Moderator: Mod Squad
Socialism can mean different things. It could mean a system where wealth is owned collectively and shared according to the needs of the community. It could also mean a system where resources are collected from members of the community and used for the well-being of the community, which includes pretty much every government ever (e.g. tax-supported national military or roads). And pretty much everything the government does is a redistribution of wealth (where do you think your paycheck comes from?). In the interview there, Obama mentioned redistributions like allocating resources to get schools that used to exclusively serve black kids up to par (which is, as he mentioned, sort of questionable for the judicial system to mandate). Remember this? Do you think that supply-side or demand-side redistribution works better for a healthy (mixed capitalist) economy (including the wealthy)? And have you read The Communist Manifesto? "In this sense, the theory of the Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property." Do you really think that Obama or any major politician is trying to do that?RuffDraft wrote:Obama has said that a "distribution of wealth" would be good for everybody. What's wrong with this is that it's a Socialist (or Marxist) ideology, which is why so many people think that he's a Socialist. Furthermore, I don't think it would be good for everybody; at least the rich would feel like they were cheated out of the money they've earned.
Probably somewhat more than 4%. History shows that, not only are we on the upslope of the Laffer curve, better GDP growth correlates with a higher top rate than at present, apparently peaking in the neighborhood of 60%-70%. Remember how taxes can go to things that help keep the economy in good shape (including keeping wealth inequality within healthy levels)? And who do you think wants to cut taxes and reduce government investment in things like basic research and infrastructure that lay the foundations for growth?RuffDraft wrote:If I'm to understand, people think raising taxes by 4% will generate more revenues. By how much are they assuming revenues will increase?
That's because, compared to the Clinton years when those rates produced a surplus, the economy is in worse shape and there are wars, a new Medicare program, and more interest on the debt to pay for. Raising taxes to Clinton-era levels would not solve the problem outright, but it would go a long way towards it.RuffDraft wrote:Right now we have a $1.65T deficit in the budget for this year, and a $1.1T deficit for next year. And that's assuming we take in as much in taxes as we think we will. He wanted to let those taxes revert back to what they were.
So how much did he think he was going to make if he let taxes go back up? Certainly not enough to cover his budget.
A rather large drop. As in, an amount similar to that $1.3T in four years, then three years, then two years.RuffDraft wrote:I read an article that talked about how Michael Moore says we should take the money we need from the 400 billionaires in this country. Then the article went on to explain that even if you combined the net worth of every billionaire in the country, it would only make $1.3T, which means that with Obama's budget, raising taxes back to Clinton "levels" would only be a drop in the bucket.
You mean like this?RuffDraft wrote:If the Democrats were really concerned about restricting spending, they'd be saying "We should cut our own salaries. We don't need this much to run a government! My yacht can go to hell!"
More like a quarter mile down one street, half a mile down another, and another quarter mile down a third, but whatever. The pizza deal was a publicity stunt. On Obama's campaign, he stopped at that pizza guy's restaurant and apparently commented that it was his favorite pizza. So the Ritz-Carlton hotel in DC offered to fly the guy to DC to cook for the "Presidential Inauguration Expo" if Obama won. So it wasn't done by Obama, it wasn't at the White House, and it wasn't paid for by the government. But then, if you've researched the situation to make that criticism, you already know that, right?RuffDraft wrote:Instead, Obama flies a man 850 miles to make pizza at the Whi0te House when Dominos is right down the street. Gotta have that gourmet pizza.
Related to who got us into things is how things came to be as they are. Related to that is how problems can be fixed. If we disagree about what people did to get us here, it implies that we disagree about the other things, and therefore that moving on to discussing policy solutions would not be productive. What do you think can't be afforded, what tax loopholes would you eliminate, and why do you think that?RuffDraft wrote:Here's an idea. Let's stop trying to decide who got us in to what problem and start focusing on actual solutions. Not bullshit "no-bullshit" solutions like raising taxes to 80% and cutting spending by 80%, but solutions. Preferably ones that involve us cutting spending on things we can't afford and eliminating tax loopholes.
He said it back here. "But it's not something that bothers me, seeing as I don't believe in this whole Global Warming scare."NeoWarrior7 wrote:And really? Gonna argue CO2 shouldn't be controlled? What, do you call Global Warming false too? Not even getting into that.
Only since Reagan (and to some extent Ford). Before that, Republicans were serious about balancing budgets too, which is one reason why the debt from WWII wasn't a problem.Q.U. wrote:And that would explain how with every Rep president the country goes into deficit, and with almost every Dem president it gets back to profit.
That's still pretty much the picture for 2015 and 2030. The difference for 2011 and thereabouts is the short-term loss of revenue from the recession combined with the short-term spending increases from the recession. As the economy improves, most of the current deficit will close in its own, leaving about the numbers given there.RuffDraft wrote:Well, I did do it when the budget was only about $400B red. My question is, what has he added to the budget to make it so huge?Q.U. wrote:And now the pressure is on YOU to prove that just by cutting things you can't afford and eliminating loopholes you can make the $1.65T deficit close. Good luck getting there without raising taxes at all.
Historical implementations of taxes on people without money have involved confiscation of goods. But then, that wasn't what Q.U. was talking about there. Do you think that poor people or rich people have more discretionary spending money? What do you think would happen to aggregate demand if most of the discretionary spending money of the poor and middle class went to taxes in order to give the rich somewhat more money, of which little would go to buying things?RuffDraft wrote:In which case, their taxes would be zero anyway?Or, you can tax those who don't have money
In terms of federal income tax, perhaps, but that's hardly the whole picture. Including entitlement, state, and local taxes (which are more regressive), and other federal taxes, the tax burden is much flatter. And federal taxes become regressive for the very rich. Remember Warren Buffett and his secretary?RuffDraft wrote:Look, right now the bottom 20% don't even pay taxes. Try to understand that, because it's true; ultimately, they pay an average rate of about -3% come tax day. The entire burden of taxes does fall on the rich right now, in our system. To me, the rich seem overtaxed already.
