[Politics] Deficit Spending and Economic Collapse

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Re: [Politics] Deficit Spending and Economic Collapse

Postby Icha » Wed May 23, 2012 10:30 pm

I came here one day and found generalizations, generalizations everywhere. I don't know enough about politics, but it looks like both of you want teachers to be given what they deserve (it's very different for both of you), and rich people paying what they should in taxes.

All I know is that I'm a man of civil liberties, but then when it comes to anything else there's the problem of no one having a damn clue, or there's a vested interest against it because of a pre-established system.

(Also if you don't let teachers get tenure you can just have them contracted and then remove them before their pay raise comes and re-add them to reset the number of years they've worked somewhere and thus make sure their pay never goes up)
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Re: [Politics] Deficit Spending and Economic Collapse

Postby Wizard » Thu May 24, 2012 12:35 pm

Sentios wrote:
Wizard wrote:It doesn't matter where one's income comes from; income tax is based on the idea of taxing one's labor, since it's a form of commerce. The government simply would earn less revenue by allowing ANY income to go untaxed. There isn't a zero gain just because it's government pay. Considering the size of the federal bureaucracy alone, it would be quite the mistake.


So you're saying if you take a spoon of sugar from a bag and put part of it back you'll have MORE sugar in the bag than when you started? You must be both a magician and surgeon with hands that steady. More likely even if you tried to put ALL the sugar back you'd lose a little bit and, as you say, considering the size of the bureaucracy that adds up to a lot of sugar.


Such an odd metaphor. It works like this: someone puts sugar in bag (total federal revenue), someone takes some sugar from bag (federal employees' wages), someone adds some of that sugar back (taxes on federal employees' wages). You don't end up with "MORE" sugar than when you started; you end up with more sugar than you would have if you didn't tax federal employees.

Sentios wrote:
Wizard wrote:This isn't true. Charities' influence goes deeper than just solving practical problems. While charity doesn't directly change government policy, it does a lot to influence it. Charities have a soft power in their moral authority; they can make waves among citizens. Faith-based charities are even more effective at this, although depending on which waves they're making, it could add to a problem (i.e. the Church spreading misinformation about condoms). Solving practical problems solves a lot of the world's problems by itself, anyway; distributing condoms in South Africa to reverse the rise of HIV/AIDS infections is an example.

Please keep your responses civil.


What I said is true, the mentality that charity creates makes it's 'okay' to not find a real solution. The only exception I will make is crisis charities but those are short lived and naturally go away or move on once the crisis is over. Since you like South Africa as an example you have to know that food charities aren't even denting the mass starvation. In fact they can even be said to increase it because they aren't equally matched with family planning education and birth control, resulting in people who don't have the means to support their current families having even more kids. It wasn't until the millennium development goals came around that any one even considered trying to find a real solution to their problems because the charity crowd was content with sending canned soup.


I apologize for not making it clear that I wasn't referring to all charities. You're right in that some charities do more harm than good in the long run, but wrong in that only "crisis charities" don't. Furthermore, whose mentality is changed? I suppose there's an argument to be made than Senator So-and-So may not support a response to a human rights crisis if Joe Average thinks that charities are taking care of it and that the good senator shouldn't try to allocate money to it, but that's saying too much of Joe Average's power. Charities are able to publicize human rights violations, pressure governments into doing something about it, and do a lot to aid and inform human rights watchdog NGOs about a crisis (which also pressure governments); charities are often the first organizations to recognize a human rights problem. Through all that, Senator So-and-So could be persuaded to support a response to a human rights crisis because of PR problems.

You can't just group charities together wholesale and label them as ineffective like that, nor can you really blame a bunch of nuns for trying to do something good and feed starving children, especially when it's not their fault that U.N. member states aren't and/or haven't done much to alleviate the massive problems said nuns tackle. It's not a mentality of "charity works, screw international aid" that's keeping the U.N. from intervening; it's the unwillingness of capable governments to spend time and money on other people out of pure national interest, practically separate of public opinion, which in turn leads to the weakness of the whole international human rights law enforcement system.

International actors act on an international stage, and state actors won't even take a such a charity-generated mentality into consideration when conducting that kind of realpolitik that leaves millions of Africans starving.

icha_icha_paradise wrote:I came here one day and found generalizations, generalizations everywhere. I don't know enough about politics...

All I know is that I'm a man of civil liberties, but then when it comes to anything else there's the problem of no one having a damn clue, or there's a vested interest against it because of a pre-established system.


I'm not really sure what you mean. If you don't know "enough about politics", then how do you know if those generalizations are, more or less, valid? This isn't a formal debate; nobody here wants to read or put the effort into writing more detailed arguments. If necessary, the whole Internet is at one's fingertips to provide an example. I don't understand what you mean about "no one having a damn clue", either. Are you saying that none of us have any idea what we're talking about? I can't speak for the others, but I know what I'm talking about.

It's this kind of purportedly quasi-authoritative, dismissive yet non-committal attitude that irks me.

icha_icha_paradise wrote: (Also if you don't let teachers get tenure you can just have them contracted and then remove them before their pay raise comes and re-add them to reset the number of years they've worked somewhere and thus make sure their pay never goes up)


This is how unions get started.
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Re: [Politics] Deficit Spending and Economic Collapse

Postby Jay » Fri May 25, 2012 2:11 am

Wizard wrote:This is communism.

If everyone could only make 100,000 a year, our economy would fall apart. The federal government would be forced to provide everything, and would have to expand the bureaucracy enormously. Corruption would run rampant. Civil disorder would be out of control. State and local governments would rebel. It would be extremely likely that power would have to be centralized to the point of totalitarianism, just to keep things running. The country's wealth would evaporate overnight as investors fled as fast as they could to other countries. The list of horrible consequences goes on and on.

Communism is bad.

EDIT: I'd also like to point out that Washington D.C. is one of the most expensive cities to live in on the planet, and that members of the federal government have some of the hardest white-collar jobs in the world.

I haven't seen a more beautiful example of fear mongering taxes as a nonexistent spectre of Communism.

Really, you deserve some Hollywood Award for this.

How exactly is an economy impossible to control? Everything everyone does has a cause and effect. It's not hard to accurately predict the outcome given a set of circumstances. I put it to you that you have never studied economics, so you really have no clue how the economy works.

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Re: [Politics] Deficit Spending and Economic Collapse

Postby Icha » Sat May 26, 2012 2:40 pm

Ah, I think I wrote that post wrong. What I meant to say was that I'd always see something like:
Ruffdraft: X
Sentios: But then Y happens, also Z
Ruffdraft: No, you've got it wrong, I didn't say Y I said X, also Z is wrong because...
Sentios: Nope, that's also not what I said
...

Also I meant that other statement in general, "problem of no one having a damn clue", in more general issues, because every time I hear the president or something talk it's all this fluff and none of the details.
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Re: [Politics] Deficit Spending and Economic Collapse

Postby Jay » Sun May 27, 2012 4:32 pm

The public doesn't understand details so they're only given reassurances.

Moreover, the public doesn't often have the attention span to learn or come to understand the details. It's more effective to white lie than try to tell the truth.

That said, your white lie has to be actually reassuring, or you go the way of Hoover (well, after a while anyways).
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Re: [Politics] Deficit Spending and Economic Collapse

Postby Rough Giraffe » Mon May 28, 2012 11:16 am

RuffDraft wrote:I challenge you to support that statement with any credible evidence.
You didn't even respond to this. That tells me you have no evidence. I would like very much for you to prove me wrong here.

Sentios wrote:
RuffDraft wrote:"Qualified" needs to be qualified here.
A good start on the road to being qualified for a political office (since that's what we're talking about) is not having a law degree, instead having something that indicates you know how to solve problems.
You didn't answer my question at all. Having a law degree would mean at the very least that they understand legalese. You do not want a congressman making policy decisions without understanding the effect that a law has on the American people. Currently we have no degrees in "critical thinking," which is what I think you're getting at.

Sentios wrote:
Because a lot of your ideas are so dangerous that if you voiced them and the politicians listened, you might get your way, and our society would implode, and I'd never become rich doing what I do for a living.
I like that you think my ideas are dangerous though, since if you didn't think they had any validity you'd be indifferent to them.
You're definitely right about that. If someone told me they were going to kill me and I thought it was an empty threat, I'd say "yeah, okay, whatever." However, if that same person has a knife in his hand and his face was turning color, I might start to worry.

Sentios wrote:It eliminates people doing it for the money and only leaves people doing it because they're interested in the future of the nation. If you think that's sad then I must be doing something right.
A congressman whose primary job was something other than policy-making in congress (a full-time lawyer, perhaps?) and trying to support himself would find his attention divided and ultimately do a worse job than you seem to think they do now. There's nothing wrong with paying a government employee a salary. If someone provides a service for you, they deserve to be paid for it. The fact that you have a very specific criteria for what constitutes a job well-done doesn't mean they don't deserve what you as a taxpayer have agreed to pay them. (If you say you haven't agreed to pay it, that's because you don't believe you have a voice, so you don't voice your opinion and it doesn't get out.)

I think it's a sad idea because you seem to think it would improve their quality of work, and that's just sad.

Sentios wrote:
It's a stupid system. It would completely wipe out any kind of prosperity that America could hope for. And you'd champion that as a victory.
Only if you define prosperity as excessive liquid assets.
No, I define prosperity as a lower unemployment rate and hightened standard of living. If you were to cap income at $100,000/yr, unemployment would invariably rise and so would the poverty rate.

Sentios wrote:
Irrelevant. I asked you, "what would happen to the person who works harder and sees their pay skyrocket." Your response is "Screw them, the company should just hire another person."
Point is that by working harder they're closing opportunities for others, an income cap would reduce and eliminate their incentive to do that.
First of all, you can't close an opportunity that doesn't exist; that is to say, if a company isn't hiring because it has enough employees to fulfill its mission statement, it doesn't need to hire any more.

Second, an income cap would limit the incentive to work hard at all. If you can only achieve mediocrity without wasting compensation for your effort, not very many people are going to put forth the effort. In fact, more people will put in more effort if a better incentive to work harder exists, such as bonuses, raises and promotions.

Sentios wrote:Also a small business owner's pay wouldn't double because they did twice as much business, well unless they're completely short sighted and don't differentiate between their pay and their business's profits. Responsible owners give themselves a salary, sometimes with bonuses in good years, to ensure there are funds in the company to get through bad years.
You obviously don't know how small businesses work. My father was self-employed for many years before he retired, and every penny that didn't go to business expenses or employee wages was take-home pay. Some of it was saved, but most of it was spent on keeping his family clothed, housed and fed.

That's how it works. If you're the owner of a business, your "salary" is limited by the amount of business you do. You do more business, you take home more money. You do less, you take home less. If you do no business in a month, all you have is negative income. People who are self-employed take all the risks and all the profits belong to them--if there are any left over.

Sentios wrote:There are many companies that give over time for long periods of time instead of hiring more employees because it's cheaper for them to do that. The workers don't complain because they get paid more but the reality is that adds up to millions of jobs that aren't being created in a country that already doesn't have enough jobs.
That seems like a bit of an exaggeration. But even if that's true, what if their work force is sufficient to accomplish whatever task they've set out to do? You can't force them to hire more workers than they need and let them figure out what to do with the extra labor. The only way they're going to be able to open up more job opportunities is if they're allowed to recycle their "extra" profits back into the company, expand their operation and do more business.

Sentios wrote:obviously there would need to be legal protections to prevent employers working you substantially beyond what you can earn.
Why is it such a problem to just allow them to be paid the extra and tax everyone with that level of income the same rate?

Senios wrote:
With crushed dreams, zero ambition and no prospects for the future?
You mean like now?
Is that your problem? That you have no ambition? That's certainly not my problem.

That begs the question: What kind of skills do you have that would guarantee a better future for you?

Sentios wrote:
In our current system, someone who makes $1,000,000 a year pays $350,000. Suddenly, you change the tax code so that same millionaire has to pay $900,000 (plus $10,000) if he makes $1 million a year. The millionaire says "fuck that" and moves to Hong Kong.

You're right in that the US would lose $350,000 if he moved before the change in taxation took effect. However, the goal in raising taxes would be to obtain $900,000 dollars from someone who makes $1,000,000 in that year. If that person leaves the US after that, the government has just lost $900,000.
That premise depends on someone who gets paid a million dollar a year salary (>implying millionaires make a million a year) actually paying a full 35% on their taxes.
I did not say that being a millionaire automatically means you make $1 million in a year. But people DO make >$1 million a year. They are millionaires. Some of them are even billionaires.

