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1 aagcobb  Wed, Sep 21, 2011 12:51:46pm

We have a consumer economy. That means lots of ordinary people need to make enough money to buy stuff. The big reason our economy is crippling along is not because the rich are afraid the big bad Kenyan socialist is going to take their money; they have made off like bandits since 2008. Its because tens of millions are unemployed and tens of millions more feel insecure in their jobs and their wages are stagnating so they can't spend.

2 Mad Prophet Ludwig  Wed, Sep 21, 2011 12:54:24pm

re: #1 aagcobb

We have a consumer economy. That means lots of ordinary people need to make enough money to buy stuff. The big reason our economy is crippling along is not because the rich are afraid the big bad Kenyan socialist is going to take their money; they have made off like bandits since 2008. Its because tens of millions are unemployed and tens of millions more feel insecure in their jobs and their wages are stagnating so they can't spend.

This is correct. Without a middle class that has money to spend the whole works gets gummed up. We already know that Keynesian economics is what is needed to get us out of a mess like this. It worked before and it would work now. However, by doing everything in their power to take more and more from an increasingly squeezed middle class the GOP are killing their own golden goose. They are not just parasites, but lethal parasites to the host.

3 researchok  Wed, Sep 21, 2011 1:02:10pm

*Adjusting helmet*

All true- but it isn't as if the 'wealthy' luxuriate. The top couple of percent do pay 40% of the federal taxes in this country while almost 50% pay no federal taxes.

I'm not arguing the points you make, LVQ- I'm just inserting a bit of what I believe is clarification.

Also, who are the wealthy? Does making more than 50k qualify as wealthy? Should the immigrant who works his butt off, saves his money and opens and nurtures a successful business be excoriated? Should the kid who works his way through school be penalized for his efforts and successes?

These are complex issues and there are inequities to be sure, but the 'us v them' notion only obfuscates the real issues.

4 (I Stand By What I Said Whatever It Was)  Wed, Sep 21, 2011 1:09:09pm

re: #3 researchok

almost 50% pay no federal taxes.

[Link: www.dailykos.com...]
[Link: www.tnr.com...]
[Link: www.politicususa.com...]

5 researchok  Wed, Sep 21, 2011 1:14:53pm

re: #4 000G

[Link: www.dailykos.com...]
[Link: www.tnr.com...]
[Link: www.politicususa.com...]

I said no federal taxes.

6 KingKenrod  Wed, Sep 21, 2011 1:24:20pm
What exactly do those people do that is rightfully worth some orders of magnitude more pay than that single mother who suffers through every day does to make ends meet? What is so indispensable about them?

They are willing to risk large amounts of money. For instance, they build a factory that employees people and builds a tax base. This is a function that can only be performed by wealthy investors (or the government).

They don't do it for altruistic reasons - they do it to make more money. Sometimes they succeed. Often they fail (Solyndra, for one recent example). That's what I mean by "risk".

7 Bob Levin  Wed, Sep 21, 2011 1:46:05pm

I'm not disputing that the wealth marbles have all rolled to one corner of the room, so to speak. I've used that metaphor before. I know it's also the trouble in Israel, and I'm not sure about the EU.

The question is what exactly do captialists do? Well, I've had friends who became some pretty remarkable capitalists, as we all will have at a certain point in life. What they do incredibly well is organize resources, bring together resources, they have a certain accuracy in spotting trends that will eventually become our future. They are also a little bit crazy, as in no one else would hire them, and if they are successful, they have an ear for wisdom--because they end up running their businesses on principles of wisdom. These are the guys that I know.

I don't know the old Robber Barons. These folks are not the Robber Barons.

I view it as a skill, just like anyone else's. One friend told me--'look, we do the same thing, but when I'm done, I walk away with about 2 million bucks and you get 70 bucks an hour. He was correct. Warren Buffet said, 'hey, I'm good a picking stocks, it happens to pay very well.' It's a rare skill. Done properly, it is a very rare skill indeed.

Neither Buffet, not my above mentioned friend would mind paying more taxes.

I don't think this is a GOP or Democratic problem. It certainly isn't in Israel. The problems are huge, and have been building for quite some time. If there is a need for deficit spending and raising taxes, then the projects need to be chosen wisely. Part of the difficulty with even this approach is that the lack of trade schools and union membership has greatly diminished the amount of workers who have the skills to perform the duties of this type of work.

