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Re: OWS

Postby Curtis Pride » Sat Oct 29, 2011 12:00 pm

The Artful Dodger wrote:How Americans in general defend a broken dog-eat-dog Darwinist system in which the super-wealthy control 40% of the wealth and government is bogged down by bureaucracy and special interests is beyond me. America is a democracy in name, but it's really something resembling a plutocracy and oligarchy in action.

How Americans realize that a government is bogged down by bureaucracy and special interests while at the same time prescribing MORE taxes and MORE government power as the solution is beyond me.

The Artful Dodger wrote:Again, a meritocracy is great for the health of a society, but when people aren't getting an equal opportunity especially in a country that prides itself on being the land of opportunity, then that speaks to the state of inequality.

Lack of equality of outcome does not mean that there is a lack of equality of opportunity.

What would you change bout the difference in opportunity? Are you against rich families being able to afford to send their children to private high schools that are better than public schools and giving them a better chance? Getting into Yale because their father donates money to the school? There are institutional benefits that the rich class can give their children. Unless you are honestly desiring that we remove the assets of the wealthy or preventing private schools or eliminating classes thereby preventing any difference of "equal opportunity", you are just whinging about the fact that some people happen to be poor. No matter how much you try. No matter how much money you take from the rich, there will always be poor because there will always be people who don't have the skills, intelligence, training, and/or motivation to work in a job that pays enough money to afford anything but the basic necessities of life.
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Re: OWS

Postby Tavish » Sat Oct 29, 2011 2:22 pm

John Kramer wrote:No one has said a single time that the general public's lack of self control contributed. Who's blinded by their beliefs here and who's ignoring the facts? Hint - It's not me.

No one is ignoring the fact that people are stupid or will let their greed overcome their intelligence. This isn't some hidden fact that we need some sort of unbiased vision to point out. People have always been like this and will always be like this. I'm not sure if your solution to the problem is either A) people stop being that way in which case you live in even a bigger fantasy land than those who think a full blown socialistic economy is the answer everyone is looking for or that a true free market system is the only way capitalism can prosper OR B) some distorted version of Economic Darwinism where the stupid poor people simple fade away and give way to a higher educated and more wealthy populace that can battle for the markets without having to worry about about those who can't keep up.

I've said it before in this thread, consumers absolutely share some of the blame in the current crisis. They hold some blame in every other major economic crisis the country has faced. I'm pretty confident they will hold some blame in every future economic crisis. It just isn't a fixable problem. There are more viable solutions that will protect the stupid from themselves. Although they will almost certainly hurt those who profit off them the most, it would just as certainly help long term those caught in the middle.
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Re: OWS

Postby Neato Torpedo » Sat Oct 29, 2011 7:18 pm

John Kramer wrote:
Seriously. Explain it to me, Bigfoot.


I'll avoid the trap. You've already got your argument figured out as to how you are entitled to other people's money, earned other people's money, or should be given other people's money. To humor you, a handout is the government (or anyone really) handing you something of someone else's that you did not earn. Have fun.

The "Bigfoot" of that does confuse me though, can you shed some light there? I've been called a caveman before, but never Bigfoot. Obviously the comment went right over my head.

Is employment considered a "handout"? Because I'm pretty sure nobody is holding a sign saying "GIVE ME FREE MONEY", even though it would be super convenient for you as a means to justify your increasingly unjustifiable position. A huge part of the OWS argument is the incongruity of skyrocketing corporate profits and plummeting employment rates. You would think that increasing profit would cause an increased workforce, no? I mean, I'm no economist, just a humble biochemist, so if there's any reason this particular line of reasoning doesn't make sense, I'd appreciate an explanation. At any rate, the whole "give me free money" myth is just a fantasy made up by people that have a vested interest in maintaining the illusion of meritocracy for their own financial gain, or far more likely, regular people who have read The Fountainhead too many times.

Also, your Bigfoot title is in response to your remark on how America's IQ is smaller than your shoe size. Either you're off by an order of magnitude or you have monster feet.
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Re: OWS

Postby Curtis Pride » Sat Oct 29, 2011 8:39 pm

Neato Torpedo wrote:
John Kramer wrote:
Seriously. Explain it to me, Bigfoot.


I'll avoid the trap. You've already got your argument figured out as to how you are entitled to other people's money, earned other people's money, or should be given other people's money. To humor you, a handout is the government (or anyone really) handing you something of someone else's that you did not earn. Have fun.