And let's say for the sake of argument that someone who qualifies for the top tax bracket isn't paying a full 35%. Or, as is usually the case, they pay 35% of their salary in taxes and 15% of their investments in taxes, and they get deductions from charitable giving to the effect of about 10%. We'll average all of that out and say they're paying about 23% from income and capital gains taxes overall. You've already told me that you're fine with having deductions for charitable giving. Is there an issue with the above scenario?

Sentios wrote:If he evades an increase in taxes by moving the hong kong you're still not getting what you originally claimed to be getting and you have one less parasite in the country.
Parasite? Hah! I like your definition of a parasite: Someone who makes a lot of money, donates huge amounts to non-profit charities and whose tax money goes to funding all those entitlement programs you like such as Medicare/caid. Meanwhile we have people without jobs collecting unemployment insurance and taking advantage of taxpayer-funded food stamps. What would happen if these "parasites" (your definition) no longer existed?

Sentios wrote:Your same argument can be applied to any increase in taxes not just my income cap figures which means you've entered the slippery slope that results in taxes can never ever be raise or rich people will flee the country. That's a great basis for future-thinking policies.
I'm talking about unreasonable taxation that exponentially penalizes those who are successful. A flat tax rate does not do that, but it should still not be too high.

Most of the rich are just really successful and good at managing their money, and if they're each going to be taxed 99% of their total income while someone who makes half what he makes is taxed ~50%, he's probably going to do his business elsewhere.

Sentios wrote:
Oh, sure. The thousands of countries with lower tax rates all around the world are going to block hundreds of thousands of potential high-income taxpayers from immigrating away from a world financial giant. THAT'S likely.

>high income tax payers
But they're not or they wouldn't have left when asked to pay their taxes.
There's a difference between "asking" someone to pay their taxes and "ordering" them to give up everything they make past $100,000, which can be a considerable amount of money. If everyone who makes less than $100k pays $10,000 or less, and they make $300k and pay $210k, that's a huge difference.

Sentios wrote:Also...
>thousands of countries
...
http://geography.about.com/cs/countries ... ntries.htm
lol "thousands" of countries. That'll teach me to re-read my post when I re-write it a couple times.

Sentios wrote:
They pay taxes on their income from investments. That's an income tax, it's just called something else. What's the problem?
It's not income tax is the problem, it's filed under a separate tax.
But by your own admission, they pay taxes on that money. If it is their only source of income, that's tax they pay on their income. Pretending that those taxes don't count because the IRS doesn't call them "income" taxes just says to me that you are being selective with your data.

If the tax revenues from all forms of income are $1 trillion, of which $300 billion or so is from investments (Capital Gains), you can't pretend the $300 billion doesn't exist and claim that people whose entire income is from investments don't pay income tax; all you're doing is ignoring the tax that they actually pay.

Sentios wrote:
When rich people donate, they look at people as investments. They try to determine who would be the best people (group or organization thereof) that matches their ideals. If the rich were going to be taxed all but $100,000 of their income, if they didn't leave the US, then they would likely start donating whatever was left over to charities just to spite the government. The government would start losing money. If that happened, what would you do then?
>stating absolute negatives with no evidence
This will end well for you. Especially since what you said right after that proves that point.
No evidence you say? You have no evidence to prove that income caps would have any major benefit for America. I have evidence (that is to say, almost all of 1900s world history) to prove that it wouldn't.

Sentios wrote:Also they couldn't donate all their taxes to charity so your grand retaliation isn't so infallible.
How exactly would you prevent them?

Senitos wrote:
Well that wouldn't happen if you started over-taxing them. ... Your ideas would not increase revenues, they'd slash them.
Perhaps, however their influence over policy making would also be slashed which would result in them being in nations they can't push around and us finally being able to cut pork barrel spending, useless subsidies, and all manner of bad policies like it's going out of style.
On this we can agree there is corruption in the system (Crony capitalism is a bastardization of capitalism, in the same way that Naziism was a bastardization of Communism). However, the solution to this problem is not larger government. Larger government is what incentivizes businesses to start putting their hands in politics in the first place. Often, large businesses petition the government to institute more regulations so that it's harder for smaller businesses to become competitive. Regulatory reform or selective deregulation would solve this issue.

Sentios wrote:
Why exactly do you think the proceeds aren't relevant? Everything becomes relevant when you decide to radically change a system. The reason I brought up the proceeds is that when someone wins the lottery, a chunk of those winnings are taken out as proceeds and they mostly go to charities or other worthy causes.
Because so long as the same money is paid out, albeit distributed differently, the same amount of proceeds could be generated.
When someone wins a lottery, they have two options: lump sum and installments. If they take the lump sum, they only get half. The rest of that money is partly funneled back into the lottery (as in the $12 million minimum jackpot), and the rest is often given to local schools or other charities.

Sentios wrote:(though really the lottery winning aren't even accounted for on your income taxes currently)
That's because they're taxed at the time of winning. Government currently taxes all winnings over a certain amount (which I think is something like $1,000) and million-dollar jackpots are still taxed at 35%.

Sentios wrote:
Actually I've said multiple times in the past that part of the problem is parents not being involved. As for culture... I'm not sure what that has to do with teaching the individual students. However, there are thousands, if not millions, of after-school programs aimed at helping children, and if that's what you're talking about, then the problem is just that many kids don't take advantage of them.
The cultural mindset you're justifying with your earlier assessment is one where parents aren't involved though. I agree with you on that it's too hard to fire a bad teacher but your earlier assessment of a job's difficulty by how much money is made was simply out of touch with reality. A hard job doesn't necessarily pay well, which is the case for teachers.
All I did was make an observation. The thing about parents not being involved is true; many parents aren't involved in their kids' academia. It isn't that they don't care, just that they aren't really involved.

The thing about teachers was directed at DaCrum--he is a teacher, though he has said that he only teaches music as far as I know--and he believes that being an actor is easy compared to being a teacher, without knowing how much actual time and effort goes into being an actor. My point was more along the lines of "how do you know that for certain?"

Sentios wrote:Good that's how it should work, why was anyone arguing with me?
It might have been the way you were phrasing your argument. *shrug*

Sentios wrote:
Rather a bleak reality. But in that case, then do you have a solution in mind other than creating/funding a charity?
Let's look at a problem then, safe drinking water. The answer that charity provides is we'll send bottled water, whether it be a disaster like Katrina or a poor children of a 3rd world nation. Sometimes their other answer is send us money and we'll get water to these people somehow, they don't actually tell you how so you're just kind of taking their word for it.

How about instead we provide a real solution, a tool to convert water that those in need already have access to into something safe to drink. http://www.ted.com/talks/michael_pritch ... ilter.html
Excellent presentation, great pitch, wonderful idea.

So, with all that in mind, can I ask you some questions about it?

Who will be making those filters; will those people be compensated for their time, effort and expertise; And is Michael Pritchard giving these filters away for free, or is he making a profit off them? If he makes a huge profit, is he entitled to it?
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Re: [Politics] Deficit Spending and Economic Collapse

Postby Rough Giraffe » Mon May 28, 2012 11:19 am

Jay wrote:I haven't seen a more beautiful example of fear mongering taxes as a nonexistent spectre of Communism.
So why is he wrong, then?

Sentios wrote:*golf clap*
...
So why am I wrong, then?
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Re: [Politics] Deficit Spending and Economic Collapse

Postby DaCrum » Mon May 28, 2012 5:05 pm

RuffDraft wrote:
Jay wrote:I haven't seen a more beautiful example of fear mongering taxes as a nonexistent spectre of Communism.
So why is he wrong, then?

Logical fallacy of false premise, combined with an appeal to fear. Not logically valid.
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Re: [Politics] Deficit Spending and Economic Collapse

Postby Sentios » Mon May 28, 2012 6:11 pm

Posts are getting too long time to start cutting out the lesser banter

RuffDraft wrote:You didn't answer my question at all. Having a law degree would mean at the very least that they understand legalese. You do not want a congressman making policy decisions without understanding the effect that a law has on the American people. Currently we have no degrees in "critical thinking," which is what I think you're getting at.


You should have watched the linked video, he perfectly sums up my thoughts on the legal field.
...the act of arguing and not agreeing, seems to be fundamental to that profession and congress is half that profession.


As for arguing the merits of proficiency in legalese, that's of about the same value as being proficient in Old English. If anything laws should be written in modern English for the sake of transparency.

Also you're a tool if you don't recognize any STEM degrees as having critical thinking as a fundamental component.

A congressman whose primary job was something other than policy-making in congress (a full-time lawyer, perhaps?) and trying to support himself would find his attention divided and ultimately do a worse job than you seem to think they do now. There's nothing wrong with paying a government employee a salary. If someone provides a service for you, they deserve to be paid for it. The fact that you have a very specific criteria for what constitutes a job well-done doesn't mean they don't deserve what you as a taxpayer have agreed to pay them. (If you say you haven't agreed to pay it, that's because you don't believe you have a voice, so you don't voice your opinion and it doesn't get out.)

I think it's a sad idea because you seem to think it would improve their quality of work, and that's just sad.


You seem to be suggesting that our politicians could be doing worse than they currently are, which is a suggestion that I find perplexing. All I was suggesting is that the average politician can not relate to the average citizen of the nation, do you remember the primaries where Romney made a ~$10,000 over some trivial fact checking? Maybe if they had to do something other than piss, moan, and argue while sitting in comfy chairs to earn their money they'd be more relatable

No, I define prosperity as a lower unemployment rate and hightened standard of living. If you were to cap income at $100,000/yr, unemployment would invariably rise and so would the poverty rate.


Now there's some classic rhetoric, "No matter what you suggest it will raise the unemployment rate and increase poverty." Though as an interesting parallel, if income were capped job creators would save money thus by your party's rhetoric that should in turn result in more job creation, trickle down and what not.

First of all, you can't close an opportunity that doesn't exist; that is to say, if a company isn't hiring because it has enough employees to fulfill its mission statement, it doesn't need to hire any more.

Second, an income cap would limit the incentive to work hard at all. If you can only achieve mediocrity without wasting compensation for your effort, not very many people are going to put forth the effort. In fact, more people will put in more effort if a better incentive to work harder exists, such as bonuses, raises and promotions.


But long stretches of overtime don't exist if you have enough employees to meet your labor demands, it's just a long running habit of under staffing and then overworking your under staffed employee pool which is prevalent in many industries.

Also your idea of money as an incentive is outdated, so long as people have enough money to live on comfortably other incentives normally match or exceed the effectiveness of a bonus or pay raise. It's becoming popular in the software industries for example to just have free-for-all days where the employees work on pretty much anything that suits them. The same is true of being able to work from home instead of having to go into the office.

You obviously don't know how small businesses work. My father was self-employed for many years before he retired, and every penny that didn't go to business expenses or employee wages was take-home pay. Some of it was saved, but most of it was spent on keeping his family clothed, housed and fed.

That's how it works. If you're the owner of a business, your "salary" is limited by the amount of business you do. You do more business, you take home more money. You do less, you take home less. If you do no business in a month, all you have is negative income. People who are self-employed take all the risks and all the profits belong to them--if there are any left over.


I was talking about responsible business owners which your father is clearly not OR you're underestimating how much was saved OR his business brought in hardly anything. It's entirely possible to have a business that only makes around what the average worker makes after business expenses makes but we were originally on the topic of companies that would be affected by an income cap not paltry businesses making $30-40k a year in profit.

That seems like a bit of an exaggeration. But even if that's true, what if their work force is sufficient to accomplish whatever task they've set out to do? You can't force them to hire more workers than they need and let them figure out what to do with the extra labor. The only way they're going to be able to open up more job opportunities is if they're allowed to recycle their "extra" profits back into the company, expand their operation and do more business.


They don't have a sufficient work force, that's what over time means. If they could complete their week's work within normal time they wouldn't have their workers working extra. It's cheaper for them than hiring more people but it also means that people are sitting on the streets who could be working those extra hours so they had money for dinner.

Why is it such a problem to just allow them to be paid the extra and tax everyone with that level of income the same rate?


You need to ask me why people wouldn't want to work knowing they weren't getting paid for the hours? Why do I need to explain something that should be in your bag of arguments for you?

Is that your problem? That you have no ambition? That's certainly not my problem.

That begs the question: What kind of skills do you have that would guarantee a better future for you?


I have dreams but none of them include climbing the ivory tower that wall street and co. have built... actually that tower is in the way I'd gladly knock it down given the opportunity.