Years ago, when Japan's economy was dominating the world (what Americans call dominating, meaning that Japan was the second strongest economy), the US sent business analysts to Japan to learn their secret. One analyst asked a Japanese counterpart, how long would it take for Americans to learn this attitude and worldview. The Japanese gentleman answered, 'about 4000 years'. Well, there were certainly structural flaws with Japan's economy, and we see them now. But the issue of historical character is quite relevant.

Historical character is not something that comes out of the ground. The US is very unique in that we have actual documents that say what we are about. Our history then plays into this and creates more. I think it's safe to say, we invent things. We invent things that change the way we do everything. We invent things that everyone needs, regardless of income. And when our imaginations run a little bit dry, our immigrants come in and pick up the slack.

What the capitalists need to do is get into this process once again. They've been involved recently with Silicon valley, but there needs to be more. We are not done feeling the ripple effects from the housing crisis.

There is one other aspect to the economic crisis, and that is speed. Historically, when there is an invention that increases the speed of capital, then the economy prospers. This can happen when there is a lack of important inventions. It can't happen now. Capital is moving at the speed of light. That's it. It can't go any faster.

8 Bob Levin  Wed, Sep 21, 2011 1:46:31pm

So this doubles our need to invent--but our schools aren't up to the task of building a culture of invention, with bad science curriculum, and a celebrity culture that excludes scientists and inventors. Our immigration policy is ridiculous, because we need ideas and skilled labor, if only to increase the tax base. But, I'll emphasize, not just to increase the tax base.

Our infrastructure does need overhaul. We do have severe water problems in the Southwest. We do need to better harness the rain that we get, and figure out better ways to power our technology. But this isn't a problem of the just rich, or the just government, or the just GOP or the just Democrats. We could help the rest of the world eat. Olive oil, folks can eat. Light sweet crude, not so much.

9 lostlakehiker  Wed, Sep 21, 2011 1:58:35pm

Consider the case of the Corning management team that bet the company on fiber optics. The technical guys did their part and invented glass fiber with orders of magnitude better transparency. Suddenly, at least in the lab, you could in theory move light for miles down a glass cable, instead of mere meters, without having to boost it.

The decision to bid for big contracts was a management decision. Management didn't know for a fact that they could deliver---further improvements in process would be necessary. If the gamble failed, their careers would be ruined and Corning might go bankrupt. On the other hand, making pots and pans forever was not a winning strategy: Corning had to come up with something big and new if it was going to be any sort of player in the world of tomorrow.

The work of bringing off something big like this is very, very similar to the research work you describe. It's exhausting, exhilarating, and intense. When it's done, if it's done right (and again, very few can do it) the world has fiber optics communications.

The payoff was almost beyond measure. Billions of dollars of copper were freed up from use in telephone lines, just for starters. The benefit to society of getting the job done then, rather than perhaps in the normal course of events, a decade or two later, must be reckoned to be on the order of a trillion. Management received a paltry share of that. The science team, likewise. Corning, ditto. Almost all the benefit was scattered far and wide. We're using it, just to hold this conversation.

Go back a century and look at the career of Andrew Carnegie. He didn't invent new steel-making technologies, but he did find a way to bring them to scale rapidly. Steel rails carried food to distant markets. Human nutrition across a continent and more improved. Carnegie got rich, true, but the bulk of the benefits were scattered across the wider society. And what did he do with all that money? Get fat and throw obscene parties, right?

Actually, he gave it away to found libraries in thousands of small towns across America. Many of them still stand.

Now there are many managers who do not fit this heroic mold. But managers do in fact sometimes do very valuable work.

10 Mad Prophet Ludwig  Wed, Sep 21, 2011 2:08:35pm

re: #9 lostlakehiker

Management had its share of technical people who knew the science in that case.

11 Mad Prophet Ludwig  Wed, Sep 21, 2011 2:10:22pm

re: #6 KingKenrod

I am not talking about the true entrepreneurs. I am talking about all the company men and all the bankers and Wall Street types. I am talking about all those who inherited their wealth and I'm talking about all the little corporate douches with delusions of G-dhhood.

12 Mad Prophet Ludwig  Wed, Sep 21, 2011 2:10:50pm

re: #4 000G

re: #5 researchok

Right and payroll taxes and social security and all aren't federal taxes...

13 Mad Prophet Ludwig  Wed, Sep 21, 2011 2:12:33pm

re: #7 Bob Levin

Again... I am not talking about the true entrepreneurs. I am talking about all the company men and all the bankers and Wall Street types. I am talking about all those who inherited their wealth and I'm talking about all the little corporate douches with delusions of G-dhhood.

I am also talking about those who manipulate the system at the very top, the Kochs of the world.

