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Archive for Thursday, May 19, 2011

Rich spend while others scrimp

May 19, 2011

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High gas prices are driving a wider wedge between the wealthy and everybody else.

The rich are back to pre-recession-style splurging: Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrom customers are treating themselves to luxury items like $5,000 Hermes handbags and $700 Jimmy Choo shoes, and they’re paying full price.

At Target and Walmart, shoppers are concentrating on groceries and skipping even little luxuries. BJ’s Wholesale Corp. said Wednesday that its customers are buying more hamburger and chicken and less steak and buying smaller packs to save money.

“The average shopper isn’t in the game, except for necessities,” said Faith Hope Consolo, chairman of retail leasing and marketing at Prudential Douglas Elliman. At the same time, among the rich, “Luxury products are selling like bread.”

J.C. Penney, Wal-Mart and home-improvement retailer Lowe’s Cos. all said they’re noticing their customers are consolidating shopping trips to save money on gas as the average price hovers near $4 a gallon.

More than a half-dozen corporate earnings reports this week show that, for the affluent, rising prices are merely a nuisance. For others, they can mean scrimping to put food on the table.

The wealthy were the first to start spending again after the recession. Middle-class Americans’ spending started picking up late last year.

But the retail earnings results show that rising prices for gas and food, particularly meat, dairy and produce, have started to erode spending power.

It could get worse later this year, when clothing prices are expected to rise 10 percent to 15 percent. Meat prices are expected to rise 6 percent to 7 percent this year and dairy products as much as 5.5 percent, according to USDA estimates.

The bottom fifth of earners, with a median household income of $9,846, spend 35.6 percent of their income on food and 9.4 percent on gas, according to Citi Investment Research.

The top fifth, whose median household income is $157,631, spend only 6.8 percent on food and 1.9 percent on gas. So they feel price increases less.

“While the U.S. economy is showing some signs of improvement, we expect the recovery will continue to be slow and uneven, particularly for more moderate-income households,” Gregg Steinhafel, Target’s chairman, president and CEO, said on a conference call with analysts Wednesday.

The divide is prompting retailers to alter their strategies: Luxury stores like Saks Fifth Avenue, which had added more items, from shirts to suits, at lower prices after the financial meltdown in late 2008, are again rebalancing their assortments. Now, it’s back to the $300-plus dress shirts.

“We are increasingly optimistic about the future,” Saks CEO Stephen Sadove said in a call with analysts on Tuesday after reporting a 9 percent first-quarter revenue increase.

At the other end of the spectrum, Wal-Mart and others under more pressure to get their financially squeezed shoppers to spend, are offering more discounts and pushing smaller packages at the end of the month when shoppers have less money.

Target, whose shoppers’ median household income is $60,000, said Wednesday that it’s the better-off customers who are driving its revenue growth. The rest of its customers are focusing on necessities like food, resulting in some sales declines in the rest of the store.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. the world’s largest retailer and a barometer of the financial health of consumers, has noticed rising gas prices adding financial strain for its low-income customers. Wal-Mart shoppers’ median income is $42,000 to $45,000, estimates Craig R. Johnson, president of retail consultant Customer Growth Partners.

Comments

cato_the_elder 3 years, 2 months ago

This is nothing but a class warfare propaganda piece disguised as a "news" article.

The AP long ago ceased to be an objective source of news information.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 2 months ago

And over in the weather section, they're reporting about rain. You should run right over there and complain about their bias against sunshine.

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cato_the_elder 3 years, 2 months ago

Bozo, to show how badly warped your are, any report of increased upscale spending is music to the ears of your hero, Barack Obama, who's a whole lot smarter than you are. He knows that reports of increased upscale spending mean that the economy is on the front end of improving, which is quite important to his political plans since unemployment is still at 9.4%, underemployment is at 19.4%, and the housing market continues to tank toward a double-dip despite all of the liberal Democrat Porkulus spending and QE1and QE2 boondoggling that's occurred.

The point is that instead of reporting on the fact that high gas prices are hard for people of modest incomes to afford and what can be done about it, this AP shill chooses to turn it into a class warfare diatribe against people of means. What she ought to be talking about is why we need to increase our domestic drilling exponentially, and quit viewing oil companies as the enemy, in order to remedy the problem.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 2 months ago

Why, yes, the trickling down is such good news. Silly, silly reporter.

"What she ought to be talking about is why we need to increase our domestic drilling exponentially,"

You either don't understand the extent of US oil reserves, or the meaning of "exponential," or both.