I did not say that being a millionaire automatically means you make $1 million in a year. But people DO make >$1 million a year. They are millionaires. Some of them are even billionaires.

And let's say for the sake of argument that someone who qualifies for the top tax bracket isn't paying a full 35%. Or, as is usually the case, they pay 35% of their salary in taxes and 15% of their investments in taxes, and they get deductions from charitable giving to the effect of about 10%. We'll average all of that out and say they're paying about 23% from income and capital gains taxes overall. You've already told me that you're fine with having deductions for charitable giving. Is there an issue with the above scenario?


They're multi-millionaires at best, but more than likely closer to billionaires and there's no need for me to humor you when you're still insisiting that any in the top tax bracket is paying 35% income tax after deductions (no I'm not even talking about the donation credit).

Parasite? Hah! I like your definition of a parasite: Someone who makes a lot of money, donates huge amounts to non-profit charities and whose tax money goes to funding all those entitlement programs you like such as Medicare/caid. Meanwhile we have people without jobs collecting unemployment insurance and taking advantage of taxpayer-funded food stamps. What would happen if these "parasites" (your definition) no longer existed?


You're mixing issues now, if they make their money and flee to Hong Kong to evade taxes they're a parasite pure and simple. Doesn't even matter what tax rate we're talking about.

I'm talking about unreasonable taxation that exponentially penalizes those who are successful. A flat tax rate does not do that, but it should still not be too high.

Most of the rich are just really successful and good at managing their money, and if they're each going to be taxed 99% of their total income while someone who makes half what he makes is taxed ~50%, he's probably going to do his business elsewhere.


So what you're saying is that people who are financially successful should have free reign to decide how we govern the nation. After all that is what you're saying when you say we can't raise taxes because it'll piss the rich people off, I'm not even specifically referring to income cap right now this goes back to when we were still trying to balance the budget and you refused anything that wasn't cutting programs.

There's a difference between "asking" someone to pay their taxes and "ordering" them to give up everything they make past $100,000, which can be a considerable amount of money. If everyone who makes less than $100k pays $10,000 or less, and they make $300k and pay $210k, that's a huge difference.


This is the part I like about communist-ish ideas, they institutionally ban the dick waving contest that is excessive incomes. Rich people wouldn't be mad that they have to pay more than everyone else, they'd be mad because they weren't rich compared to everyone else.

No evidence you say? You have no evidence to prove that income caps would have any major benefit for America. I have evidence (that is to say, almost all of 1900s world history) to prove that it wouldn't.


The wider the wealth gap between demographics in a population the lower the quality of life is for that population overall compared with itself at a lower wealth gap. Relative wealth is an extremely important but extremely overlooked factor in the over all health of country. Capping income puts at ceiling on the wealth gap.

On this we can agree there is corruption in the system (Crony capitalism is a bastardization of capitalism, in the same way that Naziism was a bastardization of Communism). However, the solution to this problem is not larger government. Larger government is what incentivizes businesses to start putting their hands in politics in the first place. Often, large businesses petition the government to institute more regulations so that it's harder for smaller businesses to become competitive. Regulatory reform or selective deregulation would solve this issue.


Except all of the beneficial regulations would be cut and none of the negative ones would. Copyright and patents need completely reworked for example, but instead the FDA and EPA would be abolished and other stupid shit like that. I've heard these suggestions before.

Excellent presentation, great pitch, wonderful idea.

So, with all that in mind, can I ask you some questions about it?

Who will be making those filters; will those people be compensated for their time, effort and expertise; And is Michael Pritchard giving these filters away for free, or is he making a profit off them? If he makes a huge profit, is he entitled to it?


He's in the position that a bottled water company would be, except he's solving the problem for far cheaper with many added benefits (he mentioned not pulling people into camps so they can't spread their germs). You can mince words and say that it'll still take charity to get these into the hands of people however the approach to the problem was entirely different from a charity and is a solution with a exponentially longer time factor.
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Re: [Politics] Deficit Spending and Economic Collapse

Postby Jay » Tue May 29, 2012 2:03 pm

Naziism was a bastardization of Communism

AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
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Re: [Politics] Deficit Spending and Economic Collapse

Postby Rough Giraffe » Tue May 29, 2012 2:07 pm

DaCrum wrote:
RuffDraft wrote:
Jay wrote:I haven't seen a more beautiful example of fear mongering taxes as a nonexistent spectre of Communism.
So why is he wrong, then?

Logical fallacy of false premise, combined with an appeal to fear. Not logically valid.
The false premise needs to be explained if you're to say he's wrong, and the appeal to fear is irrelevant. I could say that Al Qaida is trying to get its hands on a nuke with the intent of killing thousands of people, and you could dismiss me, saying I'm "appealing to fear." But if I'm right, then all that means is that I think it's a credible threat.

So again, I ask: Why is anything that Wizard said wrong?

Jay wrote:
Naziism was a bastardization of Communism

AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
...

Care to expand on why you think I'm mistaken?
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Re: [Politics] Deficit Spending and Economic Collapse

Postby Jay » Tue May 29, 2012 4:21 pm

(turned out kind of big, I'll do Nazism vs. Communism later)

First:

In terms of Wizard, he stats that Sentios's radical taxing regime would become Communism.

However, without other policies, it can only be Socialism at worst (or at best, depending on your political tastes). An income cap would limit personal income (or perhaps it'd be more clever to cap household income with allowances for increases depending on number of dependents/civil unions/etc.) but would not prevent businesses from functioning properly, as it does not cap revenue. Just that, any money he could shovel into his own pocket, he would instead be incentivized to (since fuck giving the government anymore money than you have to) reinvest it into the business, pay bonuses to employees, fund new initiatives. Likely routes for circumventing the income cap as a business owner is also business expense accounts (which do get audited, but people rarely complain when you fly to New York and eat caviar with a buddy as a "meeting" and such). Instead of pocketing the wealth as personal, to save or reinvest or merely splurge on assets such as real estate or automobiles, you have to put it back into the business or into the employee's pay. People would likely still be able to do exorbitantly expensive things but it'd be a luxury kept only while the business is still running and can't be inherited (unless you inherit the business and it keeps running well, obviously).

Though large purchases could still probably be financed through clever mortgaging or use of credit.

While I don't neccessarily agree with a hard cap (especially since inflation is near constant & cost of living or luxury varies depending on geographic location even within the same nation), why this isn't Communism is simply this: the government doesn't own the businesses.

Socialism is a government which taxes its population to fund social services for the population. A welfare state or nanny state, which ever term you wish. Sweden is an example of a welfare state that spent on credit out of the Great Depression and largely utilized Keynes's economic principles correctly and has essentially flourished with 0 economic turmoil (though they've never been an economic powerhouse either, as they're removed from a true boom bust cycle). Keynes economics being, spend on credit to fund social projects and works to jump start the industrial economy (out of the great depression), raise taxes to pay back loans (a nation being the only body in the world, other than multinational corporations, capable of taking such large loans), and keep taxes high permanently, 1 to continue social services but 2 to save/invest so that during the next economic downturn, you don't NEED to borrow money.

You just spend all those unspent tax dollars accumulated due to constant high taxes. This eliminates economic busts (as the circle of >lay offs >less spending >less business >more layoffs >less spending >less business can be directly prevented by government spending) but also prevents economic booms (as high taxes generally cap how much of a boom you can actually have).

Still being a capitalist economy though, Socialism still has ups and downs, but depending on how extreme the Social programs, see so as slight lumps or drops, rather than periods of extreme prosperity or extreme poverty. And without proper regulations, can still experience bubble economies (which could hurt a lot of people anyways, but not so much as to cause worries for subsistence, etc.

Socialism can coexist with Capitalist economies on a limited opened level, but free trade can be troublesome. They often do use protectionist taxes and cap immigration to keep welfare spending in check and ensure income generated by the population does at least in part get put back into the national economy, rather than siphoned off by economically more aggressive nations in the globe (i.e. China). Ironically, since they scare away multinational corporations, they suffer a lot less from them, as they generally hollow out the wealth of the nations they occupy (USA included) to enrich the non-national entity, though that's hardly a rule.

Communism on the other hand, requires one very important concept and in fact has no taxes. Because private property does not exist, EVERYTHING is owned by the state, run by the state, and provided by the state. It doesn't tax you, it merely adjusts how much it gives you. Employment in all labor (since everything is government) basically becomes a social service, as the government employs you, houses you, schools your children, feeds you, etc. In certain systems, it may even raise your child for you, though those policies rarely last as they're highly unpopular.

Communism is directly opposed to Capitalism as it rejects the most essential premise of Capitalism; the existence of private property.

In laissez-faire Capitalism (that is, Capitalism with NO government regulation AT ALL), that house you "buy" is recognized by society to be yours. Barring punishment by the government for criminal activity, seizure by bank due to outstanding debt, declaration of bankruptcy, divorce, etc. your ownership of that property is sacred in the eyes of the state.

Similarly, in Social-Capitalist or fully Socialist societies, the exact is true, though in times of severe economic turmoil or total war, it may be appropriated by the government temporarily (or permanently on an illegal basis, which you can fight the government in the courts over it if the word of law is actually still effective).

In Communism, you cannot buy a house. You can't even "have" money. While Communism does pay a "wage", it's essentially like a social security check. The state guarantees you the money, regardless of your work ethic, productivity, whether you're even at work due to sickness, alcoholism, pregnancy, whatever. The state pays you (unless of course, it's being withheld from you due to Corruption, et al) because it's the state's responsibility to provide you, who does not own anything at all, with a livelihood. If you're a traitor it of courses reserves the right to deny you it, but generally speaking even the USSR, particularly post-Stalin, would feel obligated to give you this bare minimum bottom line. In fact, one of the reasons leading to the fall of the USSR in the late 80's and early 90's is because of rampant alcoholism due to lack of any incentive to DO work, as the state paid you regardless of whether you actually did work or just drank vodka all day.

Gorbachev attempting to reintroduce Capitalist incentives (which require at least limited property ownership and the divorce of the wage from being a government entitlement) in a limited manner is a direct reaction to this.

So simply having an income cap (the rest appropriated as taxes) would not qualify as Communism, as private property still exists, as does private economy (though probably regulated). Unless the nation literally runs and owns all businesses and ownership of private property does not exist, you cannot be considered Communist. This is why Cuba continues to be a fairly legitimate Communist state (true poverty and fear of hunger essentially does not exist, nor does fear from sickness for at least the easily cured or mitigated ones), ignoring its tourism industry which is sort of kind of non-Communist (but not that badly so). And conversely, why Mainland China is absolutely not a Communist state, due to Dengxiao Ping's reintroduction of Capitalist incentives and private ownership in a limited form (but without the loosening of political control, unlike Gorbachev of the felled USSR). That said, China is also not truly Capitalist, as ownership of property is still technically generally by the state. It's pretty complicated.

Another divide between Socialism and Communism is the general way followers of each political ideology visualize the establishment of their economic policies.

Socialism firmly believes in democratic process, and implementing Socialist legislation through that model. This is what you see happen in the United States, the British Commonwealth, France, Sweden, etc. during the interwar years (as in, between WWI and WWII), in varying degrees.

Communism, the originator of Socialism by Marx, firmly believes in the opposite; democracy is merely a tool of the Capitalist system, and will actively oppose any changes that interfere with the concentration of wealth by the bourgeosie (business owners) by the exploitation of the proletariat (workers, including any bourgeosie who fall to become workers as a result of the maximization of profit and elimination of competing businesses to attain monopoly. Communism was, after all, conceived before the idea of government regulation gained any real cache, and most believed that completely unfettered and free Capitalism is still the way, and in fact most democracies still only allowed business owners to vote).

As a result, Communism advocates violent revolution to depose Capitalism by force and similarly establish Communism by force, first through dictatorship to put the system into place, then some vague egalitarian rule once the system is in place. Marx also identified a society being highly industrialized as being a requirement of Communism, as WITHOUT industrial Capitalism, there is not enough wealth in the nation to sustain Communism. As a result (since all Communist countries we have today began as agricultural economies, that used Stalinist command economy to force industrialization) we have yet to actually see a Marxist Communist revolution happen.

I doubt Sentios advocates violent revolution to establish his tax on private gains in wage, nor does he probably think the government should run and own everything, so I highly doubt he actually advocates Communism, though his proposal of an income cap may be radical even in Socialist systems.
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Re: [Politics] Deficit Spending and Economic Collapse

Postby DaCrum » Tue May 29, 2012 6:45 pm

Jay, I have never respected you more.

