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Archive for Friday, September 7, 2012

Middle class

September 7, 2012

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To the editor:

The recent article about the hurting middle class was no surprise. What hurts most is the lack of jobs. If the construction workers were back to work it would help immensely. The problem is we need a strong middle class to generate more house building, remodeling, car buying etc. Demand is what drives job creation and demand is produced by a healthy middle class.

Ten years of tax cuts for the rich have gathered too much money at the top. George Bush slashed the capital gains tax to its lowest level in 40 years, giving the wealthy, who live only off their investments, a 25 percent tax cut. The top end of the income tax bracket got a 4.6 percent tax break. The middle class received a 2 percent tax cut. Republicans in Congress will have no part of leveling the playing field. They accuse us of class warfare. They’ve now had those tax rates in effect for 10 years, and even in the six years before the Bush recession the unemployment rate rose.

Now the Republicans are pandering for more huge tax cuts for the rich saying, “It will generate jobs.” It didn’t work for Bush, and it won’t work now. Give back that 2.6 percent income disparity we lost and make the millionaires pay their fair share on their investment income. They did under Clinton and we had the lowest unemployment in the last 40 years as well as a healthy middle class.

Comments

Richard Heckler 1 year, 10 months ago

Republicans are wanting to do away with the mortgage interest tax deduction in Topeka and the beltway.

My as well keep this information in mind.

This http://www.democracynow.org/2008/1/18/free_lunch_how_the_wealthiest_americans

And this http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/01182008/transcript.html

Simply put the nation cannot afford this new republican party powered by Reaganomics and home loan frauds that the Reagan and GW Bush administrations allowed to take place.

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gbulldog 1 year, 10 months ago

What do you really want? A guranteed income and paying 50% tax rate. Or do you want to equalize all assets so that no one has more money that you? Maybe you need to encourage your party to come up with solutions rateher than blame republicans. Great program and bad programs have come from the Democrats. One great problems was to help students gain and education, thus having the ability to have a better paying job. Another program has been the "war on proverty". We all know how that has worked out. Since you are so proud of the result, why are you not living in Chicago enjoying the benefits.

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Jayhawk1958 1 year, 10 months ago

Already did and it didn't work. Ready Karl Marx. You might learn something.

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Trumbull 1 year, 10 months ago

Lower prices are good. but there is an offset in lost jobs and lower wages. It is a balancing act for sure.

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Lawrenceks 1 year, 10 months ago

"You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is about the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it."

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Greg Cooper 1 year, 10 months ago

Very nicely plagiarized, Lawrenceks. Which reactionary first said that?

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bad_dog 1 year, 10 months ago

It appears this is attributed to Adrian Rogers, a Southern Baptist preacher and champion of the theory that it is a sin for a Christian to abstain from voting. He reportedly stated: "I believe slavery is a much maligned institution; if we had slavery today, we would not have this welfare mess." He was also quoted as saying "...that it is a pastor's duty to influence the political decisions of the members of the pastor's congregation."

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 1 year, 10 months ago

With all the talk about "entrepreneurship" and "job creators" from Republicans, what's lost is the fact that it's the middle class that is responsible for doing/being most of both, and yet they continue with their war on the middle class.

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OonlyBonly 1 year, 10 months ago

Republican "war on the middle class?" Surely you jest. A strong, healthy, well to do "Middle Class" is what Republicans want most! People working, producing, paying taxes, buying products that's the Republican's goal, not the Welfare state desired by the Liberal camp.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 1 year, 10 months ago

You've swallowed the propaganda, hook, line and sinker (and we're all sinking as a result.)

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Greg Cooper 1 year, 10 months ago

That's really true, to a point. OB. Everybody wants those things. The facts of the Republican strategy, unfortunately, belie the words. Tax rates that take a larger proportion of the lower-earning folks' income, cutting of safety net programs needed by others, less dollars to education: these things do not equate to a "strong, healthy, well to do" middle class, but continue the movement of money to those who can afford to invest the monet they "earned" from the labors of the middle class.

Why, oh why, do you folks continue to believe (?) that trickle-down, supply-side economics work? It never has and it never will, without a complete overhaul of the tax codes. If you earn $1,000,000 a year and pay a tax rate of, say 28% ($280,000) it stands to reason that you have a much larger disposable income than the worker who earns $50,000 at a tax rate of, say, 28% ($9000). I don't mean that the rich should be robbed, but that the actual spendable income of the "classes" be on par one with the other. Supporting a family of four on $720,000 is surely a lot easier than $41,000, and supplies the higher earner with greater access to education, leisure, and all the things we all strive for.

No, I do not jest. Your thinking is in jest, if you will just stop mouthing Republican papblum and think in terms of what is best for the entire country, for all citizens.