14 Mad Prophet Ludwig  Wed, Sep 21, 2011 2:14:46pm

re: #8 Bob Levin

re: #9 lostlakehiker

I am also talking about all the modern day robber barons who plunder the third world and manipulate politics.

15 (I Stand By What I Said Whatever It Was)  Wed, Sep 21, 2011 2:15:46pm

re: #5 researchok

I said no federal taxes.

You obviously did not read the links I provided. Try again.

16 (I Stand By What I Said Whatever It Was)  Wed, Sep 21, 2011 2:17:36pm

re: #12 LudwigVanQuixote

re: #5 researchok

Right and payroll taxes and social security and all aren't federal taxes...

Did you read the links I provided? Yes or no – this is not about anybody paying state instead of federal taxes, btw.

17 SpaceJesus  Wed, Sep 21, 2011 2:17:54pm

re: #6 KingKenrod

until they send those jobs overseas in order to make even more money

further, their rise would not have been possible without the american public at large.

18 Mad Prophet Ludwig  Wed, Sep 21, 2011 2:19:43pm

re: #16 000G

Did you read the links I provided? Yes or no.

Yes... I was backing up your point!

19 (I Stand By What I Said Whatever It Was)  Wed, Sep 21, 2011 2:21:37pm

Whoops, I just realized I provided the wrong DailyKos link. My bad! Here is the correct one:

[Link: www.dailykos.com...]

20 Mad Prophet Ludwig  Wed, Sep 21, 2011 2:24:54pm

re: #3 researchok

You are going to need that helmet....

Ahem...

NONSENSE!
Of course it is Us vs. Them, the GOP has been strangling working and middle class Americans successfully for decades and has done such a good job of it that we are a dying breed. Of course it is class warfare. The GOP is doing its best to make this a third world nation.

As to who is rich, in today's economy, with costs as they are, Families with over 350k a year are wealthy. Families with around 100k a year still have to make tough choices to make ends meet and can be easily wiped out by medical emergencies and education costs.

Families who make 50k a year are pushing a new poverty line in terms of real dollars.

So those are the lines. As in all discussions though the real question is in terms of corporate taxes and subsidies. How about we close those loopholes and use those funds to create jobs?

21 Dancing along the light of day  Wed, Sep 21, 2011 2:26:15pm

re: #3 researchok

These are complex issues and there are inequities to be sure, but the 'us v them' notion only obfuscates the real issues.

QFT. I think the grandstanding of both parties, by politicians is over the top. We should be trying to reach solutions, not casting blame. Personally, I have been trying to make a difference in my community, doing local things.

What do others offer ass steps towards solutions?

(Waves to LVQ)

22 Bob Levin  Wed, Sep 21, 2011 2:27:30pm

re: #13 LudwigVanQuixote

I'm not saying give them tax breaks. If you're saying that these folks aren't doing their jobs, I won't argue. It's a matter of getting capital and ideas moving together to create what we need. We being the world.

I need to get this clear--are you talking about solving the world economic problems, or are you talking about the Kochs and the Diet Kochs as being the villains in all of this?

23 researchok  Wed, Sep 21, 2011 2:30:32pm

re: #12 LudwigVanQuixote

re: #5 researchok

Right and payroll taxes and social security and all aren't federal taxes...

They are in actuality, deductions.

I was referring to federal taxes owed after filing federal returns.

Nice to have you back, LVQ.

As for the helmet reference, who else is going to bust your chops???

24 Mad Prophet Ludwig  Wed, Sep 21, 2011 2:31:12pm

re: #22 Bob Levin

I'm not saying give them tax breaks. If you're saying that these folks aren't doing their jobs, I won't argue. It's a matter of getting capital and ideas moving together to create what we need. We being the world.

I need to get this clear--are you talking about solving the world economic problems, or are you talking about the Kochs and the Diet Kochs as being the villains in all of this?

Well the Kochs and Diet Kochs are certainly major villains and they and their ilk have certainly created or at least helped to create through their manipulations, the larger problems that you are addressing through bought politicians and astroturfed political movements.

Mostly though, my target is the GOP apologia for teh "rightness" of trickle down economics which simply is not true and supports [people who do comparatively little for a society they care nothing about in any case.

25 Dancing along the light of day  Wed, Sep 21, 2011 2:32:53pm

re: #21 Floral Giraffe

What do others offer as steps towards solutions?

Now, that was a typo!

26 SpaceJesus  Wed, Sep 21, 2011 2:35:33pm

“I hear all this, you know, ‘Well, this is class warfare, this is whatever.’ No. There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody.

