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

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Class Warfare is real and a commonly used phrase:--

 

http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/08/11/competitiveness-and-class-warfare/?_r=0

Competitiveness And Class Warfare - Paul Krugman
U.S. economic growth has been OK these past 25 years; US family incomes, not so much, because such a large share of growth goes to the very top.
International competition is a mostly bogus notion; class warfare is very, very real.

 

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

Sept 30, 2011
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 $40million 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.

http://www.opednews.com/Quicklink/Paul-Krugman-Class-Wars-o-in-Best_Web_OpEds-121130-922.html
Paul Krugman - Class Wars of 2012
While the Election is Over, The Class War Isn't

- snip -

It’s an uncomfortable but real truth that we are not all in this together; America’s top-down class warriors lost big in the election, but now they’re trying to use the pretense of concern about the deficit to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Let’s not let them pull it off.


http://robertreich.org/post/75905276863
Friday, February 7, 2014

THE WAR ON THE POOR AND MIDDLE-CLASS FAMILIES

Most Americans are on a downward escalator. Median household pay is dropping, adjusted for inflation. A smaller share of working-age Americans are in jobs than at any time in the last three decades.

Only 113,000 jobs were added to the U.S. economy in January, on top of a paltry 75,000 in December.

- snip -

Yet too many still believe in trickle-down economics – that the wealthy are the job creators, and tax cuts for big corporations and the rich will boost the economy. The real job creators are the vast middle class and the poor – when they have enough money in their pockets. That’s the only way out of the vicious cycle we’re now in.

 

http://www.salon.com/2015/04/10/7_remarkably_cruel_instances_of_class_warfare_in_america_partner/

7 remarkably cruel instances of class warfare in America

Since the Great Recession, it has been open season on the country's poor. Here are just a few of the lowlights

Alex Henderson, AlterNet


http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/03/16/the-rich-s-class-warfare-is-winning.html
The Rich's Class Warfare is Winning

Harvey J. Kaye
In the first Gilded Age, Americans fought back against inequality and the oligarchs who threatened democracy. Over the past few decades, it seems like we’ve given up.

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What never ceases to amaze me is that in a country that proudly calls itself "capitalist", the schools do not teach much about what a capitalist is, and how to be a capitalist, or even how the stock market works.

In the USSR, everyone knew how Communism was supposed to work. There was an effort to engage the best and the britest as mambers of the party, originally.

One fact that was learned from the Great Depression is that deflation causes the economy to plummet, and that there must be a low inflation rate, or around 2% to serve as a cushion to prevent booms followed by busts in the market and therefore the economy. The rule of 72 tells is that if you divide an inflation rate (or price appreciuation rate) into 72, it tells you how many years it takes for the money to double.

For example, if I get 6% on an investment, 72÷6=12, so if I have $1000 invested at 6% in 12 years I will have $2000.

 

This works for inflation as well. If the inflation rate is 2%, then 72÷2=36, so something that costs $1000 in 2015 will cost $2000 in 2051. So if you are making the minimum wage, every year you will be 2% further behind, and of course the rate is compounded. Politicians never mention this, that a mimimum wage of $5.00 per hour in 1979 will lose half its value by 2015 and will be the equivalent of only $2.50 (assuming a 2% inflation rate).

 

Reagan had this campaign ad in which he claimed that a dollar back in the good old days was only worth 33¢ at the time he made the ad. Of course this was true, but he did not explain why inflation was required. Nor did he ever suggest tripling the minimum wage to just keep the poor folks on an even keel.

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I don't believe they would necessarily raise prices. First if the minimum wage was raised, they might find that they get more business and can pay more. Having potentially thousands of more paying customers would be a great thing for a company, even if they had to pay a bit more for labor. Of course the restaurant would have to pay more in food supplies for the chef to prepare, but the company ends up making more money.

 

Second, a company doesn't raise prices based solely on what they pay for help. The company is in business to make money. Thus they try to charge what the market will bear. If they can charge $1.00 for a soda, that is what they charge. If they charge more, they lose business because their price is too high. If they charge less, they don't make as much profit. The soda might only cost them $0.20, but that doesn't matter.

 

The same goes for employees. They will pay as little as possible, and try have some level of service. If they pay less, then the service level goes down, and they lose business. If they pay more, they make less profit.

 

The only time the two are related is when wages are so high and the profit margin so low that no profit is made. That is typically the case when management is incompetent. When you can't make a profit from people working minimum wage it's hard to call that business manager competent.

 

You are correct that not every restaurant will be able to raise prices. They should already be charging what the market would bear, so many would have to absorb the higher labor costs. Some of the less financially sound establishments would be driven out of business. When you're teetering on the edge, it doesn't take much to push you over. With less competition, the remaining businesses would then be able to raise prices.

 

One of the Republican fallacies is to always blame the victim. For example, they say people are poor because they're too lazy and stupid to get an education and earn a decent paycheck. We would be making the same mistake if we assume that every marginal business has incompetent management. There are other factors that can create a difficult situation for the business.

 

In this particular example, competition from chain restaurants makes life difficult for the one-off local restaurant. The chains are more likely to have optimized workflows and highly automated kitchens. That doesn't mean the mom-and-pop restaurant manager is incompetent. It does mean mom-and-pop will feel the minimum wage increase more acutely.

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What never ceases to amaze me is that in a country that proudly calls itself "capitalist", the schools do not teach much about what a capitalist is, and how to be a capitalist, or even how the stock market works.

In the USSR, everyone knew how Communism was supposed to work. There was an effort to engage the best and the britest as mambers of the party, originally.

One fact that was learned from the Great Depression is that deflation causes the economy to plummet, and that there must be a low inflation rate, or around 2% to serve as a cushion to prevent booms followed by busts in the market and therefore the economy. The rule of 72 tells is that if you divide an inflation rate (or price appreciuation rate) into 72, it tells you how many years it takes for the money to double.

For example, if I get 6% on an investment, 72÷6=12, so if I have $1000 invested at 6% in 12 years I will have $2000.

 

This works for inflation as well. If the inflation rate is 2%, then 72÷2=36, so something that costs $1000 in 2015 will cost $2000 in 2051. So if you are making the minimum wage, every year you will be 2% further behind, and of course the rate is compounded. Politicians never mention this, that a mimimum wage of $5.00 per hour in 1979 will lose half its value by 2015 and will be the equivalent of only $2.50 (assuming a 2% inflation rate).