As for why it is a false premise, well, I've never seen a more perfect example for it. He goes, slippery slopes the motherfucker to a new age of fear mongering, based on literally 1 premise stated. That premise being "everyone can only earn $100,000 maximum". It would be hard to prove that ANY of the effects that he stated could happen, even harder with the fact that he didn't state a single freaking other premise than the given.
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Re: [Politics] Deficit Spending and Economic Collapse

Postby Rough Giraffe » Sun Jun 03, 2012 9:03 pm

I must say: very nice. I'm working on a reply to Sentios bit by bit, but, your response pretty much satisfied all my questions except for why I'm wrong about Nazism being a bastardization of Communism. I mean, didn't it begin as Socialism, and after they gained power they started taking over industries and confiscating land, etc.? And then there's the genocide...
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Re: [Politics] Deficit Spending and Economic Collapse

Postby DaCrum » Sun Jun 03, 2012 10:35 pm

No, actually it began as a nationalist, corporative party. NOTHING like socialism. I keep telling people, the most socialist part of the National Socialist party is the NAME.
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Re: [Politics] Deficit Spending and Economic Collapse

Postby Rough Giraffe » Mon Jun 04, 2012 1:06 am

Ah. So it's sort of like how the Federal Reserve is not actually federal. Looks like I need to brush up a little on my history.
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Re: [Politics] Deficit Spending and Economic Collapse

Postby DaCrum » Mon Jun 04, 2012 1:11 am

Don't be a smart ass. It makes me not try to teach you new things.
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Re: [Politics] Deficit Spending and Economic Collapse

Postby Rough Giraffe » Mon Jun 04, 2012 2:11 am

... I was speaking seriously.

What's your problem? Every time I write anything down you think I'm taking a tone with you.
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Re: [Politics] Deficit Spending and Economic Collapse

Postby DaCrum » Mon Jun 04, 2012 2:45 am

Because you typically do? Whether you notice it or not? The Federal Reserve considerably is federal. Otherwise, do explain how it isn't.
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Re: [Politics] Deficit Spending and Economic Collapse

Postby Rough Giraffe » Mon Jun 04, 2012 8:16 am

Its shareholders are private banks. Its properties are not considered "public." It is not held to any regulation by the government. Not even the President has any say over what goes on there. The United States essentially "borrows" its money from the Federal Reserve instead of printing its own; why would one of our dollars say "Federal Reserve Note" if the Federal Reserve was part of the government? Because it would be redundant.

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Re: [Politics] Deficit Spending and Economic Collapse

Postby DaCrum » Mon Jun 04, 2012 8:22 am

But it operates as a governmental entity at a federal level. Are you saying it would be more apt to call it a "national" bank?

Mind you, it operates under legal banking laws, which means it can only do what any other bank could do sans its special abilities as the Federal Reserve, namely setting interest rates. And it is still held accountable by a number of audits, both private and public. And the Board of Governors is appointed by the President as well, which also requires Senate confirmation.
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Re: [Politics] Deficit Spending and Economic Collapse

Postby Rough Giraffe » Sun Jun 10, 2012 2:51 am

Sentios wrote:
RuffDraft wrote:You didn't answer my question at all. Having a law degree would mean at the very least that they understand legalese. You do not want a congressman making policy decisions without understanding the effect that a law has on the American people. Currently we have no degrees in "critical thinking," which is what I think you're getting at.
You should have watched the linked video, he perfectly sums up my thoughts on the legal field.
...the act of arguing and not agreeing, seems to be fundamental to that profession and congress is half that profession.
I did listen to the video. That in no way answered my question. I asked what qualifications someone SHOULD have to be a member of congress according to you, and you gave me a video of someone complaining that there aren't enough scientists or businessmen in congress and that somehow citing "Law" as someone's profession means that they're just really good at debate... which still does not answer my question.

Sentios wrote:As for arguing the merits of proficiency in legalese, that's of about the same value as being proficient in Old English. If anything laws should be written in modern English for the sake of transparency.
Oddly enough, the Constitution is written in plain English, yet people love to interpret it in ways that are contrary to its actual meaning.

Sentios wrote:Also you're a tool if you don't recognize any STEM degrees as having critical thinking as a fundamental component.
As far as I can tell with STEM degrees, they don't have a whole lot to do with fulfilling the duties and responsibilities of a congressman; they seem like they're mostly things to do with scientific and mathematical fields, not maintaining an elected post or determining the sway of a set of laws. I guess it's good if they have one, but what would a degree in astrophysics do to help a congressman on his day-to-day activities?

I supposed earlier I should have been more specific; when I said "legalese" I didn't just mean "the ability to write a law." I meant "the ability to write a law and understand the effects it could have in conjunction with pre-existing laws." All Federal laws not only have to be in-line with the Constitution but also other laws that might take precedence over it or some of its provisions. A newer law does not automatically mean that it overwrites a previous law with similar or conflicting statutes, and lawyers have to constantly keep up with new laws that get published by lawmakers, which is one of the primary duties of their profession.

Sentios wrote:
A congressman whose primary job was something other than policy-making in congress (a full-time lawyer, perhaps?) and trying to support himself would find his attention divided and ultimately do a worse job than you seem to think they do now.
All I was suggesting is that the average politician can not relate to the average citizen of the nation, do you remember the primaries where Romney made a ~$10,000 over some trivial fact checking? Maybe if they had to do something other than piss, moan, and argue while sitting in comfy chairs to earn their money they'd be more relatable
So you're saying he should, I dunno, go golfing a lot while making $400k a year?

I don't know what your definition of an "average" politician is, but there are politicians that legitimately try to relate to the people, and then there are politicians that fake it and outright lie and make empty promises, and I understand how it can be difficult to differentiate between these two classes. In that case, you need to look at their history, their promises, their actions and their results, not their colorful speeches.

Sentios wrote:Now there's some classic rhetoric, "No matter what you suggest it will raise the unemployment rate and increase poverty." Though as an interesting parallel, if income were capped job creators would save money thus by your party's rhetoric that should in turn result in more job creation, trickle down and what not.
Pardon me, but... whose party do you think I belong to? I'm not a Republican. I agree with some things on both party lines, but I don't believe I've ever held myself to an actual party.

Anyway: There's no "saving money" here. If someone makes a lot of profit doing whatever it is they do and the government takes what you might call the "excess," that's money they won't get to use to recycle back into their business. Do you have any evidence to suggest that an income cap of $100k would do the things you say it would?

Sentios wrote:
[A]n income cap would limit the incentive to work hard at all. If you can only achieve mediocrity without wasting compensation for your effort, not very many people are going to put forth the effort. In fact, more people will put in more effort if a better incentive to work harder exists, such as bonuses, raises and promotions.
But long stretches of overtime don't exist if you have enough employees to meet your labor demands, it's just a long running habit of under staffing and then overworking your under staffed employee pool which is prevalent in many industries.
I was curious as to how this whole overtime thing actually worked, so I called a relative of mine who works as an assistant administrator for one of the Holiday Inns, and it turns out that businesses don't like to give any overtime at all, and are actually more inclined to hire another person full time--although they do prefer part-timers because their hours are more flexible--than to work their current employees more than 40 hours a week; the reason being that if they allow one person to accrue a lot of overtime, they have to let everyone do it, and that ends up costing more than hiring more people. Furthermore, that seems to be the standard, from what I can tell. (By the way, I'm not lying about asking my relative how it worked, but even if you wanted to ask for evidence, I can't provide any in this case unless I find somewhere where this is actually documented. So, I apologize in advance for the "independent" nature of my research.)

What I was referring to earlier was that bonuses would be given (usually at the end of the year) for greater productivity, raises could be given to distinguish personnel who have shown outstanding work ethic, and promotions could be given to those who have shown the qualifications for a better position. Those are incentives to better reward people who have put forth a visible effort.

Sentios wrote:Also your idea of money as an incentive is outdated, so long as people have enough money to live on comfortably other incentives normally match or exceed the effectiveness of a bonus or pay raise. It's becoming popular in the software industries for example to just have free-for-all days where the employees work on pretty much anything that suits them. The same is true of being able to work from home instead of having to go into the office.
Yes, but those enterprises are entirely reliant on the quality of one's work and how much revenue they can generate from it. If you develop a software that fulfills a certain need and 1 million people buy it at $30 within a year, that's $30 million that can be divided up between the programmer, those who marketed it, the owner of the company and so on. If you work at home developing software and do the same thing, in all likelihood, unless you really know how to market it for the lowest cost possible, you're not going to make nearly as much.

Quicken is a good example of this. How do you think Quicken became so popular in the 1980s when computers were only starting to really get user-friendly? It began as a project by a businessman and a programmer in college who started their own company. It was designed as a replacement to pen-and-paper accounting, and it became increasingly marketable to tax professionals and those who ran small (and often large) businesses. Today Intuit Inc. makes approximately $3.85 billion annually. They started from almost nothing, took all the risks, nearly went bankrupt early on, then went mainstream, and they deserve every penny they make.

What you cited was an example of a very specific business model and made the suggestion that that should be the standard, which it shouldn't. Could you imagine applying that to jobs in the food-service industry, the education industry (either public or private), the health care industry, the automotive industry, and so on? What practical application could you have for that except for, say, writing, programming and scientific research?

Sentios wrote:
That's how it works. If you're the owner of a business, your "salary" is limited by the amount of business you do. You do more business, you take home more money. You do less, you take home less. If you do no business in a month, all you have is negative income. People who are self-employed take all the risks and all the profits belong to them--if there are any left over.
It's entirely possible to have a business that only makes around what the average worker makes after business expenses makes but we were originally on the topic of companies that would be affected by an income cap not paltry businesses making $30-40k a year in profit.
You're missing the point--most if not all small businesses operate like that. Some earn more, some earn less. Most of them, unless they're really lucky don't last more than 5 years. I'm sure there are many that make more than $100k in profit. If they make $100k one year, then branch off, hire more employees and end up doubling their profit a few years down the line, you'd be fine with taking $110k from them, which would be nothing short of punishing their success.

There's nothing noble about stealing someone's money because it makes you feel better. It doesn't make it ethical for a few dozen bureaucrats to vote on it and say that it's okay to take it by a majority vote.

Please do not ignore the fact that the whole reason that people dream of owning their own business in the first place is to get rich--that is to say, so that they don't have to worry about money. They want to be comfortably well off; financially secure; independently wealthy; take in more money than they know what to do with. If they make it, they deserve it, no matter how much profit they make. Period.

Sentios wrote:
That seems like a bit of an exaggeration. But even if that's true, what if their work force is sufficient to accomplish whatever task they've set out to do? You can't force them to hire more workers than they need and let them figure out what to do with the extra labor. The only way they're going to be able to open up more job opportunities is if they're allowed to recycle their "extra" profits back into the company, expand their operation and do more business.
They don't have a sufficient work force, that's what over time means. If they could complete their week's work within normal time they wouldn't have their workers working extra. It's cheaper for them than hiring more people but it also means that people are sitting on the streets who could be working those extra hours so they had money for dinner.
Well I suppose this would go back to what I was saying about how a company is actually more inclined to hire a part-timer with flexible hours than pay an employee overtime. But in addressing your argument, no it doesn't. You cannot blame a heightened unemployment rate on a company who hires according to its payroll budget. Further, you cannot blame heightened unemployment on a company that has to resort to layoffs to maintain a positive income. Changes in the market that are beyond a company's control cannot be blamed on the company for which those market fluctuations affect. If you want to start blaming companies that resort to layoffs, then what if those companies had to either lay off employees or shut down? Do you blame a company for staying open while hiring fewer employees more than you would for shutting down a factory or some such? That would be utterly ridiculous.

Now, if it mismanaged its resources and made a mistake and laid off some of its employees as a result, then yes I would blame the company, but this is a different scenario than the one we are talking about.

Sentios wrote:
Why is it such a problem to just allow them to be paid the extra and tax everyone with that level of income the same rate?
You need to ask me why people wouldn't want to work knowing they weren't getting paid for the hours?
No, that is a gross misrepresentation of my argument. I'm asking why we should cap income in the first place if there are already people who earn an income past $100k and people who aspire to do the same.

Sentios wrote:Why do I need to explain something that should be in your bag of arguments for you?
Because it was your contention that we should have laws that prevent people from being permitted to work past the point where they would make >$100k and therefore waste their effort; I asked why we shouldn't simply allow them to keep the money they make past that point instead of resorting to a capping tax rate and a set of laws that would ultimately restrict the workforce and award mediocrity.

