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Letters to the Editor

Wealth gap

April 27, 2010

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To the editor:

I have just returned from a driving trip to California. I listened to the radio the entire 4,000 miles and, other than country music, the programming was mostly conservative talk shows. With my being a lifelong liberal, I have intentionally avoided such dreadful and dangerous diatribe but I continued to listen and could hardly believe the flood of hateful rhetoric.

These men — Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and various imitators — were basically inciting the listeners to rebel against their government. Their reasoning was filled with exaggerations, half-truths or outright lies. They called upon all Americans to pray to God and to have their weapons ready to “take back your government” and “make them pay for the horrendous and ruinous Obamacare act.” These gullible listeners were actually being poisoned against legislation which was especially directed toward their best interests.

In my opinion, the capitalistic conservatives were merely advocating the policies begun by Ronald Reagan and continued by the George Bushes, father and son, which were to lower taxation rates for the wealthy class.

From the “Social Science Quarterly:” “Americans have the highest income inequality in the rich world and over the last 20-30 years, and Americans have also experienced the greatest increase in income inequality among the rich nations … the majority of large gains are indeed at the top of the distribution.” This is the base reason behind the conservative capitalists disagreement with the current ruling party where President Obama is attempting to correct the wealth imbalance in the U.S.

Comments

Richard Heckler 4 years, 7 months ago

Tax breaks for the wealthy corporations and the wealthier 1% = tax increases to everyone else.

The local,state and federal debts do not stop growing nor do they magically disappear.

Tax dollar loopholes = many many wealthy actually pay no taxes in spite of tax rates = tax increases to all others in order to make up the revenue lost.

It's very simple. The middle class STILL pay the bills in spite of their becoming worth less.

Returning incumbents to office at local,state and federal levels is doing the middle class no good even in Lawrence,Kansas.

Almost every time our city commission approves the consent agenda and/or NEW projects it increases and expands our tax bills. Then come property tax increases TOO by way of increasing the value of our property aka INFLATED in order to cover the expansion of new projects aka expanding OUR tax bills.

OUR expanded NEW tax dollar spending is NOT paying back the taxpayer!

rse1979 4 years, 7 months ago

"Tax breaks for the wealthy corporations and the wealthier 1% = tax increases to everyone else."

So decreased govt. spending isn't an option?

headdoctor 4 years, 7 months ago

Merrill, I have to wonder. Is this a case of don't do as I do but do as I think or say? If you run a business and take all the deductions, expenses, and write offs available to you, to pay the lowest amount of taxes, are you not doing exactly what you are complaining of what others are doing?

I will answer that for you. YES YOU ARE. The only difference is your income may be less than a larger company but the benefit of being able to limit your tax burden is the very same. You have options available to you that the working stiff can't even come close to. You even have the option to form a corporation if you haven't already to be able to bounce assets back and forth to limit your taxation even more.

If you had any credibility it is gone. Get down off your soap box because you are no different than those you proclaim you are fighting against.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 7 months ago

The USA cannot afford the republican NOT party. Tea Baggers have no sense only violent rhetoric and they are bank robbers and war mongers!

Think about it. In the past 30 years the repub party has been in involved two major home loan scandals that effectively took the USA economy down the tubes. One is too damn many but twice represents repub economic policy. Wreckanomics is a failed economic policy. In fact wreckanomics is beginning to smell like well planned crimes.

The republican party have become masters at putting millions upon millions upon millions of people out of work. AND stealing taxpayers retirement plans along the way.

What Repubs do with a remarkable degree of consistency is wreck the economy,initiate huge movements of shipping jobs abroad aka the Reagan-Bush Global Economy and try to wreck social security and medicare.

Is there a definite pattern? Absolutely!

  1. The Reagan/ Bush Home Loan Scandal http://rationalrevolution0.tripod.com/war/bush_family_and_the_s.htm

  2. The Bush/Cheney Home Loan Scandal http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2009/0709macewan.html

  3. What did Bush and Henry Paulson do with the bail out money? http://www.democracynow.org/2009/9/10/good_billions_after_bad_one_year

  4. Why did GW Bush Lie About Social Security?( This would cost taxpayers $4 trillion and wreck the economy) http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2005/0505orr.html

  5. Still A Bad Idea – Bush Tax Cuts http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2001/0301miller.html

  6. The "tea parties" BTW are part of the wreckanomics program funded by the Koch Brothers... well known oil billionaires. These thinkers back a tax payers bill of rights which is another scheme to reward the upper 1% which is designed to wreck local and state governments.

http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2005/0705rebne.html

All of the above displays reckless economic behavior that which drains the cookie jars.

What do Reagan,Bush and Bush republicans plan for 2010. Start the typical repub character assassination campaign which in essence is a massive cover-up scheme for the financial disasters that illustrate how the repubs are NOT the financial giants of our time.

Flap Doodle 4 years, 7 months ago

Woo hoo! Reagan/Bush Home Loan link sighting! Gotta be a least a couple of days since we've seen that one!

bruno2 4 years, 7 months ago

If the gov't (elephants) created the imbalance, it is indeed the gov'ts job to fix it.