 

Reagan had this campaign ad in which he claimed that a dollar back in the good old days was only worth 33¢ at the time he made the ad. Of course this was true, but he did not explain why inflation was required. Nor did he ever suggest tripling the minimum wage to just keep the poor folks on an even keel.

 

This is all true, and I'd like to add to it. You said "deflation causes the economy to plummet". The reason that happens is that, when we have deflation, money in the bank will be worth more (it will buy more goods and services) tomorrow than today. When that's the case, people who have money in the bank will postpone their spending as long as possible. They know they can get that car for $200 less if they just wait until the price drops. Inflation, on the other hand, has just the opposite effect. People don't postpone purchases. They buy now before the prices go up.

 

Another point about inflation is that it hurts people with money more than people who don't have money. Wages (other than the minimum wage) generally rise with inflation. There's some delay, but they do rise. On the other hand, if you've got $1 million in the bank and experience 6% inflation, you just lost $60,000 in purchasing power. Within a dozen years or so, you'll have lost $500,000 in purchasing power. This influences 'the rich' (those with money in the bank) to either invest or spend, either of which lead to increased economic activity and jobs.

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Read the first Krugman article which mostly about international competition. He offers one whole sentence about class warfare.

 

Read the Buffett quotes (I like his minimum tax rule, by the way). He seems to think that because the top 400 earners make more money than they did 20 years ago and pay a lower tax rate, that means there's "class warfare". At least he offered a bit more than an opinion. I believe he's talking about the effective tax rate instead of the nominal tax rate. Certainly, I think we should cut out all the loopholes, dodges, and deductions. We need joint agreements with other nations to control "offshoring". I don't see it as "class warfare" though; it's efficient and fair policy. It's not liberal or conservative. It's pragmatic.

 

Read the second Krugman article. There are some good discussion points on worthy topics. Then he throws in the "class warfare" term. Why?

 

Read the Robert Reich article. Nothing there but opinion.

 

Read the Salon article. Anecdotes. Most of it is about the legal system being harsh on poor/homeless people. But, it's like the Fox pieces on religion. It's all exaggeration. Consider the guy who was jailed for picking up trash at 5 AM. He violated a city ordinance and it wasn't the first time. From the Huffington Post article on this subject: VICE spoke to Sandy Springs prosecutor Bill Riley who said jail time is necessary to make sure trash collectors don't start collecting garbage in the early morning hours. "We look for the minimum punishment what will deter the crime," Riley said. "We tried forever not to put anyone in jail for these cases, but it wasn't working." Letting working class families get some sleep isn't exactly class warfare is it?

 

Read most of the Kaye article, skimmed the rest. He was putting me to sleep. He's preaching to the faithful, not trying to convert the wayward.

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As I indicated at the top of the post, I didn't post these article so much for their specific content but to illustrate that the term "class warfare" is commonly used in print media. To censor the use of the term in the LO room would be a denial of the reality of the historic economic rearrangement happening today.

 

That being said, I admit the Kaye article did have the power to render one gradually unconscious. And the Salon article was a series of sad anecdotes.

 

The second Krugman article throws in the term "class warfare" at the end for a good reason..... to make the point that competition between the rich and poor is far more real than competition between nations.... That modern social struggle is now class-based, not nation-based, to which many still cling.

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holy moly this is a thick as well as broad-based topic. The enemies of logic one could easily suppose afflict us all. Some dude, say your new boss, says to you, hey, you are known for giving your employees too high a rating. Then, not knowing anything about what your department does at all, suggests, maybe you should find a way to work smarter, and not harder.

 

Now, let's just for argument sake say, he's a dude, and you're a women. We've already stated that he knows nothing at all about what your group does. Let's also say that you have many important projects going on, let alone the important job of giving reviews to 18 highly skilled employees who work under you.

 

Is there any bias there, or is it just, you know, uncanny stupidity?

 

Or, let's take the young people who are behind the Black Lives Matter movement. Some would say, well, they have no platform to speak of, no spoken policy demands, and why oh why do they choose to go after Democratic presidential candidates and not Republican candidates?

 

Shouldn't someone jump in on this? What does every city do to make sure their children have the best schools and a safe environment? Is there a difference in areas where poor people pay much less in property tax compared to areas where rich people pay much much more in property taxes?

 

Even Milton Friedman from the Chicago school of free market capitalism did in the end underscore the fact that the courts alone could never make up for the egregiousness of unregulated capitalism.

 

Logic too is an interesting posit. True logic is mathematically based and somewhat devoid of the human condition. Perhaps the forces of empathy, love, humility and courage often do require more than mere empirical logic alone in both the short and long-term/ I personally would say, yes yes yes that logic itself is a very tricky gray area based on the record of human history.

 

Peace!

 

Peace!

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The Rich's Class Warfare is Winning

Harvey J. Kaye

In the first Gilded Age, Americans fought back against inequality and the oligarchs who threatened democracy. Over the past few decades, it seems like we’ve given up.

It takes a lot for people to revolt and change things.

 

It took the English many centuries to get a Magna Carta, a long time for Americans to get their independence, and the French even longer to guillotine their elites (and after a lot of blood letting establish a republic).

 

Seems to be case in world history at least, that things really have to reach dire conditions before the masses pick up their pitchforks.

 

But if the elite keep it up, they will get their heads on a guillotine one day, and that's not speculation but historical cause and effect of too much wealth concentration in a small percentage of the population.

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You are correct that not every restaurant will be able to raise prices. They should already be charging what the market would bear, so many would have to absorb the higher labor costs. Some of the less financially sound establishments would be driven out of business. When you're teetering on the edge, it doesn't take much to push you over. With less competition, the remaining businesses would then be able to raise prices.

 

One of the Republican fallacies is to always blame the victim. For example, they say people are poor because they're too lazy and stupid to get an education and earn a decent paycheck. We would be making the same mistake if we assume that every marginal business has incompetent management. There are other factors that can create a difficult situation for the business.