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cato_the_elder 3 years, 2 months ago

I understand the extent of our oil reserves a lot better than you do. That's guaranteed.

And that's also the extent of what I'm going to choose to say on that subject, other than to suggest that you try getting your information from sources other than Mother Jones.

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llama726 3 years, 2 months ago

Big man, bringing the internet street cred.

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Cait McKnelly 3 years, 2 months ago

The gap between the "haves" and the "have nots" has been steadily widening for the last thirty years. It plateaued somewhat during the Clinton years and then took a huge, sharp upturn when GWB took office. Don't believe me? Believe the numbers. I suggest you take a look at this chart: http://www.slate.com/id/2266174/slideshow/2266174/fs/0//entry/2266218/ and then you tell me who was better for the overall well being for the vast bulk of the population (those in the 90th percentile) of this country. I also suggest you take a look at this from a historical perspective. It's been the same for thousands of years; if you don't keep the peasants happy and with full bellies you can expect that, sooner or later, they will simply take it.

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cato_the_elder 3 years, 2 months ago

I suggest that you go back to reading your personal dog-eared copy of The Little Red Book. You might also sing a few choruses of "L'internationale" with your fellow loser leftists while you're at it.

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Cait McKnelly 3 years, 2 months ago

Wow! Why so angry? And you didn't really answer my comment. Typical. "I like that about the Republicans; the evidence does not faze them, they are not bothered at all by the facts." -Bill Clinton

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cato_the_elder 3 years, 2 months ago

"[I]f you don't keep the peasants happy and with full bellies you can expect that, sooner or later, they will simply take it."

I think I responded rather well to precisely what you said. You're a Marxist, plain and simple.

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Cait McKnelly 3 years, 2 months ago

LOL!!!!!!!!!!!! You haven't the foggiest idea what a "Marxist" is. I find that seriously hilarious. Marxism didn't even exist during the first French revolution in 1789. Didn't exist during the American Revolution, either. And it sure as heck didn't exist at Runnymede. Here's a hint; history didn't start in 1917.

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cato_the_elder 3 years, 2 months ago

Nor did Marxism. Apparently you don't know anything about Karl Marx.

Weren't you the one who a while back confused the American Revolution with the French Revolution? Yes or no?

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Cait McKnelly 3 years, 2 months ago

Wow. I repeat. Why are you so angry? Take a chill, man. We're not debating at the UN. I know Marxism didn't start in 1917. Marx died in 1883. But it was the Russian Revolution in 1917 where it first showed it's chops and was put into actual practice. Most people date it's effects from then. Heck, when Marx first started publishing he was laughed at. And yes, I did confuse the dates on the French and American Revolutions some time back. (I certainly didn't confuse the revolutions themselves, as you suggest!) I admitted it and corrected it. That happens to the best of us old smokers on occasion. But it certainly gave you the meat to hold my soles to the fire for the next forty years, didn't it? That's ok :) I have tough feet and broad shoulders. I suggest you try a popsicle. It's a cool and fruity treat. (And helps with cotton mouth.)

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Scott Morgan 3 years, 2 months ago

Socialism doesn't work, and haves and have not battle began with the Johnson Administration.

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funkdog1 3 years, 2 months ago

There are plenty of countries faring far better than the U.S. that are making quite good use of both capitalism AND socialism.

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voevoda 3 years, 2 months ago

cato_the_elder, The real Cato the Elder confiscated the wealth from Romans who flaunted it. If you are true to the philosophy of your namesake, you will decry the conspicuous consumption of the mega-rich, and direct them to return to a modest lifestyle and donate the rest to worthy causes.

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cato_the_elder 3 years, 2 months ago

The fact that I chose the online name I did in no way implies that I attempt to imitate Cato in any manner, although there are certain aspects of his philosophy that I would very much prefer in U.S. foreign policy compared with how Obama and his stumblebum pals are consistently failing at it.

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Getaroom 3 years, 2 months ago

Cato. So you would chose which news outlet as a proper reference guide? FOX NEWS?

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cato_the_elder 3 years, 2 months ago

I was discussing the AP in the context of print media, not television cable news.

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seriouscat 3 years, 2 months ago

Watch for more gated communities with very high fences and for resort towns to trend toward more remote locations. Complete isolation from the rabble (us) is the new exclusivity.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 2 months ago

The price of oil is set internationally, and there aren't enough reserves of any kind in the US to significantly affect the overall world supply. In other words, "drill, baby, drill" will have almost no effect on the price at the pump.

