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Renegade

Bias, Prejudice, Discrimination, Ideological Purity...Enemies of Logic

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Generally, we all agree that bias and prejudice are bad. Whenever the police treat all blacks as criminals, we know that's wrong. Only sexists assume women make poor leaders.

 

Yet, I think many are blind to how often they show their own prejudices. Have you ever denigrated an entire class of people based on the actions of a few? Are all CEO's evil bastards only concerned with profit? Are all Republicans racist neocon warmongers? Have you ever discounted someone's opinion or even their value as a human being because they were a white southerner? Or maybe they were born rich? How is that different from similar positions taken against inner-city blacks?

 

So many discussions of politics and policy degenerate into identity attacks. Instead of considering what the other person is saying, we immediately focus on the speaker, looking for some way to discredit. Whenever you treat other people this way, you're not going to convince them of anything. They will see you as a lazy debater with a closed mind. You won't win any friends or influence any neutral bystanders.

 

Then there's ideological purity. If you want to be one of 'us', you've got to think like we do on every issue. If you want to be a liberal, you can't be against abortion. If you want to be a conservative, you can't be for the AHA. It's nuts. There aren't only two ways to look at things. Same sex marriage and trade policy don't have anything to do with each other. We need to stop labeling people and forcing them into neat little boxes that don't fit.

 

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Generally, we all agree that bias and prejudice are bad. Whenever the police treat all blacks as criminals, we know that's wrong. Only sexists assume women make poor leaders.

 

Yet, I think many are blind to how often they show their own prejudices. Have you ever denigrated an entire class of people based on the actions of a few? Are all CEO's evil bastards only concerned with profit? Are all Republicans racist neocon warmongers? Have you ever discounted someone's opinion or even their value as a human being because they were a white southerner? Or maybe they were born rich? How is that different from similar positions taken against inner-city blacks?

 

So many discussions of politics and policy degenerate into identity attacks. Instead of considering what the other person is saying, we immediately focus on the speaker, looking for some way to discredit. Whenever you treat other people this way, you're not going to convince them of anything. They will see you as a lazy debater with a closed mind. You won't win any friends or influence any neutral bystanders.

 

Then there's ideological purity. If you want to be one of 'us', you've got to think like we do on every issue. If you want to be a liberal, you can't be against abortion. If you want to be a conservative, you can't be for the AHA. It's nuts. There aren't only two ways to look at things. Same sex marriage and trade policy don't have anything to do with each other. We need to stop labeling people and forcing them into neat little boxes that don't fit.

 

I agree with everything you say here. I would add that much prejudicial rhetoric tends to "blame the victims". The targeted group is demonized and denigrated as a justification for more bigotry.... It's a vicious cycle. There is no logical reason to single out groups by age, sex, race or sexual preference, or economic status. It is fear and hate of the other.... Tribalism. These prejudiced beliefs are invented, usually by the dominant group. They are without basis in reality.

 

But class warfare is real. And those waging it are not victims... They comprise SOME of the 00.01% of the ultra rich. And, as Warren Buffet pointed out, they are winning.

 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/post/theres-been-class-warfare-for-the-last-20-years-and-my-class-has-won/2011/03/03/gIQApaFbAL_blog.html

By Greg Sargent Sept 30, 2011

- snip -

QUESTIONER: Are you happy seeing your suggestion, this new Buffett Rule, becoming more of a basis of a political battle that really has turned into class warfare?

BUFFETT: Actually, there’s been class warfare going on for the last 20 years, and my class has won. We’re the ones that have gotten our tax rates reduced dramatically

If you look at the 400 highest taxpayers in the United States in 1992, the first year for figures, they averaged about $40 million of [income] per person. In the most recent year, they were $227 million per person — five for one. During that period, their taxes went down from 29 percent to 21 percent of income. So, if there’s class warfare, the rich class has won.

E.J. Dionne wrote the other day that conservatives despise Buffett because he’s telling the truth about the lower tax rates the rich pay on their investments — and worse, he’s insisting that this is fundamentally unfair. As Buffett did above yet again, he’s giving away the game.

- snip -

 

 

It is hard to pinpoint which of the ultra-rich are waging this class war.... Some names come to mind like Sheldon Adelson and the Koch brothers. But there are many in the 00.01% that sympathize with everyone else.... People like Warren Buffet, George Soros and Bill Gates. It's hard to know which of the ultra-rich are buying legislation because of the secretive nature of lobbying and the recent citizen's united decision by the SCOTUS, which allows big super-pac contributors to remain anonymous.

 

Income inequality is growing at an alarming rate and threatens to reduce most Americans to poverty.... And it is coming about because of political spending by many of the ultra-rich. There is an absence of in-depth discussion of the income gap on electronic media. The last commentator on MSNBC, actively covering the subject, Ed Schultz, was fired two days ago.

 

We know there are many fine and upstanding ultra-rich people. But discussion about those who wage class warfare must be allowed.

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Why? Why must it be framed as 'class warfare'? Why can't we just talk about the policies (taxes should be higher on the ultra rich, loopholes should be closed, income inequality should be reduced)?

 

When you try to string it all together with a sinister narrative, you start to sound like Fox News and their ridiculous 'war on religion'.

 

When you frame the issues as a 'war' you're disparaging the other side's motives without refuting the facts and logic of their case. It's a lazy way to stir anger and indignation among people who aren't willing or able to understand complex issues.

 

Why take that approach? Is it too much trouble to explain our logic? Are we so arrogant that we don't need to consider other viewpoints? Do we just want to win, regardless of how the victory is achieved?

 

Maybe I'm an idealist, but I won't go there. Your motives will remain forever unknown and irrelevant to me.

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I have usually referred to the problem as something like: 'The demise of the middle class in the US' or 'The rapidly growing income gap'. But no less a plutocrat as Warren Buffet deliberately uses the harsher term:-- "class warfare". Whatever words are used, a gigantic economic rearrangement is going on. It's happening rapidly. And the ultra rich are the huge winners with the rest of us sliding down a steep slope toward poverty.

 

It's not arrogant to be concerned about such a serious problem. To identify with 99.9% of the population while feeling separate from 00.01% is not tribalism. The ultra rich are hardly in positions of vulnerability. In fact they are being sheltered and protected by government as never before. No on need feel sorry for them. The 00.01% (that means a percentage of that fraction) are sucking the rest of us dry.

 

The problem needs to be addressed and tiptoeing around the issue won't make fixing it easier. Political correctness is out of place here. No one is calling for the ultra rich to be stripped of their wealth or privilege. No one is threatening them physically. But economic justice needs to be restored.

 

The lower 99% in the US are in serious trouble because of the upward movement of wealth. There's almost a complete blackout of any in-depth discussion in the media. We need to be able to discuss it freely here.

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I have usually referred to the problem as something like: 'The demise of the middle class in the US' or 'The rapidly growing income gap'. But no less a plutocrat as Warren Buffet deliberately uses the harsher term:-- "class warfare". Whatever words are used, a gigantic economic rearrangement is going on. It's happening rapidly. And the ultra rich are the huge winners with the rest of us sliding down a steep slope toward poverty.

 

It's not arrogant to be concerned about such a serious problem. To identify with 99.9% of the population while feeling separate from 00.01% is not tribalism. The ultra rich are hardly in positions of vulnerability. In fact they are being sheltered and protected by government as never before. No on need feel sorry for them. The 00.01% (that means a percentage of that fraction) are sucking the rest of us dry.

 

The problem needs to be addressed and tiptoeing around the issue won't make fixing it easier. Political correctness is out of place here. No one is calling for the ultra rich to be stripped of their wealth or privilege. No one is threatening them physically. But economic justice needs to be restored.

 

The lower 99% in the US are in serious trouble because of the upward movement of wealth. There's almost a complete blackout of any in-depth discussion in the media. We need to be able to discuss it freely here.

 

How am I being "sucked dry"? What did pro sports athletes do to me? Entrepreneurs? Movie stars? I'm missing something. If Wall Street bankers make suitcases full of money, why do I care? Who did they steal from? If the CEO of a company makes 8 figures, I think that's ridiculous, but I'm not the one paying his salary. Why don't I feel abused?