 

In this particular example, competition from chain restaurants makes life difficult for the one-off local restaurant. The chains are more likely to have optimized workflows and highly automated kitchens. That doesn't mean the mom-and-pop restaurant manager is incompetent. It does mean mom-and-pop will feel the minimum wage increase more acutely.

No. You are missing the point. With more money in the hands of its customers the owners will not absorb losses, they will have to figure out how to deal with the added income. Trickle down does not work. It has never worked. Increasing the customer base does work, every time.

 

If a company can only exist by paying its employees less than that employee needs for that day, should not continue. Having someone work and not earn enough to eat is like the parable of the lion that chases mice all day. The lion catches the mice and gets a small bite to eat. At the end of the day, the lion, after catching mice all day, starves to death. We are better off with people working at jobs productively earning for both themselves and the companies they work for.

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As I indicated at the top of the post, I didn't post these article so much for their specific content but to illustrate that the term "class warfare" is commonly used in print media. To censor the use of the term in the LO room would be a denial of the reality of the historic economic rearrangement happening today.

 

That being said, I admit the Kaye article did have the power to render one gradually unconscious. And the Salon article was a series of sad anecdotes.

 

The second Krugman article throws in the term "class warfare" at the end for a good reason..... to make the point that competition between the rich and poor is far more real than competition between nations.... That modern social struggle is now class-based, not nation-based, to which many still cling.

 

Ok. Whether I like it or not, class warfare is the term in use. Personally, I will not use this term. I view it as a lazy way to criticize without making the effort to fairly and logically weigh pros and cons of any particular policy or law. Also, I think we overuse the word "war". For me, war has a very specific meaning.

 

If I understand it correctly, you're saying that whenever a law is passed that benefits 'the rich' more than 'the poor and middle class', then that's an example of 'the rich' waging class warfare on the rest of us. Is the reverse also true? Are ACA and Dodd-Frank examples of class warfare against rich people?

 

Let's say you had the opportunity to pass, or not, a new law (no amendment possible). If you pass this law, our top 1% earners will see their income jump by 10%. On the other hand, this law will only create a 1% increase in income for the 99%. Certainly, this law would make income inequality worse. Would you pass the law?

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holy moly this is a thick as well as broad-based topic. The enemies of logic one could easily suppose afflict us all. Some dude, say your new boss, says to you, hey, you are known for giving your employees too high a rating. Then, not knowing anything about what your department does at all, suggests, maybe you should find a way to work smarter, and not harder.

 

Now, let's just for argument sake say, he's a dude, and you're a women. We've already stated that he knows nothing at all about what your group does. Let's also say that you have many important projects going on, let alone the important job of giving reviews to 18 highly skilled employees who work under you.

 

Is there any bias there, or is it just, you know, uncanny stupidity?

 

This sounds very similar to the place where I work.

 

I have the opportunity to participate in discussions at several levels in the organization. What I see is that cynicism and skepticism are a 'cancer' that destroy an organization's ability to function efficiently.

 

What I see, repeatedly, is that a senior management team makes honest decisions to the best of their ability, within the various constraints of budget and time, and with the information they have. Then, they fail to fully communicate that process to the next level. Instead, they mostly focus on exactly what it is they want to happen.

 

The middle manager is typically a loyal and obedient person, tasked with implementing senior management decisions. He will offer some level of critical thinking and knowledge of the challenges faced by his subordinates, but in the face of a united senior management team decision, he's helpless. No senior manager wants to go back to the team and re-open the can of worms. They're extremely busy and any time spent re-examining this decision comes at the expense of less time for the next decision. So, the middle manager is sent off to implement the decision.

 

The poor first level manager gets even less explanation. He thinks of questions and 'what ifs' that the middle manager never thought of. Middle manager gets defensive, blames it on senior management, and says "just do it". Now, trust starts to break down. Front line manager has very little direct contact with senior managers. She doesn't know what goes on in those closed door meetings.

 

He talks to other front line managers and they speculate on what self-serving motivation might be driving these 'stupid' decisions. Invariably, someone will have a conspiracy theory. Senior management isn't stupid or ill-informed...they're doing this so they can (pick one): promote their buddy, racism, sexism, look good to their boss, screw the little guy, punish someone they don't like, earn a bigger bonus, etc. In the absence of information, no one is willing to give the senior managers benefit of the doubt on their intentions. The decision is bad so the intentions must also be bad. In my experience, that's almost never the case.

 

It's human nature to apply a double standard. We judge others by the effects of their actions. We judge ourselves by our intent.

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No. You are missing the point. With more money in the hands of its customers the owners will not absorb losses, they will have to figure out how to deal with the added income. Trickle down does not work. It has never worked. Increasing the customer base does work, every time.

 

If a company can only exist by paying its employees less than that employee needs for that day, should not continue. Having someone work and not earn enough to eat is like the parable of the lion that chases mice all day. The lion catches the mice and gets a small bite to eat. At the end of the day, the lion, after catching mice all day, starves to death. We are better off with people working at jobs productively earning for both themselves and the companies they work for.

 

In my earlier posts, I talked about subsidizing the employee. If we did that, no one would take home less than they need to survive. The government can afford to pay people more than they produce in value. Businesses can't. The government can tax the rich to support the poor. Why is that such a tough idea to sell on this forum?

 

In your example, you seem to be saying that these minimum-wage restaurant employees will, if given higher pay, spend that money in restaurants. If you were a minimum-wage worker at a restaurant and you started earning $50 per week more, how much of that would you spend on restaurant food? For most people, only a tiny percentage would be spent on restaurants. Most would would go toward other priorities: utilities, cable bills, i-phones, clothes, slot machines, rent, car payments, etc. The restaurant would see expenses rise $50 while revenue would rise much less than that.

 

The restaurant industry, because of its dependence on low-earning workers, would pay much more for labor, while demand for its product would (at best) increase only slightly. Some businesses could absorb that, but not all.

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In my earlier posts, I talked about subsidizing the employee. If we did that, no one would take home less than they need to survive. The government can afford to pay people more than they produce in value. Businesses can't. The government can tax the rich to support the poor. Why is that such a tough idea to sell on this forum?

 

This is just another scheme for shifting labor costs from business to ordinary taxpayers, who pay the lion's share of taxes anyway, thus funneling even more of the Nation's wealth from the poor and middle class to the rich. If a plan like this became law, it would accelerate the rise of absolute oligarchy to warp speed.