Sentios wrote:
That begs the question: What kind of skills do you have that would guarantee a better future for you?
I have dreams but none of them include climbing the ivory tower that wall street and co. have built... actually that tower is in the way I'd gladly knock it down given the opportunity.
Fascinating.

So, your skills?

Sentios wrote:
And let's say for the sake of argument that someone who qualifies for the top tax bracket isn't paying a full 35%. Or, as is usually the case, they pay 35% of their salary in taxes and 15% of their investments in taxes, and they get deductions from charitable giving to the effect of about 10%. We'll average all of that out and say they're paying about 23% from income and capital gains taxes overall. You've already told me that you're fine with having deductions for charitable giving. Is there an issue with the above scenario?
They're multi-millionaires at best, but more than likely closer to billionaires and there's no need for me to humor you when you're still insisiting that any in the top tax bracket is paying 35% income tax after deductions (no I'm not even talking about the donation credit).
...what? Did you even read what I wrote?

Sentios wrote:
Parasite? Hah! I like your definition of a parasite: Someone who makes a lot of money, donates huge amounts to non-profit charities and whose tax money goes to funding all those entitlement programs you like such as Medicare/caid. Meanwhile we have people without jobs collecting unemployment insurance and taking advantage of taxpayer-funded food stamps. What would happen if these "parasites" (your definition) no longer existed?
You're mixing issues now, if they make their money and flee to Hong Kong to evade taxes they're a parasite pure and simple. Doesn't even matter what tax rate we're talking about.
Again, you present a rather baffling definition of a parasite: someone who significantly contributes to a system (creating jobs, giving to charity, and providing a service to the people), but then runs away when the system starts to abuse them. By the standard Oxford definition, a parasite is "a person who habitually relies on or exploits others and gives nothing in return." And in my eyes, to blame someone for not creating enough jobs, then lambasting them for getting wealthy when they do create jobs, and then overtaxing them BECAUSE they are wealthy, then declaring them a parasite when they stop doing business in places where it is clear they are unwelcome is both absurd and hypocritical.

Meanwhile, the ACTUAL parasites (either people who could otherwise work but don't and collect unemployment benefits and so on, or people who steal from those who do work because they themselves are poor) are fine, upstanding citizens to you?

Sentios wrote:
I'm talking about unreasonable taxation that exponentially penalizes those who are successful. A flat tax rate does not do that, but it should still not be too high.

Most of the rich are just really successful and good at managing their money, and if they're each going to be taxed 99% of their total income while someone who makes half what he makes is taxed ~50%, he's probably going to do his business elsewhere.
So what you're saying is that people who are financially successful should have free reign to decide how we govern the nation.
Absolutely not. That is clearly not what that means. In fact, by using this tangential argument, you're literally attacking me for having a different position from yours. I wish you wouldn't do that, because that only upsets me and lowers my opinion of you, as it would for anyone.

Sentios wrote:After all that is what you're saying when you say we can't raise taxes because it'll piss the rich people off, I'm not even specifically referring to income cap right now this goes back to when we were still trying to balance the budget and you refused anything that wasn't cutting programs.
I don't think the government should be picking winners and losers. I do think that the government should encourage businesses to do their business in America and not somewhere else. If we can effectively run the government with less than half of what we're spending right now and the rest is government programs and entitlements, then we don't have a taxation problem, we have a spending problem, and the best way to absolve that is to reduce spending.

Sentios wrote:
There's a difference between "asking" someone to pay their taxes and "ordering" them to give up everything they make past $100,000, which can be a considerable amount of money. If everyone who makes less than $100k pays $10,000 or less, and they make $300k and pay $210k, that's a huge difference.
This is the part I like about communist-ish ideas, they institutionally ban the dick waving contest that is excessive incomes. Rich people wouldn't be mad that they have to pay more than everyone else, they'd be mad because they weren't rich compared to everyone else.
You have no idea what you're talking about. Of course they'd be mad that they would have to pay more than everyone else. If your neighbor made $100k and was taxed 10% while you make $200k and were taxed 55%, you'd be furious. Especially if you perceived your taxes being wasted, like they are now.

Sentios wrote:
No evidence you say? You have no evidence to prove that income caps would have any major benefit for America. I have evidence (that is to say, almost all of 1900s world history) to prove that it wouldn't.
The wider the wealth gap between demographics in a population the lower the quality of life is for that population overall compared with itself at a lower wealth gap. Relative wealth is an extremely important but extremely overlooked factor in the over all health of country. Capping income puts at ceiling on the wealth gap.
Again, there is ZERO conclusive evidence to give credit to anything you're trying to prove here. Your argument is that an increased wealth gap leads to a lower standard of living, but that's not true. Our wealth gap is perhaps the highest it's been in a long time, and our standard of living is still on the rise. The UN Human Development Index ranks us 4th in the world (behind Norway and Australia and roughly tied with the Netherlands). This is also higher than we ranked as little as a few years ago when we were ranked 12th in 2007. Whether or not that was due to them changing the formula between then and now, I'm not sure.

Either way that belies your claim about wealth gaps.

Sentios wrote:
Regulatory reform or selective deregulation would solve this issue.
Except all of the beneficial regulations would be cut and none of the negative ones would. Copyright and patents need completely reworked for example, but instead the FDA and EPA would be abolished and other stupid shit like that. I've heard these suggestions before.
Are you crazy? I'm not suggesting we abolish the FDA and the EPA. How can you even suggest we do that?

See what I did there? Same thing you did to me just now. Be honest now, doesn't that piss you off?

You're using a very obvious Strawman argument against me. What I'm saying is that we should REFORM OUR COMPENDIUM OF REGULATIONS. Right now what we have is over-regulation and overbearing regulation. Cutting back on non-safety related regulation will reduce the cost on small businesses and help create jobs. I'm not suggesting we do anything like allow people to dump toxic waste in the sewers or allow them to serve food with added chemicals or allow builders to do shoddy work to save time. I'm saying we simplify the code or eliminate certain regulations that have nothing to do with public safety.

Take a look at this video. This about sums up the kind of thing I'm talking about.

Sentios wrote:
Excellent presentation, great pitch, wonderful idea.

So, with all that in mind, can I ask you some questions about it?

Who will be making those filters; will those people be compensated for their time, effort and expertise; And is Michael Pritchard giving these filters away for free, or is he making a profit off them? If he makes a huge profit, is he entitled to it?
He's in the position that a bottled water company would be, except he's solving the problem for far cheaper with many added benefits (he mentioned not pulling people into camps so they can't spread their germs). You can mince words and say that it'll still take charity to get these into the hands of people however the approach to the problem was entirely different from a charity and is a solution with a exponentially longer time factor.
So how does any of that answer my questions?
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Re: [Politics] Deficit Spending and Economic Collapse

Postby Sentios » Sun Jun 10, 2012 3:04 pm

RuffDraft wrote:I did listen to the video. That in no way answered my question. I asked what qualifications someone SHOULD have to be a member of congress according to you, and you gave me a video of someone complaining that there aren't enough scientists or businessmen in congress and that somehow citing "Law" as someone's profession means that they're just really good at debate... which still does not answer my question.


What he's saying is we need a broader range of backgrounds with direct input into the process of making laws, I agree with that. As for specific qualifications at the very least they should have some proof they're capable of critical thinking, understanding causality and the effect of long term investment and planning.

Oddly enough, the Constitution is written in plain English, yet people love to interpret it in ways that are contrary to its actual meaning.


And?

As far as I can tell with STEM degrees, they don't have a whole lot to do with fulfilling the duties and responsibilities of a congressman; they seem like they're mostly things to do with scientific and mathematical fields, not maintaining an elected post or determining the sway of a set of laws. I guess it's good if they have one, but what would a degree in astrophysics do to help a congressman on his day-to-day activities?

I supposed earlier I should have been more specific; when I said "legalese" I didn't just mean "the ability to write a law." I meant "the ability to write a law and understand the effects it could have in conjunction with pre-existing laws." All Federal laws not only have to be in-line with the Constitution but also other laws that might take precedence over it or some of its provisions. A newer law does not automatically mean that it overwrites a previous law with similar or conflicting statutes, and lawyers have to constantly keep up with new laws that get published by lawmakers, which is one of the primary duties of their profession.


Right... because man-made law is more complicated than the natural laws for any good reason. I'm not saying that knowledge of laws isn't neccessary I'm saying that lawyers don't have the neccessary thinking processes to create effective solutions to the majority of problems. For example identity theft, the typical lawyerly response would be to add extra levels of authentication and have ID verification as often as possible. However I'll let this man explain the problem with that.

So you're saying he should, I dunno, go golfing a lot while making $400k a year?

I don't know what your definition of an "average" politician is, but there are politicians that legitimately try to relate to the people, and then there are politicians that fake it and outright lie and make empty promises, and I understand how it can be difficult to differentiate between these two classes. In that case, you need to look at their history, their promises, their actions and their results, not their colorful speeches.


haha that's cute Ruff, you thought I was jabbing specifically at Republicans

But no the existence of a handful of politicians that can relate doesn't salvage the whole, importantly the currently allowed campaigning methods discourage that. Campaigning is advertisement, who ever has the most positive coverage wins because no one will vote for someone they've never heard of no and very few people will make the time investment to conduct background checks on the candidates.

Anyway: There's no "saving money" here. If someone makes a lot of profit doing whatever it is they do and the government takes what you might call the "excess," that's money they won't get to use to recycle back into their business. Do you have any evidence to suggest that an income cap of $100k would do the things you say it would?


You still can not differentiate between business accounts and personal accounts I see.

I was curious as to how this whole overtime thing actually worked, so I called a relative of mine who works as an assistant administrator for one of the Holiday Inns, and it turns out that businesses don't like to give any overtime at all, and are actually more inclined to hire another person full time--although they do prefer part-timers because their hours are more flexible--than to work their current employees more than 40 hours a week; the reason being that if they allow one person to accrue a lot of overtime, they have to let everyone do it, and that ends up costing more than hiring more people. Furthermore, that seems to be the standard, from what I can tell. (By the way, I'm not lying about asking my relative how it worked, but even if you wanted to ask for evidence, I can't provide any in this case unless I find somewhere where this is actually documented. So, I apologize in advance for the "independent" nature of my research.)

What I was referring to earlier was that bonuses would be given (usually at the end of the year) for greater productivity, raises could be given to distinguish personnel who have shown outstanding work ethic, and promotions could be given to those who have shown the qualifications for a better position. Those are incentives to better reward people who have put forth a visible effort.


It varies by industry if that's how it works for hotels then so be it, that's not how it works in any of the local factories I know of. Some of them have been on mandatory overtime for months now, the workers only get a day off if they use their vacation days.

Yes, but those enterprises are entirely reliant on the quality of one's work and how much revenue they can generate from it. If you develop a software that fulfills a certain need and 1 million people buy it at $30 within a year, that's $30 million that can be divided up between the programmer, those who marketed it, the owner of the company and so on. If you work at home developing software and do the same thing, in all likelihood, unless you really know how to market it for the lowest cost possible, you're not going to make nearly as much.

What you cited was an example of a very specific business model and made the suggestion that that should be the standard, which it shouldn't. Could you imagine applying that to jobs in the food-service industry, the education industry (either public or private), the health care industry, the automotive industry, and so on? What practical application could you have for that except for, say, writing, programming and scientific research?


You can't fucking read, I'm saying that as an incentive companies like google will let their workers send in their work via e-mail. Not that google employees found their own work at home businesses. (google is just an example I don't remember if they're one of the companies that does this)

The type of incentives you're wanting to give out typically work best in simple, low-moderate paying jobs (factories and entry level service work). Those incentives have much lower than expected effects for creative or intellectual fields, (designers and engineers). The latter are typically already paid well enough that they're not as highly interested in getting a raise or a bonus, now an extra week of vacation that would be fucking awesome.

As for you specific industries, any food-service under about 3 stars should be automated out of existence as a career, there's no room for an employee to better themselves in that and it normally pays shit as well. Being a court jester in medieval Europe would be less demeaning that food service work. The education industry is already considering models like Khan Academy, having recorded lessons with teacher support standing by for questions. Even for higher education online courses, taken from home are increasing in number. The healthcare industry is fast approaching a system where machines are the doctors hands, soon you'll be able to be operated on by a specialist in New York even if you were injured on a trip to Germany and vice versa. The automotive industry is already largely automated, that is when they're not moving plants to Mexico and China to have workers work for <$1 a day.