The "Bigfoot" of that does confuse me though, can you shed some light there? I've been called a caveman before, but never Bigfoot. Obviously the comment went right over my head.

Is employment considered a "handout"? Because I'm pretty sure nobody is holding a sign saying "GIVE ME FREE MONEY", even though it would be super convenient for you as a means to justify your increasingly unjustifiable position. A huge part of the OWS argument is the incongruity of skyrocketing corporate profits and plummeting employment rates. You would think that increasing profit would cause an increased workforce, no? I mean, I'm no economist, just a humble biochemist, so if there's any reason this particular line of reasoning doesn't make sense, I'd appreciate an explanation. At any rate, the whole "give me free money" myth is just a fantasy made up by people that have a vested interest in maintaining the illusion of meritocracy for their own financial gain, or far more likely, regular people who have read The Fountainhead too many times.

If a company thinks that they could pay a person $50k and that person would create $51k in revenue, they would hire them - that is if the company is greedy and could make an extra $1k in profit, correct? So logic would state that the reason companies are not hiring is because either companies are not greedy, or the companies believe that the salary paid to an incremental new employee would not be offset by at least an equal amount of revenue.

And if you want companies to hire people even though that new employee would be incrementally cash flow negative, then it ceases to be a business and becomes a charity.
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Re: OWS

Postby Neato Torpedo » Sun Oct 30, 2011 1:30 am

Curtis Pride wrote:
Neato Torpedo wrote:
John Kramer wrote:

I'll avoid the trap. You've already got your argument figured out as to how you are entitled to other people's money, earned other people's money, or should be given other people's money. To humor you, a handout is the government (or anyone really) handing you something of someone else's that you did not earn. Have fun.

The "Bigfoot" of that does confuse me though, can you shed some light there? I've been called a caveman before, but never Bigfoot. Obviously the comment went right over my head.

Is employment considered a "handout"? Because I'm pretty sure nobody is holding a sign saying "GIVE ME FREE MONEY", even though it would be super convenient for you as a means to justify your increasingly unjustifiable position. A huge part of the OWS argument is the incongruity of skyrocketing corporate profits and plummeting employment rates. You would think that increasing profit would cause an increased workforce, no? I mean, I'm no economist, just a humble biochemist, so if there's any reason this particular line of reasoning doesn't make sense, I'd appreciate an explanation. At any rate, the whole "give me free money" myth is just a fantasy made up by people that have a vested interest in maintaining the illusion of meritocracy for their own financial gain, or far more likely, regular people who have read The Fountainhead too many times.

If a company thinks that they could pay a person $50k and that person would create $51k in revenue, they would hire them - that is if the company is greedy and could make an extra $1k in profit, correct? So logic would state that the reason companies are not hiring is because either companies are not greedy, or the companies believe that the salary paid to an incremental new employee would not be offset by at least an equal amount of revenue.

And if you want companies to hire people even though that new employee would be incrementally cash flow negative, then it ceases to be a business and becomes a charity.

I get what you're saying, for sure. But if unemployment is purely a product of inefficiency, then doesn't free market capitalism screw us over even harder? Between outsourcing and automation, it's going to continue to get less efficient to hire American employees instead of using Indians or machines. And even if we offset that with public works jobs through government funds (construction and such), it would only be a temporary solution as outsourcing and automation continue to increase (no reason they shouldn't). Technology and globalization are changing the rules of the game, and clearly we don't yet know exactly how the rules have been changed. What happens far in the future when most things are automated? What happens to the 100 million Americans that can't find work? It's a question that's going to continue to gain more relevance as society keeps going down this road.

But I digress. People keep saying that unemployment will decrease if we decrease taxes on the "job creators". But the fact that they keep making money means that it's more that they don't need to create jobs (inefficiency argument) or they don't want to create jobs (greed argument), rather than not being able to. But here's the big question: if the job creators are not guilty of being greedy, how can government create jobs any other way besides directly, through public works projects?
Last edited by Neato Torpedo on Sun Oct 30, 2011 1:48 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: OWS

Postby Tavish » Sun Oct 30, 2011 1:44 am

http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/10_28/b4186048358596.htm
An excellent op-ed piece by a former chief at Intel about job creation and what should be focused on in order to create more jobs in the US.
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Re: OWS

Postby John Kramer » Sun Oct 30, 2011 5:10 am

Tavish wrote:No one is ignoring the fact that people are stupid or will let their greed overcome their intelligence. This isn't some hidden fact that we need some sort of unbiased vision to point out. People have always been like this and will always be like this. I'm not sure if your solution to the problem is either A) people stop being that way in which case you live in even a bigger fantasy land than those who think a full blown socialistic economy is the answer everyone is looking for or that a true free market system is the only way capitalism can prosper OR B) some distorted version of Economic Darwinism where the stupid poor people simple fade away and give way to a higher educated and more wealthy populace that can battle for the markets without having to worry about about those who can't keep up.