As in good decisions guaranteed financial success and bad decisions guaranteed failure? Those days never existed. The poor have always suffered from lack of capital, and the rich have always had wealth to fall back on, even ignoring complications beyond the control of individuals.RuffDraft wrote:Haaaaah... what happened to the good old days, when the amount you earn was generally related to how well you handled it in the first place? Those who made good decisions got rich and those who made bad decisions were poor?
Yes, the good old days, when the poor were left to starve (no Social Security), infectious diseases were the leading cause of death (no Medicare/Medicaid/CDC), and no large standing military. Or perhaps you were referring to the mid-20th century, when those things were in place and funded with enough taxation to keep the debt under control.RuffDraft wrote:And the government didn't see the need to take $2T worth of taxes every year and then say it was necessary to spend all of it and more.
ORLY?RuffDraft wrote:And we didn't have massive unemployment
Are you saying that current high unemployment is due to Mexicans taking jobs? As opposed to, say, the recession? And when was the US a worse job market than Mexico?RuffDraft wrote:because our place was a little shittier than Mexico's, and they wouldn't have come over here if we paid them. Which we are, now. And they have. And we don't know who they are.
Not necessarily. In the olden days, it was common to believe that material wealth represented favor from the gods, so poor people not only didn't deserve help, they were regarded as implicitly bad people. That attitude took a hit with the establishment of current major religions which tell people to help the needy, etc. but notions of divine favor have stuck around. Notably in modern megachurches. A different idea of why poor people have it coming derives from classical economics and Objectivist philosophy, where nothing prevents anyone from going from destitution to wealth if only they weren't lazy and actually tried. Objectivist libertarianism is a rather specifically 20th century attitude.NeoWarrior7 wrote:It's very pre-20th century to assume all poor people have it coming.
Regardless of Eisenhower's leadership abilities, the Allies were not in a position to lose. The Allies outproduced the Axis several-fold, and could have used nukes had the war in Europe lasted much longer. Imagine a Starcraft game where one side starts with 4x the economy and a research advantage.BeeAre wrote:He was one of the men who won World War II, though. I don't understand, surely people's beliefs would spill into their actions, and influence the direction of the war, and being anti-business, he must have implemented policies in our armed forces that allowed for defeat, because anti-business policies must all literally carry over into ever facet of a person's life. Yet we won?? weird.
Because I wanted to give a reasonable proposal for how the budget could be balanced without Ryan-style entitlement cuts. Or many cuts at all, to serve as a counterpoint to your statements that major cuts are necessary.RuffDraft wrote:Yeah I'm looking and I notice you didn't even try to do what NeoWarrior suggested.Valhallen wrote:Ahem. Minor entitlement reform, taxes mostly rolled back to Clinton levels. Look at that.
So you think that some tax increases are called for? Otherwise, there are more cuts than I'd like, but it's fairly reasonable. Certainly better than the Ryan plan, and not just because it actually balances the budget.RuffDraft wrote:So, in this game the most you can save is $1.024T short and $3.035T long. However, I don't think doing all of these (at least, not all at once) is a good idea...
How about this?
It eliminates loopholes (like the Bowles-Simpson plan above it) but has higher tax rates than the Bowles-Simpson plan. So no doublespeak involved.RuffDraft wrote:It calls "eliminating loopholes but keeping taxes slightly higher" a tax increase, oddly enough. I might call it "eliminating spending in the tax code," but that would be stupid. Just plain stupid.
Except most millionaires didn't start with "next to nothing". And that's not what Neo was talking about. A family with $10k in income facing a $1k loss would be hit a lot harder than someone with $1m in income facing a $100k loss. The poor family would probably find it a lot harder to meet their basic needs like food, shelter, and transportation, while the rich person probably wouldn't have to forgo a second yacht or vacation house. If the government needs $1B in income, do you think it would be better for society to get it from 10k rich people or from a million poor people?RuffDraft wrote:So someone who starts with next to nothing can use a little finesse and become a millionaire and you frown on that?NeoWarrior7 wrote:Yes, because a family who can barely afford food can take a 10% hit.
While a rich man will still have millions, regardless. Life's a funny thing, in your world.
So do poor people. Do you think the marginal propensity of charitable donation for rich people is more or less than the percent of taxes that go to help the needy?RuffDraft wrote:Well, I do help the needy. And I'm not even rich. Rich people give many millions of dollars to the needy.NeoWarrior7 wrote:You should help the needy.
Unless the "charity" serves their interests. Keep in mind that very rich people get most of their income from capital gains, which is not subject to the federal income tax. That said, yes, some rich people do care about the less fortunate. That doesn't mean that all do.RuffDraft wrote:And here's the thing: if taxes were the only reason rich people give to the poor (to bring their taxes down to about half of what they paid), no one would do it because you need to give nearly 3 times as much to the poor in order to bring your taxes down by half if you're that rich. So they're really just giving because they can. Or they're just stupid, that could be it too.
I think you should define what "because a rich person made them that way" means. For example, certain rich people (the dudes running certain financial institutions) caused the financial crisis, which led to assorted economic troubles. If that counts, it would be pretty easy to find people homeless because of rich people. But if you're willing to back it with money, you may have a different idea about what counts.RuffDraft wrote:Then go downtown or wherever your nearest homeless shelter is held and start asking homeless people what they did before they were homeless. Ask them what skills they had. Ask them how they became homeless. If you can find three people who are legitimately poor because a rich person made them that way, I'll pay you $100. And you can hold me to that.NeoWarrior7 wrote:It's very pre-20th century to assume all poor people have it coming.