Brent Garner 4 years, 7 months ago

So it is wrong for those immoral, despicable capitalists to take all that money from us! They're nothing but corrupt people anyway! But it is moral for government to take all that money from us and give it to someone else and there is no risk of the government officials favoring their friends and allies or buying votes with our tax dollars? Seems a stretch to me!

devobrun 4 years, 7 months ago

What does a wealthy person do with the wealth?

1)Spend it on stuff. This creates jobs for people who make, sell, distribute stuff. 2) Invest it. This is money used by others to buy stuff to build a business to provide the stuff that the wealthy person will buy with the other part of the wealth.

Both uses of the money stimulates the economy, which raises tax collections by the government.

When the government prints money and sends it out into the economy, they call it "stimulus". When rich people spend money and stimulate the economy it is called greed.


If Mr Hassur was in charge, the money would be transferred from the wealthy to the poor. They would spend it on low cost goods from China. Few people in the U.S. would get a piece of that money. The wealthy would invest in Chinese securities and get the money back. The poor would not get jobs from this money, just handouts. The poor stay poor, and the rich get richer. Thanks Mr. Hassur for caring so much.

Oh, wait, that is what is happening now, without Mr. Hassur in charge. Nevermind.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 7 months ago

"What does a wealthy person do with the wealth?

1)Spend it on stuff. This creates jobs for people who make, sell, distribute stuff."

So does everybody else.

"2) Invest it. This is money used by others to buy stuff to build a business to provide the stuff that the wealthy person will buy with the other part of the wealth."

Money spent on investments is considered a business expense, and therefore not taxed. So increased income taxes on the wealthy would have zero effect on business investment.

"When the government prints money and sends it out into the economy, they call it "stimulus". When rich people spend money and stimulate the economy it is called greed."

What is the relative benefit to the greater society and the economy when a rich person buys a McMansion or a $70,000 car, as opposed to when government builds a school, or a highway, or a hospital?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 7 months ago

"I had no deduction for a so-called "business expense." If my investments happened to have increased in value, I paid tax on the amount of the increase. It's called capital gains."

If you hadn't taken the profit as income, but invested it instead, then there would have been no income tax. Increasing the average wages of the lower and middle classes would increase demand for all manner of things, which would in turn stimulate investment. Insisting that the economy can be stimulated only by the wealthy is nothing but elitism.

"You further show you ignorance by not realizing that the 'wealthy' buying the mcmansion or the expensive car is what fuels our economy."

Any money spent by anybody, including the government, for anything, fuels the economy. That's not to say all spending gets equally desired results (a McMansion or a luxury car certainly provides far more benefits to the purchasers than to anyone else.) Bottom line is that money spent by rich folks doesn't have a superior effect in stimulating the economy simply because it's spent by rich folks.

"Wealth creation is what has made the U.S. economy the most vibrant and successful in the history of the world."

And who creates the real wealth? The workers who do the actual work, and it wasn't until unions, child labor laws and widely available educational opportunities allowed the US economy to truly flourish.

"And bozo and the rest of the leftists want to kill it."

And elitist right-wingers want an oligarchy of 1% of the population trickling down on everyone else whatever crumbs they feel they can spare.

devobrun 4 years, 7 months ago

My favorite is this one, Solomon: "So increased taxes on the wealthy would have zero effect on business investment".

This is sublime. Definition of sublime: well-meaning ineptitude that rises to empyreal (celestial or heavenly) absurdity.


The government cannot afford to build any new schools. They are closing them down because tax revenue is drying up.Kansas City Mo closed half of their schools earlier this year.

The government isn't building new hospitals either. Again, the expense on new facilities by government simply soaks the economy and tax revenue decreases.

When was the last time an Interstate was built?

Harrisburg, Pa just announced that they held a special 3 hour meeting to consider bankruptcy. Seems that the government guaranteed a loan to build a waste to energy incinerator a few years back. It is grossly unproductive and the costs are killing the town. Now they are looking at chapter 9 filing to ward off creditors to whom Harrisburg owes money and will miss another payment May 1.


The benefit to society when a rich person buys a $70,000 car is that a bunch of workers got paid....pretty well. The car serves as an example to all people who see it that people are able to build cars that are comfortable, sleek and beautiful, safe, drive like a dream and last a long time.

If everybody aspires to fine workmanship, beauty, safety and excellence, the world is a better place.

If bozo aspires to bankrupt incinerators, then you can have the trash, bozo, I'll take the Beemer.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 7 months ago

Too bad she's dead, or you could submit this post as script idea to Leni Riefenstahl.

Newell_Post 4 years, 7 months ago

With no restrictions, the extremely wealthy person leaves most of it to his/her children and grandchildren, creating dynastic wealth. Dynastic wealth eventually leads to plutocracy, which eventually leads to revolution. This is not far removed from Polybius's theory of balance being required for a sustainable government.

devobrun 4 years, 7 months ago

Newell,

Not in this economy, unless you are talking about the Kennedys. Nope, Ted Turner, Bill Gates, and many others are super rich. But their progeny will only be comfortable, but not powerful.