I've said it before in this thread, consumers absolutely share some of the blame in the current crisis. They hold some blame in every other major economic crisis the country has faced. I'm pretty confident they will hold some blame in every future economic crisis. It just isn't a fixable problem. There are more viable solutions that will protect the stupid from themselves. Although they will almost certainly hurt those who profit off them the most, it would just as certainly help long term those caught in the middle.


My solution to the problem is to point out to the idiots not only that they caused this problem, but also to educate them in hopes that we can reduce the percentage of idiots out there that will sink the entire country in the future. Normally the percentage of idiots is small enough that there's no real threat to the nation. In this case, the percentage of idiots was simply too large. I don't see how letting them think they did nothing wrong and had no fault in the problem does anything to prevent future problems. We'll never educate 100% of the idiots, but the percentage must come down. Letting them off 100% scott free will only lead to disaster.

Neato Torpedo wrote:I get what you're saying, for sure. But if unemployment is purely a product of inefficiency, then doesn't free market capitalism screw us over even harder? Between outsourcing and automation, it's going to continue to get less efficient to hire American employees instead of using Indians or machines. And even if we offset that with public works jobs through government funds (construction and such), it would only be a temporary solution as outsourcing and automation continue to increase (no reason they shouldn't). Technology and globalization are changing the rules of the game, and clearly we don't yet know exactly how the rules have been changed. What happens far in the future when most things are automated? What happens to the 100 million Americans that can't find work? It's a question that's going to continue to gain more relevance as society keeps going down this road.

But I digress. People keep saying that unemployment will decrease if we decrease taxes on the "job creators". But the fact that they keep making money means that it's more that they don't need to create jobs (inefficiency argument) or they don't want to create jobs (greed argument), rather than not being able to. But here's the big question: if the job creators are not guilty of being greedy, how can government create jobs any other way besides directly, through public works projects?


The other poster did a good job answering your previous question. Not much for me to add there, so let's see what I can add here.

I agree, the rules of the game have changed. But they are and have always evolved over time, so it isn't new or anything, it was just a little more rapid than most are used to. Anyway, the people have to change with it. Job no longer exists due to the factors you mentioned (outsourcing, machines)? Time to learn a new job or put your skills to use in a different way/job. I can't tell you how many people I've talked to that are upset they can't land a job they used to do for the pay they used to make. Those people simply are not living in the real world. It's gone, over, yet they can't move on. I personally don't understand the mentality there. This has also been a country of excess for too long. Too many people got used to it. Now that things are more frugal, the people have to adjust accordingly. You can take someone making and surviving on $25K per year and give them $35K per year and they'll have money left over and tucked away in a security net the end of each month. Take someone making $35K per year and drop them to $25K and they will freak out and have no idea how to survive. Humans grow accustomed to things quite easily, but that doesn't make it right or ok. People have to change. And anything done in excess isn't healthy, be it personally or as a country. The country's excess in this case has caught up to the country. And it has now rapidly slowed down. So we're dealing with the side effects. Some are coping better than others, but everyone has to learn to cope with it.

The tone of your post suggests that you think the government should be responsible for creating jobs. Am I understanding that correctly? If so, I have a question. I agree it is in the government's and the nation's best interests for the government to create jobs, but when/where/how did they become "required" to do so? And where/when/how did we get a "right" to a job? Ok, that was two questions, sorry. Just curious as to the line of thinking if I'm reading you correctly since I've never heard of either one of those things. In fact, on the job front, I was raised with just the opposite. I was taught you had to fight for a job. You had to earn a job. You had to prove yourself for a job. You had to have intelligence, be a hard worker, be punctual, etc, in order to even qualify for most jobs. Otherwise, enjoy camping out under a bridge somewhere. Definitely the opposite of being "given" a job. So I'm curious. If I'm reading that correctly.