 

Even now, avaricious companies like Walmart and McDonalds shift some of their labor costs to taxpayers by encouraging their low pay workers to apply for public assistance.... And upper management prospers at new levels of excessive compensation.

 

The economic victimization practiced now by many of the ultra rich has already gone too far. It must be reversed, not encouraged.

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In my earlier posts, I talked about subsidizing the employee. If we did that, no one would take home less than they need to survive. The government can afford to pay people more than they produce in value. Businesses can't.

 

I guess it had to happen.... Highly paid management crying poverty and demanding that taxpayers shoulder labor costs..... Welfare for the rich.

 

 

The government can tax the rich to support the poor. Why is that such a tough idea to sell on this forum?

 

It might have a chance..... But the system would have to be changed to outlaw lobbying against high-income taxes for the ultra wealthy. The reality today is that the top .001% either pay no tax or are government subsidized. And the those below .001% pay virtually all the taxes. In addition to tax loopholes that enable large corporations and the ultra-rich to avoid paying their fair share under the progressive income-tax system, huge amounts of wealth are offshored abroad, in secret bank accounts to avoid taxation.

 

http://www.forbes.co...ore-study-says/

Jul 23, 2012 @ 8:53 AM

Super Rich Hide $21 Trillion Offshore, Study Says

Forbes Staff

 

Rather than "tax the rich to support the poor". Collective bargaining by labor unions should be encouraged and not . Labor unions are the only proven way the ordinary worker can get a fair deal. But in the US today, labor unions are being legislated against with deliberately misnamed laws like "right to work". And the anti-labor litigation industry in the US is huge.

 

http://www.massaflci...union-busters-0

Union Busting: A multi-million dollar industry to take away your rights

Over 60 million workers would join a union today if given the chance. However, despite their overwhelming will, most of those workers will not get the chance to vote for a union, even fewer will be successful in forming a union, and fewer still will be successful in earning a first contract. The propensity for workers to improve their workplace through organizing for better wages and benefits has created a shadow industry that charitably calls itself "union avoidance," but is more accurately referred to as union busting.

 

Companies whose workers are organizing to gain union representation will pay tens of thousands, and sometimes millions of dollars to law or consulting firms in order to defeat organizing drives rather than allocating that money towards quality wages and benefits for their employees. The disdain for unionization is so strong that oftentimes employers will spend more money on "union avoidance" than the employees are asking for in their contract demands.

 

While employers have always resisted efforts to organize, union-busting firms did not become prominent until the 1970's. There are now thousands of these firms across the country, and their rise has a direct correlation with the decline in union density from 29% of U.S. workers in 1964 to 13% today

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In order to restore healthy competition we need to break up the proliferating oligopolies and monopolies which collude with each other to fix prices high and the quality of products low..... In other words, institute a complete reversal of the system we have now.

 

Government free itself of control by BIG MONEY..... Lobbying reform and election reform. Once that step is taken, government must keep tight control of every aspect of industry so that corporations and their owners are taken care of.... The public is well served.... And the employees have enough money to live well and buy products.

 

With the system we have now, the oligarchy is moving ever farther to serve only itself. Left to itself, the oligarchy inexorably sows the seeds of its own destruction.

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It might have a chance..... But the system would have to be changed to outlaw lobbying against high-income taxes for the ultra wealthy. The reality today is that the top .001% either pay no tax or are government subsidized. And the those below .001% pay virtually all the taxes.

 

What's your source? I can't find a number below 17% from any source. Al Jazeera says 17.6% http://america.aljazeera.com/opinions/2015/6/the-top-001-percent-are-different-from-you-and-me.html

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I might have misread your post #62. If so, I apologize. I thought you meant "tax the masses to pay for business". On re-reading it, I think you meant "tax the rich to subsidize the poor". But I still think it can't work without reforming the system so that big money can't buy tax breaks. Also, an effective way to prevent offshoring of unreported income would have to be instituted.

 

For what it's worth, Bernie Sanders is calling for a 90% tax on the top bracket.

 

The Al Jazeera article says "The top .001 percent paid 17.6 cents out of each dollar they earned in federal income taxes." Assuming they're correct, that's less than the middle class pays, starting at a yearly income of $36.901 for a single person who is taxed 25 cents on the dollar. And goes gradually up until a single person making over $406.750 pays 39.6 cents on the dollar.

http://www.efile.com/tax-rate/federal-income-tax-rates/

 

But the Al Jazeera figure only takes reported income into account. The top .001 tax must go way down below 17.6 percent when the unreported $21 trillion (as of 2012) stashed in secret accounts overseas banks to avoid taxes, is considered.

http://www.forbes.co...ore-study-says/

 

So we can see the lowest bracket of the poor, 10%, might even be paying more in taxes than the super rich but the middle class pays considerably more. The middle class shoulders most of the tax burden.

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In my earlier posts, I talked about subsidizing the employee. If we did that, no one would take home less than they need to survive. The government can afford to pay people more than they produce in value. Businesses can't. The government can tax the rich to support the poor. Why is that such a tough idea to sell on this forum?

 

In your example, you seem to be saying that these minimum-wage restaurant employees will, if given higher pay, spend that money in restaurants. If you were a minimum-wage worker at a restaurant and you started earning $50 per week more, how much of that would you spend on restaurant food? For most people, only a tiny percentage would be spent on restaurants. Most would would go toward other priorities: utilities, cable bills, i-phones, clothes, slot machines, rent, car payments, etc. The restaurant would see expenses rise $50 while revenue would rise much less than that.

 

The restaurant industry, because of its dependence on low-earning workers, would pay much more for labor, while demand for its product would (at best) increase only slightly. Some businesses could absorb that, but not all.

I think I understand your argument, I just disagree with it.

 

Let's consider your policy. If I hire people and have them sell items door to door, and they are low price items like pencils. Let's say they sell one pencil every 50 houses they go to. They sell the pencils for fifty cents each. I buy the pencils for 25 cents each, and I take 20 cents in profit for each one sold. The people I hire get 5 cents per 50 houses they go to. That amounts to about 5 cents per hour if they are working hard. Since they are not making enough money the government should subsidize them to give them what they need. Is this a company the government should support? The people might like the job, because I am nice to them.