 

I guess that's my point. When you talk about class warfare, your argument isn't moving me. I support a higher top bracket and elimination of tax breaks from a sense of fairness and efficiency, not because I think someone evil is plotting against me. I think CEOs should get paid whatever they can convince someone to pay them, just like I do. If someone wants to give Robert Iger $43 million, how is that any skin off my nose?

 

This trend of a growing income gap is global, not just in the United States. It's in liberal and conservative nations. Just about the only places not seeing this trend are places where everyone is poor. The whole world has an excess of labor and it may take decades of development before demand can catch up with supply. One ray of hope is that the world's workforce is aging. The value of labor will increase when the ratio of workers to non-workers is lower.

 

If this trend of wealth concentration continues, we will need new laws and tax rates to redistribute wealth. But, how do you do that? Do we pay people to sit home and play video games? It gets complicated quickly. The US does not operate in a vacuum and we don't direct the rest of the world. Some actions that might make sense if we were a closed system would be harmful in a global economy. Please don't say 'Well that means we should withdraw from the global economy". Every nation that has ever done that became stagnant and poor.

 

Also, much of what you say about the "ultra rich" could be directed at yourself by citizens of other countries. They claim that the US seeks to preserve its wealth at their expense by restricting their opportunity to trade. What you might call 'protecting American jobs', someone in Indonesia might call class warfare as the rich (you) seek to keep them in poverty. Is their case less just than yours?

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How am I being "sucked dry"? What did pro sports athletes do to me? Entrepreneurs? Movie stars? I'm missing something. If Wall Street bankers make suitcases full of money, why do I care? Who did they steal from? If the CEO of a company makes 8 figures, I think that's ridiculous, but I'm not the one paying his salary. Why don't I feel abused?

 

There is a rapid upward redistribution of wealth taking place now. OK.... It doesn't affect you. But economic inequality is increasing at record levels. It hasn't affected me much either yet, but I'm for fairness and egalitarianism rather than runaway inequality.

 

http://fortune.com/2014/10/31/inequality-wealth-income-us/

Wealth inequality in America: It's worse than you think

by Chris Matthews, Oct 31, 2014

A new study shows that the gap in the wealth that different American households have accumulated is more extreme than any at time since the Great Depression.

- snip -

 

 

 

I guess that's my point. When you talk about class warfare, your argument isn't moving me. I support a higher top bracket and elimination of tax breaks from a sense of fairness and efficiency

 

So you do not belong to the camp within the ultra-rich which has lost touch with anything but their own economic advancement. I have gotten the impression you are in the Buffet, Gates, Soros camp, more or less (please correct if wrong).

 

 

not because I think someone evil is plotting against me.

 

I think that is exactly the case with the Koch brothers. Their scorn and disdain of common people is topped only by their greed. And they are not alone... They are just the most well-known. Now, after the Citizens's United decision, many others can do clandestinely what the Koch's are doing publicly.

 

Here's a good summary of the Koch brothers evil machinations

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/10/08/1335246/-Yes-the-Koch-brothers-really-are-that-nbsp-evil

Yes, the Koch brothers really are that evil

by Joan McCarter, Oct 8, 2014

 

And there are lot of other examples in both word and deed:

 

~ Voter ID laws, shorter poll times, early voting curtailed... All aimed at reducing he number of poor voters.

~ Hoarding huge fortunes in offshore banks, doing no social good, while fighting for more tax cuts at home.

~ The wealthy describing themselves as "the makers" and the rest as "takers"

 

Wealth isn’t the enemy. The problem is the attitude of many of the wealthy, the contempt, the indifference, and the lack of anything resembling civic virtue. To be rich is no crime. To abuse privilege, for profit at the expense of others, is another thing

 

 

I think CEOs should get paid whatever they can convince someone to pay them, just like I do. If someone wants to give Robert Iger $43 million, how is that any skin off my nose?

 

You can't see the relationship between excessive compensation at the top and poverty below? There should be a cap on executive salaries, set by popular vote.

 

It is a moral obscenity when CEOs get hundreds of time more than the lowest paid worker. No one is worth that much. It is corruption writ large..... Those with the keys to the treasury get the gold. If all the CEOs in the world died tomorrow, they would easily be replaced. If all the workers died, the executives would be up Shit's Creek without a paddle.

 

 

This trend of a growing income gap is global, not just in the United States. It's in liberal and conservative nations. Just about the only places not seeing this trend are places where everyone is poor. The whole world has an excess of labor and it may take decades of development before demand can catch up with supply. One ray of hope is that the world's workforce is aging. The value of labor will increase when the ratio of workers to non-workers is lower.

 

If this trend of wealth concentration continues, we will need new laws and tax rates to redistribute wealth. But, how do you do that? Do we pay people to sit home and play video games? It gets complicated quickly. The US does not operate in a vacuum and we don't direct the rest of the world. Some actions that might make sense if we were a closed system would be harmful in a global economy. Please don't say 'Well that means we should withdraw from the global economy". Every nation that has ever done that became stagnant and poor.

 

Look no further for solutions than Denmark, Finland, The Netherlands, Sweden, Singapore, Japan, et al. These are welfare states that have not become "stagnant and poor". They have, each in their own way, given their workers protections from the economic changes sweeping the world.

 

By contrast, the republican party, in the United States, exclusively for the very rich, has been able to damage, yet not remove the social safety net. They have decimated unions by many means, including excessive outsourcing and "right to work" laws. They try to remove the minimum wage or keep it at a starvation level. And they only retain congressional domination by means of voter suppression, aimed at the poor, and gerrymandering. It started with Reagan and has gained momentum ever since. Outsourcing is encouraged and illegal immigration, while officially frowned on, is allowed with a wink and a nod.

 

 

Also, much of what you say about the "ultra rich" could be directed at yourself by citizens of other countries. They claim that the US seeks to preserve its wealth at their expense by restricting their opportunity to trade. What you might call 'protecting American jobs', someone in Indonesia might call class warfare as the rich (you) seek to keep them in poverty. Is their case less just than yours?

 

The US needs to follow the example of other developed nations by expanding the social safety net and putting in place generous programs which shield ordinary people from economic change. We also need to limit excessive executive compensation by enforcing fair tax codes.... Or adding a strict maximum wage to the paltry minimum wage we have now. Perhaps a CEO should be allowed no more than 10 times what the lowest paid worker in his company makes.

 

There is no necessity to impoverish the American people because of world economic change.... It's a choice. Other advanced nations have proved this. It is a convenient rationalization for rapacious plutocrats, to insist that ordinary Americans must suffer so that workers abroad can begin to prosper.

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I am not part of the Buffet, Gates, Soros, or any other camp (hence the name Renegade). I refuse to accept guilt by association with any group.

 

 

 

You can't see the relationship between excessive compensation at the top and poverty below?

 

That's exactly what I'm saying. Draw me the picture. Connect the dots for me. I've tried to do it... If you added up all the CEO salaries of all the Fortune 500 companies, what would you get? The Houston Chronicle (first thing that popped up on google) says the average Fortune 500 CEO makes $10.5 million (http://work.chron.com/average-income-ceo-fortune-500-company-5348.html). So, 500 x $10.5 million = $5.25 billion. Let's say you took the whole thing and made those folks work for minimum wage. Then, let's give that money to the workers. About 27 million folks work for those companies (http://fortune.com/2015/06/13/fortune-500-most-employees/). $5.25 billion divided by 27 million people = $194. That's it. $194 per year per employee.

 

Maybe that's better than nothing, you say. But what would the downside be? I'm reasonably sure every single one of those CEOs would seek other employment. The net effect would be that companies not subject to your law (foreign companies) would have first pick on executive talent. US companies would only get the folks no one else wanted (plus the occasional megalomaniac who cares about power more than money...wow, sounds like a politician). I don't know what the economic effect of all that would be, but my gut feeling says it's not insignificant.

 

As I said before, I agree with you about the need for a graduated tax rate and the need to enforce it without exception.

 

I'm ambivalent on the minimum wage. Every job has a value. When the wage is less than the value, someone gets hired. When the wage is higher than the value, they don't. For example, I might want the leaves removed from my lawn. If someone is willing to do that for $50, I might say yes. If they want $100, I might say no. In a free world (which I prefer) the the guy with the rake is free to offer his services to whichever lawn owner offers him the best price, and every lawn owner is free to hire whichever leaf remover offers the best combination of quality, timeliness, and price. When the government steps in and says the guy with the rake isn't allowed to accept less than $100, three things will happen: 1) Some leaf removers will get $100, 2) some yards will remain full of leaves and, 3) some leaf removers will be unemployed. Is that a net gain? I'm not sure.