But as usual, facts don't play any part in your ideological rants, do they?

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 2 months ago

Ah, look at that, DB and 1977 respond with even more ideologically based ignorance.

What a surprise!!! (not)

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 2 months ago

You don't talk about facts-- you make them up.

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gkerr 3 years, 2 months ago

Bozo is apt, The price of oil is set by markets based on supply and demand and threat of diminished supply by war or political action. The U.S. and Canada have huge supplies of oil, natural gas, coal methane, shale oil, tar sands oil. The oil is in tar sands, off shore, in Alaska, and elsewhere. Huge deposits in Canada as well.

Drill baby drill will have a huge effect on price at the pump.
Gkerr

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llama726 3 years, 2 months ago

Alexander (R-TN), Ayotte (R-NH), Barrasso (R-WY), Begich (D-AK), Blunt (R-MO), Boozman (R-AR), Brown (R-MA), Burr (R-NC), Chambliss (R-GA), Coats (R-IN), Coburn (R-OK), Cochran (R-MS), Corker (R-TN), Cornyn (R-TX), Crapo (R-ID), DeMint (R-SC), Enzi (R-WY), Graham (R-SC), Grassley (R-IA), Hatch (R-UT), Heller (R-NV), Hoeven (R-ND), Hutchison (R-TX), Inhofe (R-OK), Isakson (R-GA), Johanns (R-NE), Johnson (R-WI), Kirk (R-IL), Kyl (R-AZ), Landrieu (D-LA), Lee (R-UT), Lugar (R-IN), McCain (R-AZ), McConnell (R-KY), Moran (R-KS), Murkowski (R-AK), Nelson (D-NE), Paul (R-KY), Portman (R-OH), Risch (R-ID), Roberts (R-KS), Rubio (R-FL), Sessions (R-AL), Shelby (R-AL), Thune (R-SD), Toomey (R-PA), Vitter (R-LA), Wicker (R-MS)

All voted to continue oil subsidies. Taxpayer dollars to corporations. Why, when we can't afford to keep funding anything else?

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 2 months ago

Hey, they're just doing the job the oil corporations hired them to do.

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llama726 3 years, 2 months ago

I thought Rand Paul was against needless government spending? Or is that only when helps to feed people?

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jhawkinsf 3 years, 2 months ago

If they got their wealth in a legal manner, then it's none of my damn business where they spend it.

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Cait McKnelly 3 years, 2 months ago

"If they got their wealth in a legal manner..." Ahh, there's the rub.

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Cait McKnelly 3 years, 2 months ago

Excuse me while I wipe the coffee off of my monitor. There.

If you really think the super rich got their wealth by "working and saving" I have beach front property in New Mexico I'd like to sell you. I actually kinda like Bill Gates. But even he didn't get where he is now without screwing Steve Jobs and a few other folks along the way.

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jhawkinsf 3 years, 2 months ago

As I state later in this thread, If people are engaged in illegal activity, then they should be prosecuted and if found guilty, punished appropriately. The wealthy, like every one of us, enjoys a presumption of innocence. Are you advocating the wealthy forfeit that presumption? As for the Gates/Jobs issue, I can only assume that Steve Jobs has the appropriate resources to seek legal remedy, should he desire. I'm wondering though if you're referring to the Bill Gates/Paul Allen dispute, in which case Mr. Allen also has the resources necessary to seek legal remedy.

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Cait McKnelly 3 years, 2 months ago

He screwed Jobs over the whole Windows thing before Paul Allen.

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jhawkinsf 3 years, 2 months ago

Then let Jobs sue. I assume he can afford a lawyer.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 2 months ago

"Legal" doesn't necessarily equate to"fair," "ethical" or "moral."

And one thing this article indicates is that the massive redistribution of wealth from the working and middle classes to the upper 1% over the last 30 years hasn't resulted in the creation of jobs-- but it has made it a lot easier for them to blow lots of money on even more and shinier bling.

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jhawkinsf 3 years, 2 months ago

As with those accused of crimes, the presumption of innocence is something I assume with the wealthy. If they committed a crime, I'd be the first to say prosecute them and punish them upon conviction. If, however, we're talking values, morals, ethics and fairness, then we can keep typing until then end of time without being able to even define the issue. I've long advocated for a simplified tax code as I believe all those loopholes benefit only those with armies of lawyers and accountants. And we all know who has access to that. A far simplified tax code would in itself help the middle class. All that said, I'm not willing to call people immoral, unethical, etc. for behaving in their own self interest. I know I take every legal loophole available to me, as I expect all the writers here do. That's nothing more than human nature.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 2 months ago

" All that said, I'm not willing to call people immoral, unethical, etc. for behaving in their own self interest."