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imastinker 1 year, 10 months ago

Unbelievable.

1) $50k/year families barely pay federal income taxes. It's pretty close to zero. 2) 1 mil/year families pay very high tax rates (33% plus AMT). It's a lot higher than 28%, closer to double that. 3) Take away the abilitity to have a higher standard of living and nobody will want to work hard. Why not just keep on working the other job? 4) your math is wrong. 28% of 50k is 14k.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 1 year, 10 months ago

Yea, and there are millions of high school athletes who want to play in the NBA, NFL, etc, but never will even come close. There are thousands of garage bands who want to become the next Beatles, but never will.

And the odds of becoming wealthy in this economy and culture are just as long. Certainly, some who open businesses expect that they will win the lottery, but they are just as unrealistic as those high school kids. My experience is that most people who start businesses are looking for no more than to earn a decent living for themselves and their families.

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OonlyBonly 1 year, 10 months ago

Oh here we are lamenting the "lack of jobs." You have to be kidding me! What makes of automobiles, TVs, stereos, appliances, etc. have you been buying for the last 50 years? You all were told this fascination and need to have an "import" everything was going to cost American jobs (from the 70s) but, of course, you never in a Million years would think it would affect yours. Where's the middle class? It's not lost due to lower taxes, nor special privileges for the Rich (they don't have tax privileges - just get yourself a great Tax Attorney), you all moved it to Japan, China, Pakistan, India and Germany. Enjoy them imports now.........

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OonlyBonly 1 year, 10 months ago

Oh, I guess I should counter the first "My car's Japanese but made in America" right up front. Yes, maybe it is and maybe they employ a few thousand American workers but the profits from the sale of that vehicle do not stay in the United States.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 1 year, 10 months ago

"Where's the middle class? It's not lost due to lower taxes, nor special privileges for the Rich"

It's the wealthy and the corporations they own who have been using the massive tax cuts of the last 30 years to outsource jobs to sweatshops outside the country, and as the income of the middle and working class has been slashed as a result, these people have no choice but to buy as cheaply as they can, creating a downward spiral that the Republican Party would only accelerate.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 1 year, 10 months ago

I've honored your request not to reply to your posts. So for the millionth time, hypocrite, please don't respond to mine.

But I am curious as to why you have to violate the TOS so blatantly and so often, and as I noted above, so hypocritically. Are you trying to get disappeared?

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quik 1 year, 10 months ago

Where's the middle class? It's not lost due to lower taxes, nor special privileges for the Rich (they don't have tax privileges - just get yourself a great Tax Attorney), you all moved it to Japan, China, Pakistan, India and Germany.

Couldn't agree more with this statement, maybe add South Korea to that list as well. The American middle class is alive and well in Bangalore. The rich have gotten richer in this country but not at the expense of the poor. There are still opportunities here in the US if you are willing take advantage of them. The unemployment rate for those with at least a bachelor's degree is less than 5%. There is still tremendous competition between companies to hire those with up to date technical skills. The numbers will tell you that the lower classes are doing better here than they ever have. Their standard of living far surpasses that of 40 years ago. It's just a new economy. There doesn't seem to be too many ways anymore to get hired with no skills, expect the company to train you, and then expect to be paid well.

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Leslie Swearingen 1 year, 10 months ago

When I shop, price never figures in, I just buy what I want, and still have money to put in savings. I love being able to say, "My sofa costs a lot more than yours!".

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paulveer 1 year, 10 months ago

Because I'm sure that makes you a better person.

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Alceste 1 year, 10 months ago

When you don't have an argument against fair taxation, you come up with a slogan: Class Warfare.

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Cant_have_it_both_ways 1 year, 10 months ago

Fair taxation would mean EVERYONE pay federal income taxes, not just the 50% of taxapayers who actually pay federal income taxes.

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gbulldog 1 year, 10 months ago

You have not seen anything yet until you see the "vaule added tax"

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 1 year, 10 months ago

I'd be OK with that-- as long as you'd go along with a $25 an hour minimum wage so that everyone can afford to pay the taxes you demand of them.

But a much better idea is a reasonable minimum wage (say $12 an hour) and to otherwise allow wages to be primarily determined by market forces, with a progressive taxation system to mitigate against the inherent unfairness that's inevitable in such a system.

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Windemere 1 year, 10 months ago

Why can't employers and employees decide for themselves what wages are fair? Don't like the wage offered? Don't take the job. Employer can't find qualified people for the wages he offers? He'd better pay more. Setting a minimum wage contributes to unemployment.