Who in this country promises to be super wealthy? Who will be the movers and shakers 20 years from now.

Energy magnates. Those who manipulate the energy markets and position themselves to benefit. Could be oil, coal, solar, wind, water.....could be CO2.

But CO2 isn't energy

When it is demonized as bad energy, it is just the same as energy. There is a market for it. It is bought and sold.

Another example of created reality; Kinda like wealth. Created reality.

Real wealth comes from wisdom. A notion that is so far removed from knowledge and information that today it is a lost entity. Where is the wisdom market? Seems more important than a CO2 market, doncha think?

Nah, I think I'll go watch TV and let the experts decide what is best for me.

cato_the_elder 4 years, 7 months ago

The "incitement" of which the letter writer complains mirrors precisely the attitude of the Left in America during the Bush years, which attitude was itself incited by Al Gore's ill-advised challenge of the election results in Florida - an election that every major news source that later investigated it, including the New York Times, ultimately found was won by George W. Bush. The schism that resulted from Gore's selfish ploy has divided us deeply ever since, perhaps more than we have been since the Civil War. Whatever the letter writer heard on the radio cannot be any worse than the invective constantly heaped upon the Bush administration by the Left during the Bush years - the only difference is that conservative talk radio sells because it has a wide audience, while liberal talk radio has been an abject failure. The letter writer is very naive if he believes that the views he heard on the radio were only those of the talk show hosts. Many millions of Americans are appalled by what Obama and his henchmen are trying to do to this country, and will be heard from in November. What the letter writer needs is a CD player in his car - unless, as I suspect, his own personal hatred of conservatives caused him to listen to the radio in order to further that hatred.

remember_username 4 years, 7 months ago

I disagree. I believe the schism can be placed squarely on the shoulders of the people and the ease upon which their opinions can be manipulated by an industry that feeds solely upon partisan emotions.

BigPrune 4 years, 7 months ago

The largest difference between rich and poor happened during Clinton's watch, just as an expanded difference between rich and poor will happen during Obama's watch.

It's the whole "do as I say, not as I do" liberal creed. Of course it's that, or it's "the other guys did it" blame game the democrats (who never want to take responsibility of their own actions) use as an excuse.

My statements are factual. Letter writer's are koolaid induced.

bruno2 4 years, 7 months ago

Prune, show some facts. You always state you're factual but never back it up. That's BS, pure and simple. You have no credibility until you provide some reputable and provable facts with supporting links.

devobrun 4 years, 7 months ago

Please limit your comments to assertions or opinions....unless you provide references to measurements, data, information which can be tested and verified.

Sure, the wealth gap probably increased most during the Clinton era. But the use of the word "fact" is in need of a reference. Otherwise, I must reject your assertion on the basis of sloppy thinking.

I am diligent in my defense of the proper use of the word fact. I often catch liberals on these blogs invoking the fact word. Don't you do it, too.

John Hamm 4 years, 7 months ago

merill "Tea Baggers have no sense only violent rhetoric and they are bank robbers and war mongers!" and I say the Democrats are looters and moochers!

rtwngr 4 years, 7 months ago

If the Reagan/Bush lovers complain too much we can always march them out into the Siberian night and execute them Lenin style. That'll shut them up.

BigAl 4 years, 7 months ago

C'mon Tom. The right spent and wasted 8 years going after Clinton. I know O'Reilly doesn't agree with me but Bush had a cakewalk compared to Clinton.

You spew so much hate for Democrats that it kind of rings hollow when you attack the left for the same thing. You rarely if ever can make a post without condeming someone on the left or even in the middle of the political spectrum.

We all know there are kooks on both sides of the line. Bush didn't orchestrate 9/11 and Obama isn't setting up death panels. (no matter what Palin says)....

BigAl 4 years, 7 months ago

I also try not to listen to her but you are right, she is easy to look at. I do think you are wrong about the left being nervous about her. I simply don't think she could win a national election and I doubt if she could stand up to a long campaign, on her own. I actually think the left would welcome her to run for President. I also think that the republicans know this and will field a much stronger candidate.

BigAl 4 years, 7 months ago

Actually, it is the corrupt right wing media that props her up. Without her being a paid Fox News Contributor, fair and balanced of course, she wouldn't have near the air time.

devobrun 4 years, 7 months ago

I turn off the sound on the tube when Palin speaks. Frankly, I'm not sure what she stands for. When she was a VP candidate, I tried to listen, but found her voice so annoying that I couldn't.

So now she is just eye-candy.

George Lippencott 4 years, 7 months ago

Maybe we should ask a simple question. Is the "government" in the efforts to redistribute wealth more equitably taking from the middle or the top to give to the bottom? I don't see Mr. Turner out there grumping but I do see middle class tax payers? Guess they just do not understand!

devobrun 4 years, 7 months ago

My 6:24 am post suggest the way that the wealthy maintain their wealth, while the poor get (from the government) just enough to sustain the wealthy.