In general, systemic issues (defense, regulation, economic management, etc.) and things prone to market failure, especially due to externalities (environmental protection, infrastructure, education, etc.).RuffDraft wrote:Examples?NeoWarrior7 wrote:There are some things only a government can handle.
So public museums, public school art/music programs, and public performing arts centers are baaad?RuffDraft wrote:Now, when did I imply I hated the arts? Creativity is fine, I just don't think the creation of said arts should be a government subsidy.NeoWarrior7 wrote:You hate the arts now too? Yes, because encouraging creativity is such a bad thing.
How many US citizens would drive for miles to work as a day laborer for $1/hour?RuffDraft wrote:First, Americans WILL do those jobs. Any factory that gets raided and all the "Undocumented Workers" fired will see unemployed Americans drive for miles around to get those jobs.NeoWarrior7 wrote:Mexico it's true, they mostly come here I think because their country just isn't as great. And even below minimum pay But face it. Americans won't do their jobs, so what can they really be stealing?
Perhaps because the conditions in such factories (though likely worse than regulations would have it) are probably better than foreign sweat shops? And because it retains domestic manufacturing and its accompanying economic activity rather than outsourcing manufacturing?RuffDraft wrote:Second, if you're not in favor of sweatshops overseas why would you be in favor of factories hiring illegal immigrants?
And which countries would those be?RuffDraft wrote:Better yet, do what they do in some other countries when Americans are there illegally:NeoWarrior7 wrote:As for the illegal part, that's a bit trickier. I haven't terribly looked into it. They've tried before I do believe, but we could use a bit of reform on how that works. It would probably be cheaper than something retarded like, say, trying to build a border sized fence. I just don't think that that could even be effective enough. A fence. These people. My taxes. Man.
No, I'm not serious. This is ME we're talking about.
It may be news to some, but most wealth is created by workers. The business owners hire them and supply equipment, but the workers actually produce the real wealth, whether physical goods, services, information, etc.BeeAre wrote:DO YOU BELIEVE THAT THIS IS HOW THE MAJORITY OF WEALTH IS CREATED IN AMERICA? THAT IT SHOULD BE THE STANDARD BY WHICH PEOPLE ARE JUDGED?RuffDraft wrote:So someone who starts with next to nothing can use a little finesse and become a millionaire and you frown on that?
Essentially, yes. Wealth can (and largely does) consist of physical goods, and wealthy people had most of those before monetary economies got going. Wealth disparity in hunter-gatherer societies is usually relatively small, but once agriculture gets going, the surplus food allows social specialization, including aristocracy and soldiers who work for the aristocracy.RuffDraft wrote:DO YOU THINK THE RICH HAVE ALWAYS BEEN RICH, SINCE TIME IMMEMORIAL? WHAT ABOUT BEFORE MONEY EXISTED? DID "RICH" PEOPLE CONTROL ALL THE CHICKENS AND LETTUCE?
Something like that would be appropriate, but I wanted to show that the budget could be balanced without it.Q.U. wrote:Also, how can you NOT mark the bank tax box? (re this) I would understand that it wouldn't be needed if the government had put SOME regulation for the banks as it promised. But it had done NOTHING. In other words, you had an economic collapse, you know what caused it, and you didn't even bother goddamn fixing it. WTF is wrong with you people? Look at Canada for inspiration in keeping banks and mortgages under control.
But where/when has that not been the case?Q.U. wrote:It's the American dream, and it's good.So someone who starts with next to nothing can use a little finesse and become a millionaire and you frown on that?
But hey, in games when you play the Campaign, or the story mode, the game tends to get MORE difficult as you go along. You're also getting better and more powerful, just enough to cope with each new obstacle. I find it silly that in the US the richer you get the easier it is to get even richer than that.
Carbon monoxide, ammonia, and acetone are also byproducts of human breathing. That doesn't mean that they are safe in all concentrations. More generally, existing safely somewhere in nature does not mean that something is safe in all concentrations and circumstances. As you read through the next few bits, consider what you think about CFCs and why. You can read here for more information on CO2 and related subjects.RuffDraft wrote:I strongly disagree with the carbon tax. CO2 is NOT a dangerous gas. It's a byproduct of human breathing,
Actually, it's about 0.04%. At that concentration, it is chemically dangerous to certain sea life, particularly those with calcium carbonate shells. That concentration is also enough to alter global climate by altering the radiative equilibrium. Most of the carbon dioxide produced by human activity goes into the oceans, and the plants of the world are not keeping up with the remainder (as the concentration is rising).RuffDraft wrote:and it is naturally regulated by plants to be around 1.5% at sea level, which is not dangerous.
CO2 alters planetary radiative equilibrium -> climate changes -> human activities are disrupted. Chemical toxicity to humans is not the concern.RuffDraft wrote:I don't understand the argument behind calling it a dangerous gas. There are medical problems associated with too much CO2, but if you live in any kind of verdant area, that level is regulated.
How many trees do you think it would take to absorb 30 billion tons of carbon dioxide per year? Because that would just about deal with the increase. Though the number is increasing as China and other nations industrialize. And keep in mind that a tree serves as a carbon sink only for the lifetime of the tree - it is released again when the tree decomposes. Are you advocating the permanent restoration of the eastern and western US forests?RuffDraft wrote:They want to improve air quality? Plant more trees.
You mean like, say, the cap and trade system put in place by H.W. Bush that has economically reduced sulfur dioxide emissions by more than half since its implementation?RuffDraft wrote:And if you want to discourage coal power or other "unclean" sources of energy, put legislation against those byproducts such as sulfur-dioxide or carbon monoxide.