You're missing the point--most if not all small businesses operate like that. Some earn more, some earn less. Most of them, unless they're really lucky don't last more than 5 years. I'm sure there are many that make more than $100k in profit. If they make $100k one year, then branch off, hire more employees and end up doubling their profit a few years down the line, you'd be fine with taking $110k from them, which would be nothing short of punishing their success.


Yes. I see no reason to mince words regardless of how you try to spin this. No matter how successful the business, the owner would not be allowed to pay himself more than $100k a year without the tax kicking in. He would be forced to save the extra profits for down years or to reinvest them in the business.

Well I suppose this would go back to what I was saying about how a company is actually more inclined to hire a part-timer with flexible hours than pay an employee overtime. But in addressing your argument, no it doesn't. You cannot blame a heightened unemployment rate on a company who hires according to its payroll budget. Further, you cannot blame heightened unemployment on a company that has to resort to layoffs to maintain a positive income. Changes in the market that are beyond a company's control cannot be blamed on the company for which those market fluctuations affect. If you want to start blaming companies that resort to layoffs, then what if those companies had to either lay off employees or shut down? Do you blame a company for staying open while hiring fewer employees more than you would for shutting down a factory or some such? That would be utterly ridiculous.


I'm not laying blame on A company, I'm laying blame on a trend of which many companies are a part. Further a company that is laying off workers typically doesn't have their rest of their workers working over time you don't seem to be able to keep your arguments straight here. Actually if that company is unionized the union won't allow the company to lay people off and force other workers to pick up the slack. Which is a case of the unions doing their job right.

No, that is a gross misrepresentation of my argument. I'm asking why we should cap income in the first place if there are already people who earn an income past $100k and people who aspire to do the same.

Because it was your contention that we should have laws that prevent people from being permitted to work past the point where they would make >$100k and therefore waste their effort; I asked why we shouldn't simply allow them to keep the money they make past that point instead of resorting to a capping tax rate and a set of laws that would ultimately restrict the workforce and award mediocrity.


Because not capping it allows for a wider income gap, which lower quality of life. I believe the constitution mentions prosperity as one of it's goals, which in the modern tongue is or includes quality of life. By allowing the existence of super rich individuals the rest of the nation suffers a lower quality of life, because people do after all compare themselves with each other. That's without even getting into the ability of super rich individuals to unduly influence the whole.

Fascinating.

So, your skills?


I'm formally trained as a HVAC-R technician, I'm licensed to work on heating, cooling, and refrigeration systems. I can also learn any electrical system either by using a schematic, or creating one. My future plans include moving to a country with a better education incentives and pursuing an engineering degree likely in automated systems.

Meanwhile, the ACTUAL parasites (either people who could otherwise work but don't and collect unemployment benefits and so on, or people who steal from those who do work because they themselves are poor) are fine, upstanding citizens to you?


Most people who could work but don't actually can't work because their are no jobs in their area or which they are qualified for. Sure some of them could work part time at McDs or something but they couldn't support themselves on such an income and would be disqualified from assistance by working so then defeating the purpose of working in the first place. Additionally we have practices like this https://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/26/busi ... .html?_r=2 Further unemployment benefits have a time limit and only people collecting are counted as unemployed. I've seen no evidence anywhere that the decline in unemployment since it's high point back in 2009/2010 was from people actually getting back to work rather than from people's benefits expiring.

Your view of the world is as warped as expected.

Again, there is ZERO conclusive evidence to give credit to anything you're trying to prove here. Your argument is that an increased wealth gap leads to a lower standard of living, but that's not true. Our wealth gap is perhaps the highest it's been in a long time, and our standard of living is still on the rise. The UN Human Development Index ranks us 4th in the world (behind Norway and Australia and roughly tied with the Netherlands). This is also higher than we ranked as little as a few years ago when we were ranked 12th in 2007. Whether or not that was due to them changing the formula between then and now, I'm not sure.

Either way that belies your claim about wealth gaps.


And the second you account for the wealth gap we go from 4th to 23rd.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_c ... justed_HDI

Are you crazy? I'm not suggesting we abolish the FDA and the EPA. How can you even suggest we do that?

See what I did there? Same thing you did to me just now. Be honest now, doesn't that piss you off?

You're using a very obvious Strawman argument against me. What I'm saying is that we should REFORM OUR COMPENDIUM OF REGULATIONS. Right now what we have is over-regulation and overbearing regulation. Cutting back on non-safety related regulation will reduce the cost on small businesses and help create jobs. I'm not suggesting we do anything like allow people to dump toxic waste in the sewers or allow them to serve food with added chemicals or allow builders to do shoddy work to save time. I'm saying we simplify the code or eliminate certain regulations that have nothing to do with public safety.

Take a look at this video. This about sums up the kind of thing I'm talking about.


I'm not saying that's what you want to happen, only that is what would happen. The common argument is that most regulations are put their by big corporations to benefit them, however then whimsically people believe they'll be able to just remove those bad ones and big corporations will have no influence in getting other necessary regulations removed.

As for your video, that convoluted mess of regulations is what I expect from lawyers. As for the individual complaints however:
*The sidewalk permit while that's a bit inflexible if he's permitted only for a specific stretch of sidewalk he's in violation for being outside of that. It doesn't matter if another government agency was told to do construction where he happened to wanted to set up tables. In the best case scenario where government offices actually communicated his permit would have been refused.
*The requirement of air change is for the purpose of indoor air quality I can only assume that Chicago has some reason for demanding more fresh air, even still a properly designed system doesn't increase the load as much as he's suggesting with his reaction. Typically the exhausted air is used to temper the incoming fresh air thus saving a substantial amount of heating or cooling load so it's not like leaving your windows open in the winter or anything.
*Charging a tax on bottled water is a great idea, the fad of drinking bottled water everywhere (especially when you could just get a glass of tap) produces a lot of extra garbage which the city has to deal with.
*Health insurance is a national problem, everyone suffers under the current system. Also I love how he's complaining about his increase in insurance cost when he chose to have another kid, his lack of foresight has nothing to do with overbearing regulations.
*No, the regulations they've described did not have an equal impact on their bottom line as the tanked economy that's just silly.
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Re: [Politics] Deficit Spending and Economic Collapse

Postby Rough Giraffe » Thu Jun 21, 2012 11:18 am

Sentios wrote:What he's saying is we need a broader range of backgrounds with direct input into the process of making laws, I agree with that. As for specific qualifications at the very least they should have some proof they're capable of critical thinking, understanding causality and the effect of long term investment and planning.
Well I can agree with that, at least in part. But you're implying that having a degree in Law does not mean they know how to think critically. If the implication is that being versed in Law means that you can debate effectively about what the law means, then it stands to reason that those who study and practice law ("Lawyers") are able to do their jobs because they can think critically.

What kind of critical decisions are you trying to get out of congress, exactly?

Sentios wrote:
Oddly enough, the Constitution is written in plain English, yet people love to interpret it in ways that are contrary to its actual meaning.
And?
What do you mean, "And?" Assuming you agree, then your argument about laws being writ in modern English is utterly without meaning.

Let's say the Constitution makes a simple observation, such as "Water flows downhill." 100 years go by and the Supreme Court looks at that statement and says "Well yes, water does flow downhill but due to eddies and the quantum ocean of subatomic particles, it would probably be better to say that 'water flows downhill except certain very limited circumstances.'" 50 years go by and they look at it again and say "water mostly flows downhill," then 20 more years go by and the new ruling is "water flows both uphill and downhill." Then, 10 years later, the judges say that the "Uphill Water Act of 1985" is constitutional because the law has clearly been interpreted to say that water flows uphill. And when you confront them on the fact that a plain English sentence means the exact opposite of what they say it means, they cite judicial precedence.

This is how lawyers, and indeed members of congress work, and this comes from people thinking critically--outside the box, so to speak. So perhaps what we need is not so much critical thinkers as much as we need people who can think critically regarding the way the Constitution was written and how to adequately defend it.

Sentios wrote:
I supposed earlier I should have been more specific; when I said "legalese" I didn't just mean "the ability to write a law." I meant "the ability to write a law and understand the effects it could have in conjunction with pre-existing laws."
Right... because man-made law is more complicated than the natural laws for any good reason.
What natural laws are we talking about here, and what do they have to do with the topic at hand?
Sentios wrote:I'm not saying that knowledge of laws isn't neccessary I'm saying that lawyers don't have the neccessary thinking processes to create effective solutions to the majority of problems. For example identity theft, the typical lawyerly response would be to add extra levels of authentication and have ID verification as often as possible. [url=http://www.ted.com/talks/david_birch_identity_without_a_name.html]
I always enjoy TED. Wonderful ideas and presentation. It would be great to see something like this implemented in America and worldwide.

So I guess my question is: What serious, deliberate changes would you make to congress to allow them to formulate critical solutions to problems such as these, and how would those changes guarantee that outcome?

Sentios wrote:
So you're saying he should, I dunno, go golfing a lot while making $400k a year?

I don't know what your definition of an "average" politician is, but there are politicians that legitimately try to relate to the people, and then there are politicians that fake it and outright lie and make empty promises, and I understand how it can be difficult to differentiate between these two classes. In that case, you need to look at their history, their promises, their actions and their results, not their colorful speeches.
haha that's cute Ruff, you thought I was jabbing specifically at Republicans
I thought what?

You have a really strange way of interpreting the things I say.
Sentios wrote:But no the existence of a handful of politicians that can relate doesn't salvage the whole, importantly the currently allowed campaigning methods discourage that. Campaigning is advertisement, who ever has the most positive coverage wins because no one will vote for someone they've never heard of no and very few people will make the time investment to conduct background checks on the candidates.
Hahaha! That's ridiculous! Lots of people voted for Obama in 2008 without knowing anything about him. Some voted for him because he was a Democrat, some voted for him because they didn't like McCain, some voted for him because he was Black, some voted for him because he was a good speaker, and some even voted for him because of freakin' OBAMA GIRL. And if they were already sold on Obama and heard things like "Obama worked with Bill Ayers for a number of years," they'd probably make excuses for it, kinda like how they do now.

As for people conducting background checks, I think that should be a prerequisite to holding a public office in the first place, but that's just me.

Sentios wrote:
Anyway: There's no "saving money" here. If someone makes a lot of profit doing whatever it is they do and the government takes what you might call the "excess," that's money they won't get to use to recycle back into their business. Do you have any evidence to suggest that an income cap of $100k would do the things you say it would?
You still can not differentiate between business accounts and personal accounts I see.
You still can not answer simple questions I see.

As for business and personal accounts, how is the government going to keep track of how much money goes into one or the other? What if he has $300k in his business account over the course of a few years, and "fixes" his salary at $100k, then uses an extra $50k to buy a new car or yacht or whatever? How would the government know he used that money for something other than his business? The government would have to spend extra resources just to make sure that money was accounted for and properly taxed. If that kind of thing happens a few thousand times, how is the government going to know about each and every single case?

The reason I think this idea of yours is ridiculous is because I can tell that you haven't thought it out, you apparently can't see what effects it would have on the nation as a whole, and the only reason you like the idea is that you believe it would "eliminate" the difference between rich and poor and make things "fairer" according to your idea of "fairness," which is that people who show more success in life are taxed according to their success, even if they start from modest beginnings and end up making millions because of that success (an amazing logical fallacy on your part if ever there was one).

Sentios wrote:
I was curious as to how this whole overtime thing actually worked, so I called a relative of mine who works as an assistant administrator for one of the Holiday Inns, and it turns out that businesses don't like to give any overtime at all, and are actually more inclined to hire another person full time--although they do prefer part-timers because their hours are more flexible--than to work their current employees more than 40 hours a week
It varies by industry if that's how it works for hotels then so be it, that's not how it works in any of the local factories I know of. Some of them have been on mandatory overtime for months now, the workers only get a day off if they use their vacation days.
Are the workers unhappy to be working overtime? If so, why do they still work there? It couldn't be that there are no other places to work in our allegedly recovering economy, could it?

Sentios wrote:
Yes, but those enterprises are entirely reliant on the quality of one's work and how much revenue they can generate from it. If you develop a software that fulfills a certain need and 1 million people buy it at $30 within a year, that's $30 million that can be divided up between the programmer, those who marketed it, the owner of the company and so on. If you work at home developing software and do the same thing, in all likelihood, unless you really know how to market it for the lowest cost possible, you're not going to make nearly as much.