 

We have many points of agreement (i.e. safety nets = good), so I'm only focusing on the areas where we have different perspectives.

 

I'm also not seeing the objection to 'right to work'. I have no problem with unions. Dad was a hardcore Teamster. However, I don't see how you can force someone to join something they don't want to join as a condition of employment. Why should it be impossible to build cars for an automaker unless you join and pay dues to the UAW? I'm a freedom guy. If I want to work for Ford and Ford wants to hire me, those union guys can keep their hands out of my pocket. If I see they offer a service of value, then I'll pay them. If they don't, I won't. What's wrong with that? There's a union where I work now and they have a reasonably good relationship with management. Since it's a 'right to work' state, dues-paying union membership is very low. I can't see how anyone is negatively impacted by that. Can you?

 

I guess that's enough for now. I hope all this doesn't sound like I'm defending Republicans. I prefer to think of it as nudging the Democrats toward the center. I'm not in the NHB trying to nudge the Republicans, because I just don't have the time or energy for that right now. I'd feel compelled to offer rational responses even in the middle of a food fight and that's exhausting. Maybe when I retire...

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The officially listed salaries of most of these CEOs are only the beginning of their incomes:

 

http://www.forbes.com/sites/investopedia/2011/08/03/5-outrageous-ceo-spending-abuses-and-perks/

5 Outrageous CEO Spending Abuses And Perks

 

Linda McMaken

Debt ceilings, bailouts, economic downturns, stocks plummeting and cost-cutting layoffs have become daily realities in today’s economy. Faced with rising unemployment, pay cuts and the very real probability of losing their jobs, workers have tightened belts, cut all unnecessary spending and have pinched pennies until Lincoln is pleading for help. Yet, the CEOs at some of the America’s top corporations are rolling in the money and swimming in the perks. While top performing CEOs command top pay, it’s the add-ons listed as “Other Compensation” that make most of working America cringe. New government guidelines were implemented to create a more transparent view of CEO compensation. The SEC (Securities & Exchange Commission) corporate filings are so obscured in a chasm of word garbage, it can be mind-boggling just to find the page where the compensation is listed. While working America waits for a layoff notice, files for unemployment compensation or hopes the government will be mailing their Social Security check, corporate CEOs don’t have much to worry about, even when their performance isn’t stellar. (Find out how to determine whether a CEO is being overpaid. For more, see Evaluating Executive Compensation.)

 

(Red bolding mine)

 

So what if these outrageous perks, add-ons and abuses, like golden parachute clauses were removed and CEOs were left with only their obscenely bloated salaries? Would they quit? What if their morally unsupportable salaries were reduced to levels of CEO pay in say, Sweden? Would they quit as you claim? Maybe not.

 

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/06/14/us-sweden-executives-salaries-idUSBRE85D0R920120614

Sweden, where CEO's come cheap and still deliver

Stockholm By Niklas Pollard Jun 14, 2012

Highly paid executives in the United States and Britain take note - your Swedish counterparts are paid much less, yet still deliver strong corporate results.

While investors around the world are rising up against excessive executive pay in a movement dubbed "the shareholder spring", there has been barely a peep in Sweden - with good reason.

In a country famed for restraint and long social democratic traditions, Sweden's executives are generally rewarded far less than rivals in the rest of Europe and the United States and appear to perform just as well, or better, for shareholders.

 

And if American CEOs were to quit, for any reason, there will never be a shortage of qualified applicants for those jobs. No one is irreplaceable... Even if their egos trumpet otherwise.

 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

 

I can tell you, anecdotally, that open shop unions (where membership is optional) don't work. I used to be a union rep. When only a majority of workers belong to the union strikes and the threat of strikes are nearly impotent. The threat of strikes is a union's big weapon.

 

Mandatory union membership is a small downside in return for the huge pay and benefit gains for all workers. Open shop unions still do better for workers than no union at all. But with open shop unions, non members reap the same pay and benefits as members who bear the brunt of sacrifice. In open shop workplaces, non members are parasites, and in my experience, flaunt their base dependence at members; Mocking members as fools.

 

When we finally got a closed shop (union membership mandatory), we had an 8 month long strike and in the years following, pay and benefits soared. When renewal of the contract came around every 3 years, the company settled fairly rather than risk another big strike. The sacrifices made during that 8 month strike were more than repaid in a relatively short time.

 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

 

Jobs agreed to by independent, private parties are only a small step up from barter. The often include things like leaf removal or snow shoveling. These private agreements usually don't involve a contract and are not covered by law..... So laissez faire capitalism rules by default in these cases.

 

Corporations who employ many people are a different matter. They should be heavily regulated for the protection of employees and end users of their products and services. IMO, the minimum wage should be at least $25.00 and hour at the current inflation level.

 

Too many ultra-wealthy people, from their positions of privilege are hamstrung in their ability to understand and discuss average American's economic challenges.

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I am not part of the Buffet, Gates, Soros, or any other camp (hence the name Renegade). I refuse to accept guilt by association with any group.

 

Got it..... Never would've guessed it.

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I guess that's enough for now. I hope all this doesn't sound like I'm defending Republicans. I prefer to think of it as nudging the Democrats toward the center. I'm not in the NHB trying to nudge the Republicans, because I just don't have the time or energy for that right now. I'd feel compelled to offer rational responses even in the middle of a food fight and that's exhausting. Maybe when I retire...

 

It sounds to me like your positions on free enterprise and laissez faire, are pure republican. At base, you seem detached from the vast historical economic rearrangement happening now; the scope and seriousness of it; and the probable regression to aristocracy ruling the dirt-poor masses. The hard-core republicans in NHB would be in total accord with you on this. You could even express it more eloquently for them, than they could do.

 

I understand that you are liberal in other areas. But, to me at least, class warfare, being waged by some of the 00.001% must meet successful resistance or the entire structure of liberalism falls to a kind of new feudalism in the technological age. I just finished a book called "Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else" As far as I can tell, most of the ultra-rich take your position, aligned neither with the Koch/Adelson group or the Soros/Buffet camp. Most are content as long as laissez faire capitalism continues to prevail and unlimited profits are allowed. Most live in an ivory tower of wealth and privilege, preferring not to look too closely below the clouds.

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It sounds to me like your positions on free enterprise and laissez faire, are pure republican. At base, you seem detached from the vast historical economic rearrangement happening now; the scope and seriousness of it; and the probable regression to aristocracy ruling the dirt-poor masses. The hard-core republicans in NHB would be in total accord with you on this. You could even express it more eloquently for them, than they could do.

 

I understand that you are liberal in other areas. But, to me at least, class warfare, being waged by some of the 00.001% must meet successful resistance or the entire structure of liberalism falls to a kind of new feudalism in the technological age. I just finished a book called "Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else" As far as I can tell, most of the ultra-rich take your position, aligned neither with the Koch/Adelson group or the Soros/Buffet camp. Most are content as long as laissez faire capitalism continues to prevail and unlimited profits are allowed. Most live in an ivory tower of wealth and privilege, preferring not to look too closely below the clouds.

 

I have many problems with the typical Republican. Foreign policy alone is enough to cost them my vote. Then there are social issues, education, crime, taxes, public works, and the safety net; all issues where I'm left of center (if one insists on projecting multi-dimensional issues on a one-dimensional axis). On the other hand, I only have one big issue with Democrats: economics. Working with the Democrats here in the Liberals Only forum seems like a 'shorter row to hoe' as grandma would have put it. If I discuss these economic issues with reasonable people who don't agree with me, then I may change my mind (it's happened before).

 

Even on economics, I'm not in alignment with the Republicans. I don't want to privatize Social Security. I don't want to eliminate the Fed or go back to the gold standard. I don't want tax breaks for big corporations. All businesses have a public responsibility beyond pure profit. Privately owned companies should never be allowed to become 'to big to fail'. I believe I'm an overall centrist on economic issues.

 

Laissez faire? Yes, that's accurate. I believe the preferred course for government should always be to do nothing, intervening only when action can create benefits that clearly outweigh the costs and unintended consequences. I've seen too many cases where government intervention causes more problems than it fixes.

