a better place if Jobs had been motivated by shame to cease working or motivated by greed (or whatever the heck motivates a guy like that) to create something?

While I think everyone can agree that capitalism without any human rights guide rails can take you to some pretty dark places - slavery, child labor and other forms of exploitation, etc. - that doesn't mean that capitalism should be extinguished.

I don't know what your professional background but mine has allowed me to see a number of great entrepreneurs at work and I've come to appreciate that there are some people who really can create something and when they do so it can have huge benefits for other people that go along for the ride. Most of the wealth in the bay area has accrued to people who have gone along for the ride. Obviously, some of those entrepreneurs are motivated purely by greed and have no interest in treating other people fairly, but there are plenty of others who are wired differently, who feel a responsibility to their customers, workforce and community, etc. Telling those people they should feel shame for having created something is not going to help this country get to where you want it to go.
You put a lot of words in my mouth. I didn't suggest that Jobs should retire or that he should be motivated by shame or that he shouldn't be wealthy.

But I think that our society has glorified individuals and their success to the point of creating mythology and "morality" that thinks nothing of total excess. I think it would be very healthy for us as a country to shift away from our reverence for displays of overabundant materialism. It's entirely possible to imagine a healthy society where a person living to extreme levels of opulence would be seen as selfish, childish, immature rather than an object of envy and something to emulate. Those perspectives are culture driven. Why not an ethos where after achieving wealth one looks forward to giving back and believes in the culture of community and paying back to society, rather than a culture of more is better, that is mine, let's use law/loopholes/offshore/accounting/nested corporations whatever it takes to keep as much money in my control as possible? If those practices were frowned upon rather than celebrated there would be a lot less of it. Society's values matter, and that is why Republicans work to win culture wars and re-write Christianity to create public approval for tax code that works against the interest of those who support it. That is a huge part of the game they play.

I too have worked with entrepreneurs and executives (founded my own successful businesses too). The shame is not in creating something of value, the shame should be in adding to income inequality and having an appetite for wealth at other's expense and that makes you a freak. I believe in capitalism, but we have a gamed system and there is no reason NOT to take the top end off of excess and put back into rebalancing and fixing the system.

I am not talking about 90% tax on people making 200K. I am talking about 50% tax only on the dollars above and beyond what any human reasonably needs (5 million a year?) and without being allowed to play games with how much you actually earn. This is NOT communism or extreme socialism, it's actually collective capitalism where we all believe in improving our economy and quality of life together as a shared enterprise rather than a dog eat dog hellish existence of each individual getting what they can.

I will say what I said elsewhere again: I believe that it is a moral failing to eat steak while neighbors starve, and that it is not a failing for the starving to say let's change the system so that fewer people eat steak but we all get a decent meal.

"The Bear will not quilt, the Bear will not dye!"
blungld
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TandemBear said:

Unit2Sucks said "Who are you to decide how much is too much? "

How about when medical bills push families into bankruptcy?
How about when college tuition puts new graduates $200k + under water?
How about when school teachers are hired at $46k in Oakland, which won't even afford an average apartment?
How about when 2/3 of Americans are underfunded in retirement?
How about when 40% of Americans cannot come up with a $1,000 for an emergency?
How about when homelessness in America is reaching epidemic rates?
When 90% of post-'08 crash wealth creation goes to the top 10% of the population?

Or when the large number of other problems (mentioned above) face the vast majority of the American population? The list is long and growing.

So instead of deciding "how much is too much," we simply set marginal tax rates higher and higher as incomes rise. It isn't THAT hard to decide that $5M or $10M/year may be a good starting point, as would $50M, $100M, and upwards be good marginal tax rate step-ups. Same with wealth taxation. As someone in the media already mentioned, we already tax land wealth through property tax (which affects the poor and middle class much more than the wealthy already), why not ALL assets above a reasonable threshold? Not that hard to figure out.

I'm so happy to have read through this thread and the great arguments and rebuttals made. Makes me proud to know so many here understand the systematic problems with American prosperity. There may indeed be some hope!

But I'm of the sincere opinion that the root lies in our private funding of the electoral process. Unless we enact fundamental campaign finance reform and institute public elections, we are merely fighting the battles and losing the war (badly). As long as partisan money speaks loudest, we have no hope of righting the ship.