 

The people are all actively working? What if everyone takes a job like this?

 

To me the point is they are working, but not creating much wealth. There is little value in what they are doing. I would prefer people work in jobs that create significant value. If the value is not there, then that is a job that is not worth doing. To tax me to give my money to people who don't create value is a way to destroy our economy.

 

Some jobs are not worth doing. To have the government subsidize that work is dysfunctional. I suggest that if a restaurant can't get enough customers to pay for its staff and make a profit then it should be shut down. If you create a restaurant in the middle of the desert, and few customers show up, why should the government subsidize it?

 

So the question becomes, "Where do you draw the line?"

 

I suggest you draw the line such that if the work is valuable enough to pay the person doing it enough to support that person, then it can be kept. If the work is not valuable enough to pay the person enough for self support, then it is not worth doing, and the person should find other work.

 

That is not to say there should never be support. Sometimes it takes a while to develop revenue, and those cases can be supported, however, the long term goal should be self-sufficiency. If there is never a plan to be self-sufficient then other work should be found.

 

I have talked with people in the restaurant industry and many consider the push to pay less and less to people who work to be very detrimental to their business. They fully understand they will make much more if their customers get a raise than they would have to pay in additional salaries.

 

It looks to me like you are pushing trickle down, which never works. Give more money to the owners and less to the workers, and even without customers somehow the owners will make more money?

 

If I mis-characterized your position, please correct me.

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...

In your example, you seem to be saying that these minimum-wage restaurant employees will, if given higher pay, spend that money in restaurants. If you were a minimum-wage worker at a restaurant and you started earning $50 per week more, how much of that would you spend on restaurant food? For most people, only a tiny percentage would be spent on restaurants. Most would would go toward other priorities: utilities, cable bills, i-phones, clothes, slot machines, rent, car payments, etc. The restaurant would see expenses rise $50 while revenue would rise much less than that.

...

No, you are not stating my position correctly. I am not saying the restaurant workers will spend more money in restaurants. I am saying everyone else will be spending more in restaurants. When min wage goes up, if the customers have more money, they will spend a small portion of the increase on restaurants. When every customer is spending more in restaurants, there is more revenue. The workers have more work to do, and perhaps more are hired. The restaurant makes more profit even after paying more in wages.

 

This position has been demonstrated repeatedly. When the minimum wage goes up, the economy improves. Restaurants indeed get more business. Of course there are a few minor exceptions, such as those restaurants which are so bad, they would have gone under anyway.

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I think I understand your argument, I just disagree with it.

 

Let's consider your policy. If I hire people and have them sell items door to door, and they are low price items like pencils. Let's say they sell one pencil every 50 houses they go to. They sell the pencils for fifty cents each. I buy the pencils for 25 cents each, and I take 20 cents in profit for each one sold. The people I hire get 5 cents per 50 houses they go to. That amounts to about 5 cents per hour if they are working hard. Since they are not making enough money the government should subsidize them to give them what they need. Is this a company the government should support? The people might like the job, because I am nice to them.

 

The people are all actively working? What if everyone takes a job like this?

 

To me the point is they are working, but not creating much wealth. There is little value in what they are doing. I would prefer people work in jobs that create significant value. If the value is not there, then that is a job that is not worth doing. To tax me to give my money to people who don't create value is a way to destroy our economy.

 

I

 

 

You've created a very extreme example of what I'm suggesting. Nothing wrong with that...I do the same sometimes to make a point.

 

First, no one will take a $0.05 per hour job when they can get a $0.50 per hour job. They're not going to take a $0.50 per hour job when they can get a $2.00 per hour job, and so on.

 

If $0.05 is truly the most value they can create (and I'll admit there are probably a few people like that), then I'd still say that $0.05 is still more than $0.00.

 

As for taxing you to give your money "to people who don't create value"... that is the essence of a safety net. If you are against that, then you are against the core principles of all our social programs. Every single one of them exists by taking taxes from people who can produce value and giving them to people who cannot. If that's your objection, I don't see how you can consider yourself a liberal.

 

However, I would like to sell this plan to the conservatives as well as the liberals. Consider that, under this plan, I'll be taking less of your taxes than otherwise. If this person doesn't work at all, their burden on society is even greater. When this person creates profits for their employer, those profits are taxed. Also, the worker requires somewhat less support because of their earnings.

 

 

So the question becomes, "Where do you draw the line?"

I suggest you draw the line such that if the work is valuable enough to pay the person doing it enough to support that person, then it can be kept. If the work is not valuable enough to pay the person enough for self support, then it is not worth doing, and the person should find other work.

That is not to say there should never be support. Sometimes it takes a while to develop revenue, and those cases can be supported, however, the long term goal should be self-sufficiency. If there is never a plan to be self-sufficient then other work should be found.

 

If we do as you suggest and eliminate all jobs that don't "pay the person enough for self support", then we have increased unemployment. Anytime you increase unemployment, you are lowering tax revenue, increasing the cost of support programs, and creating extra pressure (remember supply and demand?) on the wages of other workers.

 

You suggest that "the person should find other work". As if it was that easy! Don't you think they would have already taken that $20 per hour job if it existed?

 

The plan for self support comes from giving everyone the opportunity to work, develop skills, and advance up the employment ladder. If the lowest-paying job available requires someone with far more experience and skills than I have, how do I ever get started? I remember applying for jobs and all the ads said something like "must have 2 years experience". My suggested policy would give everyone the opportunity to start building that experience.

 

 

I have talked with people in the restaurant industry and many consider the push to pay less and less to people who work to be very detrimental to their business. They fully understand they will make much more if their customers get a raise than they would have to pay in additional salaries.

 

A minimum wage increase only gives a raise to a very few of the restaurant's customers. Very few people work for minimum wage...just 3% of workers 25 and over (http://www.bls.gov/cps/minwage2012.htm). Yes, if you raise the minimum wage, this number would increase, however it isn't likely to go above 5%. Also, people on minimum wage can't afford to eat out as often as people who earn more. So, the percentage of the restaurant's customers earning minimum wage will be even lower than in the general population.

 

Think about it like this... Who makes more money? The restaurant's staff or the customers? I know of no restaurant in existence where the staff makes more than the clientele. That alone should tell you who will be benefiting from a minimum wage increase. It isn't the customers, it's the staff.