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chootspa 1 year, 10 months ago

There are at least five studies showing that raising minimum wage during times of high unemployment doesn't have a significant impact on unemployment. So, no, setting a minimum wage doesn't do that. The boost in spending power from low wage workers and reduction in turnover likely mitigates any affects in increased labor costs.

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Windemere 1 year, 10 months ago

Assuming your statement about such studies is true, Does the min wage then go down after the "times of high unemployment"? What about the wacky notion that people should be free to make an employment contract as they see fit (assuming both are consenting adults)?

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 1 year, 10 months ago

The freedom to exploit, which is what you're endorsing, has nothing whatsoever to do with freedom.

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chootspa 1 year, 10 months ago

When inflation or relative spending power go down after periods of high unemployment, we can discuss whether or not such an action is warranted. I suspect it would be pointless, as during times of low unemployment, demand for labor would likely push up wages.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 1 year, 10 months ago

The minimum wage should be based on what's fair to both the employer and the employee. If an employer can't pay a wage upon which an employee can reasonably support themselves, they shouldn't be hiring employees.

Conversely, if an employee can't adequately perform the tasks for which they have been hired, the employer should be under no requirement to keep them in their employ.

But for anything above the minimum wage, I agree that the market should decide the rate. Calling for the elimination of the minimum wage is a tantamount to endorsing exploitation of employees by employers.

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jhawkinsf 1 year, 10 months ago

"The minimum wage should be based on what's fair to both the employer and the employee" - With "fair" being decided by neither the employer or the employee? Seems to be a curious way of establishing "fair" to me.

Also, since the minimum wage always goes up and never goes down, I can't help but think that it contributes to inflation. Do we really want government policies to be a driving force that results in inflation?

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 1 year, 10 months ago

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out what a fair minimum wage should be, as long as it's based on what it costs to live a minimally decent living. And $8 an hour won't get you that these days unless you're subsidized in one way or another by family or government supports.

Saying that it should just be left to the employer and the employee to "decide together" is really just the same as saying that the employee takes whatever's offered and shuts up.

Re your second paragraph-- pure nonsense. The minimum wage has failed to keep pace with inflation over the last 35-40 years, while the relative income and wealth of the top 1% has skyrocketed, and the 0.1% have done even better. And I can guarantee you that if all minimum wage workers went on strike for the next few weeks, the business interests of those at the top would suffer considerably.

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jhawkinsf 1 year, 10 months ago

I think it would take a rocket scientist to figure out. The cost of living varies widely from place to place. Housing costs will usually be the biggest determinant of cost of living. The difference between Honolulu and Lawrence will be huge. But so will the difference between Lawrence and Goodland or Dallas and Oklahoma City, Helena, Mont. and Miami. Some cities pass their own minimum wages while other nearby cities don't.

Re: my second paragraph. You misunderstand. I'm not suggesting that minimum wage should keep up with inflation. I'm not saying it shouldn't. I'm saying that inflation is caused by several factors, a rising minimum wage being one of them. I question the wisdom of having government policies be the cause of inflation. It's a cycle that never ends, if, as you suggest, the policy's intention is to have the minimum wage keep up with inflation. Wages go up causes inflation necessitating a raise of wages, then repeat. Seems circular to me.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 1 year, 10 months ago

"I think it would take a rocket scientist to figure out. The cost of living varies widely from place to place. "

The minimum wage doesn't have to be exactly the same in every locale. Each state sets their own minimum wage-- some try to set it at a fair level, others, such as Kansas, don't.

Regardless, that doesn't mean that just because it's a little complicated that allowing exploitation is somehow justified.

" Wages go up causes inflation necessitating a raise of wages, then repeat. "

That's precisely what's not been happening over the last 30 years or so. What's been happening is a massive transfer of wealth to the already wealthy, and everyone else is just struggling to keep pace, and not doing it so well at it in the global marketplace (AKA race to the bottom.)

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Alceste 1 year, 10 months ago

Incorrect understanding of what the word "FAIR" means. F for the post.

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Katara 1 year, 10 months ago

The "50%" (actually it is 47% of households, not individuals. You'd know that if you read the actual study put out by taxpolicy.org rather than relying on the talking heads) is made up largely by 2 different groups. Senior citizens is the biggest group. They are also people who have paid taxes all their life.

The second group is working families whose federal tax liability is offset by deductions and credits. The wealthy also use deductions and credits to reduce their federal tax liability. If you are ok with the wealthy doing that (think Romney's $77,000 for his dressage horse), then you need to be ok when others also take advantage of the same tax rules.