Acting for the purpose of satisfying self interest is the basis for nearly every immoral and unethical act as defined by nearly every human culture that's ever existed.

That's not to say all acts of "self interest" are immoral or unethical. Unfortunately, when it comes to issues of wealth/ownership, the current Republican party has decided that anything done/taken in order to satisfy narrow self-interest is the epitome of moral behavior-- "Greed is Good."

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jafs 3 years, 2 months ago

There's a fundamental distinction between self interest and greed.

It is natural to act in one's own self interest, of course.

Greed is defined as excessive or reprehensible acquisitiveness - there is a subjective element to it, obviously, but it's not the same thing as simply acting in one's self interest.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 2 months ago

I don't think distinction between self interest and greed is as well defined as you assert. Where the division is between the legitimate self interest and greed will varying greatly from one individual to the next, as the discussions on this forum amply demonstrate.

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jafs 3 years, 2 months ago

I said there was a subjective element to the judgment about excessive and/or reprehensible.

But, it seems absurd to claim that self-interest is inherently bad, and equivalent to massive greed.

Do you not act in your own self-interest?

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 2 months ago

"But, it seems absurd to claim that self-interest is inherently bad, and equivalent to massive greed.":

Where did I say that? I merely said that taking self interest to the extreme is bad, which is certainly what Republican national policy has come to embrace (and way too many Democrats have done the same.)

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jafs 3 years, 2 months ago

"Acting for the purpose of satisfying self-interest is the basis for nearly every immoral and unethical act..."

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 2 months ago

Theft is illegal in nearly every society. So is murder. But these acts are taken in self interest.

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jhawkinsf 3 years, 2 months ago

The fundamental distinction you reference is not fundamental at all. It's cluttered with issues of values, ethics, morals, fairness, etc. One man's greed is another's reward for a job well done. As soon as you try to define the difference is the moment you inject your values into the discussion. Obviously, you're free to do that but others are free to disagree. After six decades on this planet, I have a less clear idea of fairness now than I did four decades ago. I'm reminded of the quote of Winston Churchill: "If you're young and a conservative, you have no heart. If you're old and liberal, you have no brain".

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 2 months ago

" One man's greed is another's reward for a job well done. As soon as you try to define the difference is the moment you inject your values into the discussion."

Have I said anything different? Of course it's a matter of values. And for some, there is no other value to be considered other than self interest. (and it's surprising how in this country, so many of these people call themselves Christian.)

"If you're young and a conservative, you have no heart. If you're old and liberal, you have no brain."

I'll give Churchill a 10 for glibness on this one, but a big fat zero for any basis in reality.

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jafs 3 years, 2 months ago

I said there was subjectivity involved in the assessment.

But the distinction is fundamental - self-interest is not the same thing as greed.

So those who collapse the two are mistaken - some call all acts of self-interest greed, and others call acts of greed simple self-interest.

The guy who wants to keep some of his own money to pay for his living expenses and to feed his family is not in the same league as the billionaire who wants to squeeze every last cent of tax deductions he can find, in my book.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 2 months ago

"But the distinction is fundamental - self-interest is not the same thing as greed."

Greed is self interest taken to the extreme. How "extreme" is defined is a matter of ideology. And at the extremes of ideology, there is no such thing as extreme when it comes to self interest (Ayn Rand, anyone?)

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jafs 3 years, 2 months ago

No.

Greed is excessive or reprehensible acquisitiveness.

Our self-interest is comprised of many things, not just what we buy or acquire.

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jhawkinsf 3 years, 2 months ago

The thing is that I might have values and a sense of fairness that closely resembles yours. I'm just not willing to criticize someone else should they not share my sense of fairness.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 2 months ago

" I'm just not willing to criticize someone else should they not share my sense of fairness."

I guess that's the difference between us. I'm willing to call a spade a spade, and selfish jerk a selfish jerk.

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jhawkinsf 3 years, 2 months ago

And you know who is a selfish jerk and who is not. The wealthy are selfish jerks while those who are very poor are victims all.
Tell me the story of an individual and I can tell you if they are a selfish jerk, in my opinion. Tell me the story of a poor individual and I can tell you if they are a victim, in my opinion. I think that defines the difference between us.