The middle class gets hammered on taxes, usury rates on credit cards and false promises regarding home investments. The jobs are going overseas, the investments are also (either directly in Asian mutual funds or via multinationals whose profits are made on the backs of Asian peasants).

Meanwhile, inner city youth are offered: Beans, lettuce, public transportation and birkies and guilt by the left. A poor paying job, offered by the right, that is just enough to go to Wallmart. Do nothing, draw money from the government and live like the guy in the line above. Rob a liquor store, buy some drugs wholesale, sell them on the street with your homies and buy a fancy car.

Some society we live in.

somedude20 4 years, 7 months ago

i dedicate this song to all of the people on both side of the fence that act like crazy paranoid androids, cheers: Paranoid Android by Radiohead ....."When I am king you will be first against the wall With your opinion which is of no consequence at all What's that, what's that?

Ambition makes you look pretty ugly Kicking, squealing, Gucci little piggy

You don't remember, you don't remember Why don't you remember my name? Off with his head, man, off with his head, man Why don't you remember my name? I guess he does

Rain down, rain down, come on rain down on me From a great height, from a great height, height Rain down, rain down, come on rain down on me From a great height, from a great height, height

That's it sir, you're leaving The crackle of pig skin The dust and the screaming The yuppies networking The panic, the vomit The panic, the vomit God loves his children God loves his children, yeah"

devobrun 4 years, 7 months ago

Ambition may be ugly, but the lack of it.......... is death.

Yoda51 4 years, 7 months ago

Ever notice that all the wailing & gnashing of teeth depends on who is in or out of office at the time? Or put another way, it depends on whose ox is being gored. Today it's the Repubs. Tomorrow it'll be the Dems.

Chris Golledge 4 years, 7 months ago

I hear Somalia has a very limited form of government.

Seems like the situation is clear enough. A lot of people are angry and looking around for someone to blame. The easiest target is whoever happens to be in charge. The conservative Republicans just got out of power; so, they are leveraging the anger that people are feeling against their team's opponents. The real question is why are so many people angry, and I tend to agree with Richard Hassur that a big part of it is the level of inequality that average Joes see between them and the wealthy.

Indulging in a dig: If a PAD is a Progressive, Articulate, Democrat, what would be the opposite of that? A Regressive, Inarticulate, Republican?

Yoda51 4 years, 7 months ago

How 'bout a Regressive, Inarticulate, 'Publican - RIP for short?

Yoda51 4 years, 7 months ago

Or maybe a Regressive, Inarticulate, non-Democrat - RIND for short?

devobrun 4 years, 7 months ago

Anger arises from personal attacks and/or frustration. If everybody has at least a little victim in them and they have no recourse, they get angry.

When W was in office, he surely didn't make conservatives happy. Now that O is in office, I know a lot of liberals who are unhappy with him.

Attacked and frustrated by ineffective, disabled, compromises.

In other words, politics.

Since science, business, education and other traditionally non-political things have become political, we're all frustrated and angry.

Blame politics.

Mixolydian 4 years, 7 months ago

This whole pointless letter could have been avoided if the LTE writer had just tuned into FM instead of AM.

Who listens to AM radio anymore?

devobrun 4 years, 7 months ago

I listen to WGN AM (Chicago) from dusk 'till about 11:00 pm regularly. Extension 720 is the name of the program and it is run by Dr. Milton Rosenburg.

Intellectual, erudite, and clever.

whats_going_on 4 years, 7 months ago

And you just contributed to their ratings by listening, not to mention came out in a pretty bad mood, I imagine.

Don't listen to those freaks. They are the very definition of creepy.

JustNoticed 4 years, 7 months ago

recommended reading: Thom Hartmann, "Threshold"; Chris Hedges, "Empire of Illusion, The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle" and "American Fascists".

notajayhawk 4 years, 7 months ago

"These gullible listeners were actually being poisoned against legislation which was especially directed toward their best interests."

The typical, entitled, elitist liberal matra: 'If you don't agree with me, it's because you can't possibly understand it as well as I do'.

"This is the base reason behind the conservative capitalists disagreement with the current ruling party where President Obama is attempting to correct the wealth imbalance in the U.S."

"Ruling party", Dick? When did you guys annoint Obama as your king?

And what, exactly, needs to be "corrected", Dick? Everyone should have exactly the same? (Psssst - Dick - maybe you don't read the papers any more than you listen to the radio, but communism didn't work.)

People in this country used to admire wealth as something to aspire to. But thanks to the worthless slugs like this LTE writer, the people on the bottom no longer aspire to rise to the top, they want those at the top torn down to their level.


just_another_bozo_on_this_bus (anonymous) replies…

"Money spent on investments is considered a business expense, and therefore not taxed. So increased income taxes on the wealthy would have zero effect on business investment."