The idea of a carbon tax is to increase the cost of things that emit a lot of carbon dioxide, thereby discouraging them in the market. Since the market hasn't reduced emissions on its own (the effects of carbon dioxide are externalities), and a cap and trade system is less disruptive than direct regulation (like what was done in Europe for sulfur dioxide), it seems that the disagreement here comes down to you not thinking that carbon dioxide should be regulated. Is that still the case?RuffDraft wrote:So I disagree with the CO2 emission tax. To me it seems like pure bullshit.
Ahem.RuffDraft wrote:Banks, huh? No regulation, right. They only have the FDIC to answer to, with all their regulations. And the Federal Reserve, with all of theirs. And the OCC (Office of Controller of the Currency). And the OTS (Office of Thrift Supervision). There are literally hundreds of regulations the banks have to follow. Now, if they violate one of those regulations and we find out about it, those responsible should be held accountable and, if necessary, fined or jailed. Either way they should lose their jobs.Q.U. wrote:Also, how can you NOT mark the bank tax box? I would understand that it wouldn't be needed if the government had put SOME regulation for the banks as it promised. But it had done NOTHING. In other words, you had an economic collapse, you know what caused it, and you didn't even bother goddamn fixing it. WTF is wrong with you people? Look at Canada for inspiration in keeping banks and mortgages under control.
Then would you care to explain in detail what DID cause the economic collapse?RuffDraft wrote:Banks themselves did not cause the problems. There were a large number of problems that stemmed from banks to be sure, but that was not what caused the economic collapse.
Because it means that wealth has a positive feedback that becomes stronger with more wealth. This means that, given a free market, wealth will naturally concentrate, resulting in a plutocracy unless other factors prevent it. Since that's bad for society, Q.U. seems to think it's silly that the US doesn't have more guards against it.RuffDraft wrote:Once you become rich, you have more money to work with and can invest it in more than just one way. How is that silly?Q.U. wrote:But hey, in games when you play the Campaign, or the story mode, the game tends to get MORE difficult as you go along. You're also getting better and more powerful, just enough to cope with each new obstacle. I find it silly that in the US the richer you get the easier it is to get even richer than that.
It isn't, but it's silly to think that the federal government can't increase its revenue (especially from the current situation in which taxation is unusually low).RuffDraft wrote:How exactly is it silly to want to live within your means?
Inheritors of wealth tend not to be as productive as those who founded the fortune. It is entirely possible to maintain a comfortable lifestyle off the interest of inherited wealth. This is one reason why Andrew Carnegie gave away almost all of his wealth before he died. He wanted his children to get enough to help them along, but not enough to let them slack off. Regarding job creation, please read this. With the current economic situation, demand is reduced, therefore supply is not being fully utilized. In such conditions, investment isn't very useful unless it's going towards untapped markets (i.e. technological innovation like improved electric cars and solar panels). It is economically better to shift the tax burden to the wealthy (who do more investing) and away from the poor and middle class (who do more consumer spending) because that brings supply more in line with demand. One way to do this is with the estate tax (which is one of the most highly targeted taxes for this). it used to be that the estate tax could prevent unrealized capital gains from passing down through generations untaxed, concentrating wealth beyond what is healthy for society, but now trusts can be used to avoid capital gains and estate taxes. It's not that there's something wrong with passing on (a lot of) wealth to relatives, it's that taxing some of that transaction helps the economy and society.RuffDraft wrote:...your point being? If someone wants to bequeath their fortune to their son, what's wrong with that? Assuming the kid wants to keep himself rich, he has to invest that money. Usually a profitable investment will involve the creation of jobs.Q.U. wrote:btw, ever heard a story of a stupid spoiled brat who inherits a fortune after a rich daddy?
Is there something wrong with a man who's worked his whole life and got rich passing it on to his living relatives at his death?
Business cycles in the 1800s typically lasted a couple years or so. So probably about that long.Q.U. wrote:1) God knows how quickly US would collapse if banks weren't regulated at all.Either way they should lose their jobs
Not really, at least theoretically. There's nothing intrinsic to capitalism that prevents everyone from living well. It's just that such losers are an emergent property of real-world capitalism. As opposed to, say, classical ideal free market capitalism. And the ideals of classical free market capitalism are what is often invoked by proponents of deregulation and the dismantling of social safety nets.BeeAre wrote:capitalism promotes individual competition which means that there have to be losers, and since the division between success and failure is so distinct, if someone promotes capitalism, they are at some point, promoting the idea that someone should be poor, because someone has to lose in capitalism.
Capitalism is a way of organizing the economy. As in applying society's means to its ends. It doesn't determine what those ends are. People just tend to like material wealth.BeeAre wrote:Capitalism runs opposed to that: There are no terms outside of generating wealth for the sake of generating wealth. I understand that terms can and will and are and have been applied, but they are divided from the system: the system operates purely mechanically in many systems that are not.
For the edification of those reading, dirt cookies are a real thing.BeeAre wrote:I'm saying that we can stop poor Haitians from eating dirt cookies to live by giving them a portion of what the rich have.
Suppose all federal taxes were set to zero. Suppose also that you run a private sector business and do not receive any federal money directly. With no taxes, the federal government would not be able to pay for much, and most federal services would be cut in short order. So among other things, no entitlements that keep some of your customers in good enough financial shape to use your business. Combined with those other things, you might consider that the business environment (or perhaps society overall) was better with federal taxation and services in place. You could then lobby for an increase in taxation and government service to a level that works better. Why not just send the government a check? Because it wouldn't fix the problem.RuffDraft wrote:@BR: If these guys want to pay more in taxes, they can write a check to the government. This is not proof that taxes should be raised. I don't care what label you put on them, I still call them "ignorant."