You built a factory out there? Good for you. But I want to be clear: you moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for; you hired workers the rest of us paid to educate; you were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn’t have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory, and hire someone to protect against this, because of the work the rest of us did.

Now look, you built a factory and it turned into something terrific, or a great idea? God bless. Keep a big hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.”

-Elizabeth Warren

[Link: www.angryblacklady.com...]

27 (I Stand By What I Said Whatever It Was)  Wed, Sep 21, 2011 2:35:51pm

re: #23 researchok

They are in actuality, deductions.

I was referring to federal taxes owed after filing federal returns.

Did you read http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/08/22/1009489/-Breaking-Down-the-Half-Pay-No-Taxes-Myth? I noticed I gave you the wrong DKos link initially.

28 (I Stand By What I Said Whatever It Was)  Wed, Sep 21, 2011 2:38:00pm

Hilarious bit by Colbert about "class warfare" and taxes, btw: [Link: littlegreenfootballs.com...]

29 Bob Levin  Wed, Sep 21, 2011 2:38:09pm

re: #24 LudwigVanQuixote

Fine. Trickle down is a form of pissing. You need villains, and you want the Kochs, okay. But if you take power and go all Robespierre, I'm not with that.

I'm hoping the next Steve Wozniak is doing his thing, which means that no one knows he even exists except for his family and a few friends. I'm hoping he meets up with the right venture capitalist, and I'm hoping this next invention changes the way we use energy and helps the world to drink clean water and eat healthy food.

30 researchok  Wed, Sep 21, 2011 2:40:14pm

re: #27 000G

Did you read http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/08/22/1009489/- Breaking-Down-the-Half-Pay-No-Taxes-Myth? I noticed I gave you the wrong DKos link initially.

Thanks for the updated link.

I will check it out.

In the meantime, see this; Nearly half of US households escape fed income tax

31 (I Stand By What I Said Whatever It Was)  Wed, Sep 21, 2011 2:41:43pm

re: #30 researchok

Thanks for the updated link.

I will check it out.

In the meantime, see this; Nearly half of US households escape fed income tax

The "household" fallacy is adressed in the correct DKos link I gave you.

32 SpaceJesus  Wed, Sep 21, 2011 2:42:23pm

re: #30 researchok

not really a biggie when you take into account the fact that that 50% only holds 2% of the wealth in america. you're not gonna get much out of them anyway.

33 (I Stand By What I Said Whatever It Was)  Wed, Sep 21, 2011 2:42:36pm

re: #26 SpaceJesus

Good enough to embed:

34 goddamnedfrank  Wed, Sep 21, 2011 2:43:29pm

re: #5 researchok

I said no federal taxes.

They pay social security and medicare, those are federal taxes.

35 goddamnedfrank  Wed, Sep 21, 2011 2:46:25pm

re: #3 researchok

All true- but it isn't as if the 'wealthy' luxuriate. The top couple of percent do pay 40% of the federal taxes in this country while almost 50% pay no federal taxes.

Since the 50% you're talking about have only 2% of the wealth, how much do you honestly think they can support?

36 SpaceJesus  Wed, Sep 21, 2011 2:47:02pm

re: #32 SpaceJesus

furthermore, that bottom 50% is held perpetually in debt by the top 2%, thus meaning that the bottom 50 percent control very little wealth in the first place.

37 researchok  Wed, Sep 21, 2011 2:47:50pm

re: #31 000G

The "household" fallacy is adressed in the correct DKos link I gave you.

I saw that- but it is splitting hairs, in a way.

It is true everyone pays taxes of one sort or another. That said, nearly half do not pay federal taxes, as the news article points out.

Now, I am by no means insisting that everyone must pay those taxes- if they can't affords it they ought not have to pay it. Further, both parties have signed on to that notion for quite while now, through both Dem and GOP administrations and majorities in the house, so if the GOP has a problem with that they need to clean their own house first.

I am actually quite sympathetic to LVQ's premise. There are inequities that must be addressed. I just believe that allowing equal access to opportunity (read: bank credit) would unleash a whole new wave of success in this country.

For me, banks are a huge part of the problem.

38 KingKenrod  Wed, Sep 21, 2011 2:48:21pm

re: #11 LudwigVanQuixote

I am not talking about the true entrepreneurs. I am talking about all the company men and all the bankers and Wall Street types. I am talking about all those who inherited their wealth and I'm talking about all the little corporate douches with delusions of G-dhhood.

There are bad people in every field. You beatify teachers (most deserve it, some do not) while vilifying "company man" and others (some deserve it, most do not). The difference is that a wealthy (or powerful) person affects more people when they behave maliciously or foolishly. But you have turned those foibles into propaganda with little substance.

