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Re: OWS

Postby The Artful Dodger » Tue Nov 01, 2011 1:20 am

John Kramer wrote:With anything where something is judged, there will always be a top and a bottom. Doesn't matter how equal anything is, some will succeed, some will be in the middle, and some will fail. There are always winners and losers, and that includes the game of life. So yeah, someone at the bottom of their class is basically screwed. But they don't have anyone to blame other than themselves as far as I am concerned. We're beyond the time of excuses.


Yes, such are the effects of the meritocracy: there will be high performers, many who fall in the middle, and those who don't do as well. The bigger problem is, when people are born into a situation where opportunity is limited, and a meritocracy, which is good, becomes one that's determined by social inequality, which is bad. Furthermore, the system doesn't have to be one which produces the unintentional result of "winners and losers". If the average segment of a class can still churn out exceptional students (only dwarfed by those who are superb to the next level), then the educational system is doing its job.

Somewhat related to this, here's a good read on Finland's successful educational system, a few things America could take a page from although it would take quite an overhaul to achieve (i.e. selectivity in hiring teachers with Master's degrees, less significance on standardized testing). Also, the article does bring up much of the things we've been discussing, namely poverty having a significant effect on educational outcomes.

There's nothing wrong with breaking even. Tons of people would open their own businesses if they thought they could make enough to live on. Not be rich or anywhere close to it, just enough to be middle class. They would of course strive to do better, but paying their way is still fine and a very attainable goal. Sounds to me like you find the middle class to be unacceptable? I might be reading that wrong, but it sure seems like disdain for sub-par returns or breaking even. Quite a few people out there are happy to run their own business and be able to pocket a measly $25-$35K a year from it. But it sounds to me that if someone isn't making 6 figures a year and still growing towards millions per year, they are a failure in your eyes. Hopefully I'm misunderstanding it and it just came across wrong to me, because they are certainly successful and not a failure.


I wonder why you came to that conclusion. I don't see anything wrong with businesses settling for breakeven and proverbial small potatoes, for success and failure are subjective outcomes for each business owner. When most people think of success, they think of businesses with six and seven figure revenues, and for some that's the goal. There are many who pursue that goal, and the number of failures tend to be more of the norm than the success stories.

50% in taxes is insane, there's no way I'd ever live anywhere that required me to give them that much of the money I earned. But that's what I was getting at. If success comes at a 50% tax rate, I'll pass thanks. There are graduated tax brackets in socialism, yes? If so, then that's what I was getting at. The more you make, the bigger the percentage. Here in America it's the same, but the rate jacks aren't that bad and the cap isn't that bad. 50%? That country is out of its mind! Why would anyone want to be successful enough to have to cut that check?


Yes, there are progressive tax brackets in those social democracies as well.

Actually, I have to clarify that many of the developed European countries pay 40-50% of income. Denmark, Sweden, Germany, and Belgium pay close to 50%, depending of course how much they make (the average citizen is taxed at around mid-40's-ish). The French government has been ruled by the right for almost a decade now, but still, the average French citizen pays roughly 40%. Only Switzerland is as tax-friendly as the US among Western European countries.

As excessive as the tax rate is in those countries, look at the things your taxpayer money would go towards: world-class universal healthcare, subsidized education at every academic level, generous family/sick leave, high salaries that keep up with cost of living, and more employee-friendly conditions. Some of the things people worry about in America, they wouldn't have to worry about in those places. In some way, the social services paid for is cheaper compared to the same exact quality goods spent in America. It seems counterintuitive from an American perspective, but FWIW, said countries do rank highly on global happiness and standard of living indexes.
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Re: OWS

Postby John Kramer » Tue Nov 01, 2011 10:35 am

Tavish wrote:No biggie at all. Actually I think we are pretty darn close on everything else though. At least a lot closer than we appeared to be a few pages back Which is great, now I don't feel like I am completely off my rocker. :)


You're not crazy at all. For awhile, I thought either you were or I was and I was too crazy to see I was the crazy one. The old "Do crazy people know they are crazy?" type of thing. Haha.