And just think how much more focused and efficient our elected (and appointed) officials would be if they didn't have to fundraise nonstop. How nice it would be that they weren't forced to place their top 10 or 20 donors on the top of the priority list when money no longer came from top donors. It simply came from some form of tax revenue. I'm sure there are myriad pitfalls and challenges, but wouldn't it be nice to put the tech industry's best on creating algorithms and other high tech solutions to this fundamental problem facing the country? I sure think so.

Damn! If I didn't know better, I would have thought I wrote that. You articulated it better, but those are my thought exactly. I don't hear them too often. It makes me sad that we are conditioned into a world and society that tells us that these entirely compassionate and reasonable positions are naive, unrealistic, radical, dumb...anything to discredit them by the people who continue to exploit the system.

I 100% believe that election/campaign/lobby reform is the number one issue facing our country and else flows from that.

Many entrepreneurs support this thinking too, because they are smart and enlightened people capable of thinking outside the box. It's political hacks, middle/upper management, bean counters/nose-to-the-grindstone-when-do-I-get-mine/investment bankers, and financial leeches of all kinds that buy into the mentality of unmitigated wealth is a good thing.

"The Bear will not quilt, the Bear will not dye!"
blungld
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Unit2Sucks said:

TandemBear - I don't disagree with a wealth tax but I do think that you will never make enough money from increasing marginal tax rates on income to offset the sort of spending that you are talking about. I'm not saying that the things you point out aren't issues, I'm saying that increasing income taxes will not even come close to making a dent.
Wealth tax and changes to income tax will make a dent economically and politically by removing power and influence from one set of policy making. It will also create through investment/redistribution revitalized growth in middle class consumerism and small businesses. There is a whole crop of innovation waiting to happen if you have a less-debt encumbered, well-educated, non-crumbling infra-structured society that values each other and shows empathy and compassion for one another.

"The Bear will not quilt, the Bear will not dye!"
sycasey
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Unit2Sucks said:

I don't have a ton of sympathy for a barista with a philosophy major complaining about being six figures in debt from his 4 years of summer camp at a liberal arts college where all he learned how to do was argue with people at a coffee shop.
I do. Artists and philosophers bring benefits to society that are not easily measured by numbers.

I don't have a lot of sympathy for those who CHOSE to attend a more expensive college to get an education in philosophy that would not pay them much, but if it's to the point where the ONLY option to get a decent post-secondary education in the subject is to pay through the nose and go into massive debt (and I think it's pretty close these days, since even public universities are not cheap), then yeah, that does suck.
blungld
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sycasey said:

Unit2Sucks said:

I don't have a ton of sympathy for a barista with a philosophy major complaining about being six figures in debt from his 4 years of summer camp at a liberal arts college where all he learned how to do was argue with people at a coffee shop.

I have a ton of sympathy for those people who would have to live in a world where there was no sympathy for starving artists and everyone made the practical decision to only work in the financial sector and do things that "made sense" and there were no navel gazers contemplating the meaning of life and happening onto an original thought.

All great culture are remembered by their spreadsheets, right? Not the books, art, philosophy, and other non-productive elements of society. If my child ever said anything like what you wrote, I would feel like a failure as a parent. I pray she spends a few years discovering herself and has fond memories and no regrets of her time arguing philosophy in a coffee shop.

"The Bear will not quilt, the Bear will not dye!"
Unit2Sucks
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First, let me say this has been a really nice debate.

blungld - I don't think raising the marginal income tax rate to 50% for people above $5M or even $1M is unreasonable, but as noted above, I also don't think it will move the needle. It certainly won't pay for all the things TB is asking for. I take your point however about removing power and influence. Maybe we should tie tax rates to political influence. Koch Brothers should pay 99% tax, by way of example.

For me, the thought experiment gets really interesting where I ask myself how I feel about personal liberty in a world where the state is providing more an more benefits. Similar to how parents say "not when you are living under my roof" I start to think that if society is paying for someone's healthcare we should be able to stop them from smoking, eating twinkies, etc. Ditto when it comes to paying for college. If someone wants to sow their wild oats and study 14th century folklore, more power to them. If we are being asked to pay for it, I would prefer they learn a trade that more directly contributes to society. Maybe we need to expand the GE requirements to ensure our money is training and adequate modern workforce while still allowing people to pursue their passions.

I don't pretend to have the answers but I think there are a lot of questions that the "everything free for everyone" crowd doesn't seem to be asking.
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