39 researchok  Wed, Sep 21, 2011 2:48:42pm

re: #36 SpaceJesus

furthermore, that bottom 50% is held perpetually in debt by the top 2%, thus meaning that the bottom 50 percent control very little wealth in the first place.

Major Bingo.

40 goddamnedfrank  Wed, Sep 21, 2011 2:51:39pm

re: #34 goddamnedfrank

The bottom 50% also pay federal gasoline tax, and the fact that they get a refund on their income tax deductions means they provide the government with an interest free loan every year.

41 Bob Levin  Wed, Sep 21, 2011 2:52:09pm

re: #39 researchok

I swear I saw a commercial the other day for a loan shark. This is even more blatant than Titlemax or cash for old gold, those things.

"Need 2500 bucks in your account by tomorrow, we'll do it! Sure the interest rate is high, but if you pay it off quickly, it's not so bad!"

42 researchok  Wed, Sep 21, 2011 2:52:31pm

re: #35 goddamnedfrank

Since the 50% you're talking about have only 2% of the wealth, how much do you honestly think they can support?

I honestly don't know.

I do believe the wealthy have access to tax avoidance vehicles others do not. Warren Buffet can pay himself 60k a year and move massive amounts of capital into trusts.

I resent the tax breaks and corporate giveaways more than anything else, simply because the average joe can never take advantage of those same breaks that the fat cats treat themselves to.

43 researchok  Wed, Sep 21, 2011 2:53:10pm

re: #41 Bob Levin

I swear I saw a commercial the other day for a loan shark. This is even more blatant than Titlemax or cash for old gold, those things.

"Need 2500 bucks in your account by tomorrow, we'll do it! Sure the interest rate is high, but if you pay it off quickly, it's not so bad!"

Predatory bastards.

44 Bob Levin  Wed, Sep 21, 2011 2:54:07pm

re: #43 researchok

Do criminals count in the top 2%?

45 researchok  Wed, Sep 21, 2011 2:54:39pm

re: #34 goddamnedfrank

They pay social security and medicare, those are federal taxes.

As I noted earlier, I was referring to filing and owing on returns.

46 researchok  Wed, Sep 21, 2011 2:56:14pm

re: #44 Bob Levin

Do criminals count in the top 2%?

Think Madoff. I'd say 'hell yes'.

And the Wall Street bailouts that resulted in huge bonuses, etc.- that was morally criminal if not legally so.

47 Mad Prophet Ludwig  Wed, Sep 21, 2011 3:10:42pm

re: #29 Bob Levin

I am hardly going all Robespierre. It is fascinating that you see it that way.

There is a wealthy class in America that is destroying methodically worker's rights, education and our economy in order to crush working and middle America. It is obvious in everything they do from killing the jobs bill to fighting for corporate subsidies to trying to pressure the Fed into not helping the middle class.

They do this with an unfounded sense of ownership and a smug sense of entitlement when in reality, they themselves contribute little and have a mantra of contributing less as their right.

We do not have a free market economy. As an example, if we did, there would have been all sorts of alternative energy solutions in place years ago. Such things work perfectly well in Germany, Denmark and China for example. Why not here?

We do not have a true republic any more that truly serve the people of this nation. If we did, we would not fight bogus wars on false pretences to keep oil companies wealthy.

I am all for capitalism. I am all for democracy. Fascists are for neither.

48 (I Stand By What I Said Whatever It Was)  Wed, Sep 21, 2011 3:11:08pm

re: #37 researchok

I just believe that allowing equal access to opportunity (read: bank credit) would unleash a whole new wave of success in this country.

For me, banks are a huge part of the problem.

Who is taking up loans with banks these days? Big companies are just sitting on giant amounts of cash already that they are not investing in anything. Basically, a lot of money for free was thrown at the big players in the wake of the 2007ff meltdown. But it hasn't fixed the problem. Now, people demand that a lot of free money be thrown at the rest of the society. That's a fair demand. It also won't fix the problem, and additionally it will also make the money the big players got worth even less.

I think these things need to happen:

* Massive overhaul of the loaning system to rule out all political shenanigans and financial fraud schemes that erode the credit market. This will effectively bar a lot of players, big and small alike, from taking up loans without proper collateral, the banks having matching top-notch securities, etc. It will basically deflate the credit base.
* Massive overhaul of the taxation system to redistribute completely unearned property positions and even out the playing field so that a solid middle class can actually take up loans again that they will be able to pay back and in case of default not let the debt get bad. A matching method to level the playing field must include a massive overhaul of the educational sector by eradicating all approaches based on competition that get any Federal money. Basically just overtake the Finnish model.
* Massive overhaul of the welfare system to allow poor Americans to amass viable ammounts of savings and climb up the ladder to meaningful positions of creditworthiness.