Definitely a big improvement. As the older generations die off where the habit was much more acceptable and ingrained into the culture I would expect there to be a massive decline. I would love to think that the same "bad-habit-breaking" over time would work with people when it came to their own finances but I'm fairly skeptical.


There was a good read a few weeks ago about the decline in teenage smoking. I looked for it but couldn't find it. Suffice it to say that smoking will continue to drop quickly.

As to smarter financial decisions, I don't know either. I do think educating people would help. Not sure how much, but it couldn't hurt.

I feel the same way and am much more in favor of "sunset" regulations that have to be renewed at set intervals. Regulation that is required right now to get the economy back on track may not be needed or may need to be altered in the near future. The economy is ever-changing so should the regulation that keeps it balanced.

The downside for me is that I tend to see the US as a borderline corporate oligarchy so that would mean that the corporations would have to basically pass regulation against themselves which seems very doubtful. At the very least the measures wouldn't be passed without extreme concessions that could likely result in trading one problem for another. It is going to take a fairly radical change from both the electorate (something that more education can definitely improve) and the politicians.


I've thought about this quite a bit more and I admit some sort of regulations are necessary. If banks were fully allowed to fail, the "smarter" banks would buy up the other banks when they made dumb decisions and eventually we'd wind up with one or two massive banks, and could easily fall into the "too big to fail" situation again. Needless to say that wouldn't be good. Just not sure how many or what type of regulations would be necessary. Having a certain percentage of liquid capital versus amount loaned out would be mandatory of course (already in place now I believe, maybe a bigger percentage is needed...), but beyond that, I'm not sure.

Absolutely not, that would lead to complete stagnation of the economy. Making profits is the only way to grow the economy. It all comes back around to the bailouts that we both agree were a necessary evil and the need to prevent that type of situation from playing out again. If banks were making a normal profit that were growing the economy, if they were providing people with value then we very likely wouldn't be having this conversation. The banks would not have made a profit from the service or value they provided to the economy without the bailouts, they would have been bankrupt and out of business.


I guess I view it as people buying more, and more companies breaking even instead of losing money. I read somewhere that it costs $2 for a DVD movie. Disk, packaging, salaries, etc. Could buy a bunch of DVD movies for what 1 currently costs. Spread that around and all of the companies are in no financial harm. You're right that they couldn't grow or expand, but no one would be laying off workers or going bankrupt. Overall though, yeah, it would stagnate.

I wouldn't read too much into the government yelling for more lending right now. I would mark that up as politicians being politicians and pandering to voters with the "well we have tried, its not our fault". So many businesses (banks included) are over-leveraged right now there is a much lower demand for loans. People and businesses are trying to pay down debt right now, not take on more debt. Lower consumer spending, lower product demand, low confidence in the economy, a bubble that is still settling, and all the other fun stuff that goes with a recession all add up to fewer loans.


That is possible. Elections are coming up, so maybe that's all it is. I don't have a lot of faith in the government, I've read way too much where they are totally out of the loop when it comes to the people. So I generally think the worst when I read stuff like what I wrote. Maybe you're right and it's just sound bytes for the election though.

Skin Blues wrote:I'd rather pay 50% tax on $120K and at the same time get great health care and education than pay 10% tax on $75K and have to pay for my health care and education on top of that out of pocket (and I'm the lucky one that can actually afford it). So how crazy are those people, really? And it's not 50% up here in Canadia anyway, but still, even if it was would it be worse? Look at quality of life, not just dollar signs. The US is full of miserable, fat, lazy, people but at least they don't pay a lot of taxes. Hooray!