The proletariat, who equitably distribute the wealth of society so none experience hardship for want of material goods. Then again, perhaps you had something other than Marxism in mind when replying to considerations of Marxism. Stalinism, say?RuffDraft wrote:If you're going to tell me that Capitalism = unfair and the Marxism = fair, can you explain who the winners are in Marxism?
Because publicly owned wealth doesn't count? Suppose you have a house and a car nominally owned publicly but allotted for your use (which perhaps you do, being in the military). Does that make you less wealthy in real terms than a person who nominally owns an identical house and car?RuffDraft wrote:Doesn't seem like anyone can possibly be a winner because no one owns anything and there is no "wealth" to speak of.
Are you aware of what capitalist nations were like when the Manifesto was written? Ever read Dickens or The Jungle? "Everyone is poor" looks pretty appealing when most people are destitute in the service of making relatively few rich, and that's why people in charge of capitalist nations freaked out about Communism. The capitalism we know in the US today enjoys many social safety nets that were put in place in part to dissuade communistic revolutions by addressing the worst abuses of free capitalism.RuffDraft wrote:In other words, with Capitalism you have a lot of winners and a lot of losers. In Marxism, you have no winners, and an infinite number of losers.
But then it's not Marxism, is it?RuffDraft wrote:Unless this Marxism has a central ruling body (or Government), in which case, only those that belong to this ruling party are the winners and everyone else who isn't is a loser.
You realize that this is how Communist governments have typically formed, following abuses by those in power in a capitalist system, right? And that Communist governments have typically fallen with peaceful internal reforms? And that Marxist Communism has not been implemented in reality?RuffDraft wrote:Unless you want to say that the people "in power" have equal standing with those "in office." In which case any group of citizens can summarily dismiss any ruling by the ruling body, which equals revolt. If the ruling body wishes to enforce its "power" they need to have control of the police or military. If a revolt occurs and the police or military become involved and the people still wish to fight, this becomes a VIOLENT revolt.
The problem here is that you want to talk about theory. And my "theoretical" outcome is not just a theoretical outcome. It has happened. The more a society feels outraged because of the misuse of power in a ruling body, they more likely they are to revolt.
In fact, the opposite is true of most modern economies.BeeAre wrote:sounds like a pessimist's view to me to say that when the disparity between winners and losers is diminished, the result is losers instead of winners.
Because "Hey, let's kill everyone of that ethnicity," is just as correct as "Hey, let's not," is it? And facts don't matter for being right or wrong?Rhapsodna wrote:ugh politics there's never a right or wrong.......... hurts my brain :?
You are aware, are you not, that "trying to gouge the customer (in order to maximize profit)" is EXACTLY the same as "changing prices based on supply and demand (in order to maximize profit)"? Someone using knowledge of the market's demand curve to set prices would make MORE profit than someone gouging customers with higher prices than that. So the second person seems to be a better businessman, whether by controlling costs better or by exerting more market power.RuffDraft wrote:If someone who is rich opens a business selling ONLY food, and does it at prices that are competitive while still allowing him to make between 5 and 10% overall profit, and the money HE makes is taxed at a 35% rate, and he does not try to gouge the customer and only changes his prices based on supply and demand (while still maintaining the above profit margin), and his income after taxes is still right around $10 million per year, what is your opinion of this person?
Next if I may, I would like you to compare that person to someone who DOES try to gouge the customer and ignores supply and demand and has a profit margin of around 25%; he's basically the opposite of the person above. And let's say that he also takes in around $10 million after taxes. What is your opinion of this person? Does this in any way change your opinion of the first person?
Both taxable incomes would be about $15.4m, but the first person's gross income would be $154m to $308m, compared to the second person's gross income of about $61.5m.RuffDraft wrote:Now consider the IN DEPTH implications of my examples. Their incomes are the same but their profit margins are different.
Not necessarily. You never specified that they sell the same kinds of goods. One could specialize in bulk sales, with a corresponding reduction in workers and customers. If they operate in different markets, prices of similar goods need not be similar.RuffDraft wrote:Which means that one of them has a lot more customers than the other; one of them has a much larger workforce;
Clearly the customers CAN afford the merchandise, as they're buying enough to generate millions in profit. For practical purposes, what the owners personally care about doesn't matter except as it is reflected in what they do.RuffDraft wrote:one of them actually seems to care that the consumer can afford his merchandise.
Your example doesn't include the relevant information for investigating that. Consumer markets where producers wield disproportional power is a factor, but wealth diverges mainly from the labor market and the treatment of investment gains. Low dividends, capital gains, etc. taxes combined with a labor market in which workers have little negotiating power (if they are not unionized, say) diverts the gains from economic growth disproportionately to the bourgeoisie, who are already rich. Depending on the magnitude of the power disparity, all growth and then some could go to the rich, leaving most people with reduced real incomes. This is what happened in the US over George W. Bush's presidency.RuffDraft wrote:But according to the logic you presented above, both of them are getting richer while the poor are getting poorer, which only makes sense if all rich business owners were like my latter example.
Again, you seem not to know about the working poor. Again, have you read Dickens or The Jungle, and do you know about conditions of the real world that make your assertion far from universal?RuffDraft wrote:Assuming the poor have jobs and aren't wasting their money on frivolous things like two car loans, a mortgage for a house they can't in a million years afford, and/or excessive quantities of lottery tickets (or some other gambling activity), the "poor" could easily save up their money and pull themselves out of poverty.