 

So, only 5% (at the absolute maximum) of the restaurant's customers will see the raise you're talking about. On the other hand, the food and hospitality industries employ far more minimum wage workers than the national average (see the same link above). So, when less than 5% of your customers get a raise while you're required to pay 15% of your workers a higher salary, you're going to be less profitable. If you're already a marginal business, this could be the end.

 

By itself, this discussion of restaurants isn't critical to the question of minimum wages. The effect on a particular industry is only part of the picture.

 

 

It looks to me like you are pushing trickle down, which never works. Give more money to the owners and less to the workers, and even without customers somehow the owners will make more money?

If I mis-characterized your position, please correct me.

 

Yes, you have misstated my position. I have never advocated giving "less to the workers". In fact, I've said they should be given more. Let me briefly re-state the idea:

 

1. No minimum wage. Workers and employers are free to negotiate whatever salary they find mutually beneficial.

2. Any full-time worker who earns less than the 'minimum livable wage' or 'poverty level' or whatever level we set will get work credit (cash) from the government to supplement their income.

 

As a result of this, I would expect:

1. Employment to increase

2. The requirement for safety net programs to decrease

3. Business activity, profit, and taxes to increase

4. Imports will decrease

5. Worker experience will increase

 

I don't see who would lose. I'm always suspicious when there's no downside to something, but I'm really having a hard time finding one here. I bring it out here hoping you guys will help me find the Achilles heel. It's certainly not giving less to the workers.

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You've created a very extreme example of what I'm suggesting. Nothing wrong with that...I do the same sometimes to make a point.

 

First, no one will take a $0.05 per hour job when they can get a $0.50 per hour job. They're not going to take a $0.50 per hour job when they can get a $2.00 per hour job, and so on.

 

If $0.05 is truly the most value they can create (and I'll admit there are probably a few people like that), then I'd still say that $0.05 is still more than $0.00.

 

As for taxing you to give your money "to people who don't create value"... that is the essence of a safety net. If you are against that, then you are against the core principles of all our social programs. Every single one of them exists by taking taxes from people who can produce value and giving them to people who cannot. If that's your objection, I don't see how you can consider yourself a liberal.

 

However, I would like to sell this plan to the conservatives as well as the liberals. Consider that, under this plan, I'll be taking less of your taxes than otherwise. If this person doesn't work at all, their burden on society is even greater. When this person creates profits for their employer, those profits are taxed. Also, the worker requires somewhat less support because of their earnings.

 

 

If we do as you suggest and eliminate all jobs that don't "pay the person enough for self support", then we have increased unemployment. Anytime you increase unemployment, you are lowering tax revenue, increasing the cost of support programs, and creating extra pressure (remember supply and demand?) on the wages of other workers.

 

You suggest that "the person should find other work". As if it was that easy! Don't you think they would have already taken that $20 per hour job if it existed?

 

The plan for self support comes from giving everyone the opportunity to work, develop skills, and advance up the employment ladder. If the lowest-paying job available requires someone with far more experience and skills than I have, how do I ever get started? I remember applying for jobs and all the ads said something like "must have 2 years experience". My suggested policy would give everyone the opportunity to start building that experience.

 

 

A minimum wage increase only gives a raise to a very few of the restaurant's customers. Very few people work for minimum wage...just 3% of workers 25 and over (http://www.bls.gov/cps/minwage2012.htm). Yes, if you raise the minimum wage, this number would increase, however it isn't likely to go above 5%. Also, people on minimum wage can't afford to eat out as often as people who earn more. So, the percentage of the restaurant's customers earning minimum wage will be even lower than in the general population.

 

Think about it like this... Who makes more money? The restaurant's staff or the customers? I know of no restaurant in existence where the staff makes more than the clientele. That alone should tell you who will be benefiting from a minimum wage increase. It isn't the customers, it's the staff.

 

So, only 5% (at the absolute maximum) of the restaurant's customers will see the raise you're talking about. On the other hand, the food and hospitality industries employ far more minimum wage workers than the national average (see the same link above). So, when less than 5% of your customers get a raise while you're required to pay 15% of your workers a higher salary, you're going to be less profitable. If you're already a marginal business, this could be the end.

 

By itself, this discussion of restaurants isn't critical to the question of minimum wages. The effect on a particular industry is only part of the picture.

 

 

Yes, you have misstated my position. I have never advocated giving "less to the workers". In fact, I've said they should be given more. Let me briefly re-state the idea:

 

1. No minimum wage. Workers and employers are free to negotiate whatever salary they find mutually beneficial.

2. Any full-time worker who earns less than the 'minimum livable wage' or 'poverty level' or whatever level we set will get work credit (cash) from the government to supplement their income.

 

As a result of this, I would expect:

1. Employment to increase

2. The requirement for safety net programs to decrease

3. Business activity, profit, and taxes to increase

4. Imports will decrease

5. Worker experience will increase

 

I don't see who would lose. I'm always suspicious when there's no downside to something, but I'm really having a hard time finding one here. I bring it out here hoping you guys will help me find the Achilles heel. It's certainly not giving less to the workers.

Again, you are missing the point.

 

Perhaps we simply disagree on the current situation of the workers in the United States. Looking at the census data, it is clear that there are a great many millions of people who do not work simply because there are not adequate jobs available. The government has had an anti-employee policy for more than 30 years. The point of the policy is to reduce the number of workers to flood the labor pool. With more workers, the law of supply and demand makes wages and benefits decrease, giving more profit to corporate leaders.

 

I don't see your conclusions pertaining to your plan.

 

1. Employment might officially increase, but taking educated, skilled people and putting them in jobs which creates little to no value is not an improvement. Having people with multiple degrees going door to door selling pencils is simply not productive, and having people in non-production jobs is not beneficial to a society. Having people bringing real value does have value.

 

2. The requirement for the safety net would increase as the government had to pay more and more employees to subsidize corporate profits. It won't take long till most people require the safety net and government coffers are overflowing with their raid on the government's treasury.

 

3. Taxes won't increase, as those employeess who need extra funding won't have enough to pay taxes and the rich won't pay taxes, so essentially no one will be paying taxes, so where does the money for the subsidies come from? business would not increase as more and more people are simply not productive.