So what about us that pay 10% (closer to 20% actually) tax and have great health care and good schools? I'm just plain old middle class, but my entire family has always received fantastic health care (will admit it has been rarely needed) and my kid is in a school system that has a surplus of funds (not rich, but they are doing well). Now I do pay for health insurance out of pocket, and it isn't cheap, but it isn't enough to jump me to 50% in taxes either (puts me to about 25%). As to quality of life, with that extra 25% that I get to keep, that certainly helps with quality of life. Better neighborhood, better food, more vacations, nicer items (like electronics), etc.

On the personal level, it's about what the government deserves. Right now, they deserve maybe 5% of what I make. When I start seeing better decisions out of government, I'll feel like taxes are fair. And no matter what they do, they'll never be worth 50% of what I make. I'll move long before I ever pay anything like that.

Oh, and all the commotion about "outsourcing"? If the tax rate here ever got anywhere near 50%, I can't imagine many jobs being left. Wages would have to rise by so much that I couldn't imagine very many companies would still have businesses in America. They'd ship them all out of the country because they wouldn't be cost effective at all.

The Artful Dodger wrote:Yes, such are the effects of the meritocracy: there will be high performers, many who fall in the middle, and those who don't do as well. The bigger problem is, when people are born into a situation where opportunity is limited, and a meritocracy, which is good, becomes one that's determined by social inequality, which is bad. Furthermore, the system doesn't have to be one which produces the unintentional result of "winners and losers". If the average segment of a class can still churn out exceptional students (only dwarfed by those who are superb to the next level), then the educational system is doing its job.

Somewhat related to this, here's a good read on Finland's successful educational system, a few things America could take a page from although it would take quite an overhaul to achieve (i.e. selectivity in hiring teachers with Master's degrees, less significance on standardized testing). Also, the article does bring up much of the things we've been discussing, namely poverty having a significant effect on educational outcomes.


Everyone can't be winners though, because at that point everyone is just normal, not exceptional. It's a yin/yang thing.

Good read. I could discuss tons of stuff, but let's see how much I do. From the article:

"Teachers and principals repeatedly told me that the secret of Finnish success is trust. Parents trust teachers because they are professionals."

2 things. Being a "professional" doesn't mean a thing here anymore. Too easy of a title to get, so quite a few people who have no idea what they are doing in their particular field are considered "professionals", even though they shouldn't be. So the title doesn't mean anything anymore. On the trust side of the coin, it isn't there because the teachers have proved to be inept at their jobs. Look no further than the sports figures on television doing interviews. They have college credits, yet can't speak anything remotely close to how they should. What isn't televised is that it isn't just athletes that skate by, there are tons of regular kids that the teachers just don't want to be "bothered" with, so they pass them on to the next grade, even though they shouldn't. We were discussing the idiots that couldn't do a budget earlier, remember? So needless to say the teachers have no trust because they have proven to not be trustworthy. We need standardized testing to prove the teachers are at least teaching the basics (which they are failing to do). Needless to say we can't trust a teacher's opinion as to if a student has learned enough or not.

I wonder why you came to that conclusion. I don't see anything wrong with businesses settling for breakeven and proverbial small potatoes, for success and failure are subjective outcomes for each business owner. When most people think of success, they think of businesses with six and seven figure revenues, and for some that's the goal. There are many who pursue that goal, and the number of failures tend to be more of the norm than the success stories.


Glad to see I just misread the tone. Easy enough to do in written communication and why I asked if I was misreading it.

If someone paying their way with their own business is considered successful (which is the definition I use), I would argue there are more successes than there are failures. If we're talking about success as making millions, then absolutely, failure is the norm and dwarfs the successful. All just a matter of definition or viewpoint of "success" is all.

Yes, there are progressive tax brackets in those social democracies as well.

Actually, I have to clarify that many of the developed European countries pay 40-50% of income. Denmark, Sweden, Germany, and Belgium pay close to 50%, depending of course how much they make (the average citizen is taxed at around mid-40's-ish). The French government has been ruled by the right for almost a decade now, but still, the average French citizen pays roughly 40%. Only Switzerland is as tax-friendly as the US among Western European countries.