AIG played a major role in crashing the economy with its risky practices, resulting in millions of people losing their jobs, and it was bailed out by the government. In 2009, it handed out a $billion or so in bonuses, more than a third of which went to the department that caused the problem, and about $165m in bonuses to executives who drove the company and the economy into the ground. Transocean cut corners to save money, and the Deepwater Horizon spill resulted from such cut corners. The incident killed several workers outright, trashed much of the Gulf causing widespread economic hardship, and exposed thousands of people to toxic chemicals whose effects are as yet largely unknown. Transocean awarded its executives bonuses for safety performance that year. Other examples abound. Executive compensation has largely been decoupled from performance, especially the long-term performance that matters for the well-being of the economy.RuffDraft wrote:Now, if you have a legitimate reason to blame the rich for something--and I'm talking specifics, such as "this guy/gal/corporation fired a couple hundred employees but gave all their executives million dollar payoffs," then I can definitely see the problem you have with that.
Remember how real income for most people in the US has gone down in the last decade despite real GDP growth? And how the real income of the very wealthy has increased in excess of GDP growth? Systemically, it is like that, as that's essentially what happened, even if particular rich people did not personally advance the situation.RuffDraft wrote:However, you also have to realize that this is NOT ALL OF THE RICH PEOPLE. A couple dozen millionaires making each other wealthy at the expense of a few thousand is not something you blame on everyone, because the rest of them are not necessarily like that.
Remember how corporations are people now? Anyway, a corporation is a single entity, pooling considerable resources in an organized endeavor to achieve a goal. The People are not, and do not (except in the government itself). Some parts of The People (unions, say) can act comparably to a corporation in that regard, but such organizations are rather small compared to corporate interests at the present.RuffDraft wrote:In regards to consuming, we are Legion. We have the power. The People can sway just as well as a corporation.
Large corporations have dedicated legal departments backed with billions. What sort of consumer effort do you think it would take to, say, change the business practices of BP? Do you think that such an effort is likely at this point? Do you see the point of government regulation?RuffDraft wrote:It just takes time and perseverance and cooperation.
Not really. That person would have to have legal standing and a lot of money and time. Those aren't easy to come by. For consideration, how would you go about challenging a law you don't like? Obamacare, say, which had a lot of input from health insurers?RuffDraft wrote:If a corporation wants to put a law into place, even ONE person can take this bill to court for its Constitutionality,
Bullshit. Flagrant violations of the Constitution and personal rights abound in US history. Now, with that in mind, do you believe that major corporations with interests demonstrably at odds with the majority of US citizens should have unrestricted influence in the government? Remember what's going on in Michigan? The issue is power and influence in government and society, and right now major corporations have a significant advantage over "the Many".RuffDraft wrote:because in the United States of America, regardless of what the Many want to do, it still has to be Constitutional and not infringe on the rights of the Few.
Because information asymmetry does not exist, and a loan made with reasonable expectations of a low variable rate and maintaining one's job does not become harder to pay when the rate increases and the job is lost in the recession? Do you know why banks were so eager to make these risky loans? Because they sold the loans and passed the risk to others while understating their risk, making a tidy profit at others' expense. To use an analogy, it's not a good idea to walk alone through Central Park at night, but that doesn't excuse the mugger for mugging someone walking alone through Central Park at night.RuffDraft wrote:It's just not sympathetic, especially to those who lost everything because of a defaulted loan. But in that sense, I have no sympathy. You do NOT enter into a loan agreement without understanding the rules and abiding by them. You do NOT take on debt if you have no way of paying it back. These are simple legal and economic guidelines. People who don't want to follow them have no business complaining when shit happens.
You can drink and drive just fine, so long as your blood alcohol level stays within legal limits, and you aren't obviously impaired. Just don't drink WHILE driving.BeeAre wrote:It is illegal to drink alcohol and drive.
Except his home, car, health insurance, etc.RuffDraft wrote:If a poor man has a job and no investments, he has little to lose if something goes bad at his job.
The median unemployed person in the US has been without a job for about five months. You understand that it's harder to get a job when there's high unemployment, right?RuffDraft wrote:He can get a new job.
Unlikely. High unemployment depresses wages. Unless you believe that Keynesian mumbo-jumbo about short-term price stickiness. But then you might consider that the economy has long been shifting from relatively high paying manufacturing jobs to relatively low paying service jobs. Do you think Walmart pays better than his old job?RuffDraft wrote:Hell, he might find one that pays better.
Let's put some realistic numbers to this. Suppose he's unemployed for twenty weeks (shorter than median) and worked full time for minimum wage with no benefits. That's a $5,800 loss in cash flow. For a skilled worker who made more like $30/hour unemployed for 39 weeks (about the mean length of unemployment in the US), that's $46,800. How long did you think typical unemployed lasts?RuffDraft wrote:But for the sake of argument, let's assume that he loses money due to loss of job hours. What? $400, $500 lost? For the time he was unemployed before finding a new job? Under relatively normal circumstances, with a man who has a very good skill set? Hard times.
Except his home, car, health insurance, etc. And little of consequence if the business is insured against trouble. Even less so if his investments were prudently diversified (as millionaires are wont to do).RuffDraft wrote:On the other hand, if a millionaire's entire fortune is invested in a company and something goes bad, he has HIS ENTIRE FORTUNE to lose if something catastrophic happens in the company.
Is this millionaire the owner of a car dealership (in which case he would not be liable for the car problems), or does he own an auto manufacturer (in which case he would more likely be a billionaire head of a major corporation with dedicated R&D and legal departments, and would likely not be personally liable for damages)? It looks like best-case in this scenario is that he's out some customers, but no money. Suppose for the sake of argument he's down to just his $300k house and $50k car. That's still a much better financial position than the poor man.RuffDraft wrote:Let's say that he sells an expensive product that kills a couple hundred people before he can recall it (like a car, as a practical example). He now has to refund the purchase price of the product as well as pay damanges for every person his product has harmed. Best-case scenario, he keeps his company but he's down thousands, if not millions, of dollars.