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jafs 3 years, 2 months ago

I second bozo's critique of the Churchill quote.

Many people actually find themselves becoming more liberal over time - my father-in-law is one I know personally.

And, again, of course there is a subjective element to the assessment - what is excessive or reprehensible?

That doesn't make greed and self interest the same thing at all, though.

And, acts at the margin seem pretty clear to me.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 2 months ago

"That doesn't make greed and self interest the same thing at all, though."

I agree that they aren't the same thing. But greed is clearly a subset of self interest, taken to the extreme.

And greed is often the motivation for undertaking otherwise immoral behavior, such as theft and murder. But it's also the motivation for behavior that isn't as universally accepted as immoral-- specifically, exploitation, both of people and of resources, which has extremely negative implications for all of us, even the greedy who either deny or don't care about the long- and medium-term effects of their greed. Short-term (self) gratification is their only concern.

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jhawkinsf 3 years, 2 months ago

Of course, people in third world countries would think the same of even the poorest of us. If you drive a car, if you eat three meals a day, if you have electricity or a computer, they would say you're exploiting the world's resources for your own benefit. Or for your own self-gratification. It's all a matter of perspective.

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llama726 3 years, 2 months ago

The system can't have flaws.

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JustNoticed 3 years, 2 months ago

Eat the rich. Just think how nicely marbled they must be.

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gl0ck0wn3r 3 years, 2 months ago

Class war! Get ready, proles!

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Flap Doodle 3 years, 2 months ago

To the barricades! Bills and bows!

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Kontum1972 3 years, 2 months ago

and Newt Gingrich and his wife shop at Tiffany's...for silver platter's.....oh yeah theres nothing wrong with america....just wait until hurricane season starts folks....all the flooding is wreaking havoc too.....the doomsday clock ticks away.....

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monkeyhawk 3 years, 2 months ago

"MICHELLE OBAMA’S SPAIN SPENDING SPREE

We reported last week about our encounter with Obama in Chicago. While he was interrupting business and creating traffic there Michelle was spending taxpayer dollars on a lavish vacation at a 5 star in Spain.

MSN

Their 5 star, the Hotel Villa Padierna, sits in front of the ocean, offers two golf courses, and is surround by majestic mountains. For an overseas flop, this offers extravagance galore. The word is that when Michelle learned Oprah had been invited to Obama’s birthday party back in Chicago she she saw George Bush in her eyes. Instead of calling room service and ordering the chef’s best pizza for all she elected to call the limo and go on a spending spree.

Michelle blew nearly half a million bucks on a shopping spree in Spain!

Insider: “Michelle decided to punish Barack, so she bought expensive clothing and designer dresses plus jewelry while staying in a luxury resort – not realizing how the public would react back home. Her selfish spending spree really backfired! Michelle also bought an expensive necklace and bracelet in Marbella. While she wanted to make a side trip to the millionaire’s playground of Ibiza, she had a personal shopper bring designer gowns and clothing, swimsuits and other trinkets to her instead.”

http://burstupdates.wordpress.com/2010/08/18/michelle-obamas-spain-spending-spree/

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gudpoynt 3 years, 2 months ago

the link you give actually cites the National Enquirer. Awesome.

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monkeyhawk 3 years, 2 months ago

When will you bores ever refute the substance rather than knock the source? Just because NE reported this, does it make it less valid --- ahem, John Edwards? Seems like the sources a lot of you itch about have far more cred than your lame media.

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jhawkinsf 3 years, 2 months ago

What I find interesting is that at this moment in the LJW, there are two threads going, one discussing the wealthy and one discussing the homeless. As I interpret the comments in both, I see something very amusing. It seems there is a tendency to impose values upon the rich, they need to behave in a way "I" agree with. There seems no inclination to impose that same value on the homeless, they need to behave in a certain manner that "I" agree with.
Are the wealthy more equal than others, and therefore held to a different standard of "fair"?

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llama726 3 years, 2 months ago

You must be joking. Right? No inclination to impose the same values on the homeless? Let's start with some key differences.

Rich people have a lot of power in our society; homeless people have, well, pretty much none. Rich people run our economy - and make homeless people. Rich people have a ton more rights and more access to goods and services. It follows that they'd have more responsibilities. You're basically saying that it's unfair we don't hold a high school senior to the same standards as a first grader.

Next: quotes where values are imposed upon the homeless taken from something I wrote a while back

"Build it and they will come, feed them and they will stay.. Pretty simple. Send most of Burt Nash (sic) somewhere else, along with the other agencies that exhist to give our tax dollars to many who choose not to work and the problem starts to correct itself."