49 Mad Prophet Ludwig  Wed, Sep 21, 2011 3:12:14pm

re: #38 KingKenrod

No. I am pointing out the contemptible and hypocritical sense of entitlement that those who produce little but profit much have.

50 researchok  Wed, Sep 21, 2011 3:18:54pm

re: #48 000G

Who is taking up loans with banks these days? Big companies are just sitting on giant amounts of cash already that they are not investing in anything. Basically, a lot of money for free was thrown at the big players in the wake of the 2007ff meltdown. But it hasn't fixed the problem. Now, people demand that a lot of free money be thrown at the rest of the society. That's a fair demand. It also won't fix the problem, and additionally it will also make the money the big players got worth even less.

I think these things need to happen:

* Massive overhaul of the loaning system to rule out all political shenanigans and financial fraud schemes that erode the credit market. This will effectively bar a lot of players, big and small alike, from taking up loans without proper collateral, the banks having matching top-notch securities, etc. It will basically deflate the credit base.
* Massive overhaul of the taxation system to redistribute completely unearned property positions and even out the playing field so that a solid middle class can actually take up loans again that they will be able to pay back and in case of default not let the debt get bad. A matching method to level the playing field must include a massive overhaul of the educational sector by eradicating all approaches based on competition that get any Federal money. Basically just overtake the Finnish model.
* Massive overhaul of the welfare system to allow poor Americans to amass viable ammounts of savings and climb up the ladder to meaningful positions of creditworthiness.

Good stuff. Lots to consider.

I still believe capitalism is the way to go- as long as everyone haqs a fair shot. Right now that equal access is being eroded.

Also, educational systems must be tailored- there is no one size fits all. Cultures and societies dictate that reality, in the same way there is no one size fits all democracy.

That said, we can 'Americanzie' those ideas that work.

51 SpaceJesus  Wed, Sep 21, 2011 3:23:59pm

capitalism is fine, it just needs common sense regulations based on the ultimate goal of maintaining the largest and healthiest middle class feasible.

52 Mad Prophet Ludwig  Wed, Sep 21, 2011 3:24:22pm

re: #51 SpaceJesus

capitalism is fine, it just needs common sense regulations based on the ultimate goal of maintaining the largest and healthiest middle class feasible.

Absolutely true!

53 Mad Prophet Ludwig  Wed, Sep 21, 2011 3:28:25pm

I edited the bottom part of the essay to be more clear:

I am not talking about the true entrepreneurs. I am talking about all the company men and all the bankers and Wall Street types who think they are so important and owe nothing to anyone. I am talking about a realistic assessment of what is provided for society and who the system currently rewards. I am talking about all those who inherited their wealth and I'm talking about all the little corporate men with delusions of godhhood.

I am especially talking about all the modern day robber barons who plunder the third world and manipulate our politics and buy the system. I am talking about the Kochs of the world and the BP types. I am talking about the ones who have the GOP and Fox marching for them. I am also talking about their little lackeys and propagandists and the smug, whiny sense of entitlement that they affect.

There is a wealthy class in America that is destroying methodically worker's rights, education and our economy in order to crush working and middle America. It is obvious in everything they do from killing the jobs bill to fighting for corporate subsidies to trying to pressure the Fed into not helping the middle class.

They do this with an unfounded sense of ownership and a smug sense of entitlement when in reality, they themselves contribute little and have a mantra of contributing less as their right.

We do not have a free market economy. As an example, if we did, there would have been all sorts of alternative energy solutions in place years ago. They are cheaper, economy growing, and better for national security. Such things work perfectly well in Germany, Denmark and China for example. Why not here?

We do not have a true republic any more that truly serves the people of this nation. Corporations are people now too! As an example, If we did have such a republic, we would not fight bogus wars on false pretences to keep oil companies wealthy. We would not decide that poisoning American water and soil (and hence American citizens!) is less important than the rights of corporations to pollute.

I am all for capitalism. I am all for democracy. Fascists are for neither.

54 Obdicut  Wed, Sep 21, 2011 3:31:37pm

re: #50 researchok

It is impossible for everyone to have a fair shot in capitalism. Those with capital have a better shot at success in the capitalist system than those with just labor.

It's fine to be pro-capitalist, but seeing it as an even playing field is rather odd.