The millionaire (by definition with a net worth of at least a million USD) would have at least $500k left. The poor man starts with a net worth of $0 ("poor" people in the US typically have more debt than assets, and so have negative net worth) and loses $500 (let's go with your figure), and is now in debt. So yes, the wealthy are insulated from financial damage. The millionaire lost a thousand times as much as the poor man, but did not go into debt like the poor man did. Rather, the former millionaire's remaining wealth may be more than the poor man will earn in his life, and far more than he will keep.RuffDraft wrote:Shall we compare $500 to $500,000? No, of course not that would be utterly stupid.
"Insulated from financial damage..." In other words, it's better for a rich person to lose money than it is for a poor person. Bullshit.
Valhallen used Wall of Text! Is it effective?EagleMan wrote:Not that I mean him specifically and that it can apply to anyone, but typically when one is presented with facts, it only makes the person double down on their beliefs.
Because longer is better.Tuor wrote:I just come to marvel at the length of Valhallen's posts.
Now, what needs to happen is for Detroit to get one of those managers, who will bring in military robots to deal with crime. And so on.BeeAre wrote:i laughed pretty hard when in valhallen's latest follow-up he made a foot-note for "Robocop, lol"
It looks like it'll be Obama vs. whoever the Republicans pick. The declared Republican candidates look pretty weak IMO. The ones that look to do well in the primaries probably wouldn't do well in the general election and vice-versa. I think Mitt Romney might fare the best in the general election (and probably has the most reasonable policies of the bunch), but he's too moderate for a lot of Republicans today, especially with his support of "Romneycare". Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich aren't associated with the Tea Party and some of its unpopular aspects, but Paul is a libertarian and honest about it, and Gingrich has a huge amount of stuff for any opponent to use as ammunition in a campaign. The newer crowd (including Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachman if they decide to run) would probably do better in the primaries (though they may split the Tea Party vote), but they are prone to unusual positions and appearing to not understand complex issues. The comedy opportunities that would give would be pretty awesome, but that wouldn't be good for their chances in the general election. For now, I'm hoping that the "the rent is too damn high" guy will make a good show.DaCrum wrote:What are your opinions on the next presidential candidates? Any favorites? Such and such?
I haven't heard that in regards to those kinds of professions, but such a deficit seems plausible. Have any info on it? On-the-job training can help with those jobs though, so the market should be reasonably flexible. The deficit I'd heard of (and the one that shows up on a quick search) is in stuff more like engineering, computer science, and nursing, which take a multi-year degree to get into.DaCrum wrote:I've heard about something called the "skilled workers' deficit, that supposedly, even with unemployment being incredibly high, there is a deficit of skilled workers such as welders, mechanics, and other physically laboring positions including those necessary to the improvement and upkeep of US infrastructure. What's your opinion on this?
Latest I saw is that GDP and job growth are positive, if slow, so basically the recovery is puffing along. Some other indicators aren't so good though. Unemployment went up a little in the past couple months, and home prices have fallen a few more percent. It doesn't look too bad though, so we'll just have to wait and see if trends change. Overall, I'd say the picture is positive but weak, though Congress is in a position to mess things up, and trusting Congress not to mess things up isn't always a good bet.DaCrum wrote:And the reversal of the economic recovery. Some news stations have been broadcasting that it seems that economic recovery has stopped, and possibly even reversed. What do you think?
Okay, you're right, he did talk about that; however, he just said that people wouldn't be able to afford health care anymore, which is not true either. Ryan's plan called for a replacement to Medicare and Medicaid that was supposed to be geared towards people who couldn't afford it in the first place.Valhallen wrote:Stewart was pointing out that the Republican response to the Ryan's plan compared to past actions indicates that they are more focused on partisanship than policy. And that clip did talk about the content of the plan, about as much as the video you posted.RuffDraft wrote:So... Paul Ryan presents what he believes to be a serious fix to the budget; Jon Stewart replies with sarcasm at OTHER Republicans' reactions but otherwise says little (at least in this clip) about what's wrong with the plan;
Right now the system we haveValhallen wrote:Do you think that given that, it's a good plan then? Given tax cuts in a plan supposedly to cut the deficit, polls indicating that most Americans want pretty much the opposite, and various other things pointed out there. Regarding Medicaid, why would replacing it with vouchers be a good thing? This explains briefly how it probably would be bad, at least if you care about the well-being of seniors (about halfway down where it says "replace X with vouchers" is Republican code for "destroy X").RuffDraft wrote:What's-His-Face from The Young Turks replies with sarcasm and scorn, and then goes on to say that senior citizens would end up paying an average of $20K per year more under Ryan's plan (which I think is actually a small number when you consider how taxes are graded, and in regards to how Ryan says that lower-income senior citizens will be favored by the plan); TYT's next claim is that the plan calls for cuts that help the poor. And what he fails to mention in that is that Ryan has plans to replace or reform many of those programs (Stewart even said it himself, that Medicaid would be replaced by a Voucher program). Some of the programs are outright cut, I am not blind to that.
So, are you're saying that it is the government's duty and legal obligation to take care of everyone's health care? If so, then the one with the disconnect is you.Valhallen wrote:Yes, and some people can't. That you would bring this up indicates that your conceptions of economics and the government's role in society are seriously disconnected from reality.RuffDraft wrote:But should taxes really go to paying everyone's needs? And don't give me "Some people can't help themselves."