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Windemere 1 year, 10 months ago

One point neither side wants to talk about is that cheap labor outside the US is and will continue to have a long term negative impact on jobs for the middle class and lower middle class. The left lambasts corporations for "shipping jobs overseas" but let's face it, this is done to drive costs down to meet demand for cheaper goods. Goods that lower income people want to be as cheap as possible (think Walmart & its shoppers). The whole world has changed, it's getting smaller all the time and there is no end to people wanting low prices. The elephant in the room is that the nostalgic era e.g. The 1950s, with good wages for lots of traditional middle and lower middle class jobs are not coming back. And there's no one political faction to blame.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 1 year, 10 months ago

This could be remedied with a few measures.

  1. A carbon tax-- this would end the subsidies to artificially cheap shipment of goods, through the use of subsidized fossil fuels. It would also end the subsidy for coal-generated electricity, primarily in China and India, helping both the national economy, and using market forces to reduce the use of fossil fuels.

  2. Tariffs. They would be determined by the discrepancy between wages and benefits between the country of origin and this country. I'd say start out wages/benefits that are less than 10% of US wages and benefits, and gradually raise that to 80%.

  3. A small tax on exports of US raw materials (minerals, timber, etc.)

  4. Not directly connected to trade, a transaction tax for Wall Street.

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Windemere 1 year, 10 months ago

A result of all 4 ideas you name could easily be job losses and/or higher prices for goods. Increased costs of doing businesses are inevitably passed down in the form of higher prices and also can result in higher unemployment. Not every business is a huge, greedy, hoarding Jabba the Hut-like entity. I think of the medium and small businesses that would be damaged by such policies. I also think of people who will lose their jobs and will find higher prices for goods. As for cost of goods, maybe a "progressive" federal government can appoint a czar that decides what "fair" prices are for goods.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 1 year, 10 months ago

Well, we have an official unemployment rate of over 8%, and a real rate closer to 18%.

I think the measures I list above would go a long ways towards lowering both rates. And continuing the so-called "free-trade" measures that created the current situation expecting a different result is just insane.

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jhawkinsf 1 year, 10 months ago

So your 4 solutions are a tax, a tax, a tax and another tax. Of course, these are just dealing with a small part of the economy. Your other solutions tend to be taxes and taxes.

Have you considered how our trading partners might respond? Perhaps with taxes and tariffs of their own, to which you would respond how? With more taxes and tariffs? To what end do you think this will lead?

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 1 year, 10 months ago

No, my solutions increase the cost of bad behavior-- whether it's exploitation of workers or the pointless (and subsidized) shipping of stuff back and forth across the planet, all of which decreases the spewing CO2 and other pollutants into the atmosphere. The net effect is an increase in employment in this country, and the increased use of US raw materials in US factories rather than those in China and elsewhere.

And let them increase their taxes and tariffs, if they want. At worst, it just means that workers in the US will have to pick up that much more slack in producing what we need-- exactly what my solutions are designed to do.

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jhawkinsf 1 year, 10 months ago

Unless they respond by lowering the wages of their workers. Or by worsening of their working conditions. Or veto a U.N. resolution designed to relieve the fighting in Syria. For once, I have to agree with FHNC. It's "complex".

And of course none of this addresses what all these extra taxes and tariffs will do to the American consumer. His/her purchasing power will be reduced with each tax and tariff.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 1 year, 10 months ago

"Unless they respond by lowering the wages of their workers. Or by worsening of their working conditions."

Why would they do that? What would they gain by it? Especially since both are already abysmal. At any rate, these measures would need to be implemented somewhat gradually, and the end result should be a gradual improvement of both wages and benefits for these workers, which would allow them to buy some of the goods they produce for themselves rather than just for the enrichment of their elites and their partners in this country. And maybe even to be able to afford goods manufactured in this country.

"Or veto a U.N. resolution designed to relieve the fighting in Syria."

WTF does that have to do with this discussion. And, anyway, it's getting vetoed anyway.

"And of course none of this addresses what all these extra taxes and tariffs will do to the American consumer."

Those taxes and tariffs wouldn't just disappear into thin air. They'd fund all kinds of government programs that would benefit Americans, perhaps even reducing the deficit, and with improved competitiveness, more Americans would be put to work, at higher wages, that would, in fact, help the American consumer. They could even be used to reduce the level of taxation on Americans.

Your problem is that you only want to see one side of the equation.

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jhawkinsf 1 year, 10 months ago

WTF - I was trying to show the asymmetrical nature of relations between two countries. Just because we raise a tariff doesn't mean they raise a tariff. They might fund a terrorist group in an area where we have interests. Hence, it's complex.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 1 year, 10 months ago

So, we have to accept the idiotic race to the bottom because somebody might do something really futile and stupid if we try to change things?