Something that hasn't been mentioned yet is that Obamacare (just using that word to make clear what I mean) has cost jobs. I bet Obama is loving the fact he's getting so little mainstream press over it, but I know quite a few people who simply cannot hire new people specifically because of Obamacare. One guy I know has 8 contractors making $30K a year that he wants to directly employ full time. However, thanks to Obamacare, he would have to pay right at $1,500 per month per employee for their health insurance if he directly hired them, so that $30K salary just ballooned to $48K per employee. Or from $240K per year for the team to $384K. He simply can't do that, so he isn't and they will remain contractors. In his case, we're talking about people that already have jobs, but how many employers are in that boat as far as hiring someone who currently doesn't have a job? That's also part (notice I said "part") of why salaries are lower. Health insurance rates have exploded because of Obamacare. Removing the lifetime payout caps and requiring all insurance carriers to accept anyone who applies has caused insurance carriers to jack rates through the roof. While employees might hate the rise in their payments, it stings employers even more. While we're on the subject, ever really thought what it costs to hire someone? It isn't just salary. It's also health insurance, social security payments (6.25% of salary - last I looked anyway), general insurance on the property where they work, rent, utilities, etc. (for what it is worth, I expect to see a big spike in working from home via the internet - saves employers boatloads - we'll see if/when it happens). Also, as to figuring out the value of an employee (salary), you also have to deduct income taxes. Sounds weird, but here's what I mean. If an employee generates $100K per year, the company has to pay income taxes on the $100K. They can't hire that person at $100K and break even. They have to hire them at less for it to be profitable for them. So you take the revenue generated, subtract everything I've mentioned (income tax, health insurance, social security, etc) and then you'll come to a number. And then of course, something has to be subtracted for the profit, otherwise hiring the person wasn't smart to begin with. So sure, the corporations out there could hire more people, but why would they? If a new hire results in a net loss for the year, why would they do it? I mean sure, they could choose to throw away that money, but it goes against the whole purpose of opening a business to begin with. It isn't that they don't want, need, or can't hire, it just simply isn't profitable to do so right now. 2 things need to happen for jobs to start being created. #1 is that Obamacare has to be figured out. Repeal, adjust, whatever. Because it is shooting insurance rates through the roof and employers are scared it will continue to rise with no ceiling in sight. #2 is that consumer spending has to start again. I know, tough to do with an unemployment rate of 9.1%, but companies don't expand, open more stores and things, unless they are selling more product than they can currently supply.

Thanks for clearing up the Bigfoot comment. I forgot all about my comment. Yeah, it was a pretty dumb one to make, but it was the point that mattered. Regardless, I get it now, thanks!
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Re: OWS

Postby Curtis Pride » Sun Oct 30, 2011 12:54 pm

Neato Torpedo wrote:Between outsourcing and automation, it's going to continue to get less efficient to hire American employees instead of using Indians or machines. And even if we offset that with public works jobs through government funds (construction and such), it would only be a temporary solution as outsourcing and automation continue to increase (no reason they shouldn't). Technology and globalization are changing the rules of the game, and clearly we don't yet know exactly how the rules have been changed. What happens far in the future when most things are automated? What happens to the 100 million Americans that can't find work? It's a question that's going to continue to gain more relevance as society keeps going down this road.

But I digress. People keep saying that unemployment will decrease if we decrease taxes on the "job creators". But the fact that they keep making money means that it's more that they don't need to create jobs (inefficiency argument) or they don't want to create jobs (greed argument), rather than not being able to. But here's the big question: if the job creators are not guilty of being greedy, how can government create jobs any other way besides directly, through public works projects?

It's 1880, 80% of American jobs are in farming. Now it's 3%. What happened to all those jobs? Did everyone just starve to death in the streets? No, people just got other jobs. It will happen again.
Ditto blacksmiths in the early 1900s.
Ditto milkmen in the 1950s.

The economy changes, jobs become obsolete as technology improvements make people more productive. People need to get other jobs. Manufacturing jobs have been in decline globally for decades. Just because it is becoming less profitable to hire American employees for manufacturing, doesn't mean that people can't get other jobs.

Businesses do not exist for the purpose of providing jobs.
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Re: OWS

Postby bleach168 » Sun Oct 30, 2011 7:58 pm

Curtis Pride wrote:
The Artful Dodger wrote:Again, a meritocracy is great for the health of a society, but when people aren't getting an equal opportunity especially in a country that prides itself on being the land of opportunity, then that speaks to the state of inequality.