"I am all for helping the homeless, not enabling them. I work at a facility where we care for a large homeless population. Much more often than not, they are chronic drunks, who however, manage to be able to afford cigarretes, more alcohol, but never seem to be able to afford food. Homeless are the refugees in Darfur...most of the homeless I am use to seeing are "enabled"."

"No effort = No money"

"Ban the bums and be done with this issue. Downtown is for conducting business. Panhandlers are for disrupting business. Ban them, throw them in jail but get rid of them one way or the other."

...you act as if having a drug or alcohol problem happened to those people by accident. It didn't. Take accountability. Third, not one homeless person has lost access to health care. They can go to any ED and be treated without having to pay a dime. And last, not all of us are "just a few weeks....away from homelessness." Some of us plan for that possibility by saving, not running up debt (or using any), and spending within our means. Life is hard and not fair. Get over it."

Save, don't run up debt, live within your means, get over the fact that life is not fair, the homeless are enabled.... Yep, no one judges the homeless as harshly as they judge the rich. We don't tell the homeless to work harder to meet our ideal... except we do.

The worst thing in the world, I think, would be accruing wealth. I mean, the wealthiest in our society clearly have to work 80 hours a week while being judged so harshly. There's no systemic advantage to being wealthy. If my parents were wealthy, I couldn't conceivably simply become wealthy by virtue of their wealth. I'd rather be homeless, so no one imposes any value judgements about what I should do with my life (get clean, get a job, take a shower, go somewhere else, stop bothering the shoppers, go die somewhere so no one can see you because you're inconvenient). Yep. Way, way too harsh on the rich folks.

PS: That was sarcasm.

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jhawkinsf 3 years, 2 months ago

Well, let me put it in simple terms with two questions;

Should the wealthy behave in a manner in which "I" approve? Should the homeless behave in a manner in which "I" approve?

Whether your answer is yes, no, it's not my business, whatever, it should be the same if you have a consistent philosophy. If you don't have a consistent philosophy, then you might need to explain why that is. That was the point of my earlier post. There seems to be many regular contributors whose philosophy is all over the place all the while claiming to be consistent.

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llama726 3 years, 2 months ago

Some of us have the philosophy that life is more complicated than simply treating everyone identically, mostly because treating everyone identically would be catastrophic in terms of our evolution as a species. Most people agree that with more power comes more responsibility. I hate ethics because no one system can be universally applied; it doesn't work for every situation and circumstance. We're talking about human beings.

We make value judgements every day (yourself included), and don't apply them universally, but rather, we apply them based upon the circumstances. Generally speaking, we, as a society, do expect the homeless to behave in a certain way. And we spend a good deal of money trying to get them to behave in that certain way - trying to get them to work with society. And generally speaking, we expect the wealthy to behave in a certain way. And those two behavior patterns are expected to be different.

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jhawkinsf 3 years, 2 months ago

I agree with most of what you said, with some nuanced differences. Yes, society has put expectations on us all. It's a consensus developed over the years and by our population as a whole. Yes, the wealthy and the homeless should behave accordingly to those rules, or more generally, our laws. And yes, the expectations are different for those groups, the wealthy and homeless pay into the system and receive from the system to a different degree. But that's not the question I asked. Beyond the obvious that they both must conform to the norms of society, should either or both of those groups then have the added obligation of behaving in a manner in which "I" approve? Can I assume that either group is so monolithic that I can paint with broad brush strokes making generalizations that sweep up everyone in that class? That's what my first post was asking. Can "I" impose this value on group A but not on group B. And even if that is exactly what I believe, perhaps an explanation of this contradiction might be warranted.

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llama726 3 years, 2 months ago

That depends. Are you a lawmaker? What power do you have to impose your values? As much as anyone else, I imagine, which means you have an opinion about what people should do, but you likely can't impose it on those people very easily. In that sense, what difference does it make?

I appreciate pointing out hypocrisy as much as anyone else, but I hope you see what I'm saying about the fact that homeless people and rich people are judged differently since they are different.

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jhawkinsf 3 years, 2 months ago

I hope I'm not beating a dead horse here, but I have no desire to impose my values on either group. It's none of my business how either group chooses to live their lives as long as they follow the law. I could care less how the wealthy spend their time and money. It's not my business. And I make no pretense about how the homeless live their lives. They can choose their own path. Good luck and good health to both. I was pointing out that others were imposing their values on one group and not the other. I choose to impose my values on no one.