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jhawkinsf 1 year, 10 months ago

They might not see it as futile and stupid. And we need to tread lightly. But if you think we can simply impose a tariff, impose a CO2 tax, impose our will on them without repercussions, then you're not looking realistically at the complex nature of relations between nations, especially nations that are global economic powers. The Chinese could simply devalue their currency a bit, wreaking havoc on our balance of trade and increasing our debt, or they could fund Sudanese war lords, who could in turn give sanctuary to terrorist groups. Any policy maker in Washington, be they Democrat or Republican, has to take these things into consideration.

Simply saying raise a tariff or impose a CO2 tax is too simplistic.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 1 year, 10 months ago

They could hire the Martians to invade us, too, I suppose.

Your bottom line point appears to be that taking sensible measures to address the economic and environmental problems we face can't even be considered because that will incite somebody or other to go all Animal House on us. Got it.

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jhawkinsf 1 year, 10 months ago

My bottom line point is that for us to tax, tax, tax and then tax some more is not sensible, given the realities of the world.

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bad_dog 1 year, 10 months ago

"...but let's face it, this is done to drive costs down to meet demand for cheaper goods."

And to drive dividends/profits for corporate shareholders upward. Once the idea caught on and the bottom line impact to profits realized, many boards of directors and CEOs believed it was necessary to do so or face ouster by shareholders.

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Windemere 1 year, 10 months ago

These are incentives one can't legislate away. And those shareholders/stakeholders are people of all income levels. However, when prices are driven down, could also put pressure on profits. That pressure is always there. Lots of people cheer when prices are low low low.

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beatrice 1 year, 10 months ago

Why is income derived from dividends taxed at a lower rate than income derived from work?

It is not a just system we have and it penalizes people for hard work.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 1 year, 10 months ago

"Why is income derived from dividends taxed at a lower rate than income derived from work?"

Because the people who make their money this way (i.e., those who don't actually work) can afford to make sizable contributions to political candidates who will do their bidding.

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verity 1 year, 10 months ago

That is a bit of a two-edged sword. Those of us who are on the lower end of the middle class and had to scrimp and save to be able to invest for our retirement also have to pay capital gains and dividends taxes. I well remember how that 30% cut into the little bit of profit I was making. I believe you're paying it on your 401Ks too, aren't you?

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Armstrong 1 year, 10 months ago

No, "the ( tax ) system" rewards those who work hard and that have acquired extra cash to invest in whatever they wish ( disposable income ). Would you work harder to have more tax taken out ?

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Armstrong 1 year, 10 months ago

Has anyone noticed Barry's strategy is not working ??? Nice smoke screen for a complete lack luster 4 years.

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Armstrong 1 year, 10 months ago

Yes, so far Barry has made a careeer out of it

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gbulldog 1 year, 10 months ago

Most of us have limited resources and use credit cards. Why during the first two years of the Obama Administration, did he not do something about it. Since then we see more "pay day" companies. If interest rates on credit card were lowered, consumers would spend more, more jobs would be created, more taxes (sales). Also imposed an added sales taxes on non US made products to increase US production. Instead the Democrats want to raise taxes on investments. Many of these people worked, and during their working life, managed to save some money. This is especially dishartning for my mother who is 90+. She worked hard for years in Kansas low paid jobs (teaching, nursing aid), raised several kids with no unions support. Then she is told that she needd to pay more taxes because she does not work. I am pround of my mother and her never giving up through difficult time. She instilled in me a hope. I guess your mother taught you to get what you need no matter who it hurts. In all the years of promises, we have not see the cake yet and will not unless we become "politically correct".

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chootspa 1 year, 10 months ago

About those credit cards. The CFPB met with repeated obstructionism from Republicans. Outright lowering of interest rates through regulation would have been decried as "interfering with the market." Not that the CFPD did nothing. http://www.consumerfinance.gov/pressreleases/cfpb-capital-one-probe/

If they taxed investments at the same rate as regular income, your grandmother would only see a difference if she's withdrawing over $35,000 per year, only for the amount over that, and only with certain types of retirement funds. If she taught for the state, her state pension was taxed as she paid into it, so she only has to pay federal taxes on it. That's been the law for a while. That wasn't a recent invention.

Those of us who are planning ahead might look at Roth-IRA. I somehow doubt we'll ever actually tax investment income like regular income, but I like to be prepared.

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gbulldog 1 year, 10 months ago

Obama had the power to get flawed health care passed. Why did he not have to power to control credit card companies? Do you remember the credit card company that went after the mother of a student who killed himself because credit card company pressure. And yet the Democrats hold their convention in the meca of the banking industry. Point of inorformation for all you the have pension plans or are saving towards retirement. Watch muncipal bond investment, Most local goverment are under Democrat control. Note the recent increase in the number of bankrupcies, especially in California. Or are you going to blame that on the Republican too.