 

4. We agree imports will decrease as most people won't have money to buy anything. Exports will also decrease as no one will make anything.

 

5. Worker experience will increase but what productive company really needs someone with that kind of experience? We need experienced trained people who can be productive. With your plan, we take experienced people and train them to be unproductive.

 

So, outside of the short term gains for the very wealthy, no one gains. I don't see any way for most people to benefit. This seems just like another scam to give the rich more of the wealth we create and leaving less for ourselves.

 

Besides, if min wage goes up, those who are slightly above min wage will get wage increases. Shortly after that, those making a bit more will get raises, and the raises will go right up the wage scale.

 

The point I am trying to get you to see, is that when the min wage goes up, it goes up for everybody, not just those who were making less than the new min wage. It would not be just restaurant workers, it would be just about customer the restaurant has. Additionally, some people in the restaurant's service area would now make enough money to become customers. Why would you think that with hundreds to thousands of potential additional customers a restaurant would not have an increase in revenue?

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Again, you are missing the point.

 

Perhaps we simply disagree on the current situation of the workers in the United States. Looking at the census data, it is clear that there are a great many millions of people who do not work simply because there are not adequate jobs available. The government has had an anti-employee policy for more than 30 years. The point of the policy is to reduce the number of workers to flood the labor pool. With more workers, the law of supply and demand makes wages and benefits decrease, giving more profit to corporate leaders.

 

I don't see your conclusions pertaining to your plan.

 

1. Employment might officially increase, but taking educated, skilled people and putting them in jobs which creates little to no value is not an improvement. Having people with multiple degrees going door to door selling pencils is simply not productive, and having people in non-production jobs is not beneficial to a society. Having people bringing real value does have value.

 

Which is better: 1) a job that produces some value, or 2) no job, producing no value?

 

We're not talking about selling pencils here. We're talking about return of the American textile industry. We're talking about making electronics in America again. That is real value. Why would you think it's not?

 

 

 

2. The requirement for the safety net would increase as the government had to pay more and more employees to subsidize corporate profits. It won't take long till most people require the safety net and government coffers are overflowing with their raid on the government's treasury.

 

Initially, this would cost some money. Paying people a living wage doesn't come free. I think that, over the medium term, it pays for itself as more people produce more value for society. We could talk about that more if cost is your main concern.

 

I don't understand your second sentence. Did you mean to say "corporate coffers"? Remember the payments go to workers, not corporations. Businesses will still need to compete with each other for workers. And, any profits will be taxed.

 

 

3. Taxes won't increase, as those employeess who need extra funding won't have enough to pay taxes and the rich won't pay taxes, so essentially no one will be paying taxes, so where does the money for the subsidies come from? business would not increase as more and more people are simply not productive.

4. We agree imports will decrease as most people won't have money to buy anything. Exports will also decrease as no one will make anything.

5. Worker experience will increase but what productive company really needs someone with that kind of experience? We need experienced trained people who can be productive. With your plan, we take experienced people and train them to be unproductive.

 

This is the heart of our disagreement. You've reached some conclusions here that I don't understand. If these conclusions are, in fact, a probable outcome then I definitely don't like this plan either. Could you please explain how these things would happen? Why would people stop making things? Why would people leave good paying jobs for bad ones? Why would companies train people to be unproductive? None of this is obvious to me.

 

 

 

So, outside of the short term gains for the very wealthy, no one gains. I don't see any way for most people to benefit. This seems just like another scam to give the rich more of the wealth we create and leaving less for ourselves.

Besides, if min wage goes up, those who are slightly above min wage will get wage increases. Shortly after that, those making a bit more will get raises, and the raises will go right up the wage scale.

The point I am trying to get you to see, is that when the min wage goes up, it goes up for everybody, not just those who were making less than the new min wage. It would not be just restaurant workers, it would be just about customer the restaurant has. Additionally, some people in the restaurant's service area would now make enough money to become customers. Why would you think that with hundreds to thousands of potential additional customers a restaurant would not have an increase in revenue?

 

That's a good point about the 'ripple effect'...the idea that raising minimum wages affects the wages of others. Here's an article that discusses some of the research into the minimum wage ripple effect: http://equitablegrowth.org/research/raising-minimum-wage-ripples-workforce/. Studies have indeed found a ripple effect. However, it's not as large as one would hope: "The authors find that the sharpest wage increases due to raising the minimum wage occur for workers at the bottom 5 percent of the wage scale. A ten percent increase in the minimum wage raises that 5th percentile wage by about 2.9 percent."

 

In other words, a 10% increase in the minimum wage spilled over to give the 5% of workers with the lowest pay a 2.9% raise.

 

Whatever else you might say about my plan, it puts more money than that into workers' hands. Since the bottom 15% of our workers are currently earning less than poverty wages, they would all see an increase. My plan doesn't only help those unemployed or making minimum wage...it would help everyone earning less than a living wage.

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I thought of another way to try to explain my proposal. Think of it as a minimum wage. The worker gets a minimum wage for his effort. The only difference is how that wage is paid. The current practice is to require the employer to pay it. My proposal would have the government pay.

 

I see our current minimum wage approach much like the Republicans' wrong-headed effort to privatize Social Security. I see the minimum wage as part of the security net and believe the responsibility to pay it belongs to all of us. It's not something that should remain privatized.

 

Under the current process, a business can simply eliminate the job if they think the minimum wage is too high. That doesn't help anyone. Work goes undone, a person loses their employment, and the government safety net is taxed to support the laid off worker. Competition from another unemployed worker puts downward pressure on everyone's wages.

 

However, If government was responsible for paying the difference between the market rate for a job and the minimum wage then the job would not be eliminated. The person could keep their job and remain a productive participant in the economy. The business will remain profitable and pay taxes.

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If I understand it correctly, you're saying that whenever a law is passed that benefits 'the rich' more than 'the poor and middle class', then that's an example of 'the rich' waging class warfare on the rest of us. Is the reverse also true? Are ACA and Dodd-Frank examples of class warfare against rich people?

 

Now here's what I would consider genuine, bona fide, bottom against top, class warfare: A wall to wall, 100% unionized work force. Collective bargaining for all workers and lower management. THAT would make bottom to top class warfare a reality.... THAT would be REAL push back.... Not a .001% paranoid, fantasy.