 

I used the leaf remover as an example. Your statement that, as contract workers, they are exempt from minimum wage law is avoiding the point. The same logic applies to all goods and services. If you make something more expensive, people will use less of it. If you take a Yugo and try to get a Camry price for it, you're not going to sell very many. The same goes for workers. When government mandates that the least skilled, least capable, least reliable employees must be paid 'more', then there will be 'less' of them who earn that pay. Some make more, some lose their jobs, some work goes undone.

 

Why $25? How did you arrive at that number? Why not $23 or $27? Forgive me if I'm putting words in your mouth, but it seems like that's a nice round number that approximates what you consider to be a 'living wage'. You're completely ignoring the question of whether or not every person is capable in delivering $25 worth of value. If you try to force companies to pay $25 for work that only provides $15 in value, they'll just eliminate the position.

 

Wouldn't it be better to support low-income workers through earned income credits? They would still get their 'living wage'. No one would lose their job.

 

The CEO salary number I quoted supposedly includes everything. According to the article: "This broke down as $3.5 million in salary and bonus, $3.8 million in other compensation such as personal perk packages and $3.2 million from exercising vested stock options and awards." CEO salaries dropped by a good amount during the financial crisis and remain below their peak. Unless you have other data, I'll assume my math from the previous post stands.

 

Certainly, everyone is replaceable, including CEOs. Cut their pay, let 'em go somewhere else, we'll get new ones. OK. But, if any of these new CEOs show talent, guess what? They'll be on their way to a higher paying job for some other nation in no time at all. We would be left with the...leftovers.

 

What company are you describing that flourished after an 8-month strike? I'd like to learn more about the details of this case. If unions are so successful at getting extra pay and benefits for their employees, then why don't people join voluntarily? It seems like all the best workers would be flocking to union businesses. Union businesses should have their pick of all the best employees. With such a talented and well-motivated workforce, union businesses should be growing, expanding, and hiring more union workers.

 

My impression is that unions negotiate lucrative contracts when business is strong. They get excellent pay, health insurance, and generous retirement plans. Then, when the business cycle turns and the company isn't doing so well, the union uses the threat of strike to force the company to maintain the generous level of compensation. The company can't cut benefits without a strike (which they can't handle in hard times), so they take out loans until they can't pay the interest and then they go bankrupt. Unions may be getting smarter about this recently, but I'm afraid that the damage to the union 'brand' has already been done.

 

The biggest reason for the downfall of unions, again this is just an opinion, is that management (with government oversight) is doing a better job of taking care of employees. The unsafe, unhealthy workplaces that birthed the union movement are mostly gone today. The issues today's unions fight for just don't have the same broad support. The biggest wars over working hours, health, and safety were fought and the unions won. With victory, the army is demobilizing. Most workers aren't afraid of management anymore and most managers realize valuable workers can 'vote with their feet' when they're mistreated.

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...

 

Laissez faire? Yes, that's accurate. I believe the preferred course for government should always be to do nothing, intervening only when action can create benefits that clearly outweigh the costs and unintended consequences. I've seen too many cases where government intervention causes more problems than it fixes.

 

I used the leaf remover as an example. Your statement that, as contract workers, they are exempt from minimum wage law is avoiding the point. The same logic applies to all goods and services. If you make something more expensive, people will use less of it. If you take a Yugo and try to get a Camry price for it, you're not going to sell very many. The same goes for workers. When government mandates that the least skilled, least capable, least reliable employees must be paid 'more', then there will be 'less' of them who earn that pay. Some make more, some lose their jobs, some work goes undone.

 

...

 

My impression is that unions negotiate lucrative contracts when business is strong. They get excellent pay, health insurance, and generous retirement plans. Then, when the business cycle turns and the company isn't doing so well, the union uses the threat of strike to force the company to maintain the generous level of compensation. The company can't cut benefits without a strike (which they can't handle in hard times), so they take out loans until they can't pay the interest and then they go bankrupt. Unions may be getting smarter about this recently, but I'm afraid that the damage to the union 'brand' has already been done.

 

The biggest reason for the downfall of unions, again this is just an opinion, is that management (with government oversight) is doing a better job of taking care of employees. The unsafe, unhealthy workplaces that birthed the union movement are mostly gone today. The issues today's unions fight for just don't have the same broad support. The biggest wars over working hours, health, and safety were fought and the unions won. With victory, the army is demobilizing. Most workers aren't afraid of management anymore and most managers realize valuable workers can 'vote with their feet' when they're mistreated.

I appreciate your apparent independent positions. It is important for all of us to think independently, based upon our own experiences and observations. That is not to say I agree.

 

Laissez Faire policies might be OK, but that is not what we have. The large corporations pay for lobbyists to write laws and they donate enough to politicians to let the lobbyists do the work. Thus the laws favor the large corporations and not the public. The government has had a policy of decreasing the number of jobs available, while simultaneously increasing the number of people available to work. The law of supply and demand means that with fewer jobs and more people, wages and benefits will decrease. Those wages and benefits have been decreasing for at least 30 years. That is not hands off, that is intentionally attacking those who work, to take more profit for the owners. Government action causing more problems than it fixes is easy to agree with. The corporations guide the politicians to favor the corporations and cause those problems for us, while putting more money in the pockets of the rich.The government is directly the problem, while the corporations pull the strings. Let's put the blame where it belongs.

 

The law of supply and demand applies to workers as well as products. With the job market flooded, wages are low and decreasing. As I read your argument, a person who found a way to make a dollar a week from each employer would only hire them if he can pay less than 1 dollar a week. If I were that person and could hire 2 million people at 50 cents a week, I could make a million dollars every week. Would that be acceptable? What if people were so desperate as to work for that salary, because of government regulations that they had to compete with workers in Vietnam? (TPP?) Where do you draw the line. If the government paid those employees enough to buy food and shelter to support the fact that they were working, would that be a good thing? Or should those jobs just go away? I would prefer that the economy be good enough that there were jobs available in which a person could, after working all month, be able to purchase his own food, his own shelter, and even pay taxes. If the job doesn't pay at least that well, that job should be eliminated.

 

I don't buy that unions "negotiate" lucrative contracts when conditions are well, and can't see reductions when times are bad. I have never seen lucrative contracts, but I have seen unions take reductions. When I was in a teacher's union, and times were good, the union could not even "negotiate" minimum wage for its teachers. I worked in a factory (non-union position) and the union went on strike every three years. Each time the company expected the strike and filled up the warehouse so that no production was needed for a few months. The negotiations went on for months, while the company paid no wages and ended up each time paying much less than the original proposal. The negotiations were always dependent upon the company continuing to exist. The union would argue about how much of the profit should go to owners, and how much should go to workers. Both sides realized that unless the company makes money, there is no money to divide.

 

With unemployment very high, you can't vote with your feet, because you would be lucky to find another job. There are literally millions and millions of people who have given up on looking for jobs because there are so few. More recently there have become a few extra jobs, but not enough for most to even look at. It makes no sense to get a job where it costs you more to work than you get paid.

 

While I disagree, it is much better to discuss the issues instead of just having a name calling interaction.

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I have many problems with the typical Republican. Foreign policy alone is enough to cost them my vote. Then there are social issues, education, crime, taxes, public works, and the safety net; all issues where I'm left of center (if one insists on projecting multi-dimensional issues on a one-dimensional axis). On the other hand, I only have one big issue with Democrats: economics. Working with the Democrats here in the Liberals Only forum seems like a 'shorter row to hoe' as grandma would have put it. If I discuss these economic issues with reasonable people who don't agree with me, then I may change my mind (it's happened before).

 

Even on economics, I'm not in alignment with the Republicans. I don't want to privatize Social Security. I don't want to eliminate the Fed or go back to the gold standard. I don't want tax breaks for big corporations. All businesses have a public responsibility beyond pure profit. Privately owned companies should never be allowed to become 'to big to fail'. I believe I'm an overall centrist on economic issues.

 

We liberals tend not to march in ideological lockstep. As Will Roger put it: "I don't belong to any political party. I'm a democrat".

 

 

Laissez faire? Yes, that's accurate. I believe the preferred course for government should always be to do nothing, intervening only when action can create benefits that clearly outweigh the costs and unintended consequences. I've seen too many cases where government intervention causes more problems than it fixes.