Lack of equality of outcome does not mean that there is a lack of equality of opportunity.

What would you change bout the difference in opportunity? Are you against rich families being able to afford to send their children to private high schools that are better than public schools and giving them a better chance? Getting into Yale because their father donates money to the school? There are institutional benefits that the rich class can give their children. Unless you are honestly desiring that we remove the assets of the wealthy or preventing private schools or eliminating classes thereby preventing any difference of "equal opportunity", you are just whinging about the fact that some people happen to be poor. No matter how much you try. No matter how much money you take from the rich, there will always be poor because there will always be people who don't have the skills, intelligence, training, and/or motivation to work in a job that pays enough money to afford anything but the basic necessities of life.


Study showing the U.S. lags behind other countries in social mobility.


Ø Children from low-income families have only a 1 percent chance of reaching the top
5 percent of the income distribution, versus children of the rich who have about a 22
percent chance.


Ø By international standards, the United States has an unusually low level of
intergenerational mobility: our parents’ income is highly predictive of our incomes
as adults. Intergenerational mobility in the United States is lower than in France,
Germany, Sweden, Canada, Finland, Norway and Denmark. Among high-income
countries for which comparable estimates are available, only the United Kingdom
had a lower rate of mobility than the United States.
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Re: OWS

Postby The Artful Dodger » Mon Oct 31, 2011 2:03 am

Curtis Pride wrote:
The Artful Dodger wrote:How Americans in general defend a broken dog-eat-dog Darwinist system in which the super-wealthy control 40% of the wealth and government is bogged down by bureaucracy and special interests is beyond me. America is a democracy in name, but it's really something resembling a plutocracy and oligarchy in action.

How Americans realize that a government is bogged down by bureaucracy and special interests while at the same time prescribing MORE taxes and MORE government power as the solution is beyond me.


FWIW, I didn't mention that more taxes is the end-all, be-all solution; it's just a small part in steadying the government out of the recession and to a higher goal, in reforming government. That said, I don't see how a supposed 3% income tax raise on the mega-rich (the upper echelon of the 1%) is a bad thing, the effects of which on those below are a possibility but inflated. The rich will still invest their money in the economy and the greatest engine of job creation in America derives from small business and high-growth startups, those of which aren't necessarily rich to begin with.

Curtis Pride wrote:
The Artful Dodger wrote:Again, a meritocracy is great for the health of a society, but when people aren't getting an equal opportunity especially in a country that prides itself on being the land of opportunity, then that speaks to the state of inequality.

Lack of equality of outcome does not mean that there is a lack of equality of opportunity.

What would you change bout the difference in opportunity? Are you against rich families being able to afford to send their children to private high schools that are better than public schools and giving them a better chance? Getting into Yale because their father donates money to the school? There are institutional benefits that the rich class can give their children. Unless you are honestly desiring that we remove the assets of the wealthy or preventing private schools or eliminating classes thereby preventing any difference of "equal opportunity", you are just whinging about the fact that some people happen to be poor. No matter how much you try. No matter how much money you take from the rich, there will always be poor because there will always be people who don't have the skills, intelligence, training, and/or motivation to work in a job that pays enough money to afford anything but the basic necessities of life.


I have absolutely no problem with public vs. private schools or the increased affordability of the affluent to send their kids to private schools. I'm also tolerant of the fact there will be some inequality in pay scales, or rich and poor, but that gap between rich and poor can be lessened to one that's more evenly spread in which there's little/no obscene poor and little/no obscene rich. For me, I see the Scandinavian countries as a model of egalitarianism done right. Yes, it's a bit socialist for American standards but they're not perfectly socialist (free markets, individual freedoms intact) and no, I don't believe a system such as that will work in full in America but there are a few lessons to be learned from them.

Herein lies the problem: people mix meritocracy and social inequality as one in the same. A healthy educational ecosystem is one in which kids, whether they go private or public, get more or less the same opportunity to quality education. The gap is increased these days in such a way that a child not only has to win the lottery of being born into the right family, the best country possible, but also into the best social class because their educational outcomes (and likely their lot in life) depend on it. Education is the great equalizer to social mobility, but when the power of that equalizer is diminished by the polarizing gulf of quality in education itself, then you have less middle class folks (more leaning towards either end, more likely poor) and lesser chance of middle class people to ascend up the socioeconomic ladder. This inequality has reached a point that it will affect the overall well-being and quality of living.
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