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chootspa 1 year, 10 months ago

Obama had the power to pass the Republican healthcare plan, yes, but not the public option. He had the power to create the CFPB, which the Republicans immediately tried to render toothless. He did not have the power to directly demand credit card companies lower their interest rate. Why did he not have this power? Banks have money, and they buy influence. Political reality. There's no way he could get a supermajority to pass it. A Republican would not have fared any better.

As far as your goalpost moving with local governments and California, much of that can be laid at the feet of Prop 13, but it's irrelevant to your question of why Obama didn't lower credit card interest rates in the first two years of office.

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Trumbull 1 year, 10 months ago

We are now a world marketplace. Since our standing of living is higher than most places, we will gradually par down to the world average. Seems like Government, Business, and consumers are participants though not necessarily willing. Some are unaware of the consequences of the past 30 years. It made the bottom line of many income statements for a while, consumers like the low prices, and congress is very unlikely to restrict trade.

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Trumbull 1 year, 10 months ago

Saw an interesting documentary to describe the situation in many places......longstanding mfg company in small town, producer of towels (Made in USA), closes doors. Large percentage of town immediately becomes unemployed. Ironically, and at a later date, they find themselves buying towels in Wal Mart that were made in another country. Wal Mart also happened to be the largest employer in town after the plant closure.

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jafs 1 year, 10 months ago

There's a good book called "Wal-Mart: The Bully of Bentonville", written by a WSJ reporter.

It goes into some detail about how W-M contributes to putting local businesses out of business, and becomes the only choice in town, for both employment and shopping.

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bad_dog 1 year, 10 months ago

Wal-Mart's cheaper prices often reflect the lower quality goods on their shelves, particularly in the case of clothing. Certain products can be a bargain comparitively speaking. As for the rest of the products they market, one must be very selective and comparison shop as their prices are not always the best, but I do that no matter what I'm buying. Their "fresh" foods department generally contains little, if anything I would purchase.

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bad_dog 1 year, 10 months ago

I concur with some of what you say, but it doesn't reflect my purchasing practices. I would rather purchase higher quality goods; goods that are more durable and thus last longer and likely fit/look better. I do disagree with your premise clothing will be worn one season and then "discarded". Families with more than one child can go the "hand me down" route to siblings or to relatives, or sell the used clothing at garage sales or to second hand stores. Also, don't forget Wal-Mart sells clothing to adults. If I purchase a flannel shirt or a pair of slacks, I expect them to last for more than one season. But hey, that's why I purchase my clothing and most everything else from other merchants.

As for central planning, one could also adopt your theory that "fashions change..." and as such, only cheap throw-away clothing should be produced & marketed. Anything else would be a waste of resources.

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Windemere 1 year, 10 months ago

The point is, businesses will respond to various consumer niche demands. Great that we have Nordstoms and great that we have WalMart. They can both flourish, if there's a market for what each sells. What a lot of people can't seem to tolerate is that WalMart exists, and has done quite well.

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Trumbull 1 year, 10 months ago

It is like the modern version of the company store.

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jafs 1 year, 10 months ago

Yep.

It's a very good book - I recommend it.

He details various ways in which W-M has bullied their way into business, bullied their suppliers, etc. and the downsides of many sorts that their domination has entailed.

Not a liberal, by any means, he concludes that W-M has been bad for America overall.

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Trumbull 1 year, 10 months ago

Yes, I have seen how Wal Mart bullies business. In the line of work I was in (16 years), they were our largest volume customer. It is possible we either broke even or lost money on them, but could not risk losing the account. Losing them would have had a severe impact on volume, cash flow, product visisbility, etc. Dropping that account would have meant even more plant closures.....and yes I was with a USA Mfg.

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jafs 1 year, 10 months ago

That's one of the scenarios the book outlines.

Once Wal-Mart becomes a big customer for suppliers, and puts other businesses out of business, they can demand lower prices from them, and thus what happened to you happens.

I'm a little surprised they used a USA supplier, though - I thought they moved that over to China a while back.

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Windemere 1 year, 10 months ago

People lament the fact that "we don't make anything anymore." Not sure if/when those manufacturing jobs will rebound. Hard to see why they would as labor/cost of doing business is much more expensive here than it is elsewhere in the world. Combine that with a poor education system and people on the lower socio-economic rung are in for a tough generation or two at least.

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Jayhawk1958 1 year, 10 months ago

Chalk up another failure of capitalism...Oh wait, we are the greatest country in the world!

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gbulldog 1 year, 10 months ago

I was on an English website and notes the price of a Coleman stove was double what it would cost at Wally World. I wondered why, and then I realized taxes. To encourage English job creation, they add a tax on foreign made items. Think it is called a value added tax. Just think of all the things that you buy at Wally World, and double the price.