 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

 

But in response: Considering today's upward spiraling tornado of increasing economic inequality, every time a law is passed that benefits the rich more than the poor, it is an example of the ultra rich waging class warfare on the rest of us. Only the rich and their corporations can buy politicians to pass these laws. The rest of us can only vote in a system increasingly rigged by, you guessed it.... Politicians in the pockets of the ultra-rich. It works both ways as the ultra rich make politicians rich.

Trump:--

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/donald-trump-plutocrat-populist_55afcf39e4b0a9b948534f21

You know, I give to everybody - snip - If you need something, you call 'em, they treat you great. Like royalty. Like royalty. And a businessman, a businessperson, knows the game ... If you can't get rich dealing with politicians, there's something wrong with you.

 

Dodd Frank not only protects the consumer, but helps protect the banks against another financial crisis and more taxpayer funded bailouts.... Another way wealth in funneled up to the top. So how is this reverse class warfare? It protects everyone. But Dodd-Frank is too weak. We need the return of Glass-Steagall.

 

The ACA helps protect patients from financial ruin and is a profit-maker for the insurance industry. Indeed, the insurance companies did not oppose it then or now. Again, the ACA is too weak. We need single-payer.

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Which is better: 1) a job that produces some value, or 2) no job, producing no value?

 

We're not talking about selling pencils here. We're talking about return of the American textile industry. We're talking about making electronics in America again. That is real value. Why would you think it's not?

 

 

Initially, this would cost some money. Paying people a living wage doesn't come free. I think that, over the medium term, it pays for itself as more people produce more value for society. We could talk about that more if cost is your main concern.

 

I don't understand your second sentence. Did you mean to say "corporate coffers"? Remember the payments go to workers, not corporations. Businesses will still need to compete with each other for workers. And, any profits will be taxed.

 

 

This is the heart of our disagreement. You've reached some conclusions here that I don't understand. If these conclusions are, in fact, a probable outcome then I definitely don't like this plan either. Could you please explain how these things would happen? Why would people stop making things? Why would people leave good paying jobs for bad ones? Why would companies train people to be unproductive? None of this is obvious to me.

 

 

 

That's a good point about the 'ripple effect'...the idea that raising minimum wages affects the wages of others. Here's an article that discusses some of the research into the minimum wage ripple effect: http://equitablegrowth.org/research/raising-minimum-wage-ripples-workforce/. Studies have indeed found a ripple effect. However, it's not as large as one would hope: "The authors find that the sharpest wage increases due to raising the minimum wage occur for workers at the bottom 5 percent of the wage scale. A ten percent increase in the minimum wage raises that 5th percentile wage by about 2.9 percent."

 

In other words, a 10% increase in the minimum wage spilled over to give the 5% of workers with the lowest pay a 2.9% raise.

 

Whatever else you might say about my plan, it puts more money than that into workers' hands. Since the bottom 15% of our workers are currently earning less than poverty wages, they would all see an increase. My plan doesn't only help those unemployed or making minimum wage...it would help everyone earning less than a living wage.

I think the difference is in our viewpoint of what is going on with workers in the US economy. From my point of view, wages and benefits have been falling for more than 30 years. Millions of people have simply dropped out of the workforce because there are no jobs for them. Looking at census data, nearly half of the available workers do not work. The GOP often cites their stat that 47% of people don't pay income tax. I take that to mean, 47% of people don't make enough to pay income tax, which means they are working at jobs that don't support them. More and more people are losing their jobs. To keep up with the number of people being added to the labor pool, the US should add over 300,000 jobs. That hasn't happened for a long time. There has been a downward trend for decades, with lowering wages and elimination of benefits. When I was younger, I saw a time in which more jobs were being added to the economy and wages and the standard of living were increasing.

 

So, why is this happening? The reason is the push for more profits going to the people who own the corporations, and less to those who do the work. If you can hire someone to work for $5 per hour, why would you pay $6? Then why pay the $5 when you can pay 50 cents per hour? Why pay 50 cents per hour when you can pay 5 cents per hour? You charge the going rate for the product you make. Lower wages does not translate into lower prices at the store; it translates into more profit.

 

The rich hire lobbyists and donate to candidates to make sure they get to write the laws; and they write the laws to their own advantage. For example, for all practical purposes they wrote laws to get rid of unions. They wrote laws so that they could move their factories to low wage nations, and have no tariffs. They made sure the laws against companies who hire illegals are not enforced so that even in the US they could hire people at less than min wage to further flood the job market. If there are 1000 people looking for the same job, you should lower the wage so that only 10 apply, then pick the best of the 10.

 

They have put in place laws to prevent competition. For example, China is allowed to manipulate their currency so that the retail price of a China made product is less than the raw materials in the US.

 

For me, I would rather have an improving economy. The way to have an improving economy is to be able to increase the value of the work done. That typically is done with improving infrastructure. Before China could compete they had to improve their infrastructure so that they could move the finished product to the ports, factories had to be built, electricity had to be produced, water had to be available. While in US dollars, Chinese pay is low, they still get tons of vacation and holiday pay. They get free housing, they get free medical care. So while the US worker cannot compete, it is on the basis of currency manipulation.

 

Your method does not improve the value of the work (no increasing productivity). The electronics industry, textile industry, or any other manufacturing industry would not return, simply because you still need raw materials to make anything, and that costs more than the finished product in many other nations. Companies cannot compete in the US even if labor was free, and the factory and equipment was given to them for free, and electricity and heating and cooling were free.

 

What I see happening with your plan is that corporations will see profit in having people working in very low productive jobs, taking the profit, without having to pay for the labor. This would decrease the productivity of the nation.

 

What would stop me from forming a corporation, and hiring all my relatives, and then everyone gets all they need without having to do any real work? I won't make any profit from my relatives, but that is OK. They get paid and don't have to do anything. I get paid too, since my corporation isn't profitable enough.

 

The one good thing I see in your plan, allowing the previous paragraph, is then everyone gets essentially a guaranteed income, fulfilling all needs. Then companies would have to compete for workers and people would not waste their time. People would then do what they consider valuable, and not get stuck in jobs they don't want. So who would do the menial work? Who decides what kind of income is adequate?

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