 

IMO the extremes of both communism and laissez faire capitalism are socially damaging in the long run. I believe in a middle ground. That's why I keep bringing up the more successful socialist countries as examples to learn from. Laissez faire capitalism contains the seeds of its own destruction as incomes go down, markets dry up and a small group ends up with almost everything.... A return to feudalism.

 

 

I used the leaf remover as an example. Your statement that, as contract workers, they are exempt from minimum wage law is avoiding the point.

 

I said there usually is no contract, just a verbal agreement, so minimum wage law does not apply.

 

 

The same logic applies to all goods and services. If you make something more expensive, people will use less of it. If you take a Yugo and try to get a Camry price for it, you're not going to sell very many. The same goes for workers. When government mandates that the least skilled, least capable, least reliable employees must be paid 'more', then there will be 'less' of them who earn that pay. Some make more, some lose their jobs, some work goes undone.

 

When there is a high minimum wage, it reduces poverty. So industries thrive as more people can afford their goods and services. When large numbers of people eke out a living barely able to provide the necessities, markets dry up and industry suffers. Industrialists must be saved from their own greed.

 

 

Why $25? How did you arrive at that number? Why not $23 or $27? Forgive me if I'm putting words in your mouth, but it seems like that's a nice round number that approximates what you consider to be a 'living wage'. You're completely ignoring the question of whether or not every person is capable in delivering $25 worth of value. If you try to force companies to pay $25 for work that only provides $15 in value, they'll just eliminate the position.

 

Wouldn't it be better to support low-income workers through earned income credits? They would still get their 'living wage'. No one would lose their job.

 

To avoid being incomprehensibly vague, one has to come up with a number . But I also approve of $27 :) . Eventually, most people put effort into their jobs when they are offered a path to self-esteem. There will always be workers that don't deliver. But I know, from my own experience that in any system, there are worthless workers who completely fool their bosses. Often they get promoted, where they do the same thing. The truism that a certain portion of the workforce will always get away with murder, cannot be ignored.

 

 

The CEO salary number I quoted supposedly includes everything. According to the article: "This broke down as $3.5 million in salary and bonus, $3.8 million in other compensation such as personal perk packages and $3.2 million from exercising vested stock options and awards." CEO salaries dropped by a good amount during the financial crisis and remain below their peak. Unless you have other data, I'll assume my math from the previous post stands.

 

Certainly, everyone is replaceable, including CEOs. Cut their pay, let 'em go somewhere else, we'll get new ones. OK. But, if any of these new CEOs show talent, guess what? They'll be on their way to a higher paying job for some other nation in no time at all. We would be left with the...leftovers.

 

For me in the end, it come down to morality. Nobody should be allowed to make hundreds of times more than others.... It's uncivilized. No one should be allowed to run away with the gold just because they obtained the keys to the vault. 5X more is reasonable but 7X or 10X more should be the absolute max anyone should be compensated over someone else. Anything more than that is tantamount to lording it over other people. Power is a blunt instrument and no one should be allowed to have too much of it.

 

Reasonably paid, high performing executives in Sweden and elsewhere prove that talent can be retained without obscenely bloated compensation. Each time you insist that if CEO's pay is cut, they'll run, I'll keep showing proof that it's a self-serving fallacy.

 

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/06/14/us-sweden-executives-salaries-idUSBRE85D0R920120614

Sweden, where CEOs come cheap and still deliver

 

 

 

 

What company are you describing that flourished after an 8-month strike? I'd like to learn more about the details of this case. If unions are so successful at getting extra pay and benefits for their employees, then why don't people join voluntarily? It seems like all the best workers would be flocking to union businesses. Union businesses should have their pick of all the best employees. With such a talented and well-motivated workforce, union businesses should be growing, expanding, and hiring more union workers.

 

My impression is that unions negotiate lucrative contracts when business is strong. They get excellent pay, health insurance, and generous retirement plans. Then, when the business cycle turns and the company isn't doing so well, the union uses the threat of strike to force the company to maintain the generous level of compensation. The company can't cut benefits without a strike (which they can't handle in hard times), so they take out loans until they can't pay the interest and then they go bankrupt. Unions may be getting smarter about this recently, but I'm afraid that the damage to the union 'brand' has already been done.

 

The company was The Bell System which included most of the Nation and AT&T. At the time, early 1970s, I was a technician in the NY Telephone branch. It was an example of an effective strike and as I said previously, produced many years of prosperity, which continue today, for the workers. This strike was nationwide. What is needed is a worldwide union.... The idea originated with the IWW (International Workers of the World or Wobblies) and is hardly dead. One day, a worldwide union could serve as a counterbalance to the overly rich. The status quo always seems set in stone. But revolutions, of various kinds, do happen unexpectedly.

 

Most people who were against the union were also deeply conservative.... That cannot be emphasized enough.... They had been ideologically indoctrinated against unions. Some that I knew were extremely ambitious despite lacking the necessary tools. Others were angry that the union wouldn't fight their personal battles for them, against management. Some complained about the dues, more or less but, in truth, the dues were nominal. For most, union dues are the biggest bargain they will ever see in their lifetimes, considering what they got back.

 

What you say about companies in hard times has merit. Smart unions will make some compromises so as not to "kill the goose that laid the golden egg"

 

 

The biggest reason for the downfall of unions, again this is just an opinion, is that management (with government oversight) is doing a better job of taking care of employees. The unsafe, unhealthy workplaces that birthed the union movement are mostly gone today. The issues today's unions fight for just don't have the same broad support. The biggest wars over working hours, health, and safety were fought and the unions won. With victory, the army is demobilizing. Most workers aren't afraid of management anymore and most managers realize valuable workers can 'vote with their feet' when they're mistreated.

 

The unsafe and unhealthy workplaces that unions largely eliminated are now making a comeback, with so many unions gone. Same goes for working hours and benefits. Vacations for US workers have now become the shortest in the developed world. Without a return of unions, conditions will continue to deteriorate.

 

As to today's lack of broad support for unions:--- In a word, 'propaganda'. There has long been a continuous media war against unions. A forerunner was the vastly popular 1954 film "On the Waterfront" which portrayed a corrupt union, meaning it's members no good. The media are owned mostly by six large, conservative corporations. On TV, you can hardly hear the word 'union' with being followed by 'corruption'. Unions have been castigated and maligned in the media for so long that it's affected the public attitude.

 

The non unionized worker has only one real right.... To quit. Bosses love to bring it up because they know most people live in fear of losing their jobs. For most, changing jobs creates tremendous life-stress and is not something to look forward to. Most people want stability in their lives. When a person with limited resources leaves a job for the unknown, everything is on the line. The longer he/she remains unemployed, the more precarious the situation gets. No wonder some sadistic managers are so fond of saying "if you don't like it...quit"..... And it serves the double meaning as a veiled threat.

 

Without union representation bosses can fire someone for no legitimate reason. When an employee is represented by a union, the boss needs to justify his actions and demonstrate he is not just abusing his authority..... Something you seem to want to think, rarely happens.

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I appreciate your apparent independent positions. It is important for all of us to think independently, based upon our own experiences and observations. That is not to say I agree.

 

Laissez Faire policies might be OK, but that is not what we have. The large corporations pay for lobbyists to write laws and they donate enough to politicians to let the lobbyists do the work. Thus the laws favor the large corporations and not the public. The government has had a policy of decreasing the number of jobs available, while simultaneously increasing the number of people available to work. The law of supply and demand means that with fewer jobs and more people, wages and benefits will decrease. Those wages and benefits have been decreasing for at least 30 years. That is not hands off, that is intentionally attacking those who work, to take more profit for the owners. Government action causing more problems than it fixes is easy to agree with. The corporations guide the politicians to favor the corporations and cause those problems for us, while putting more money in the pockets of the rich.The government is directly the problem, while the corporations pull the strings. Let's put the blame where it belongs.