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deec 1 year, 10 months ago

Nearly all the things to buy at Wally World are disposable junk that we don't need, anyway. Just imagine how much longer the limited supply of oil would last if everything wasn't made of plastic now.

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budwhysir 1 year, 10 months ago

We live in a 1% world, I only believe 1% of everything I read, 1% of my knowledge comes from learning and 1% of my savings comes from money....

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budwhysir 1 year, 10 months ago

yeah you 10% people have it all figured out. its my life goal to acheive another 9%....then I will be set....

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gbulldog 1 year, 10 months ago

concentrate on becomming self sufficient and buy organic products. Do you know how some foreign farmers fertilize their crops?

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chootspa 1 year, 10 months ago

Organic is a lie sold to you by corporations, but do enjoy paying more for your products.

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voevoda 1 year, 10 months ago

"There is no question of relieving others at the cost of hardship to yourselves; it is a question of equality. At the moment of your surplus meets their need, but one day your need may be met from their surplus. The aim is equality" (2 Corinthians 8:13-14).

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Abdu Omar 1 year, 10 months ago

You know when you look at it all, it is only fair that the percentage of taxation be equal all the way around. I suggest that those who make less than $35,000 pay no taxes and those who make $35,001 or more pay 10% of the amount over $35,000. No deductions except for dependents. Let some tax attorney figure the rest out, but we must be fair to everyone.

Romney will destroy the remainder of the country that is solvent as Bush would have given more time. Obama has been doing all he can given the republican refusal to work with the dems. So something must give. We need to work together to make this country work or we will be another Rome or Greece.

All the incumbents who stand in the way of progress and for the stagnation of our political system must go, regardless of their party. It is time to clean house in the Congress. Let's get representatives who want to work and make the country the best it can be.

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gbulldog 1 year, 10 months ago

Where did you do your education, This wan;t what I was taught in economic course. Are your an immigrint?

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Trumbull 1 year, 10 months ago

Well times have changed since I was in college back in the 80's. I have 12 hrs of economics from a conservative baptist school in Texas. Equal time was given to supply side economics and keynesian economics and the pros and cons were presented for both. I acknowledge positive aspects of both......but would probably be considered a Socialist by some here on these blogs. The environment today is more polarized, black & white, either or.

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Armstrong 1 year, 10 months ago

Translation. I want someone who will promote the liberal agenda and keep the unemployment checks rolling in. We are on the fast track to Greece / Spain open your eyes.

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Armstrong 1 year, 10 months ago

Let me guess, you know the real story don't ya. Suppose you set me straight with your unbiased and worldly knowledge.

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JHOK32 1 year, 10 months ago

The insatiable greed of Wall Street bankers & stockbrokers, backed by their buddy G.W.Bush who looked the other way, is exactly what caused this Great Recession. After Bush captured his second term in 2004 the banking industry tripled the amount of bad mortgages issued at subprime rates (Wikipedia sub-prime mortgage crisis) to anyone who could still breathe no matter how secure their incomes were, how much savings they had, or how much they could put down on a house. Indeed many banks lended 20% more than a property was even worth! The numerous banks that went belly up would actually advertize on the radio & TV that they would finance houses at 120% of what they were worth, no matter what your credit score was! As all this was happening while the Bush Republican de-regulators let the foxes guard their own hen houses. Then for "punishment" of bringing our entire economy to the brink of disaster Bush hands over $700 Billion dollars of OUR money to the millionaire bankers & stockbrokers who already screwed this country! Hey, it was Bush's second term, he had nothing to lose, but the bankers had everything to gain & they ripped off the American people & let the middle class take all the hits of losing their jobs & their homes & their savings & their health insurance, retirement funds, etc, etc. They should have jailed them all for the rest of their lives.

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Richard Heckler 1 year, 10 months ago

How does anyone blame hard working upper middle class and middle class Republican/Democrat workers for the following job losses among other things?