As excessive as the tax rate is in those countries, look at the things your taxpayer money would go towards: world-class universal healthcare, subsidized education at every academic level, generous family/sick leave, high salaries that keep up with cost of living, and more employee-friendly conditions. Some of the things people worry about in America, they wouldn't have to worry about in those places. In some way, the social services paid for is cheaper compared to the same exact quality goods spent in America. It seems counterintuitive from an American perspective, but FWIW, said countries do rank highly on global happiness and standard of living indexes.


I don't know, I just can't imagine giving 40% of what I make to the government. The thought of growing my business to a point of having to pay 40% in taxes makes me not want to bother growing it to that point. Maybe that's because I'm thinking of our crappy government though. Maybe I should "vacation" for a year elsewhere and see how they do things firsthand.
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Re: OWS

Postby Mookie4ever » Tue Nov 01, 2011 12:00 pm

I wish that I had time to read any of this let alone participate.
Having not read anything I still side with Tavish.
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Re: OWS

Postby The Artful Dodger » Tue Nov 01, 2011 2:21 pm

John Kramer wrote:Everyone can't be winners though, because at that point everyone is just normal, not exceptional. It's a yin/yang thing.


Raising the norm of students as exceptional would be the ideal situation. In other words, exceptional being normal or average. Private schools tend to have levels where the top 1-2% students haven't performed that much differently from say, the top 10-20%; they performed at a marginally better level. There probably isn't as much distinguishing from the top 20% to the top 30-40%, as a combination of GPA, SAT's, AP's, and other extracurriculars, where the gaps separating those subclasses are gradually descending, not with any noticeable peaks and valleys. Public schools in working-class or poorer urban areas are more likely not to have such small, gradually descending gaps. Education doesn't need to be a binary outcome of winners and losers, and frankly, it shouldn't, or the system would be worse for wear if it did.

John Kramer wrote:On the trust side of the coin, it isn't there because the teachers have proved to be inept at their jobs.


Well, some districts like the LAUSD (Los Angeles Unified) staff less than qualified teachers to fill in open positions. Some might have chosen to be the teachers because of the cushy benefits, and not so much because they liked kids and liked teaching them new things. It had been like this say, 15-20 years ago, and the problem still persists.

John Kramer wrote:We need standardized testing to prove the teachers are at least teaching the basics (which they are failing to do). Needless to say we can't trust a teacher's opinion as to if a student has learned enough or not.


Standardized testing is still needed, sure. What I'm saying is there should be less emphasis on standardized testing.

The primary reason is that students' learning experience shouldn't be tailor-made for passing or acing the tests. The tests themselves aren't accurate reflections of pure intelligence, skill, and knowledge of what's taught or what should be taught in the classroom. The test format is to blame when there's a strategy to making the best guesstimates as to the answers of multiple choice questions. If I knew for certain, 50% of the answers were wrong based off pure recollection (which might not even be correct in the first place), I've narrowed my choices to make presumably the right one once I've walked it through. The tests aren't best suited to evaluate a student's problem solving and critical thinking skills either.

Therefore, standardized testing isn't the best measure of accountability for teachers and schools because the testing and the methodology behind it is flawed. Instead, it's mainly accepted as a justification for schools to seek out more public funding by the merits of how well their students fare. Furthermore, No Child Left Behind has furthered this needless, detrimental overemphasis on standardized testing to the point it skews the primary objectives of a school environment.

I don't know, I just can't imagine giving 40% of what I make to the government. The thought of growing my business to a point of having to pay 40% in taxes makes me not want to bother growing it to that point. Maybe that's because I'm thinking of our crappy government though. Maybe I should "vacation" for a year elsewhere and see how they do things firsthand.