 

The law of supply and demand applies to workers as well as products. With the job market flooded, wages are low and decreasing. As I read your argument, a person who found a way to make a dollar a week from each employer would only hire them if he can pay less than 1 dollar a week. If I were that person and could hire 2 million people at 50 cents a week, I could make a million dollars every week. Would that be acceptable? What if people were so desperate as to work for that salary, because of government regulations that they had to compete with workers in Vietnam? (TPP?) Where do you draw the line. If the government paid those employees enough to buy food and shelter to support the fact that they were working, would that be a good thing? Or should those jobs just go away? I would prefer that the economy be good enough that there were jobs available in which a person could, after working all month, be able to purchase his own food, his own shelter, and even pay taxes. If the job doesn't pay at least that well, that job should be eliminated.

 

I don't buy that unions "negotiate" lucrative contracts when conditions are well, and can't see reductions when times are bad. I have never seen lucrative contracts, but I have seen unions take reductions. When I was in a teacher's union, and times were good, the union could not even "negotiate" minimum wage for its teachers. I worked in a factory (non-union position) and the union went on strike every three years. Each time the company expected the strike and filled up the warehouse so that no production was needed for a few months. The negotiations went on for months, while the company paid no wages and ended up each time paying much less than the original proposal. The negotiations were always dependent upon the company continuing to exist. The union would argue about how much of the profit should go to owners, and how much should go to workers. Both sides realized that unless the company makes money, there is no money to divide.

 

With unemployment very high, you can't vote with your feet, because you would be lucky to find another job. There are literally millions and millions of people who have given up on looking for jobs because there are so few. More recently there have become a few extra jobs, but not enough for most to even look at. It makes no sense to get a job where it costs you more to work than you get paid.

 

While I disagree, it is much better to discuss the issues instead of just having a name calling interaction.

 

Excellent points DonJoe. It's so true: --- While laissez faire capitalism might or might not be desirable, such a thing never existed in reality, any more than communism.

 

I'm currently reading the book "Throw Them All Out: How Politicians and Their Friends Get Rich Off Insider Stock Tips, Land Deals And Cronyism That Would Send the Rest Of Us To Prison" by Peter Schweizer.

 

Just to add to what you said: The book paints a very ugly picture of legislators enriching themselves through earmarks and unpunished insider trading, politically connected companies being shoveled billions of dollars in stimulus funds and public money intended to help the environment, plus all manner of kickbacks and favors. Corporate presidential campaign contributions are repaid with loans grants and stimulus money, in return. Often guaranteed loans (where, if the borrower can't pay back, the government foots the bill) are 'cashed out' as the corporation goes bust, leaving the owners with the money and the taxpayers with the bill.

 

Case after case is documented, giving names and details. Both parties indulge equally. “Throw Them All Out” is filled with stories of petty theft and so-called “honest graft.” But there is a bigger issue than individual financial impropriety. Crony capitalism is just another nail in the coffin of the myth of genuinely free markets and the whole so-called private-enterprise system.

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I just spent over an hour writing a great response. Then, when I tried to post it, I got this error: Sorry, you don't have permission for that!

 

[#20310]

Your secure key, used to verify you are posting the topic, did not match the one submitted. Please go back, reload the form, and try again.

 

I don't have the time, patience, or energy to try again today.

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Sorry that happened Renegade. I've lost carefully crafted posts too and I suppose, most of us who've participated much. It's a good idea to periodically save what you've written, as you progress..... Although I can't claim to always do it.

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I appreciate your apparent independent positions. It is important for all of us to think independently, based upon our own experiences and observations. That is not to say I agree.

 

Laissez Faire policies might be OK, but that is not what we have. The large corporations pay for lobbyists to write laws and they donate enough to politicians to let the lobbyists do the work. Thus the laws favor the large corporations and not the public. The government has had a policy of decreasing the number of jobs available, while simultaneously increasing the number of people available to work. The law of supply and demand means that with fewer jobs and more people, wages and benefits will decrease. Those wages and benefits have been decreasing for at least 30 years. That is not hands off, that is intentionally attacking those who work, to take more profit for the owners. Government action causing more problems than it fixes is easy to agree with. The corporations guide the politicians to favor the corporations and cause those problems for us, while putting more money in the pockets of the rich.The government is directly the problem, while the corporations pull the strings. Let's put the blame where it belongs.

 

The law of supply and demand applies to workers as well as products. With the job market flooded, wages are low and decreasing. As I read your argument, a person who found a way to make a dollar a week from each employer would only hire them if he can pay less than 1 dollar a week. If I were that person and could hire 2 million people at 50 cents a week, I could make a million dollars every week. Would that be acceptable? What if people were so desperate as to work for that salary, because of government regulations that they had to compete with workers in Vietnam? (TPP?) Where do you draw the line. If the government paid those employees enough to buy food and shelter to support the fact that they were working, would that be a good thing? Or should those jobs just go away? I would prefer that the economy be good enough that there were jobs available in which a person could, after working all month, be able to purchase his own food, his own shelter, and even pay taxes. If the job doesn't pay at least that well, that job should be eliminated.

 

I don't buy that unions "negotiate" lucrative contracts when conditions are well, and can't see reductions when times are bad. I have never seen lucrative contracts, but I have seen unions take reductions. When I was in a teacher's union, and times were good, the union could not even "negotiate" minimum wage for its teachers. I worked in a factory (non-union position) and the union went on strike every three years. Each time the company expected the strike and filled up the warehouse so that no production was needed for a few months. The negotiations went on for months, while the company paid no wages and ended up each time paying much less than the original proposal. The negotiations were always dependent upon the company continuing to exist. The union would argue about how much of the profit should go to owners, and how much should go to workers. Both sides realized that unless the company makes money, there is no money to divide.

 

With unemployment very high, you can't vote with your feet, because you would be lucky to find another job. There are literally millions and millions of people who have given up on looking for jobs because there are so few. More recently there have become a few extra jobs, but not enough for most to even look at. It makes no sense to get a job where it costs you more to work than you get paid.

 

While I disagree, it is much better to discuss the issues instead of just having a name calling interaction.

 

We are not so far apart, I think. One key point I want to dispute is where you say poorly paying jobs "should be eliminated". I believe a low-paying job is better than no job at all, for the individual and for the nation. It allows the individual to build skills, maintain their self-esteem, and may keep them from turning to crime. As a nation, every bit of economic production is beneficial. Wages earned take the place of benefits paid.

 

Unemployment and underemployment are extremely costly. The earnings potential for individuals who have suffered long term unemployment is permanently lowered as their skills atrophy and they gain no experience. Unemployed and discouraged workers may turn to crime, suffer health problems, drain benefits programs, etc. Their reduced spending doesn't help the economy. Far better if people have jobs, even if they don't earn as much as we would like.

 

Suppose we allowed an electronics manufacturer to set up a factory in the USA paying $2 per hour and providing only bare-bones benefits. Then, the government supplements the wages of those employees to ensure they have a 'living wage'. The individuals win (living wage, skills development, work experience), the business wins (low cost labor), the taxpayer wins (wages replace benefits), the community wins (workers have money to spend), and the nation wins (jobs kept local, less need for imports). Who loses?

 

On the other hand, a rising minimum wage can have just the opposite effect. Marginal businesses will shut down sending people into unemployment, reducing the tax base, and increasing the strain on public finances.

 

I'm going to keep this short so I don't get timed out!

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For me in the end, it come down to morality. Nobody should be allowed to make hundreds of times more than others.... It's uncivilized. No one should be allowed to run away with the gold just because they obtained the keys to the vault. 5X more is reasonable but 7X or 10X more should be the absolute max anyone should be compensated over someone else. Anything more than that is tantamount to lording it over other people. Power is a blunt instrument and no one should be allowed to have too much of it.

 

On morality, I agree with you. Even if an individual personally creates $20B in wealth for the nation, I don't think they, morally, should keep $20M of it. That belief comes from my personal value system.

 

Where it gets difficult for me is when I start to apply my personal values and morals to other people. What if my personal morals tell me that people shouldn't be fornicating outside of wedlock? Do I have the right to make others live according to my morals? I would ask my self, "who are they hurting?" and if the answer is "no one" then I don't see how I can, with a clear conscience, apply my morality to other people. I feel a need to protect others from the abuse of self-righteous morality even as I hope I will be protected.

 

So, to convince me, your argument must come with facts about how people are being harmed. Just because a person takes home $20M, doesn't mean they harmed some other person. If that money is freely given, I don't see where I have a complaint. Tax it? Certainly! Everyone should support the common good. But, make it illegal? I'm not ready to go there.