What you cited was an example of a very specific business model and made the suggestion that that should be the standard, which it shouldn't. Could you imagine applying that to jobs in the food-service industry, the education industry (either public or private), the health care industry, the automotive industry, and so on? What practical application could you have for that except for, say, writing, programming and scientific research?
You can't fucking read, I'm saying that as an incentive companies like google will let their workers send in their work via e-mail. Not that google employees found their own work at home businesses. (google is just an example I don't remember if they're one of the companies that does this)
I can't read? I'm sure I had specifically addressed that in talking about a programmer developing software from home for a company. Do me a favor and read it again.

Sentios wrote:The type of incentives you're wanting to give out typically work best in simple, low-moderate paying jobs (factories and entry level service work). Those incentives have much lower than expected effects for creative or intellectual fields, (designers and engineers). The latter are typically already paid well enough that they're not as highly interested in getting a raise or a bonus, now an extra week of vacation that would be fucking awesome.
So what? Those are jobs that need to be filled, regardless of what they pay. You just made the argument against me that businesses aren't hiring enough. If a dozen factory workers get paid $12 an hour but the factory owner could afford to hire an extra six employees by paying everyone minimum wage, are you going to blame him if he decides not to hire more people and pay his current employees $12/hr vice $7.25/hr?

The average engineer already makes a six-figure income because their skills are so specific and in high demand. I don't understand what point you're trying to make by bringing them up. Unless you're just talking about them because of all the taxes your plan would inflict upon them. In the name of "fairness," of course.

Sentios wrote:As for you specific industries, any food-service under about 3 stars should be automated out of existence as a career, there's no room for an employee to better themselves in that and it normally pays shit as well. Being a court jester in medieval Europe would be less demeaning that food service work.
Hah! Shows what you know. Court Jesters in Medieval Europe were actually highly sought-after. They were officially the only people who could break bad news to the king. They could even insult the king as part of their bit as long as they led into it, basically giving the king and his guests a "roast" style joke. Hell, Queen Elizabeth once admonished her jester for not being harsh enough with her.

Anyway: Who the heck makes a career out of being a fry cook (etc)? Maybe you're using a different definition of "career," but in my eyes a career is something you do as a job for the rest of your workable lifespan. People like Sean Connery and Henry Mancini made careers out of what they did (the latter being deceased of course). No one makes a career out of being a fry cook (etc). It is a purely temporary job.

Furthermore, what exactly about working at McDonald's (etc) while you're in high school is demeaning? It teaches you personal responsibility and certain specific job skills (keeping a well-kept appearance, showing up on time, adjusting to a schedule, dealing with customers, and more), which a lot of people need if they're going to be a productive member of the workforce. If you're a kid, chances are you're not really qualified to hold a professional career like many adults. Most kids who get a job somewhere like McDonald's are only doing so so they can earn some personal spending money and learn to be a little more self-reliant for when they graduate from High School. After all, they're going to have to find a place to stay if they decide to move out of that box under the stairs of the corner their parent's basement. I guess I don't have to explain how all this works to you, you probably dealt with that kind of thing when you were 18 or 19, right?

Incidentally, store managers at McDonald's earn a salary and it's usually somewhere between $30k and $50k, which is what I would call modest for a chain store. Also, being at an entry-level position straight out of college or some kind of vocational school is not demeaning regardless of what that job is; no one owns the company after working there only a day. Realistically, it is important that you like what you do, but when it comes down to it a job is a job, and you're not there to have fun, you're there to fill a position and earn your pay (although there are ways you can make office work fun and if it improves your morale, work ethic and productivity, you may find yourself being paid more or receive a bigger end-of-the-year bonus because of it).

Come to think of it, I think you're making a mistake in one of your assumptions. Correct me if I'm wrong, but you seem to be implying that if it doesn't pay well it's a demeaning job. How exactly do you devalue a person's worth if you pay them a lower wage?

Sentios wrote:The education industry is already considering models like Khan Academy, having recorded lessons with teacher support standing by for questions. Even for higher education online courses, taken from home are increasing in number.
Yeah, those are good programs, and they're proving to be about as effective as classroom learning--that is to say, varying degrees of success. Not that the idea doesn't have some merit; but parents would have to get more and more involved and help motivate their kids for it to be an efficient alternative.

Yet, even with all of that said, how is this in any way related to your base argument? I can't see any real correlation. Those teachers don't work from home; they go to an office with specific equipment which allows them to perform the job they've been assigned. I suppose you could make the claim that since they can work with many students over the country from a single location that it's more efficient, but you weren't making an argument about efficiency, you were making one about job incentives.

Sentios wrote:The healthcare industry is fast approaching a system where machines are the doctors hands, soon you'll be able to be operated on by a specialist in New York even if you were injured on a trip to Germany and vice versa.
You would trust emergency surgery to a surgeon hundreds of miles away operating a complicated machine by remote control? I sure as hell wouldn't. Do I even need to explain why?

Even disregarding my reservations about the idea, the doctors wouldn't operate complex surgical machinery from home no matter how good they are, so that example is out the window.

Sentios wrote:The automotive industry is already largely automated, that is when they're not moving plants to Mexico and China to have workers work for <$1 a day.
This is completely irrelevant. We're talking about people that work from home and send the work they do to their boss (Email, cloud network, whatever) as an incentive. Even the auto industry has mechanics and technicians in the factory to inspect and verify the craftsmanship and operation of the whole process. They cannot inspect a car for defects from home. Just saying that the industry is "largely automated" doesn't mean that they've eliminated factory workers. It just means that they hire fewer workers while manufacturing their goods more efficiently.

However, I'll give you another chance to come up with a few more relevant examples if you like.

Sentios wrote:
You're missing the point--most if not all small businesses operate like that. Some earn more, some earn less. Most of them, unless they're really lucky don't last more than 5 years. I'm sure there are many that make more than $100k in profit. If they make $100k one year, then branch off, hire more employees and end up doubling their profit a few years down the line, you'd be fine with taking $110k from them, which would be nothing short of punishing their success.
Yes. I see no reason to mince words regardless of how you try to spin this. No matter how successful the business, the owner would not be allowed to pay himself more than $100k a year without the tax kicking in. He would be forced to save the extra profits for down years or to reinvest them in the business.
So let me see if I have this right, according to you...

1) People at the top supply goods and services in exchange for money. They aren't allowed to be successful or they receive a very stiff penalty, and the most they can take home after taxes regardless of success is $90k; these people are referred to as parasites.

2) People at the bottom who do not work receive a government handout that comes from the aforementioned parasites. These people would not be required to contribute to society in any meaningful way, and would be free to sit around doing nothing but watching TV and browsing the internet if they so chose; these people are somehow not parasites.

It seems as if you want to punish people at the top in favor of those at the bottom. In that case, all you're doing is going from a system of natural inequality (capitalism) to a system of forced inequality (communism). This doesn't help anyone. This makes things worse. A lot worse. This kind of thing has been tried in the past, and living conditions simply do NOT improve. You might mean well, but you're throwing out ideas that are both harmful and impractical.

Sentios wrote:
Well I suppose this would go back to what I was saying about how a company is actually more inclined to hire a part-timer with flexible hours than pay an employee overtime. But in addressing your argument, no it doesn't. You cannot blame a heightened unemployment rate on a company who hires according to its payroll budget. Further, you cannot blame heightened unemployment on a company that has to resort to layoffs to maintain a positive income. Changes in the market that are beyond a company's control cannot be blamed on the company for which those market fluctuations affect. If you want to start blaming companies that resort to layoffs, then what if those companies had to either lay off employees or shut down? Do you blame a company for staying open while hiring fewer employees more than you would for shutting down a factory or some such? That would be utterly ridiculous.
I'm not laying blame on A company, I'm laying blame on a trend of which many companies are a part. Further a company that is laying off workers typically doesn't have their rest of their workers working over time you don't seem to be able to keep your arguments straight here. Actually if that company is unionized the union won't allow the company to lay people off and force other workers to pick up the slack. Which is a case of the unions doing their job right.
No, a union's job is to make sure its workers receive equal representation under the law, better working conditions and market-based pay. It is not their job to force employers to hire more employees than they need or can afford. The case of a small number of factories overworking their employees and racking up a lot of overtime hours, out of literally hundreds of thousands around the country is not what I would call a "trend." I'm not saying it's good; I'm just saying that that doesn't quantify against your argument. Show me solid evidence that this is happening in more than a low percentage of factories around the country and I'll admit that I'm wrong.

Sentios wrote:
No, that is a gross misrepresentation of my argument. I'm asking why we should cap income in the first place if there are already people who earn an income past $100k and people who aspire to do the same.

Because it was your contention that we should have laws that prevent people from being permitted to work past the point where they would make >$100k and therefore waste their effort; I asked why we shouldn't simply allow them to keep the money they make past that point instead of resorting to a capping tax rate and a set of laws that would ultimately restrict the workforce and award mediocrity.
Because not capping it allows for a wider income gap, which lower quality of life. I believe the constitution mentions prosperity as one of it's goals, which in the modern tongue is or includes quality of life.
You may want to brush up on what the Constitution actually says, because what you've just presented to me is a very telling sign that you don't know what you're talking about.
Sentios wrote:By allowing the existence of super rich individuals the rest of the nation suffers a lower quality of life, because people do after all compare themselves with each other.
You're making a logical fallacy of False Cause. You're effectively saying that in order for one man's quality of life to go up, another man's must invariably go down, which is wrong. If a man buys himself a yacht, no one else is negatively affected by the purchase. In fact, the man who bought the yacht has just made someone else's quality of life go up by buying the yacht. You'd see that if you could look beyond your envy for more than five seconds.

Sentios wrote:
Meanwhile, the ACTUAL parasites (either people who could otherwise work but don't and collect unemployment benefits and so on, or people who steal from those who do work because they themselves are poor) are fine, upstanding citizens to you?
Most people who could work but don't actually can't work because their are no jobs in their area or which they are qualified for. Sure some of them could work part time at McDs or something but they couldn't support themselves on such an income and would be disqualified from assistance by working so then defeating the purpose of working in the first place. Additionally we have practices like this https://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/26/busi ... .html?_r=2 Further unemployment benefits have a time limit and only people collecting are counted as unemployed. I've seen no evidence anywhere that the decline in unemployment since it's high point back in 2009/2010 was from people actually getting back to work rather than from people's benefits expiring.
Well that may be because you're not reading enough. You're only looking at the U3 ("official") unemployment rate. You should look at the U6 unemployment rate, which shows that although "real" unemployment reached a high of 17.2% late 2009, now the number is down to about 14.8%. For a comparison, it was around 8% for most of Bush's term and rose above 13% towards the end of his term. The recent drop in unemployment is not great, but it does show that people ARE getting back to work. http://portalseven.com/employment/unemp ... oYear=2012

Sentios wrote:Your view of the world is as warped as expected.
How so? All I did was properly define the term "parasite," which you used incorrectly.

Sentios wrote:
Your argument is that an increased wealth gap leads to a lower standard of living, but that's not true. Our wealth gap is perhaps the highest it's been in a long time, and our standard of living is still on the rise. The UN Human Development Index ranks us 4th in the world (behind Norway and Australia and roughly tied with the Netherlands).
And the second you account for the wealth gap we go from 4th to 23rd.
So let me get this straight. You say that increased wealth gap leads to a decreased standard of living. I prove that that isn't true using a chart that clearly shows that our standard of living is high. Then you say that in order to accurately determine whether a wealth gap leads to a decreased standard of living you have to not only compare the standard of living across various countries but also adjust for the wealth gap itself? That doesn't make a lick of sense. If I tried to make a similar argument against you, you'd wonder what the hell was wrong with my head.

Sentios wrote:
You're using a very obvious Strawman argument against me. What I'm saying is that we should REFORM OUR COMPENDIUM OF REGULATIONS. Right now what we have is over-regulation and overbearing regulation. Cutting back on non-safety related regulation will reduce the cost on small businesses and help create jobs. I'm not suggesting we do anything like allow people to dump toxic waste in the sewers or allow them to serve food with added chemicals or allow builders to do shoddy work to save time. I'm saying we simplify the code or eliminate certain regulations that have nothing to do with public safety.
I'm not saying that's what you want to happen, only that is what would happen.
That's ridiculous. Your argument assumes that reforming regulations amounts to arbitrarily picking which regulations are good and bad based on little more than chance.

Sentios wrote:The common argument is that most regulations are put their by big corporations to benefit them, however then whimsically people believe they'll be able to just remove those bad ones and big corporations will have no influence in getting other necessary regulations removed.
First of all: Common argument? Not all regulation came from corporate lobbying. I merely pointed out that corporations sometimes try to get more regulations passed so it's harder for smaller businesses to compete, which is a simple fact (as opposed to the "common" counter-argument that corporations want less regulation so they are free to do what they want).