This ENTITLEMENT - Bailing out The Reagan/Bush Savings and Loan Heist aka home loan scandal sent the economy out the window costing taxpayers many many $$ trillions (Cost taxpayers $1.4 trillion), Plus millions of jobs, loss of retirement plans and loss of medical insurance. http://rationalrevolution0.tripod.com/war/bush_family_and_the_s.htm

This ENTITLEMENT Bailing out the Bush/Cheney Home Loan Wall Street Bank Fraud cost consumers $ trillions, millions of jobs, loss of retirement plans and loss of medical insurance. Exactly like the Reagan/Bush home loan scam. Déjà vu can we say. Yep seems to be a pattern. http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2009/0709macewan.html

This ENTITLEMENT - Bush/Cheney implied many financial institutions were at risk instead of only 3? One of the biggest lies perpetrated to American citizens. Where did this money go? Why were some banks forced to take bail out money? http://www.democracynow.org/2009/9/10/good_billions_after_bad_one_year

RECKLESS Tax cuts = THE ENTITLEMENT program for the wealthy which do nothing to make an economy strong or produce jobs. Tax cuts are a tax increase to others in order to make up the loss in revenue = duped again. Bush Tax Cuts aka THE ENTITLEMENT program for the wealthy at the expense of the middle class = duped one more time. http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2001/0301miller.html

In the end big debt and super duper bailouts HAVE BEEN the results which does not seem to bother Republicans, as long as they are in power.

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Liberty275 1 year, 10 months ago

Give residents a 100% tax abatement for all construction on their primary residence and we won't be able to find enough carpenters.

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NoSpin 1 year, 10 months ago

Your math is either erroneous or a lie. Everyone enjoys the lowest tax bracket that lowered the tax rate from 15 to 10 %. I will do the math for you. If your taxable(not gross or net income) income for your family is $17,000 then it went from $2550 to $1700. You got an $850 reduction which is 850/2550 or a 33% reduction in tax there. Let's throw in a couple of kids and your save another $1000(went from 500 to 1000 under Bush). That money means a lot more to the middle class than $5000 to a rich guy who probably paid $100,000 in taxes. I say roll back ALL the tax cuts and then we will see the actual impact. 2% ha! This is why our country is headed down the toilet. BTW, we had the highest tax revenues in history under Bush and it did not come from the 50% of Americans who do not pay taxes!!!!!!!!!

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NoSpin 1 year, 10 months ago

A family of 4 that makes $50,000 a year with a simple tax form is 50,000-(4x3800)-11,900= $22,900 taxable income(this is most it could be as this only takes into account the exemptions and standard deduction). So, the first $17,400 is taxed at 10% now which is $1740. The next $5500(22900-17400) is taxed at 15% which is $825 for a total of 1740+825 which is $2565. But wait, subtract $2000 for your child tax credit and we get $2565-2000 for a grand total of $565 of total tax. I am sure they get many other tax deductions and credits that I have not included here. Before Bush, their tax would have been 15% of 22,900 or 3435 minus 1000 for child tax credit for a total of 2435. So they save 2435-565=$1870 under Bush's plan. 2% my you-know-what. They have a reduction of 1870/2435 or 76% reduction. FACT CHECK THIS!!!!

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tbaker 1 year, 10 months ago

•5.1% - The current unemployment rate for government workers, which is the lowest unemployment rate for any of 17 different categories and subcategories of industries for which employment is tracked and published on a month-to-month basis by the Department of Labor. •8.1% - The current national unemployment rate, which dropped .2% because 368,000 Americans dropped out of the labor force in August. Do you understand what you just heard? These people –368,000 of your neighbors and friends – just said the hell with it and gave up. •8.4% - What the unemployment rate would be if the labor force participation rate had stayed the same as just last month – if those people had stayed in the job market and kept looking for work. •11.2% - What the unemployment rate would be if we had the same number of people either working or looking for work now as we did when Obama took office. •14.7% - The U-6 unemployment rate, which includes all of those who are unemployed and under-employed (part-time workers who want full-time work). •39 - The average number of weeks that workers find themselves out of the jobs market (the long-term unemployed). •43 - The number of consecutive months with joblessness above 8%. •63.5% - The current labor participation rate, which is the lowest share of Americans over age 16 in the workforce since September 1981. •2025 - If we continue to create jobs at a rate of just 96,000 per month, it will take until 2025 just to return to pre-recession unemployment levels. •41,000 – The number of jobs created for the prior two months were revised lower by 41,000 jobs. •96,000 - The total number of nonfarm jobs created in August. •119,000 - There were 119,000 fewer Americans employed in August than there were in July. •173,000 – The increase in the number of food stamp recipients for the last month for which we have data (June). Compare that to the number of jobs being created … •250,000 - The number of jobs per month needed to have significant job creation impact and bring down the unemployment rate. •368,000 - The number of Americans who dropped out of the labor force in August. •5 million – The number of jobs still needed to get back to the point where we were in the end of 2007. •20 million - The number of unemployed, underemployed and discouraged workers who’ve left the labor force altogether. •31 million – That’s the population growth since 2000, yet fewer Americans are working today than in April 2000.

This is a record of failure, but no one should be surprised by it. After all, Mr. Obama has made it clear throughout his life that he believes capitalism and free enterprise are evil and must be destroyed. Read his books.

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