Um - except for the pesky little detail that income is taxed before it can be invested. So yes, genius, reducing a person's disposable income through higher taxes does have an effect on investment. (Not to mention that for investments in successful ventures, the proceeds are taxed again.)

Your understanding of economics and taxation is astounding, Herr Klowne.

devobrun 4 years, 7 months ago

Governments all over the west are slumping. At the same time that revenues decrease because of private sector decline, the governments assume more responsibility for the people.

Bozo is happy that the stock market went down today. The wealthy lost money. Obama is not because he knows that lost capital gains means lost tax revenue. It also means lost revenue from inheritance taxes.

Why, it even means less revenue from big boys for financing the upcoming elections.

Bozo will now want government to buy out farmers who can't afford inheriting their granddaddy's farm. He'll want government to bail out pension funds that can't pay those annuities. He'll want the government to even bail itself out when all the government paper comes due.

Default and start again with a new completely socialist society. I know, a workers paradise. All for one and one for all.

I read a book by Karl Marx once.........

Jimo 4 years, 7 months ago

I'm sure the foul-mouthed TeaPotty will be protesting Arizona's overreaching government's intrusion on the liberties of American citizens. I mean, it's not like they're racist bigots or anything. They're just "real" Americans.

While 54% of White foul-mouthed TeaPotty supporters believe Latinos to be hardworking, only 44% think them intelligent, and even fewer, 42% believe Latinos to be trustworthy. But hey, that's better than what they think of blacks, women, non-Christians, or gays.

notajayhawk 4 years, 7 months ago

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus (anonymous) replies…

"If you hadn't taken the profit as income, but invested it instead, then there would have been no income tax."

Once again demonstrating the monumental ignorance we've come to expect from boohoozo.

Your statement would only be true if the investor lost his original profit in the reinvestment. If that were the case, then there would be no tax, true - but that's because there would be no profit to tax. Otherwise, eventually the taxes will be due.

"Bottom line is that money spent by rich folks doesn't have a superior effect in stimulating the economy simply because it's spent by rich folks."

Yep, if only General Motors had had a poor person investing $5 instead of the government investing billions. Or perhaps if they had just taken that $5 and bought a new house with it ...

"And who creates the real wealth? The workers who do the actual work, and it wasn't until unions, child labor laws and widely available educational opportunities allowed the US economy to truly flourish."

(And yet the economy flourished while union membership steadily declined to its lowest level in 60 or 70 years.)

Yep, that's right, Herr Klowne, it's the workers that make the economy grow. Power to the proletariat!!!!

The average autoworker makes a pretty good buck, boohoohoozo. A lot better than they'd make on their own. There isn't a single one of them that has the necessary equipment or materials to build a single car in a year without the resources of the company that employs them (paid for by the money from those that had it to invest). The bottom line is that it's a heck of a lot easier for General Motors to replace the workers (let alone a worker) than it would be for the workers (let alone a worker) to replace General Motors. (That would be the workers that haven't already been replaced by machines that do 100 times the work with better quality for a lot less money.) Isn't that why your buddy Obama bought them the company?

tbaker 4 years, 7 months ago

Mr. Hassur is a truely unfortunate person to belive: "These gullible listeners were actually being poisoned against legislation which was especially directed toward their best interests."

Best interests? Says who? Don't I get to decide what is in MY best interest Mr. Hassur? Since when is that the role of my government to chose for me?

Mr. Hassur obvisouly belives this kind of altrusim is more important than individual rights and freedoms as expressed by the right to private property. The contemporary liberal mind in the US today demonstrates over and over that individual Americans have no other reason to exist other than to serve the needs of others. They firmly assert their belief, as Mr. Hassur did in his piece, that eliminating self-interest as a moral imperative is their goal.

Our country was founded by people who did not believe they were born to be servants to the state. They proclaimed this in our Declaration of Independance by stating clearly that the rights of the individual are unalienable, AND that these rights exist whether you choose to recognize them or not. To Comrade Hassur, someone like me who will refuse to serve-up the fruit of my labor so as to "serve" others at my expense is some how harming those others by denying them their, in this case, "right" to healthcare.

The soul purpose of our Constitution was, and is, to establish and maintain the supremacy of individual rights over that of our society and our government. Wise up Hassur. You've been poisoned.

independant1 4 years, 7 months ago

You could keep politics clean if you could figure out some way so your government never hired anyone. (Will Rogers)

Olympics 4 years, 7 months ago

After eight years in the White House (with Snopes.com around all that time), George W. Bush has been the subject of 47 internet rumors. After less than two years in office, Barack Obama has been the subject of 87, or nearly twice as many.

Even more telling is the relative accuracy of those stories. For Bush, 20 rumors, or 43%, are true. Only 17, or 36%, are false. The remainder are of mixed veracity (4), undetermined (4), or unclassifiable (2).