55 (I Stand By What I Said Whatever It Was)  Wed, Sep 21, 2011 3:49:27pm

"Capitalism" is a useless word and largely meaningless beyond cold war ideologies and 19th century economics.

Let it go.

56 Bob Levin  Wed, Sep 21, 2011 3:54:35pm

re: #47 LudwigVanQuixote

I am hardly going all Robespierre. It is fascinating that you see it that way.

Did you laugh? I was hoping for a smile.

I think you are looking for a villain in all of this. I think the problems can be solved without identifying a villain.

I don't get too theoretical when it comes to isms, capitalism, democracyism, whatever. However, I do like history. As I see it, individuals doing some inspired work have brought more change to the world than changing from one ism to the other.

We do not have a free market economy. As an example, if we did, there would have been all sorts of alternative energy solutions in place years ago. Such things work perfectly well in Germany, Denmark and China for example. Why not here?

It would be nice if we had been developing alternative energy solutions years ago, I'm talking 30 years ago. But it didn't happen. It could have happened, but no one stopped it. It didn't have enough momentum. I'm sure that the work being done today is incorporating the knowledge of whatever research was being done 30 years ago. But within that 30 years, a young Bill Gates outmaneuvered IBM and beat them. The guys in the Xerox basement were able to leave the company and take their patents with them. We are using their technology right now.

China?

We're going to get the energy technology, I'm confident about that.

57 Vicious Babushka  Wed, Sep 21, 2011 3:55:51pm

Amazon.com

Workers in an Amazon.com warehouse were routinely sent to the emergency room because of sweltering, suffocating heat that sometimes exceeded 110 degrees — and because Amazon refused to open warehouse doors, fearing theft

Triangle Shirtwaist

flames prevented workers from descending the Greene Street stairway, and the door to the Washington Place stairway was locked to prevent theft by the workers

58 Bob Levin  Wed, Sep 21, 2011 3:58:07pm

re: #57 Alouette

The Amazon situation sounds like a middle management decision, not Bezos. But, we shall see.

59 Vicious Babushka  Wed, Sep 21, 2011 4:03:07pm

re: #58 Bob Levin

The Amazon situation sounds like a middle management decision, not Bezos. But, we shall see.

Blanck and Harris didn't have the layers upon layers of middle management that Bezos has. They only owned one factory.

60 Bob Levin  Wed, Sep 21, 2011 4:39:36pm

re: #59 Alouette

I'm not clear about your point. It is that nothing has changed since 1911? Everything has changed.

Who in the world doesn't see Triangle as a great, defining American tragedy? I'm sure the Blanck and Harris families still grieve about it today, and most certainly next week.

61 sagehen  Wed, Sep 21, 2011 6:02:27pm

re: #60 Bob Levin

Who in the world doesn't see Triangle as a great, defining American tragedy? I'm sure the Blanck and Harris families still grieve about it today, and most certainly next week.

Doubtful.

[Link: en.wikipedia.org...]

The company's owners, Max Blanck and Isaac Harris, who survived the fire by fleeing to the building's roof when the fire began, were indicted on charges of first and second degree manslaughter in mid-April; the pair's trial began on December 4, 1911... The jury acquitted the two men, but they lost a subsequent civil suit in 1913 in which plaintiffs won compensation in the amount of $75 per deceased victim. The insurance company paid Blanck and Harris about $60,000 more than the reported losses, or about $400 per casualty. In 1913, Blanck was once again arrested for locking the door in his factory during working hours. He was fined $20.

62 Vicious Babushka  Wed, Sep 21, 2011 6:07:29pm

re: #60 Bob Levin

I'm not clear about your point. It is that nothing has changed since 1911? Everything has changed.

Who in the world doesn't see Triangle as a great, defining American tragedy? I'm sure the Blanck and Harris families still grieve about it today, and most certainly next week.

Gap, JC Penney, H&M (the 21st century Blanck & Harris) don't shed a tear, or give a shit.

Nothing has changed.

63 Bob Levin  Wed, Sep 21, 2011 6:28:02pm

re: #61 sagehen

Right, that doesn't mean that they (who are deceased) and their families don't have a conscience. Oh, I will wholeheartedly agree that before the incident occurred, and during that period of history, many business owners shut down their conscience.

I'm sure that their families still feel this pain. A few years back many Jewish families received letters from the descendants of Martin Luther, asking for forgiveness. The idea is not to shut down your compassion.

But, you have a reasonable theory, that the families of Blanck and Harris are still hard-hearted. Let's find out. *Google, Blanck and Harris families.*

FYI.