Not to mention, the high payroll taxes and overall costs of doing business. Still, those countries have a high entrepreneur per capita rate than even the United States. Of course, said countries have only a fraction the population of the United States, but the fact some of those social democracies sport an impressive percentage of entrepreneurs breaks the convention that high taxes dissuade the formation of new businesses.
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Re: OWS

Postby John Kramer » Thu Nov 03, 2011 3:47 pm

The Artful Dodger wrote:Raising the norm of students as exceptional would be the ideal situation. In other words, exceptional being normal or average. Private schools tend to have levels where the top 1-2% students haven't performed that much differently from say, the top 10-20%; they performed at a marginally better level. There probably isn't as much distinguishing from the top 20% to the top 30-40%, as a combination of GPA, SAT's, AP's, and other extracurriculars, where the gaps separating those subclasses are gradually descending, not with any noticeable peaks and valleys. Public schools in working-class or poorer urban areas are more likely not to have such small, gradually descending gaps. Education doesn't need to be a binary outcome of winners and losers, and frankly, it shouldn't, or the system would be worse for wear if it did.


If exceptional became the new normal, there will still be above and below normal. No matter where the bar is, there will always be people above it, at it, and under it. Doesn't matter how high or how low that bar is. You'll never have everyone be at the same intelligence level.

I get what you're saying though. You'd like the floor to be higher. I'm cool with that.

Standardized testing is still needed, sure. What I'm saying is there should be less emphasis on standardized testing.

The primary reason is that students' learning experience shouldn't be tailor-made for passing or acing the tests. The tests themselves aren't accurate reflections of pure intelligence, skill, and knowledge of what's taught or what should be taught in the classroom. The test format is to blame when there's a strategy to making the best guesstimates as to the answers of multiple choice questions. If I knew for certain, 50% of the answers were wrong based off pure recollection (which might not even be correct in the first place), I've narrowed my choices to make presumably the right one once I've walked it through. The tests aren't best suited to evaluate a student's problem solving and critical thinking skills either.

Therefore, standardized testing isn't the best measure of accountability for teachers and schools because the testing and the methodology behind it is flawed. Instead, it's mainly accepted as a justification for schools to seek out more public funding by the merits of how well their students fare. Furthermore, No Child Left Behind has furthered this needless, detrimental overemphasis on standardized testing to the point it skews the primary objectives of a school environment.


You're trying to teach advanced physics to someone that can't balance a checkbook. That's where our difference is right now. I'd like to ensure that everyone can do the basics like reading, writing, and math, which they cannot do right now. Until the basics are actually taught, having an advanced physics class doesn't benefit many people or the country like it could. You can't build the 20th floor to a building if the first floor hasn't been built yet.

Not to mention, the high payroll taxes and overall costs of doing business. Still, those countries have a high entrepreneur per capita rate than even the United States. Of course, said countries have only a fraction the population of the United States, but the fact some of those social democracies sport an impressive percentage of entrepreneurs breaks the convention that high taxes dissuade the formation of new businesses.


Raise taxes to 40% and watch how many companies uproot. Just because other countries have high taxes and still have entrepreneurs, that doesn't mean you can just change the rules here and expect the same. A ton of companies would relocate, along with a ton of individuals. So yes, absurdly high taxes would dissuade businesses from doing business in this country. Works that way on the state level.
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Re: OWS

Postby The Artful Dodger » Thu Nov 03, 2011 5:27 pm

John Kramer wrote:
The Artful Dodger wrote:Standardized testing is still needed, sure. What I'm saying is there should be less emphasis on standardized testing.

The primary reason is that students' learning experience shouldn't be tailor-made for passing or acing the tests. The tests themselves aren't accurate reflections of pure intelligence, skill, and knowledge of what's taught or what should be taught in the classroom. The test format is to blame when there's a strategy to making the best guesstimates as to the answers of multiple choice questions. If I knew for certain, 50% of the answers were wrong based off pure recollection (which might not even be correct in the first place), I've narrowed my choices to make presumably the right one once I've walked it through. The tests aren't best suited to evaluate a student's problem solving and critical thinking skills either.

Therefore, standardized testing isn't the best measure of accountability for teachers and schools because the testing and the methodology behind it is flawed. Instead, it's mainly accepted as a justification for schools to seek out more public funding by the merits of how well their students fare. Furthermore, No Child Left Behind has furthered this needless, detrimental overemphasis on standardized testing to the point it skews the primary objectives of a school environment.