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llama726 3 years, 2 months ago

Except you're imposing your views on me, right now. :)

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beatrice 3 years, 2 months ago

I hope people like DeaconBlue and Cato are wearing safety equipment. They could seriously hurt themselves with the type of extreme cheerleading they are demonstrating here.

And just like a cheerleader, they will almost certainly never actually be on the team they are rooting for.

Goooooo Rich People!!!!

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gudpoynt 3 years, 2 months ago

liberals are greedy takers. liberals are greedy takers. liberals are greedy takers. liberals are greedy takers. liberals are greedy takers. liberals are greedy takers.

.... is it true yet?

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grandnanny 3 years, 2 months ago

You might want to check out the following article - you gripe and moan about liberals taking your hard-earned money, but in reality, conservative states receive more government money than their more liberal counterparts. In fact, the liberal northeast supports the conservative south. Sort of screws up your argument doesn't it. http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2004/09/red_states_feed.html

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gudpoynt 3 years, 2 months ago

"Rich spend while others scrimp"

in other words

"Those with a larger cushion are going to be the first to get back to pre-recession spending levels"

in other news:

"Duh"

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gkerr 3 years, 2 months ago

Dear AP news wire,

Great article to widen the divide. No wonder the rich overwhelmingly support Democrats. Most of the wealthiest counties in America are Democrat enclaves; Silicon valley, San Francisco, The Hamptons, Hollywood, Martha's Vinyard, etc..

I don't know just how the figures in the article were computed but I think of Carters regime with hyper inflation as a driver in income disparity- remember his 13% inflation rate? As the article points out the top 95% or better do well under all regimes as they have a cadre of lobbyists working for them buying favors from the elected officials. One of the biggest disappointments the left has regarding Barrack Obama is his pandering to special interests who fund his campaign coffers- think GM, GE, George Soros and his 200 shell corporations, IMG, BP, Goldman Sachs, Fanny and Freddy, BAnk of America, Most big banks and brokerage houses that are too big to fail, big labor, big law including the uber wealthy trial lawyers, big pharma, on and on and on.

The sad truth is that government- democrat or republican cannot guarantee an expanding economy. Government, both parties has presided over a period of impressive economic indulgence but at the cost of huge public and private sector debt. This cannot be sustained. The era of government selling itself to the highest bidder is drawing to an end cause it takes tax revenues funded by a growing economy to grow government without growing debt and that cannot happen as the public sector is starving the productive private sector for capital and is strangling it with regulation.

Beware of articles that tout government as the engine of economic well being. It is not and frequently destroys economic success by over spending over taxing over regulating and over indulging special interests who seek benefits at the expense of others. Gkerr

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Cait McKnelly 3 years, 2 months ago

It's called a "presidential administration", not a "regime". We live in a representative democracy, not a totalitarian state or monarchy. Your choice of language tends to make me want to discount anything else you have to say.

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Cait McKnelly 3 years, 2 months ago

A representative democracy is a form of republic. Fer godssake i feel like a fourth grade teacher.

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gkerr 3 years, 2 months ago

Cait48, So your the grammarian for political correctness? How nice of you to discount so much you might find embarrassing that I had to say about trusting government to ensure income equality.

Does the truth hurt so much Cait48? Snark is no safe refuge for those who refuse to consider the other side of the ideological divide. Gkerr

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Cait McKnelly 3 years, 2 months ago

Nope. Not grammarian for "PC'ness". I just think we need to call things what they are for clarity and calling them what they are not is an indication of either willful or unwillful confusion. I do think it's funny that you snark while you accuse me of snark. Pretty amusing.

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jhawkinsf 3 years, 2 months ago

You call for clarity here, yet in response to an earlier comment of mine you came back with some rather cryptic responses. Suggesting illegal activities without there having actually been charges, that sort of thing. Clear as mud.

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rockchalker52 3 years, 2 months ago

Best thing I've learned from these posts is cait's phrasing, "seriously hilarious." Still getting my head around that one. I like it, though, and may steal it in the future.

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Tony Kisner 3 years, 2 months ago

After some consideration I think being rich is better than not being rich. I think I will try it.

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jafs 3 years, 2 months ago

Good luck.

Let us know how that turns out for you.

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jafs 3 years, 2 months ago

I don't aspire to be rich - I'm quite comfortable with my current level of financial prosperity.

You think everybody who wants to be rich gets there?