In contrast, for Obama only 8 of the 87 rumors, or 9%, are true, and a whopping 59, or 68%, are whoppers. There are 16 of mixed veracity and 3 undetermined.

headdoctor 4 years, 7 months ago

The whole subject of wealth and the redistribution of wealth is laughable. There has not been one president Republican or Democrat in several decades that was in office when redistribution of wealth didn't occur. The only real difference over the years is the upper level tax bracket percentages and where, to who or what the wealth was distributed to.

What is so amusing is the right want to blame all of the redistribution of wealth on the left. Some of the largest total amounts of redistribution that went directly to lower income people in the form of income tax refunds instead of social programs started during the Reagon administration.

Do carry on with the argument. I wouldn't want to let facts get in the road of a good rant or a fight of us against them.

jafs 4 years, 7 months ago

tbaker,

We also formed our nation in order to "provide for the common welfare", a phrase that you don't hear much about these days.

jafs 4 years, 7 months ago

I know you are, but what am I? It takes one to know one. I'm rubber, you're glue.

Etc.

I was going to write a thoughtful response, but since we're at a 3rd grade level,...

If you're interested in discussing the issue further, see my post below and please refrain from name-calling.

jafs 4 years, 7 months ago

And, even Adam Smith postulated that we need to operate from "enlightened self-interest", which is different from short-sighted, narrow-visioned, greedy self-interest.

independant1 4 years, 7 months ago

We don’t have to worry about anything. No nation in the history of the world was ever sitting as pretty. If we want anything, all we have to do is go and buy it on credit. (Will Rogers)

jafs 4 years, 7 months ago

It is an interesting, and difficult task, to attempt to understand and apply the basic principles of our Constitution to situations which didn't exist at the time, and to sort out when it's appropriate to follow exact meanings of the time.

For example, the phrase "All men are created equal" clearly didn't apply to black men or women at the time. Slavery wasn't abolished until the Civil War, women didn't obtain the right to vote until the 20th century, and black people didn't actually obtain anything like equality until the Civil Rights Act (and may still not have achieved it).

So, should we revert to the meaning of the time?

Another example - the Second Amendment is debated fiercely as to whether the right to bear arms is basic, or secondary to the formation of a militia. Either way, though, the "arms" referred to were simple muskets, not automatic weapons.

Should we use the original meaning of arms?

My point was that although individual rights/freedoms were clearly very important to the founders, they also were forming a union and had some sense of wanting it to work well for most, if not all, citizens (not including black people or women, of course).

Liberals tend to be more accepting of changing our laws to reflect changes in society without thinking critically about the original intentions, but conservatives seem to pick and choose when/how they follow those.

Douglas Garst 4 years, 7 months ago

Richard, if you believe that the United States is the most unfair in wealth equality because there are people who work hard to increase their income by inventing, educating themselves, sitting aside just 5% of their income and learning how to invest their money with the least amount of risk, and be willing to relocate to obtain better and higher paying jobs then you should seek out those "other wealthy nations with better wealth balance" such as Denmark, Sweden, France, Italy, Greece, Spain, Venezuela, etc that have a more socialist wealth redistribution.

Tell me Richard, do you have food stamps? What about Section 8 housing? Do you quality for Earned Income Credit but are not applying for it? If you don't have health insurance, have you ever been denied health treatment at an emergency room? Do you ask for assistance from your local church if you are not being provided food stamps?

I have listened to Rush Limbaugh for over 20 years and I have never heard Rush urge anyone to bear arms to take back their government - I must have missed those programs.

Tell me Richard, do you invest money regardless of the amount? Do you ever listen to radio shows that have investment programs or do you believe these people are simply the wealthy1% and are just trying to rip you off?

Richard, I certainly did not make or even come close to the income of the rich, those making more than $250,000 per year as defined by President Obama. But you know what, by saving just 5% to 8% per month I was able to retire, build my dream home of $300,000, have a new F-150 truck, and live quite comfortably. So quit complaining about this Nation not being socialist enough to correct the wealth imbalance, and get off of you dead butt and improve yourself.

independant1 4 years, 7 months ago

America is a land of opportunity and don’t ever forget it. (Will Rogers)

independant1 4 years, 7 months ago

I have an immigrant Welsh neighbor, John Thomas _, no kidding. He boasts a triplewide on 3 acres, some goats, a horse, a Harley and a pickup truck. Proud of his new trailer park image!

Where else could a pensioner own what they want?

He retired from HMS, came here for the healthcare. His wifey works in HC claims.

independant1 4 years, 7 months ago

OWNERSHIP, limited government, key concepts

oops left out the right to bear arms freedom of expression

might as throw out the right to bare arms too I'm a burkaphobe

jafs 4 years, 7 months ago

orhs,

That's admirable and wonderful that you were able to do that.

However, it doesn't negate the point that wealth has become increasingly concentrated into the top 1% of the country. CEO compensation has increased dramatically while average wages have not increased much at all.

If you invested in the stock market, by the way, you were very lucky. Many people have seen their retirement accounts drop markedly in value. Those are people who were working and saving for retirement as best they could.