You're trying to teach advanced physics to someone that can't balance a checkbook. That's where our difference is right now. I'd like to ensure that everyone can do the basics like reading, writing, and math, which they cannot do right now. Until the basics are actually taught, having an advanced physics class doesn't benefit many people or the country like it could. You can't build the 20th floor to a building if the first floor hasn't been built yet.


OK, but standardized testing isn't the best measure of competence, for reasons stated.

Raise taxes to 40% and watch how many companies uproot. Just because other countries have high taxes and still have entrepreneurs, that doesn't mean you can just change the rules here and expect the same. A ton of companies would relocate, along with a ton of individuals. So yes, absurdly high taxes would dissuade businesses from doing business in this country. Works that way on the state level.


I wasn't insinuating that taking the same exact functioning system elsewhere and putting it into action in America would work. What I was saying was that levying high taxes doesn't always have an adverse effect of entrepreneurship, challenging the publicly held perception in America that high taxation hurts business. Apparently, in "socialist" nations such as Norway and Denmark, taxes haven't stopped those countries from having a healthy number of entrepreneurs and small businesses.

Take for example, the cost of hiring a white-collar, six-digit salaried employee could actually be more expensive in America than say, Norway. In America, an employer has to dedicate a very significant contribution to private health insurance, workers' comp, disability, etc. In say, Norway, the national healthcare system takes care of it (taxpayer money, of course), and all the employer has to pay is extra coverage benefits, like travel insurance and a marginal private healthcare benefit which assures employees get first priority care in hospitals. In short, employee and employer in Norway are more likely to get more bang for the buck, whereas in America, it's more costly to insure an employee and add to retirement.
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Re: OWS

Postby John Kramer » Thu Nov 03, 2011 7:26 pm

The Artful Dodger wrote:OK, but standardized testing isn't the best measure of competence, for reasons stated.


Depends on the objective. If you really want to know how smart someone is, then no, standardized tests aren't good. If you want to know if someone can do something like basic math, tests are wonderful (as long as it isn't multiple choice).

I wasn't insinuating that taking the same exact functioning system elsewhere and putting it into action in America would work. What I was saying was that levying high taxes doesn't always have an adverse effect of entrepreneurship, challenging the publicly held perception in America that high taxation hurts business. Apparently, in "socialist" nations such as Norway and Denmark, taxes haven't stopped those countries from having a healthy number of entrepreneurs and small businesses.

Take for example, the cost of hiring a white-collar, six-digit salaried employee could actually be more expensive in America than say, Norway. In America, an employer has to dedicate a very significant contribution to private health insurance, workers' comp, disability, etc. In say, Norway, the national healthcare system takes care of it (taxpayer money, of course), and all the employer has to pay is extra coverage benefits, like travel insurance and a marginal private healthcare benefit which assures employees get first priority care in hospitals. In short, employee and employer in Norway are more likely to get more bang for the buck, whereas in America, it's more costly to insure an employee and add to retirement.


No clue on my end really, no experience with it. It would take massive changes here to get anywhere close to what you're describing in other countries, and I just know there's no way in the world I'd pay 40% of income to our government. Like I said before, our government is currently worth maybe 5% of income. They've got a long way to go before they'll be worth anything remotely close to what they currently take. So 40% (or more) sounds totally insane. We'll see what the future brings though.
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Re: OWS

Postby davidmarver » Fri Nov 04, 2011 3:31 am

The Artful Dodger wrote:OK, but standardized testing isn't the best measure of competence, for reasons stated.

There's a large difference between the "best measure" and being better than no measure.

The Artful Dodger wrote: What I was saying was that levying high taxes doesn't always have an adverse effect of entrepreneurship, challenging the publicly held perception in America that high taxation hurts business. Apparently, in "socialist" nations such as Norway and Denmark, taxes haven't stopped those countries from having a healthy number of entrepreneurs and small businesses.