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Crazy_Larry 3 years, 2 months ago

$700 on one pair of shoes is rich. Glad I could help.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 2 months ago

It isn't necessarily a bad thing the the wealthy are spending-- it certainly will stimulate the economy to some degree.

The problem is that not all spending is the same. If a wealthy person builds a new $20 million mansion, that won't have the same economic ripple effect as $20 million spent on, say, a factory to build nacelles and wind generators. The former is a one-time deal that benefits at most a few family members and friends of the wealthy person(s), while the latter could increase economic activity for years to come, for many more people.

I know you're ideologically opposed to any suggestion that spending by wealthy folks on the narrow trappings of personal privilege is somehow qualitatively different in how it affects the economy, but quite simply, your ideology is wrong.

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jhawkinsf 3 years, 2 months ago

Just a suggestion, but the word spending doesn't really work here. Spending money on a mansion or some other item for personal consumption, maybe a large diamond is very different than spending on a factory that makes wind generators. The latter is clearly an investment designed to produce a product, employ people and ultimately return a profit to the investors. In the first example, spending seems to be the correct word, investing would seem a better word for the latter.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 2 months ago

Point taken.

But Solomon appeared to be equating "spending" and "investing." And the fact is, the more that wealth is concentrated into fewer and fewer people, the greater the ratio of spending on personal consumption and vanities relative to investment in things that will have a great deal of economic ripple effect.

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jhawkinsf 3 years, 2 months ago

The thing is, the person buying that mansion and the person investing in that factory are probably the same person. No one is going to invest in a business without the expectation of profit and the bling that that profit will buy. No mansion, no factory. It's interesting you mention a factory making wind generators. I have no idea what the profit margin is on that product. But I do know that the greater the risk, the greater the profit needs to be to get investment capital. If wind generators don't provide a great enough return, that capital will invest in something else. It's highly unlikely that the holders of great wealth will not invest in something. But again, the bottom line is this, no mansion, no factory.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 2 months ago

"But again, the bottom line is this, no mansion, no factory."

This is an ideologically based article of faith-- not a fact.

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Crazy_Larry 3 years, 2 months ago

If someone is stupid enough to spend $700 on a pair of shoes they don't deserve the money.

Real wages have been stagnant or declining over the last 30 years....and the rich got richer.

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oldvet 3 years, 2 months ago

"and the rich got richer."

And the beauty of living in the United States is that the only thing standing between you and riches is the person who stares at you in the mirror every morning. You have the opportunity if you make good choices and are willing to take calculated risks.

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jafs 3 years, 2 months ago

That is the beautiful myth that many believe, and why many want to "protect" the rich, believing that they too will be rich someday.

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Crazy_Larry 3 years, 2 months ago

Well then, I suppose the vast majority of American's are just a bunch of losers who don't make good choices and are not willing to take calculated risks. Hmmm.

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George Lippencott 3 years, 2 months ago

snap_pop_no_crackle (anonymous) says… To the barricades! Bills and bows!

And on which side of the barricades will the army be?

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Crazy_Larry 3 years, 2 months ago

As a veteran, I'm willing to speculate that the Army will be with the people. Not the oligarchs who're trying to take over the world.

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George Lippencott 3 years, 2 months ago

We HAVE TWO EXAMPLES. Egypt they stayed neutral. Syria they turned on the people. The military tends to be more conservative and does not adopt change all that quickly particularly if change means uncertainty. Hope we never havd to find out!

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Crazy_Larry 3 years, 2 months ago

You're comparing apples to oranges, if you ask me.

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Richard Heckler 3 years, 2 months ago

The one larger problem is that there are not enough rich people to support the cost of:

  1. government

  2. putting 13 million people back to work

  3. rebuilding the economy

  4. war and our 40,000 disabled soldiers just for the oil wars

  5. providing 50 million americans with medical insurance

  6. to the nation of so many rich NOT paying taxes. It matters not how wealthy people are but it does matter when they refuse to pay taxes yet receive all of the benefits that tax dollars provide.

Simply put the rich cannot pay the bills.

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jafs 3 years, 2 months ago

45% is the figure I've seen, and it only refers to federal "income" tax, not all federal taxes, and it includes some very rich people.

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George Lippencott 3 years, 2 months ago

AnD there fellow travelers in Congress (both paRTIES)

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George Lippencott 3 years, 2 months ago

Well larry, what do you propose we do about it?

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Crazy_Larry 3 years, 2 months ago

Get active, or get radioactive.

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