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We are not so far apart, I think. One key point I want to dispute is where you say poorly paying jobs "should be eliminated". I believe a low-paying job is better than no job at all, for the individual and for the nation. It allows the individual to build skills, maintain their self-esteem, and may keep them from turning to crime. As a nation, every bit of economic production is beneficial. Wages earned take the place of benefits paid.

 

Unemployment and underemployment are extremely costly. The earnings potential for individuals who have suffered long term unemployment is permanently lowered as their skills atrophy and they gain no experience. Unemployed and discouraged workers may turn to crime, suffer health problems, drain benefits programs, etc. Their reduced spending doesn't help the economy. Far better if people have jobs, even if they don't earn as much as we would like.

 

Suppose we allowed an electronics manufacturer to set up a factory in the USA paying $2 per hour and providing only bare-bones benefits. Then, the government supplements the wages of those employees to ensure they have a 'living wage'. The individuals win (living wage, skills development, work experience), the business wins (low cost labor), the taxpayer wins (wages replace benefits), the community wins (workers have money to spend), and the nation wins (jobs kept local, less need for imports). Who loses?

 

On the other hand, a rising minimum wage can have just the opposite effect. Marginal businesses will shut down sending people into unemployment, reducing the tax base, and increasing the strain on public finances.

 

I'm going to keep this short so I don't get timed out!

Good points. However, from what I have heard, each time the minimum wage was increased, it resulted in a better economy, not layoffs. I believe it is a propaganda point that keeps getting repeated in the media that it might; and while it might, it never has.

 

You make a good point about getting and maintaining skills. Thus I favor education and oppose the systematic dismantling of our education system by the GOP.

 

Consider the law of supply and demand as it relates to wages and benefits for workers. If you have more skills than most, you might be considered for a higher salary and more benefits. If you have less, then you might get paid less. As demand for workers increases wages and benefits rise. As demand falls, wages and benefits decrease. Our government (since Reagan) has had a policy of flooding the labor pool with as many people as possible and dis-incentivizing hiring. This has the desired effect (beneficial to large corporations) of decreasing wages. Thus most of the time since Reagan, the median standard of living has been falling. Real wages have not increased, and more of the money from the labor of those workers goes to the rich and less and less goes to those who do the work.

 

While the government claims a relatively low unemployment rate, the number of those who have given up looking is really high. That gives us a potential workforce of a great many millions of people who would work if it were worth it. So if any company wanted employees, they could offer a very low salary and still get many applicants. This puts huge downward pressure on the standard of living for most Americans.

 

It is my opinion that if the government had not put these policies in place, at the request of the wealthy, we would not be having this discussion.

 

To elaborate on the government policies which flood the labor market, consider the policy of not enforcing laws against hiring illegals. It is obvious to a great many, who these illegals are and what jobs they are doing. The government ignores the companies, and talks dirt about the people who came to accept those jobs. The companies are the problem, not the people who work. Second, the implementation of the so called free trade agreements. They have destroyed thousands of manufacturing plants, who can now go to these foreign countries to reduce costs of wages, benefits, safety, even the costs of raw materials. These trade agreements are designed to move our jobs to foreign nations, and the government even pays the companies to move.

 

So if the US were in the circumstances where we had lots of people with no job skills and the government would work with corporations to employ these people so that job skills would be developed, I would agree. However, in my opinion, the situation is we have millions of highly talented, very skilled people who are being underutilized. Having the government subsidize a company to hire people with multiple college degrees to work in a fast food kitchen is not an efficient method. Instead it is a justification of subsidizing corporations so they make more money, by taking it from those who work.

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On morality, I agree with you. Even if an individual personally creates $20B in wealth for the nation, I don't think they, morally, should keep $20M of it. That belief comes from my personal value system.

 

Where it gets difficult for me is when I start to apply my personal values and morals to other people. What if my personal morals tell me that people shouldn't be fornicating outside of wedlock? Do I have the right to make others live according to my morals? I would ask my self, "who are they hurting?" and if the answer is "no one" then I don't see how I can, with a clear conscience, apply my morality to other people. I feel a need to protect others from the abuse of self-righteous morality even as I hope I will be protected.

 

So, to convince me, your argument must come with facts about how people are being harmed. Just because a person takes home $20M, doesn't mean they harmed some other person. If that money is freely given, I don't see where I have a complaint. Tax it? Certainly! Everyone should support the common good. But, make it illegal? I'm not ready to go there.

How are people being harmed. First consider my previous post, where there are some people (I don't have the information to say exactly who, because that information is being hidden) who "donate" to politicians and hire lobbyists to write laws to their benefit; as in flooding the labor pool, to decrease wages. Second they write laws to reduce and eliminate the safety net. They have been active in eliminating benefits for employees, such as pensions.

 

For a personal example, my father got a job without a high school education; worked 30 years and retired at full salary, with complete medical coverage. I worked 40 years with multiple college degrees and got a pension at 10% of my salary, with only medicare, and I have to pay for some of that.

 

I have seen many married couples who worked conscientiously for many years, and have so many money problems due to low incomes that the stress causes divorce, illness and death. So from my point of view, there is dramatic harm being done by those wealthy who write our laws for their own benefit.

 

As to freely given, consider the person who is having a heart attack. That person will die without an aspirin. Should a person nearby demand all the belongings the person has, and all he can borrow for that aspirin? The dying person might be willing to freely pay it? Or consider the family who is starving to death; should they sell one of the children into slavery to save the rest of the family? They might do it freely. I suggest the government has a role to play even when the transaction is freely made.

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Good points. However, from what I have heard, each time the minimum wage was increased, it resulted in a better economy, not layoffs. I believe it is a propaganda point that keeps getting repeated in the media that it might; and while it might, it never has.

 

You make a good point about getting and maintaining skills. Thus I favor education and oppose the systematic dismantling of our education system by the GOP.

 

Consider the law of supply and demand as it relates to wages and benefits for workers. If you have more skills than most, you might be considered for a higher salary and more benefits. If you have less, then you might get paid less. As demand for workers increases wages and benefits rise. As demand falls, wages and benefits decrease. Our government (since Reagan) has had a policy of flooding the labor pool with as many people as possible and dis-incentivizing hiring. This has the desired effect (beneficial to large corporations) of decreasing wages. Thus most of the time since Reagan, the median standard of living has been falling. Real wages have not increased, and more of the money from the labor of those workers goes to the rich and less and less goes to those who do the work.

 

While the government claims a relatively low unemployment rate, the number of those who have given up looking is really high. That gives us a potential workforce of a great many millions of people who would work if it were worth it. So if any company wanted employees, they could offer a very low salary and still get many applicants. This puts huge downward pressure on the standard of living for most Americans.

 

It is my opinion that if the government had not put these policies in place, at the request of the wealthy, we would not be having this discussion.

 

To elaborate on the government policies which flood the labor market, consider the policy of not enforcing laws against hiring illegals. It is obvious to a great many, who these illegals are and what jobs they are doing. The government ignores the companies, and talks dirt about the people who came to accept those jobs. The companies are the problem, not the people who work. Second, the implementation of the so called free trade agreements. They have destroyed thousands of manufacturing plants, who can now go to these foreign countries to reduce costs of wages, benefits, safety, even the costs of raw materials. These trade agreements are designed to move our jobs to foreign nations, and the government even pays the companies to move.

 

So if the US were in the circumstances where we had lots of people with no job skills and the government would work with corporations to employ these people so that job skills would be developed, I would agree. However, in my opinion, the situation is we have millions of highly talented, very skilled people who are being underutilized. Having the government subsidize a company to hire people with multiple college degrees to work in a fast food kitchen is not an efficient method. Instead it is a justification of subsidizing corporations so they make more money, by taking it from those who work.

 

The illegal immigration issue is a whole discussion all by itself. No doubt you are correct that these additional workers put downward pressure on US wages. As you said, it's simple supply and demand. It's mind-boggling how many immigrants we absorbed. However, that should be a short-term problem. When (if?) we finally start to enforce the law, the supply will stabilize and wages will rebound.

 

On the plus side, all the young workers that have flooded our country will help offset the baby-boomer retirement wave that's coming. I think we need to give them a path to citizenship and get them legalized as soon as possible. They need to be paying taxes. I don't think it's practical to deport millions of people who have been here for many years.