Norway is a rather tenuous example to cite. You're talking about a country with virtually zero manufacturer transportation costs that is richly endowed in natural resources (third largest exporter of oil on the planet). And they aren't exactly lighting the world on fire with innovative business practices/technologies, just supplying natural resources to the rest of the world. And that's ignoring the ridiculous cost of living in Norway -- something close to twice as high as it is here -- which isn't made-up by their high GDP. They have two policies that really cripple them when it comes to attracting tech companies, which is strange considering their climate is ideal for tech companies: corporate gender quotas and egalitarian pay which stifles CEO/CFO/etc. pay; if you can't attract top talent, and are forced to put 40% women on your board despite the best option potentially being male, you won't be attracting top companies.

The Artful Dodger wrote:Take for example, the cost of hiring a white-collar, six-digit salaried employee could actually be more expensive in America than say, Norway. In America, an employer has to dedicate a very significant contribution to private health insurance, workers' comp, disability, etc. In say, Norway, the national healthcare system takes care of it (taxpayer money, of course), and all the employer has to pay is extra coverage benefits, like travel insurance and a marginal private healthcare benefit which assures employees get first priority care in hospitals. In short, employee and employer in Norway are more likely to get more bang for the buck, whereas in America, it's more costly to insure an employee and add to retirement.

But it's also less likely for a potential employee to accept the lower salary (let alone the higher cost of living) that comes with a higher tax rate due to paying health care costs off the top. Employment costs don't disappear no matter how you care to define them.
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Re: OWS

Postby The Artful Dodger » Fri Nov 04, 2011 1:43 pm

davidmarver wrote:
The Artful Dodger wrote: What I was saying was that levying high taxes doesn't always have an adverse effect of entrepreneurship, challenging the publicly held perception in America that high taxation hurts business. Apparently, in "socialist" nations such as Norway and Denmark, taxes haven't stopped those countries from having a healthy number of entrepreneurs and small businesses.

Norway is a rather tenuous example to cite. You're talking about a country with virtually zero manufacturer transportation costs that is richly endowed in natural resources (third largest exporter of oil on the planet). And they aren't exactly lighting the world on fire with innovative business practices/technologies, just supplying natural resources to the rest of the world. And that's ignoring the ridiculous cost of living in Norway -- something close to twice as high as it is here -- which isn't made-up by their high GDP. They have two policies that really cripple them when it comes to attracting tech companies, which is strange considering their climate is ideal for tech companies: corporate gender quotas and egalitarian pay which stifles CEO/CFO/etc. pay; if you can't attract top talent, and are forced to put 40% women on your board despite the best option potentially being male, you won't be attracting top companies.


The average income in Norway is quite high, so as to keep up with the cost of living. Like I said before, the tax money goes to among other things, quality subsidized education and healthcare, certain things which people worry about in America to pay later and Norwegians don't have to. Yes, there's less out-of-pocket disposable income for the average Norwegian, but when housing costs aren't as out of control elsewhere and unemployment is one of the lowest.

As far as tech companies go, I think it's hard to compare the rate of high-growth tech companies in Norway to other industrialized countries. In America, there's been a precedent of high-tech startups evolving into world-class firms and certain hubs where such progression is commonplace (i.e. Silicon Valley). On the other hand, most European countries had historically been difficult environments from which to start a high-growth, high-risk tech startup, but that is changing throughout much of Europe now. I don't think they can emulate the kind of environment the Valley has had on tech but by the same token, they don't need to.

As for the egalitarian pay scales, I'd say that's where the difference in culture plays a role. In Norway, there's more of a societal dedication to egalitarianism such that higher-ups are content with a certain extent of comfortable living (not having to worry about money issues) and are more inclined to frugality. Higher pay doesn't always entail higher motivation.
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Re: OWS

Postby Mookie4ever » Sat Nov 05, 2011 6:44 pm

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