Secondly, perhaps you can answer a question for me? If there is a such thing as a bad regulation and a good regulation, can you give me a single real-world example of both and why they are good or bad? Also, how would you go about getting rid of the bad one and keeping the good one?

Sentios wrote:As for your video, that convoluted mess of regulations is what I expect from lawyers. As for the individual complaints however:
*The sidewalk permit while that's a bit inflexible if he's permitted only for a specific stretch of sidewalk he's in violation for being outside of that. It doesn't matter if another government agency was told to do construction where he happened to wanted to set up tables. In the best case scenario where government offices actually communicated his permit would have been refused.
That's exactly the point. If the city was going to be doing construction there, why didn't they deny the permit? If, after approving the permit, and forcing them to move their chairs, why do they have to pay a fine when they did everything right on their end?

Sentios wrote:*The requirement of air change is for the purpose of indoor air quality I can only assume that Chicago has some reason for demanding more fresh air, even still a properly designed system doesn't increase the load as much as he's suggesting with his reaction. Typically the exhausted air is used to temper the incoming fresh air thus saving a substantial amount of heating or cooling load so it's not like leaving your windows open in the winter or anything.
But that isn't saving them anything; it's costing a lot more. As he said, most places in the country, that regulation is 10%. In Chicago it's 30%. If you're doing that year-round, your heating and cooling costs are going to be a lot more, not less.

Sentios wrote:*Charging a tax on bottled water is a great idea, the fad of drinking bottled water everywhere (especially when you could just get a glass of tap) produces a lot of extra garbage which the city has to deal with.
In my eyes, bottled water is not some huge scam like you seem to think it is. Often times tap water has a lot of chemicals added or a lot of dissolved sediment that hasn't been removed or is just poor quality in general. Water here in Guam is pretty poor quality and I've taken to either using a water purifier or getting my water from bottles at the store. Often I'll take the empty bottles home and refill them with the purified water, but I suppose that's beside the point.

I have a cousin who used to sell reverse osmosis water purifiers and went around our state testing people's water as part of his presentation. Some places, especially less-developed or rural areas, didn't even have water treatment facilities. A lot of communities pumped their water from the ground or got it from the stream and just boiled it and let it cool. A lot of places had water that was *red*; it had a lot of sulfur in it. Bottled water is simply an alternative to drinking low-quality water. It serves to improve our standard of living.

That said, I agree with you about all those bottles that get thrown away, and I would like to see some better method of recycling them, however, I disagree that a tax is a valid means of controlling their sales. In fact, history proves that it is not. Taxes on cigarettes and alcohol haven't stopped people from smoking or drinking, so why would it stop people from buying bottled water?

Sentos wrote:*Health insurance is a national problem, everyone suffers under the current system. Also I love how he's complaining about his increase in insurance cost when he chose to have another kid, his lack of foresight has nothing to do with overbearing regulations.
Again, you bear a puzzling interpretation of his actual meaning. He complains that it's difficult to turn a profit with the sheer number of regulations and taxes affecting businesses, and that small businesses are often hit harder than larger businesses. He then explains that because he is a responsible adult with a family, he gets health insurance for his children and complains about the increase in costs of his insurance combined with the increasing costs of his business. That's not a lack of foresight, that's a legitimate complaint. Do you think he's the only small business owner with these issues to deal with?

Sentios wrote:*No, the regulations they've described did not have an equal impact on their bottom line as the tanked economy that's just silly.
Once again you've misinterpreted what they've said. They said, quote: "A slow economy and excessive regulations have taken a toll on Istria's bottom line." They're not comparing the two as equals, all they're saying is they both had an influence. That is most definitely not the same thing as a direct comparison.
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Re: [Politics] Deficit Spending and Economic Collapse

Postby Sentios » Thu Jun 21, 2012 10:36 pm

So I guess my question is: What serious, deliberate changes would you make to congress to allow them to formulate critical solutions to problems such as these, and how would those changes guarantee that outcome?


I'd get rid of the lawyers, all members should have at minimum a bachelor's in a STEM field. I've been making my arguments quite clearly for the most part so I'm going to start pruning this down.

Hahaha! That's ridiculous! Lots of people voted for Obama in 2008 without knowing anything about him


So you're saying that Obama did not in fact have large scale, massively expensive advertisements which turned him from a complete unknown into a household name during his campaign? Covering your ears and eyes to reality is not a good discussion tactic.

So what? Those are jobs that need to be filled, regardless of what they pay. You just made the argument against me that businesses aren't hiring enough. If a dozen factory workers get paid $12 an hour but the factory owner could afford to hire an extra six employees by paying everyone minimum wage, are you going to blame him if he decides not to hire more people and pay his current employees $12/hr vice $7.25/hr?


Meanwhile in left field: RuffDraft

I never said anything about paying people less base pay to hire more people. I have said on numerous occasions that having your current workers work overtime for long periods of time so you can avoid hiring more people is bullshit and that when lots of businesses do it, it will raise unemployment.

Anyway: Who the heck makes a career out of being a fry cook (etc)?


A non-zero number of people, typically who aren't qualified for better jobs and aren't wealthy/motivated enough to get other skills. Back when I started out in fast food, we had a husband and wife who'd worked there together for something like 20 years. You can not possibly be this ignorant.

Furthermore, what exactly about working at McDonald's (etc) while you're in high school is demeaning?


It's demeaning specifically because everyone knows it's among the lowest possible jobs a person can have, it typically has absolutely no incentives to come to work other a measly paycheck, and the skill level is so basic you know from the start that you have absolutely no value to the company. You can be replaced by them with about as much difficulty as it would take for you to change your socks.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but you seem to be implying that if it doesn't pay well it's a demeaning job.


A job in which you don't actually make enough money to live on even being as frugal as you possibly can is a pointless job, a pointless job automatically shifts towards being demeaning.

Yet, even with all of that said, how is this in any way related to your base argument? Those teachers don't work from home; they go to an office with specific equipment which allows them to perform the job they've been assigned.


You were the one saying you couldn't work from home as a teacher, I promptly proved you wrong and it was you who took us on this tangent. You're flatly wrong about the teachers not working from home, I've actually gone through one of these programs.

You would trust emergency surgery to a surgeon hundreds of miles away operating a complicated machine by remote control? I sure as hell wouldn't. Do I even need to explain why?


Because you're a luddite? This is the direction that the medical industry has been going in for a while now, like it or not. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/1552211.stm

They cannot inspect a car for defects from home.


But they can, have you not heard of a camera? Now attach that to a robotic arm controlled via joystick. Wow that was hard. The video quality isn't even a problem these days and we're even starting to see the inspection process automated. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yoqH0P57nFI&t=3m11s Don't feel bad though your type of ill-thought out, unimaginative counter argument is extremely common.

1) People at the top supply goods and services in exchange for money. They aren't allowed to be successful or they receive a very stiff penalty, and the most they can take home after taxes regardless of success is $90k; these people are referred to as parasites.


They're allowed to be successful, they're not allowed to wave it in everyone else's face and take it to ridiculous extremes. I can see where your problem is though because you define success as having more than everyone else rather than defining success as the opposite of living in squalor.

2) People at the bottom who do not work receive a government handout that comes from the aforementioned parasites. These people would not be required to contribute to society in any meaningful way, and would be free to sit around doing nothing but watching TV and browsing the internet if they so chose; these people are somehow not parasites.

It seems as if you want to punish people at the top in favor of those at the bottom. In that case, all you're doing is going from a system of natural inequality (capitalism) to a system of forced inequality (communism). This doesn't help anyone. This makes things worse. A lot worse. This kind of thing has been tried in the past, and living conditions simply do NOT improve. You might mean well, but you're throwing out ideas that are both harmful and impractical.


This is an original argument, do not steal.

No, a union's job is to make sure its workers receive equal representation under the law, better working conditions and market-based pay.


Which includes not allowing companies to lay off people and make others pick up the slack. God that's amazing, I feel like I just said that.

You may want to brush up on what the Constitution actually says, because what you've just presented to me is a very telling sign that you don't know what you're talking about.


Perhaps, the constitution does say general welfare however which coincides even more closely with my point about quality of life.

You're effectively saying that in order for one man's quality of life to go up, another man's must invariably go down, which is wrong.


It's not wrong because that is true in human psychology, people compare themselves to each other constantly and you get what's called keeping up the with the Joneses as a result of it where people who might be well off don't feel like they are because other people are more well off. Their self perception influences their quality of life.

When we examine it at the level of a the whole society, someone buying a yacht with gold toilet seats while a large number of other people from a wide range of backgrounds (it's not just welfare queens) are or are nearly bankrupt because fate handed them a medical bill you definitively have a case of the wealth gap cutting into quality of life.

Well that may be because you're not reading enough. You're only looking at the U3 ("official") unemployment rate. You should look at the U6 unemployment rate, which shows that although "real" unemployment reached a high of 17.2% late 2009, now the number is down to about 14.8%. For a comparison, it was around 8% for most of Bush's term and rose above 13% towards the end of his term. The recent drop in unemployment is not great, but it does show that people ARE getting back to work. http://portalseven.com/employment/unemp ... oYear=2012


The u6 doesn't show up under standard searches for unemployment rates, it's effectively a hidden statistic and I've only had like 3rd hand reports to go on which had 'real' unemployment up to something like 23% or some crazy number. That said while we have recovered from the high slightly I still see that we're mostly flat for this year.

So let me get this straight. You say that increased wealth gap leads to a decreased standard of living. I prove that that isn't true using a chart that clearly shows that our standard of living is high. Then you say that in order to accurately determine whether a wealth gap leads to a decreased standard of living you have to not only compare the standard of living across various countries but also adjust for the wealth gap itself? That doesn't make a lick of sense. If I tried to make a similar argument against you, you'd wonder what the hell was wrong with my head.


You have to adjust for the wealth gap itself or you have skewed your averages, more over it's the same fucking organization that released both charts.

(as opposed to the "common" counter-argument that corporations want less regulation so they are free to do what they want).


They want as little regulation against them and as much against their competitors as possible, what's hard to understand here?

Secondly, perhaps you can answer a question for me? If there is a such thing as a bad regulation and a good regulation, can you give me a single real-world example of both and why they are good or bad? Also, how would you go about getting rid of the bad one and keeping the good one?


Most of the EPA regulations are good regulations. Copyrights and patents as they are now are bad regulations, beneficial mostly to dying business models.

why didn't they deny the permit? If, after approving the permit, and forcing them to move their chairs, why do they have to pay a fine when they did everything right on their end?


Because they're handled by different departments that don't properly communicate and because they were outside of their permit. The proper course of action would be to complain about the time lost not to assume you can amend your permit yourself.

But that isn't saving them anything; it's costing a lot more. As he said, most places in the country, that regulation is 10%. In Chicago it's 30%. If you're doing that year-round, your heating and cooling costs are going to be a lot more, not less.


And like I said Chicago probably has a reason for it being higher, even if it's just that being an old law that hasn't been changed.

Often times tap water has a lot of chemicals added or a lot of dissolved sediment that hasn't been removed or is just poor quality in general.


Protip: Most bottled water IS tap water, the only quality improvement is that it's normally filtered. When you drink a bottle of say... aquafina you're drinking Houston (iirc) tap water. Of course you could also filter it yourself with any of the extremely common filtration systems available for a million fold in savings.

Water here in Guam is pretty poor quality and I've taken to either using a water purifier or getting my water from bottles at the store.


Guam's water is great compared to Somalia.    See what I did there?   

Bottled water is simply an alternative to drinking low-quality water. It serves to improve our standard of living.


Which isn't what we're talking about, we're talking about people creating extra trash because bottled water ad campaigns have got them to think municipal water supplies will make them sick and Chicago saying 'fuck that' in response.

In fact, history proves that it is not. Taxes on cigarettes and alcohol haven't stopped people from smoking or drinking, so why would it stop people from buying bottled water?


They don't care if people stop, so long as they're compensated for the unnecessary garbage.

Again, you bear a puzzling interpretation of his actual meaning. He complains that it's difficult to turn a profit with the sheer number of regulations and taxes affecting businesses, and that small businesses are often hit harder than larger businesses. He then explains that because he is a responsible adult with a family, he gets health insurance for his children and complains about the increase in costs of his insurance combined with the increasing costs of his business. That's not a lack of foresight, that's a legitimate complaint. Do you think he's the only small business owner with these issues to deal with?


No he quite clearly says that his insurance costs went up because he had another kid, this does not make me feel any more sympathy for him.
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