Meanwhile, we have Goldman Sachs conspiring with a private hedge fund to create sub-prime backed securities with a high risk of failure so that the hedge fund guy could bet against them (a pretty rigged bet, in my opinion) and make lots of money when they failed.

Something's wrong with this picture.

And, for the record, I'm fine personally - this isn't born from personal frustration or envy.

Final note - there have been studies showing that societies with a more even distribution of wealth have happier citizens, for what it's worth.

Douglas Garst 4 years, 7 months ago

jafs,

Your reply was pleasant, which is nice for a change since most people provide negative replies.

Yes, I did invest in the stock market, but no I do not consider myself lucky. I am not a financial genius of any sorts but by just a little bit of reading it is easy to sort out "who" to listen to and "who" not to listen to. I did not get serious about investing until 20 years before my retirement. People that in their 30's with annual income of $30,000 to $50,000 can amass great wealth by the time they reach 60 if they apply themselves.

So that is why I am disturbed by those who call themselves liberal and deem it necessary to "redistribute wealth" from those like me that worked hard, sacrifice small amounts of money each payday for investments to make my life better.

For the studies showing that societies with "more even distribution of wealth" having happier citizens - did you see the Oprah show she filmed in Sweden, maybe Denmark, where she interviewed a young woman about her life? The young woman explained how "everything" was provided by the government where "all" had the same equal status and Oprah was taken back just how happy this person was. Well, the real truth came out when Oprah went to her home, it was a "cookie cutter" housing where all had identical housing. Oprah asked the young woman, "Where do you put all of your stuff?". The woman replied, "What stuff?".

As far as Goldman Sachs, yes there were people that took advantage of the sub-prime mortgage securities; but go study how did the sub-prime mortgage securities grew so much. You will find out that politicians all but threaten banks to either make the sub-prime loans and then Fan Mae and Freddie Mac brought those sub-prime loans which launched banks such as Goldman Sachs to bundle the loans. By the way - I was in the market making money, not on the sub-prime loans, but I followed closely the housing markets and I knew that hoards of people getting sub-prime loans without documentation at 3% with Adjustable Mortgages would lead to financial collapse...hence knowing who to listen to, so I got out of the market in November 2007.

Bottom line here, if one is born into "wealth redistribution society" then one does not know of anything else. The Freedom of America allows anyone to achieve independence from the "wealth redistribution government society concept". If you study and look deep into European society of modern times you will discover that since WWI the European countries have lived a "socialist" life style...I for one enjoy my freedom way to much and would dread the thought of having to depend on the government to take care of me.

jafs 4 years, 7 months ago

I try.

You were in fact lucky that you were able to make your profit and then get out before the market collapsed.

Also smart to follow it closely and pay attention, of course.

When people talk about the vast inequities of wealth distribution, they're not really talking about you - they're talking about the top 1%.

The sub-prime mortgage mess had many causes, of course, but some of them were:

  1. Mortgage companies that made bad loans and then bundled and sold them.
  2. Banks that bought bundled loans.
  3. Credit rating agencies that rated securities highly, even though they were very risky (which they did because they were being paid by the issuers).
  4. The repeal of the Glass-Steagal act, which prohibited banks from engaging in risky speculation with their customers' money.
  5. People who got loans they couldn't pay back.
  6. Entities which engaged in banking business without being regulated as such.

I don't advocate for completely equal distribution of wealth (although that's an interesting idea), but I think that the ratio of top/average salaries should be smaller, especially given the track record of many of the CEO's, and that they shouldn't be able to obtain contracts with guaranteed severance packages regardless of performance.

I just saw the head of Harvard University discussing the latest research on happiness - according to him, the main causes of happiness are:

  1. Good relationships.
  2. Health.
  3. Community involvement.
  4. Religious faith.
  5. Altruism.

Interesting that none of these involve money.

independant1 4 years, 7 months ago

The second part is what really matters in life/leberty/pursuit.... But you say -
I don't advocate for completely equal distribution of wealth (although that's an interesting idea), but I think that the ratio of top/average salaries should be smaller, especially given the track record of many of the CEO's, and that they shouldn't be able to obtain contracts with guaranteed severance packages regardless of performance.

There are a lot of runaway trains I don't like. CEO salaries, pro athelete salaries, special interest influence money, PAC money, government deficit spending, iou's to the SS fund, ...

But life ain't fair, limited gov't sets the rules and the rest of us, well most of us play by the rules and expect life to be fair, we're optimists

And fairness in Europe where every minute aspect of life is soooooooooooooo much better than usa is the model the rest of the world should follow. Oops, strike that neo colonial, fascist statement.

An economist is a man that can tell you anything. His guess is liable to be as good as anybody else’s, too.

I like the Freidman philosophy.

independant1 4 years, 7 months ago

In general, Friedman argued that government discretionary "fine-tuning" of the economy, as had been proposed by Keynesians, ought to be replaced with iron "rules" of policy - notably his famous "money supply growth" rule.