64 Bob Levin  Wed, Sep 21, 2011 6:33:57pm

re: #62 Alouette

If nothing has changed, you'll have to explain all, and I do mean all (since you've brought up the concept of 'nothing') of this.

65 Obdicut  Wed, Sep 21, 2011 7:11:12pm

re: #63 Bob Levin

The fact he got arrested for locking them in again really, to me, does mean he didn't have a conscience.

66 Bob Levin  Wed, Sep 21, 2011 7:24:39pm

re: #65 Obdicut

That's what I said. At that point, his conscience was shut down. So, don't do that, no matter how much you make or don't make. Now afterwards, I'm sure they were grieving, and their descendants still grieve.

It is a terrible thing, the extent that events must take, to simply wake up a conscience.

We're agreeing, yes? The conscience was shut down, not that he was a man without any conscience?

67 Bob Levin  Wed, Sep 21, 2011 7:26:21pm

And when I say 'don't do that', I mean, do not shut your conscience down. It's a move not simply confined to the wealthy.

68 Obdicut  Thu, Sep 22, 2011 3:03:48am

re: #66 Bob Levin

No. I disagree. I think some people's consciences do not wake back up after they put it to sleep.

69 (I Stand By What I Said Whatever It Was)  Thu, Sep 22, 2011 3:27:13am

Fact-checking Amazon: [Link: plus.google.com...]

This is why we have laws: Because morals and promises do not cost anything and will only amount to excuses and evasions of responsibility.

70 Vicious Babushka  Thu, Sep 22, 2011 4:25:18am

re: #64 Bob Levin

If nothing has changed, you'll have to explain all, and I do mean all (since you've brought up the concept of 'nothing') of this.

It explains why so much manufacturing has been outsourced to countries where those laws do not apply, and the labor situation there is the same as it was in the U.S. 100 years ago.

71 Bob Levin  Thu, Sep 22, 2011 5:57:15am

re: #68 Obdicut

I think judging the innermost parts of individual's hearts and souls are beyond what is possible in these discussions. You have a hypothesis, and I have one too. That's as far as it can go.

72 Bob Levin  Thu, Sep 22, 2011 5:59:22am

re: #69 000G

Until a lawyer steps in and forces people to stand by the procedures which govern the performance of their duties. That's why we have a court system. That's why we have labor lawyers.

73 Bob Levin  Thu, Sep 22, 2011 6:11:24am

re: #70 Alouette

Not only does it explain why jobs are pushed overseas, it also shows that the dedicated work of labor activists and lawyers follows these companies wherever they set up shop and enact laws in places of the world that are--unexpected.

I never said the battle was over. I said that in 100 years quite a bit of things have changed, and I've documented those changes. The article has links that can be followed, so the work over the last hundred years has been more than extensive.

There are laws enacted that those in power certainly did not want to be enacted, and that these laws have spread beyond the boundaries of the United States, and continue to spread. These efforts take place everyday, with the added strength that no company wants the publicity of using de facto slave labor in producing their high end products.

Just for the record, my mother-in-law was part of the garment industry and earned her living through piecework. In other words, I've been paying attention.

74 (I Stand By What I Said Whatever It Was)  Thu, Sep 22, 2011 8:12:57am

re: #73 Bob Levin

Not only does it explain why jobs are pushed overseas, it also shows that the dedicated work of labor activists and lawyers follows these companies wherever they set up shop and enact laws in places of the world that are--unexpected.

It's still a long way to go. The day the momentum will be turned is when there are free unions in China.

75 Obdicut  Thu, Sep 22, 2011 11:11:44am

re: #71 Bob Levin

Sure. The guy stabbing you in the face with the dagger right now may feel really bad about it. Who cares?

He still locked another warehouse shut.

76 Bob Levin  Thu, Sep 22, 2011 12:34:32pm

re: #75 Obdicut

What are we arguing about? I'm really not sure about the topic now.

77 Bob Levin  Thu, Sep 22, 2011 12:40:40pm

re: #74 000G

That's true, and with smart phones you don't need infiltrators, and with Youtube, the communication is instantaneous. It's getting easier, not harder.

Also, there are certain products that I used to buy, and I stopped when stories came out about unfair, and unsafe labor practices at the manufacturing level. I don't think I'm unique in those decisions. There's no question who's on the run in this fight.

78 (I Stand By What I Said Whatever It Was)  Thu, Sep 22, 2011 9:48:47pm

But it's not just about workplace safety. It's also about the decline of real net wages and the decline of the labor force participation rate, both things that have been happening in the USA systematically for a long time now and which are major contributing factors in keeping more and more people from acquiring wealth through the sale of their labor power.


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