 

I don't agree with your last paragraph, though. I think we DO have lots of people with no skills, or the wrong skills. There are plenty of job openings that go unfilled and plenty of high school dropouts. If you're an engineer, accountant, nurse, software architect, or similar, then you have no problem finding a job. On the other hand, we have a great number of people who went came out of school (many before graduation) with only rudimentary reading, writing, and math skills. People who have been unemployed for years, living in hard circumstances, may be barely socialized, let alone capable of delivering $20 per hour in valuable work.

 

If they're willing and able to complete an education, then sure, that would be the preferred path. However, I have seen a great many that will never become engineers, nurses, or software architects. They may, with years of effort and experience, become plumbers, construction workers, or administrative assistants. When the bar is set too high they'll never get their first job.

 

The person with 'multiple college degrees' working in a fast food kitchen is a red herring. There are not very many of those, and I'd wager every one of them has significant issues holding them back, other than the labor market.

 

In a previous post, I explained how subsidized jobs could save the taxpayer money and give more pay to working people. So, I don't understand your last sentence. Yes, it would subsidize businesses to hire more people. But, how is it taking from those who work? We (working people) are already going to pay the price for unemployed people. We pay it directly in benefits and we pay it indirectly in lost taxes. On the other hand, if we put them to work, even if it's subsidized work, whatever they produce reduces the burden on tax-paying working people. Plus, the business that benefits from hiring subsidized workers would presumably be profitable and therefore pay taxes further offsetting the cost.

 

If the person hired has 6 college degrees, then what's the problem? If there's a better job, they can take it. If there's not a better job, subsidized work would be a better alternative than unemployment.

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How are people being harmed. First consider my previous post, where there are some people (I don't have the information to say exactly who, because that information is being hidden) who "donate" to politicians and hire lobbyists to write laws to their benefit; as in flooding the labor pool, to decrease wages. Second they write laws to reduce and eliminate the safety net. They have been active in eliminating benefits for employees, such as pensions.

 

For a personal example, my father got a job without a high school education; worked 30 years and retired at full salary, with complete medical coverage. I worked 40 years with multiple college degrees and got a pension at 10% of my salary, with only medicare, and I have to pay for some of that.

 

I have seen many married couples who worked conscientiously for many years, and have so many money problems due to low incomes that the stress causes divorce, illness and death. So from my point of view, there is dramatic harm being done by those wealthy who write our laws for their own benefit.

 

As to freely given, consider the person who is having a heart attack. That person will die without an aspirin. Should a person nearby demand all the belongings the person has, and all he can borrow for that aspirin? The dying person might be willing to freely pay it? Or consider the family who is starving to death; should they sell one of the children into slavery to save the rest of the family? They might do it freely. I suggest the government has a role to play even when the transaction is freely made.

 

I am not entirely following you. I see that big money can influence laws. However, I see that our laws put limits on immigration. By the law, most of the immigration you're so unhappy with should not have happened. However, those laws were not enforced. It wasn't an issue of lobbyists changing laws, but a lack of enforcement.

 

The reasoning offered for not enforcing the law has been compassion, inclusion, anti-racism, and humanitarian. Are you saying that's not the real reason? Are you saying our President has refused to enforce the law because he's influenced by big money? I don't really see it. Plus, on the other side, the biggest opponents of illegal immigration are the corporate-funded Republicans. It just doesn't add up for me. None of it makes sense.

 

Most illegal immigrants work in small businesses (construction, landscaping, farms), not large corporations. These small businesses don't spend much on lobbying.

 

Hasn't the safety net expanded in recent years? What about ACA? During the financial crisis, unemployment compensation was extended repeatedly. The Republicans were turned back on their misguided efforts to privatize Social Security. Where did they "write laws to reduce and eliminate the safety net"? Maybe these were proposed, but didn't pass?

 

Pensions are definitely disappearing and the 401k is a poor substitute. To be fair, pensions weren't that good either. If your company went broke, your pension was at risk. At least a diversified 401k will survive employer bankruptcy. What would you suggest? Increasing Social Security?

 

What laws did the wealthy write that you would change? That's where the real discussion should be. Debating whether or not 'the wealthy' are evil doesn't get us anywhere. What law would you change?

 

Ok, for the sake of argument, I'm going to try to take your aspirin example seriously. I'll play the role of the evil price-gouger. So, I charge the dying guy $1 million for an aspirin to save his life. Presumably, he's happy that I was there with that aspirin. I'm happy that I have the guy's $1 million. The key element of this is that the aspirin is valuable because it's in the right place at the right time. Based on that insight, I see a business opportunity. There's money to be made by getting aspirins into the hands of people who will otherwise die. So, I'll take this $1 million and I'll put aspirin dispensers on every street corner in New York. Anyone walking by who has a heart attack can use their credit card to buy an aspirin! In order to increase my profit margin, I'll need more sales, so I'll need to cut the price to be within a credit card limit. I think I'll charge $1000 per aspirin now. A year later, I have competitors who are undercutting my prices. 5 years later, no one is ever out of reach of an aspirin dispenser. They'll still cost more than Wal Mart, but imagine how many lives are saved! And, all the transactions are consensual. If I'd been forced to give that guy the aspirin for free, none of these other people would be saved. It's a good thing the government didn't get involved.

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On morality, I agree with you. Even if an individual personally creates $20B in wealth for the nation, I don't think they, morally, should keep $20M of it. That belief comes from my personal value system.

 

Where it gets difficult for me is when I start to apply my personal values and morals to other people. What if my personal morals tell me that people shouldn't be fornicating outside of wedlock? Do I have the right to make others live according to my morals? I would ask my self, "who are they hurting?" and if the answer is "no one" then I don't see how I can, with a clear conscience, apply my morality to other people. I feel a need to protect others from the abuse of self-righteous morality even as I hope I will be protected.

 

So, to convince me, your argument must come with facts about how people are being harmed. Just because a person takes home $20M, doesn't mean they harmed some other person. If that money is freely given, I don't see where I have a complaint. Tax it? Certainly! Everyone should support the common good. But, make it illegal? I'm not ready to go there.

 

Fornication out of wedlock is a personal and familial decision.... Possible problems arising from such should be resolved, one way or the other, by private and/or family means. There is little valid comparison between fornication out of wedlock and the increasingly excessive executive compensation we see today.

 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

 

Excessive executive compensation is entirely different because it affects the lives of many thousands. For instance, Donald Trump just came out with a plan to send more Americans into the ranks of poverty by firing union auto workers, move their jobs to other parts of the US, and rehire them without union representation, at poverty wages and no benefits, once they have been out of work long enough to have become desperate. The effect of this oft-used strategy is always to move wealth to the top.... In other words to increase executive compensation. It is a “destroy jobs and starve workers” until they are willing to work for slave wages plot typical of corporatist Republicans.

 

Trump said, “You can go to different parts of the United States and then ultimately you’d do full-circle — you’ll come back to Michigan because those guys are going to desperately want their jobs back; even if it is earning less. We can do the rotation in the United States — it doesn’t have to be in Mexico".

 

http://www.politicususa.com/2015/08/15/donald-trump-advises-auto-makers-kill-jobs-increase-corporate-profits.html

There is a reason Republicans go to great lengths to destroy unions and keep wages at poverty levels; it is the best way to increase income inequality and raise the top one percent’s share of income. That was an “unbelievably startling revelation” in a recent report by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that stated; “the decline in unionization is related to the rise of top income shares and less redistribution, while the erosion of minimum wages is correlated with considerable increases in overall inequality.” Not only is the IMF stating the obvious and something any non-Republican with a pea-brain comprehends, the organization described the economic policy and goal of corporatist Republicans and their funding mechanism the Koch brothers.

 

Mitt Romney's Bain Capital used similar tactics on a regular basis:- buy a company, fire all the workers, and hire the workforce back at minimum wage and prohibit them from organizing with union representation. Romney was also, famously caught on videotape touting inhuman work conditions for Chinese workers, to a gathering of wealthy investors, all eager to cash in.

 

The problem with enormous executive compensation is that it usually involves impoverishing workers, resulting in more funneling of wealth to the top.... In other words, hugely excessive executive salaries.

 

Increasing income inequality = class warfare = Rob from the poor and give to the rich.

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