He also wrote several popular volumes advocating laissez-faire policies more generally.

jafs 4 years, 7 months ago

I'm not sure why you suddenly want to attack me personally.

We have a disagreement - you think that somehow the original text of the Constitution is completely and obviously clear, while I think that much of it requires interpretation, and that reasonable people have/can arrive at different conclusions.

For example, the 4th amendment provides protection against "unreasonable" searches and seizures. I don't think that's a very clear and definite term, but rather one that can be interpreted differently by different people. Is it "reasonable" to require those suspected of being in this country illegally to show ID (per the new Arizona law) or not?

It's been a while since my last post to you, but my comments about slavery and women's rights was in response to your wanting to use "original" meanings, I believe.

If I'm wrong about Glass-Steagal, then I apologize. I'm certainly not lying on purpose.

jafs 4 years, 7 months ago

However,

I think that my point about it is correct.

The Banking Act of 1933 (Glass-Steagall) was passed after the Depression, established the FDIC, and introduced reforms to control speculation.

It was repealed in 1999 - the banking industry had been seeking the repeal since the 1980's.

The repeal enabled commercial lenders to underwrite and trade instruments such as mortgage-backed securities and CLO's. According to Elizabeth Warren, one of the five people who oversee the TARP program, the repeal contributed to the financial crisis.

jafs 4 years, 7 months ago

The point is that the early more stringent regulations were effective in preventing another Depression-like crisis, and that only 7-8 years after they were changed, we had the first major financial crisis since the Depression.

I know that's hard for a hard-line Libertarian like you to accept, but it's obviously true.

jafs 4 years, 7 months ago

My understanding of what happened in the 1930's is that the Depression was a major nightmare for this country and that various mechanisms were put into place in order to prevent another one.

Any time our society changes, we encounter things that were not known at the time of the founding of the country and so were not discussed at the time.

The difficult task is in trying to apply the basic principles to situations with which the founders were unfamiliar.

And, why would changes in the nature of arms be any different from anything else - shouldn't any change in the meaning of any term require a Constitutional amendment in your view?

Thanks for the compliment wrapped in the insult.

jafs 4 years, 7 months ago

When the deregulation of the financial markets leads to risky speculation which leads to a financial crisis, it's a bit more than one thing happening after another, in my view.

The founders didn't know about a nationwide Depression, since they had never experienced one. It would be interesting to know what they would have thought/done to prevent/respond to it, but that's very hard to know.

In the 1700's when this country was founded, it was an agrarian economy of gentlemen farmers, many of whom owned slaves. They were very intelligent and well-educated. By the 1920's things looked quite different.

I agree, by the way, that their intent was to create a limited federal government, and I point that out to liberals when we're discussing politics.

What would you suggest we should have done/learned from the Depression or done to prevent it?

camper 4 years, 7 months ago

What jafs said.

  1. Mortgage companies that made bad loans and then bundled and sold them.
  2. Banks that bought bundled loans.
  3. Credit rating agencies that rated securities highly, even though they were very risky (which they did because they were being paid by the issuers).
  4. The repeal of the Glass-Steagal act, which prohibited banks from engaging in risky speculation with their customers' money.
  5. People who got loans they couldn't pay back.
  6. Entities which engaged in banking business without being regulated as such.

camper 4 years, 7 months ago

It is important to monitor the gap between the wealthy and rich. Trickle down theory has its limitations.

A large wage gap will always have a negative impact eventually, and as they say "there are only so many yachts you can buy". In the 1920's leading up to the depression, supply of goods exceeded demand largely in part because there was not enough disposable income in the hands of the middle and lower classes while labor and mfg produced more goods more efficiently. The result was deflation in the US (the reverse of what countries like Germany experienced). In fact many of the wealthy people of the 20's who did not have all their eggs in the stock market prospered greatly if they had assets like land and property. And especialy cash. There was a surplus of excess goods that they could easily buy at low prices. In other words, the country club and old money crowd was largely unaffected by the depression.

This recesion is different however because these mounting defecits are inflationary in nature while there is a simultaneous deflationary factor of low credit and lending. My humble prescription is to continue trying to stimulate the economy (ie stimulus) short term while trying to achieve a balanced budget long term. Once (or if) this occurs, the US can tackle the debt problem. I say monetize it slowly by leveraging it against our trade imbalance (cash outflow). This will slowly reduce cash supply and lower the massive inflationary effect that monetizing can cause. It just might work.

My second humble prescription is basically what jafs said. Financial regulation is necessary to prevent these bubbles like the home mortgage and banking crisis. Third is to tax passive income at a higher rate, and earned income at a lower rate. Fourth is to try and lower medicare, social security, and medical costs by reform (something which has begun). Fourth is to try and limit big mistakes like Afganistan and Iraq.

It might just work.

Jay Keffer 4 years, 7 months ago

We need a real plan that fixes Fannie and Freddie. As long as they are making crappy loans so any and all can get into a home, and then backing up that bad paper with our tax dollars, there will be no real change.

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