We are discussing apples and oranges here. In America, we are a Constitutional Republic with a focus on individual freedoms and incentive for prosperity. Darfur is effectively a Dictatorship whose government drove people from their homes and set fire to everything they owned. How exactly do you think the notions of American prosperity apply to the current situation in Darfur?Valhallen wrote:Would you care to explain how refugees in Darfur would be able to find jobs and work themselves and their families out of poverty if only they weren't lazy, and actually tried? I am aware that you were referring to the situation in the US, but Darfur provides a stark example of how the principle you invoked is far from universal. For it to apply in the US, there would have to be neither structural nor cyclical unemployment, accompanied by a perfectly (classical economically) functioning labor market with no pesky complications like imperfect information or costs for moving around. Do you really think that that's the case? What do you think of the working poor?
It's exactly as I said. He says we'll basically be killing kids with Down Syndrome and throwing grandma out into the street. That's a disgusting, untrue revision of Ryan's plan that skews it to make to look like Ryan wants to let people die just so we don't have to spend several hundred billion dollars.Valhallen wrote:... "It’s a vision that says up to 50 million Americans have to lose their health insurance in order for us to reduce the deficit. Who are these 50 million Americans? Many are somebody’s grandparents -- may be one of yours -- who wouldn’t be able to afford nursing home care without Medicaid. Many are poor children. Some are middle-class families who have children with autism or Down’s syndrome. Some of these kids with disabilities are -- the disabilities are so severe that they require 24-hour care. These are the Americans we’d be telling to fend for themselves." Is the truth disgusting? What do you think the truth is?RuffDraft wrote:And the worst of what I see in this is Pres. Obama literally saying that if we go by Ryan's plan, we're going to be killing children with Down Syndrome and Autism. How disgusting can he be?
...okay, fine, it's a plan. I just find the merits of this plan wanting. I find the terminology he often uses (deficit, rather than debt) to be misleading. I also find it dubious that his plan will work as he says it will.Valhallen wrote:It's a plan. You just don't like it. Please use terms accurately, as disagreement over terminology can divert us from more meaningful discussion.
No, that's pretty much how things played out before antitrust and anti-monopoly regulations were in place. See Standard Oil or US Steel.BeeAre wrote:like, I'm talking "There Will Be Blood" caliber (or higher) economic strong-arming. Making your industry key for so many other industries that you for all intents and purposes own those industries too. Basically, a devoted capitalist, who wants to make money for the sake of money, wants to take over the world's money in one singular dictatorship monarchy monopoly. Is that too unfair? Is that really too strong a generalization?
Up to you what to respond to, how, and when. I just ask that whatever arguments you make be solid. But for reference, it seems that you have not responded yet to my post on page 10 and most of my post on page 15.RuffDraft wrote:Geez, Val. How do you expect me to respond to all this? I'm only a quarter of the way through that first long post on page 22... I'm not sure I have the time to answer all of this within the month. And I'm not about to spend every hour of my off-duty time trying to, when I have a bunch of stuff I'm ultimately more interested in.
I suppose I can start posting smaller chunks of it. And as long as I respond only to you and don't get tag-teamed by people like Q.U. and DaCrum, I should be fine. Yeah, that should work.
I actually posted something with similar information earlier (midway down, CTRL+F "please read" if you want the context I referenced it in).DaCrum wrote:http://www.good.is/post/americans-are-horribly-misinformed-about-who-has-money/
I would if there were obvious flaws, but you can check out the paper it's based on. It seems solid for what it's referenced for.RuffDraft wrote:I don't even feel like picking apart the flaws in that blog.
Valhallen, I'm gonna work on some of the post; could you take care of this for me? [lol]
If the rich guy actually owns the business personally, it's personal income, not corporate. If it's a corporation and he owns the stock, it's capital gains or dividends. Or personal income if he works at the corporation.RuffDraft wrote:a rich guy who owns a business pays about 15% in Corporate tax
Where did you get those numbers?RuffDraft wrote:then another 15-20% in property tax
I'd really like to see the numbers for a realistic situation that you think justifies that supposition.RuffDraft wrote:And then, any other taxes that I'm not thinking about right now. Some rich people might actually be paying about 60% of what they make just in taxes.
It's not about being fair. It's about making society work.RuffDraft wrote:That seems fair, doesn't it?
I checked that I had the names and deeds right for Standard Oil and US Steel, I checked this thread from page 10 to 23 to see what in my posts you had responded to, I checked the earlier reference about wealth and its location in my post again (and that in one part, it references the same paper that influenced the blog DaCrum linked), and I read the blog and the paper (13 pages) where it got the graphic. So 30 pages or so. Most probably took less than 20 seconds, but then I've had practice at that sort of thing.RuffDraft wrote:Damn, 30 pages went into that?
the reason you are tag teamed by 6 different people is because you are wrong =DRuffDraft wrote:I also don't like being tag-teamed by six different people. When I'm talking to one person and I ask that person a question, I expect that person to respond back. My vice becomes that, when I respond to one person, another person responds to me, and then when I respond to that person, another person responds. Then I respond in turn, and get yet another person's response, and so on and so on. It becomes frustrating. If someone has a legitimate question about what I said, fine. But I'd prefer someone proving me wrong by doing their own research, you know?
Something like that would be appropriate, but I wanted to show that the budget could be balanced without it.
But where/when has that not been the case?
For consideration, how would you go about challenging a law you don't like? Obamacare, say, which had a lot of input from health insurers?
I've heard about something called the "skilled workers' deficit, that supposedly, even with unemployment being incredibly high, there is a deficit of skilled workers such as welders, mechanics, and other physically laboring positions including those necessary to the improvement and upkeep of US infrastructure. What's your opinion on this?
For now, I'm hoping that the "the rent is too damn high" guy will make a good show.
And as long as I respond only to you and don't get tag-teamed by people like Q.U. and DaCrum, I should be fine. Yeah, that should work.
That seems fair, doesn't it?
but if half the ideas you present were to be used, the system in question would collapse around itself.
If someone takes home $50 million a year, and he spends $48 million of it and saves the last 2 million, why do I care?
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